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Characterizing the genomic and phenotypic diversity of clinical isolates from human fungal pathogens in the Aspergillus nidulans species complex

Abstract

Fungi are major contributors to human morbidity and mortality but we still know little about the molecular basis of their pathogenicity. Aspergillus-related diseases, collectively known as aspergillosis, are caused by various species in the Aspergillus genus of filamentous fungi. The saprophytic and ubiquitous airborne species Aspergillus fumigatus (section Fumigati) is responsible for most infections, however Aspergillus nidulans (section Nidulantes) is of interest because it is a major cause of invasive aspergillosis (IA) infections in chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) patients. CGD is a genetic disorder that occurs in 1 every 200,000 births and compromises the phagocytes ability to produce reactive oxygen species, which serve as a broad range chemical antimicrobial. Strikingly, among CGD patients, A. nidulans infections are characterized by their aggressive behavior and their difficulty to treat compared to A. fumigatus infections. The association of A. nidulans with a specific patient group population as CGD is highly unusual for human pathogenic Aspergillus species. However, the reasons for this are not fully understood as A. nidulans is poorly studied as a pathogen. (AU)

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