The antifungal protein from Aspergillus giganteus causes membrane permeabilization

American Society for Microbiology
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Journal Article
Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy, 2003, 47 (2), pp. 588 - 593
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We investigated the inhibitory effects of the antifungal protein (AFP) from Aspergillus giganteus on the growth of several filamentous fungi. For this purpose, the MICs of AFP were determined and ranged from 0.1 ?g/ml for Fusarium oxysporum to 200 ?g/ml for Aspergillus nidulans. The antifungal activity of AFP was diminished in the presence of cations. We were able to show that incubation of AFP-sensitive fungi with the protein resulted in membrane permeabilization using an assay based on the uptake of the fluorescent dye SYTOX Green. No permeabilization by AFP could be detected at concentrations below the species-specific MIC. Furthermore, AFP-induced permeabilization could readily be detected after 5 min of incubation. Localization experiments with fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled AFP and immunofluorescence staining with an AFP-specific antibody supported the observation that the protein interacts with membranes. After treatment of AFP-sensitive fungi with AFP, the protein was localized at the plasma membrane, whereas it was mainly detected inside the cells of AFP-resistant fungi. We conclude from these data that the growth-inhibitory effect of AFP is caused by permeabilization of the fungal membranes.
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