AfMkk2 is required for cell wall integrity signaling, adhesion, and full virulence of the human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus

International Journal of Medical Microbiology, 2010, doi:10.1016/j.ijmm.2010.03.001, Volume 300, Issue 7, Pages 496-502 published on 07.05.2010
International Journal of Medical Microbiology, online article
The cell wall integrity (CWI) pathway, best characterized in S. cerevisiae, is strikingly conserved in Aspergillus species. We analyzed the importance of AfMkk2, a CWI signaling kinase, for virulence and antifungal therapy in the human pathogen A. fumigatus. A mutant lacking AfMkk2 is less adherent to glass and plastic surfaces and shows increased sensitivity to alkaline pH stress and antifungals. Rather than AfMpkA, the target kinase of AfMkk2, AfMpkB is activated in the mutant under cell wall stress. Interestingly, the mutant lacking AfMkk2 shows an enhanced sensitivity to posaconazole and voriconazole. And in agreement with its sensitivity to moderate temperatures, it is less virulent in a murine infection model. Our data underline the importance of mkk2 for the fitness, but also for the pathogenicity of A. fumigatus.  

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