The past decade has seen an increase in aspergillosis in humans and animals due to Aspergillus viridinutans species complex members. Azole resistance is common to these infections, carrying a poor prognosis. cyp51A gene mutations are the main cause of acquired azole resistance in Aspergillus fumigatus This study aimed to determine if the azole-resistant phenotype in A. viridinutans complex members is associated with cyp51A mutations or extrolite profiles. The cyp51A gene of clinical and environmental isolates was amplified using novel primers, antifungal susceptibility was tested using the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute methodology, and extrolite profiling was performed using agar plug extraction. Very high azole MICs were detected in 84% of the isolates (31/37). The MICs of the newer antifungals luliconazole and olorofim (F901318) were low for all isolates. cyp51A sequences revealed 113 nonsynonymous mutations compared to the sequence of wild-type A. fumigatus M172A/V and D255G, previously associated with A. fumigatus azole resistance, were common among all isolates but were not correlated with azole MICs. Two environmental isolates with nonsusceptibility to itraconazole and high MICs of voriconazole and isavuconazole harbored G138C, previously associated with azole-resistant A. fumigatus Some novel mutations were identified only among isolates with high azole MICs. However, cyp51A homology modeling did not cause a significant protein structure change for these mutations. There was no correlation between extrolite patterns and susceptibility. For A. viridinutans complex isolates, cyp51A mutations and the extrolites that they produced were not major causes of antifungal resistance. Luliconazole and olorofim show promise for treating azole-resistant infections caused by these cryptic species.
Keywords: Aspergillus viridinutans, Aspergillus felis, Aspergillus udagawae; azole resistance; cryptic species; cyp51A.
Copyright © 2019 Talbot et al.