A regulator of Aspergillus fumigatus extracellular proteolytic activity is dispensable for virulence

Anna Bergmann, Thomas Hartmann, Timothy Cairns, Elaine M. Bignell, Sven Krappmann

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Virulence of the fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus is in part based on the saprophytic lifestyle that this mold has evolved. A crucial function for saprophytism resides in secreted proteases that allow assimilation of proteinaceous substrates. The impact of extracellular proteolytic activities on the pathogenesis of aspergillosis, however, remains controversial. In order to address this issue, characterization of a conserved regulatory factor, PrtT, that acts on expression of secreted proteases was pursued. Expression of PrtT appears to be regulated posttranscriptionally, and the existence of an mRNA leader sequence implies translational control via eIF2α kinase signaling. Phenotypic classification of a prtTΔ deletion mutant revealed that expression of several major extracellular proteases is PrtT dependent, resulting in the inability to utilize protein as a nutritional source. Certain genes encoding secreted proteases are not regulated by PrtT. Most strikingly, the deletant strain is not attenuated in virulence when tested in a leukopenic mouse model, which makes a strong case for reconsidering any impact of secreted proteases in pulmonary aspergillosis. Copyright © 2009, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4041-4050
    Number of pages9
    JournalInfection and immunity
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009


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