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Learning objectives

  • Describe virulence factors unique to fungi and parasites
  • Compare virulence factors of fungi and bacteria
  • Explain the difference between protozoan parasites and helminths
  • Describe how helminths evade the host immune system

Although fungi and parasites are important pathogens causing infectious diseases, their pathogenic mechanisms and virulence factors are not as well characterized as those of bacteria. Despite the relative lack of detailed mechanisms, the stages of pathogenesis and general mechanisms of virulence involved in disease production by these pathogens are similar to those of bacteria.

Fungal virulence

Pathogenic fungi can produce virulence factors that are similar to the bacterial virulence factors that have been discussed earlier in this chapter. In this section, we will look at the virulence factors associated with species of Candida , Cryptococcus, Claviceps, and Aspergillus .

Candida albicans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen and causative agent of oral thrush, vaginal yeast infections, and cutaneous candidiasis. Candida produces adhesins (surface glycoproteins) that bind to the phospholipids of epithelial and endothelial cells. To assist in spread and tissue invasion, Candida produces proteases and phospholipases (i.e., exoenzymes). One of these proteases degrades keratin, a structural protein found on epithelial cells, enhancing the ability of the fungus to invade host tissue. In animal studies, it has been shown that the addition of a protease inhibitor led to attenuation of Candida infection. K. Fallon et al. “Role of Aspartic Proteases in Disseminated Candida albicans Infection in Mice.” Infection and Immunity 65 no. 2 (1997):551–556. Similarly, the phospholipases can affect the integrity of host cell membranes to facilitate invasion.

The main virulence factor for Cryptococcus , a fungus that causes pneumonia and meningitis, is capsule production. The polysaccharide glucuronoxylomannan is the principal constituent of the Cryptococcus capsule. Similar to encapsulated bacterial cells, encapsulated Cryptococcus cells are more resistant to phagocytosis than nonencapsulated Cryptococcus , which are effectively phagocytosed and, therefore, less virulent.

Like some bacteria, many fungi produce exotoxins. Fungal toxins are called mycotoxin s . Claviceps purpurea , a fungus that grows on rye and related grains, produces a mycotoxin called ergot toxin, an alkaloid responsible for the disease known as ergotism . There are two forms of ergotism: gangrenous and convulsive. In gangrenous ergotism , the ergot toxin causes vasoconstriction, resulting in improper blood flow to the extremities, eventually leading to gangrene. A famous outbreak of gangrenous ergotism occurred in Eastern Europe during the 5th century AD due to the consumption of rye contaminated with C. purpurea . In convulsive ergotism , the toxin targets the central nervous system, causing mania and hallucinations.

The mycotoxin aflatoxin is a virulence factor produced by the fungus Aspergillus , an opportunistic pathogen that can enter the body via contaminated food or by inhalation. Inhalation of the fungus can lead to the chronic pulmonary disease aspergillosis , characterized by fever, bloody sputum, and/or asthma. Aflatoxin acts in the host as both a mutagen (a substance that causes mutations in DNA) and a carcinogen (a substance involved in causing cancer), and has been associated with the development of liver cancer . Aflatoxin has also been shown to cross the blood-placental barrier. C.P. Wild et al. “In-utero exposure to aflatoxin in west Africa.” Lancet 337 no. 8757 (1991):1602. A second mycotoxin produced by Aspergillus is gliotoxin . This toxin promotes virulence by inducing host cells to self-destruct and by evading the host’s immune response by inhibiting the function of phagocytic cells as well as the pro-inflammatory response. Like Candida , Aspergillus also produces several proteases. One is elastase , which breaks down the protein elastin found in the connective tissue of the lung, leading to the development of lung disease. Another is catalase , an enzyme that protects the fungus from hydrogen peroxide produced by the immune system to destroy pathogens.

