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Epigenetic Modulators: A New Strategy to Reduce the Virulence and Drug Resistance of Human Fungal Pathogens
1  Department of Environmental Biology, University of Rome "Sapienza"
Academic Editor: Maria Emília Sousa (registering DOI)

Human pathogenic fungi pose a growing threat to global health, with the emerging challenge of antimicrobial resistance. Epigenetics, the field that investigates chemical modifications to DNA and regulatory proteins governing gene expression, offers a promising approach to control these microorganisms. Epigenetic modulators can selectively influence the gene activity of fungi, disrupting their virulence and addressing drug resistance. Among human fungal pathogens, the critical priority fungi currently include Aspergillus fumigatus and Candida species. Candida species and Aspergillus species are invasive fungal pathogens responsible for systemic infections and high mortality rates, especially in immunocompromised populations, and are resistant to major classes of antifungal drugs. Histone Deacetylase (HDAC) Inhibitors have proven effective in countering virulence and have potent, synergistic effects with fluconazole against resistant Candida albicans infection. Bromodomain and Extraterminal domain (BET) inhibitors reduce the virulence of A. fumigatus. In particular, BET inhibitors reduce the expression of proteins associated with fungal virulence, both intracellular and extracellular. These results highlight the revolutionary potential of this new strategy in combating fungal infections, providing a promising outlook for the future of the treatment of diseases caused by human pathogenic fungi. The use of epigenetics as a therapeutic alternative represents a novel approach in the fight against fungal infections, with the potential for significant impacts on public health and the management of infectious diseases.

Keywords: Epigenetics; epigenetic modulators; infectious diseases; fungal pathogens; Aspergillus; Candida; antimicrobial resistance; virulence.