Tuesday 27 June 2023

Aspergillus fumigatus - new insight into pathogenicity


Image: By CDC/Dr. Libero Ajello (PHIL #4297)


An interesting article from The Scientist looks at the pathogenicity of Aspergillus fumigatus, a common filamentous fungus that can cause pulmonary infections in people and which is especially problematic to those with weakened immune systems.


The organism is a saprotrophic fungus with a cosmopolitan distribution and is typically found in soil and decomposing organic material, such as compost heaps. It plays an essential role in carbon and nitrogen recycling. It is one of the most common ubiquitous airborne saprophytic fungi and is predominantly found in the air, hence it is constantly inhaled in the form of conidia by humans and animals.



Aspergillus fumigatus is the most frequent cause of invasive fungal infection in immunosuppressed individuals. In immunocompromised individuals, such as organ transplant recipients and people with AIDS or leukaemia, the fungus is more likely to become pathogenic, over-running the host's weakened defences and causing a range of diseases generally termed aspergillosis.


The article describes how A. fumigatus avoids the host immune system by entering into mammalian cells by using membrane-enclosed vesicles known as phagosomes. The pathogen-containing vesicles are adept at avoiding intracellular elimination.


For details see: https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/fungal-spores-hijack-a-host-protein-to-escape-death-71177

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (http://www.pharmamicroresources.com/)

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