Genome Sequences Reveal Cryptic Speciation in the Human Pathogen Histoplasma capsulatum.
ABSTRACT: Histoplasma capsulatum is a pathogenic fungus that causes life-threatening lung infections. About 500,000 people are exposed to H. capsulatum each year in the United States, and over 60% of the U.S. population has been exposed to the fungus at some point in their life. We performed genome-wide population genetics and phylogenetic analyses with 30 Histoplasma isolates representing four recognized areas where histoplasmosis is endemic and show that the Histoplasma genus is composed of at least four species that are genetically isolated and rarely interbreed. Therefore, we propose a taxonomic rearrangement of the genus.IMPORTANCE The evolutionary processes that give rise to new pathogen lineages are critical to our understanding of how they adapt to new environments and how frequently they exchange genes with each other. The fungal pathogen Histoplasma capsulatum provides opportunities to precisely test hypotheses about the origin of new genetic variation. We find that H. capsulatum is composed of at least four different cryptic species that differ genetically and also in virulence. These results have implications for the epidemiology of histoplasmosis because not all Histoplasma species are equivalent in their geographic range and ability to cause disease.
Project description:The thermally dimorphic fungus Histoplasma capsulatum is the causative agent of histoplasmosis, one of the most prevalent endemic mycosis in the Americas. In tropical regions, agro-ecosystems require organic matter replacement, therefore, the use of organic fertilizers has increased disregarding the fact that certain number of such fertilizers might be contaminated with the fungus, and with their handling resulting in human cases and even outbreaks of histoplasmosis. Additionally, in Colombia, chicken manure is the most common raw material used in the production of organic fertilizers. In this work, we reported the isolation of this fungus from chicken manure, and genetically compared with 42 clinical isolates. The genetically compared environmental isolates grouped together with the clinical ones. Our result suggests that chicken manure may be one of H. capsulatum infection sources. Also, the phylogenetic analyses done with other H. capsulatum isolates indicate that the Colombian isolates are widely distributed in the relational tree thus reveling towards the great genetic diversity among the H. capsulatum Colombian isolates.
Project description:Histoplasmosis is a systemic mycosis infection caused by Histoplasma capsulatum, a heterothallic ascomycete. The sexual reproduction of this fungus is regulated by the mating type (MAT1) locus that contains MAT1-1 and MAT1-2 idiomorphs, which were identified by uniplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This study aimed to optimise single-step multiplex PCR for the accurate detection of the distinct mating types of H. capsulatum. Among the 26 isolates tested, 20 had MAT1-1 genotype, while six showed MAT1-2 genotype, in agreement with the uniplex PCR results. These results suggest that multiplex PCR is a fast and specific tool for screening H. capsulatum mating types.
Project description:We developed a seminested PCR for the diagnosis of histoplasmosis that amplifies a portion of the Histoplasma capsulatum H antigen gene. This assay is highly sensitive and specific, being able to detect genomic material corresponding to less than 10 yeast cells without cross-reaction against other bacterial or fungal pathogens.
Project description:Histoplasmosis usually occurs in specific endemic areas. Sporadic cases have also been reported in mainland China. Here, we described an indigenous case of disseminated histoplasmosis. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the Histoplasma capsulatum isolated in our case belongs to the Australian clade. Combined with previous studies, it revealed high genetic diversity among Chinese H. capsulatum isolates.
Project description:The antifungal susceptibility profiles of the mycelial and yeast forms of 23 Histoplasma capsulatum strains from pulmonary and disseminated histoplasmosis patients in India are reported here. The MIC data of this dimorphic fungus had good agreement between both forms for azoles, amphotericin B, and caspofungin. Therefore, the use of mycelial inocula for H. capsulatum antifungal susceptibility testing is suggested, which is less time-consuming vis-à-vis the yeast form, which requires 6 to 8 weeks for conversion.
