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Induction of innate immunity by Aspergillus fumigatus cell wall polysaccharides is enhanced by the composite presentation of chitin and beta-glucan.

[allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis]

Chitin and β-glucan are conserved throughout evolution in the fungal cell wall and are the most common polysaccharides in fungal species. Together, these two polysaccharides form a structural scaffold that is essential for the survival of the fungus. In the present study, we demonstrated that Aspergillus fumigatus alkali-insoluble cell wall fragments (AIF), composed of chitin linked covalently to β-glucan, induced enhanced immune responses when compared with individual cell wall polysaccharides. Intranasal administration of AIF induced eosinophil and neutrophil recruitment, chitinase activity, TNF and TSLP production in mice lungs. Selective destruction of chitin or β-glucan from AIF significantly reduced eosinophil and neutrophil recruitment as well as chitinase activity and cytokine expression by macrophages, indicating the synergistic effect of the cell wall polysaccharides when presented together as a composite PAMP. We also showed that these cell wall polysaccharides induced chitin-specific IgM in mouse serum. Our in vivo and in vitro data indicate that chitin and β-glucan play important roles in activating innate immunity when presented as composite cell wall PAMPs.