ResearchPad - fungal-pathogens https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[A screening of the MMV Pathogen Box® reveals new potential antifungal drugs against the etiologic agents of chromoblastomycosis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13863 Chromoblastomycosis (CBM) is a chronic subcutaneous mycosis caused by traumatic implantation of many species of black fungi. Due to the refractoriness of some cases and common recurrence of CBM, a more effective and less time-consuming treatment is mandatory. The aim of this study was to identify compounds with in vitro antifungal activity in the Pathogen Box® compound collection against different CBM agents. Synergism of these compounds with drugs currently used to treat CBM was also assessed. An initial screening of the drugs present in this collection at 1 μM was performed with a Fonsecaea pedrosoi clinical strain according to the EUCAST protocol. The compounds with activity against this fungus were also tested against other seven etiologic agents of CBM (Cladophialophora carrionii, Phialophora verrucosa, Exophiala jeanselmei, Exophiala dermatitidis, Fonsecaea monophora, Fonsecaea nubica, and Rhinocladiella similis) at concentrations ranging from 0.039 to 10 μM. The analysis of potential synergism of these compounds with itraconazole and terbinafine was performed by the checkerboard method. Eight compounds inhibited more than 60% of the F. pedrosoi growth: difenoconazole, bitertanol, iodoquinol, azoxystrobin, MMV688179, MMV021013, trifloxystrobin, and auranofin. Iodoquinol produced the lowest MIC values (1.25–2.5 μM) and MMV688179 showed MICs that were higher than all compounds tested (5 - >10 μM). When auranofin and itraconazole were tested in combination, a synergistic interaction (FICI = 0.37) was observed against the C. carrionii isolate. Toxicity analysis revealed that MMV021013 showed high selectivity indices (SI ≥ 10) against the fungi tested. In summary, auranofin, iodoquinol, and MMV021013 were identified as promising compounds to be tested in CBM models of infection.

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<![CDATA[Abrogation of pathogenic attributes in drug resistant <i>Candida auris</i> strains by farnesol]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7651 Candida auris, a decade old Candida species, has been identified globally as a significant nosocomial multidrug resistant (MDR) pathogen responsible for causing invasive outbreaks. Biofilms and overexpression of efflux pumps such as Major Facilitator Superfamily and ATP Binding Cassette are known to cause multidrug resistance in Candida species, including C. auris. Therefore, targeting these factors may prove an effective approach to combat MDR in C. auris. In this study, 25 clinical isolates of C. auris from different hospitals of South Africa were used. All the isolates were found capable enough to form biofilms on 96-well flat bottom microtiter plate that was further confirmed by MTT reduction assay. In addition, these strains have active drug efflux mechanism which was supported by rhodamine-6-G extracellular efflux and intracellular accumulation assays. Antifungal susceptibility profile of all the isolates against commonly used drugs was determined following CLSI recommended guidelines. We further studied the role of farnesol, an endogenous quorum sensing molecule, in modulating development of biofilms and drug efflux in C. auris. The MIC for planktonic cells ranged from 62.5–125 mM, and for sessile cells was 125 mM (4h biofilm) and 500 mM (12h and 24h biofilm). Furthermore, farnesol (125 mM) also suppresses adherence and biofilm formation by C. auris. Farnesol inhibited biofilm formation, blocked efflux pumps and downregulated biofilm- and efflux pump- associated genes. Modulation of C. auris biofilm formation and efflux pump activity by farnesol represent a promising approach for controlling life threatening infections caused by this pathogen.

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<![CDATA[Investigating the potential use of an ionic liquid (1-Butyl-1-methylpyrrolidinium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide) as an anti-fungal treatment against the amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N5c2fa054-4262-4dfe-83a3-c606a06f5241

The disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the pathogenic chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has contributed to global amphibian declines. Bd infects the keratinized epidermal tissue in amphibians and causes hyperkeratosis and excessive skin shedding. In individuals of susceptible species, the regulatory function of the amphibian’s skin is disrupted resulting in an electrolyte depletion, osmotic imbalance, and eventually death. Safe and effective treatments for chytridiomycosis are urgently needed to control chytrid fungal infections and stabilize populations of endangered amphibian species in captivity and in the wild. Currently, the most widely used anti-Bd treatment is itraconazole. Preparations of itraconazole formulated for amphibian use has proved effective, but treatment involves short baths over seven to ten days, a process which is logistically challenging, stressful, and causes long-term health effects. Here, we explore a novel anti-fungal therapeutic using a single application of the ionic liquid, 1-Butyl-1-methylpyrrolidinium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide (BMP-NTf2), for the treatment of chytridiomycosis. BMP-NTf2 was found be effective at killing Bd in vitro at low concentrations (1:1000 dilution). We tested BMP-NTf2 in vivo on two amphibian species, one that is relatively tolerant of chytridiomycosis (Pseudacris regilla) and one that is highly susceptible (Dendrobates tinctorius). A toxicity trial revealed a surprising interaction between Bd infection status and the impact of BMP-NTf2 on D. tinctorius survival. Uninfected D. tinctorius tolerated BMP-NTf2 (mean ± SE; 96.01 ± 9.00 μl/g), such that only 1 out of 30 frogs died following treatment (at a dose of 156.95 μL/g), whereas, a lower dose (mean ± SE; 97.45 ± 3.52 μL/g) was not tolerated by Bd-infected D. tinctorius, where 15 of 23 frogs died shortly upon BMP-NTf2 application. Those that tolerated the BMP-NTf2 application did not exhibit Bd clearance. Thus, BMP-NTf2 application, under the conditions tested here, is not a suitable option for clearing Bd infection in D. tinctorius. However, different results were obtained for P. regilla. Two topical applications of BMP-NTf2 on Bd-infected P. regilla (using a lower BMP-NTf2 dose than on D. tinctorius, mean ± SE; 9.42 ± 1.43 μL/g) reduced Bd growth, although the effect was lower than that obtained by daily doses of itracanozole (50% frogs exhibited complete clearance on day 16 vs. 100% for itracanozole). Our findings suggest that BMP-NTf2 has the potential to treat Bd infection, however the effect depends on several parameters. Further optimization of dose and schedule are needed before BMP-NTf2 can be considered as a safe and effective alternative to more conventional antifungal agents, such as itraconazole.

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<![CDATA[Candida lusitaniae in Kuwait: Prevalence, antifungal susceptibility and role in neonatal fungemia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8accced5eed0c484990063

Objectives

Candida lusitaniae is an opportunistic yeast pathogen in certain high-risk patient populations/cohorts. The species exhibits an unusual antifungal susceptibility profile with tendency to acquire rapid resistance. Here, we describe prevalence of C. lusitaniae in clinical specimens in Kuwait, its antifungal susceptibility profile and role in neonatal fungemia.

Methods

Clinical C. lusitaniae isolates recovered from diverse specimens during 2011 to 2017 were retrospectively analyzed. All isolates were identified by germ tube test, growth on CHROMagar Candida and by Vitek 2 yeast identification system. A simple species-specific PCR assay was developed and results were confirmed by PCR-sequencing of ITS region of rDNA. Antifungal susceptibility was determined by Etest. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) were recorded after 24 h incubation at 35°C.

Results

Of 7068 yeast isolates, 134 (1.89%) were identified as C. lusitaniae including 25 (2.52%) among 990 bloodstream isolates. Species-specific PCR and PCR-sequencing of rDNA confirmed identification. Of 11 cases of neonatal candidemia, 9 occurred in NICU of Hospital A and are described here. Eight of 9 neonates received liposomal amphotericin B, which was followed by fluconazole in 7 and additionally by caspofungin in 2 cases as salvage therapy. Three of 8 (37.5%) patients died. No isolate exhibited reduced susceptibility to amphotericin B, fluconazole, voriconazole, caspopfungin, micafungin and anidulafungin. The MIC ± geometric mean values for amphotericin B, fluconazole, voriconazole, and caspofungin were as follows: 0.072 ± 0.037 μg/ml, 2.32 ± 0.49 μg/ml, 0.09 ± 0.01 μg/ml and 0.16 ± 0.08 μg/ml, respectively. Only two isolates exhibited reduced susceptibility to fluconazole.

