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Background: The internalization of Aspergillus fumigatus into alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) is tightly controlled by host cellular actin dynamics, which require close modulation of the ADF (actin depolymerizing factor)/cofilin family. However, the role of cofilin in A. fumigatus internalization into AECs remains unclear. Results: Here, we demonstrated that germinated A. fumigatus conidia were able to induce phosphorylation of cofilin in A549 cells during the early stage of internalization. The modulation of cofilin activity by overexpression, knockdown, or mutation of the cofilin gene in A549 cells decreased the efficacy of A. fumigatus internalization. Reducing the phosphorylation status of cofilin with BMS-5 (LIM kinase inhibitor) or overexpression of the slingshot phosphatases also impeded A. fumigatus internalization. Both the C. botulimun C3 transferase (a specific RhoA inhibitor) and Y27632 (a specific ROCK inhibitor) reduced the internalization of A. fumigatus and the level of phosphorylated cofilin. β-1,3-glucan (the major component of the conidial cell wall) and its host cell receptor dectin-1 did not seem to be associated with cofilin phosphorylation during A. fumigatus infection. Conclusion: These results indicated that cofilin might be involved in the modulation of A. fumigatus internalization into type II alveolar epithelial cells through the RhoA-ROCK-LIM kinase pathway.
Bao, Z., Han, X., Chen, F., Jia, X., Zhao, J., Zhang, C., … Han, L. (2015). Evidence for the involvement of cofilin in Aspergillus fumigatus internalization into type II alveolar epithelial cells. BMC Microbiology, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12866-015-0500-y