Physiological background of the remarkably high Cd2+ tolerance of the Aspergillus fumigatus Af293 strain

Vivien Kurucz, Beáta Kiss, Zsuzsa M. Szigeti, Gábor Nagy, Erzsébet Orosz, Zoltán Hargitai, Sándor Harangi, Ad Wiebenga, Ronald P. de Vries, István Pócsi, Tamás Emri

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The physiological background of the unusually high cadmium tolerance (MIC50 > 2 mM) of Aspergillus fumigatus Af293 was investigated. The cadmium tolerance of the tested environmental and clinical A. fumigatus strains varied over a wide range (0.25 mM < MIC50 < 1 mM). Only the Af293 strain showed a MIC50 value of >2 mM, and this phenotype was accompanied by increased in vivo virulence in mice. A strong correlation was found between the cadmium tolerance and the transcription of the pcaA gene, which encodes a putative cadmium efflux pump. The cadmium tolerance also correlated with the iron tolerance and the extracellular siderophore production of the strains. In addition to these findings, Af293 did not show the synergism between iron toxicity and cadmium toxicity that was detected in the other strains. Based on these results, we suggest that the primary function of PcaA should be acting as a ferrous iron pump and protecting cells from iron overload. Nevertheless, the heterologous expression of pcaA may represent an attractive strain improvement strategy to construct fungal strains for use in biosorption or biomining processes or to prevent accumulation of this toxic metal in crops.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)957-967
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of basic microbiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • cadmium toxicity
  • iron metabolism
  • oxidative stress
  • pca1 efflux pump
  • siderophore production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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    Kurucz, V., Kiss, B., Szigeti, Z. M., Nagy, G., Orosz, E., Hargitai, Z., Harangi, S., Wiebenga, A., de Vries, R. P., Pócsi, I., & Emri, T. (2018). Physiological background of the remarkably high Cd2+ tolerance of the Aspergillus fumigatus Af293 strain. Journal of basic microbiology, 58(11), 957-967.