Molecular basis of resistance to azole antifungals

Antonella Lupetti, Romano Danesi, Mario Campa, Mario Del Tacca, Steven Lewis Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

368 Citations (SciVal)


The increased incidence of invasive mycoses and the emerging problem of antifungal drug resistance has prompted investigations of the underlying molecular mechanisms, particularly for the azole compounds central to current therapy. The target site for the azoles is the ERG11 gene product, the cytochrome P450 lanosterol 14α-demethylase, which is part of the ergosterol biosynthetic pathway. The resulting ergosterol depletion renders fungal cells vulnerable to further membrane damage. Development of azole resistance in fungi may occur through increased levels of the cellular target, upregulation of genes controlling drug efflux, alterations in sterol synthesis and decreased affinity of azoles for the cellular target. Here, we review the adaptative changes in fungi, in particular Candida albicans, in response to inhibitors of ergosterol biosynthesis. The molecular mechanisms of azole resistance might help in devising more effective antifungal therapies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-81
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in Molecular Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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