Sphingolipid Signaling in Fungal Pathogens

  • Ryan Rhome
  • Maurizio Del Poeta
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 688)


Sphingolipid involvement in infectious disease is a new and exciting branch of research. Various microbial pathogens have been shown to synthesize their own sphingolipids and some have evolved methods to “hijack” host sphingolipids for their own use. For instance, Sphingomonas species are bacterial pathogens that lack the lipopolysaccharide component typical but instead contain glycosphingolipids (Kawahara 1991, 2006). In terms of sphingolipid signaling and function, perhaps the best-studied group of microbes is the pathogenic fungi.

Pathogenic fungi still represent significant problems in human disease, despite treatments that have been used for decades. Because fungi are eukaryotic, drug targets in fungi can have many similarities to mammalian processes. This often leads to significant side effects of antifungal drugs that can be dose limiting in many patient populations. The search for fungal?specific drugs and the need for better understanding of cellular processes of pathogenic fungi has led to a large body of research on fungal signaling. One particularly interesting and rapidly growing field in this research is the involvement of fungal sphingolipid pathways in signaling and virulence. In this chapter, the research relating to sphingolipid signaling pathogenic fungi will be reviewed and summarized, in addition to highlighting pathways that show promise for future research.


Cryptococcus Neoformans ATF2 Transcription Factor Ulatory Molecule Sphingolipid Signaling Inositol Phosphos 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyMedical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA

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