Coprophilous Mucorales (ex Zygomycota) from three areas in the semi-arid of Pernambuco, Brazil.
ABSTRACT: Mucorales comprises fungi commonly isolated as saprobes from soil, dung, stored grains and plants. Although these fungi have been studied in several countries, there are relatively a few reports of them in semi-arid areas. Therefore, the aims of the present study were to assess and compare the Mucorales communities in dung from different species and breeds of herbivores in the semi-arid of Pernambuco, based on the frequency of occurrence and species richness of these fungi. Samples of dung collected in the cities of Arcoverde, Serra Talhada and Sertânia were incubated in moist chambers in triplicate. Altogether, 24 taxa of Mucorales distributed in the genera Absidia, Circinella, Cunninghamella, Lichtheimia, Mucor, Pilobolus, Rhizopus and Syncephalastrum were identified. The highest species richness was found in sheep excrement. Mucor circinelloides f. griseo-cyanus was the most common taxon, followed by M. ramosissimus. The similarity of the composition of Mucorales species was greatest between the excrements of Guzerá and Sindi breeds (bovine). All mucoralean species isolated are being cited for the first time from animal dung found in Caatinga and a new species of Mucor was recorded. An identification key for species of Mucorales from dung in the semi-arid region of Brazil is provided.
Project description:This study aimed to validate the effectiveness of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS)-based identification of filamentous fungi of the order Mucorales. A total of 111 isolates covering six genera preserved at the Research Center for Medical Mycology of Peking University were selected for MALDI-TOF MS analysis. We emphasized the study of 23 strains of Mucor irregularis predominantly isolated from patients in China. We first used the Bruker Filamentous Fungi library (v1.0) to identify all 111 isolates. To increase the identification rate, we created a compensatory in-house database, the Beijing Medical University (BMU) database, using 13 reference strains covering 6 species, including M. irregularis, Mucor hiemalis, Mucor racemosus, Cunninghamella bertholletiae, Cunninghamella phaeospora, and Cunninghamella echinulata All 111 isolates were then identified by MALDI-TOF MS using a combination of the Bruker library and BMU database. MALDI-TOF MS identified 55 (49.5%) and 74 (66.7%) isolates at the species and genus levels, respectively, using the Bruker Filamentous Fungi library v1.0 alone. A combination of the Bruker library and BMU database allowed MALDI-TOF MS to identify 90 (81.1%) and 111 (100%) isolates at the species and genus levels, respectively, with a significantly increased accuracy rate. MALDI-TOF MS poorly identified Mucorales when the Bruker library was used alone due to its lack of some fungal species. In contrast, this technique perfectly identified M. irregularis after main spectrum profiles (MSPs) of relevant reference strains were added to the Bruker library. With an expanded Bruker library, MALDI-TOF MS is an effective tool for the identification of pathogenic Mucorales.
Project description:While surveying the diversity of fungi of the order Mucorales, two isolates, EML-PUKI12-1 and EML-PUKI06-1, were obtained from the gut of soldier fly larvae inhabiting the bulrush at a pond located in the Chonnam National University Arboretum, Gwangju, Korea. The isolates were confirmed as Mucor irregularis and Mucor fragilis species, respectively, based on the morphological characteristics and phylogenetic analysis of rDNA internal transcribed spacer region. Such mucoralean species belonging to undiscovered taxa has not previously been described in Korea.
Project description:The order Mucorales comprises predominantly fast-growing saprotrophic fungi, some of which are used for the fermentation of foodstuffs but it also includes species known to cause infections in patients with severe immune or metabolic impairments. To inventory biodiversity in Mucorales ITS barcodes of 668 strains in 203 taxa were generated covering more than two thirds of the recognised species. Using the ITS sequences, Molecular Operational Taxonomic Units were defined by a similarity threshold of 99 %. An LSU sequence was generated for each unit as well. Analysis of the LSU sequences revealed that conventional phenotypic classifications of the Mucoraceae are highly artificial. The LSU- and ITS-based trees suggest that characters, such as rhizoids and sporangiola, traditionally used in mucoralean taxonomy are plesiomorphic traits. The ITS region turned out to be an appropriate barcoding marker in Mucorales. It could be sequenced directly in 82 % of the strains and its variability was sufficient to resolve most of the morphospecies. Molecular identification turned out to be problematic only for the species complexes of Mucor circinelloides, M. flavus, M. piriformis and Zygorhynchus moelleri. As many as 12 possibly undescribed species were detected. Intraspecific variability differed widely among mucorealean species ranging from 0 % in Backusella circina to 13.3 % in Cunninghamella echinulata. A high proportion of clinical strains was included for molecular identification. Clinical isolates of Cunninghamella elegans were identified molecularly for the first time. As a result of the phylogenetic analyses several taxonomic and nomenclatural changes became necessary. The genus Backusella was emended to include all species with transitorily recurved sporangiophores. Since this matched molecular data all Mucor species possessing this character were transferred to Backusella. The genus Zygorhynchus was shown to be polyphyletic based on ITS and LSU data. Consequently, Zygorhynchus was abandoned and all species were reclassified in Mucor. Our phylogenetic analyses showed, furthermore, that all non-thermophilic Rhizomucor species belong to Mucor. Accordingly, Rhizomucor endophyticus was transferred to Mucor and Rhizomucor chlamydosporus was synonymised with Mucor indicus. Lecto-, epi- or neotypes were designated for several taxa.
