Pathogenesis of Aspergillus fumigatus in invasive aspergillosis
Aspergillus species are globally ubiquitous saprophytes found in a variety of ecological niches. Almost 200 species of aspergilli have been identified, less than 20 of which are known to cause human disease. Among them, Aspergillus fumigatus is the most prevalent and is largely responsible for the increased incidence of invasive aspergillosis (IA) in the immunocompromised patient population. IA is a devastating illness, with mortality rates in some patient groups reaching as high as 90%. Studies identifying and assessing the roles of specific factors of A. fumigatus that contribute to the pathogenesis of IA have traditionally focused on single-gene deletion and mutant characterization. In combination with recent large-scale approaches analyzing global fungal responses to distinct environmental or host conditions, these studies have identified many factors that contribute to the overall pathogenic potential of A. fumigatus. Here, we provide an overview of the significant findings regarding A. fumigatus pathogenesis as it pertains to invasive disease.