Histoplasma capsulatum and its Virulence Determinants

Author(s): Amalia Porta, Elena Calabrese, Ilaria Granata and Bruno Maresca

Pp: 46-57 (12)

DOI: 10.2174/978160805364311201010046

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


The pathologist Samuel Taylor Darling discovered in 1905 a new disease caused by a previously not described microrganism that he named Histoplasma capsulatum based on an archaic term for macrophages (Histo), its resemblance to protozoan parasites (plasma), and the apparent presence of a surrounding capsule (capsulatum). However, it turned out that it was a fungus and not encapsulated. In the last few decades, fungal infections have become more widespread due to the AIDS epidemic end to the increase in immune compromised state of patients under chemotherapic treatment, extensive use of antibiotics and organ transplants. In parallel with the developments of molecular biology tools, our knowledge of the mechanism of virulence and host-parasite interactions have also increased significantly. This chapter will highlight the major findings in these areas of investigation focusing on the biology of the virulence determinants of H.capsulatum.

Keywords: Histoplasma, samuel taylor daring, virulence, phagocytic cells, conidia, yeast, hyphae, cell wall, chitin, glucan, lectin, integrin

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