Special Issue "Fungal Cell Wall"

A special issue of Journal of Fungi (ISSN 2309-608X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2017).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Anne Beauvais
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Unité des Aspergillus, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France
Interests: glucan; melanin; hydrophobin; cell wall; permeabilization

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The fungal cell is surrounded by a wall, which acts as a sieve, as well as a reservoir, for effector molecules that play an active role during infection. Considered a living organelle, the cell wall is essential for growth and crucial for resisting host defense mechanisms. Polysaccharides constitute >70% of the cell wall, and their biosynthesis is under the control of three types of enzymes: Transmembrane synthases, cell wall associated transglycosidases, and glycosylhydrolases; these are responsible for the remodeling of the de novo synthesized polysaccharides resulting in the characteristic three-dimensional structure of the cell wall. While certain polysaccharides are species- or genus- specific, some of them, such as β-(1,3)-glucan and chitin, are common to all fungal species, but both display fungus- and morphotype-specific differences in their concentration and localization. The cell wall is covered by an outer layer or extracellular matrix with hydrophobic, adhesive, and protective properties and plays a major role during infection. Importantly, host recognition of the fungal cell wall is essential for the initiation of the immune response. Moreover, because of their specific composition, the fungal cell wall and its outer layer are unique targets for the development of drugs against pathogenic fungal species.

Dr. Anne Beauvais
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Glucan
  • chitin
  • mannan galactan
  • polysaccharide
  • melanin
  • hydrophobin
  • permeabilization
  • antifungal
  • PAMPs
  • PRRs
  • cell wall
  • glycobiology

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Special Issue: Fungal Cell Wall
J. Fungi 2018, 4(3), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4030091 - 04 Aug 2018
Cited by 9
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Cell Wall)
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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Glycosylphosphatidylinositol Anchors from Galactomannan and GPI-Anchored Protein Are Synthesized by Distinct Pathways in Aspergillus fumigatus
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4010019 - 02 Feb 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Glycosylphosphatidylinositols (GPIs) are lipid anchors allowing the exposure of proteins at the outer layer of the plasma membrane. In fungi, a number of GPI-anchored proteins (GPI-APs) are involved in the remodeling of the cell wall polymers. GPIs follow a specific biosynthetic pathway in [...] Read more.
Glycosylphosphatidylinositols (GPIs) are lipid anchors allowing the exposure of proteins at the outer layer of the plasma membrane. In fungi, a number of GPI-anchored proteins (GPI-APs) are involved in the remodeling of the cell wall polymers. GPIs follow a specific biosynthetic pathway in the endoplasmic reticulum. After the transfer of the protein onto the GPI-anchor, a lipid remodeling occurs to substitute the diacylglycerol moiety by a ceramide. In addition to GPI-APs, A. fumigatus produces a GPI-anchored polysaccharide, the galactomannan (GM), that remains unique in the fungal kingdom. To investigate the role of the GPI pathway in the biosynthesis of the GM and cell wall organization, the deletion of PER1—coding for a phospholipase required for the first step of the GPI lipid remodeling—was undertaken. Biochemical characterization of the GPI-anchor isolated from GPI-APs showed that the PER1 deficient mutant produced a lipid anchor with a diacylglycerol. The absence of a ceramide on GPI-anchors in the Δper1 mutant led to a mislocation of GPI-APs and to an alteration of the composition of the cell wall alkali-insoluble fraction. On the other hand, the GM isolated from the Δper1 mutant membranes possesses a ceramide moiety as the parental strain, showing that GPI anchor of the GM follow a distinct unknown biosynthetic pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Cell Wall)
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Open AccessArticle
Members of Glycosyl-Hydrolase Family 17 of A. fumigatus Differentially Affect Morphogenesis
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4010018 - 30 Jan 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Cell wall biosynthesis and remodeling are essential for fungal growth and development. In the fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus, the β(1,3)glucan is the major cell wall polysaccharide. This polymer is synthesized at the plasma membrane by a transmembrane complex, then released into the [...] Read more.
