Special Issue "Immunology of Fungal Infections"

A special issue of Pathogens (ISSN 2076-0817).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Marc Swidergall
Website
Guest Editor
Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA 90502, USA
Interests: medical mycology; fungal recognition; innate signaling; mucosal immunity
Dr. Rebecca Drummond
Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Immunology & Immunotherapy, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
Interests: infectious disease, myeloid cells, C-type lectins, innate recognition, medical mycology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The occurrence of fungal infections is rising and serious threat to public health, yet this problem is relatively under-appreciated by the press, the public and funding agencies. Of particular concern are invasive fungal infections, most often caused by Cryptococcus, Candida, Aspergillus, and Pneumocystis species, which are associated with mortality rates that often exceed 50% and predominantly affect vulnerable patients, such as neonates, transplant and cancer patients, despite the availability of antifungal drugs. Although not fatal, the worldwide burden of superficial fungal infections is vast, causing ~1.7 billion cases of skin and nail diseases, followed by mucosal infections of the oral and genital tracts, especially vulvovaginal candidiasis. In fact, ~75% of women suffer from at least one episode of vulvovaginal candidiasis, and 75 million women have at least four episodes annually. In regions with limited health care provision, HIV/AIDS adds nearly 10 million cases of oral thrush annually, and 2 million cases of esophageal Candida infections. Recently, it has become apparent that some pathogenic fungi exhibit resistance to our limited arsenal of antifungal drugs, and thus the requirement for immune-based therapies and novel antifungal drugs to counteract these worrying trends is now greater than ever. Recent advances in the fungal immunology field have led to an increasing awareness of the impact of commensal fungi on health and disease, as well as the intricate fungal evasion mechanisms that promote infection. Innate recognition of fungal cell wall components and morphotypes, and the subsequent immune activation has further enhanced our knowledge of host–fungus interactions and how these impact on pathogenesis. Exploration and understanding of these complex conversations are hoped to bring novel insights that will feed the development of strategies to treat and prevent fungal infections in humans.

To coincide with the upcoming Gordon Research Seminar ‘Immunology of Fungal Infections’, Pathogens will launch a Special Issue devoted to presenting cutting-edge ideas and novel insights into the mechanisms underlying fungal-host interactions, the molecular pathways that promote protection against fungal infections, and how this information might be exploited in the clinic. 

Both original research and review articles are welcomed. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Fungal Infections at Mucosal Surfaces
  • Pulmonary Immunity to Fungal Infections
  • Adaptive Antifungal Immunity
  • Organ-Specific Antifungal Immunity
  • The Pathogen Perspective: Fungal Adaptation to the Immune Response

Dr. Marc Swidergall
Dr. Rebecca A. Drummond
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. Pathogens is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly 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

  • Cryptococcus
  • Candida
  • Aspergillus
  • Pneumocystis
  • Mucorales
  • Yeasts
  • Moulds
  • antifungal immunity
  • innate
  • adaptive
  • Host-fungus interaction

