Role of Aspergillus lentulus 14-α sterol demethylase (Cyp51A) in azole drug susceptibility.
ABSTRACT: Recent studies have demonstrated that some morphologically atypical Aspergillus fumigatus strains are different species belonging to the section Fumigati. Aspergillus lentulus, one of these sibling species, is increasingly reported in patients under corticosteroid treatment. MICs of most antifungals in clinical use are elevated against A. lentulus, and it shows primary resistance to azole drugs. Two A. lentulus cytochrome P450 14-α sterol demethylases, encoded by A. lentulus cyp51A (Alcyp51A) and Alcyp51B genes, were identified. Targeted cyp51A gene knockout in A. lentulus showed that the intrinsic azole resistance of this species is cyp51A dependent. The Δcyp51A strain was morphologically indistinguishable from the A. lentulus wild-type strain, retaining the ability to cause pulmonary disease in neutropenic mice. The heterologous expression of A. lentulus cyp51A was performed in an A. fumigatus cyp51A-deficient strain, confirming that Cyp51A is responsible for the differences in A. lentulus-azole drug interaction.
Project description:The role of Aspergillus fumigatus 14alpha-sterol demethylase (Cyp51A) in azole drug susceptibility was assessed. Targeted disruption of cyp51A in azole-susceptible and -resistant strains decreased MICs from 2- to 40-fold. The cyp51A mutants were morphologically indistinguishable from the wild-type strain, retaining the ability to cause pulmonary disease in neutropenic mice.
Project description:Triazole antifungal compounds are the first treatment choice for invasive aspergillosis. However, in the last decade the rate of azole resistance among Aspergillus fumigatus strains has increased notoriously. The main resistance mechanisms are well defined and mostly related to point mutations of the azole target, 14-? sterol demethylase (cyp51A), with or without tandem repeat integrations in the cyp51A promoter. Furthermore, different combinations of five Cyp51A mutations (F46Y, M172V, N248T, D255E, and E427K) have been reported worldwide in about 10% of all A. fumigatus isolates tested. The azole susceptibility profile of these strains shows elevated azole MICs, although on the basis of the azole susceptibility breakpoints, these strains are not considered azole resistant. The purpose of the study was to determine whether these cyp51A polymorphisms (single nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs]) are responsible for the azole susceptibility profile and whether they are reflected in a poorer azole treatment response in vivo that could compromise patient treatment and outcome. A mutant with a cyp51A deletion was generated and became fully susceptible to all azoles tested. Also, three cyp51A gene constructions with different combinations of SNPs were generated and reintroduced into an azole-susceptible wild-type (WT) strain (the ?akuBKU80 strain). The alternative model host Galleria mellonella was used to compare the virulence and voriconazole response of G. mellonella larvae infected with A. fumigatus strains with WT cyp51A or cyp51A with SNPs. All strains were pathogenic in G. mellonella larvae, although they did not respond similarly to voriconazole therapeutic doses. Finally, the full genomes of these strains were sequenced and analyzed in comparison with those of A. fumigatus WT strains, revealing that they belong to different strain clusters or lineages.
Project description:Multiple Aspergillus fumigatus isolates from a patient with two aspergillomas complicating chronic pulmonary aspergillosis were pan-azole resistant. Microsatellite typing was identical for all isolates despite major phenotypic and some growth rate differences. Three different cyp51A mutations were found (G138C, Y431C, and G434C), of which the first two were demonstrated by heterologous expression in a hypersusceptible Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain to be at least partly responsible for elevated MICs. cyp51A and cyp51B gene duplication was excluded, but increased expression of cyp51A was demonstrated in three isolates selected for additional study (7-to 13-fold increases). In the isolate with the greatest cyp51A expression, an Aft1 transposon was found inserted 370 bp upstream of the start codon of the cyp51A gene, an integration location never previously demonstrated in Aspergillus. Two transcription start sites were identified at 49 and 136 bp upstream of the start codon. The role of the Aft1 transposon, if any, in modulating cyp51A expression remains to be established. Increased mRNA expression of the transporters AfuMDR1 and AfuMDR4 also was demonstrated in some isolates, which could contribute to azole resistance or simply represent a stress response. The diversity of confirmed and possible azole resistance mechanisms demonstrated in a single series of isogenic isolates is remarkable, indicating the ability of A. fumigatus to adapt in the clinical setting.
