Fungal iron homeostasis with a focus on Aspergillus fumigatus.
To maintain iron homeostasis, fungi have to balance iron acquisition, storage, and utilization to ensure sufficient supply and to avoid toxic excess of this essential trace element. As pathogens usually encounter iron limitation in the host niche, this metal plays a particular role during virulence. Siderophores are iron-chelators synthesized by most, but not all fungal species to sequester iron extra- and intracellularly. In recent years, the facultative human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus has become a model for fungal iron homeostasis of siderophore-producing fungal species. This article summarizes the knowledge on fungal iron homeostasis and its links to virulence with a focus on A. fumigatus. It covers mechanisms for iron acquisition, storage, and detoxification, as well as the modes of transcriptional iron regulation and iron sensing in A. fumigatus in comparison to other fungal species. Moreover, potential translational applications of the peculiarities of fungal iron metabolism for treatment and diagnosis of fungal infections is addressed.