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Microbes Infect. 2010 Nov;12(12-13):1035-41. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2010.07.005. Epub 2010 Jul 24.

The crucial role of the Aspergillus fumigatus siderophore system in interaction with alveolar macrophages.

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Division of Molecular Biology/Biocenter, Innsbruck Medical University, Fritz-Pregl-Str. 3, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


Iron plays a central role in manifestation of infections for a variety of pathogens. To ensure an adequate supply with iron, Aspergillus fumigatus employs extra- and intracellular siderophores (low-molecular mass iron chelators), which are of importance for fungal growth in particular during iron starvation. Here we show that the lack of extracellular siderophores, and especially, the lack of the entire siderophore system cause in immunosuppressed mice in vivo (i) a reduced extracellular growth rate, (ii) a reduced intracellular growth rate in alveolar macrophages, and (iii) an increased susceptibility to conidial growth inhibition by alveolar macrophages. These data underline the crucial role of the fungal siderophore system not only for extracellular growth but also in the interaction with the host immune cells. Moreover, the hyphal growth rate within alveolar macrophages compared to extracellular lavage fluid was significantly decreased indicating that, besides elimination of fungal conidia, inhibition of pathogenic growth is a function of macrophages.

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