Only two decades ago antibodies to fungi were thought to have little or no role in protection against fungal diseases. However, subsequent research has provided convincing evidence that certain antibodies can modify the course of fungal infection to the benefit or detriment of the host. Hybridoma technology was the breakthrough that enabled the characterization of antibodies to fungi, illuminating some of the requirements for antibody efficacy. As discussed in this review, fungal-specific antibodies mediate protection through direct actions on fungal cells and through classical mechanisms such as phagocytosis and complement activation. Although mechanisms of antibody-mediated protection are often species-specific, numerous fungal antigens can be targeted to generate vaccines and therapeutic immunoglobulins. Furthermore, the study of antibody function against medically important fungi has provided fresh immunological insights into the complexity of humoral immunity that are likely to apply to other pathogens.
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