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The cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase a network regulates development and virulence in Aspergillus fumigatus

: Liebmann, B.; Müller, M.; Braun, A.; Brakhage, A.A.


Infection and Immunity 72 (2004), Nr.9, S.5193-5203
ISSN: 0019-9567
ISSN: 1098-5522
Fraunhofer ITEM ()
Cyclic AMP; Animals; Human; Mice; Mutation

Aspergillus fumigatus is an important pathogen of immunocompromised hosts, causing pneumonia and invasive disseminated disease with high mortality. To determine the importance of the cyclic AMP (cAMP) signaling pathway for virulence, the pkaC1 gene encoding a protein kinase A (PKA) catalytic subunit was cloned and characterized. Deletion of pkaC1 led to reduced conidiation and growth. PKA activity was not detectable in DeltapkaC1, DeltagpaB, and DeltaacyA mutant strains. gpaB and acyA encode a G protein alpha subunit involved in cAMP signal transduction and adenylate cyclase, respectively. Addition of cAMP led to PKA activity in crude extracts of both the DeltagpaB and DeltaacyA strains but not in crude extracts of the DeltapkaC1 strain. These findings provide evidence that PKAC1 represents the predominant form of PKA under the conditions tested, and GPAB and ACYA are members of the cAMP signaling cascade. Analysis of a pksPp-lacZ gene fusion indicated that the expression of the pathogenicity determinant-encoding pksP gene was reduced in DeltapkaC1 mutant strains compared with the expression of the gene fusion in the parental strain. In a low-dose murine inhalation model, conidia of both the DeltapkaC1 and DeltagpaB mutant strains were almost avirulent. Taken together, these findings indicate that the cAMP-PKA signal transduction pathway is required for A. fumigatus pathogenicity.