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    Post: Irish Times Achilles heel probe for deadly f

    Posted by Sharon on 10/07/10

    Irish Times Sept 30, 2010 Achilles heel probe for deadly

    "...we are interested in Aspergillus to see if we can find
    new Achilles heels that maybe we can use to attack the

    To find that chink in the armour, they zoned in on
    gliotoxin, a molecule the fungus makes and releases to help
    it bypass the host’s immune system and establish an

    “What struck us is how could the fungus protect itself
    against this molecule, because it’s also a eukaryotic cell
    like humans,” says Doyle. “We couldn’t quite understand how
    the fungus was able to make it and protect itself.”

    Aspergillus also ploughs quite a bit of effort into making
    the toxin, he adds. “There are 13 genes involved in making
    this small molecule. We thought: why is the fungus
    investing so much energy and time in making this molecule?
    Was the fungus playing a high-risk game, that it was it
    making this molecule to enable the infectious process but
    it could be damaged by it too?”

    Sharon Noonan Kramer

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