Research Summary: PrtT-Regulated Proteins Secreted by Aspergillus fumigatus Activate MAPK Signaling in Exposed A549 Lung Cells Leading to Necrotic Cell Death


Aspergillus fumigatus is the most commonly encountered mold pathogen of humans, predominantly infecting the respiratory system. Colonization and penetration of the lung alveolar epithelium is a key but poorly understood step in the infection process. This study focused on identifying the transcriptional and cell-signaling responses activated in A549 alveolar carcinoma cells incubated in the presence of A. fumigatus wild-type and ΔPrtT protease-deficient germinating conidia and culture filtrates (CF). Microarray analysis of exposed A549 cells identified distinct classes of genes whose expression is altered in the presence of germinating conidia and CF and suggested the involvement of both NFkB and MAPK signaling pathways in mediating the cellular response. Phosphoprotein analysis of A549 cells confirmed that JNK and ERK1/2 are phosphorylated in response to CF from wild-type A. fumigatus and not phosphorylated in response to CF from the ΔPrtT protease-deficient strain. Inhibition of JNK or ERK1/2 kinase activity substantially decreased CF-induced cell damage, including cell peeling, actin-cytoskeleton damage, and reduction in metabolic activity and necrotic death. These results suggest that inhibition of MAPK-mediated host responses to treatment with A. fumigatus CF decreases cellular damage, a finding with possible clinical implications.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 11-March-2011

Author(s): Sharon H., Amar D., Levdansky E., Mircus G., Shadkchan Y., Shamir R., Osherov N.


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