Project description:Mucormycosis is a rare and opportunistic infection caused by fungi belonging to the order Mucorales. Recent reports have demonstrated an increasing incidence of mucormycosis, which is frequently lethal, especially in patients suffering from severe underlying conditions such as immunodeficiency. In addition, even though conventional mycology and histopathology assays allow for the identification of Mucorales, they often fail in offering a species-specific diagnosis. Due to the lack of other laboratory tests, a precise identification of these molds is thus notoriously difficult. In this study we aimed to develop a molecular biology tool to identify the main Mucorales involved in human pathology. A PCR strategy selectively amplifies genomic DNA from molds belonging to the genera Absidia, Mucor, Rhizopus, and Rhizomucor, excluding human DNA and DNA from other filamentous fungi and yeasts. A subsequent digestion step identified the Mucorales at genus and species level. This technique was validated using both fungal cultures and retrospective analyses of clinical samples. By enabling a rapid and precise identification of Mucorales strains in infected patients, this PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism-based method should help clinicians to decide on the appropriate treatment, consequently decreasing the mortality of mucormycosis.
Project description:Herbivores are major drivers of ecosystem structure, diversity, and function. Resilient ecosystems therefore require viable herbivore populations in a sustainable balance with environmental resource availability. This balance is becoming harder to achieve, with increasingly threatened species reliant on small protected areas in increasingly harsh and unpredictable environments. Arid environments in North Africa exemplify this situation, featuring a biologically distinct species assemblage exposed to extreme and volatile conditions, including habitat loss and climate change-associated threats. Here, we implement an integrated likelihood approach to relate scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah) and dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas) density, via dung distance sampling, to habitat, predator, and geographic correlates in Dghoumes National Park, Tunisia. We show how two threatened sympatric ungulates partition resources on the habitat axis, exhibiting nonuniform responses to the same vegetation gradient. Scimitar-horned oryx were positively associated with plant species richness, selecting for vegetated ephemeral watercourses (wadis) dominated by herbaceous cover. Conversely, dorcas gazelle were negatively associated with vegetation density (herbaceous height, litter cover, and herbaceous cover), selecting instead for rocky plains with sparse vegetation. We suggest that adequate plant species richness should be a prerequisite for areas proposed for future ungulate reintroductions in arid and semi-arid environments. This evidence will inform adaptive management of reintroduced ungulates in protected environments, helping managers and planners design sustainable ecosystems and effective conservation programs.
Project description:Fungi cause opportunistic, nosocomial, and community-acquired infections. Among fungal infections (mycoses) zygomycoses are exceptionally severe, with a mortality rate exceeding 50%. Immunocompromised hosts, transplant recipients, and diabetic patients with uncontrolled keto-acidosis and high iron serum levels are at risk. Zygomycota are capable of infecting hosts immune to other filamentous fungi. The infection often follows a progressive pattern, with angioinvasion and metastases. Moreover, current antifungal therapy frequently has an unfavorable outcome. Zygomycota are resistant to some of the routinely used antifungals, among them azoles (except posaconazole) and echinocandins. The typical treatment consists of surgical debridement of the infected tissues accompanied by amphotericin B administration. The latter has strong nephrotoxic side effects, which make it unsuitable for prophylaxis. Delayed administration of amphotericin and excision of mycelium-containing tissues worsens survival prognoses. More than 30 species of Zygomycota are involved in human infections, among them Mucorales is the most abundant. Prognosis and treatment suggestions differ for each species, which makes fast and reliable diagnosis essential. Serum sample PCR-based identification often gives false-negative results; culture-based identification is time-consuming and not always feasible. With the dawn of Zygomycota sequencing projects significant advancement is expected, as in the case of treatment of Ascomycota infections.
