Post-transcriptional control of fungal cell wall synthesis

Hall RA, Wallace EWJ, The Cell Surface (2022).


Pathogenic fungi hide from their hosts by camouflage, obscuring immunogenic cell wall components such as beta-glucan with innocuous coverings such as mannoproteins and alpha-glucan that are less readily recognised by the host. Attempts to understand how such processes are regulated have met with varying success. Typically studies focus on understanding the transcriptional response of fungi to either their reservoir environment or the host. However, such approaches do not fully address this research question, due to the layers of post-transcriptional and post-translational regulation that occur within a cell. Although in animals the impact of post-transcriptional and post-translational regulation has been well characterised, our knowledge of these processes in the fungal kingdom is more limited. Mutations in RNA-binding proteins, like Ssd1 and Candida albicans Slr1, affect cell wall composition and fungal virulence indicating that post-transcriptional regulation plays a key role in these processes. Here, we review the current state of knowledge of fungal post-transcriptional regulation, and link this to potential mechanisms of immune evasion by drawing on studies from model yeast and plant pathogenic fungi. We highlight several RNA-binding proteins that regulate cell wall synthesis and could be involved in local translation of cell wall components. Expanding our knowledge on post-transcriptional regulation in human fungal pathogens is essential to fully comprehend fungal virulence strategies and for the design of novel antifungal therapies.