Analysis of the cellular Aspergillus fumigatus proteome that reacts with sera from rabbits developing an acquired immunity after experimental aspergillosis



Invasive aspergillosis caused by the mould Aspergillus fumigatus is a life-threatening lung or systemic infection in the immunocompromised host. In this study, a protective immune response against the disease was achieved in two infected rabbits, and the cellular fungal antigenic proteome that mediated such a response was investigated against the background of vaccine development efforts. Altogether, 59 different Aspergillus proteins were found becoming reactive in the course of the developing immunity, many of which are described in this context for the first time. These included proteins related to oxidative stress management, glycolysis and other metabolic pathways. As oxidative stress is suspected to be one of the major defense mechanisms, the results may indicate at least in part a continuous response of the pathogen to evade the host's immune system. In addition, proteins with suspected cell surface association or crucial function for fungal cell development were identified. As these antigens are newly recognized during the process of the developing immunoprotection, they may not only represent valuable infection markers but also importantly broaden the list of possible vaccine candidates.