Cryptococcus neoformans is the agent of cryptococcal meningitis, a disease that can be life-threatening in immunocompromised hosts such as those infected with HIV. The infection thrives in hosts that poorly activate their immune system, mainly because of the yeast´s ability to survive inside macrophages and migrate towards the central nervous system. Emerging data indicate that cryptococci modulate the host immune response, but the underlying mechanisms remain largely uncharacterized. Here we show that secreted molecules from a wild-type strain of C. neoformans impair inflammatory responses driven by inflammasome activation, which in turn impact the macrophage antifungal activity. We further show that this inhibition does not involve GXM, the main constituent of the fungal capsule, but rather is partially dependent on DL-Indole-3-lactic acid (ILA), a metabolite not previously implicated in fungal virulence.
Revised: January 6, 2021 |
Published: December 7, 2020