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PLoS Pathog. 2014 Oct 16;10(10):e1004413. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004413. eCollection 2014 Oct.

The pH-responsive PacC transcription factor of Aspergillus fumigatus governs epithelial entry and tissue invasion during pulmonary aspergillosis.

Author information

1
Institute for Inflammation and Repair, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom.
2
Division of Molecular Biology/Biocenter, Medical University Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria; Sandoz GmbH, Kundl, Austria.
3
National Centre for Microbiology, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain.
4
College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom.
5
School of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom.
6
Centre for Molecular Bacteriology & Infection, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.
7
Lab of Viral Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America.
8
David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor, University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, United States of America.
9
Medical Mycology Research Center, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.
10
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas (C.S.I.C.), Madrid, Spain.
11
Division of Molecular Biology/Biocenter, Medical University Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.

Abstract

Destruction of the pulmonary epithelium is a major feature of lung diseases caused by the mould pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. Although it is widely postulated that tissue invasion is governed by fungal proteases, A. fumigatus mutants lacking individual or multiple enzymes remain fully invasive, suggesting a concomitant requirement for other pathogenic activities during host invasion. In this study we discovered, and exploited, a novel, tissue non-invasive, phenotype in A. fumigatus mutants lacking the pH-responsive transcription factor PacC. Our study revealed a novel mode of epithelial entry, occurring in a cell wall-dependent manner prior to protease production, and via the Dectin-1 β-glucan receptor. ΔpacC mutants are defective in both contact-mediated epithelial entry and protease expression, and significantly attenuated for pathogenicity in leukopenic mice. We combined murine infection modelling, in vivo transcriptomics, and in vitro infections of human alveolar epithelia, to delineate two major, and sequentially acting, PacC-dependent processes impacting epithelial integrity in vitro and tissue invasion in the whole animal. We demonstrate that A. fumigatus spores and germlings are internalised by epithelial cells in a contact-, actin-, cell wall- and Dectin-1 dependent manner and ΔpacC mutants, which aberrantly remodel the cell wall during germinative growth, are unable to gain entry into epithelial cells, both in vitro and in vivo. We further show that PacC acts as a global transcriptional regulator of secreted molecules during growth in the leukopenic mammalian lung, and profile the full cohort of secreted gene products expressed during invasive infection. Our study reveals a combinatorial mode of tissue entry dependent upon sequential, and mechanistically distinct, perturbations of the pulmonary epithelium and demonstrates, for the first time a protective role for Dectin-1 blockade in epithelial defences. Infecting ΔpacC mutants are hypersensitive to cell wall-active antifungal agents highlighting the value of PacC signalling as a target for antifungal therapy.

PMID:
25329394
PMCID:
PMC4199764
DOI:
10.1371/journal.ppat.1004413
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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