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1.  Blocking Hsp70 Enhances the Efficiency of Amphotericin B Treatment against Resistant Aspergillus terreus Strains 
The polyene antifungal amphotericin B (AmB) is widely used to treat life-threatening fungal infections. Even though AmB resistance is exceptionally rare in fungi, most Aspergillus terreus isolates exhibit an intrinsic resistance against the drug in vivo and in vitro. Heat shock proteins perform a fundamental protective role against a multitude of stress responses, thereby maintaining protein homeostasis in the organism. In this study, we elucidated the role of heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) family members and compared resistant and susceptible A. terreus clinical isolates. The upregulation of cytoplasmic Hsp70 members at the transcriptional as well as translational levels was significantly higher with AmB treatment than without AmB treatment, particularly in resistant A. terreus isolates, thereby indicating a role of Hsp70 proteins in the AmB response. We found that Hsp70 inhibitors considerably increased the susceptibility of resistant A. terreus isolates to AmB but exerted little impact on susceptible isolates. Also, in in vivo experiments, using the Galleria mellonella infection model, cotreatment of resistant A. terreus strains with AmB and the Hsp70 inhibitor pifithrin-μ resulted in significantly improved survival compared with that achieved with AmB alone. Our results point to an important mechanism of regulation of AmB resistance by Hsp70 family members in A. terreus and suggest novel drug targets for the treatment of infections caused by resistant fungal isolates.
PMCID: PMC4468683  PMID: 25870060
2.  New Insight into Amphotericin B Resistance in Aspergillus terreus 
Amphotericin B (AMB) is the predominant antifungal drug, but the mechanism of resistance is not well understood. We compared the in vivo virulence of an AMB-resistant Aspergillus terreus (ATR) isolate with that of an AMB-susceptible A. terreus isolate (ATS) using a murine model for disseminated aspergillosis. Furthermore, we analyzed the molecular basis of intrinsic AMB resistance in vitro by comparing the ergosterol content, cell-associated AMB levels, AMB-induced intracellular efflux, and prooxidant effects between ATR and ATS. Infection of immunosuppressed mice with ATS or ATR showed that the ATS strain was more lethal than the ATR strain. However, AMB treatment improved the outcome in ATS-infected mice while having no positive effect on the animals infected with ATR. The in vitro data demonstrated that ergosterol content is not the molecular basis for AMB resistance. ATR absorbed less AMB, discharged more intracellular compounds, and had better protection against oxidative damage than the susceptible strain. Our experiments showed that ergosterol content plays a minor role in intrinsic AMB resistance and is not directly associated with intracellular cell-associated AMB content. AMB might exert its antifungal activity by oxidative injury rather than by an increase in membrane permeation.
PMCID: PMC3623369  PMID: 23318794
3.  Interaction of 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) against Aspergillus spp. in vitro 
This study examined the direct interaction of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)) with Aspergillus species. Accumulation of 5-HT in aspergilli was investigated by immunofluorescence staining and laser confocal scanning microscopy. The influence of 5-HT on fungal ergosterol content, cell membrane integrity, fungal growth and hyphal elongation was determined. 5-HT was localised in the cytoplasm of Aspergillus spp., as 5-HT fluorescent signals appeared after 30 min at 4°C and in the presence of inhibitors of oxidative phosphorylation. 5-HT treatment of Aspergillus spp. significantly affected ergosterol synthesis, fungal cell membrane integrity and hyphal elongation (P < 0.05). 5-HT treatment for 4 h resulted in a lag of re-growth (post-antifungal effect). In conclusion, our findings suggest that 5-HT affects hyphal growth and diminishes fungal cell membrane integrity.
PMCID: PMC3010239  PMID: 17276041
Serotonin; Aspergillus spp.; Ergosterol; Platelets
4.  Potential Basis for Amphotericin B Resistance in Aspergillus terreus▿  
This study investigated the basis for intrinsic amphotericin B (AMB) resistance in Aspergillus terreus. The ergosterol content, cell wall composition, and lipid peroxidation level had no influence on AMB resistance. The level of catalase production in A. terreus was significantly higher than that in A. fumigatus (P < 0.05). This higher-level production may contribute to AMB resistance in A. terreus since oxidative damage has been implicated in AMB action.
PMCID: PMC2292529  PMID: 18268082

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