ABSTRACT: Section Terrei of Aspergillus was studied using a polyphasic approach including sequence analysis of parts of the ?-tubulin and calmodulin genes and the ITS region, macro- and micromorphological analyses and examination of extrolite profiles to describe three new species in this section. Based on phylogenetic analysis of calmodulin and ?-tubulin sequences seven lineages were observed among isolates that have previously been treated as A. terreus and its subspecies by Raper & Fennell (1965) and others. Aspergillus alabamensis, A. terreus var. floccosus, A. terreus var. africanus, A. terreus var. aureus, A. hortai and A. terreus NRRL 4017 all represent distinct lineages from the A. terreus clade. Among them, A. terreus var. floccosus, A. terreus NRRL 4017 and A. terreus var. aureus could also be distinguished from A. terreus by using ITS sequence data. New names are proposed for A. terreus var. floccosus, A. terreus var. africanus, A. terreus var. aureus, while Aspergillus hortai is recognised at species level. Aspergillus terreus NRRL 4017 is described as the new species A. pseudoterreus. Also included in section Terrei are some species formerly placed in sections Flavipedes and Versicolores. A. clade including the type isolate of A. niveus (CBS 115.27) constitutes a lineage closely related to A. carneus. Fennellia nivea, the hypothesized teleomorph is not related to this clade. Aspergillus allahabadii, A. niveus var. indicus, and two species originally placed in section Versicolores, A. ambiguus and A. microcysticus, also form well-defined lineages on all trees. Species in Aspergillus section Terrei are producers of a diverse array of secondary metabolites. However, many of the species in the section produce different combinations of the following metabolites: acetylaranotin, asperphenamate, aspochalamins, aspulvinones, asteltoxin, asterric acid, asterriquinones, aszonalenins, atrovenetins, butyrolactones, citreoisocoumarins, citreoviridins, citrinins, decaturins, fulvic acid, geodins, gregatins, mevinolins, serantrypinone, terreic acid (only the precursor 3,6-dihydroxytoluquinone found), terreins, terrequinones, terretonins and territrems. The cholesterol-lowering agent mevinolin was found in A. terreus and A. neoafricanus only. The hepatotoxic extrolite citrinin was found in eight species: A. alabamensis, A. allahabadii, A. carneus, A. floccosus, A. hortai, A. neoindicus, A. niveus and A. pseudoterreus. The neurotoxic extrolite citreoviridin was found in five species: A. neoafricanus, A. aureoterreus, A. pseudoterreus, A. terreus and A. neoniveus. Territrems, tremorgenic extrolites, were found in some strains of A. alabamensis and A. terreus.
Project description:Aspergillus species account for the majority of invasive mold infections in immunocompromised patients. Most commonly, members of the Aspergillus section Fumigati are isolated from clinical material, followed by isolates belonging to section Terrei. The section Terrei contains 16 accepted species. Six species were found to be of clinical relevance and studied for differences in growth adaptability and virulence potential. Therefore, a set of 73 isolates (22 A. terreus s.s., 8 A. alabamensis, 27 A. citrinoterreus, 2 A. floccosus, 13 A. hortai, and 1 A. neoafricanus) was studied to determine differences in (a) germination kinetics, (b) temperature tolerance, (c) oxygen stress tolerance (1% O2), and (d) a combination of the latter two. Virulence potential of phialidic (PC) and accessory conidia (AC) was studied in G. mellonella larvae, using survival as read out. Further, the formation of AC was evaluated in larval tissue. All isolates were able to grow at elevated temperature and hypoxia, with highest growth and germination rates at 37°C. A. terreus s.s., A. citrinoterreus, and A. hortai exhibited highest growth rates. Virulence potential in larvae was inoculum and temperature dependent. All species except A. floccosus formed AC and germination kinetics of AC was variable. Significantly higher virulence potential of AC was found for one A. hortai isolate. AC could be detected in larval tissue 96 h post infection. Based on these findings, cryptic species of section Terrei are well adapted to the host environment and have similar potential to cause infections.
