Vertebrate endothermy restricts most fungi as potential pathogens

Vincent A. Robert, Arturo Casadevall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The paucity of fungal diseases in mammals relative to insects, amphibians, and plants is puzzling.We analyzed the thermal tolerance of 4802 fungal strains from 144 genera and found that most cannot grow at mammalian temperatures. Fungi from insects and mammals had greater thermal tolerances than did isolates from soils and plants. Every 1°C increase in the 30°C-40°C range excluded an additional 6% of fungal isolates, implying that fever could significantly increase the thermal exclusion zone. Mammalian endothermy and homeothermy are potent nonspecific defenses against most fungi that could have provided a strong evolutionary survival advantage against fungal diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1623-1626
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases

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