Fungal Sphingolipids as Targets for the Development of Selective Antifungal Therapeutics
K. Thevissen, I.E. J.A. Francois, A. M. Aerts and B. P.A. Cammue
Affiliation: Centre of Microbial and Plant Genetics (CMPG), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg20, B-3001 Heverlee, Belgium.
Sphingolipids are essential membrane components, present in all eukaryotic cells, but structurally distinct in mammalian and fungal cells. Therefore, they represent an attractive new target for the development of novel antimycotics. This review will briefly highlight sphingolipid biosynthesis and functions in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In addition, naturally occurring antifungal compounds that interact with fungal-specific sphingolipids, resulting in fungal growth arrest, will be discussed regarding their mode of action, and therapeutic value. These compounds include plant and insect defensins, syringomycin E and antifungal antibodies to sphingolipids.
Keywords: mode of action, sphingolipid, defensin, syringomycin E, anti-GlcCer antibody, antifungal
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