Species recognition and clinical relevance of the zygomycetous genus Lichtheimia (syn. Absidia pro parte, Mycocladus).
ABSTRACT: The zygomycete genus Lichtheimia (syn. Absidia pro parte, Mycocladus) consists of saprotrophic fungi inhabiting soil or dead plant material. Lichtheimia corymbifera (syn. Absidia corymbifera, Mycocladus corymbifer) and Lichtheimia ramosa (syn. Absidia ramosa, Mycocladus ramosus) may cause fulminant infections in patients with impaired immunity. The present study investigated the species boundaries in Lichtheimia using genealogical concordance phylogenetic species recognition (by comparison of the genealogies of the internal transcribed spacer [ITS] sequence, the D1/D2 region of the large subunit [LSU], and actin), biological species recognition by mating tests, as well as morphological and physiological characteristics. The three molecular markers used were selected by evaluating the polymorphisms and paralogies of several loci, including those for beta-tubulin, translation elongation factor 1alpha, the two largest subunits of the RNA polymerase II (RPB1 and RPB2), the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI), and the mitochondrial small-subunit (mtSSU) rDNA, among four strains belonging to different putative species. Comparing the genealogies of the ITS, LSU, and actin genes, we recognized seven phylogenetic species. However, mating tests did not show intrinsic reproductive barriers for two pairs of the phylogenetic species. Therefore, we regard five species in Lichtheima to be confirmed: Lichtheimia corymbifera, L. ornata comb. nov., L. ramosa, L. hyalospora, and L. sphaerocystis sp. nov. Only the first three species seem to have clinical relevance. Lichtheimia blakesleeana is reduced to a synonym of Lichtheimia hyalospora. We provide a detailed description of Lichtheimia sphaerocystis sp. nov. and a key for the identification of all accepted species identified in the present study on the basis of their morphological traits and growth at different temperatures.
Project description:Recently, we and others reported the discovery of Lichtheimia ramosa (syn. Lichtheimia hongkongensis). We also hypothesized that a proportion of 'Absidia corymbifera (Lichtheimia corymbifera)' reported in the literature could be L. ramosa. In this study, we characterized 13 strains that had been reported as 'A. corymbifera (L. corymbifera)' in the literature over an 11-year period. Microscopic examination of agar block smear preparations of all 13 strains showed abundant circinate side branches and pleomorphic giant cells with finger-like projections of L. ramosa. ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 rRNA gene cluster (internal transcribed spacer (ITS)) and partial elongation factor-1alpha (EF1?) gene sequencing showed that all 13 strains were clustered with L. ramosa; partial ?-actin gene sequencing showed that most of the 13 strains were clustered with L. ramosa; and partial 28S rRNA gene sequencing showed that all 13 strains were clustered with L. ramosa, but one strain of L. corymbifera (HKU25) was also clustered with other strains of L. ramosa. A significant number of reported A. corymbifera (L. corymbifera) infections are L. ramosa infections which are of global distribution. In clinical microbiology laboratories, L. ramosa should be suspected if an Absidia-like mold that possesses abundant circinate side branches on the sporangiophores and pleomorphic giant cells with finger-like projections is observed. ITS and partial EF1? gene sequencing are more reliable than partial ?-actin and 28S rRNA gene sequencing for identification of the Lichtheimia species.
