BTK drives neutrophil activation for sterilizing antifungal immunity

Jigar V. Desai, Marissa A. Zarakas, Andrew L. Wishart, Mark Roschewski, Mariano A. Aufiero, Agnes Donkò, Gustaf Wigerblad, Neta Shlezinger, Markus Plate, Matthew R. James, Jean K. Lim, Gulbu Uzel, Jenna R.E. Bergerson, Ivan Fuss, Robert A. Cramer, Luis M. Franco, Emily S. Clark, Wasif N. Khan, Daisuke Yamanaka, Georgios ChamilosJamel El-Benna, Mariana J. Kaplan, Louis M. Staudt, Thomas L. Leto, Steven M. Holland, Wyndham H. Wilson, Tobias M. Hohl, Michail S. Lionakis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We describe a previously unappreciated role for Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) in fungal immune surveillance against aspergillosis, an unforeseen complication of BTK inhibitors (BTKi) used for treating B cell lymphoid malignancies. We studied BTK-dependent fungal responses in neutrophils from diverse populations, including healthy donors, patients who were treated with BTKi, and X-linked agammaglobulinemia patients. Upon fungal exposure, BTK was activated in human neutrophils in a TLR2-, Dectin-1-, and FcγR-dependent manner, triggering the oxidative burst. BTK inhibition selectively impeded neutrophil-mediated damage to Aspergillus hyphae, primary granule release, and the fungus-induced oxidative burst by abrogating NADPH oxidase subunit p40phox and GTPase RAC2 activation. Moreover, neutrophil-specific Btk deletion in mice enhanced aspergillosis susceptibility by impairing neutrophil function, not recruitment or lifespan. Conversely, GM-CSF partially mitigated these deficits by enhancing p47phox activation. Our findings underline the crucial role of BTK signaling in neutrophils for antifungal immunity and provide a rationale for GM-CSF use to offset these deficits in patients who are susceptible.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere176142
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number12
StatePublished - 17 Jun 2024
Externally publishedYes

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© 2024, Desai et al.


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