The mitA gene of Aspergillus fumigatus is required for mannosylation of inositol-phosphorylceramide, but is dispensable for pathogenicity

Fungal Genet. Biol., 2010, 47(2), 169-178, doi:10.1016/j.fgb.2009.10.001 published on 12.10.2009
Fungal Genetics and Biology, online article
GDP-mannose:inositol-phosphorylceramide (MIPC)-derived glycosphingolipids are important pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMP) of Candida albicans and according to recently published data also of Aspergillus fumigatus. MIPC transferases are essential for the synthesis of MIPC, but have so far been studied only in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and C. albicans. Here, we have identified MitA as the only MIPC transferase in A. fumigatus. The ΔmitA mutant lacks MIPC and MIPC-derived glycosphingolipids and accumulates the precursor IPC. The mutant grows normally, shows no defects in cell wall or membrane organization and a normal resistance to different stressors. It is, however, sensitive to high Ca2+ concentrations, especially during germination. Germination of ΔmitA mutant conidia is also decelerated under normal growth conditions, but neither the virulence of this mutant in a systemic model of infection nor its ability to trigger a cytokine response in macrophages is impaired, arguing against a role of MIPC-derived glycosphingolipids as important A. fumigatus PAMPs.

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