Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 37166481
Link to DOI – 10.1007/s00253-023-12559-4
Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 2023 Jun; 107(12): 4025-4040
Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus fumigatus are important human pathogens that can infect the lung and cornea. During infection, Aspergillus dormant conidia are the primary morphotype that comes in contact with the host. As the conidial surface-associated proteins (CSPs) and the extracellular proteins during the early stages of growth play a crucial role in establishing infection, we profiled and compared these proteins between a clinical strain of A. flavus and a clinical strain of A. fumigatus. We identified nearly 100 CSPs in both Aspergillus, and these non-covalently associated surface proteins were able to stimulate the neutrophils to secrete interleukin IL-8. Mass spectrometry analysis identified more than 200 proteins in the extracellular space during the early stages of conidial growth and germination (early exoproteome). The conidial surface proteins and the early exoproteome of A. fumigatus were enriched with immunoreactive proteins and those with pathogenicity-related functions while that of the A. flavus were primarily enzymes involved in cell wall reorganization and binding. Comparative proteome analysis of the CSPs and the early exoproteome between A. flavus and A. fumigatus enabled the identification of a common core proteome and potential species-specific signature proteins. Transcript analysis of selected proteins indicate that the transcript-protein level correlation does not exist for all proteins and might depend on factors such as membrane-anchor signals and protein half-life. The probable signature proteins of A. flavus and A. fumigatus identified in this study can serve as potential candidates for developing species-specific diagnostic tests. KEY POINTS: • CSPs and exoproteins could differentiate A. flavus and A. fumigatus. • A. fumigatus conidial surface harbored more antigenic proteins than A. flavus. • Identified species-specific signature proteins of A. flavus and A. fumigatus.