Fungal peptide toxins in pathogenicity and immunity


  • Prof Julian Naglik

    King's College London

Project summary

Fungal infections affect a quarter of the world’s population and kill about 1.5 million people each year, which is more than those killed by malaria or breast cancer. Despite these alarmingly high figures, it is still largely unknown how fungi cause these infections or how they cause death. One of the most important fungi is Candida albicans, which causes millions of life-threatening skin and mucosal infections each year.  

We recently discovered that C. albicans produces a toxin that damages the host and induces immune responses. This is a breakthrough in our understanding of fungal disease, as human disease-causing fungi were not known to possess toxins. We have now identified a multitude of new toxins produced by other disease-causing fungi. We will determine how these toxins contribute to fungal disease and induce immune responses.

Our findings will help identify new treatment options for fungal disease.