Mucocutaneous fungal infections are typically found in patients who have no known immune defects. We describe a family in which four women who were affected by either recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis or onychomycosis had the early-stop-codon mutation Tyr238X in the beta-glucan receptor dectin-1. The mutated form of dectin-1 was poorly expressed, did not mediate beta-glucan binding, and led to defective production of cytokines (interleukin-17, tumor necrosis factor, and interleukin-6) after stimulation with beta-glucan or Candida albicans. In contrast, fungal phagocytosis and fungal killing were normal in the patients, explaining why dectin-1 deficiency was not associated with invasive fungal infections and highlighting the specific role of dectin-1 in human mucosal antifungal defense.
2009 Massachusetts Medical Society