Current Understanding of the Structure and Function of Fungal Immunomodulatory Proteins

Yusi Liu, Shanna Bastiaan-Net, Harry J. Wichers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Fungal immunomodulatory proteins (FIPs) are a group of proteins found in fungi, which are extensively studied for their immunomodulatory activity. Currently, more than 38 types of FIPs have been described. Based on their conserved structure and protein identity, FIPs can be classified into five subgroups: Fve-type FIPs (Pfam PF09259), Cerato-type FIPs (Pfam PF07249), PCP-like FIPs, TFP-like FIPs, and unclassified FIPs. Among the five subgroups, Fve-type FIPs are the most studied for their hemagglutinating, immunomodulating, and anti-cancer properties. In general, these small proteins consist of 110–125 amino acids, with a molecular weight of ~13 kDa. The other four subgroups are relatively less studied, but also show a noticeable influence on immune cells. In this review, we summarized the protein modifications, 3-dimensional structures and bioactivities of all types of FIPs. Moreover, structure-function relationship of FIPs has been discussed, including relationship between carbohydrate binding module and hemagglutination, correlation of oligomerization and cytokine induction, relevance of glycosylation and lymphocyte activation. This summary and discussion may help gain comprehensive understanding of FIPs' working mechanisms and scope future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number132
JournalFrontiers in Nutrition
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2020


  • FIPs
  • glycosylation
  • hemagglutination
  • immunomodulaion
  • immunomodulatory proteins
  • structure-function relationship

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