Antagonism of the Azoles to Olorofim and Cross-Resistance Are Governed by Linked Transcriptional Networks in Aspergillus fumigatus

mBio. 2022 Oct 26:e0221522. doi: 10.1128/mbio.02215-22. Online ahead of print.


Aspergillosis, in its various manifestations, is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Very few classes of antifungal drugs have been approved for clinical use to treat these diseases and resistance to the first-line therapeutic class, the triazoles are increasing. A new class of antifungals that target pyrimidine biosynthesis, the orotomides, are currently in development with the first compound in this class, olorofim in late-stage clinical trials. In this study, we identified an antagonistic action of the triazoles on the action of olorofim. We showed that this antagonism was the result of an azole-induced upregulation of the pyrimidine biosynthesis pathway. Intriguingly, we showed that loss of function in the higher order transcription factor, HapB a member of the heterotrimeric HapB/C/E (CBC) complex or the regulator of nitrogen metabolic genes AreA, led to cross-resistance to both the azoles and olorofim, indicating that factors that govern resistance were under common regulatory control. However, the loss of azole-induced antagonism required decoupling of the pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway in a manner independent of the action of a single transcription factor. Our study provided evidence for complex transcriptional crosstalk between the pyrimidine and ergosterol biosynthetic pathways. IMPORTANCE Aspergillosis is a spectrum of diseases and a major cause of morbidity and mortality. To treat these diseases, there are a few classes of antifungal drugs approved for clinical use. Resistance to the first line treatment, the azoles, is increasing. The first antifungal, olorofim, which is in the novel class of orotomides, is currently in development. Here, we showed an antagonistic effect between the azoles and olorofim, which was a result of dysregulation of the pyrimidine pathway, the target of olorofim, and the ergosterol biosynthesis pathway, the target of the azoles.

PMID:36286521 | DOI:10.1128/mbio.02215-22

Source: Industry