The ergosterol biosynthesis pathway, transporter genes, and azole resistance in Aspergillus fumigatus

M. E. Da Silva Ferreira, A. L. Colombo, I. Paulsen, Q. Ren, J. Wortman, J. Huang, M. H S Goldman, G. H. Goldman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

102 Citations (Scopus)


The continuous use of triazoles can result in the development of drug resistance. Azole-resistant clinical isolates, spontaneous and induced mutants of Aspergillus fumigatus have been documented. The azoles block the ergosterol biosynthesis pathway by inhibiting the enzyme 14-α-demethylase, product of the CYP51. Fungal azole resistance involves both amino acid changes in the target site that alter drug-target interactions and those that decrease net azole accumulation. The reduced intracellular accumulation has also been correlated with overexpression of multidrug resistance (MDR) efflux transporter genes of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) and the major facilitator superfamily (MFS) classes. About 20 genes are involved in the A. fumigatus ergosterol biosynthesis pathway. There are several duplicated genes in this pathway. Interestingly, erg3 and erg11 showed two copies in A. fumigatus. In general, Aspergillus spp. have proportionally more MFS transporter encoding genes than Saccharomyces cerevisiae, S. pombe, and Neurospora crassa. The drug H+ (12 and 14 spanners) sub-families are also proportionally greater than in the other species. Although the numbers of ABC transporter encoding genes are comparable, again the Aspergillus spp. have more ABC transporters related to multidrug permease than the other fungal species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S313-S319
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Mycology
Issue numberSUPPL.1
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

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