Human fungal infections: Emerging role of small non-coding RNAs as modulators of host-pathogen interactions

Ana Lücia Leitão, Marina C. Costa, Francisco J. Enguita

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Fungal infections are an increasing health problem. The intrinsic variability and complexity of pathogenic fungi and the unmet clinical need for new and more effective treatments requires a detailed knowledge of the physiology and molecular determinants of fungal infections. Pathogenic fungi are able to produce modulatory non-coding RNAs by using specific biosynthetic machinery that regulate several cellular processes as morphological differentiation or stress response. Small non-coding RNAs (sncRNAs) are key players in the regulation of fungal cell metabolism. They are typically generated from repetitive genome regions, genes encoding ribosomal RNA or DNA damaged loci, but they can be also produced from specific transcripts that resemble the animal and plant miRNAs. The importance of these tiny regulators in the host-pathogen interaction is starting to be unveiled, but the already acquired evidences showed a relevant role of sncRNAs in fungal biology, including the regulation of cell morphogenesis and phase transition, control of genome stability and even epigenetic mechanisms triggering resistance to antifungal, agents. Interestingly, there is a transcriptomic cross-talk between the pathogen and host, demonstrated by a specific transcriptional program triggered in the host-cell by the presence of the pathogenic agent.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNon-coding RNAs and Inter-kingdom Communication
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783319394961
ISBN (Print)9783319394947
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


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