Rocío García-Rodas, Radames J.B. Cordero and Oscar Zaragoza
from: Human Pathogenic Fungi: Molecular Biology and Pathogenic Mechanisms (Edited by: Derek J. Sullivan and Gary P. Moran). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2014)
Cryptococcus neoformans is a cosmopolitan pathogen of major concern among HIV-infected patients and has a significant incidence in developing countries. Cryptococcus neoformans blastoconidia or desiccated spores are inhaled and can cause pneumonia and meningitis in immunodeficient individuals, being fatal if not treated. Its sibling species Cryptococcus gattii is more restricted to tropical areas and infects mainly immunocompetent individuals. Cryptococcus interactions with the human host have been widely studied, in particular its capacity to modulate the immune response, replicate within macrophages, disseminate from the lungs to the central nervous system, and/or remain in a latent state for years. Our current understanding of the virulence determinants that facilitate Cryptococcus to cause infection, particularly its polysaccharide capsule and melanin accumulation, as well as other traits that confer adaptation to the host will be reviewed in this chapter read more ...