Project description:Histoplasmosis, due to the intracellular fungus Histoplasma capsulatum, can be diagnosed by demonstrating the presence of antibodies specific to the immunodominant M antigen. However, the role of this protein in the pathogenesis of histoplasmosis has not been elucidated. We sought to structurally and immunologically characterize the protein, determine yeast cell surface expression, and confirm catalase activity. A 3D-rendering of the M antigen by homology modeling revealed that the structures and domains closely resemble characterized fungal catalases. We generated monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to the protein and determined that the M antigen is present on the yeast cell surface and in cell wall/cell membrane preparations. Similarly, we found that the majority of catalase activity was in extracts containing fungal surface antigens and that the M antigen is not significantly secreted by live yeast cells. The mAbs also identified unique epitopes on the M antigen. The localization of the M antigen to the cell surface of H. capsulatum yeast and the characterization of the protein's major epitopes have important implications since it demonstrates that although the protein may participate in protecting the fungus against oxidative stress it is also accessible to host immune cells and antibody.
Project description:A sample of 30 clinical isolates of Histoplasma capsulatum was analyzed to determine (i) whether genetic exchange is important in the life cycle of this fungus and (ii) whether distinct subpopulations which correlate with disease severity or host immune status exist. Eleven biallelic molecular markers were developed, with the frequency of the least common allele at each molecular locus ranging from 10 to 50%. Every isolate had a different, unique multilocus genotype. Data analysis indicated that frequent recombination occurs within the Indianapolis, Ind., population. There were no associations between isolates from the immunocompromised population or from those with different clinical manifestations of histoplasmosis.
Project description:Heat shock proteins with molecular masses of approximately 60 kDa (Hsp60) are widely distributed in nature and are highly conserved immunogenic molecules that can function as molecular chaperones and enhance cellular survival under physiological stress conditions. The fungus Histoplasma capsulatum displays an Hsp60 on its cell surface that is a key target of the cellular immune response during histoplasmosis, and immunization with this protein is protective. However, the role of humoral responses to Hsp60 has not been fully elucidated. We generated immunoglobulin G (IgG) isotype monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to H. capsulatum Hsp60. IgG1 and IgG2a MAbs significantly prolonged the survival of mice infected with H. capsulatum. An IgG2b MAb was not protective. The protective MAbs reduced intracellular fungal survival and increased phagolysosomal fusion of macrophages in vitro. Histological examination of infected mice showed that protective MAbs reduced the fungal burden and organ damage. Organs of infected animals treated with protective MAbs had significantly increased levels of interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-12, and tumor necrosis factor alpha and decreased levels of IL-4 and IL-10. Hence, IgG1 and IgG2a MAbs to Hsp60 can modify H. capsulatum pathogenesis in part by altering the intracellular fate of the fungus and inducing the production of Th1-associated cytokines.
Project description:<i>Histoplasma capsulatum</i> is a thermodimorphic fungus that causes histoplasmosis, a mycosis of global incidence. The disease is prevalent in temperate and tropical regions such as North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. It is known that during infection macrophages restrict Zn availability to <i>H. capsulatum</i> as a microbicidal mechanism. In this way the present work aimed to study the response of <i>H. capsulatum</i> to zinc deprivation. <i>In silico</i> analyses showed that <i>H. capsulatum</i> has eight genes related to zinc homeostasis ranging from transcription factors to CDF and ZIP family transporters. The transcriptional levels of <i>ZAP1</i>, <i>ZRT1</i>, and <i>ZRT2</i> were induced under zinc-limiting conditions. The decrease in Zn availability increases fungicidal macrophage activity. Proteomics analysis during zinc deprivation at 24 and 48 h showed 265 proteins differentially expressed at 24 h and 68 at 48 h. Proteins related to energy production pathways, oxidative stress, and cell wall remodeling were regulated. The data also suggested that low metal availability increases the chitin and glycan content in fungal cell wall that results in smoother cell surface. Metal restriction also induces oxidative stress triggered, at least in part, by reduction in pyridoxin synthesis.