The cell wall: a carbohydrate armour for the fungal cell

Mol Microbiol. 2007 Oct;66(2):279-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2007.05872.x. Epub 2007 Sep 14.


The cell wall is composed of a polysaccharide-based three-dimensional network. Considered for a long time as an inert exoskeleton, the cell wall is now seen as a dynamic structure that is continuously changing as a result of the modification of culture conditions and environmental stresses. Although the cell wall composition varies among fungal species, chemogenomic comparative analysis have led to a better understanding of the genes and mechanisms involved in the construction of the common central core composed of branched beta1,3 glucan-chitin. Because of its essential biological role, unique biochemistry and structural organization and the absence in mammalian cells of most of its constitutive components, the cell wall is an attractive target for the development of new antifungal agents. Genomic as well as drug studies have shown that the death of the fungus can result from inhibition of cell wall polysaccharide synthases. To date, only beta1,3 glucan synthase inhibitors have been launched clinically and many more targets remain to be explored.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology
  • Cell Wall / chemistry
  • Cell Wall / metabolism*
  • Chitin / chemistry
  • Chitin / metabolism
  • Fungi / drug effects
  • Fungi / genetics
  • Fungi / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal / drug effects
  • Glucans / chemistry
  • Glucans / metabolism
  • Models, Biological


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Glucans
  • Chitin