Why Infections From Fungi, Molds, and Yeast Hard To Cure?

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When antibiotic medication comes into our mind, we often think of penicillin. Antibiotics similar to penicillin impede with the synthesis of cell wall which is effective in targeting bacteria. Because bacteria have cell wall and eukaryotic cells such as in humans do not, antibiotics are useful for treating bacterial infections.

Organisms that are eukaryotes such as fungi, molds, and yeast sometimes cause infections. Although it is possible to develop an effective medications against these organisms, most of the time, medications are difficult to make because it also harm the cells of human. This is because human cells are similar with these organisms. Regardless of the huge difference in morphology, cells of fungi, molds, yeast, and humans are alike in terms of cell membrane, ribosomes, and cytoskeleton. As a result, it is more difficult to produce drugs that target eukaryotes that cause infections in the same way the antibiotics target bacteria.

– Are the cell structures of fungi, molds, yeast, and humans similar?

Antifungal medications have limited means of action. Eukaryotic cells have cholesterols in their cell membrane while fungi have ergosterols. Some medications such as azole and morpholine can target the enzymes that are involved in synthesizing the sterols and are used widely in farming such as fenpropimorph and in clinics such as miconazole. Although these medications are successful in eliminating fungi, medications for systemic fungal infections tend to have high toxicity than antibacterial medications.

– What does fungal cell membrane have that can be use as a target of anti-fungal medication?


Parker, N., Schneegurt, M., Thi Tu, A.-H., Forster, B. M., & Lister, P. (n.d.). Microbiology. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at: https://openstax.org/details/books/microbiology