Fungal cell walls are medically important since they represent a drug target site for antifungal medication. So far there is no method to directly visualize structurally similar cell wall components such as α-glucan, β-glucan and mannan with high specificity, especially in a label-free manner. In this study, we have developed a Raman spectroscopy based molecular imaging method and combined multivariate curve resolution analysis to enable detection and visualization of multiple polysaccharide components simultaneously at the single cell level. Our results show that vegetative cell and ascus walls are made up of both α- and β-glucans while spore wall is exclusively made of α-glucan. Co-localization studies reveal the absence of mannans in ascus wall but are distributed primarily in spores. Such detailed picture is believed to further enhance our understanding of the dynamic spore wall architecture, eventually leading to advancements in drug discovery and development in the near future.
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