ResearchPad - mycology https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![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[Quantitative real-time PCR as a promising tool for the detection and quantification of leaf-associated fungal species – A proof-of-concept using Alatospora pulchella]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc5cf

Traditional methods to identify aquatic hyphomycetes rely on the morphology of released conidia, which can lead to misidentifications or underestimates of species richness due to convergent morphological evolution and the presence of non-sporulating mycelia. Molecular methods allow fungal identification irrespective of the presence of conidia or their morphology. As a proof-of-concept, we established a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay to accurately quantify the amount of DNA as a proxy for the biomass of an aquatic hyphomycete species (Alatospora pulchella). Our study showed discrimination even among genetically closely-related species, with a high sensitivity and a reliable quantification down to 9.9 fg DNA (3 PCR forming units; LoD) and 155.0 fg DNA (47 PCR forming units; LoQ), respectively. The assay’s specificity was validated for environmental samples that harboured diverse microbial communities and likely contained PCR-inhibiting substances. This makes qPCR a promising tool to gain deeper insights into the ecological roles of aquatic hyphomycetes and other microorganisms.

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<![CDATA[Epiphytic fungi induced pathogen resistance of invasive plant Ipomoea cairica against Colletotrichum gloeosporioides]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nae36b77b-712c-41c7-b261-437095546910

Background

Ipomoea cairica (L.) Sweet is a destructive invasive weed in South China but rarely infected with pathogens in nature. Its pathogen resistance mechanism is largely unknown at present. Some non-pathogenic isolates of Fusarium oxysporum and Fusarium fujikuroi are prevalent on many plant species and function as pathogen resistance inducers of host plants. The objective of the present research is to investigate whether the symbiosis between the both fungi and I. cairica is present, and thereby induces pathogen resistance of I. cairica.

Methods

Through field investigation, we explored the occurrence rates of F. oxysporum and F. fujikuroi on leaf surfaces of I. cairica plants in natural habitats and compared their abundance between healthy leaves and leaves infected with Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, a natural pathogen. With artificial inoculation, we assessed their pathogenicity to I. cairica and studied their contribution of pathogen resistance to I. cairica against C. gloeosporioides.

Results

We found that F. oxysporum and F. fujikuroi were widely epiphytic on healthy leaf surfaces of I. cairica in sunny non-saline, shady non-saline and sunny saline habitats. Their occurrence rates reached up to 100%. Moreover, we found that the abundance of F. oxysporum and F. fujikuroi on leaves infected with C. gloeosporioides were significantly lower than that of healthy leaves. With artificial inoculation, we empirically confirmed that F. oxysporum and F. fujikuroi were non-pathogenic to I. cairica. It was interesting that colonization by F. fujikuroi, F. oxysporum alone and a mixture of both fungi resulted in a reduction of C. gloeosporioides infection to I. cairica accompanied by lower lesion area to leaf surface area ratio, increased hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) concentration and salicylic acid (SA) level relative to the control. However, NPR1 expression, chitinase and β-1,3-glucanase activities as well as stem length and biomass of I. cairica plant only could be significantly improved by F. oxysporum and a mixture of both fungi but not by F. fujikuroi. In addition, as compared to colonization by F. oxysporum and a mixture of both fungi, F. fujikuroi induced significantly higher jasmonic acid (JA) level but significantly lower β-1,3-glucanase activity in leaves of I. cairica plants. Thus, our findings indicated the symbiosis of epiphytic fungiF. fujikuroi and F. oxysporum induced systemic resistance of I. cairica against C. gloeosporioides. F. oxysporum played a dominant role in inducing pathogen resistance of I. cairica. Its presence alleviated the antagonism of the JA signaling on SA-dependent β-1,3-glucanase activity and enabled I. cairica plants to maintain relatively higher level of resistance against C. gloeosporioides.

