Aspergillus fumigatus morphology and dynamic host interactions

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2017 Nov;15(11):661-674. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro.2017.90. Epub 2017 Sep 18.


Aspergillus fumigatus is an environmental filamentous fungus that can cause life-threatening disease in immunocompromised individuals. The interactions between A. fumigatus and the host environment are dynamic and complex. The host immune system needs to recognize the distinct morphological forms of A. fumigatus to control fungal growth and prevent tissue invasion, whereas the fungus requires nutrients and needs to adapt to the hostile environment by escaping immune recognition and counteracting host responses. Understanding these highly dynamic interactions is necessary to fully understand the pathogenesis of aspergillosis and to facilitate the design of new therapeutics to overcome the morbidity and mortality caused by A. fumigatus. In this Review, we describe how A. fumigatus adapts to environmental change, the mechanisms of host defence, and our current knowledge of the interplay between the host immune response and the fungus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Aspergillosis / immunology*
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / cytology*
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / pathogenicity
  • Cell Wall / chemistry
  • Cell Wall / microbiology
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Fungal
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate