Aspergillus Newsletter
July 2014

Overcoming antibiotic resistance with Aspergillus

We pointed out last month that the World Health Organisation has published a detailed document showing the rise of resistance of microbes to the current range of antimicrobial drugs. This month we have found fresh hope that changes can be made to combat antibiotic resistance, and the answer comes from Aspergillus versicolor. The metabolite Aspergillomarasmine A (AMA) has been found to inhibit β-lactamase (a bacterial enzyme that deactivates several antibiotics and causes widespread resistance)  and to consequently 're-activate' several antibiotics that were in common use.
The authors demonstrated in mice that treatment with a combination of AMA and antibiotic has therapeutic potential for the treatment of gram-negative pathogens.
News
 
 
Armstead et. al. have published findings that nearly 50% of adults with cystic fibrosis have aspergillosis in the form of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis or aspergillus bronchitis. This equates to 17,663 cases worldwide across 30 countries where CF data is collected. 
ABPA cases reported compared with predicted rates vary from 101%(France) to 14%(Greece), strongly suggesting significant underdiagnosis in many countries. Cases of aspergillus bronchitis are estimated to be 10 988 globally.
 
 
Newly published diagnostic criteria and methods should allow better recognition of aspergillosis in CF, leading to better treatment for a greater number of CF patients and greater disease control. 
 
Groll et. al have published a new set of guidelines for paediatric patients on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of invasive fungal diseases in patients with cancer or allogeneic haemopoietic stem cell transplantation. 
 
Manchester has been appointed the European City of Science for 2016 by the Euroscience Open Forum. This is the largest general science conference in Europe and acknowledges Manchester's foremost standing in the sciences throughout the world.
 
Immunology of Fungal Infection: Gordon Research Seminar on 17 - 18th January 2015.
Articles
NOTE access to all articles now requires registration
 
Early detection of invasive aspergillosis is absolutely required for an efficient therapy of this fungal infection. The identification of fungal volatiles in patient breath can be an alternative for the detection of Aspergillus fumigatus that still remains problematic. In this work, we investigated the production of volatile compounds (VOC) by A. fumigatus in vitro and showed that the volatile production depends on the nutritional environment.
 
There is no question that biocontrol strains are able to reduce the size of the populations of aflatoxin-producing strains but the available data suggests that at most only a four- to five-fold reduction in aflatoxin contamination is achieved. There are many challenges facing this strategy that are both short term and long term. First, the population biology of A. flavus is not well understood due in part to A. flavus's diversity, its ability to form heterokaryotic reproductive forms, and its unknown ability to survive for prolonged periods after application. Second, biocontrol strains must be selected that are suitable for the environment, the type of crop, and the soil into which they will be introduced. Third, there is a need to guard against inadvertent introduction of A. flavus strains that could impose an additional burden on food safety and food quality, and fourth, with global warming and resultant changes in the soil nutrients and concomitant microbiome populations, the biocontrol strategy must be sufficiently flexible to adapt to such changes.
 
Pulmonary aspergillosis is one of the major complications of interstitial pneumonia and its prognosis is poor. Therefore, providing careful monitoring and proper treatment is extremely important.
 
Aspergillus terreus is one of the most harmful filamentous fungal pathogen of humans, animals and plants. Recently, researchers have discovered that A. terreus can cause foliar blight disease in potato (Solanum tuberosum L.). We used light and scanning electron microscopy, and performed proteomics analysis in an attempt to dissect the invasion process of  A. terreus in this important crop. 
 
Adequate prophylaxis for IFD might be required for patients with primary refractoriness, repeated therapies, or therapies which cause neutropenia. Furthermore, the IFD scoring model of this study underscores the need to account for disease and host factors in determining administration of adequate prophylaxis in salvage treatments for malignant lymphoma.
 
Reviews/Overviews
The ability of fungi to survive in every known biotope, both natural and man-made, relies in part on their ability to use a wide range of carbon sources. Fungi degrade polymeric carbon sources present in the environment (polysaccharides, proteins, and lignins) to use the monomeric components as nutrients. However, the available carbon sources vary strongly in nature, both between biotopes and in time. The degradation of polymeric carbon sources is mediated through the production of a broad range of enzymes, the production of which is tightly controlled by a network of regulators and linked to the activation of catabolic pathways to convert the released monomers. This review summarizes the knowledge of Aspergillus regulators involved in plant biomass utilization.
 
Antifungal interventions in ABPA improved patient and disease outcomes in both asthma and cystic fibrosis. However, the recommendation for their use is weak and clinicians should therefore weigh up desirable and undesirable effects on a case-by-case basis. More studies with a better methodology are needed, especially in cystic fibrosis, to increase confidence in the effects of antifungal treatments in ABPA. 
 
We review the most important genetic, immunological, and pharmacological factors that influence human susceptibility to Aspergillus and discuss the potential role of immune biomarkers in risk stratification strategies that facilitate individualized antifungal therapy/prophylaxis in immunocompromised hosts.
 
The newly adopted International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi and plants (ICN) demands that dimorphic fungi, in particular those with both sexual and asexual names, now bear a single name. Although priority is no longer associated with the mode of reproduction, the ICN requires justification for choosing an asexual name over an existing sexual one. The phylogenetic approach that made dual nomenclature for fungi obsolete can be used to help choose names for large groups of fungi that are best known by asexual names. Here we apply this approach to one of the largest and most diverse asexual genera, the genus Aspergillus
Damp & Health
Indoor Environment Professionals
Join our LinkedIn discussion group on Damp Building and Human Health.
 
