Host-pathogen interactions: Lessons from phagocytic predation on fungi.
Free living amoebae share striking similarities with innate immune cells in terms of cell morphology, motility and phagocytic processing of microbes. Their abilities to find, ingest and kill bacteria and fungi in their natural habitats have fostered the hypothesis that amoebae could have served as a training ground for environmentally acquired pathogens. What may have been more obvious for intracellular bacteria, becomes increasingly clear also for several fungal pathogens: a number of virulence determinants of human pathogenic fungi such as Cryptococcus neoformans or Aspergillus fumigatus are equally relevant to resist innate immune cells and environmental phagocytic predators. Here, we summarize the most recent experimental examples underlining the concept of amoeba models to study fungal pathogens.