Conclusions

This study describes the prevalence and antifungal susceptibility profile of clinical C. lusitaniae isolates in Kuwait. No isolate showed reduced susceptibility to amphotericin B. The study highlights the emerging role of C. lusitaniae as a healthcare-associated pathogen capable of causing fungemia in preterm neonates and causing significant mortality.

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<![CDATA[A prospective, multi-center study of Candida bloodstream infections in Chile]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8c1960d5eed0c484b4d4f3

Background

Active surveillance is necessary for improving the management and outcome of patients with candidemia. The aim of this study was to describe epidemiologic and clinical features of candidemia in children and adults in tertiary level hospitals in Chile.

Methods

We conducted a prospective, multicenter, laboratory-based survey study of candidemia in 26 tertiary care hospitals in Chile, from January 2013 to October 2017.

Results

A total of 780 episodes of candidemia were included, with a median incidence of 0.47/1,000 admissions. Demographic, clinical and microbiological information of 384 cases of candidemia, from 18 hospitals (7,416 beds), was included in this report. One hundred and thirty-four episodes (35%) occurred in pediatric patients and 250 (65%) in adult population. Candida albicans (39%), Candida parapsilosis (30%) and Candida glabrata (10%) were the leading species, with a significant difference in the distribution of species between ages. The use of central venous catheter and antibiotics were the most frequent risk factors in all age groups (> 70%). Three hundred and fifteen strains were studied for antifungal susceptibility; 21 strains (6.6%) were resistant to fluconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole, anidulafungin or micafungin. The most commonly used antifungal therapies were fluconazole (39%) and echinocandins (36%). The overall 30-day survival was 74.2%, significantly higher in infants (82%) and children (86%) compared with neonates (72%), adults (71%) and elderly (70%).

Conclusions

Our prospective, multicenter surveillance study showed a low incidence of candidemia in Chile, with high 30-day survival, a large proportion of elderly patients, C. glabrata as the third most commonly identified strain, a 6.6% resistance to antifungal agents and a frequent use of echinocandins.

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<![CDATA[Efficacy of liposomal amphotericin B and anidulafungin using an antifungal lock technique (ALT) for catheter-related Candida albicans and Candida glabrata infections in an experimental model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c75ac7dd5eed0c484d088b2

Objective

The aims of this study were as follows. First, we sought to compare the in vitro susceptibility of liposomal amphotericin B (LAmB) and anidulafungin on Candida albicans and Candida glabrata biofilms growing on silicone discs. Second, we sought to compare the activity of LAmB versus anidulafungin for the treatment of experimental catheter-related C. albicans and C. glabrata infections with the antifungal lock technique in a rabbit model.

Methods

Two C. albicans and two C. glabrata clinical strains were used. The minimum biofilm eradication concentration for 90% eradication (MBEC90) values were determined after 48h of treatment with LAmB and anidulafungin. Confocal microscopy was used to visualize the morphology and viability of yeasts growing in biofilms. Central venous catheters were inserted into New Zealand rabbits, which were inoculated of each strain of C. albicans and C. glabrata. Then, catheters were treated for 48h with saline or with antifungal lock technique using either LAmB (5mg/mL) or anidulafungin (3.33mg/mL).

Results

In vitro: anidulafungin showed greater activity than LAmB against C. albicans and C. glabrata strains. For C. albicans: MBEC90 of anidulafungin versus LAmB: CA176, 0.03 vs. 128 mg/L; CA180, 0.5 vs. 64 mg/L. For C. glabrata: MBEC90 of anidulafungin versus LAmB: CG171, 0.5 vs. 64 mg/L; CG334, 2 vs. 32 mg/L. In vivo: for C. albicans species, LAmB and anidulafungin achieved significant reductions relative to growth control of log10 cfu recovered from the catheter tips (CA176: 3.6±0.3 log10 CFU, p≤0.0001; CA180: 3.8±0.1 log10 CFU, p≤0.01). For C. glabrata, anidulafungin lock therapy achieved significant reductions relative to the other treatments (CG171: 4.8 log10 CFU, p≤0.0001; CG334: 5.1 log10 CFU, p≤0.0001)

Conclusions

For the C. albicans strains, both LAmB and anidulafungin may be promising antifungal lock technique for long-term catheter-related infections; however, anidulafungin showed significantly higher activity than LAmB against the C. glabrata strains.