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<![CDATA[Cobalt ion interaction with TMEM16A calcium-activated chloride channel: Inhibition and potentiation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nba3bff3f-41a4-460d-bc9b-3a7adada8996

TMEM16A, a Ca2+-sensitive Cl- channel, plays key roles in many physiological functions related to Cl- transport across lipid membranes. Activation of this channel is mediated via binding intracellular Ca2+ to the channel with a relatively high apparent affinity, roughly in the sub-μM to low μM concentration range. Recently available high-resolution structures of TMEM16 molecules reveal that the high-affinity Ca2+ activation sites are formed by several acidic amino acids, using their negatively charged sidechain carboxylates to coordinate the bound Ca2+. In this study, we examine the interaction of TMEM16A with a divalent cation, Co2+, which by itself cannot activate current in TMEM16A. This divalent cation, however, has two effects when applied intracellularly. It inhibits the Ca2+-induced TMEM16A current by competing with Ca2+ for the aforementioned high-affinity activation sites. In addition, Co2+ also potentiates the Ca2+-induced current with a low affinity. This potentiation effect requires high concentration (mM) of Co2+, similar to our previous findings that high concentrations (mM) of intracellular Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i) can induce more TMEM16A current after the Ca2+-activation sites are saturated by tens of μM [Ca2+]i. The degrees of potentiation by Co2+ and Ca2+ also roughly correlate with each other. Interestingly, mutating a pore residue of TMEM16A, Y589, alters the degree of potentiation in that the smaller the sidechain of the replaced residue, the larger the potentiation induced by divalent cations. We suggest that the Co2+ potentiation and the Ca2+ potentiation share a similar mechanism by increasing Cl- flux through the channel pore, perhaps due to an increase of positive pore potential after the binding of divalent cations to phospholipids in the pore. A smaller sidechain of a pore residue may allow the pore to accommodate more phospholipids, thus enhancing the current potentiation caused by high concentrations of divalent cations.

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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[Endemic Mycoses: What’s New About Old Diseases?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nb9ab97a8-baba-4029-950c-d17068f49162

Infections with geographically constrained dimorphic fungi cause the endemic mycoses, which include blastomycosis, coccidioidomycosis, emmonsiosis, histoplasmosis, paracoccidioidomycosis, sporotrichosis, and penicilliosis. In the last 5 years, our understanding of the epidemiology, diagnostics, and to a lesser extent management of these diseases has advanced. Specifically, the application of molecular techniques for genotyping fungal pathogens has resulted in the recognition of cryptic species within several genera, including Blastomyces, and Paracoccidioides; the reclassification of Penicillium marneffei, the agent of penicilliosis, to the genus Talaromyces; and the global emergence of dimorphic fungi of the genus Emmonsia, cause disease in immunocompromised persons. New and refined diagnostic tests are available based on the detection of circulating antigens and antibodies, mass spectrometry, and targeted gene amplification. In contrast, the development of new therapeutic options remains stalled, although isavuconazole may hold promise. Finally, advances have been made in the prospect of viable vaccines for preventing animal and human disease.

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<![CDATA[Genome sequencing of Aspergillus glaucus ‘CCHA’ provides insights into salt-stress adaptation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nf87804d9-ad3f-4e99-a450-21f8c5f4cc1e

Aspergillus, as a genus of filamentous fungi, has members that display a variety of different behavioural strategies, which are affected by various environmental factors. The decoded genomic sequences of many species vary greatly in their evolutionary similarities, encouraging studies on the functions and evolution of the Aspergillus genome in complex natural environments. Here, we present the 26 Mb de novo assembled high-quality reference genome of Aspergillus glaucus ‘China Changchun halophilic Aspergillus’ (CCHA), which was isolated from the surface of plants growing near a salt mine in Jilin, China, based on data from whole-genome shotgun sequencing using Illumina Solexa technology. The sequence, coupled with data from comprehensive transcriptomic survey analyses, indicated that the redox state and transmembrane transport might be critical molecular mechanisms for the adaptation of A. glaucus ‘CCHA’ to the high-salt environment of the saltern. The isolation of salt tolerance-related genes, such as CCHA-2114, and their overexpression in Escherichia coli demonstrated that A. glucus ‘CCHA’ is an excellent organism for the isolation and identification of salt tolerant-related genes. These data expand our understanding of the evolution and functions of fungal and microbial genomes, and offer multiple target genes for crop salt-tolerance improvement through genetic engineering.