Cell wall biosynthesis and remodeling are essential for fungal growth and development. In the fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus, the β(1,3)glucan is the major cell wall polysaccharide. This polymer is synthesized at the plasma membrane by a transmembrane complex, then released into the parietal space to be remodeled by enzymes, and finally incorporated into the pre-existing cell wall. In the Glycosyl-Hydrolases family 17 (GH17) of A. fumigatus, two β(1,3)glucanosyltransferases, Bgt1p and Bgt2p, have been previously characterized. Disruption of BGT1 and BGT2 did not result in a phenotype, but sequence comparison and hydrophobic cluster analysis showed that three other genes in A. fumigatus belong to the GH17 family, SCW4, SCW11, and BGT3. In constrast to Δbgt1bgt2 mutants, single and multiple deletion of SCW4, SCW11, and BGT3 showed a decrease in conidiation associated with a higher conidial mortality and an abnormal conidial shape. Moreover, mycelium was also affected with a slower growth, stronger sensitivity to cell wall disturbing agents, and altered cell wall composition. Finally, the synthetic interactions between Bgt1p, Bgt2p, and the three other members, which support a functional cooperation in cell-wall assembly, were analyzed. Our data suggest that Scw4p, Scw11p, and Bgt3p are essential for cell wall integrity and might have antagonistic and distinct functions to Bgt1p and Bgt2p. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Cell Wall)
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Open AccessArticle
Role of Hydrophobins in Aspergillus fumigatus
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4010002 - 24 Dec 2017
Cited by 13
Abstract
Resistance of Aspergillus fumigatus conidia to desiccation and their capacity to reach the alveoli are partly due to the presence of a hydrophobic layer composed of a protein from the hydrophobin family, called RodA, which covers the conidial surface. In A. fumigatus there [...] Read more.
Resistance of Aspergillus fumigatus conidia to desiccation and their capacity to reach the alveoli are partly due to the presence of a hydrophobic layer composed of a protein from the hydrophobin family, called RodA, which covers the conidial surface. In A. fumigatus there are seven hydrophobins (RodA–RodG) belonging to class I and III. Most of them have never been studied. We constructed single and multiple hydrophobin-deletion mutants until the generation of a hydrophobin-free mutant. The phenotype, immunogenicity, and virulence of the mutants were studied. RODA is the most expressed hydrophobin in sporulating cultures, whereas RODB is upregulated in biofilm conditions and in vivo Only RodA, however, is responsible for rodlet formation, sporulation, conidial hydrophobicity, resistance to physical insult or anionic dyes, and immunological inertia of the conidia. None of the hydrophobin plays a role in biofilm formation or its hydrophobicity. RodA is the only needed hydrophobin in A. fumigatus, conditioning the structure, permeability, hydrophobicity, and immune-inertia of the cell wall surface in conidia. Moreover, the defect of rodlets on the conidial cell wall surface impacts on the drug sensitivity of the fungus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Cell Wall)
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Open AccessArticle
A Novel Assay Reveals a Maturation Process during Ascospore Wall Formation
J. Fungi 2017, 3(4), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof3040054 - 02 Oct 2017
Cited by 1
Abstract
The ascospore wall of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae consists of inner layers of similar composition to the vegetative cell wall and outer layers made of spore-specific components that confer increased stress resistance on the spore. The primary constituents of the outer spore [...] Read more.
The ascospore wall of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae consists of inner layers of similar composition to the vegetative cell wall and outer layers made of spore-specific components that confer increased stress resistance on the spore. The primary constituents of the outer spore wall are chitosan, dityrosine, and a third component termed Chi that has been identified by spectrometry but whose chemical structure is not known. The lipophilic dye monodansylpentane readily stains lipid droplets inside of newly formed ascospores but, over the course of several days, the spores become impermeable to the dye. The generation of this permeability barrier requires the chitosan layer, but not dityrosine layer, of the spore wall. Screening of a set of mutants with different outer spore wall defects reveals that impermeability to the dye requires not just the presence of chitosan, but another factor as well, possibly Chi, and suggests that the OSW2 gene product is required for synthesis of this factor. Testing of mutants that block synthesis of specific aromatic amino acids indicates that de novo synthesis of tyrosine contributes not only to formation of the dityrosine layer but to impermeability of the wall as well, suggesting a second role for aromatic amino acids in spore wall synthesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Cell Wall)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Recent Insights into the Paradoxical Effect of Echinocandins
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4010005 - 28 Dec 2017
Cited by 9
Abstract
Echinocandin antifungals represent one of the most important drug classes for the treatment of invasive fungal infections. The mode of action of the echinocandins relies on inhibition of the β-1,3-glucan synthase, an enzyme essentially required for the synthesis of the major fungal cell [...] Read more.
