Lung colonisation by Aspergillus fumigatus is controlled by ZNF77 gene variant
The National Aspergillosis Centre is part of the Manchester Fungal Infection Group (MFIG) who have just published an important paper in the very prestigious Nature Communications journal.
Sara Gago in Paul Bowyer’s lab has characterised a mutation carried by people that researchers have found make their airways stickier, thus enabling Aspergillus spores to stick and grow. The implications for infection (ABPA) are pretty clear and the group have already discovered that this mutation is common in people with ABPA (28% of patients in this study had this mutation). This leads us straight to thinking about screening out people who are prone to infection as they carry this gene mutation. We can then pay special attention to prevent them getting ABPA. What this means for people who already have ABPA is less clear, but certainly suggests another target for treatment.