Questions & Answers

what is prokaryotes
PRALHAD Reply
are micro-organisms that have no nucleus e.g bacteria
Foster
and they do not possess membrane bound organelles e.g mitochondria
Bharat
yes
Foster
they are single cellular organisms,
Rajasekhar
all the organelles are embedded in cytoplasm of the cell
Rajasekhar
They don't possess true nucleus
PREMI
they're unicellular organisms
Kamaluddeen
they are classified as bacteria and. archaea. bacteria have a cell membrane conposed of peptidoglycan and archaea is composed of psuedomu
Tara
pseudomurein
Tara
organelles are non membraneous as the nucleus
Tara
What is the biosynthesis of a bacteria cell
Adesina Reply
biosynthesis is multiple step enzymes catalyze process which occur in bacterial cell
Jayeeta
biological way of manufacturing food and utilizes it for growth, multiplication and development
Kamaluddeen
prokaryot
PRALHAD
what is microbiology
Kiirya Reply
which organism can not be seen necked eyes is knowm as microbiology
meet
microorganisms
Jayeeta
micro can be define as d smallest living organisms dat can not be see wit naked eyes only with the aid of a microscope 🔬
muhammed
bio means life logy means study
muhammed
biology can b define as the systematic study of living things
muhammed
microbiology can be define as the study of tiny organisms, that's according to my understanding
muhammed
Microbiology is the study of living organisms which cannot be seen by the naked eye but only with the aid of a microscope. These microorganisms can be classified as bacteria, fungi, micro-algae, protozoa and virus.
Tatz
microbes that can't seen in naked eyes. upto 100micrometer we can see in naked eyes but 1 microns or nanometers are invisible in naked eye.
Jayeeta
what is a cell
Oteri Reply
cell can be define as smallest indivisible organism in the body
muhammed
cell is the smallest unit which makes up the whole body
Yue
cell is smallest unit and there are two types prokaryotic cell and eukaryote cell. bacteria a prokaryotic cell which works independently.
Jayeeta
nice forum
muhammed
Which parasite competes with the host for vitamin B12 to cause pernicious anaemia
Abubakar
Diphyllobothrium latum for vit B12
Jayeeta
it is also fish tapeworm
Jayeeta
Diphyllobothrium sp feed vitB 12
Jayeeta
recent trends in microbiology of biofertilizer
Ykomalipriya Reply
using nano technology
Jayeeta
what is transposors
EMMANUEL Reply
Junk DNA, jumping gene.
Pradeep
transposon elements are jumping gene as DNA sequence move from one location to anothet
Jayeeta
Yes
Pradeep
what is microbiology
Usama Reply
Microbiology is the study of organisms, most of which are too small to be seen with the naked eye, including bacteria, algae, protozoa, and fungi, as well as acellular agents, such as viruses and prions.
digvijaya
what is gram +ve and gram - ve bacteria?
Sharma
gm- contain lipid layer so it take counter stain during gram staining and pink or red in color but gm + does have thick LPS layer.
Jayeeta
what year microbiology started
Kartik
Robert Koch was the first to detect microorganisms
Jayeeta
what appears microorganisms
Kartik
clear the questions please
Jayeeta
was it robert koch or robert hooke?
digvijaya
microbiology word came from microns. study microbes that not recognize in naked eyes.
Jayeeta
what are the branch of microbiology
Oyemade Reply
We can basically classify into pure and applied microbiology
Ozzie
what is arabinose operon and it's stucture
Pooja Reply
The L-arabinose operon, also called the ara or araBAD operon, is an operon required for the breakdown of the five-carbon sugar, L-arabinose, in Escherichia coli
Tharra
kya hum operon ko divide kar skate hain
Kartik
reactions if viruses to physical and chemical agents?
VICTOR Reply
All viruses contain the following two components: 1) a nucleic acid genome and 2) a protein capsid that covers the genome. Together this is called the nucleocapsid. In addition, many animal viruses contain a 3) lipid envelope. The entire intact virus is called the virion.
Asali
assume you have performed a gram stain on a sample of pus from a patients urethra. you see red, nucleated cells and purple rods. what can you conclude
Petty Reply
bacteria
ABUBAKAR
gram negative bacteria hence gonococcal infection
Kiirya
Study of micro organisation which we cannot see with naked eye...
shyam Reply
Despite their bad reputation, microbes are mostly beneficial or have a neutral effect on our lives. Microbiology is the scientific study of these microorganisms. Microorganisms are those organisms that are too small to see with the naked eye and include things like bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Asali
yes
Dhirender
not 'things'...'organisms' like bacterias, viruses and fungi
Sinmi
simi, it's not bacterias but bacteria which is the plural form of the word while bacterium is the singular of it
Richard
bacterium is obvio in a singular form but plural of bacterium is bacterias
Sinmi
Richard is right it's bacterium which is the singular form and plural is bacteria. *Bacterias* doesn't exist.
Aakriti
that is microbiology which is deals with microbes only their structure
Kiirya
what is microbiology?
Sandeep Reply
what is microbiology
Glory
is the study of small microorganisms that can't be viewed by our naked eyes under a microscope
Nabukwasi
it's the study of microbes their classification, diversity, their cellular structure and processes, their applications and interaction with other organisms.
Chaitanya
what is EMP pathway
rajesh
which organism is implicated in meningoencephalitis
Peter Reply
Herpes virus
Carlos
Yeah
Laxmi
which mold is called dairy mold?
Gopinath
mushroomm
Top
Geotrichum candidum
Gopinath
hi
bio
Hlw
Laxmi
which infectious agent is the smallest
Sinmi
spore or virus
Anushree
prion ....it is a single protein in a misfolded form..there is also a theory based on it
Sinmi
yup...m sry
Anushree
yes it can be turned as a virus
Sinmi
which gram positive bacteria is responsible for food poisoning?
Sinmi
prion is not a living organism yet it is infectoois why
Jeevan
prions are virus like organism. and it is a misfolded protein that may cause disease to us.
Tharra
Clostridium perfringens, B.cereus
Sneha
Who is the father of the biology
Dhirender
I have one more question. . that who is the father of botany and medicine? ? can any one tell
Dhirender
define polar bond in simple way
Rashmi Reply
when there is formation of positive and negative poles i.e. one atom is +ve and other is -ve which further results in the dipole moment. Such bond is know as polar bond. It is a convalent bond only.
Aakriti
Practice MCQ 2

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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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