Cellular Response of <i>Fusarium oxysporum</i> to Crocidolite Asbestos As Revealed by a Combined Proteomic Approach

Cellular mechanisms of asbestos toxicity rely, at least in part, on the chemical composition of these minerals. Iron ions are directly involved in the accepted mechanism of fiber toxicity because they constitute active centers where release of free radicals and reactive oxygen species takes place. Although no current technology is available for the remediation of asbestos polluted sites, the soil fungus <i>Fusarium oxysporum</i> was found to be very effective in iron extraction from crocidolite asbestos <i>in vitro</i>, and to cause a significant reduction in asbestos surface reactivity and oxidative damage to naked DNA. As little information is available on the molecular mechanisms of the fungus−asbestos interactions, a combined proteomic approach that used 2-DE, shotgun and quantitative iTRAQ proteomics was used to investigate the fungal metabolic activities in the presence of crocidolite, an iron-rich type of asbestos. Although global proteomic analyses did not show significant changes in the protein expression pattern of <i>F. oxysporum</i> when exposed to asbestos fibers, some proteins specifically regulated by asbestos suggest up-regulation of metabolic pathways involved in protection from oxidative stress. When compared with the response to crocidolite observed by other authors in human lung epithelial cells, that unlike fungi can internalize the asbestos fibres, a significant difference was the regulation of the pentose phosphate pathway.