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<![CDATA[Exposure of Candida albicans β (1,3)-glucan is promoted by activation of the Cek1 pathway]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca280d5eed0c48441e4da

Candida albicans is among the most common causes of human fungal infections and is an important source of mortality. C. albicans is able to diminish its detection by innate immune cells through masking of β (1,3)-glucan in the inner cell wall with an outer layer of heavily glycosylated mannoproteins (mannan). However, mutations or drugs that disrupt the cell wall can lead to exposure of β (1,3)-glucan (unmasking) and enhanced detection by innate immune cells through receptors like Dectin-1, the C-type signaling lectin. Previously, our lab showed that the pathway for synthesizing the phospholipid phosphatidylserine (PS) plays a role in β (1,3)-glucan masking. The homozygous PS synthase knockout mutant, cho1Δ/Δ, exhibits increased exposure of β (1,3)-glucan. Several Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) pathways and their upstream Rho-type small GTPases are important for regulating cell wall biogenesis and remodeling. In the cho1Δ/Δ mutant, both the Cek1 and Mkc1 MAPKs are constitutively activated, and they act downstream of the small GTPases Cdc42 and Rho1, respectively. In addition, Cdc42 activity is up-regulated in cho1Δ/Δ. Thus, it was hypothesized that activation of Cdc42 or Rho1 and their downstream kinases cause unmasking. Disruption of MKC1 does not decrease unmasking in cho1Δ/Δ, and hyperactivation of Rho1 in wild-type cells increases unmasking and activation of both Cek1 and Mkc1. Moreover, independent hyperactivation of the MAP kinase kinase kinase Ste11 in wild-type cells leads to Cek1 activation and increased β (1,3)-glucan exposure. Thus, upregulation of the Cek1 MAPK pathway causes unmasking, and may be responsible for unmasking in cho1Δ/Δ.

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<![CDATA[Evidence of a trans-kingdom plant disease complex between a fungus and plant-parasitic nematodes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dca20d5eed0c48452a801

Disease prediction tools improve management efforts for many plant diseases. Prediction and downstream prevention demand information about disease etiology, which can be complicated for some diseases, like those caused by soilborne microorganisms. Fortunately, the availability of machine learning methods has enabled researchers to elucidate complex relationships between hosts and pathogens without invoking difficult-to-satisfy assumptions. The etiology of a destructive plant disease, Verticillium wilt of mint, caused by the fungus Verticillium dahliae was reevaluated with several supervised machine learning methods. Specifically, the objective of this research was to identify drivers of wilt in commercial mint fields, describe the relationships between these drivers, and predict wilt. Soil samples were collected from commercial mint fields. Wilt foci, V. dahliae, and plant-parasitic nematodes that can exacerbate wilt were quantified. Multiple linear regression, a generalized additive model, random forest, and an artificial neural network were fit to the data, validated with 10-fold cross-validation, and measures of explanatory and predictive performance were compared. All models selected nematodes within the genus Pratylenchus as the most important predictor of wilt. The fungus after which this disease is named, V. dahliae, was the fourth most important predictor of wilt, after crop age and cultivar. All models explained around 50% of the total variation (R2 ≤ 0.46), and exhibited comparable predictive error (RMSE ≤ 1.21). Collectively, these models revealed that the quantitative relationships between two pathogens, mint cultivars and age are required to explain wilt. The ascendance of Pratylenchus spp. in predicting symptoms of a disease assumed to primarily be caused by V. dahliae exposes the underestimated contribution of these nematodes to wilt. This research provides a foundation on which predictive forecasting tools can be developed for mint growers and reminds us of the lessons that can be learned by revisiting assumptions about disease etiology.

