Using non-mammalian hosts to study fungal virulence and host defense

Beth Burgwyn Fuchs, Eleftherios Mylonakis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


Non-mammalian hosts have been used to study host-fungal interactions. Hosts such as Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans, Acathamoeba castellanii, Dictyostelium discoideum, and Galleria mellonella have provided means to examine the physical barriers, cellular mechanisms and molecular elements of the host response. The Drosophila host-response to fungi is mediated through the Toll pathway, whereas in C. elegans the host-response is TIR-1-dependent. Virulence traits that are involved in mammalian infection are important for the interaction of fungi with these hosts. Screening of fungal virulence traits using mutagenized fungi to determine changes in fungal infectivity of non-mammalian hosts has been used to identify novel virulence proteins used to infect C. elegans such as Kin1 (a serine/threonine protein kinase) and Rom2 (a Rho1 guanyl-nucleotide exchange factor) from Cryptococcus neoformans. These heterologous non-mammalian hosts highlight the similarities and differences between different hosts in fungal pathogenesis and they complement studies in mammalian systems and those using other genetic approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)346-351
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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