Structure of melanins from the fungi Ochroconis lascauxensis and Ochroconis anomala contaminating rock art in the Lascaux Cave.
ABSTRACT: Two novel species of the fungal genus Ochroconis, O. lascauxensis and O. anomala have been isolated from the walls of the Lascaux Cave, France. The interest in these fungi and their melanins lies in the formation of black stains on the walls and rock art which threatens the integrity of the paintings. Here we report solid-state cross polarization magic-angle spinning 13C and 15N nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) of the melanins extracted from the mycelia of O. lascauxensis and O. anomala in order to known their chemical structure. The melanins from these two species were compared with those from other fungi. The melanins from the Ochroconis species have similar SERS and 13C and 15N NMR spectra. Their chemical structures as suggested by the data are not related to 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine, 5,6-dihydroxyindole or 1,8-dihydroxynaphthalene precursors and likely the building blocks from the melanins have to be based on other phenols that react with the N-terminal amino acid of proteins. The analytical pyrolysis of the acid hydrolysed melanin from O. lascauxensis supports this assumption.
Project description:Ochroconis is a dematiaceous fungus able to infect immunocompetent people. Recently, the taxonomy of the genus has been reevaluated, and the most relevant species, Ochroconis gallopava, was transferred to the new genus Verruconis. Due to the important clinical implications of these fungi and based on the recent classification, it was of interest to know the spectra of Ochroconis and Verruconis species in clinical samples received in a reference laboratory in the United States. A set of 51 isolates was identified morphologically and molecularly based on sequence analyses of the nuclear ribosomal RNA (nrRNA), actin, and ?-tubulin genes. Verruconis gallopava was the most common species (68.6%), followed by Ochroconis mirabilis (21.5%). One isolate of Ochroconis cordanae was found, being reported for the first time in a clinical setting. The most common anatomical site of isolation was the lower respiratory tract (58.8%), followed by superficial and deep tissues at similar frequencies (21.6 and 19.6%, respectively). Interestingly, three new species were found, which are Ochroconis olivacea and Ochroconis ramosa from clinical specimens and Ochroconis icarus of an environmental origin. The in vitro antifungal susceptibilities of eight antifungal drugs against the Ochroconis isolates revealed that terbinafine and micafungin were the most active drugs.
Project description:Species of Verruconis and species of Ochroconis are dematiaceous fungi generally found in the environment but having the ability to infect humans, dogs, cats, poultry, and fish. This study presents the antifungal susceptibility patterns of these fungi at the species level. Forty strains originating from clinical and environmental sources were phylogenetically identified at the species level by using sequences of the ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer (rDNA ITS). In vitro antifungal susceptibility testing was performed against eight antifungals, using the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) broth microdilution method. The geometric mean MICs for amphotericin B (AMB), flucytosine (5FC), fluconazole (FLC), itraconazole (ITC), voriconazole (VRC), and posaconazole (POS) and minimum effective concentrations (MECs) for caspofungin (CAS) and anidulafungin (AFG) across the Ochroconis and Verruconis species were as follows, in increasing order. For Verruconis species, the values (?g/ml) were as follows: AFG, 0.04; POS, 0.25; ITC, 0.37; AMB, 0.50; CAS, 0.65; VRC, 0.96; 5FC, 10.45; and FLC, 47.25. For Ochroconis species, the values (?g/ml) were as follows: AFG, 0.06; POS, 0.11; CAS, 0.67; VRC, 2.76; ITC, 3.94; AMB, 5.68; 5FC, 34.48; and FLC, 61.33. Antifungal susceptibility of Ochroconis and Verruconis was linked with phylogenetic distance and thermotolerance. Echinocandins and POS showed the greatest in vitro activity, providing possible treatment options for Ochroconis and Verruconis infections.