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<![CDATA[Unusual genome expansion and transcription suppression in ectomycorrhizal Tricholoma matsutake by insertions of transposable elements]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nd7412b83-0508-48a9-959e-b3aa8ede7a25

Genome sequencing of Tricholoma matsutake revealed its unusually large size as 189.0 Mbp, which is a consequence of extraordinarily high transposable element (TE) content. We identified that 702 genes were surrounded by TEs, and 83.2% of these genes were not transcribed at any developmental stage. This observation indicated that the insertion of TEs alters the transcription of the genes neighboring these TEs. Repeat-induced point mutation, such as C to T hypermutation with a bias over “CpG” dinucleotides, was also recognized in this genome, representing a typical defense mechanism against TEs during evolution. Many transcription factor genes were activated in both the primordia and fruiting body stages, which indicates that many regulatory processes are shared during the developmental stages. Small secreted protein genes (<300 aa) were dominantly transcribed in the hyphae, where symbiotic interactions occur with the hosts. Comparative analysis with 37 Agaricomycetes genomes revealed that IstB-like domains (PF01695) were conserved across taxonomically diverse mycorrhizal genomes, where the T. matsutake genome contained four copies of this domain. Three of the IstB-like genes were overexpressed in the hyphae. Similar to other ectomycorrhizal genomes, the CAZyme gene set was reduced in T. matsutake, including losses in the glycoside hydrolase genes. The T. matsutake genome sequence provides insight into the causes and consequences of genome size inflation.

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<![CDATA[Prehaustorial local resistance to coffee leaf rust in a Mexican cultivar involves expression of salicylic acid-responsive genes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ne2c8b170-c7b3-44c0-8bd6-3a0a418b1fe5

Background

In Mexico, coffee leaf rust (CLR) is the main disease that affects the Arabica coffee crop. In this study, the local response of two Mexican cultivars of Coffea arabica (Oro Azteca and Garnica) in the early stages of Hemileia vastatrix infection was evaluated.

Methods

We quantified the development of fungal structures in locally-infected leaf disks from both cultivars, using qRT-PCR to measure the relative expression of two pathogenesis recognition genes (CaNDR1 and CaNBS-LRR) and three genes associated with the salicylic acid (SA)-related pathway (CaNPR1, CaPR1, and CaPR5).

Results

Resistance of the cv. Oro Azteca was significantly higher than that of the cv. Garnica, with 8.2% and 53.3% haustorial detection, respectively. In addition, the non-race specific disease resistance gene (CaNDR1), a key gene for the pathogen recognition, as well as the genes associated with SA, CaNPR1, CaPR1, and CaPR5, presented an increased expression in response to infection by H. vastatrix in cv. Oro Azteca if comparing with cv. Garnica. Our results suggest that Oro Azteca’s defense mechanisms could involve early recognition of CLR by NDR1 and the subsequent activation of the SA signaling pathway.

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<![CDATA[New protocol for successful isolation and amplification of DNA from exiguous fractions of specimens: a tool to overcome the basic obstacle in molecular analyses of myxomycetes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N53d533f3-1c48-41b8-a8a5-649e526fd896