Project description:Aspergillus section Terrei is a species complex currently comprised of 14 cryptic species whose prevalence in clinical samples as well as antifungal susceptibility are poorly known. The aims of this study were to investigate A. Terrei clinical isolates at the species level and to perform antifungal susceptibility analyses by reference and commercial methods. Eighty-two clinical A. Terrei isolates were collected from 8 French university hospitals. Molecular identification was performed by sequencing parts of beta-tubulin and calmodulin genes. MICs or minimum effective concentrations (MECs) were determined for 8 antifungal drugs using both EUCAST broth microdilution (BMD) methods and concentration gradient strips (CGS). Among the 79 A. Terrei isolates, A. terreus stricto sensu (n = 61), A. citrinoterreus (n = 13), A. hortai (n = 3), and A. alabamensis (n = 2) were identified. All strains had MICs of ?1 mg/liter for amphotericin B, except for two isolates (both A. hortai) that had MICs of 0.25 mg/liter. Four A. terreus isolates were resistant to at least one azole drug, including one with pan-azole resistance, yet no mutation in the CYP51A gene was found. All strains had low MECs for the three echinocandins. The essential agreements (EAs) between BMD and CGS were >90%, except for those of amphotericin B (79.7%) and itraconazole (73.4%). Isolates belonging to the A section Terrei identified in clinical samples show wider species diversity beyond the known A. terreus sensu stricto Azole resistance inside the section Terrei is uncommon and is not related to CYP51A mutations here. Finally, CGS is an interesting alternative for routine antifungal susceptibility testing.
Project description:Objectives: Invasive mold infections associated with Aspergillus species are a significant cause of mortality in immunocompromised patients. The most frequently occurring aetiological pathogens are members of the Aspergillus section Fumigati followed by members of the section Terrei. The frequency of Aspergillus terreus and related (cryptic) species in clinical specimens, as well as the percentage of azole-resistant strains remains to be studied. Methods: A global set (n = 498) of A. terreus and phenotypically related isolates was molecularly identified (beta-tubulin), tested for antifungal susceptibility against posaconazole, voriconazole, and itraconazole, and resistant phenotypes were correlated with point mutations in the cyp51A gene. Results: The majority of isolates was identified as A. terreus (86.8%), followed by A. citrinoterreus (8.4%), A. hortai (2.6%), A. alabamensis (1.6%), A. neoafricanus (0.2%), and A. floccosus (0.2%). One isolate failed to match a known Aspergillus sp., but was found most closely related to A. alabamensis. According to EUCAST clinical breakpoints azole resistance was detected in 5.4% of all tested isolates, 6.2% of A. terreus sensu stricto (s.s.) were posaconazole-resistant. Posaconazole resistance differed geographically and ranged from 0% in the Czech Republic, Greece, and Turkey to 13.7% in Germany. In contrast, azole resistance among cryptic species was rare 2 out of 66 isolates and was observed only in one A. citrinoterreus and one A. alabamensis isolate. The most affected amino acid position of the Cyp51A gene correlating with the posaconazole resistant phenotype was M217, which was found in the variation M217T and M217V. Conclusions:Aspergillus terreus was most prevalent, followed by A. citrinoterreus. Posaconazole was the most potent drug against A. terreus, but 5.4% of A. terreus sensu stricto showed resistance against this azole. In Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom posaconazole-resistance in all A. terreus isolates was higher than 10%, resistance against voriconazole was rare and absent for itraconazole.
Project description:Aspergillus terreus is emerging as an etiologic agent of invasive aspergillosis in immunocompromised individuals in several medical centers in the world. Infections due to A. terreus are of concern due to its resistance to amphotericin B, in vivo and in vitro, resulting in poor response to antifungal therapy and high mortality. Herein we examined a large collection of molecularly characterized, geographically diverse A. terreus isolates (n = 140) from clinical and environmental sources in India for the occurrence of cryptic A. terreus species. The population structure of the Indian A. terreus isolates and their association with those outside India was determined using microsatellite based typing (STR) technique and Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism analysis (AFLP). Additionally, in vitro antifungal susceptibility of A. terreus isolates was determined against 7 antifungals. Sequence analyses of the calmodulin locus identified the recently described cryptic species A. hortai, comprising 1.4% of Aspergillus section Terrei isolates cultured from cases of aspergilloma and probable invasive aspergillosis not reported previously. All the nine markers used for STR typing of A. terreus species complex proved to be highly polymorphic. The presence of high genetic diversity revealing 75 distinct genotypes among 101 Indian A. terreus isolates was similar to the marked heterogeneity noticed in the 47 global A. terreus population exhibiting 38 unique genotypes mainly among isolates from North America and Europe. Also, AFLP analysis showed distinct banding patterns for genotypically diverse A. terreus isolates. Furthermore, no correlation between a particular genotype and amphotericin B susceptibility was observed. Overall, 8% of the A. terreus isolates exhibited low MICs of amphotericin B. All the echinocandins and azoles (voriconazole, posaconazole and isavuconazole) demonstrated high potency against all the isolates. The study emphasizes the need of molecular characterization of A. terreus species complex isolates to better understand the ecology, acquisition and transmission of this species.
