Free living amoebae (FLA) are protists ubiquitously present in the environment. Aspergillus fumigatus is a mould responsible for severe deep-seated infections, and that can be recovered in the same habitats as the FLA. By conducting coculture experiments and fungal incubation with amoebal supernatants, we report herein that Vermamoeba vermiformis, a FLA present in hospital water systems, promotes filamentation and growth of A. fumigatus. This finding is of particular importance to institutions whose water systems might harbor FLA and could potentially be used by immunocompromised patients. Also, the relationships between V. vermiformis and A. fumigatus were compared to those between this fungus and two other phagocytic cells: Acanthamoeba castellanii, another FLA, and macrophage-like THP-1 cells. After 4 h of coincubation, the percentages of the three phagocytic cell types with adhered conidia were similar, even though the types of receptors between FLA and macrophagic cell seemed different. However, the percentage of THP-1 with internalized conidia was considerably lower (40 %) in comparison with the two other cell types (100 %). Thus, this study revealed that interactions between A. fumigatus and these three phagocytic cell types show similarities, even though it is premature to extrapolate these results to interpret relationships between A. fumigatus and macrophages.
Keywords: Aspergillus fumigatus; Free-living amoebae; Macrophages; Vermamoeba vermiformis.