Project description:This study isolates and identifies <i>Pichia anomala</i> (<i>P. anomala</i>) AR<sub>2016</sub>, and studies its effect on the growth and health of weaned pigs. A <i>P. anomala</i> strain from solid wine koji is isolated and identified using 26S rDNA analysis, and its culture conditions are optimized. Heat tolerance, bile salt tolerance, artificial gastric, and intestinal juice tolerance are evaluated. In our methodology, thirty 28 d Large White × Landrace × Rongchang weaned pigs were randomly divided into three groups with 10 barrows in each, and fed a maize-soybean meal diet and orally administered 0.85% saline (CK), 1 mL 1 × 10<sup>9</sup> cfu/mL <i>Candida utilis</i> (<i>C. utilis</i>), and 1 mL 1 × 10<sup>9</sup> cfu/mL <i>P. anomala</i> once daily for 28 days. A <i>P. anomala</i> strain was identified and named <i>P. anomala</i> AR<sub>2016</sub>. <i>P. anomala</i> AR<sub>2016</sub> grew best in yeast extract peptone dextrose medium with pH 5.0 at 28 °C, 180 r/min and could tolerate 45 °C for 0.5 h, 0.2% pig bile salts, simulated gastric fluid, and 1.0% simulated intestinal fluid. Our results show that compared with the CK group, orally administered <i>P. anomala</i> AR<sub>2016</sub> increases average daily gain, the ileal villus height, the ileal mucosal concentrations of occludin and zonula occluens-1, the serum glucose and total protein concentration, total superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and total antioxidative capacity activity, the trypsin and lipase activity in jejunal and ileal contents, the jejunal and ileal mucosa mRNA levels of ALP, TNF-α, and TLR-2, and the relative abundance of Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, Succinivibrionaceae, Lachnospiraceae, and Prevotellaceae (<i>p</i> < 0.05). Compared with the CK group, oral administration of <i>P. anomala</i> AR<sub>2016</sub> decreased the incidence of diarrhea, aspartate aminotransferase activity, alanine amino-transferase-activity, malondialdehyde, D-lactic acid and endotoxin content in serum, the mRNA level of aminopeptidase N of ileum mucosa, and the relative abundance of Proteobacteria, Clostridiaceae, Campylobacteraceae, Vibrionaceae, <i>Bacillus</i>, and Pseudon (<i>p</i> < 0.05). Collectively, the study indicates that <i>P. anomala</i> AR<sub>2016</sub> can tolerate high acidity and high bile salts, and has high survivability in the artificial gastric intestinal juice environment. Oral administration of <i>P. anomala</i> AR<sub>2016</sub> improves the growth performance, reduces the incidence of diarrhea, enhances intestinal barrier function, and improves microflora in weaned pigs.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Melanin, a high-molecular weight pigment that is ubiquitous in nature, protects melanized microorganisms against high doses of ionizing radiation. However, the physics of melanin interaction with ionizing radiation is unknown.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>We rationally designed melanins from either 5-S-cysteinyl-DOPA, L-cysteine/L-DOPA, or L-DOPA with diverse structures as shown by elemental analysis and HPLC. Sulfur-containing melanins had higher predicted attenuation coefficients than non-sulfur-containing melanins. All synthetic melanins displayed strong electron paramagnetic resonance (2.14.10(18), 7.09.10(18), and 9.05.10(17) spins/g, respectively), with sulfur-containing melanins demonstrating more complex spectra and higher numbers of stable free radicals. There was no change in the quality or quantity of the stable free radicals after high-dose (30,000 cGy), high-energy ((137)Cs, 661.6 keV) irradiation, indicating a high degree of radical stability as well as a robust resistance to the ionizing effects of gamma irradiation. The rationally designed melanins protected mammalian cells against ionizing radiation of different energies.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>We propose that due to melanin's numerous aromatic oligomers containing multiple pi-electron system, a generated Compton recoil electron gradually loses energy while passing through the pigment, until its energy is sufficiently low that it can be trapped by stable free radicals present in the pigment. Controlled dissipation of high-energy recoil electrons by melanin prevents secondary ionizations and the generation of damaging free radical species.
Project description:The role of 5,6-dihydroxyindole-2-carboxylic acid (DHICA) in the biosynthesis of melanins has been studied by using the incorporation of specifically radiolabelled melanogenic precursors into melanins formed by melanocytes growing in vitro and in vivo. Extracts of mouse melanocytes and intact viable melanocytes were found to incorporate into melanin from 25% to more than 60% of [1-14C]tyrosine. Melanins from melanoma tumours grown in mice were radiolabelled with 3,4-dihydroxy[1-14C]phenylalanine, purified and chemoselectively decarboxylated. Determination of the 14CO2 evolved showed that at least 20% of the precursor incorporated in vivo retains the label in the form of non-aminoacidic aromatic-type carboxyl groups. These results provide the first unambiguous demonstration that DHICA is incorporated in physiologically relevant amounts in mammalian melanins.
