Turning Up the Heat on Histoplasma capsulatum

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Science  17 Nov 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5495, pp. 1311-1312
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5495.1311

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Many fungal pathogens are opportunistic, that is, they infect individuals who have a compromised immune system. Histoplasma capsulatum is a common pathogenic fungus that lives happily inside the phagosomes of macrophages. As Klein explains in his Perspective, an important H. capsulatum virulence factor, CBP1, has been found, which mops up free calcium ions within the phagosome, enabling the yeast to live under calcium-poor conditions ( Sebhgati et al.). Chelating calcium ions may also have the added benefit that when the phagosome fuses with the lysosome, destructive lysosomal enzymes that require calcium ions for activity remain inactive.