The fungal cell wall: Structure, biosynthesis, and function

Neil A.R. Gow*, Jean Paul Latge, Carol A. Munro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

72 Citations (Scopus)


Fungal cell walls are dynamic structures that are essential for cell viability, morphogenesis, and pathogenesis. The wall is much more than the outer layer of the fungus; it is also a dynamic organelle whose composition greatly influences the ecology of the fungus and whose composition is highly regulated in response to environmental conditions and imposed stresses. A measure of the importance of the cell wall can be appreciated by the fact that approximately one-fifth of the yeast genome is devoted to the biosynthesis of the cell wall (1, 2). Of these approximately 1,200 Saccharomyces cerevisiae genes (2), some are concerned with the assembly of the basic components, others provide substrates for wall materials, and many regulate the assembly process and couple this to environmental challenges. They include genes that encode carbohydrate active enzymes (which can be found in the CAZy database []) (3) and include multigene families of chitin and glucan synthases as well as remodeling enzymes such as the glycohydrolases (glucanases, chitinases) and transglycosidases. Many of the building blocks of the cell wall are conserved in different fungal species (4), while other components of the wall are species-specific, and there is perhaps no part of the cell that exhibits more phenotypic diversity and plasticity than the cell wall.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Fungal Kingdom
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781683670827
ISBN (Print)9781555819576
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2017


  • Biochemical functions
  • Biofilms
  • Cell wall biosynthesis
  • Core polysaccharides
  • Fungal cell wall
  • Genetic deletion
  • Wall structure


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