RNA-seq of coding RNA from fungus Cryptococcus neoformans var grubii cultured in different media, temperature and cell density to express the largest number of genes and thus facilitate gene annotation
ABSTRACT: Cryptococcus neoformans var grubii has been automaticaly annotated. Here, we use various growth conditions in order to express the greatest number of genes. Therefore, these RNA-Seq experiments allow us to reannotate grubii genome.
Project description:A singleplex PCR assay using a single primer pair targeting the putative sugar transporter gene was developed here to distinguish Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii, Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans, and Cryptococcus gattii according to the distinct size of the amplicon. The interspecies and intravarietal hybrids were also characterized on the basis of distinct combined profiles of amplicons. This PCR assay is a rapid, simple, and reliable approach suitable for laboratory diagnoses and large-scale epidemiologic studies.
Project description:Most of the species of fungi that cause disease in mammals, including Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii (serotype A), are exogenous and non-contagious. Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii is associated worldwide with avian and arboreal habitats. This airborne, opportunistic pathogen is profoundly neurotropic and the leading cause of fungal meningitis. Patients with HIV/AIDS have been ravaged by cryptococcosis--an estimated one million new cases occur each year, and mortality approaches 50%. Using phylogenetic and population genetic analyses, we present evidence that C. neoformans var. grubii may have evolved from a diverse population in southern Africa. Our ecological studies support the hypothesis that a few of these strains acquired a new environmental reservoir, the excreta of feral pigeons (Columba livia), and were globally dispersed by the migration of birds and humans. This investigation also discovered a novel arboreal reservoir for highly diverse strains of C. neoformans var. grubii that are restricted to southern Africa, the mopane tree (Colophospermum mopane). This finding may have significant public health implications because these primal strains have optimal potential for evolution and because mopane trees contribute to the local economy as a source of timber, folkloric remedies and the edible mopane worm.
Project description:Rapid identification of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii, Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans, and Cryptococcus gattii is imperative for facilitation of prompt treatment of cryptococcosis and for understanding the epidemiology of the disease. Our purpose was to evaluate a test algorithm incorporating commercial rapid biochemical tests, differential media, and DNA sequence analysis that will allow us to differentiate these taxa rapidly and accurately. We assessed 147 type, reference, and clinical isolates, including 6 other Cryptococcus spp. (10 isolates) and 14 other yeast species (24 isolates), using a 4-hour urea broth test (Remel), a 24-hour urea broth test (Becton Dickinson), a 4-hour caffeic acid disk test (Hardy Diagnostics and Remel), 40- to 44-hour growth assessment on l-canavanine glycine bromothymol blue (CGB) agar, and intergenic spacer (IGS) sequence analysis. All 123 Cryptococcus isolates hydrolyzed urea, along with 7 isolates of Rhodotorula and Trichosporon. Eighty-five of 86 C. neoformans (99%) and 26 of 27 C. gattii (96%) isolates had positive caffeic acid results, unlike the other cryptococci (0/10) and yeast species (0/24). Together, these two tests positively identified virtually all C. neoformans/C. gattii isolates (98%) within 4 h. CGB agar or IGS sequencing further differentiated these isolates within 48 h. On CGB, 25 of 27 (93%) C. gattii strains induced a blue color change, in contrast to 0 of 86 C. neoformans isolates. Neighbor-joining cluster analysis of IGS sequences differentiated C. neoformans var. grubii, C. neoformans var. neoformans, and C. gattii. Based on these results, we describe a rapid identification algorithm for use in a microbiology laboratory to distinguish clinically relevant Cryptococcus spp.
