Fungal aegerolysin-like proteins: distribution, activities, and applications

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2015 Jan;99(2):601-10. doi: 10.1007/s00253-014-6239-9. Epub 2014 Dec 6.


The aegerolysin protein family (from aegerolysin of the mushroom Agrocybe aegerita) comprises proteins of ∼15-20 kDa from various eukaryotic and bacterial taxa. Aegerolysins are inconsistently distributed among fungal species, and variable numbers of homologs have been reported for species within the same genus. As such noncore proteins, without a member of a protein family in each of the sequenced fungi, they can give insight into different species-specific processes. Some aegerolysins have been reported to be hemolytically active against mammalian erythrocytes. However, some function as bi-component proteins that have membrane activity in concert with another protein that contains a membrane attack complex/perforin domain. The function of most of aegerolysins is unknown, although some have been suggested to have a role in development of the organism. Potential biotechnological applications of aegerolysins are already evident, despite the limited scientific knowledge available at present. Some mushroom aegerolysins, for example, can be used as markers to detect and label specific membrane lipids. Others can be used as biomarkers of fungal exposure, where their genes can serve as targets for detection of fungi and their progression during infectious diseases. Antibodies against aegerolysins can also be raised as immuno-diagnostic tools. Aegerolysins have been shown to serve as a species determination tool for fungal phytopathogen isolates in terms of some closely related species, where commonly used internal transcribed spacer barcoding has failed. Moreover, strong promoters that regulate aegerolysin genes can promote secretion of heterologous proteins from fungi and have been successfully applied in simultaneous multi-gene expression techniques.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agaricales / metabolism*
  • Fungal Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Genetic Markers
  • Hemolysin Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Hemolysin Proteins / genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic


  • Fungal Proteins
  • Genetic Markers
  • Hemolysin Proteins
  • aegerolysin