Special Issue "Antifungal Immunity and Fungal Vaccine Development"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Hector M. Mora-Montes
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology, Division of Natural Sciences, University of Guanajuato, México
Interests: proteins in fungal cells; Fungal cell wall; fungal glycoproteins; Host-fungus interaction
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Thomas Lehrnbecher
Website
Guest Editor
Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Hospital for Children and Adolescents, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany
Interests: invasive fungal infections in immunocompromised children; fungal-host interaction; immunotherapy against invasive fungal infections

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fungi are a vast group of heterotrophic organisms that can grow in a wide repertoire of ecological niches. Even though it is estimated that there are more than 3.6 million species, only 120,000 have been identified and parts of their biology described. Thus far, about 300 fungal species have evolved strategies to be pathogenic to humans, and these are the main focus of medical mycology.

Fungal infections are a significant burden to the human, representing about 15% of hospital-acquired infections, and a recurrent problem to ambulant immunosuppressed patients and people living on the margins of society. Thus far, we have limited knowledge about the underlying mechanisms of the host–fungus interaction and the molecular determinants of pathogenicity for most of the pathogenic species. This has been translated into a limited number of therapeutic drugs to control fungal pathogens. In addition, natural or acquired drug resistance of fungal isolates is now a common problem faced by physicians.

Therefore, greater efforts are still required to find therapeutic alternatives to curve these pathogens. In the last two decades, basic aspects of the fungal immune sensing have been described, and we have now a detailed panorama of the ligand-receptor interactions that lead to the activation of immune effectors for pathogen control. Despite this  knowledge, no vaccine against a fungal pathogen is currently available and the immunomodulatory alternatives put in practice are extremely limited. To raise awareness among the community about the importance of this issue and to highlight the current progress in this field, we offer this Special Issue on antifungal immunity and fungal vaccine development.

Prof. Dr. Hector M. Mora-Montes
Prof. Dr. Thomas Lehrnbecher
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Fungi is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 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

  • mycosis
  • host-fungus interaction
  • immunity
  • vaccine
  • immunomodulation

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Using Expanded Natural Killer Cells as Therapy for Invasive Aspergillosis
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040231 - 17 Oct 2020
Abstract
Invasive aspergillosis (IA) is a major opportunistic fungal infection in patients with haematological malignancies. Morbidity and mortality rates are high despite anti-fungal treatment, as the compromised status of immune system prevents the host from responding optimally to conventional therapy. This raises the consideration [...] Read more.
Invasive aspergillosis (IA) is a major opportunistic fungal infection in patients with haematological malignancies. Morbidity and mortality rates are high despite anti-fungal treatment, as the compromised status of immune system prevents the host from responding optimally to conventional therapy. This raises the consideration for immunotherapy as an adjunctive treatment. In this study, we evaluated the utility of expanded human NK cells as treatment against Aspergillus fumigatus infection in vitro and in vivo. The NK cells were expanded and activated by K562 cells genetically modified to express 4-1BB ligand and membrane-bound interleukin-15 (K562-41BBL-mbIL-15) as feeders. The efficacy of these cells was investigated in A. fumigatus killing assays in vitro and as adoptive cellular therapy in vivo. The expanded NK cells possessed potent killing activity at low effector-to-target ratio of 2:1. Fungicidal activity was morphotypal-dependent and most efficacious against A. fumigatus conidia. Fungicidal activity was mediated by dectin-1 receptors on the expanded NK cells leading to augmented release of perforin, resulting in enhanced direct cytolysis. In an immunocompromised mice pulmonary aspergillosis model, we showed that NK cell treatment significantly reduced fungal burden, hence demonstrating the translational potential of expanded NK cells as adjunctive therapy against IA in immunocompromised patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antifungal Immunity and Fungal Vaccine Development)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Immunotherapy against Systemic Fungal Infections Based on Monoclonal Antibodies
J. Fungi 2020, 6(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6010031 - 29 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The increasing incidence in systemic fungal infections in humans has increased focus for the development of fungal vaccines and use of monoclonal antibodies. Invasive mycoses are generally difficult to treat, as most occur in vulnerable individuals, with compromised innate and adaptive immune responses. [...] Read more.
The increasing incidence in systemic fungal infections in humans has increased focus for the development of fungal vaccines and use of monoclonal antibodies. Invasive mycoses are generally difficult to treat, as most occur in vulnerable individuals, with compromised innate and adaptive immune responses. Mortality rates in the setting of our current antifungal drugs remain excessively high. Moreover, systemic mycoses require prolonged durations of antifungal treatment and side effects frequently occur, particularly drug-induced liver and/or kidney injury. The use of monoclonal antibodies with or without concomitant administration of antifungal drugs emerges as a potentially efficient treatment modality to improve outcomes and reduce chemotherapy toxicities. In this review, we focus on the use of monoclonal antibodies with experimental evidence on the reduction of fungal burden and prolongation of survival in in vivo disease models. Presently, there are no licensed monoclonal antibodies for use in the treatment of systemic mycoses, although the potential of such a vaccine is very high as indicated by the substantial promising results from several experimental models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antifungal Immunity and Fungal Vaccine Development)
Open AccessReview
Monoclonal Antibodies as Tools to Combat Fungal Infections
J. Fungi 2020, 6(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6010022 - 04 Feb 2020
Abstract
Antibodies represent an important element in the adaptive immune response and a major tool to eliminate microbial pathogens. For many bacterial and viral infections, efficient vaccines exist, but not for fungal pathogens. For a long time, antibodies have been assumed to be of [...] Read more.
Antibodies represent an important element in the adaptive immune response and a major tool to eliminate microbial pathogens. For many bacterial and viral infections, efficient vaccines exist, but not for fungal pathogens. For a long time, antibodies have been assumed to be of minor importance for a successful clearance of fungal infections; however this perception has been challenged by a large number of studies over the last three decades. In this review, we focus on the potential therapeutic and prophylactic use of monoclonal antibodies. Since systemic mycoses normally occur in severely immunocompromised patients, a passive immunization using monoclonal antibodies is a promising approach to directly attack the fungal pathogen and/or to activate and strengthen the residual antifungal immune response in these patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antifungal Immunity and Fungal Vaccine Development)
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Open AccessReview
Immune Parameters for Diagnosis and Treatment Monitoring in Invasive Mold Infection
J. Fungi 2019, 5(4), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof5040116 - 16 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Infections caused by invasive molds, including Aspergillus spp., can be difficult to diagnose and remain associated with high morbidity and mortality. Thus, early diagnosis and targeted systemic antifungal treatment remains the most important predictive factor for a successful outcome in immunocompromised individuals with [...] Read more.
Infections caused by invasive molds, including Aspergillus spp., can be difficult to diagnose and remain associated with high morbidity and mortality. Thus, early diagnosis and targeted systemic antifungal treatment remains the most important predictive factor for a successful outcome in immunocompromised individuals with invasive mold infections. Diagnosis remains difficult due to low sensitivities of diagnostic tests including culture and other mycological tests for mold pathogens, particularly in patients on mold-active antifungal prophylaxis. As a result, antifungal treatment is rarely targeted and reliable markers for treatment monitoring and outcome prediction are missing. Thus, there is a need for improved markers to diagnose invasive mold infections, monitor response to treatment, and assist in determining when antifungal therapy should be escalated, switched, or can be stopped. This review focuses on the role of immunologic markers and specifically cytokines in diagnosis and treatment monitoring of invasive mold infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antifungal Immunity and Fungal Vaccine Development)
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