Herbarium collections provide an essential basis for a wide array of biological research and, with development of DNA-based methods, they have become an invaluable material for genetic analyses. Yet, the use of such material is hindered by technical limitations related to DNA degradation and to quantity of biological material. The latter is inherent for some biological groups, as best exemplified by myxomycetes which form minute sporophores. It is estimated that ca. two-thirds of myxomycete taxa are represented by extremely scanty material. As DNA isolation methods applied so far in myxomycete studies require destructive sampling of many sporophores, a large part of described diversity of the group remains unavailable for phylogenetic studies or barcoding. Here, we tested several procedures of DNA isolation and amplification to seek for an efficient and possibly non-destructive method of sampling. Tests were based on herbarium specimens of 19 species representing different taxonomic orders. We assayed several variants of isolation based on silica gel membrane columns, and a newly designed procedure using highly reduced amount of biological material (small portion of spores), based on fine disruption of spores and direct PCR. While the most frequently used column-based method led to PCR success in 89.5% of samples when a large amount of material was used, its performance dropped to 52% when based on single sporophores. Single sporophores provided amplicons in 89.5% of samples when using a kit dedicated to low-amount DNA samples. Our new procedure appeared the most effective (94.7%) while it used only a small fraction of spores, being nearly non-destructive; it was also the most cost-effective. We thus demonstrate that combination of adequate handling of spore micro-disruption coupled with application of direct PCR can be an efficient way to circumvent technical limitations for genetic studies in myxomycetes and thus can substantially improve taxon sampling for phylogeny and barcoding. Additionally, this approach gives a unique possibility to apply both molecular and morphological assays to the same structure (sporophore), which then can be further stored as documentation.

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<![CDATA[Experimental evaluation of genomic DNA degradation rates for the pathogen Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) in bat guano]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Na793a962-3461-4571-bad2-0c854d727fde

Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), the causative agent of white-nose syndrome in bats (WNS), has led to dramatic declines of bat populations in eastern North America. In the spring of 2016, WNS was first detected at several locations in Washington State, USA, which has prompted the need for large scale surveillance efforts to monitor the spread of Pd. Pd is typically detected in bats using invasive methods requiring capturing and swabbing individual bats. However, Pd can also be detected in guano, which may provide an efficient, affordable, and noninvasive means to monitor Pd in bats across North America. The widespread implementation of Pd surveillance in guano is hindered by substantial uncertainty about the probability of detecting Pd when present, and how this probability is influenced by the time since defecation, local environmental conditions, the amount of guano sampled, and the original concentration of DNA shed in the guano. In addition, the expected degradation rate of Pd DNA depends on whether the Pd DNA found in guano represents extracellular DNA fragments, intracellular DNA from dead Pd fungal cells, or from intracellular and viable Pd cells. While this is currently unknown, it has been posited that most environmental DNA, such as Pd found in guano long after defecation, is fragmented extracellular DNA. Using non-viable isolated DNA at precise quantities, we experimentally characterized the degradation rates of Pd DNA in guano samples. We spiked 450 guano samples with Pd gDNA in a 10-fold dilution series from 1 million to 1,000 fg and placed them in variable environmental conditions at five sites at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, which is a priority location for Pd surveillance. We evaluated DNA degradation over 70 days by quantifying the amount of DNA in samples collected every 14 days using real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR). Our sampling period was from July 10th to September 17th 2018 which overlaps with bat movement between summer roosts as well as movement from maternity colonies fall swarms. We detected Pd DNA in guano 56 and 70 days after inoculation with 1 million and 100,000 fg respectively, while the lowest quantity (1,000 fg) was detected until 42 days. Detection probability was variable among sites and lower where samples were left exposed without overhead cover. If Pd is shed as extracellular DNA in guano at quantities above 1,000 fg, then guano collection is likely to provide an effective tool for environmental screening of Pd that can be employed in an early detection and rapid response framework throughout Washington and other regions where this disease is rapidly emerging.