Living in a damp home?
Please check out our LinkedIn group: Is my damp home making me ill? and read our new website pages
 
Conference Deadlines
GRS (Gordon Research Seminar) Immunology of Fungal Infections Deadline for registration December 20th 2014.
 
ICAR 2015 (International Conference on Antimicrobal Research) Deadline for registration: 26th August 2014.
 
IDWeek 2014 Discounted rate for registration 25th July 2014; General 29th August 2014.
 
ICAAC 2014 Discounted registration deadline 26th July 2014
 
IMC 2014 Late registration deadline 25th August 2014
 
BSI - Inflammation and disease Registration deadline 31st August 2014; Abstract submission deadline 31st July 2014
 
Infocus 2014 Early registration deadline 31st August 2014
Courses
Latin American Medical Mycology Conference (Infocus 2014) will take place in Curitiba - Paraná, Brazil on the 16th - 18th October 2014.
 
The next CBS Course in Medical Mycology will take place in Utrecht, The Netherlands, 17-28 November, 2014.
 
Mechanisms in Fungal Infections: From the Science to the Clinical Setting Online course, Start approximately July 2014. Mechanisms in Fungal Infections is a blended, e-learning resource with CME content developed by an expert, multidisciplinary group of specialists.
 
Medical Mycology CPD courses (3rd March 2013 - February 2015) Four (three-week) units of the University of Manchester Medical Mycology MSc programme are now available as Continuing Professional Development courses.
  • Fungal disease (Nov-Dec 2014)
  • Molecular Diagnostics (Jan-Feb 2015)
  • Medical Mycology Laboratory Investigations (Feb 2015)
  • Antifungals and Antifungal Therapy (3rd Mar-21st Mar 2015)
 
Veterinary Mycology in Practice ISHAM_VMWG-ESCVP Postgraduate Technical Workshop October 3rd 2014, Milan, Italy.<
 
Allergy Academy, King's College, London. Online resources for allergy education. Intended for all audiences including doctors & patients.
Veterinary
The aim of the study was to determine the in vitro susceptibility of 85 Aspergillus fumigatus strains isolated from domestic geese and from their environment to amphotericin B, clotrimazole, voriconazole, itraconazole, enilconazole, miconazole, ketoconazole, and tioconazole.
 
The disk diffusion method showed that the all of the strains, irrespective of source, were resistant to miconazole. Resistance to the remaining azoles and amphotericin B ranged from 90.6 to 70.6%. Complete susceptibility was noted for voriconazole and enilconazole.
 
A correlation was noted between the susceptibility of the strains and their source. The highest percentage of resistant strains was noted in isolates from the lungs (100% for amphotericin B and clotrimazole and 35.7% for itraconazole).
 
Veterinary Mycology in Practice ISHAM_VMWG-ESCVP Postgraduate Technical Workshop October 3rd 2014, Milan, Italy.
Attention Clinicians & Scientists
Case Histories Database 243 aspergillosis cases already recorded and you can add yours too.
 
 
The Joint Genome Institute (JGI) welcomes nominations of genomes to be sequences in its Community Sequencing Program. For procedures how to submit a proposal, see here. The current fungal program can be found here.
 
You may like to contribute to the following collaborative groups who are collecting clinical data on these rare infections:
 
Fungiscope is a global rare fungal infection registry, a working group of ISHAM.
 
International Pediatric Fungal Network (PFN) collating information on treatment of pediatric patients
 
AspICU2 is a web-based multicentre observational survey to assess the burden of aspergillosis and other fungi in critically ill patients.
Patients
Patients and carers newsletter - please click here to access
 
NOTE: support for patient organisations in the UK is available from Pfizer
 
Allergy Academy, King's College, London. Online resources for allergy education. Intended for all audiences including doctors & patients.
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Also of interest...
News blog:

 
 
 
Jobs:
 
 
 
Antifungal drug interactions
 
Antifungal drugs can interact strongly with other medications. Check your medications using our APP
 
 
Look out for our App in iTunes and Android (search for 'antifungal interactions).
 
Interactions with 529 prescription drugs are searchable, 1991 interactions listed, 381 severe.
Conferences:
 
Books:

Biology and Ecology of Aspergillus flavus Group Fungi on Food Grains by Chourasia Hirendra Kumar and Sah Prakash Kumar (18 Jun 2014)
 
Oxford Handbook of Respiratory Medicine (Oxford Medical Handbooks) by Stephen Chapman, Grace Robinson, John Stradling and Sophie West (Jul 2014)
 
Theses:
 
 
 
 
Adaptive resistance mechanisms of Aspergillus fumigatus biofilms (2013) by Rajendran, Ranjith - free download
Clinical Trials (38 Recruiting):
 
Case reports:
There are 243 aspergillosis cases reported here
 
 
 
 
Research & Supportive Grants:
 
Gilead UK and Ireland Fellowship Programme (cycle closes end of May 2014)
 
 
Lab protocols:
 
Networking:
 
Fungal Infection Trust, PO Box 482, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 9AR, UK,www.fungalinfectiontrust.org.uk