The nature of the fungal cargo induces significantly different temporal programmes of macrophage phagocytosis

María Fernanda Alonso, Judith M Bain, Fiona M Rudkin, Lars P Erwig, Alistair J P Brown, Neil A R Gow* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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Phagocytosis is an essential component of our immune defence against fungal pathogens. Differences in the dynamics of phagocyte migration, recognition, uptake and phagolysosome maturation are dependent on the characteristics of the fungal cargo, and in particular to differences in cell wall composition and cellular morphology. However, studies that have focused on phagocyte interactions with individual fungal species have not enabled comparisons in the kinetics of these interactions to be made between these different species. We therefore used live cell video microscopy to examine the temporal dynamics of phagocytosis for a range of fungal cargoes by thioglycollate-elicited peritoneal macrophages from C57BL/6 mice. Uniform populations of macrophages were challenged at the same time with yeast cells of Candida albicans, Candida glabrata, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Cryptococcus neoformans (wild-type and an acapsular mutant, cap59Δ), and spores of Aspergillus fumigatus and Mucor circinelloides to enable standardized comparative interactions to be quantified from different stages of phagocytosis . Differences in the rate of uptake of fungal cells varied by up to 26-fold, whilst differences in time to induce phagosome acidification varied by as much as 29-fold. Heat-killing or opsonizing the fungal targets markedly affected the kinetics of the interaction in a species-specific manner. Fungal and macrophage killing assays further revealed cargo-specific differences in phagocytosis and diversity in fungal evasion mechanisms. Therefore, simultaneous assessment of the interaction of macrophages with different fungal pathogens highlighted major differences in the kinetics and growth responses during fungus-phagocyte interactions that are likely to impact on pathogenesis and virulence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100082
JournalThe Cell Surface
Early online date19 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

We acknowledge Wellcome support of a Senior Investigator (101873/Z/13/Z), Collaborative (200208/A/15/Z) and Strategic Awards (097377/Z11/Z) and the MRC for a programme grant (MR/M026663/2) and the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology (MR/N006364/2). We thank Kevin Mackenzie for help with microscopy.

Erratum to “The nature of the fungal cargo induces significantly different temporal programmes of macrophage phagocytosis” [Cell Surf. 8 (2022) 100082] (The Cell Surface (2022) 8, (S2468233022000111), (10.1016/j.tcsw.2022.100082))
María Fernanda Alonso, Judith M. Bain, Fiona M. Rudkin, Lars P. Erwig, Alistair J.P. Brown, Neil A.R. Gow, 2023. The Cell Surface


  • cell Wall
  • immune recognition
  • phagocytosis
  • macrophage
  • medical micology


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