Origins of variation in the fungal cell surface.
Verstrepen KJ, Reynolds TB, Fink GR
Nature Reviews in Microbiology (2004)
Category: epigenetics, flocculation, yeast pathogens ¤ Added: Jul 02, 2004 ¤ Rating: ◊◊
The increase in hospital-acquired fungal infections has been attributed to the ability of fungi to adhere not only to human tissues, but also to the plastic prostheses and invasive devices that are used to treat disease. These properties are conferred by a family of fungal cell-surface proteins, called adhesins. Adhesins might also have a central role in the formation of fungal biofilms, which are resistant to antimicrobial drugs. The structure of the genes that encode adhesin-family members, and the sequence homology between them, enables genetic reshuffling of domains to form new genes. Coupled with epigenetic changes in gene expression, these genetic rearrangements provide a reservoir of cell-surface molecules with new functions.