Pathogenicity patterns of mucormycosis: Epidemiology, interaction with immune cells and virulence factors.
Fungi of the basal lineage order Mucorales are able to cause infections in animals and humans. Mucormycosis is a well-known, life-threatening disease especially in patients with a compromised immune system. The rate of mortality and morbidity caused by mucormycosis has increased rapidly during the last decades, especially in developing countries. The systematic, phylogenetic, and epidemiological distributions of mucoralean fungi are addressed in relation to infection in immunocompromised patients. The review highlights the current achievements in (i) diagnostics and management of mucormycosis, (ii) the study of the interaction of Mucorales with cells of the innate immune system, (iii) the assessment of the virulence of Mucorales in vertebrate and invertebrate infection models, and (iv) the determination of virulence factors that are key players in the infection process, for example, high-affinity iron permease (FTR1), spore coat protein (CotH), alkaline Rhizopus protease enzyme (ARP), ADP-ribosylation factor (ARF), dihydrolipoyl dehydrogenase, calcineurin (CaN), serine and aspartate proteases (SAPs). The present mini-review attempts to increase the awareness of these difficult-to-manage fungal infections and to encourage research in the detection of ligands and receptors as potential diagnostic parameters and drug targets.