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Open AccessReview
Fungal-Bacterial Interactions in Health and Disease
Pathogens 2019, 8(2), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens8020070 - 21 May 2019
Cited by 11
Abstract
Fungi and bacteria encounter each other in various niches of the human body. There, they interact directly with one another or indirectly via the host response. In both cases, interactions can affect host health and disease. In the present review, we summarized current [...] Read more.
Fungi and bacteria encounter each other in various niches of the human body. There, they interact directly with one another or indirectly via the host response. In both cases, interactions can affect host health and disease. In the present review, we summarized current knowledge on fungal-bacterial interactions during their commensal and pathogenic lifestyle. We focus on distinct mucosal niches: the oral cavity, lung, gut, and vagina. In addition, we describe interactions during bloodstream and wound infections and the possible consequences for the human host. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunology of Fungal Infections)
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Open AccessReview
Interleukin-17 in Antifungal Immunity
Pathogens 2019, 8(2), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens8020054 - 22 Apr 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
The field of IL-17 biology has received much attention over the last decade owing to the pathogenic role of this cytokine in psoriasis and other autoinflammatory disorders and the successful implementation of IL-17-targeting therapies in patients suffering from these diseases. IL-17-mediated pathologies are [...] Read more.
The field of IL-17 biology has received much attention over the last decade owing to the pathogenic role of this cytokine in psoriasis and other autoinflammatory disorders and the successful implementation of IL-17-targeting therapies in patients suffering from these diseases. IL-17-mediated pathologies are contrasted by the important host beneficial effects of this cytokine. IL-17 is essential for regulating microbial colonization in barrier tissues. Rare congenital defects in the IL-17 pathway exemplify the relevance of IL-17 in protective immunity against the opportunistic fungal pathogen C. albicans. However, more recently, evidence is accumulating that IL-17 can also provide protection against fungi other than C. albicans. Importantly, protective IL-17 responses directed against commensal fungi can, under certain conditions, promote inflammation with detrimental consequences for the host, thereby assigning fungi a new role as disease-promoting factors apart from their role as potential infectious agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunology of Fungal Infections)
Open AccessReview
Candida albicans Interactions with Mucosal Surfaces during Health and Disease
Pathogens 2019, 8(2), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens8020053 - 22 Apr 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Flexible adaptation to the host environment is a critical trait that underpins the success of numerous microbes. The polymorphic fungus Candida albicans has evolved to persist in the numerous challenging niches of the human body. The interaction of C. albicans with a mucosal [...] Read more.
Flexible adaptation to the host environment is a critical trait that underpins the success of numerous microbes. The polymorphic fungus Candida albicans has evolved to persist in the numerous challenging niches of the human body. The interaction of C. albicans with a mucosal surface is an essential prerequisite for fungal colonisation and epitomises the complex interface between microbe and host. C. albicans exhibits numerous adaptations to a healthy host that permit commensal colonisation of mucosal surfaces without provoking an overt immune response that may lead to clearance. Conversely, fungal adaptation to impaired immune fitness at mucosal surfaces enables pathogenic infiltration into underlying tissues, often with devastating consequences. This review will summarise our current understanding of the complex interactions that occur between C. albicans and the mucosal surfaces of the human body. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunology of Fungal Infections)
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Open AccessReview
The Contribution of Host Cells to Pneumocystis Immunity: An Update
Pathogens 2019, 8(2), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens8020052 - 19 Apr 2019
Abstract
Pneumocystis is a ubiquitous atypical fungus that is distributed globally. The genus comprises morphologically similar but genetically heterogeneous species that have co-evolved with specific mammalian hosts as obligate intra-pulmonary pathogens. In humans, Pneumocystis jirovecii is the causative organism of Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) in [...] Read more.
Pneumocystis is a ubiquitous atypical fungus that is distributed globally. The genus comprises morphologically similar but genetically heterogeneous species that have co-evolved with specific mammalian hosts as obligate intra-pulmonary pathogens. In humans, Pneumocystis jirovecii is the causative organism of Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) in immunocompromised individuals, a serious illness frequently leading to life-threatening respiratory failure. Initially observed in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients, PCP is increasingly observed in immunocompromised non-AIDS patients. The evolving epidemiology and persistently poor outcomes of this common infection will require new strategies for diagnosis and treatment. A deeper understanding of host immune responses and of the cells that mediate them will improve the chance of developing new treatment strategies. This brief review provides an update on recent studies on the role of host immunity against Pneumocystis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunology of Fungal Infections)
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Open AccessReview
The Hidden Cost of Modern Medical Interventions: How Medical Advances Have Shaped the Prevalence of Human Fungal Disease
Pathogens 2019, 8(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens8020045 - 04 Apr 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Life expectancy in the West is the highest it has ever been, due to the introduction of better hygiene practices and sophisticated medical interventions for cancer, autoimmunity and infectious disease. With these modern advances, a rise in the prevalence of opportunistic infections has [...] Read more.
Life expectancy in the West is the highest it has ever been, due to the introduction of better hygiene practices and sophisticated medical interventions for cancer, autoimmunity and infectious disease. With these modern advances, a rise in the prevalence of opportunistic infections has also been observed. These include several fungal infections, which present a particular clinical challenge due to the lack of fungal vaccines, limited diagnostics and increasing antifungal drug resistance. This mini-review outlines how modern-day clinical practices have shaped the recent increase in fungal diseases observed in the last few decades. We discuss new research that has implicated the use of immune-modulating drugs in the enhanced susceptibility of vulnerable patients to life-threatening fungal infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunology of Fungal Infections)
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Open AccessReview
Candida albicans at Host Barrier Sites: Pattern Recognition Receptors and Beyond
Pathogens 2019, 8(1), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens8010040 - 25 Mar 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Over the last decades, fungal infections have emerged as a growing threat to human health. Although the human body is at potential risk, various body sites host several commensal fungal species, including Candida albicans. In healthy individuals, C. albicans colonizes different mucosal [...] Read more.
Over the last decades, fungal infections have emerged as a growing threat to human health. Although the human body is at potential risk, various body sites host several commensal fungal species, including Candida albicans. In healthy individuals, C. albicans colonizes different mucosal surfaces without causing harm, while under diverse circumstances the fungus can proliferate and cause disease. In this context, the understanding of host–C. albicans interactions in health and during infection may lead to novel therapeutic approaches. Importantly, host cells express pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), which sense conserved fungal structures and orchestrate innate immune responses. Herein, important findings on the topic of the recognition of C. albicans at host barrier sites are discussed. This review briefly summarizes the importance and functions of myeloid PRRs, reviews the fungal recognition and biology of stromal cells, and highlights important C. albicans virulence attributes during site-specific proliferation and invasion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunology of Fungal Infections)

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Open AccessConference Report
Empowering Women: Moving from Awareness to Action at the Immunology of Fungal Infections Gordon Research Conference
Pathogens 2019, 8(3), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens8030103 - 17 Jul 2019
Abstract
Despite the high prevalence of women in graduate degree programs and equal or more women earning PhDs, MDs, and MD/PhDs, and despite efforts at individual and institutional levels to promote women in STEM fields, there remains a disparity in pay and academic advancement [...] Read more.
Despite the high prevalence of women in graduate degree programs and equal or more women earning PhDs, MDs, and MD/PhDs, and despite efforts at individual and institutional levels to promote women in STEM fields, there remains a disparity in pay and academic advancement of women. Likewise, there is a paucity of women in top scientific and academic leadership positions. The causes of this gender disparity are complex and multi-factorial and to date no “magic bullet” approach has been successful in changing the landscape for women in academic and scientific fields. In this report we detail our experiences with a novel mechanism for promoting discussion and raising awareness of the challenges of gender disparity in the sciences. The Gordon Research Conferences (GRC) launched the Power Hour at its meetings in 2016: a dedicated, scheduled session held during the scientific meeting to facilitate discussion of challenges specific to women in science. Here we share our experience with hosting the second Power Hour at the 2019 GRC Immunology of Fungal Infections (IFI) meeting held in Galveston, TX. We will discuss the overall structure, key discussion points, and feedback from participants with the aim of supporting future efforts to empower women and underrepresented minority groups in science. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunology of Fungal Infections)
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