Sensing the heat and the host: Virulence determinants of Histoplasma capsulatum
Beyhan S, Sil A
is a member of a group of fungal pathogens called thermally dimorphic fungi, all of which respond to mammalian body temperature by converting from an environmental mold form into a parasitic host form that causes disease. is a primary fungal pathogen, meaning it is able to cause disease in healthy individuals. We are beginning to understand how host temperature is utilized as a key signal to facilitate growth in the parasitic yeast form and promote production of virulence factors. In recent years, multiple regulators of morphology and virulence have been identified in . Mutations in these regulators render the pathogen unable to convert to the parasitic yeast form. Additionally, several virulence factors have been characterized for their importance in survival and pathogenesis. These virulence factors and regulators can serve as molecular handles for the development of effective drugs and therapeutics to counter infection.