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Secretome of human bronchial epithelial cells in response to the fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus analyzed by differential in-gel electrophoresis.

  • A Fekkar
  • V Balloy
  • C Pionneau
  • C Marinach-Patrice
  • M Chignard
  • D Mazier
DOI: 10.1093/infdis/jis031


For years, the analysis of innate responses to the major mold pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus has been restricted to specialized cells, such as professional phagocytes. More recently, the contribution of the airway epithelial barrier has been assessed and studies have shown that it was able to sense and react to the Aspergillus infection, for example, by producing cytokines. To further explore the reaction of the respiratory epithelium to the fungus, we analyzed the proteome response of a human bronchial epithelial cell line to Aspergillus infection using difference gel electrophoresis. We studied the protein pattern of BEAS-2B cell culture supernatant after interaction of the cells with Aspergillus during a 15-hour coculture. We found formerly unknown aspects of bronchial cell behavior during Aspergillus infection: bronchial cells are able to develop both cellular defense mechanisms (ie, thioredoxin system activation) and immune reactions (ie, lysosomal degranulation and cathepsin activation) in response to the fungal aggression. Bronchial epithelial cells appear to be a more important effector of antifungal defense than expected. Degranulation of lysosomal enzymes that might be responsible for both fungal growth inhibition and host cell damage suggests that inductors/inhibitors of these pathways may be potential targets of therapeutic intervention.

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