Upon infection of the respiratory system with the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus various leukoctytes, in particular neutrophils, are recruited to the lung to mount an immune response. Neutrophils respond by both phagocytosing conidia and mediating extracellular killing of germinated, invasive hyphae. Of paramount importance to an appropriate immune response is the neutrophil NADPH oxidase enzyme, which mediates the production of various reactive oxygen species (ROS). This is evidenced by the acute sensitivity of both oxidase-deficient humans and mice to invasive aspergillosis. Herein we briefly review the mechanisms and functions of oxidase activation and discuss our recent work identifying at least some of the important players in hyphal-induced oxidase activation and neutrophil function. Among these we define the phosphoinositide 3-kinase enzyme and the regulatory protein Vav to be of critical importance and allude to a kinase-independent role for Syk.
© 2012 New York Academy of Sciences.