Project description:Azole resistance is an increasing clinical problem for Aspergillus fumigatus, with the majority of published resistance arising from mutations in the azole target gene CYP51A. Previous structural studies of this protein have suffered from a nonorthologous, low-homology template for homology modeling. Here we present a new model based on the human CYP51A orthologue that provides a higher-quality model for A. fumigatus CYP51A.
Project description:The opportunistic pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus has developed worldwide resistance to azoles largely through mutations in cytochromeP450 enzyme Cyp51. In this study, we indicated that in vitro azole situation results in emergence of azole-resistant mutations. There are previously identified azole-resistant cyp51A mutations (M220K, M220I, M220R, G54E and G54W mutations) and we successfully identified in this study two new mutations (N248K/V436A, Y433N substitution) conferring azole resistance among 18 independent stable azole-resistant isolates. The Galleria mellonella model of A. fumigatus infection experiment verified that Cyp51A mutations N248K/V436A and Y433N reduce efficacy of azole therapy. In addition, a predicted Cyp51A 3D structural model suggested that Y433N mutation causes the reduced affinities between drug target Cyp51A and azole antifungals. This study suggests that drug selection pressure make it possible to isolate unidentified cyp51A mutations conferring azole resistance in A. fumigatus.
Project description:Invasive aspergillosis (IA) due to Aspergillus lentulus is associated with high mortality. In this study, we investigated the clinical and microbiological characteristics of 6 fatal cases of proven or probable IA caused by A. lentulus in China. Underlying immunosuppression, prior antifungal exposure, and intensive care unit (ICU) hospitalization were important risk factors for invasive A. lentulus infection. Phenotypic differences were observed for A. lentulus isolates including slower growth, reduced sporulation, and inability to grow at 48°C, compared with Aspergillus fumigatus complex. ITS sequencing was unable to distinguish A. lentulus from A. fumigatus, but sequencing of the benA, CaM, and rod A loci enabled reliable distinction of these closely related species. Phylogenetic analysis further confirmed that the ITS region had little variation within the Aspergillus section Fumigati while the benA gene offered the highest intraspecific discrimination. Microsatellite typing results revealed that only loci on chromosomes 1, 3, 5, and 6b generated detectable amplicons for identification. All A. lentulus isolates showed in vitro resistance to multiple antifungal drugs including amphotericin B (MIC range 4 to 8 ?g/ml), itraconazole (MIC 2 ?g/ml), voriconazole (MIC of 4-16 ?g/ml), and posaconazole (MIC of 0.5-1 ?g/ml). However, MECs for the echinocandin drugs ranged from 0.03-0.25, ?0.008-0.015, and ?0.015-0.03 ?g/ml for caspofungin, micafungin, and anidulafungin, respectively. A. lentulus is an emerging fungal pathogen in China, causing fatal disease, and clinicians as well as laboratories should be alert to their increasing presence.
Project description:Azoles are widely used for controlling fungal growth in both agricultural and medical settings. The target protein of azoles is CYP51, a lanosterol 14-?-demethylase involved in the biosynthesis of ergosterol. Recently, a novel azole resistance mechanism has arisen in pathogenic fungal species Aspergillus fumigatus. Resistant strains contain a 34-bp or 46-bp tandem repeat (TR) in the promoter of cyp51A, and have disseminated globally in a short period of time. In this study, we investigated whether an azole-resistant strain with a 46-bp TR (TR46/Y121F/T289A) could be sensitised to azoles by deletion of srbA, encoding a direct regulator of cyp51A. The loss of SrbA did not affect colony growth or conidia production, but decreased expression of cyp51A. The srbA deletion strain showed hyper-susceptibility to medical azoles as well as azole fungicides, while its sensitivity to non-azole fungicides was unchanged. This is the first demonstration that deletion of a regulator of cyp51A can sensitise an azole-resistant A. fumigatus strain. This finding may assist in the development of new drugs to help combat life-threatening azole-resistant fungal pathogens.
