Identification of virulence determinants of the human pathogenic fungi Aspergillus fumigatus and Candida albicans by proteomics.
Both fungi Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus can cause a number of life-threatening systemic infections in humans. The commensal yeast C. albicans is one of the main causes of nosocomial fungal infectious diseases, whereas the filamentous fungus A. fumigatus has become one of the most prevalent airborne fungal pathogens. Early diagnosis of these fungal infections is challenging, only a limited number of antifungals for treatment are available, and the molecular details of pathogenicity are hardly understood. The completion of both the A. fumigatus and C. albicans genome sequence provides the opportunity to improve diagnosis, to define new drug targets, to understand the functions of many uncharacterised proteins, and to study protein regulation on a global scale. With the application of proteomic tools, particularly two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and LC/MS-based methods, a comprehensive overview about the proteins of A. fumigatus and C. albicans present or induced during environmental changes and stress conditions has been obtained in the past 5 years. However, for the discovery of further putative virulence determinants, more sensitive and targeted proteomic methods have to be applied. Here, we review the recent proteome data generated for A. fumigatus and C. albicans that are related to factors required for pathogenicity.