Journal of infection and chemotherapy : official journal of the Japan Society of Chemotherapy

Secondary metabolite profiles and antifungal drug susceptibility of Aspergillus fumigatus and closely related species, Aspergillus lentulus, Aspergillus udagawae, and Aspergillus viridinutans.

PMID 25737146


The incidence of Aspergillus infection has been increasing in the past few years. Also, new Aspergillus fumigatus-related species, namely Aspergillus lentulus, Aspergillus udagawae, and Aspergillus viridinutans, were shown to infect humans. These fungi exhibit marked morphological similarities to A. fumigatus, albeit with different clinical courses and antifungal drug susceptibilities. The present study used liquid chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry to identify the secondary metabolites secreted as virulence factors by these Aspergillus species and compared their antifungal susceptibility. The metabolite profiles varied widely among A. fumigatus, A. lentulus, A. udagawae, and A. viridinutans, producing 27, 13, 8, and 11 substances, respectively. Among the mycotoxins, fumifungin, fumiquinazoline A/B and D, fumitremorgin B, gliotoxin, sphingofungins, pseurotins, and verruculogen were only found in A. fumigatus, whereas auranthine was only found in A. lentulus. The amount of gliotoxin, one of the most abundant mycotoxins in A. fumigatus, was negligible in these related species. In addition, they had decreased susceptibility to antifungal agents such as itraconazole and voriconazole, even though metabolites that were shared in the isolates showing higher minimum inhibitory concentrations than epidemiological cutoff values were not detected. These strikingly different secondary metabolite profiles may lead to the development of more discriminative identification protocols for such closely related Aspergillus species as well as improved treatment outcomes.