After several years of controversy, antibodies (Abs) are now believed to play an important role in the protection against fungal infections. Among them, recent data are strongly supporting the relevance of protective yeast killer toxin-like Abs (“antibiobodies”, KT-Abs), which are able to exert a direct microbicidal activity by mimicking a killer toxin (PaKT) and its interaction with cell wall receptors on susceptible cells essentially constituted by beta-glucans. This review will focus on the implications of the yeast killer phenomenon, and, particularly, the occurrence and antimicrobial activity of protective antifungal KT-Abs, such as those produced during the course of experimental and natural infections caused by PaKT-sensitive microorganisms or produced by idiotypic vaccination with a PaKT-neutralizing mAb. The strong therapeutic activity exerted against different experimental mucosal and systemic mycoses by monoclonal and recombinant microbicidal KT-Abs (either in their soluble forms or expressed on human commensal bacteria) as well as by a synthetic killer peptide (KP, an antibody fragment engineered from the sequence of a recombinant KT-Ab) will be discussed. The surprisingly wide antimicrobial spectrum of activity against eukaryotic and prokaryotic pathogenic agents, such as fungi, bacteria and protozoa, of these Abs and Ab-derived molecules suggests new potential strategies for transdisease anti-infective prevention and therapy.
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