Project description:The use of molecular identification techniques has revealed an increasing number of new species within Aspergillus section Terrei. We phenotyped a set of 26 clinical isolates that showed genetic differences from Aspergillus terreus sensu stricto by analyzing sequences from PCR-amplified β-tubulin and calmodulin genes and the internal transcribed spacer region. Since the isolates were phylogenetically and morphologically different from all of the members of Aspergillus section Terrei, they are described here as a new species, Aspergillus citrinoterreus, so named because it produces a diffusible yellowish pigment in agar. A. citrinoterreus isolates were significantly more susceptible to itraconazole, voriconazole, and posaconazole than A. terreus sensu stricto isolates were; in contrast, the amphotericin B MICs for both species were high. A. citrinoterreus was found in clinical samples from patients with proven or probable invasive aspergillosis and colonized patients, none of whom had hematological malignancies as predisposing conditions. However, they did have other underlying conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cirrhosis, and cancer or had received a solid organ transplants and presented not only with invasive pulmonary aspergillosis but also with mediastinitis. A. citrinoterreus isolates were detected for the first time in 2002. In all cases of invasive aspergillosis, A. citrinoterreus was found to be a copathogen, mostly with A. fumigatus.
Project description:Disseminated aspergillosis is uncommon in dogs and often associated with Aspergillus terreus. A case of disseminated disease in an English springer spaniel is reported from which Aspergillus alabamensis was recovered by culture and identified by molecular means suggesting a potential role for this agent as a primary pathogen of dogs.
Project description:Knowledge of the genetic diversity detected among fungal species belonging to the genus Aspergillus is of key importance for explaining their important ecological role in the environment and agriculture. The current study aimed to identify Aspergillus species occurring in the rhizosphere of sugarcane in the South of Iran, and to investigate their mycotoxin profiles. One-hundred and twenty-five Aspergillus strains were isolated from the soil of eight major sugarcane-producing sites, and were molecularly identified using sequences of partial -tubulin (benA) and partial calmodulin (CaM) genes. Our molecular and phylogenetic results showed that around 70% of strains belonged to the Aspergillus section Nigri, and around 25% of species belonged to the Aspergillus section Terrei. Species belonging to both sections are able to produce different mycotoxins. The production of mycotoxins was measured for each species, according to their known mycotoxin profile: patulin (PAT) and sterigmatocystin (STG) for Aspergillus terreus; ochratoxin A (OTA) and fumonisins for Aspergillus welwitschiae; and OTA alone for Aspergillus tubingensis. The data showed that the production of OTA was detected in only 4 out of 10 strains of A. welwitschiae, while none of the A. tubingensis strains analyzed produced the mycotoxin. Fumonisins were produced by 8 out of 10 strains of A. welwitschiae. Finally, none of the 23 strains of A. terreus produced STG, while 13 of them produced PAT. The occurrence of such mycotoxigenic plant pathogens among the fungal community occurring in soil of sugarcane fields may represent a significant source of inoculum for the possible colonization of sugarcane plants, since the early stages of plant growth, due to the mycotoxin production capability, could have worrisome implications in terms of both the safety and loss of products at harvest.