Project description:Thirty-eight isolates (including 28 isolates from patients) morphologically identified as Lichtheimia corymbifera (formerly Absidia corymbifera) were studied by sequence analysis (analysis of the internal transcribed spacer [ITS] region of the ribosomal DNA, the D1-D2 region of 28S, and a portion of the elongation factor 1alpha [EF-1alpha] gene). Phenotypic characteristics, including morphology, antifungal susceptibility, and carbohydrate assimilation, were also determined. Analysis of the three loci uncovered two well-delimited clades. The maximum sequence similarity values between isolates from both clades were 66, 95, and 93% for the ITS, 28S, and EF-1alpha loci, respectively, with differences in the lengths of the ITS sequences being detected (763 to 770 bp for isolates of clade 1 versus 841 to 865 bp for isolates of clade 2). Morphologically, the shapes and the sizes of the sporangiospores were significantly different among the isolates from both clades. On the basis of the molecular and morphological data, we considered isolates of clade 2 to belong to a different species named Lichtheimia ramosa because reference strains CBS 269.65 and CBS 270.65 (which initially belonged to Absidia ramosa) clustered within this clade. As neotype A. corymbifera strain CBS 429.75 belongs to clade 1, the name L. corymbifera was conserved for clade 1 isolates. Of note, the amphotericin B MICs were significantly lower for L. ramosa than for L. corymbifera (P < 0.005) but were always <or=0.5 microg/ml for both species. Among the isolates tested, the assimilation of melezitose was positive for 67% of the L. ramosa isolates and negative for all L. corymbifera isolates. In conclusion, this study reveals that two Lichtheimia species are commonly associated with mucormycosis in humans.
Project description:The study consists of the pathogens Lichtheimia corymbifera, Lichtheimia ramosa and non-pathogen Lichtheimia hyalospora untreated (control, CTRL) and during HSP90 inhibition (Geldanamycin, GDA), endoplasmic reticulum stress (Dithiothreitol, DTT), thermal stress (42°C, HEAT) and heat stress upon a concentration of 0.5 M NaCl (L. hyalospora only) Overall design: Insights into stress adaption and pathogenicity of mucormycotic agents by RNA-Seq of mycelia: Spores in SUP medium incubated - 16h growth + 6h HEAT, HEAT+NaCl - 20h growth + 2h GDA, DTT - 22h growth CTRL
Project description:The in vitro activity of isavuconazole against Mucorales isolates measured by EUCAST E.Def 9.2 and CLSI M38-A2 methodologies was investigated in comparison with those of amphotericin B, posaconazole, and voriconazole. Seventy-two isolates were included: 12 of Lichtheimia corymbifera, 5 of Lichtheimia ramosa, 5 of group I and 9 of group II of Mucor circinelloides, 9 of Rhizomucor pusillus, 26 of Rhizopus microsporus, and 6 of Rhizopus oryzae. Species identification was confirmed by internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequencing. EUCAST MICs were read on day 1 (EUCAST-d1) and day 2 (EUCAST-d2), and CLSI MICs were read on day 2 (CLSI-d2). Isavuconazole MIC50s (range) (mg/liter) by EUCAST-d1, CLSI-d2, and EUCAST-d2 were 1 (0.125 to 16), 1 (0.125 to 2), and 4 (0.5 to >16), respectively, across all isolates. The similar values for comparator drugs were as follows: posaconazole, 0.25 (? 0.03 to >16), 0.25 (0.06 to >16), and 1 (0.06 to >16); amphotericin, 0.06 (? 0.03 to 0.5), 0.06 (? 0.03 to 0.25), and 0.125 (? 0.03 to 1); voriconazole, 16 (2 to >16), 8 (1 to >16), and >16 (8 to >16), respectively. Isavuconazole activity varied by species: Lichtheimia corymbifera, 1 (0.5 to 2), 1 (1 to 2), and 2 (1 to 4); Lichtheimia ramosa, 0.25 (0.125 to 0.5), 1 (0.5 to 2), and 2 (0.5 to 4); Rhizomucor pusillus, 0.5 (0.5 to 1), 1 (0.125 to 1), and 2 (1 to 2); Rhizopus microsporus, 1 (0.5 to 4), 0.5 (0.125 to 1), and 4 (1 to 8); and Rhizopus oryzae, 1 (0.5 to 4), 1 (0.125 to 2), and 4 (0.5 to 8), respectively, were more susceptible than Mucor circinelloides: group I, 8 (4 to 8), 4 (2 to 4), and 16 (2 to 16), respectively, and group II, 8 (1 to 16), 8 (1 to 8), and 16 (4 to >16), respectively. This was also observed for posaconazole. The essential agreement was best between EUCAST-d1 and CLSI-d2 (75% to 83%). Isavuconazole displayed in vitro activity against Mucorales isolates with the exception of Mucor circinelloides. The MICs were in general 1 to 3 steps higher than those for posaconazole. However, in the clinical setting this may be compensated for by the higher exposure at standard dosing.