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<![CDATA[A recombinase polymerase amplification-lateral flow dipstick assay for rapid detection of the quarantine citrus pathogen in China, Phytophthora hibernalis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N96ac5e5d-2abc-4820-81f6-a01222d2d77e

Phytophthora hibernalis, the causal agent of brown rot of citrus fruit, is an important worldwide pathogen and a quarantine pest in China. Current diagnosis of the disease relies on disease symptoms, pathogen isolation and identification by DNA sequencing. However, symptoms caused by P. hibernalis can be confused with those by other Phytophthora and fungal species. Moreover, pathogen isolation, PCR amplification and sequencing are time-consuming. In this study, a rapid assay including 20-min recombinase polymerase amplification targeting the Ypt1 gene and 5-min visualization using lateral flow dipsticks was developed for detecting P. hibernalis. This assay was able to detect 0.2 ng of P. hibernalis genomic DNA in a 50-µL reaction system. It was specific to P. hibernalis without detection of other tested species including P. citrophthora, P. nicotianae, P. palmivora and P. syringae, four other important citrus pathogens. Using this assay, P. hibernalis was also detected from artificially inoculated orange fruits. Results in this study indicated that this assay has the potential application to detect P. hibernalis at diagnostic laboratories and plant quarantine departments of customs, especially under time- and resource-limited conditions.

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<![CDATA[Penicillium expansum strain isolated from indoor building material was able to grow on gypsum board and emitted guttation droplets containing chaetoglobosins and communesins A, B and D]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N0034c6ff-63ed-4d6c-a9c2-6281458d802d

Abstract

Aims

Emission of toxic metabolites in guttation droplets of common indoor fungi is not well documented. The aims of this study were (i) to compare mycotoxins in biomass and guttation droplets from indoor fungi from a building following health complaints among occupants, (ii) to identify the most toxic strain and to test if mycotoxins in guttation liquids migrated trough air and (iii) to test if toxigenic Penicillium expansum strains grew on gypsum board.

Methods and Results

Biomass suspensions and guttation droplets from individual fungal colonies representing Aspergillus, Chaetomium, Penicillium, Stachybotrys and Paecilomyces were screened toxic to mammalian cells. The most toxic strain, RcP61 (CBS 145620), was identified as Pen. expansum Link by sequence analysis of the ITS region and a calmodulin gene fragment, and confirmed by the Westerdijk Institute based on ITS and beta‐tubulin sequences. The strain was isolated from a cork liner, was able to grow on gypsum board and to produce toxic substances in biomass extracts and guttation droplets inhibiting proliferation of somatic cells (PK‐15, MNA, FL) in up to 20 000‐fold dilutions. Toxic compounds in biomass extracts and/or guttation droplets were determined by HPLC and LC‐MS. Strain RcP61 produced communesins A, B and D, and chaetoglobosins in guttation droplets (the liquid emitted from them) and biomass extracts. The toxins of the guttation droplets migrated c. 1 cm through air and condensed on a cool surface.

Conclusions

The mycotoxin‐containing guttation liquids emitted by Pen. expansum grown on laboratory medium exhibited airborne migration and were >100 times more toxic in bioassays than guttation droplets produced by indoor isolates of the genera Aspergillus, Chaetomium, Stachybotrys and Paecilomyces.

Significance and Impact of the Study

Toxic exudates produced by Pen. expansum containing communesins A, B and D, and chaetoglobosins were transferable by air. This may represent a novel mechanism of mycotoxin dispersal in indoor environment.

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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[Evolutionary behaviour of bacterial prion-like proteins]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8823f7d5eed0c484639437

Prions in eukaryotes have been linked to diseases, evolutionary capacitance, large-scale genetic control and long-term memory formation. In bacteria, constructed prion-forming proteins have been described, such as the prion-forming protein recently described for Clostridium botulinum transcription terminator Rho. Here, I analyzed the evolution of the Rho prion-forming domain across bacteria, and discovered that its conservation is sporadic both in the Clostridium genus and in bacteria generally. Nonetheless, it has an apparent evolutionary reach into eight or more different bacterial phyla. Motivated by these results, I investigated whether this pattern of wide-ranging evolutionary sporadicity is typical of bacterial prion-like domains. A measure of coverage of a domain (C) within its evolutionary range was derived, which is effectively a weighted fraction of the number of species in which the domain is found. I observe that occurrence across multiple phyla is not uncommon for bacterial prion-like protein domain families, but that they tend to sample of a low fraction of species within their evolutionary range, like Rho. The Rho prion-like domain family is one of the top three most widely distributed prion-like protein domain families in terms of number of phyla. There are >60 prion-like protein domain families that have at least the evolutionary coverage of Rho, and are found in multiple phyla. The implications of these findings for evolution and for experimental investigations into prion-forming proteins are discussed.

