Targeting intrinsic cell death pathways to control fungal pathogens

Madhura Kulkarni, Zachary D. Stolp, J. Marie Hardwick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Fungal pathogens pose an increasing threat to public health. Limited clinical drug regimens and emerging drug-resistant isolates challenge infection control. The global burden of human fungal pathogens is estimated at 1 billion infections and 1.5 million deaths annually. In addition, plant fungal pathogens increasingly threaten global food resources. Novel strategies are needed to combat emerging fungal diseases and pan-resistant fungi. An untapped mechanistically novel approach is to pharmacologically activate the intrinsic cell death pathways encoded by pathogenic fungi. This strategy is analogous to new anti-cancer therapeutics now entering the clinic. Here we summarize the best understood examples of cell death mechanisms encoded by pathogenic fungi, contrast these to mammalian cell death pathways, and highlight the gaps in knowledge towards identifying potential death effectors as druggable targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-78
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Apoptosis
  • Cell death
  • Fungi
  • Necrosis
  • Pathogen
  • Yeast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology

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