New publication: Genome-scale metabolic modeling and how Aspergillus fumigatus shapes the lung microbiome

| by Ana Depetris Chauvin

Workflow for strain-specific GEM generation, data acquisition to translational implications.

MBD strikes again…in Nature Communication! We are very happy to share that our research work entitled “Genome-scale metabolic modeling of Aspergillus fumigatus strains reveals growth dependencies on the lung microbiome” has been accepted for publication.

Aspergillus fumigatus, a common mold, can sometimes invade the lung and pose a serious threat to immunocompromised patients or those with pulmonary diseases such as cystic fibrosis. How A. fumigatus, a species with remarkable genetic diversity, copes with external stresses or access nutrients in the challenging environment of the human lung is still largely unknown.

To shed light on this matter, we generated Genome-scale metabolic modeling of 252 different strains of A. fumigatus (from soil and hospital samples), studied the lung microbiome of cystic patients pre and post-A. fumigatus colonization, and simulated fungal-lung microbiome interactions.

Our data and simulations suggest that the fungus shapes the lung microbiome for its benefit. In particular, aromatic amino acids provided by lung bacteria might have beneficial growth implications for A. fumigatus in the context of cystic fibrosis.

The study was a joint great effort of first authors Mohammad Mirhakkak and Xiuqiang Chen led by Prof. Gianni Panagiotou. In addition, MBD members Yueqiong NI, Tongta Sae-Ong, Lin-Lin Xu, Sascha Schäuble, ex-MBD member Amelia Barber (now Junior Research Group leader at FSU), HKI collaborators from Oliver Kurzai and Axel Brakhage’s research groups, and external collaborators contributed to the study. We are very grateful to all our collaborators and funding sources from the German agencies DFG and BMBF who may this work possible.

Original Publication

Mirhakkak MH*, Chen X*, Heinekamp T, Sae-Ong T, Xu LL, Ni Y, Kurzai O, Barber AE, Brakhage AA, Boutin S, Schäuble S#, Panagiotou G (2023)# Genome-scale Metabolic modeling of Aspergillus fumigatus strains reveals growth dependencies on the lung microbiome. Nat Commun 14(1), 4369.