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<![CDATA[Potential risk of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans in Mexico]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c759ad5eed0c4843cff09

The recent decline in populations of European salamanders caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) has generated worldwide concern, as it is a major threat to amphibians. Evaluation of the areas most suitable for the establishment of Bsal combined with analysis of the distribution of salamander species could be used to generate and implement biosecurity measures and protect biodiversity at sites with high salamander diversity. In this study, we identified the areas most suitable for the establishment of Bsal in Mexico. Mexico has the second-highest salamander species diversity in the world; thus, we identified areas moderately to highly suitable for the establishment of Bsal with high salamander diversity as potential hotspots for surveillance. Central and Southern Mexico were identified as high-risk zones, with 13 hotspots where 30% of Mexican salamander species occur, including range-restricted species and endangered species. We propose that these hotspots should be thoroughly monitored for the presence of Bsal to prevent the spread of the pathogen if it is introduced to the country.

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<![CDATA[Toxicity and oviposition deterrence of essential oils of Clinopodium nubigenum and Lavandula angustifolia against the myiasis-inducing blowfly Lucilia sericata]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fe5ad5eed0c484e5b930

Cutaneous myiasis is a severe worldwide medical and veterinary issue. In this trial the essential oil (EO) of the Andean medicinal plant species Clinopodium nubigenum (Kunth) Kuntze was evaluated for its bioactivity against the myiasis-inducing blowfly Lucilia sericata (Meigen) (Diptera Calliphoridae) and compared with that of the well-known medicinal plant species Lavandula angustifolia Mill. The EOs were analysed and tested in laboratory for their oviposition deterrence and toxicity against L. sericata adults. The physiology of EO toxicity was evaluated by enzymatic inhibition tests. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of the EOs were tested as well. At 0.8 μL cm-2, both EOs completely deterred L. sericata oviposition up to 3 hours. After 24 h, the oviposition deterrence was still 82.7% for L. angustifolia and the 89.5% for C. nubigenum. The two EOs were also toxic to eggs and adults of L. sericata. By contact/fumigation, the EOs, the LC50 values against the eggs were 0.07 and 0.48 μL cm-2 while, by topical application on the adults, LD50 values were 0.278 and 0.393 μL per individual for C. nubigenum and L. angustifolia EOs, respectively. Inhibition of acetylcholine esterase of L. sericata by EOs (IC50 = 67.450 and 79.495 mg L-1 for C. nubigenum and L. angustifolia, respectively) suggested that the neural sites are targets of the EO toxicity. Finally, the observed antibacterial and antifungal properties of C. nubigenum and L. angustifolia EOs suggest that they could also help prevent secondary infections.

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<![CDATA[Genome-enhanced detection and identification of fungal pathogens responsible for pine and poplar rust diseases]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648cebd5eed0c484c81ab7

Biosurveillance is a proactive approach that may help to limit the spread of invasive fungal pathogens of trees, such as rust fungi which have caused some of the world’s most damaging diseases of pines and poplars. Most of these fungi have a complex life cycle, with up to five spore stages, which is completed on two different hosts. They have a biotrophic lifestyle and may be propagated by asymptomatic plant material, complicating their detection and identification. A bioinformatics approach, based on whole genome comparison, was used to identify genome regions that are unique to the white pine blister rust fungus, Cronartium ribicola, the poplar leaf rust fungi Melampsora medusae and Melampsora larici-populina or to members of either the Cronartium and Melampsora genera. Species- and genus-specific real-time PCR assays, targeting these unique regions, were designed with the aim of detecting each of these five taxonomic groups. In total, twelve assays were developed and tested over a wide range of samples, including different spore types, different infected plant parts on the pycnio-aecial or uredinio-telial host, and captured insect vectors. One hundred percent detection accuracy was achieved for the three targeted species and two genera with either a single assay or a combination of two assays. This proof of concept experiment on pine and poplar leaf rust fungi demonstrates that the genome-enhanced detection and identification approach can be translated into effective real-time PCR assays to monitor tree fungal pathogens.

