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The fungal cell wall as a target for antifungal therapies
EC contribution
: € 2.895.000
: 36 months
Starting date
: 01/01/2005
Funding scheme
: Specific Targeted Research Project
: fungi, mycosis, aspergillosis, candidiasis, antifungals, resistance, glucan, chitin, mannan, cell wall
Contract/Grant agreement number
: LSHB-CT-2004-511952
Project web-site
: -


Fungal pathogens represent the major eukaryotic agents of serious infection in European countries. Infections due to Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus are the most common and clinically important pathogens and were therefore the focus of this project. The repertoire of available antifungal chemotherapeutic agents is inadequate to treat life-threatening infections that are characterised by morbidities that exceed in Europe those due to most important parasitic, bacterial and viral diseases. Therefore there is an urgent need to generate new, efficacious, non-toxic compounds with broad-spectrum antifungal activity. The fungal wall is the skeleton and armour of the fungus but potentially also its Achilles heel since the major components are absent from mammals and can be specifically targeted with compounds that do not affect human metabolism. We have focused our programme on the core cell wall structure that is common to all fungal pathogens and is essential for their growth and viability. The enzymes and reactions associated with the synthesis and the remodelling of these major cell wall polysaccharides as well as the sensing mechanisms important in cell wall integrity and remoulding during morphogenetic processes will be investigated. The challenge for FUNGWALL was to investigate mechanisms of fungal cell wall synthesis in order to identify new antifungal targets to control human fungal infections in Europe.

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