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PloS one

Isolate-dependent growth, virulence, and cell wall composition in the human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus.


PMID 24945802

Abstract

The ubiquitous fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus is a mediator of allergic sensitization and invasive disease in susceptible individuals. The significant genetic and phenotypic variability between and among clinical and environmental isolates are important considerations in host-pathogen studies of A. fumigatus-mediated disease. We observed decreased radial growth, rate of germination, and ability to establish colony growth in a single environmental isolate of A. fumigatus, Af5517, when compared to other clinical and environmental isolates. Af5517 also exhibited increased hyphal diameter and cell wall β-glucan and chitin content, with chitin most significantly increased. Morbidity, mortality, lung fungal burden, and tissue pathology were decreased in neutropenic Af5517-infected mice when compared to the clinical isolate Af293. Our results support previous findings that suggest a correlation between in vitro growth rates and in vivo virulence, and we propose that changes in cell wall composition may contribute to this phenotype.