Pulmonary infection caused by the opportunistic fungal organism Pneumocystis continues to be a leading AIDS defining illness. The initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in the HIV-infected population has led to a significant reduction in the incidence of Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP), although recent trends suggest the incidence has plateaued rather than decreased. Host defense against Pneumocystis involves a delicate, concerted balance between the inflammatory response and immune-mediated clearance. Innate cellular immunity is a cornerstone in this response as it provides the initial recognition event that precipitates an immune response, ultimately leading to clearance of the organism from the host. This review will focus on carbohydrate moieties found in the Pneumocystis cell wall and the immune events that occur following their recognition. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.