Copper at the Fungal Pathogen-Host Axis [Microbiology]

June 8th, 2015 by Garcia-Santamarina, S., Thiele, D. J.

Fungal infections are responsible for millions of human deaths annually. Copper, an essential but toxic trace element, plays an important role at the host-pathogen axis during infection. In this Review, we describe how the host uses either Cu compartmentalization within innate immune cells or Cu sequestration in other infected host niches such as in the brain, to combat fungal infections. We explore Cu toxicity mechanisms and the Cu homeostasis machinery that fungal pathogens bring into play to succeed in establishing an infection. Finally, we address recent approaches that manipulate Cu-dependent processes at the host-pathogen axis for antifungal drug development.