Murine Model for Fusarium oxysporum Invasive Fusariosis Reveals Organ-Specific Structures for Dissemination and Long-Term Persistence
Di Pietro, Antonio
Gow, Neil A. R.
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The soil-borne plant pathogen Fusarium oxysporum causes life-threatening invasive fusariosis in immunocompromised individuals. The mechanism of infection in mammalian hosts is largely unknown. In the present study we show that the symptoms of disseminated fusariosis caused by F. oxysporum in immunosuppressed mice are remarkably similar to those reported in humans. Distinct fungal structures were observed inside the host, depending on the infected organ. Invasive hyphae developed in the heart and kidney, causing massive colonization of the organs. By contrast, chlamydospore-like survival structures were found in lung, spleen and liver. Systemically infected mice also developed skin and eye infections, as well as thrombosis and necrosis in the tail. We further show that F. oxysporum can disseminate and persist in the organs of immunocompetent animals, and that these latent infections can lead to lethal systemic fusariosis if the host is later subjected to immunosuppressive treatment.