Fungal infections have predominantly increased worldwide that leads to morbidity and mortality in severe cases. Invasive candidiasis and other pathogenic fungal infections are a major problem in immunocompromised individuals and post-operative patients. Increasing resistance to existing antifungal drugs calls for the identification of novel antifungal drug targets for chemotherapeutic interventions. This demand for identification and characterization of novel drug targets leads to the development of effective antifungal therapy against drug resistant fungi. Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are important for various biological processes like protein folding, posttranslational modifications, transcription, translation, and protein aggregation. HSPs are involved in maintaining homeostasis of the cell. A subgroup of HSPs is small heat shock proteins (sHSPs), which functions as cellular chaperones. They are having a significant role in the many cellular functions like development, cytoskeletal organization, apoptosis, membrane lipid polymorphism, differentiation, autophagy, in infection recognition and are major players in various stresses like osmotic stress, pH stress, etc. Studies have shown that fungal cells express increased levels of sHSPs upon antifungal drug induced stress responses. Here we review the important role of small heat shock proteins (sHSPs) in fungal diseases and their potential as antifungal targets.
Candida albicans, Drug resistance, Small heat shock proteins, Antifungals
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