Galactofuranose antigens, a target for diagnosis of fungal infections in humans

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The use of biomarkers for the detection of fungal infections is of interest to complement histopathological and culture methods. Since the production of antibodies in immunocompromised patients is scarce, detection of a specific antigen could be effective for early diagnosis. D-Galactofuranose (Galf) is the antigenic epitope in glycoconjugates of several pathogenic fungi. Since Galf is not biosynthesized by mammals, it is an attractive candidate for diagnosis of infection. A monoclonal antibody that recognizes Galf is commercialized for detection of aspergillosis. The linkage of Galf in the natural glycans and the chemical structures of the synthesized Galf-containing oligosaccharides are described in this paper. The oligosaccharides could be used for the synthesis of artificial carbohydrate-based antigens, not enough exploited for diagnosis.

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