Fungal Genet Biol. 2022 May 12:103702. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2022.103702. Online ahead of print.
Aspergillus fumigatus is the most important airborne fungal pathogen and allergen of humans causing high morbidity and mortality worldwide. The factors that govern pathogenicity of this organism are multi-factorial and are poorly understood. Molecular tools to dissect the mechanisms of pathogenicity in A. fumigatus have improved significantly over the last 20 years however many procedures have not been standardised for A. fumigatus. Here, we present a new genomic safe-haven locus at the site of an inactivated transposon, named SH-aft4, which can be used to insert DNA sequences in the genome of this fungus without impacting its phenotype. We show that we are able to effectively express a transgene construct from the SH-aft4 and that natural regulation of promoter function is conserved at this site. Furthermore, the SH-aft4 locus is highly conserved in the genome of a wide range of clinical and environmental isolates including the isolates commonly used by many laboratories CEA10, Af293 and ATCC46645, allowing a wide range of isolates to be manipulated. Our results show that the aft4 locus can serve as a site for integration of a wide range of genetic constructs to aid functional genomics studies of this important human fungal pathogen.