Microorganisms. 2021 Feb 19;9(2):435. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms9020435.
The immunocompromised airways are susceptible to infections caused by a range of pathogens which increases the opportunity for polymicrobial interactions to occur. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are the predominant causes of pulmonary infection for individuals with respiratory disorders such as cystic fibrosis (CF). The spore-forming fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, is most frequently isolated with P. aeruginosa, and co-infection results in poor outcomes for patients. It is therefore clinically important to understand how these pathogens interact with each other and how such interactions may contribute to disease progression so that appropriate therapeutic strategies may be developed. Despite its persistence in the airways throughout the life of a patient, A. fumigatus rarely becomes the dominant pathogen. In vitro interaction studies have revealed remarkable insights into the molecular mechanisms that drive agonistic and antagonistic interactions that occur between A. fumigatus and pulmonary bacterial pathogens such as P. aeruginosa. Crucially, these studies demonstrate that although bacteria may predominate in a competitive environment, A. fumigatus has the capacity to persist and contribute to disease.