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Med Mycol. 2011 Feb;49(2):202-7. doi: 10.3109/13693786.2010.512301. Epub 2010 Sep 6.

Virulence in an insect model differs between mating types in Aspergillus fumigatus.

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Simon Fraser University, Biological Sciences, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.


Aspergillus fumigatus is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that has recently been found to undergo sexual reproduction. Previous work suggested that invasiveness differs between mating types, and in the present study we tested whether virulence differs between mating types in an in vivo model, i.e., larvae of the wax moth Galleria mellonella. We measured virulence of 20 A. fumigatus isolates; three MAT1-1 isolates of environmental origin, five MAT1-1 isolates of clinical origin, seven MAT1-2 isolates of environmental origin and five MAT1-2 isolates of clinical origin. For each isolate, we measured virulence in six replicates and for each replicate, conidia were grown, harvested, and counted independently, and 2,500 colony forming units were injected into each of 10 G. mellonella larvae. Virulence differed between mating types, with lower survival in larvae injected with MAT1-1 isolates. Virulence also differed between clinical and environmental isolates, but surprisingly larvae injected with environmental isolates had lower survival. Identification of the mechanisms underlying variation in virulence may identify novel targets for the treatment of Aspergillus infections.

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