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Global sexual fertility in the opportunistic pathogen aspergillus fumigatus and identification of new supermater strains


Sameira S. Swilaiman

Wenyue Du

Janyce A. Sugui

Joanne Del Buono

Kyung J. Kwon-Chung

George Szakacs

Professor of Fungal Biology


© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. A sexual cycle in Aspergillus fumigatus was first described in 2009 with isolates from Dublin, Ireland. However, the extent to which worldwide isolates can undergo sexual reproduction has remained unclear. In this study a global collection of 131 isolates was established with a near 1:1 ratio of mating types. All isolates were crossed to MAT1-1 or MAT1-2 Irish strains, and a subset of isolates from different continents were crossed together. Ninety seven percent of isolates were found to produce cleistothecia with at least one mating partner, showing that sexual fertility is not limited to the Irish population but is a characteristic of global A. fumigatus. However, large variation was seen in numbers of cleistothecia produced per cross, suggesting differences in the possibility for genetic exchange between strains in nature. The majority of crosses produced ascospores with >50% germination rates, but with wide variation evident. A high temperature heat shock was required to induce ascospore germination. Finally, a new set of highly fertile MAT1-1 and MAT1-2 supermater strains were identified and pyrimidine auxotrophs generated for community use. Results provide insights into the potential for the A. fumigatus sexual cycle to generate genetic variation and allow gene flow of medically important traits.


Swilaiman, S. S., O’Gorman, C. M., Du, W., Sugui, J. A., Del Buono, J., Brock, M., …Dyer, P. S. (2020). Global sexual fertility in the opportunistic pathogen aspergillus fumigatus and identification of new supermater strains. Journal of Fungi, 6(4),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 27, 2020
Online Publication Date Oct 30, 2020
Publication Date Dec 1, 2020
Deposit Date Nov 4, 2020
Publicly Available Date Nov 4, 2020
Journal Journal of Fungi
Print ISSN 2309-608X
Electronic ISSN 2309-608X
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 4
Article Number 258
Public URL
Publisher URL


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