Affiliation: CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, University Campus, Mall Road, Delhi-110007, India.
Incidence of fungal infections has increased alarmingly in past few decades. Of the fungal pathogens, the Aspergillus fumigatus has been a major cause of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) which has five main stages - the acute, remission, exacerbation, glucocorticoid dependent and fibrotic stage. The diagnosis of ABPA remains difficult due to its overlapping clinical and radiological features with tuberculosis and cystic fibrosis. From past few decades, the crude fractions of A. fumigatus have been used for immunodiagnosis of ABPA. Most of the detection kits based on crude fractions of A. fumigatus are quite sensitive but have low specificity. Till date 21 known and 25 predicted allergens of A. fumigatus have been identified. Of these allergens, only five recombinants (rAsp f1-f4 and f6) are commercially used for diagnosis of allergic aspergillosis. Remaining allergens of A. fumigatus have been restricted for use in specific diagnosis of ABPA, due to sharing of common antigenic epitopes with other allergens. Complete sequencing of A. fumigatus genome identified 9926 genes and the reports on the proteome of A. fumigatus have shown the presence of large number of their corresponding proteins in the pathogen. The analysis of immunoproteomes developed from crude fractions of A. fumigatus by IgG/IgE reactivity with ABPA patients and animal sera have identified the panel of new antigens. A brief description on the current status of A. fumigatus antigens is provided in this review. The implementation of advance recombinant expression and peptidomic approaches on the A. fumigatus antigens may help in the selection of appropriate molecules for the development of tools for more specific early diagnosis of ABPA, and desensitization therapies for patients of allergic disorders.