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      Antifungal agents: mechanisms of action

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      Trends in Microbiology

      Elsevier BV

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          Abstract

          Clinical needs for novel antifungal agents have altered steadily with the rise and fall of AIDS-related mycoses, and the change in spectrum of fatal disseminated fungal infections that has accompanied changes in therapeutic immunosuppressive therapies. The search for new molecular targets for antifungals has generated considerable research using modern genomic approaches, so far without generating new agents for clinical use. Meanwhile, six new antifungal agents have just reached, or are approaching, the clinic. Three are new triazoles, with extremely broad antifungal spectra, and three are echinocandins, which inhibit synthesis of fungal cell wall polysaccharides--a new mode of action. In addition, the sordarins represent a novel class of agents that inhibit fungal protein synthesis. This review describes the targets and mechanisms of action of all classes of antifungal agents in clinical use or with clinical potential.

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          Most cited references 21

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          Nosocomial bloodstream infections in United States hospitals: a three-year analysis.

          Nosocomial bloodstream infections are important causes of morbidity and mortality. In this study, concurrent surveillance for nosocomial bloodstream infections at 49 hospitals over a 3-year period detected >10,000 infections. Gram-positive organisms accounted for 64% of cases, gram-negative organisms accounted for 27%, and 8% were caused by fungi. The most common organisms were coagulase-negative staphylococci (32%), Staphylococcus aureus (16%), and enterococci (11%). Enterobacter, Serratia, coagulase-negative staphylococci, and Candida were more likely to cause infections in patients in critical care units. In patients with neutropenia, viridans streptococci were significantly more common. Coagulase-negative staphylococci were the most common pathogens on all clinical services except obstetrics, where Escherichia coli was most common. Methicillin resistance was detected in 29% of S. aureus isolates and 80% of coagulase-negative staphylococci. Vancomycin resistance in enterococci was species-dependent--3% of Enterococcus faecalis strains and 50% of Enterococcus faecium isolates displayed resistance. These data may allow clinicians to better target empirical therapy for hospital-acquired cases of bacteremia.
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            Secular trend of hospital-acquired candidemia among intensive care unit patients in the United States during 1989-1999.

            We describe the annual incidence of primary bloodstream infection (BSI) associated with Candida albicans and common non-albicans species of Candida among patients in intensive care units that participated in the National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance system from 1 January 1989 through 31 December 1999. During the study period, there was a significant decrease in the incidence of C. albicans BSI (P<.001) and a significant increase in the incidence of Candida glabrata BSI (P=.05).
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              Crystal structure of cytochrome P450 14alpha -sterol demethylase (CYP51) from Mycobacterium tuberculosis in complex with azole inhibitors.

              Cytochrome P450 14alpha-sterol demethylases (CYP51) are essential enzymes in sterol biosynthesis in eukaryotes. CYP51 removes the 14alpha-methyl group from sterol precursors such as lanosterol, obtusifoliol, dihydrolanosterol, and 24(28)-methylene-24,25-dihydrolanosterol. Inhibitors of CYP51 include triazole antifungal agents fluconazole and itraconazole, drugs used in treatment of topical and systemic mycoses. The 2.1- and 2.2-A crystal structures reported here for 4-phenylimidazole- and fluconazole-bound CYP51 from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTCYP51) are the first structures of an authentic P450 drug target. MTCYP51 exhibits the P450 fold with the exception of two striking differences-a bent I helix and an open conformation of BC loop-that define an active site-access channel running along the heme plane perpendicular to the direction observed for the substrate entry in P450BM3. Although a channel analogous to that in P450BM3 is evident also in MTCYP51, it is not open at the surface. The presence of two different channels, with one being open to the surface, suggests the possibility of conformationally regulated substrate-in/product-out openings in CYP51. Mapping mutations identified in Candida albicans azole-resistant isolates indicates that azole resistance in fungi develops in protein regions involved in orchestrating passage of CYP51 through different conformational stages along the catalytic cycle rather than in residues directly contacting fluconazole. These new structures provide a basis for rational design of new, more efficacious antifungal agents as well as insight into the molecular mechanism of P450 catalysis.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Trends in Microbiology
                Trends in Microbiology
                Elsevier BV
                0966842X
                June 2003
                June 2003
                : 11
                : 6
                : 272-279
                Article
                10.1016/S0966-842X(03)00117-3
                12823944
                © 2003

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