Cryptococcus neoformans: virulence and host defences

Med Mycol. 1998;36 Suppl 1:79-86.


Cryptococcus neoformans represents a model organism for the study of virulence and the host response. In this discussion, there is a focus on the genetic, molecular, and biochemical aspects of C. neoformans as it interacts with the host. Investigations into direct and indirect virulence phenotypes are now possible. The molecular aspects of two major virulence factors, capsule and melanin, are characterized. Yeast polyol metabolism through mannitol is examined as a potential biochemical pathway for virulence. The concept of C. neoformans differentially expressed genes within the host or in response to certain environmental cues can be used indirectly to identify potential virulence genes. However, despite significant progress in molecular pathogenesis with C. neoformans, the future of research in this area will require a certain critical mass of investigators to help share in the developmental costs which continue to occur.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cryptococcosis / microbiology*
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / genetics
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / metabolism
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / pathogenicity*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Humans
  • Melanins / genetics
  • Melanins / metabolism
  • Polysaccharides / genetics
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism
  • Virulence / genetics


  • Melanins
  • Polysaccharides