Project description:UNLABELLED:The accumulation of genomic structural variation between closely related populations over time can lead to reproductive isolation and speciation. The fungal pathogen Cryptococcus is thought to have recently diversified, forming a species complex containing members with distinct morphologies, distributions, and pathologies of infection. We have investigated structural changes in genomic architecture such as inversions and translocations that distinguish the most pathogenic variety, Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii, from the less clinically prevalent Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii. Synteny analysis between the genomes of the three Cryptococcus species/varieties (strains H99, JEC21, and R265) reveals that C. neoformans var. grubii possesses surprisingly few unique genomic rearrangements. All but one are relatively small and are shared by all molecular subtypes of C. neoformans var. grubii. In contrast, the large translocation peculiar to the C. neoformans var. grubii type strain is found in all tested subcultures from multiple laboratories, suggesting that it has possessed this rearrangement since its isolation from a human clinical sample. Furthermore, we find that the translocation directly disrupts two genes. The first of these encodes a novel protein involved in metabolism of glucose at human body temperature and affects intracellular levels of trehalose. The second encodes a homeodomain-containing transcription factor that modulates melanin production. Both mutations would be predicted to increase pathogenicity; however, when recreated in an alternate genetic background, these mutations do not affect virulence in animal models. The type strain of C. neoformans var. grubii in which the majority of molecular studies have been performed is therefore atypical for carbon metabolism and key virulence attributes. IMPORTANCE:The fungal pathogen Cryptococcus is a major cause of mortality among the immunocompromised population, primarily in AIDS patients of sub-Saharan Africa. Most research into the particular variety of Cryptococcus responsible for the vast majority of infections, Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii, is performed using the type strain isolated in 1978 from a Hodgkin's disease patient from North Carolina. We have determined that this particular isolate contains a chromosomal translocation that directly interrupts two genes, which all descendants of this strain from various research laboratories appear to possess. Disruption of these two genes affects multiple virulence factors of Cryptococcus, particularly the ability to grow at human body temperature, which could have wide-ranging implications for molecular genetic studies and virulence assays using this important strain.
Project description:We have developed a two-step method based on high-resolution melting (HRM) that reliably identifies species from the Cryptococcus species complex (Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii, Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans, and Cryptococcus gattii). Our results indicate that HRM can provide a fast protocol to identify and distinguish among the main Cryptococcus species.
Project description:Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans (serotype D) represents about 30% of the clinical isolates in Europe and is present less frequently in the other continents. It is the prevalent etiological agent in primary cutaneous cryptococcosis as well as in cryptococcal skin lesions of disseminated cryptococcosis. Very little is known about the genotypic diversity of this Cryptococcus subtype. The aim of this study was to investigate the genotypic diversity among a set of clinical and environmental C. neoformans var. neoformans isolates and to evaluate the relationship between genotypes, geographical origin and clinical manifestations. A total of 83 globally collected C. neoformans var. neoformans isolates from Italy, Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Turkey, Thailand, Japan, Colombia, and the USA, recovered from different sources (primary and secondary cutaneous cryptococcosis, disseminated cryptococcosis, the environment, and animals), were included in the study. All isolates were confirmed to belong to genotype VNIV by molecular typing and they were further investigated by MLST analysis. Maximum likelihood phylogenetic as well as network analysis strongly suggested the existence of a recombinant rather than a clonal population structure. Geographical origin and source of isolation were not correlated with a specific MLST genotype. The comparison with a set of outgroup C. neoformans var. grubii isolates provided clear evidence that the two varieties have different population structures.