Project description:Rhizopus oryzae is the most prevalent causative agent of mucormycosis, an increasingly reported opportunistic fungal infection. These Mucorales are intrinsically resistant to Candida- and Aspergillus-active antifungal azole drugs, such as fluconazole (FLC) and voriconazole, respectively. Despite its importance, the molecular mechanisms of its intrinsic azole resistance have not been elucidated yet. The aim of this work was to establish if the Rhizopus oryzaeCYP51 genes are uniquely responsible for intrinsic voriconazole and fluconazole resistance in these fungal pathogens. Two CYP51 genes were identified in the R. oryzae genome. We classified them as CYP51A and CYP51B based on their sequence similarity with other known fungal CYP51 genes. Later, we obtained a chimeric Aspergillus fumigatus strain harboring a functional R. oryzae CYP51A gene expressed under the regulation of the wild-type A. fumigatusCYP51A promoter and terminator. The mutant was selected after transformation by using a novel procedure taking advantage of the FLC hypersusceptibility of the A. fumigatusCYP51A deletion mutant used as the recipient strain. The azole susceptibility patterns of the A. fumigatus transformants harboring R. oryzae CYP51A mimicked exactly the azole susceptibility patterns of this mucormycete. The data presented in this work demonstrate that the R. oryzae CYP51A coding sequence is uniquely responsible for the R. oryzae azole susceptibility patterns.
Project description:Successful treatment of aspergillosis caused by Aspergillus fumigatus is threatened by an increasing incidence of drug resistance. This situation is further complicated by the finding that strains resistant to azoles, the major antifungal drugs for aspergillosis, have been widely disseminated across the globe. To elucidate mechanisms underlying azole resistance, we identified a novel transcription factor that is required for normal azole resistance in Aspergillus fungi including A. fumigatus, Aspergillus oryzae, and Aspergillus nidulans. This fungal-specific Zn2-Cys6 type transcription factor AtrR was found to regulate expression of the genes related to ergosterol biosynthesis, including cyp51A that encodes a target protein of azoles. The atrR deletion mutant showed impaired growth under hypoxic conditions and attenuation of virulence in murine infection model for aspergillosis. These results were similar to the phenotypes for a mutant strain lacking SrbA that is also a direct regulator for the cyp51A gene. Notably, AtrR was responsible for the expression of cdr1B that encodes an ABC transporter related to azole resistance, whereas SrbA was not involved in the regulation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays indicated that AtrR directly bound both the cyp51A and cdr1B promoters. In the clinically isolated itraconazole resistant strain that harbors a mutant Cyp51A (G54E), deletion of the atrR gene resulted in a hypersensitivity to the azole drugs. Together, our results revealed that AtrR plays a pivotal role in a novel azole resistance mechanism by co-regulating the drug target (Cyp51A) and putative drug efflux pump (Cdr1B).
Project description:Fourteen Aspergillus fumigatus clinical isolates that exhibited a pattern of reduced susceptibility to triazole drugs were analyzed. The sequences of the cyp51A gene from all isolates showed the presence of a point mutation at t364a, which led to the substitution of leucine 98 for histidine (L98H), together with the presence of two copies of a 34-bp sequence in tandem in the promoter of the cyp51A gene. Quantitative expression analysis (real-time PCR) showed up to an eightfold increase in the level of expression of the cyp51A gene compared to that by the susceptible strain. Three PCR fragments of one azole-resistant strain (strain CM2627) that included the promoter with the tandem repeat and part of cyp51A with the t364a mutation or PCR fragments with only one of the modifications were used to replace the cyp51A gene of an azole drug-susceptible A. fumigatus wild-type strain (strain CM237). Only transformants which had incorporated the tandem repeat in the promoter of the cyp51A gene and the L98H amino acid substitution exhibited similarly reduced patterns of susceptibility to all triazole agents and similarly increased levels of cyp51A expression, confirming that the combination of both alterations was responsible for the azole-resistant phenotype.