Scientists discovered a pathway by which the Aspergillus fungi stimulates the body’s innate immune system. For instance, there were many questions regarding inflammasome activation, which was the sentinel of the immune system. So far, we know that the fungi activate the inflammasomes, but the mechanism of how it activates remains debatable.
Inflammasome and fungi
Inflammasomes are cytosolic multiprotein oligomers of the innate immune system responsible for the activation of inflammatory responses. Also, activation of this structure promotes proteolytic cleavage and also secretes other cytokines needed for inflammation.
The researchers analyzed the pathogen-associated molecular pattern, which can potentiate the inflammatory cytokines. Notably, they identified a compound galactosaminogalactan (GAG) in Aspergillus fumigatus, that could over-activate the inflammatory sensor NLRP-3. This protein further activates the inflammasome reaction within the cell.
Therefore, GAG present in the fungi plays an important role in activating the inflammasome. Fungi that lack GAG doesn’t seem to stimulate the inflammatory response. Inflammasome activation is one of the important steps inside the body to get rid off of the pathogen. And so, it is protective in nature.
Scientists also showed that fungi without GAG were more virulent in mice than the fungi which mediate via inflammasomes. In conclusion, this study might indicate to develop purified GAG to promote immunity, and thus helps to prevent infections.
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Source: Medical Xpress