In vitro model to study fungal lung colonisation in human
Researchers from the University of Manchester have shown that human cell lines can be used to study lung colonisation by the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. Exposure to Aspergillus fumigatus in the environment is constant but the fungus is normally cleared from the lungs. however, patients with asthma or an immune defect, can often have difficulty clearing the pathogen leading to aspergillosis. Dr Sara Gago and her team discovered a genetic mutation in humans linked to increased loads of fungal spores in the lungs, and developed an in vitro model by using the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology to alter a human cell line to contain the mutation. Their work, published in Nature Communications, was partly funded by an NC3Rs Fellowship to Dr Sara Gago.