Azole-resistance development; how the Aspergillus fumigatus lifecycle defines the potential for adaptation

Jianhua Zhang, Alfons J.M. Debets, Paul E. Verweij, Eveline Snelders*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


In order to successfully infect or colonize human hosts or survive changing environments, Aspergillus fumigatus needs to adapt through genetic changes or phenotypic plasticity. The genomic changes are based on the capacity of the fungus to produce genetic variation, followed by selection of the genotypes that are most fit to the new environment. Much scientific work has focused on the metabolic plasticity, biofilm formation or the particular genetic changes themselves leading to ad-aptation, such as antifungal resistance in the host. Recent scientific work has shown advances made in understanding the natural relevance of parasex and how both the asexual and sexual reproduction can lead to tandem repeat elongation in the target gene of the azoles: the cyp51A gene. In this review, we will explain how the fungus can generate genetic variation that can lead to adaptation. We will discuss recent advances that have been made in the understanding of the lifecycle of A. fumigatus to explain the differences observed in speed and type of mutations that are generated under different environments and how this can facilitate adaptation, such as azole-resistance selec-tion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number599
JournalJournal of Fungi
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2021


  • Adaptation
  • Aspergillus fumigatus
  • Azole resistance
  • Lifecycle
  • Mutation
  • Recombination


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