Emerging Prospects for Combating Fungal Infections by Targeting Phosphatidylinositol Transfer Proteins

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jun 23;22(13):6754. doi: 10.3390/ijms22136754.


The emergence of fungal "superbugs" resistant to the limited cohort of anti-fungal agents available to clinicians is eroding our ability to effectively treat infections by these virulent pathogens. As the threat of fungal infection is escalating worldwide, this dwindling response capacity is fueling concerns of impending global health emergencies. These developments underscore the urgent need for new classes of anti-fungal drugs and, therefore, the identification of new targets. Phosphoinositide signaling does not immediately appear to offer attractive targets due to its evolutionary conservation across the Eukaryota. However, recent evidence argues otherwise. Herein, we discuss the evidence identifying Sec14-like phosphatidylinositol transfer proteins (PITPs) as unexplored portals through which phosphoinositide signaling in virulent fungi can be chemically disrupted with exquisite selectivity. Recent identification of lead compounds that target fungal Sec14 proteins, derived from several distinct chemical scaffolds, reveals exciting inroads into the rational design of next generation Sec14 inhibitors. Development of appropriately refined next generation Sec14-directed inhibitors promises to expand the chemical weaponry available for deployment in the shifting field of engagement between fungal pathogens and their human hosts.

PMID:34201733 | DOI:10.3390/ijms22136754