Project description:Synthesis of invertase (EC 22.214.171.124) in Pichia anomala is controlled by the carbon source in the culture medium. The enzyme was purified to homogeneity from P. anomala cells fully derepressed for invertase synthesis and shown to be a multimeric glycoprotein composed of identical subunits with an apparent molecular mass of 86.5 kDa. The carbohydrate moiety accounts for approx. 30% of the total mass of the molecule and consists of manno-oligosaccharides N-linked to the polypeptide. Most of the characteristics of the enzyme analysed in this study were similar to those previously reported for other yeast invertases, with the remarkable exception of its thermal sensitivity which appears after 15 min incubation at temperatures above 32 degrees C.
Project description:A comparative study of melanin and ommochrome-containing samples, isolated from the black soldier fly (BSF) by enzymatic hydrolysis, alkaline and acid alcohol extraction or by acid hydrolysis, was carried out. Melanin was isolated both as a melanin-chitin complex and as a water-soluble melanin. Acid hydrolysis followed by delipidization yielded a more concentrated melanin sample, the electron spin resonance (ESR) signal of which was 2.6 × 1018 spin/g. The ommochromes were extracted from the BSF eyes with acid methanol. The antiradical activity of BSF melanins and ommochromes was determined by the method of quenching of luminol chemiluminescence. It has been shown that delipidization of water-soluble melanin increases its antioxidant properties. A comparison of the antioxidant activity of BSF melanins and ommochromes in relation to photoinduced lipid peroxidation was carried out. The ESR characteristics of native and oxidized melanins and ommochromes were studied. It is assumed that H. illucens adult flies can be a useful source of natural pigments with antioxidant properties.
Project description:Ochroconis constricta is a soilborne dematiaceous fungus that has never been reported to be associated with human infection. Here we report the first draft genome sequence of strain UM 578, isolated from human skin scraping. The genomic information revealed will contribute to a better understanding of this species.
Project description:Melanins, the ubiquitous hetero-polymer pigments found widely dispersed among various life forms, are usually dark brown/black in colour. Although melanins have variety of biological functions, including protection against ultraviolet radiation of sunlight and are used in medicine, cosmetics, extraction of melanin from the animal and plant kingdoms is not an easy task. Using complementary physicochemical techniques (i.e. MALDI-TOF, FTIR absorption and cross-polarization magic angle spinning solid-state (13)C NMR), we report here the characterization of melanins extracted from the nitrogen-fixing non-virulent bacterium Azotobacter chroococcum, a safe viable source. Moreover, considering dihydroxyindole moiety as the main constituent, an effort is made to propose the putative molecular structure of the melanin hetero-polymer extracted from the bacterium. Characterization of the melanin obtained from Azotobacter chroococcum would provide an inspiration in extending research activities on these hetero-polymers and their use as protective agent against UV radiation.
Project description:Choroidal melanocytes (HCMs) are melanin-producing cells in the vascular uvea of the human eye (iris, ciliary body and choroid). These cranial neural crest-derived cells migrate to populate a mesodermal microenvironment, and display cellular functions and extracellular interactions that are biologically distinct to skin melanocytes. HCMs (and melanins) are important in normal human eye physiology with roles including photoprotection, regulation of oxidative damage and immune responses. To extend knowledge of cytoplasmic melanins and melanosomes in label-free HCMs, a non-invasive 'fit-free' approach, combining 2-photon excitation fluorescence lifetimes and emission spectral imaging with phasor plot segmentation was applied. Intracellular melanin-mapped FLIM phasors showed a linear distribution indicating that HCM melanins are a ratio of two fluorophores, eumelanin and pheomelanin. A quantitative histogram of HCM melanins was generated by identifying the image pixel fraction contributed by phasor clusters mapped to varying eumelanin/pheomelanin ratio. Eumelanin-enriched dark HCM regions mapped to phasors with shorter lifetimes and longer spectral emission (580-625?nm) and pheomelanin-enriched lighter pigmented HCM regions mapped to phasors with longer lifetimes and shorter spectral emission (550-585?nm). Overall, we demonstrated that these methods can identify and quantitatively profile the heterogeneous eumelanins/pheomelanins within in situ HCMs, and visualize melanosome spatial distributions, not previously reported for these cells.