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<![CDATA[The seven transmembrane domain protein MoRgs7 functions in surface perception and undergoes coronin MoCrn1-dependent endocytosis in complex with Gα subunit MoMagA to promote cAMP signaling and appressorium formation in Magnaporthe oryzae]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c7d95f6d5eed0c484735053

Regulator of G-protein signaling (RGS) proteins primarily function as GTPase-accelerating proteins (GAPs) to promote GTP hydrolysis of Gα subunits, thereby regulating G-protein mediated signal transduction. RGS proteins could also contain additional domains such as GoLoco to inhibit GDP dissociation. The rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae encodes eight RGS and RGS-like proteins (MoRgs1 to MoRgs8) that have shared and distinct functions in growth, appressorium formation and pathogenicity. Interestingly, MoRgs7 and MoRgs8 contain a C-terminal seven-transmembrane domain (7-TM) motif typical of G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) proteins, in addition to the conserved RGS domain. We found that MoRgs7, but not MoRgs8, couples with Gα MoMagA to undergo endocytic transport from the plasma membrane to the endosome upon sensing of surface hydrophobicity. We also found that MoRgs7 can interact with hydrophobic surfaces via a hydrophobic interaction, leading to the perception of environmental hydrophobiccues. Moreover, we found that MoRgs7-MoMagA endocytosis is regulated by actin patch-associated protein MoCrn1, linking it to cAMP signaling. Our studies provided evidence suggesting that MoRgs7 could also function in a GPCR-like manner to sense environmental signals and it, together with additional proteins of diverse functions, promotes cAMP signaling required for developmental processes underlying appressorium function and pathogenicity.

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<![CDATA[In vitro activity and mode of action of phenolic compounds on Leishmania donovani]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c7d95f4d5eed0c48473501e

Background

Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by the protozoan parasite, Leishmania. The disease remains a global threat to public health requiring effective chemotherapy for control and treatment. In this study, the effect of some selected phenolic compounds on Leishmania donovani was investigated. The compounds were screened for their anti-leishmanial activities against promastigote and intracellular amastigote forms of Leishmania donovani.

Methodology/Principal findings

The dose dependent effect and cytotoxicity of the compounds were determined by the MTT assay. Flow cytometry was used to determine the effect of the compounds on the cell cycle. Parasite morphological analysis was done by microscopy and growth kinetic studies were conducted by culturing cells and counting at 24 hours intervals over 120 hours. The cellular levels of iron in promastigotes treated with compounds was determined by atomic absorption spectroscopy and the effect of compounds on the expression of iron dependent enzymes was investigated using RT-qPCR.

The IC50 of the compounds ranged from 16.34 μM to 198 μM compared to amphotericin B and deferoxamine controls. Rosmarinic acid and apigenin were the most effective against the promastigote and the intracellular amastigote forms. Selectivity indexes (SI) of rosmarinic acid and apigenin were 15.03 and 10.45 respectively for promastigotes while the SI of 12.70 and 5.21 respectively was obtained for intracellular amastigotes. Morphologically, 70% of rosmarinic acid treated promastigotes showed rounded morphology similar to the deferoxamine control. About 30% of cells treated with apigenin showed distorted cell membrane. Rosmarinic acid and apigenin induced cell arrest in the G0/G1 phase in promastigotes. Elevated intracellular iron levels were observed in promastigotes when parasites were treated with rosmarinic acid and this correlated with the level of expression of iron dependent genes.

Conclusions/Significance

The data suggests that rosmarinic acid exerts its anti-leishmanial effect via iron chelation resulting in variable morphological changes and cell cycle arrest.

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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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