In the last decade, drug resistant invasive mycoses have become
significantly more common and new antifungal drugs and ways to specifically
deliver them to the fungal cell are being looked for. One of the biggest
obstacles in finding such comes from the fact that fungi share essential
metabolic pathways with humans. One significant difference in the metabolism
of those two cells that can be challenged when looking for possible selective
therapeutics is the uptake of zinc, a nutrient crucial for the fungal
survival and virulence.
This work summarizes the recent advances in the biological inorganic chemistry
of zinc metabolism in fungi. The regulation of zinc uptake, various types of its transmembrane
transport, storage and the maintenance of intracellular zinc homeostasis is discussed
in detail, with a special focus on the concept of a constant ‘tug of war’ over zinc between
the fungus and its host, with the host trying to withhold essential Zn(II), and the fungus
counteracting by producing high-affinity zinc binding molecules.