Functional duality of the cell wall

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2014 Aug;20:111-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2014.05.009. Epub 2014 Jun 14.


The polysaccharide cell wall is the extracellular armour of the fungal cell. Although essential in the protection of the fungal cell against aggressive external stresses, the biosynthesis of the polysaccharide core is poorly understood. For a long time it was considered that this cell wall skeleton was a fixed structure whose role was only to be sensed as non-self by the host and consequently trigger the defence response. It is now known that the cell wall polysaccharide composition and localization continuously change to adapt to their environment and that these modifications help the fungus to escape from the immune system. Moreover, cell wall polysaccharides could function as true virulence factors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antigenic Variation
  • Antigens, Fungal / immunology
  • Cell Wall / immunology
  • Cell Wall / physiology*
  • Fungi / immunology
  • Fungi / pathogenicity
  • Fungi / physiology*
  • Polysaccharides / immunology
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism
  • Virulence Factors / metabolism


  • Antigens, Fungal
  • Polysaccharides
  • Virulence Factors