Echinocandin antifungals represent one of the most important drug classes for the treatment of invasive fungal infections. The mode of action of the echinocandins relies on inhibition of the β-1,3-glucan synthase, an enzyme essentially required for the synthesis of the major fungal cell wall carbohydrate β-1,3-glucan. Depending on the species, echinocandins may exert fungicidal or fungistatic activity. Apparently independent of this differential activity, a surprising in vitro phenomenon called the “paradoxical effect” can be observed. The paradoxical effect is characterized by the ability of certain fungal isolates to reconstitute growth in the presence of higher echinocandin concentrations, while being fully susceptible at lower concentrations. The nature of the paradoxical effect is not fully understood and has been the focus of multiple studies in the last two decades. Here we concisely review the current literature and propose an updated model for the paradoxical effect, taking into account recent advances in the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Cell Wall)
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Open AccessReview
Host Soluble Mediators: Defying the Immunological Inertness of Aspergillus fumigatus Conidia
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4010003 - 24 Dec 2017
Cited by 3
Abstract
Aspergillus fumigatus produce airborne spores (conidia), which are inhaled in abundant quantity. In an immunocompromised population, the host immune system fails to clear the inhaled conidia, which then germinate and invade, leading to pulmonary aspergillosis. In an immunocompetent population, the inhaled conidia are [...] Read more.
Aspergillus fumigatus produce airborne spores (conidia), which are inhaled in abundant quantity. In an immunocompromised population, the host immune system fails to clear the inhaled conidia, which then germinate and invade, leading to pulmonary aspergillosis. In an immunocompetent population, the inhaled conidia are efficiently cleared by the host immune system. Soluble mediators of the innate immunity, that involve the complement system, acute-phase proteins, antimicrobial peptides and cytokines, are often considered to play a complementary role in the defense of the fungal pathogen. In fact, the soluble mediators are essential in achieving an efficient clearance of the dormant conidia, which is the morphotype of the fungus upon inhalation by the host. Importantly, harnessing the host soluble mediators challenges the immunological inertness of the dormant conidia due to the presence of the rodlet and melanin layers. In the review, we summarized the major soluble mediators in the lung that are involved in the recognition of the dormant conidia. This knowledge is essential in the complete understanding of the immune defense against A. fumigatus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Cell Wall)
Open AccessReview
The CWI Pathway: Regulation of the Transcriptional Adaptive Response to Cell Wall Stress in Yeast
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4010001 - 21 Dec 2017
Cited by 15
Abstract
Fungi are surrounded by an essential structure, the cell wall, which not only confers cell shape but also protects cells from environmental stress. As a consequence, yeast cells growing under cell wall damage conditions elicit rescue mechanisms to provide maintenance of cellular integrity [...] Read more.
Fungi are surrounded by an essential structure, the cell wall, which not only confers cell shape but also protects cells from environmental stress. As a consequence, yeast cells growing under cell wall damage conditions elicit rescue mechanisms to provide maintenance of cellular integrity and fungal survival. Through transcriptional reprogramming, yeast modulate the expression of genes important for cell wall biogenesis and remodeling, metabolism and energy generation, morphogenesis, signal transduction and stress. The yeast cell wall integrity (CWI) pathway, which is very well conserved in other fungi, is the key pathway for the regulation of this adaptive response. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of the yeast transcriptional program elicited to counterbalance cell wall stress situations, the role of the CWI pathway in the regulation of this program and the importance of the transcriptional input received by other pathways. Modulation of this adaptive response through the CWI pathway by positive and negative transcriptional feedbacks is also discussed. Since all these regulatory mechanisms are well conserved in pathogenic fungi, improving our knowledge about them will have an impact in the developing of new antifungal therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Cell Wall)
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Open AccessReview
The Cell Wall Integrity Signaling Pathway and Its Involvement in Secondary Metabolite Production
J. Fungi 2017, 3(4), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof3040068 - 06 Dec 2017
Cited by 6
Abstract
The fungal cell wall is the external and first layer that fungi use to interact with the environment. Every stress signal, before being translated into an appropriate stress response, needs to overtake this layer. Many signaling pathways are involved in translating stress signals, [...] Read more.
The fungal cell wall is the external and first layer that fungi use to interact with the environment. Every stress signal, before being translated into an appropriate stress response, needs to overtake this layer. Many signaling pathways are involved in translating stress signals, but the cell wall integrity (CWI) signaling pathway is the one responsible for the maintenance and biosynthesis of the fungal cell wall. In fungi, the CWI signal is composed of a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) module. After the start of the phosphorylation cascade, the CWI signal induces the expression of cell-wall-related genes. However, the function of the CWI signal is not merely the activation of cell wall biosynthesis, but also the regulation of expression and production of specific molecules that are used by fungi to better compete in the environment. These molecules are normally defined as secondary metabolites or natural products. This review is focused on secondary metabolites affected by the CWI signal pathway with a special focus on relevant natural products such as melanins, mycotoxins, and antibacterial compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Cell Wall)
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Open AccessReview
Function and Biosynthesis of Cell Wall α-1,3-Glucan in Fungi
J. Fungi 2017, 3(4), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof3040063 - 18 Nov 2017
Cited by 10
Abstract
Although α-1,3-glucan is a major cell wall polysaccharide in filamentous fungi, its biological functions remain unclear, except that it acts as a virulence factor in animal and plant pathogenic fungi: it conceals cell wall β-glucan on the fungal cell surface to circumvent recognition [...] Read more.
