Uptake of the Siderophore Triacetylfusarinine C, but Not Fusarinine C, Is Crucial for Virulence of Aspergillus fumigatus

Mario Aguiar, Thomas Orasch, Yana Shadkchan, Patricia Caballero, Joachim Pfister, Luis Enrique Sastré-Velásquez, Fabio Gsaller, Clemens Decristoforo, Nir Osherov, Hubertus Haas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Siderophores play an important role in fungal virulence, serving as trackers for in vivo imaging and as biomarkers of fungal infections. However, siderophore uptake is only partially characterized. As the major cause of aspergillosis, Aspergillus fumigatus is one of the most common airborne fungal pathogens of humans. Here, we demonstrate that this mold species mediates the uptake of iron chelated by the secreted siderophores triacetylfusarinine C (TAFC) and fusarinine C by the major facilitator-type transporters MirB and MirD, respectively. In a murine aspergillosis model, MirB but not MirD was found to be crucial for virulence, indicating that TAFC-mediated uptake plays a dominant role during infection. In the absence of MirB, TAFC becomes inhibitory by decreasing iron availability because the mutant is not able to recognize iron that is chelated by TAFC. MirB-mediated transport was found to tolerate the conjugation of fluorescein isothiocyanate to triacetylfusarinine C, which might aid in the development of siderophore-based antifungals in a Trojan horse approach, particularly as the role of MirB in pathogenicity restrains its mutational inactivation. Taken together, this study identified the first eukaryotic siderophore transporter that is crucial for virulence and elucidated its translational potential as well as its evolutionary conservation.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2022


FundersFunder number
Austrian Science FundFWF ZFP30924, W1253


    • Aspergillus fumigatus
    • fungi
    • iron
    • molds
    • siderophore
    • uptake
    • virulence


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