Interaction of A. fumigatus with human leukocytes
Aspergillus fumigatus is an opportunistic human pathogenic fungus and the major cause of invasive aspergillosis in immunocompromised patients. Our study focuses on the characterization of A. fumigatus regarding its interaction with human leukocytes. It has been shown that A. fumigatus conidia can manipulate innate immune cells after being phagocytosed but the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood, yet. A. fumigatus mutant strains with defects in cell surface-associated molecules as well as mutants defective in production of potentially cytotoxic secondary metabolites will be tested to address the roles of these molecules in the host – pathogen interactions such as recognition or attachment, virulence and immune evasion. The aim of our research is to promote better understanding of the mechanisms of fungal invasion and improved prophylaxis and therapy in immunocompromised leukemia and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation patients.