Metal restriction imposed by mammalian hosts during an infection is a common mechanism of defence to reduce or avoid the pathogen infection. Metals are essential for organism survival due to its involvement in several biological processes. Aspergillus fumigatus causes invasive aspergillosis, a disease that typically manifests in immunocompromised patients. A. fumigatus PpzA, the catalytic subunit of protein phosphatase Z (PPZ), has been recently identified as associated with iron assimilation. A. fumigatus has 2 high-affinity mechanisms of iron acquisition during infection: reductive iron assimilation and siderophore-mediated iron uptake. It has been shown that siderophore production is important for A. fumigatus virulence, differently to the reductive iron uptake system. Transcriptomic and proteomic comparisons between ∆ppzA and wild-type strains under iron starvation showed that PpzA has a broad influence on genes involved in secondary metabolism. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry under standard and iron starvation conditions confirmed that the ΔppzA mutant had reduced production of pyripyropene A, fumagillin, fumiquinazoline A, triacetyl-fusarinine C, and helvolic acid. The ΔppzA was shown to be avirulent in a neutropenic murine model of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis. PpzA plays an important role at the interface between iron starvation, regulation of SM production, and pathogenicity in A. fumigatus.
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.