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Med Mycol. 2006 Sep;44 Suppl 1:S77-81.

Aspergillus fumigatus: growth and virulence.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio 45267-0529, USA.


Aspergillus fumigatus is a ubiquitous fungus that plays an important role in carbon and nitrogen recycling in nature. Because A. fumigatus is thermotolerant, it is a predominant organism during the high-temperature phase of the compost cycle. The ability to grow at elevated temperatures and to utilize numerous varied sources of both carbon and nitrogen to support its growth have made A. fumigatus an important opportunistic pathogen of humans as well as a vital part of the nutrient-recycling ecosystem. Data correlating the growth rate and germination potential of A. fumigatus at 37 degrees C with its pathogenic potential suggest that these are related, both when viewed from a population standpoint and when analyzed on a single gene basis. Nutritional versatility has been cited as an important contributor to virulence as well. Indeed, perturbation of pathways involved with nitrogen or carbon sensing has been shown to reduce virulence in animal models, even when in vitro growth rates have not been altered. Therefore, the remarkable ability of A. fumigatus to grow efficiently under a variety of environmental conditions and to utilize a wide variety of substrates to meet its nutritional needs contributes to its role as the predominant mould pathogen of immunocompromised patients.

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