Melanins are ubiquitous complex polymers that are commonly known in humans to cause pigmentation of our skin. Melanins are also present in bacteria, fungi, and helminths. In this review, we will describe the diverse interactions of fungal melanin with the mammalian immune system. We will particularly focus on Cryptococcus neoformans and also discuss other major melanotic pathogenic fungi. Melanin interacts with the immune system through diverse pathways, reducing the effectiveness of phagocytic cells, binding effector molecules and antifungals, and modifying complement and antibody responses.
- Immune response
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science
- Microbiology (medical)