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Summary

Aspergillus fumigatus is currently the major air-borne fungal pathogen. It is able to cause several forms of disease in humans of which invasive aspergillosis is the most severe. The high mortality rate of this disease prompts increased efforts to disclose the basic principles of A. fumigatus pathogenicity. According to our current knowledge, A. fumigatus lacks sophisticated virulence traits; it is nevertheless able to establish infection due to its robustness and ability to adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions. This review focuses on two crucial aspects of invasive aspergillosis: (i) properties of A. fumigatus that are relevant during infection and may distinguish it from non-pathogenic Aspergillus species and (ii) interactions of the pathogen with the innate and adaptive immune systems.