Fungal Biology and Pathogenicity

Fungal Biology and Pathogenicity - INRA USC 2019

Group Leader: Christophe d'Enfert

The Fungal Biology and Pathogenicity Unit at Institut Pasteur studies human fungal pathogens with the aim to reach a better understanding of their virulence and to propose novel therapeutic strategies.

Candida albicans - fluorescence microscopy

During the last two decades, fungi have become a major threat in the field of infectious diseases. The increased incidence of fungal infections is largely due to the rapidly increasing number of immuno-compromised patients that are highly susceptible to them. The frequency of fungal infections is indeed correlated with the severity and length of the immuno-suppressive regimen and with the number of invasive procedures. Disseminated fungal infections in the hospital setting are not rare any more (approx. 200,000 cases/year in developed countries) and are associated with a high mortality rate (> 40%). These infections are mainly due to species of the Candida genus, in particular Candida albicans, a commensal yeast of the gastro-intestinal and genito-urinary tracts, that is responsible for the majority of candidemia.

In this context, we have developed several lines of research :

  • The study of the Candida albicans genome along with the development of post-genomics tools (the <a href
  • The characterization of molecular mechanisms necessary for biofilm formation by Candida albicans and their relationship with the fungus morphogenesis and ability to colonize mucosa.
  • The characterization of Candida albicans populations through molecular epidemiology with the aim to decipher the mechanisms underlying genome and virulence evolution.

The Fungal Biology and Pathogenicity Unit was started in October 2003.

13 people are currently part of the unit:

- 4 staff scientists,
- 1 technician,
- 7 PhD students and post-doctoral fellows and a part-time assistant.

Finally, the Fungal Biology and Pathogenicity Unit is involved in different collaborations, in particular the Marie Curie Research and Training Network FINSysB.