Although α-1,3-glucan is a major cell wall polysaccharide in filamentous fungi, its biological functions remain unclear, except that it acts as a virulence factor in animal and plant pathogenic fungi: it conceals cell wall β-glucan on the fungal cell surface to circumvent recognition by hosts. However, cell wall α-1,3-glucan is also present in many of non-pathogenic fungi. Recently, the universal function of α-1,3-glucan as an aggregation factor has been demonstrated. Applications of fungi with modified cell wall α-1,3-glucan in the fermentation industry and of in vitro enzymatically-synthesized α-1,3-glucan in bio-plastics have been developed. This review focuses on the recent progress in our understanding of the biological functions and biosynthetic mechanism of cell wall α-1,3-glucan in fungi. We briefly consider the history of studies on α-1,3-glucan, overview its biological functions and biosynthesis, and finally consider the industrial applications of fungi deficient in α-1,3-glucan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Cell Wall)
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Open AccessReview
MCC/Eisosomes Regulate Cell Wall Synthesis and Stress Responses in Fungi
J. Fungi 2017, 3(4), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof3040061 - 03 Nov 2017
Cited by 7
Abstract
The fungal plasma membrane is critical for cell wall synthesis and other important processes including nutrient uptake, secretion, endocytosis, morphogenesis, and response to stress. To coordinate these diverse functions, the plasma membrane is organized into specialized compartments that vary in size, stability, and [...] Read more.
The fungal plasma membrane is critical for cell wall synthesis and other important processes including nutrient uptake, secretion, endocytosis, morphogenesis, and response to stress. To coordinate these diverse functions, the plasma membrane is organized into specialized compartments that vary in size, stability, and composition. One recently identified domain known as the Membrane Compartment of Can1 (MCC)/eisosome is distinctive in that it corresponds to a furrow-like invagination in the plasma membrane. MCC/eisosomes have been shown to be formed by the Bin/Amphiphysin/Rvs (BAR) domain proteins Lsp1 and Pil1 in a range of fungi. MCC/eisosome domains influence multiple cellular functions; but a very pronounced defect in cell wall synthesis has been observed for mutants with defects in MCC/eisosomes in some yeast species. For example, Candida albicans MCC/eisosome mutants display abnormal spatial regulation of cell wall synthesis, including large invaginations and altered chemical composition of the walls. Recent studies indicate that MCC/eisosomes affect cell wall synthesis in part by regulating the levels of the key regulatory lipid phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PI4,5P2) in the plasma membrane. One general way MCC/eisosomes function is by acting as protected islands in the plasma membrane, since these domains are very stable. They also act as scaffolds to recruit >20 proteins. Genetic studies aimed at defining the function of the MCC/eisosome proteins have identified important roles in resistance to stress, such as resistance to oxidative stress mediated by the flavodoxin-like proteins Pst1, Pst2, Pst3 and Ycp4. Thus, MCC/eisosomes play multiple roles in plasma membrane organization that protect fungal cells from the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Cell Wall)
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Open AccessReview
The PHR Family: The Role of Extracellular Transglycosylases in Shaping Candida albicans Cells
J. Fungi 2017, 3(4), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof3040059 - 29 Oct 2017
Cited by 6
Abstract
Candida albicans is an opportunistic microorganism that can become a pathogen causing mild superficial mycosis or more severe invasive infections that can be life-threatening for debilitated patients. In the etiology of invasive infections, key factors are the adaptability of C. albicans to the [...] Read more.
Candida albicans is an opportunistic microorganism that can become a pathogen causing mild superficial mycosis or more severe invasive infections that can be life-threatening for debilitated patients. In the etiology of invasive infections, key factors are the adaptability of C. albicans to the different niches of the human body and the transition from a yeast form to hypha. Hyphal morphology confers high adhesiveness to the host cells, as well as the ability to penetrate into organs. The cell wall plays a crucial role in the morphological changes C. albicans undergoes in response to specific environmental cues. Among the different categories of enzymes involved in the formation of the fungal cell wall, the GH72 family of transglycosylases plays an important assembly role. These enzymes cut and religate β-(1,3)-glucan, the major determinant of cell shape. In C. albicans, the PHR family encodes GH72 enzymes, some of which work in specific environmental conditions. In this review, we will summarize the work from the initial discovery of PHR genes to the study of the pH-dependent expression of PHR1 and PHR2, from the characterization of the gene products to the recent findings concerning the stress response generated by the lack of GH72 activity in C. albicans hyphae. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Cell Wall)
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