Project description:The vast burden of cryptococcal meningitis occurs in immunosuppressed patients, driven by HIV, and is caused by Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii. We previously reported cryptococcal meningitis in Vietnam arising atypically in HIV uninfected, apparently immunocompetent patients, caused by a single amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) cluster of C. neoformans var. grubii (VNI?). This variant was less common in HIV infected individuals; it remains unclear why this lineage is associated with apparently immunocompetent patients. To study this host tropism we aimed to further our understanding of clinical phenotype and genomic variation within Vietnamese C. neoformans var. grubii. After performing MLST on C. neoformans clinical isolates we identified 14 sequence types (STs); ST5 correlated with the VNI? cluster. We next compared clinical phenotype by lineage and found HIV infected patients with cryptococcal meningitis caused by ST5 organisms were significantly more likely to have lymphadenopathy (11% vs. 4%, p = 0.05 Fisher's exact test) and higher blood lymphocyte count (median 0.76 versus 0.55 X109 cells/L, p = 0.001, Kruskal-Wallis test). Furthermore, survivors of ST5 infections had evidence of worse disability outcomes at 70 days (72.7% (40/55) in ST5 infections versus 57.1% (52/91) non-ST5 infections (OR 2.11, 95%CI 1.01 to 4.41), p = 0.046). To further investigate the relationship between strain and disease phenotype we performed genome sequencing on eight Vietnamese C. neoformans var. grubii. Eight genome assemblies exhibited >99% nucleotide sequence identity and we identified 165 kbp of lineage specific to Vietnamese isolates. ST5 genomes harbored several strain specific regions, incorporating 19 annotated coding sequences and eight hypothetical proteins. These regions included a phenolic acid decarboxylase, a DEAD-box ATP-dependent RNA helicase 26, oxoprolinases, a taurine catabolism dioxygenase, a zinc finger protein, membrane transport proteins and various drug transporters. Our work outlines the complexity of genomic pathogenicity in cryptococcal infections and identifies a number of gene candidates that may aid the disaggregation of the pathways associated with the pathogenesis of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii.
Project description:Introns are a defining feature of eukaryotic genomes, though the mechanism of intron gain or loss is not well understood. Reverse transcription of mRNA followed by homologous recombination with the genome has been posited as a mechanism of intron loss, though little direct evidence of recent loss events has been described to support this model. We find supporting evidence for an mRNA-mediated mechanism of loss through comparative genome analyses that revealed a recent loss of 10 adjacent introns in a 22-exon gene in the human-pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. We surveyed the gene structures of the entire genomes of Cryptococcus gattii, which diverged from the C. neoformans lineage 37 million years ago (Mya), and C. neoformans var. grubii and var. neoformans, which diverged 18 Mya. Our comparison revealed greater than 99.9% intron conservation, with evidence from 20 genes showing evidence of intron loss, but no convincing evidence of intron gain. Our findings confirm that Cryptococcus introns have been quite stable over recent evolutionary time, with occasional mRNA-mediated intron loss events.
Project description:Cryptococcus neoformans is the causative agent of cryptococcal meningoencephalitis, most frequently occurring in immunocompromised individuals. There are three varieties of C. neoformans, var. grubii, var. neoformans, and var. gatti. Worldwide var. grubii is the most prevalent clinical isolate. However, few tools for the study of essential genes in var. grubii exist. Here we describe three endogenous inducible promoters for use in the study of this important opportunistic pathogen. We identified eight potential homologs of S. cerevisiae galactose genes in var. grubii. We found that GAL1, GAL7, and UGE2 were regulated by glucose and galactose and can be used successfully during mating. Our analysis indicated these promoters should prove to be excellent tools for analysis of genes in var. grubii.
Project description:Cryptococcosis causes approximately 180 000 deaths each year in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Patients with other forms of immunosuppression are also at risk, and disease is increasingly recognized in apparently immunocompetent individuals. Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii, responsible for the majority of cases, is distributed globally. We used the consensus ISHAM Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) scheme to define the population structure of clinical C. neoformans var. grubii isolates from Laos (n = 81), which we placed into the global context using published MLST data from other countries (total N = 1047), including a reanalysis of 136 Vietnamese isolates previously reported. We observed a phylogeographical relationship in which the Laotian population was similar to its neighbor Thailand, being dominated (83%) by Sequence Types (ST) 4 and 6. This phylogeographical structure changed moving eastwards, with Vietnam's population consisting of an admixture of isolates dominated by the ST4/ST6 (35%) and ST5 (48%) lineages. The ST5 lineage is the predominant ST reported from China and East Asia, where it accounts for >90% of isolates. Analysis of genetic distance (Fst) between different populations of C. neoformans var. grubii supports this intermediate structure of the Vietnamese population. The pathogen and host diversity reported from Vietnam provide the strongest epidemiological evidence of the association between ST5 and HIV-uninfected patients. Regional anthropological genetic distances suggest diversity in the C. neoformans var. grubii population across Southeast Asia is driven by ecological rather than human host factors. Where the ST5 lineage is present, disease in HIV-uninfected patients is to be expected.