Role of amino acid metabolism in the virulence of human pathogenic fungi.
Purpose of the ReviewThe success ofCandida albicans,Aspergillus fumigatus, andCryptococcus neoformansas fungalpathogens depends on their rapid adaptation to host microenvironments, through metabolic remodeling, stress resistance, andexpression of virulence determinants. Amino acids represent an abundant nitrogen and carbon source within the host; however,their acquisition by fungi is a very complex process that interconnects several sensory and uptake systems and downstreampathways. In this review, we will summarize the current knowledge concerning this topic, identify gaps or discrepancies, anddiscuss future research directions.Recent FindingsAside from supporting basic cellular functions, the utilization of many amino acids has a direct effect on fungalpathogenicity by triggering key virulence traits, including hyphal morphogenesis and biofilm growth inC. albicans,capsuleformation inC. neoformans, and melanization inA. fumigatus.SummaryAlthough many components of amino acid sensing and metabolism are fungal specific, their importance in infectionand potential as candidates for antifungal drug development require further investigation.