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<![CDATA[Dissection of the regulatory role for the N-terminal domain in Candida albicans protein phosphatase Z1]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df31ad5eed0c484580d1d

The novel type, fungus specific protein phosphatase Z1 of the opportunistic pathogen, Candida albicans (CaPpz1) has several important physiological roles. It consists of a conserved C-terminal catalytic domain and a variable, intrinsically disordered, N-terminal regulatory domain. To test the function of these domains we modified the structure of CaPpz1 by in vitro mutagenesis. The two main domains were separated, four potential protein binding regions were deleted, and the myristoylation site as well as the active site of the enzyme was crippled by point mutations G2A and R262L, respectively. The in vitro phosphatase activity assay of the bacterially expressed recombinant proteins indicated that the N-terminal domain was inactive, while the C-terminal domain became highly active against myosin light chain substrate. The deletion of the N-terminal 1–16 amino acids and the G2A mutation significantly decreased the specific activity of the enzyme. Complementation of the ppz1 Saccharomyces cerevisiae deletion mutant strain with the different CaPpz1 forms demonstrated that the scission of the main domains, the two point mutations and the N-terminal 1–16 deletion rendered the phosphatase incompetent in the in vivo assays of LiCl tolerance and caffeine sensitivity. Thus our results confirmed the functional role of the N-terminal domain and highlighted the significance of the very N-terminal part of the protein in the regulation of CaPpz1.

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<![CDATA[Finding the needle in a haystack: Mapping antifungal drug resistance in fungal pathogen by genomic approaches]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca2fad5eed0c48441eee3 ]]> <![CDATA[Metagenomic quorum quenching enzymes affect biofilm formation of Candida albicans and Staphylococcus epidermidis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c58d622d5eed0c4840316f5

Biofilm formation in the clinical environment is of increasing concern since a significant part of human infections is associated, and caused by biofilm establishment of (opportunistic) pathogens, for instance Candida albicans and Staphylococcus epidermidis. The rapidly increasing number of antibiotic-resistant biofilms urgently requires the development of novel and effective strategies to prevent biofilm formation ideally targeting a wide range of infectious microorganisms. Both, synthesis of extracellular polymeric substances and quorum sensing are crucial for biofilm formation, and thus potential attractive targets to combat undesirable biofilms.We evaluated the ability of numerous recently identified metagenome-derived bacterial quorum quenching (QQ) proteins to inhibit biofilm formation of C. albicans and S. epidermidis. Here, proteins QQ-5 and QQ-7 interfered with the morphogenesis of C. albicans by inhibiting the yeast-to-hyphae transition, ultimately leading to impaired biofilm formation. Moreover, QQ5 and QQ-7 inhibited biofilm formation of S. epidermidis; in case of QQ7 most likely due to induced expression of the icaR gene encoding the repressor for polysaccharide intercellular adhesin (PIA) synthesis, the main determinant for staphylococcal biofilm formation. Our results indicate that QQ-5 and QQ-7 are attractive potential anti-biofilm agents in the prevention and treatment of C. albicans and S. epidermidis mono-species biofilms, and potentially promising anti-biofilm drugs in also combating multi-species infections.

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<![CDATA[Blast resistance in Indian rice landraces: Genetic dissection by gene specific markers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5217bdd5eed0c4847944c5

Understanding of genetic diversity is important to explore existing gene in any crop breeding program. Most of the diversity preserved in the landraces which are well–known reservoirs of important traits for biotic and abiotic stresses. In the present study, the genetic diversity at twenty-four most significant blast resistance gene loci using twenty-eight gene specific markers were investigated in landraces originated from nine diverse rice ecologies of India. Based on phenotypic evaluation, landraces were classified into three distinct groups: highly resistant (21), moderately resistant (70) and susceptible (70). The landraces harbour a range of five to nineteen genes representing blast resistance allele with the frequency varied from 4.96% to 100%. The cluster analysis grouped entire 161 landraces into two major groups. Population structure along with other parameters was also analyzed to understand the evolution of blast resistance gene in rice. The population structure analysis and principal coordinate analysis classified the landraces into two sub–populations. Analysis of molecular variance showed maximum (93%) diversity within the population and least (7%) between populations. Five markers viz; K3957, Pikh, Pi2–i, RM212and RM302 were strongly associated with blast disease with the phenotypic variance of 1.4% to 7.6%. These resistant landraces will serve as a valuable genetic resource for future genomic studies, host–pathogen interaction, identification of novel R genes and rice improvement strategies.

