Small molecule based anti-virulence approaches against Candida albicans infections

Crit Rev Microbiol. 2022 Nov;48(6):743-769. doi: 10.1080/1040841X.2021.2025337. Epub 2022 Mar 2.


Fungi are considered "silent killers" due to the difficulty of, and delays in diagnosis of infections and lack of effective antifungals. This challenge is compounded by the fact that being eukaryotes, fungi share several similarities with human cellular targets, creating obstacles to drug discovery. Candida albicans, a ubiquitous microbe in the human body is well-known for its role as an opportunistic pathogen in immunosuppressed people. Significantly, C. albicans is resistant to all the three classes of antifungals that are currently clinically available. Over the past few years, a paradigm shift has been recommended in the management of C. albicans infections, wherein anti-virulence strategies are considered an alternative to the discovery of new antimycotics. Small molecules, with a molecular weight <900 Daltons, can easily permeate the cell membrane and modulate the signal transduction pathways to elicit desired virulence inhibitory actions against pathogens. This review dissects in-depth, the discoveries that have been made with small-molecule anti-virulence approaches to tackle C. albicans infections.

Keywords: Candida albicans; drug discovery; high-throughput screen; repurposing; small molecule.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Candida albicans*
  • Candidiasis* / drug therapy
  • Candidiasis* / microbiology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Humans
  • Virulence


  • Antifungal Agents