Investigation of extracellular elastase, acid proteinase and phospholipase activities as putative virulence factors in clinical isolates of Aspergillus species

Alp Ş., Arikan S.

JOURNAL OF BASIC MICROBIOLOGY, vol.48, no.5, pp.331-337, 2008 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 48 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/jobm.200700349
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.331-337
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


We investigated the production of extracellular elastase, acid proteinase and phospholipase enzyme activities in clinical isolates of Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus niger and any possible correlation between the existence of these enzymes and development of invasive aspergillosis. A total of 73 strains (45 A. fumigatus, 23 A. flavus, 5 A. niger) isolated from patients with invasive aspergillosis (n = 55), superficial aspergillosis (n = 5), allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (n = 1), and from those colonized with Aspergillus (n = 12) were included in the study. The enzymatic activities were tested on solid media supplemented with the corresponding substrates. Elastase activity was detected in 95.6, 82.6, and 0% of A. fumigatus, A. flavus, and A. niger isolates, respectively. Acid proteinase activity was detected only for A. fumigatus and in 20 of 45 isolates belonging to this species. Phospholipase activity was present in all strains of A. fumigatus and A. niger but in none of the isolates of A. flavus. No statistical correlation could be established between the existence of elastase or acid proteinase activity and development of invasive disease (p > 0.05). While high phospholipase production was found to be associated with development of invasive aspergillosis (p < 0.01), not all isolates that caused invasive diseases showed high phospholipase activities.