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<![CDATA[Developing tools for evaluating inoculation methods of biocontrol Streptomyces sp. strains into grapevine plants]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536bfcd5eed0c484a496c7

The endophytic Streptomyces sp. VV/E1, and rhizosphere Streptomyces sp. VV/R4 strains, isolated from grapevine plants were shown in a previous work to reduce the infection rate of fungal pathogens involved in young grapevine decline. In this study we cloned fragments from randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD), and developed two stably diagnostic sequence-characterized amplified region (SCAR) markers of 182 and 160 bp for the VV/E1 and VV/R4 strains, respectively. The SCAR markers were not found in another 50 actinobacterial strains isolated from grapevine plants. Quantitative real-time PCR protocols based on the amplification of these SCAR markers were used for the detection and quantification of both strains in plant material. These strains were applied on young potted plants using two methods: perforation of the rootstock followed by injection of the microorganisms or soaking the root system in a bacterial suspension. Both methods were combined with a booster treatment by direct addition of a bacterial suspension to the soil near the root system. Analysis of uprooted plants showed that those inoculated by injection exhibited the highest rate of colonization. In contrast, direct addition of either strain to the soil did not lead to reliable colonization. This study has developed molecular tools for analyzing different methods for inoculating grapevine plants with selected Streptomyces sp. strains which protect them from fungal infections that enter through their root system. These tools are of great applied interest since they could easily be established in nurseries to produce grafted grapevine plants that are protected against fungal pathogens. Finally, this methodology might also be applied to other vascular plants for their colonization with beneficial biological control agents.

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<![CDATA[Vacuolar proton-translocating ATPase is required for antifungal resistance and virulence of Candida glabrata]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c52186dd5eed0c4847982ae

Vacuolar proton-translocating ATPase (V-ATPase) is located in fungal vacuolar membranes. It is involved in multiple cellular processes, including the maintenance of intracellular ion homeostasis by maintaining acidic pH within the cell. The importance of V-ATPase in virulence has been demonstrated in several pathogenic fungi, including Candida albicans. However, it remains to be determined in the clinically important fungal pathogen Candida glabrata. Increasing multidrug resistance of C. glabrata is becoming a critical issue in the clinical setting. In the current study, we demonstrated that the plecomacrolide V-ATPase inhibitor bafilomycin B1 exerts a synergistic effect with azole antifungal agents, including fluconazole and voriconazole, against a C. glabrata wild-type strain. Furthermore, the deletion of the VPH2 gene encoding an assembly factor of V-ATPase was sufficient to interfere with V-ATPase function in C. glabrata, resulting in impaired pH homeostasis in the vacuole and increased sensitivity to a variety of environmental stresses, such as alkaline conditions (pH 7.4), ion stress (Na+, Ca2+, Mn2+, and Zn2+ stress), exposure to the calcineurin inhibitor FK506 and antifungal agents (azoles and amphotericin B), and iron limitation. In addition, virulence of C. glabrata Δvph2 mutant in a mouse model of disseminated candidiasis was reduced in comparison with that of the wild-type and VPH2-reconstituted strains. These findings support the notion that V-ATPase is a potential attractive target for the development of effective antifungal strategies.

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<![CDATA[Amino acid permeases in Cryptococcus neoformans are required for high temperature growth and virulence; and are regulated by Ras signaling]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c57e680d5eed0c484ef3481

Cryptococcosis is an Invasive Fungal Infection (IFI) caused by Cryptococcus neoformans, mainly in immunocompromised patients. Therapeutic failure due to pathogen drug resistance, treatment inconstancy and few antifungal options is a problem. The study of amino acid biosynthesis and uptake represents an opportunity to explore possible development of novel antifungals. C. neoformans has 10 amino acids permeases, two of them (Aap3 and Aap7) not expressed at the conditions tested, and five were studied previously (Aap2, Aap4, Aap5, Mup1 and Mup3). Our previous results showed that Aap4 and Aap5 are major permeases with overlapping functions. The aap4Δ/aap5Δ double mutant fails to grow in amino acids as sole nitrogen source and is avirulent in animal model. Here, we deleted the remaining amino acid permeases (AAP1, AAP6, AAP8) that showed gene expression modulation by nutritional condition and created a double mutant (aap1Δ/aap2Δ). We studied the virulence attributes of these mutants and explored the regulatory mechanism behind amino acid uptake in C. neoformans. The aap1Δ/aap2Δ strain had reduced growth at 37°C in L-amino acids, reduced capsule production and was hypovirulent in the Galleria mellonella animal model. Our data, along with previous studies, (i) complement the analysis for all 10 amino acid permeases mutants, (ii) corroborate the idea that these transporters behave as global permeases, (iii) are required during heat and nutritional stress, and (iv) are important for virulence. Our study also indicates a new possible link between Ras1 signaling and amino acids uptake.

