Aspartic proteinases ofCandidaspp.: role in pathogenicity and antifungal resistance

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SummaryFungal infections represent a serious health risk as they are particularly prevalent in immunocompromised individuals. Candida spp. pathogenicity depends on several factors and secreted aspartic proteinases (Sap) are considered one of the most critical factors as they are associated with adhesion, invasion and tissue damage. The production of proteinases is encoded by a family of 10 genes known as SAP, which are distributed differently among the species. The expression of these genes may be influenced by environmental conditions, which generally result in a higher fungal invasive potential. Non-pathogenic Candida spp. usually have fewer SAP genes, which are not necessarily expressed in the genome. Exposure to subinhibitory concentrations of antifungal agents promotes the development of resistant strains with an increased expression of SAP genes. In general, Candida spp. isolates that are resistant to antifungals show a higher secretion of Sap than the susceptible isolates. The relationship between Sap secretion and the susceptibility profile of the isolates is of great interest, although the role of SAPs in the development of resistance to antifungal agents remains still unclear. This review is the first one to address these issues.

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