With the rise of fungal infection incidence amongst the patient population, the importance of developing new antifungal drug targets is higher than ever. This review mainly focuses on the three most prevalent fungal pathogens, Candida, Aspergillus and Cryptococcus, and on the most recent progresses in molecular research that contribute to a better understanding of the pathogen itself, but also its host and the interaction with its host. We consider the progress made in comparative genomics following the huge effort of fungal genome sequence projects undertaken in the last few years. We focus not only on currently used mammalian animal models such as mice, but also on novel non-mammalian models, such as the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, which offer useful tools in the area of the innate immune response to fungal infections. In addition we relate to the recent genomic and proteomic studies and focus on the use of these approaches in in vivo experiments in the pathogen itself as well as in the host. Finally, we describe the latest targeted mutagenesis strategy available in C. albicans and the use of RNA interference in both Cryptococcus neoformans and A. fumigatus. Our aim is not to give an exhaustive list of all new strategies but rather to give an overview of what will contribute most to the identification of new antifungal drug targets and the establishment of novel antifungal strategies.
Keywords: Fungal pathogens, proteomic, animal models, drug discovery, genomics
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