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Aspergillus fumigatus Transcription Factors Involved in the Caspofungin Paradoxical Effect

Abstract : Aspergillus fumigatus is the leading cause of pulmonary fungal diseases. Azoles have been used for many years as the main antifungal agents to treat and prevent invasive aspergillosis. However, in the last 10 years there have been several reports of azole resistance in A. fumigatus and new strategies are needed to combat invasive aspergillosis. Caspofungin is effective against other human-pathogenic fungal species, but it is fungistatic only against A. fumigatus. Resistance to caspofungin in A. fumigatus has been linked to mutations in the fksA gene that encodes the target enzyme of the drug β-1,3-glucan synthase. However, tolerance of high caspofungin concentrations, a phenomenon known as the caspofungin paradoxical effect (CPE), is also important for subsequent adaptation and drug resistance evolution. Here, we identified and characterized the transcription factors involved in the response to CPE by screening an A. fumigatus library of 484 null transcription factors (TFs) in CPE drug concentrations. We identified 11 TFs that had reduced CPE and that encoded proteins involved in the basal modulation of the RNA polymerase II initiation sites, calcium metabolism, and cell wall remodeling. One of these TFs, FhdA, was important for mitochondrial respiratory function and iron metabolism. The ΔfhdA mutant showed decreased growth when exposed to Congo red or to high temperature. Transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis and further experimental validation indicated that the ΔfhdA mutant showed diminished respiratory capacity, probably affecting several pathways related to the caspofungin tolerance and resistance. Our results provide the foundation to understand signaling pathways that are important for caspofungin tolerance and resistance.
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Submitted on : Friday, September 18, 2020 - 11:26:38 AM
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Clara Valero, Ana Cristina Colabardini, Jéssica Chiaratto, Lakhansing Pardeshi, Patrícia Alves de Castro, et al.. Aspergillus fumigatus Transcription Factors Involved in the Caspofungin Paradoxical Effect. mBio, 2020, 11 (3), ⟨10.1128/mBio.00816-20⟩. ⟨pasteur-02942739⟩

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