Copper utilization, regulation, and acquisition by aspergillus fumigatus

Nicholas Raffa, Nir Osherov, Nancy P. Keller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Copper is an essential micronutrient for the opportunistic human pathogen, Aspergillus fumigatus. Maintaining copper homeostasis is critical for survival and pathogenesis. Copper-responsive transcription factors, AceA and MacA, coordinate a complex network responsible for responding to copper in the environment and determining which response is necessary to maintain homeostasis. For example, A. fumigatus uses copper exporters to mitigate the toxic effects of copper while simultaneously encoding copper importers and small molecules to ensure proper supply of the metal for copper-dependent processes such a nitrogen acquisition and respiration. Small molecules called isocyanides recently found to be produced by A. fumigatus may bind copper and partake in copper homeostasis similarly to isocyanide copper chelators in bacteria. Considering that the host uses copper as a microbial toxin and copper availability fluctuates in various environmental niches, understanding how A. fumigatus maintains copper homeostasis will give insights into mechanisms that facilitate the development of invasive aspergillosis and its survival in nature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1980
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2 Apr 2019


  • Aspergillus fumigatus
  • Copper homeostasis
  • Secondary metabolites


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