Several species in the genus Cryptococcus are facultative intracellular pathogens capable of causing disease associated with high mortality and morbidity in humans. These fungi interact with other organisms in the soil, and these interactions may contribute to the development of adaptation mechanisms that function in virulence by promoting fungal survival in animal hosts. Fungal adhesion molecules, also known as adhesins, have been classically considered as cell-surface or secreted proteins that play critical roles in microbial pathogenesis or in biofilm formation as structural components. Pathogenic Cryptococcus spp. differ from other pathogenic yeasts in having a polysaccharide capsule that covers the cell wall surface and precludes interactions of those structures with host cell receptors. Hence, pathogenic Cryptococcus spp. use unconventional tools for surface attachment. In this essay, we review the unique traits and mechanisms favoring adhesion of Cryptococcus spp. to biotic and abiotic surfaces. Knowledge of the traits that mediate adherence could be exploited in the development of therapeutic, biomedical, and/or industrial products.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science
- Microbiology (medical)