Aspergillus fumigatus is a ubiquitous fungus that plays an important role in carbon and nitrogen recycling in nature by degrading organic biomass. It is also a fungus that can cause several diseases in humans ranging from allergic conditions to acute invasive aspergillosis. To survive and thrive, A. fumigatus needs to rapidly adapt to these environments that often entail various challenges. Genetic adaptations by mutation and recombination can be defined as the acquisition of heritable modifications in an organism through natural selection, which enable it to survive and reproduce in the prevailing or new environment. One example of this adaptive process is the development of azole resistance. Triazoles have become the cornerstone of medical treatment of aspergillus-related diseases. Although triazole resistance can develop during patient therapy, another route of resistance selection in A. fumigatus can be through exposure to azole fungicides in the environment. Using the case of triazole resistance development, we show that the process of reproduction, sexual, parasexual, or asexual, is crucial for the adaptive potential of A. fumigatus. In this study we describe the different life cycles in A. fumigatus and their characteristics and probability of occurring in the human host or in the environment.
Full conference title:
- Asperfest 14 (2017)