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<![CDATA[Analysis of antifungal resistance genes in Candida albicans and Candida glabrata using next generation sequencing]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f7d3d5eed0c484386a4b

Introduction/Objectives

An increase in antifungal resistant Candida strains has been reported in recent years. The aim of this study was to detect mutations in resistance genes of azole-resistant, echinocandin-resistant or multi-resistant strains using next generation sequencing technology, which allows the analysis of multiple resistance mechanisms in a high throughput setting.

Methods

Forty clinical Candida isolates (16 C. albicans and 24 C. glabrata strains) with MICs for azoles and echinocandins above the clinical EUCAST breakpoint were examined. The genes ERG11, ERG3, TAC1 and GSC1 (FKS1) in C. albicans, as well as ERG11, CgPDR1, FKS1 and FKS2 in C. glabrata were sequenced.

Results

Fifty-four different missense mutations were identified, 13 of which have not been reported before. All nine echinocandin-resistant Candida isolates showed mutations in the hot spot (HS) regions of FKS1, FKS2 or GSC1. In ERG3 two homozygous premature stop codons were identified in two highly azole-resistant and moderately echinocandin-resistant C. albicans strains. Seven point mutations in ERG11 were determined in azole-resistant C. albicans whereas in azole-resistant C. glabrata, no ERG11 mutations were detected. In 10 out of 13 azole-resistant C. glabrata, 12 different potential gain-of-function mutations in the transcription factor CgPDR1 were verified, which are associated with an overexpression of the efflux pumps CDR1/2.

Conclusion

This study showed that next generation sequencing allows the thorough investigation of a large number of isolates more cost efficient and faster than conventional Sanger sequencing. Targeting different resistance genes and a large sample size of highly resistant strains allows a better determination of the relevance of the different mutations, and to differentiate between causal mutations and polymorphisms.

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<![CDATA[Metabarcoding targeting the EF1 alpha region to assess Fusarium diversity on cereals]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c42436cd5eed0c4845e0155

Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a major cereal disease caused by a complex of Fusarium species. These species vary in importance depending on climatic conditions, agronomic factors or host genotype. In addition, Fusarium species can release toxic secondary metabolites. These mycotoxins constitute a significant food safety concern as they have health implications in both humans and animals. The Fusarium species involved in FHB differ in their pathogenicity, ability to produce mycotoxins, and fungicide sensitivity. Accurate and exhaustive identification of Fusarium species in planta is therefore of great importance. In this study, using a new set of primers targeting the EF1α gene, the diversity of Fusarium species on cereals was evaluated using Illumina high-throughput sequencing. The PCR amplification parameters and bioinformatic pipeline were optimized with mock and artificially infected grain communities and further tested on 65 field samples. Fusarium species were retrieved from mock communities and good reproducibility between different runs or PCR cycle numbers was be observed. The method enabled the detection of as few as one single Fusarium-infected grain in 10,000. Up to 17 different Fusarium species were detected in field samples of barley, durum and soft wheat harvested in France. This new set of primers enables the assessment of Fusarium diversity by high-throughput sequencing on cereal samples. It provides a more exhaustive picture of the Fusarium community than the currently used techniques based on isolation or species-specific PCR detection. This new experimental approach may be used to show changes in the composition of the Fusarium complex or to detect the emergence of new Fusarium species as far as the EF1α sequence of these species show a sufficient amount of polymorphism in the portion of sequence analyzed. Information on the distribution and prevalence of the different Fusarium species in a given geographical area, and in response to various environmental factors, is of great interest for managing the disease and predicting mycotoxin contamination risks.

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