Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 7-30-2015


Candida albicans, Cell signaling, Fungi, Catabolism, Fungal pathogens, Virulence factors, Chitin, Peptidoglycans


There is growing evidence that the sugar N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) plays diverse roles in cell signaling pathways that impact the virulence properties of microbes and host cells. GlcNAc is already well known as a ubiquitous structural component at the cell surface that forms part of bacterial cell wall peptidoglycan, cell wall chitin in fungi and parasites, and extracellular matrix glycosaminoglycans of animal cells. Chitin and peptidoglycan have been previously linked to cell signaling as they can stimulate responses in plant and animal host cells [13]. Recent studies now indicate that GlcNAc released from these polymers can also activate cell signaling via several different mechanisms [46]. The role of these new GlcNAc signaling pathways in the regulation of virulence factors will be the focus of this review.


Published PLoS Pathog 11(7): e1004947. doi:

Funding: Research in our lab is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health awarded to James B. Konopka. R21DE025200 RO1AI47837 The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.



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