Adaptive immunity to fungi

Annu Rev Immunol. 2012;30:115-48. doi: 10.1146/annurev-immunol-020711-074958. Epub 2012 Jan 3.


Only a handful of the more than 100,000 fungal species on our planet cause disease in humans, yet the number of life-threatening fungal infections in patients has recently skyrocketed as a result of advances in medical care that often suppress immunity intensely. This emerging crisis has created pressing needs to clarify immune defense mechanisms against fungi, with the ultimate goal of therapeutic applications. Herein, we describe recent insights in understanding the mammalian immune defenses deployed against pathogenic fungi. The review focuses on adaptive immune responses to the major medically important fungi and emphasizes how dendritic cells and subsets in various anatomic compartments respond to fungi, recognize their molecular patterns, and signal responses that nurture and shape the differentiation of T cell subsets and B cells. Also emphasized is how the latter deploy effector and regulatory mechanisms that eliminate these nasty invaders while also constraining collateral damage to vital tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity*
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Chemokines / immunology
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Fungi / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunoglobulins / immunology
  • Mycoses / immunology*
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition / immunology
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition