Journal of Fungi (Apr 2020)

The Dynamic Influence of Olorofim (F901318) on the Cell Morphology and Organization of Living Cells of <i>Aspergillus fumigatus</i>

  • Saskia du Pré,
  • Mike Birch,
  • Derek Law,
  • Nicola Beckmann,
  • Graham E. M. Sibley,
  • Michael J. Bromley,
  • Nick D. Read,
  • Jason D. Oliver

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 6, no. 2
p. 47


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The first characterized antifungal in the orotomide class is olorofim. It targets the de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis pathway by inhibiting dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH). The pyrimidines uracil, thymine and cytosine are the building blocks of DNA and RNA; thus, inhibition of their synthesis is likely to have multiple effects, including affecting cell cycle regulation and protein synthesis. Additionally, uridine-5′-triphosphate (UTP) is required for the formation of uridine-diphosphate glucose (UDP-glucose), which is an important precursor for several cell wall components. In this study, the dynamic effects of olorofim treatment on the morphology and organization of Aspergillus fumigatus hyphae were analyzed microscopically using confocal live-cell imaging. Treatment with olorofim led to increased chitin content in the cell wall, increased septation, enlargement of vacuoles and inhibition of mitosis. Furthermore, vesicle-like structures, which could not be stained or visualized with a range of membrane- or vacuole-selective dyes, were found in treated hyphae. A colocalization study of DHODH and MitoTracker Red FM confirmed for the first time that A. fumigatus DHODH is localized in the mitochondria. Overall, olorofim treatment was found to significantly influence the dynamic structure and organization of A. fumigatus hyphae.