Exploring and exploiting the connection between mitochondria and the virulence of human pathogenic fungi.
Mitochondria are best known for their role in the production of ATP; however, recent research implicates other mitochondrial functions in the virulence of human pathogenic fungi. Inhibitors of mitochondrial succinate dehydrogenase or the electron transport chain are successfully used to combat plant pathogenic fungi, but similar inhibition of mitochondrial functions has not been pursued for applications in medical mycology. Advances in understanding mitochondrial function relevant to human pathogenic fungi are in four major directions: 1) the role of mitochondrial morphology in virulence, 2) mitochondrial genetics, with a focus on mitochondrial DNA recombination and mitochondrial inheritance 3) the role of mitochondria in drug resistance, and 4) the interaction of mitochondria with other organelles. Collectively, despite the similarities in mitochondrial functions between fungi and animals, this organelle is currently an under-explored potential target to treat medical mycoses. Future research could define and then exploit those mitochondrial components best suited as drug targets. KEYWORDS: Aspergillus fumigatus; Candida; Cryptococcus; azole antifungal; heme; iron; mitochondria; pathogenicity; recombination
Virulence. 2018 Jan 1;9(1):426-446. doi: 10.1080/21505594.2017.1414133.