School of Health Sciences
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
C. neoformans, capsule, meningoencephalitis
Biochemistry | Fungi | Infectious Disease | Molecular Biology
Weigner, Mara, "The Essential Role of Carbon Metabolism in the Virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans" (2019). Senior Honors Theses. 925.
Cryptococcus neoformans infections are a major cause of meningoencephalitis in immunosuppressed patients worldwide. Inhaled as spores or desiccated yeast cells, C. neoformans can undergo metabolic changes in response to the new host environment that allow it to cross the blood brain barrier and cause deadly central nervous system (CNS) infections. Nutrient acquisition, and specifically carbon metabolism, is critical for survival and proliferation within the host. Notably, efficient carbon metabolism is necessary to produce the polysaccharide capsule, which is arguably C. neoformans’ most important and well-studied virulence factor. As such, a better understanding of carbon acquisition and regulation is essential for the development of new targeted drug therapies to combat this deadly fungus.