A Histoplasma capsulatum Lipid Metabolic Map Identifies Antifungal Targets

Daniel Zamith-Miranda, Heino M. Heyman, Meagan C. Burnet, Sneha P. Couvillion, Xueyun Zheng, Nathalie Munoz, William C. Nelson, Jennifer E. Kyle, Erika M. Zink, Karl K. Weitz, Kent J. Bloodsworth, Geremy Clair, Jeremy D. Zucker, Jeremy R. Teuton, Samuel H. Payne, Young Mo Kim, Morayma Reyes Gil, Erin S. Baker, Erin L. Bredeweg, Joshua D. NosanchukErnesto S. Nakayasu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Lipids play a fundamental role in fungal cell biology, being essential cell membrane components and major targets of antifungal drugs. A deeper knowledge of lipid metabolism is key for developing new drugs and a better understanding of fungal pathogenesis. Here, we built a comprehensive map of the Histoplasma capsulatum lipid metabolic pathway by incorporating proteomic and lipidomic analyses. We performed genetic complementation and overexpression of H. capsulatum genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae to validate reactions identified in the map and to determine enzymes responsible for catalyzing orphan reactions. The map led to the identification of both the fatty acid desaturation and the sphingolipid biosynthesis pathways as targets for drug development. We found that the sphingolipid biosynthesis inhibitor myriocin, the fatty acid desaturase inhibitor thiocarlide, and the fatty acid analog 10-thiastearic acid inhibit H. capsulatum growth in nanomolar to low-micromolar concentrations. These compounds also reduced the intracellular infection in an alveolar macrophage cell line. Overall, this lipid metabolic map revealed pathways that can be targeted for drug development. IMPORTANCE It is estimated that 150 people die per hour due to the insufficient therapeutic treatments to combat fungal infections. A major hurdle to developing antifungal therapies is the scarce knowledge on the fungal metabolic pathways and mechanisms of virulence. In this context, fungal lipid metabolism is an excellent candidate for developing drugs due to its essential roles in cellular scaffolds, energy storage, and signaling transductors. Here, we provide a detailed map of Histoplasma capsulatum lipid metabolism. The map revealed points of this fungus lipid metabolism that can be targeted for developing antifungal drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere02972-21
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021


  • Drug targets
  • Histoplasma capsulatum
  • Lipid metabolism
  • Lipidomics
  • Metabolic map
  • Proteomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology


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