Project description:Mucormycosis, a rare but highly fatal infection, is caused by fungi of the order Mucorales. Due to their ubiquitous nature, reduced susceptibility to antifungals, acid tolerance, and ability to infect immunocompromised patients through rapid dissemination, these fungi have been frequently reported to infect the COVID-19 patients. In order to develop strategies to overcome mucormycosis, it is essential to understand and identify novel Mucorales present in the environment. In this study, we report the identification of four novel pathogenic Mucorales using the silkworm (<i>Bombyx mori</i>) model. The strains' phylogeny was analyzed using the genome sequence of the large subunit ribosomal ribonucleic acid (LSU rRNA) and the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region, where strains 1-3, 5-3, and S286-1101 claded with <i>Mucor orantomantidis</i>, and strain 827-14 claded with <i>Backusella lamprospora</i>. All the strains had a cold-sensitive phenotype with their inability to grow prominently at 4 °C. <i>Mucor</i> sp. 1-3 and 5-3 were characterized by their filamentous and yeast-like growth under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, respectively. The yeast colonies of <i>Mucor</i> sp. 5-3 had multipolar budding cells often observed with cleaved cell surfaces under a scanning electron microscope. We further found that these strains were able to kill immunocompromised mice suggesting their pathogenicity to mammals. Our study established an invertebrate model-based screening system to identify novel pathogenic Mucorales from the natural environment and provided a clue towards the rapid increase in COVID-19 related mucormycosis.
Project description:Mucormycosis is a life-threatening infection caused by Mucorales fungi. Here we sequence 30 fungal genomes, and perform transcriptomics with three representative Rhizopus and Mucor strains and with human airway epithelial cells during fungal invasion, to reveal key host and fungal determinants contributing to pathogenesis. Analysis of the host transcriptional response to Mucorales reveals platelet-derived growth factor receptor B (PDGFRB) signaling as part of a core response to divergent pathogenic fungi; inhibition of PDGFRB reduces Mucorales-induced damage to host cells. The unique presence of CotH invasins in all invasive Mucorales, and the correlation between CotH gene copy number and clinical prevalence, are consistent with an important role for these proteins in mucormycosis pathogenesis. Our work provides insight into the evolution of this medically and economically important group of fungi, and identifies several molecular pathways that might be exploited as potential therapeutic targets.
Project description:Mucormycoses are fungal infections caused by the ancient Mucorales. They are rare, but increasingly reported. Predisposing conditions supporting and favoring mucormycoses in humans and animals include diabetic ketoacidosis, immunosuppression and haematological malignancies. However, comprehensive surveys to elucidate fungal virulence in ancient fungi are limited and so far focused on Lichtheimia and Mucor. The presented study focused on one of the most important causative agent of mucormycoses, the genus Rhizopus (Rhizopodaceae). All known clinically-relevant species are thermotolerant and are monophyletic. They are more virulent compared to non-clinically, mesophilic species. Although adaptation to elevated temperatures correlated with the virulence of the species, mesophilic strains showed also lower virulence in Galleria mellonella incubated at permissive temperatures indicating the existence of additional factors involved in the pathogenesis of clinical Rhizopus species. However, neither specific adaptation to nutritional requirements nor stress resistance correlated with virulence, supporting the idea that Mucorales are predominantly saprotrophs without a specific adaptation to warm blooded hosts.
Project description:Mucormycoses are emerging and potentially lethal infections. An increase of breakthrough infections has been found in cohorts receiving short-tailed azoles prophylaxis (e.g. voriconazole (VCZ)). Although VCZ is ineffective in vitro and in vivo, long-tailed triazoles such as posaconazole remain active against mucormycetes. Our goal was to validate the molecular mechanism of resistance to short-tailed triazoles in Mucorales. The paralogous cytochrome P450 genes (CYP51 F1 and CYP51 F5) of Rhizopus arrhizus, Rhizopus microsporus, and Mucor circinelloides were amplified and sequenced. Alignment of the protein sequences of the R. arrhizus, R. microsporus, and M. circinelloides CYP51 F1 and F5 with additional Mucorales species (n?=?3) and other fungi (n?=?16) confirmed the sequences to be lanosterol 14?-demethylases (LDMs). Sequence alignment identified a pan-Mucorales conservation of a phenylalanine129 substitution in all CYP51 F5s analyzed. A high resolution X-ray crystal structure of Saccharomyces cerevisiae LDM in complex with VCZ was used for generating a homology model of R. arrhizus CYP51 F5. Structural and functional knowledge of S. cerevisiae CYP51 shows that the F129 residue in Mucorales CYP51 F5 is responsible for intrinsic resistance of Mucorales against short-tailed triazoles, with a V to A substitution in Helix I also potentially playing a role.