JAMS Monthly Meeting Report 29th August 2012
Prepared by Mike Manefield
Though faced with a depleted audience owing to strong attendance of JAMS members at the 14th International Symposium on Microbial Ecology in Copenhagen, Denmark, speakers Dr Oliver Morton, Ms Jazmin Oszvar and Ms Zoe-Joy Newby gave three entertaining and informative presentations with JAMS trademark diversity of subject.
Oliver kicked off with confessions of a clinical microbiologist in his presentation entitled ‘Beware the mulch! Adaptation to its natural habitat makes Aspergillus fumigatus a formidable human pathogen’. The presentation illustrated violent interactions between germinating Aspergillus spores and human dendritic cells including a stunning transcriptomics analysis of the response of Aspergillus fumigatus to the presence of human immature dendritic cells over time.
Beware the mulch! Adaptation to its natural habitat makes Aspergillus fumigatus a formidable human pathogen.
The fungus Aspergillus fumigatus can be found in decaying organic matter such as compost. As an adaptable environmental microbe it can survive in a wide range of habitats including the lungs of birds and mammals. It has become the most important cause of morbidity and mortality in immunosuppressed patients undergoing stem cell transplantation. The success of A. fumigatus as a pathogen can be attributed to its ability to cope with environmental stresses that are similar to the conditions encountered by microbes in the human body. In particular the fungus can survive interactions with host immune cells such as dendritic cells. In this talk the interaction of the fungus with human dendritic cells will be explored along with the usefulness of protozoan models to examine the pathogenicity of A. fumigatus.