Candida species are the major opportunistic human pathogens accounting for 70-90% of
all invasive fungal infections. Candida spp, especially C. albicans, are able to produce and secrete
hydrolytic enzymes, particularly aspartic proteases (Saps). These enzymes production is an evolutionary
adaptation of pathogens to utilize nutrients and survive in host. Sap1-10 are believed to contribute
to the adhesion and invasion of host tissues through the degradation of cell surface structures.
Aspartic proteases control several steps in innate immune evasion and they degrade proteins related to
immunological defense (antibodies, complement and cytokines), allowing the fungus to escape from
the first line of host defense. The existing ways to identify potential drug targets rely on specific subset
like virulence genes, transcriptional and stress response factors. Candida virulence factors like
Sap isoenzymes can be pivotal targets for drug development. The identification of mechanism of a
non-canonical inflammasome exerted by Saps could open novel therapeutic strategies to dampen hyperinflammatory
response in candidiasis.
Keywords: Candida, Sap1-10, inhibitors, pathogenesis, fungal infections, enzymes.
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