The recognition of conserved microbial structures is a key aspect of metazoan immunity, and b-glucans are emerging as a major target for the recognition of fungal pathogens. A number of receptors for these carbohydrates have been identified, which upon recognition, trigger a variety of immune responses. In contrast to many other systems, there is little apparent conservation in these mechanisms between vertebrates and invertebrates. In this review, we will highlight all the known receptors for b-glucans and will discuss the various immune responses they can initiate, with reference to fungal infection, in both vertebrates and invertebrates.
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