1887

Abstract

Infection by , which causes the life-threatening disease invasive aspergillosis, begins with the inhalation of conidia that adhere to and germinate in the lung. Previous studies have shown that conidia express high levels of the negatively charged 9-carbon sugar sialic acid, and that sialic acid appears to mediate the binding of conidia to basal lamina proteins. However, despite the ability of sialic acid to inhibit adherence of conidia, the exact mechanism by which this binding occurs remains unresolved. Utilizing various free sialic acids and other carbohydrates, sialic acid derivatives, sialoglycoconjugates, glycoproteins, -keto acid related compounds and amino acids we have found that the binding of conidia to type IV collagen and fibrinogen was inhibited by (i) glycoproteins (in a sialic acid-independent manner), and (ii) free sialic acids, glucuronic acid and -keto acid related compounds. However, inhibition by the latter was found to be the result of a shift in pH from neutral (pH 7.4) to acidic (less than pH 4.6) induced by the relatively high concentrations of free sialic acids, glucuronic acid and -keto acid related compounds used in the binding assays. This suggests that previous reports describing inhibition of conidia binding by free sialic acid may actually be due to a pH shift similar to that shown here. As previously reported, we found that conidia express only -acetylneuraminic acid, the most common sialic acid found in nature. However, appears to do so by an alternative mechanism to that seen in other organisms. We report here that (i) does not incorporate sialic acid obtained from the environment, (ii) does not synthesize and incorporate sialic acid from exogenous -acetylmannosamine, and (iii) lacks homologues of known sialic acid biosynthesizing enzymes.

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2009-09-01
2019-10-17
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