From spores to germ tubes

Friday 15 September 2023, 12:30 pm
PhD student
T.J.H. Baltussen MSc.
prof. dr. P.E. Verweij
dr. W.J.G. Melchers

Aspergillus fumigatus is the main human fungal pathogen causing aspergillosis. For this fungus, azoles are the most commonly used antifungal drugs for treatment of aspergillosis. However, the prevalence of azole resistance is alarmingly increasing and linked with elevated mortality. Germination of spores is crucial within its asexual life cycle and plays a critical role during the infection in the human host. Precluding germination could be a promising strategy considering the role of germination in Aspergillus species pathogenicity. In this dissertation, genes expressed during germination of A. fumigatus spores were identified. Next, a functional analysis of one of the identified genes was performed. A novel role for SltA in appropriate maintenance of dormancy, germination, and hyphal development was identified. Three genes regulated by SltA were also essential for appropriate germination of spores. With an expanding knowledge of germination and its different morphotypes, more advances can be made toward potential anti-germination targets for therapy.

Tim (1992) obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Biology at the Utrecht University in 2015. In 2018 he obtained his Master’s degree in Microbiology at the Radboud University, after which he started with his PhD research as part of the Mycology Group within the Department of Medical Microbiology of Radboudumc. In October 2023 he will start working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Comparative Genomics group of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Barcelona.