Project description:We have developed 21 specific nucleic acid probes which target the large subunit rRNA genes from Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus glaucus, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus terreus, Blastomyces dermatitidis, Candida albicans, Candida (Torulopsis) glabrata, Candida guilliermondii, Candida kefyr, Candida krusei, Candida lusitaniae, Candida parapsilosis, Candida tropicalis, Coccidioides immitis, Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii, Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans, Filobasidiella neoformans var. bacillispora, Filobasidiella neoformans var. neoformans, Histoplasma capsulatum, Pseudallescheria boydii, and Sporothrix schenckii. A section of the 28S rRNA gene from approximately 100 fungi, representing about 50 species of pathogens and commonly encountered saprophytes, was sequenced to develop universal PCR primers and species-specific oligonucleotide probes. Each step in the process of detection and identification was standardized to a common set of conditions applicable without modification to all fungi of interest and all types of clinical specimens. These steps consist of DNA extraction by boiling specimens in an alkaline guanidine-phenol-Tris reagent, amplification of a variable region of the 28S rRNA gene with universal primers, and amplicon identification by probe hybridization or DNA sequencing performed under conditions identical for all fungi. The results obtained by testing a panel of fungal isolates and a variety of clinical specimens indicate a high level of specificity.
Project description:Biotechnologists are interested in thermo tolerant fungi to manufacture enzymes active and stable at high temperatures, because they provide improved catalytic efficiency, strengthen enzyme substrate interactions, accelerate substrate enzyme conversion rates, enhance mass transfer, lower substrate viscosity, lessen contamination risk and offer the potential for enzyme recycling. Members of the genus Aspergillus live a wide variety of lifestyles, some embrace GRAS status routinely employed in food processing while others such as Aspergillus fumigatus are human pathogens. A. fumigatus produces melanins, pyomelanin protects the fungus against reactive oxygen species and DHN melanin produced by the pksP gene cluster confers the gray-greenish color. pksP mutants are attenuated in virulence. Here we report on the genomic DNA sequence of a thermo tolerant albino Aspergillus isolated from rain forest composted floors. Unexpectedly, the nucleotide sequence was 95.7% identical to the reported by Aspergillus fumigatus Af293. Genome size and predicted gene models were also highly similar, however differences in DNA content and conservation were observed. The albino strain, classified as Aspergillus fumigatus var. niveus, had 160 gene models not present in A. fumigatus Af293 and A. fumigatus Af293 had 647 not found in the albino strain. Furthermore, the major pigment generating gene cluster pksP appeared to have undergone genomic rearrangements and a key tyrosinase present in many aspergilli was missing from the genome. Remarkably however, despite the lack of pigmentation A. fumigatus var. niveus killed neutropenic mice and survived macrophage engulfment at similar rates as A. fumigatus Af293.
Project description:Aspergillus section Circumdati or the Aspergillus ochraceus group, includes species with rough walled stipes, biseriate conidial heads, yellow to ochre conidia and sclerotia that do not turn black. Several species are able to produce mycotoxins including ochratoxins, penicillic acids, and xanthomegnins. Some species also produce drug lead candidates such as the notoamides. A polyphasic approach was applied using morphological characters, extrolite data and partial calmodulin, ?-tubulin and ITS sequences to examine the evolutionary relationships within this section. Based on this approach the section Circumdati is revised and 27 species are accepted, introducing seven new species: A. occultus, A. pallidofulvus, A. pulvericola, A. salwaensis, A. sesamicola, A. subramanianii and A. westlandensis. In addition we correctly apply the name A. fresenii (? A. sulphureus (nom. illeg.)). A guide for the identification of these 27 species is provided. These new species can be distinguished from others based on morphological characters, sequence data and extrolite profiles. The previously described A. onikii and A. petrakii were found to be conspecific with A. ochraceus, whilst A. flocculosus is tentatively synonymised with A. ochraceopetaliformis, despite extrolite differences between the two species. Based on the extrolite data, 13 species of section Circumdati produce large amounts of ochratoxin A: A. affinis, A. cretensis, A. fresenii, A. muricatus, A. occultus, A. ochraceopetaliformis (A. flocculosus), A. ochraceus, A. pseudoelegans, A. pulvericola, A. roseoglobulosus, A. sclerotiorum, A. steynii and A. westerdijkiae. Seven additional species produce ochratoxin A inconsistently and/or in trace amounts: A. melleus, A. ostianus, A. persii, A. salwaensis, A. sesamicola, A. subramanianii and A. westlandensis. The most important species regarding potential ochratoxin A contamination in agricultural products are A. ochraceus, A. steynii and A. westerdijkiae.