Project description:Mucormycosis is a rare fungal infection; however, the number of cases increased during the last decades. The main risk factors are immunosuppression and uncontrolled diabetes mellitus. Although Lichtheimia species represent a common cause of mucormycosis in Europe, virulence and pathogenesis of this genus has not been investigated in detail yet. Using murine pulmonary infection models, we found that immunosuppression is essential for establishment of infection. The disease was characterized by necrosis, angioinvasion, thrombosis, and the lethal course of infection was associated with systemic activation of platelets. Furthermore, dissemination to internal organs was frequently observed. While the virulence potential of individual L. corymbifera and L. ramosa isolates differed, pathogenicity of both species was comparable. Although ketoacidosis promoted Rhizopus infection in mice, it did not predispose mice to infection with Lichtheimia in the absence of additional immunosuppression. This might partially explain the dominance of Rhizopus as cause of mucormycosis in countries with high prevalence of ketoacidotic patients.
Project description:We report the complete mitochondrial genome sequence of Lichtheimia ramosa (syn. Lichtheimia hongkongensis), the first complete mitochondrial DNA sequence of the genus Lichtheimia. This 31.8-kb mitochondrial genome encodes 11 subunits of respiratory chain complexes, 3 ATP synthase subunits, 25 tRNAs, and small and large rRNAs, with the gene order atp9-cox2-atp6-cox3-cox1-nad2-nad3-cob-nad1-nad6-nad5-nad4l-nad4-atp8.
Project description:Although the number of mucormycosis cases has increased during the last decades, little is known about the pathogenic potential of most mucoralean fungi. Lichtheimia species represent the second and third most common cause of mucormycosis in Europe and worldwide, respectively. To date only three of the five species of the genus have been found to be involved in mucormycosis, namely L. corymbifera, L. ramosa and L. ornata. However, it is not clear whether the clinical situation reflects differences in virulence between the species of Lichtheimia or whether other factors are responsible. In this study the virulence of 46 strains of all five species of Lichtheimia was investigated in chicken embryos. Additionally, strains of the closest-related genus Dichotomocladium were tested. Full virulence was restricted to the clinically relevant species while all strains of L. hyalospora, L. sphaerocystis and Dichotomocladium species were attenuated. Although virulence differences were present in the clinically relevant species, no connection between origin (environmental vs clinical) or phylogenetic position within the species was observed. Physiological studies revealed no clear connection of stress resistance and carbon source utilization with the virulence of the strains. Slower growth at 37°C might explain low virulence of L. hyalospora, L. spaherocystis and Dichotomocladium; however, similarly slow growing strains of L. ornata were fully virulent. Thus, additional factors or a complex interplay of factors determines the virulence of strains. Our data suggest that the clinical situation in fact reflects different virulence potentials in the Lichtheimiaceae.
