10 July 2018

Frank van de Veerdonk, theme Infectious diseases and global health, and colleagues, demonstrate in Nature Communications, that genetic deficiency of NOD2 plays a protective role during Aspergillus infection.

Publication: link.

Invasive aspergillosis (IA) is a severe infection that can occur in severely immunocompromised patients. Efficient immune recognition of Aspergillus is crucial to protect against infection, and previous studies suggested a role for NOD2 in this process. However, thorough investigation of the impact of NOD2 on susceptibility to aspergillosis were lacking. Common genetic variations in NOD2 have been associated with Crohn's disease and now Van de Veerdonk and colleagues, investigated the influence of these genetic variations on the anti-Aspergillus host response. A NOD2 polymorphism reduced the risk of IA after hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation. Mechanistically, absence of NOD2 in monocytes and macrophages increases phagocytosis leading to enhanced fungal killing. Conversely, NOD2 activation reduces the antifungal potential of these cells. Crucially, Nod2 deficiency results in resistance to Aspergillus infection in an in vivo model of pulmonary aspergillosis. Collectively, these data demonstrate that genetic deficiency of NOD2 plays a protective role during Aspergillus infection.

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