Differential Kinetics of Aspergillus nidulans and Aspergillus fumigatus Phagocytosis

Mark S Gresnigt, Katharina L Becker, Floris Leenders, M Fernanda Alonso, Xiaowen Wang, Jacques F Meis, Judith M Bain, Lars P Erwig, Frank L van de Veerdonk

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15 Citations (Scopus)
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Invasive aspergillosis mainly occurs in immunocompromised patients and is commonly caused by Aspergillus fumigatus, while A.nidulans is rarely the causative agent. However, in chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) patients, A. nidulans is a frequent cause of invasive aspergillosis and is associated with higher mortality. Immune recognition of A. nidulans was compared to A. fumigatus to offer an insight into why A. nidulans infections are prevalent in CGD. Live cell imaging with J774A.1 macrophage-like cells and LC3-GFP-mCherry bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) revealed that phagocytosis of A. nidulans was slower compared to A. fumigatus. This difference could be attributed to slower migration of J774A.1 cells and a lower percentage of migrating BMDMs. In addition, delayed phagosome acidification and LC3-associated phagocytosis was observed with A. nidulans. Cytokine and oxidative burst measurements in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells revealed a lower oxidative burst upon challenge with A. nidulans. In contrast, A. nidulans induced significantly higher concentrations of cytokines. Collectively, our data demonstrate that A. nidulans is phagocytosed and processed at a slower rate compared to A. fumigatus, resulting in reduced fungal killing and increased germination of conidia. This slower rate of A. nidulans clearance may be permissive for overgrowth within certain immune settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-160
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Innate Immunity
Issue number2
Early online date16 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to acknowledge Fraser P. Coxon and Ian Ganley for providing LC3-GFP-mCherry BMDMs. M.S.G. was supported by an FEMS research grant and F.L.v.d.V. was supported by ZonMW under the name EURO-CMC frame of E-Rare-2, the ERA-Net for Research on Rare Diseases.


  • Aspergillus fumigatus
  • Aspergillus nidulans
  • phagocytosis
  • Phagosome acidification
  • LC3-associated phagocytosis
  • Chronic granulomatous disease


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