Project description:Pathogenic mucormycetes induce diseases with considerable morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients. Virulence data comparing different Mucorales species and various underlying risk factors are limited. We therefore compared the pathogenesis of inhalative infection by Rhizopus (R.) arrhizus and Lichtheimia (L.) corymbifera in murine models for predominant risk factors for onset of infection. Mice with diabetes or treated with cyclophosphamide or cortisone acetate were challenged via the intranasal route with an isolate of R. arrhizus or L. corymbifera, respectively. Clinical, immunological and inflammation parameters as well as efficacy of posaconazole prophylaxis were monitored over 14 days. Whereas immunocompetent mice showed no clinical symptoms after mucormycete infection, mice treated with either cyclophosphamide (CP) or cortisone acetate (CA) were highly susceptible. Animals infected with the isolate of R. arrhizus showed prolonged survival and lower mortality, compared to those exposed to the L. corymbifera isolate. This lower virulence of R. arrhizus was risk factor-dependent, since diabetic mice died only after infection with Rhizopus, whereas all Lichtheimia-infected diabetic animals survived. Under posaconazole prophylaxis, both mucormycetes were able to establish breakthrough infections in CA- and CP-treated mice, but the course of infection was significantly delayed. Detailed analysis revealed that susceptibility of CA- and CP-treated mice could not be mimicked by exclusive lack or downmodulation of neutrophils, platelets or complement, but can be supposed to be the consequence of a broad immunosuppressive effect induced by the drugs. Both Lichtheimia corymbifera and Rhizopus arrhizus induce invasive mycoses in immunocompromised hosts after inhalative infection. Key parameters such as virulence and immunopathogenesis vary strongly according to fungal species and underlying risk group. Selected neutropenia is no sufficient risk factor for onset of inhalative mucormycosis.
Project description:Eumycetoma is a chronic fungal infection characterised by large subcutaneous masses and the presence of sinuses discharging coloured grains. The causative agents of black-grain eumycetoma mostly belong to the orders Sordariales and Pleosporales. The aim of the present study was to clarify the phylogeny and taxonomy of pleosporalean agents, viz. Madurella grisea, Medicopsis romeroi (syn.: Pyrenochaeta romeroi), Nigrograna mackinnonii (syn. Pyrenochaeta mackinnonii), Leptosphaeria senegalensis, L. tompkinsii, and Pseudochaetosphaeronema larense. A phylogenetic analysis based on five loci was performed: the Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS), large (LSU) and small (SSU) subunit ribosomal RNA, the second largest RNA polymerase subunit (RPB2), and translation elongation factor 1-alpha (TEF1) gene. In addition, the morphological and physiological characteristics were determined. Three species were well-resolved at the family and genus level. Madurella grisea, L. senegalensis, and L. tompkinsii were found to belong to the family Trematospheriaceae and are reclassified as Trematosphaeria grisea comb. nov., Falciformispora senegalensis comb. nov., and F. tompkinsii comb. nov. Medicopsis romeroi and Pseudochaetosphaeronema larense were phylogenetically distant and both names are accepted. The genus Nigrograna is reduced to synonymy of Biatriospora and therefore N. mackinnonii is reclassified as B. mackinnonii comb. Nov. Mycetoma agents in Pleosporales were phylogenetically quite diverse despite their morphological similarity in the formation of pycnidia, except for the ascosporulating genus Falciformispora (formerly in Leptosphaeria). Most of the species diagnosed from human mycetoma were found to be related to waterborne or marine fungi, suggesting an association of the virulence factors with oligotrophism or halotolerance.
Project description:During a survey on fungi associated with wood necroses of Prunus trees in Germany, strains belonging to the Leotiomycetes and Eurotiomycetes were detected by preliminary analyses of ITS sequences. Multi-locus phylogenetic analyses (LSU, ITS, TUB, EF-1?, depending on genus) of 31 of the 45 strains from Prunus and reference strains revealed several new taxa, including Arboricolonus gen. nov., a new genus in the Helotiales (Leotiomycetes) with a collophorina-like asexual morph. Seven Cadophora species (Helotiales, Leotiomycetes) were treated. The 29 strains from Prunus belonged to five species, of which C. luteo-olivacea and C. novi-eboraci were dominating; C. africana sp. nov., C. prunicola sp. nov. and C. ramosa sp. nov. were revealed as new species. The genus Cadophora was reported from Prunus for the first time. Phialophora bubakii was combined in Cadophora and differentiated from C. obscura, which was resurrected. Asexual morphs of two Proliferodiscus species (Helotiales, Leotiomycetes) were described, including one new species, Pr. ingens sp. nov. Two Minutiella species (Phaeomoniellales, Eurotiomycetes) were detected, including the new species M. pruni-avium sp. nov. Prunus avium and P. domestica are reported as host plants of Minutiella.