Cryptococcus neoformans evades pulmonary immunity by modulating xylose precursor transport

Lucy X. Li, Camaron R. Hole, Javier Rangel-Moreno, Shabaana A. Khader, Tamara L. Doering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungal pathogen that kills almost 200,000 people each year and is distinguished by abundant and unique surface glycan structures that are rich in xylose. A mutant strain of C. neoformans that cannot transport xylose precursors into the secretory compartment is severely attenuated in virulence in mice yet surprisingly is not cleared. We found that this strain failed to induce the nonprotective T helper cell type 2 (Th2) responses characteristic of wild-type infection, instead promoting sustained interleukin 12p40 (IL-12p40) induction and increased IL-17A (IL-17) production. It also stimulated dendritic cells to release high levels of proinflammatory cytokines, a behavior we linked to xylose expression. We further discovered that inducible bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (iBALT) forms in response to infection with either wild-type cryptococci or the mutant strain with reduced surface xylose; although iBALT formation is slowed in the latter case, the tissue is better organized. Finally, our temporal studies suggest that lymphoid structures in the lung restrict the spread of mutant fungi for at least 18 weeks after infection, which is in contrast to ineffective control of the pathogen after infection with wild-type cells. These studies demonstrate the role of xylose in modulation of host response to a fungal pathogen and show that cryptococcal infection triggers iBALT formation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00288-20
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • Cryptococcus neoformans
  • Encapsulated pathogens
  • Fungal pathogenesis
  • Inducible bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue
  • Pathogenic fungus
  • Pulmonary immunity
  • Xylose


Dive into the research topics of 'Cryptococcus neoformans evades pulmonary immunity by modulating xylose precursor transport'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this