2012 Volume 88 Issue 6 Pages 250-265
This review describes recent findings based on structural and immunochemical analyses of the cell wall mannan of Candida albicans, and other medically important Candida species. Mannan has been shown to consist of α-1,2-, α-1,3-, α-1,6-, and β-1,2-linked mannopyranose units with few phosphate groups. Each Candida species has a unique mannan structure biosynthesized by sequential collaboration between species-specific mannosyltransferases. In particular, the β-1,2-linked mannose units have been shown to comprise a characteristic oligomannosyl side chain that is strongly antigenic. For these pathogenic Candida species, cell-surface mannan was also found to participate in the adhesion to the epithelial cells, recognition by innate immune receptors and development of pathogenicity. Therefore, clarification of the precise chemical structure of Candida mannan is indispensable for understanding the mechanism of pathogenicity, and for development of new antifungal drugs and immunotherapeutic procedures.
(Communicated by Takao SEKIYA, M.J.A.)