Project description:BACKGROUND: The fungal genus Sporothrix includes at least four human pathogenic species. One of these species, S. brasiliensis, is the causal agent of a major ongoing zoonotic outbreak of sporotrichosis in Brazil. Elsewhere, sapronoses are caused by S. schenckii and S. globosa. The major aims on this comparative genomic study are: 1) to explore the presence of virulence factors in S. schenckii and S. brasiliensis; 2) to compare S. brasiliensis, which is cat-transmitted and infects both humans and cats with S. schenckii, mainly a human pathogen; 3) to compare these two species to other human pathogens (Onygenales) with similar thermo-dimorphic behavior and to other plant-associated Sordariomycetes. RESULTS: The genomes of S. schenckii and S. brasiliensis were pyrosequenced to 17x and 20x coverage comprising a total of 32.3 Mb and 33.2 Mb, respectively. Pair-wise genome alignments revealed that the two species are highly syntenic showing 97.5% average sequence identity. Phylogenomic analysis reveals that both species diverged about 3.8-4.9 MYA suggesting a recent event of speciation. Transposable elements comprise respectively 0.34% and 0.62% of the S. schenckii and S. brasiliensis genomes and expansions of Gypsy-like elements was observed reflecting the accumulation of repetitive elements in the S. brasiliensis genome. Mitochondrial genomic comparisons showed the presence of group-I intron encoding homing endonucleases (HE's) exclusively in S. brasiliensis. Analysis of protein family expansions and contractions in the Sporothrix lineage revealed expansion of LysM domain-containing proteins, small GTPases, PKS type1 and leucin-rich proteins. In contrast, a lack of polysaccharide lyase genes that are associated with decay of plants was observed when compared to other Sordariomycetes and dimorphic fungal pathogens, suggesting evolutionary adaptations from a plant pathogenic or saprobic to an animal pathogenic life style. CONCLUSIONS: Comparative genomic data suggest a unique ecological shift in the Sporothrix lineage from plant-association to mammalian parasitism, which contributes to the understanding of how environmental interactions may shape fungal virulence. . Moreover, the striking differences found in comparison with other dimorphic fungi revealed that dimorphism in these close relatives of plant-associated Sordariomycetes is a case of convergent evolution, stressing the importance of this morphogenetic change in fungal pathogenesis.
Project description:The pathogenic clade of the Sporothrix genus comprises the etiological agents of sporotrichosis, a worldwide emergent disease. Despite the growing understanding of their successful pathogen traits, there is little information on genome sizes and ploidy within the genus. Therefore, in this work, we evaluated the ploidy of four species of the Sporothrix genus, specifically Sporothrix brasiliensis, Sporothrix schenckii, Sporothrix globosa, and Sporothrix pallida. Through cell cycle analysis of the yeast-phase cells, we showed that the DNA content of G0/G1 cells was similar to the genome size determined by whole genome sequencing. Moreover, ploidy of S. schenckii, S. brasiliensis, and S. pallida that was determined by allele composition using next-generation sequencing (NGS) data is consistent with monomorphic positions at each allele. These data show that the analyzed strains of Sporothrix are haploid, or at least aneuploid, thereby laying the foundation for the development of a molecular toolbox for Sporothrix spp.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>There have been several recent changes in the taxonomy of Sporothrix schenckii as well as new observations regarding the clinical aspects of sporotrichosis. In this study, we determined the identification of the Sporothrix species associated with both classic and unusual clinical aspects of sporotrichosis observed in the endemic area of sporotrichosis in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>To verify whether S. brasiliensis is associated with clinical manifestations of sporotrichosis, a cross-sectional study was performed in which Sporothrix isolates from 50 patients with different clinical manifestations were analyzed and their isolates were studied by phenotypic and genotypic methods. Data from these patients revealed a distinct clinical picture and therapeutic response in infections caused by Sporothrix brasiliensis (n = 45) compared to patients with S. schenckii sensu stricto (n = 5). S. brasiliensis was associated with disseminated cutaneous infection without underlying disease, hypersensitivity reactions, and mucosal infection, whereas patients with S. schenckii presented with less severe and more often localized disease, similar to the majority of previously described sporotrichosis cases. Interestingly, S. brasiliensis-infected patients overall required shorter durations of itraconazole (median 16 weeks) compared to the individuals with S. schenckii (median 24 weeks).<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>These findings suggest that Sporothrix species are linked to different clinical manifestations of sporotrichosis and that S. brasiliensis is effectively treated with oral itraconazole.
Project description:Sporotrichosis is a polymorphic chronic infection of humans and animals classically acquired after traumatic inoculation with soil and plant material contaminated with Sporothrix spp. propagules. An alternative and successful route of transmission is bites and scratches from diseased cats, through which Sporothrix yeasts are inoculated into mammalian tissue. The development of a murine model of subcutaneous sporotrichosis mimicking the alternative route of transmission is essential to understanding disease pathogenesis and the development of novel therapeutic strategies. To explore the impact of horizontal transmission in animals (e.g., cat-cat) and zoonotic transmission on Sporothrix fitness, the left hind footpads of BALB/c mice were inoculated with 5×106 yeasts (n = 11 S. brasiliensis, n = 2 S. schenckii, or n = 1 S. globosa). Twenty days post-infection, our model reproduced both the pathophysiology and symptomology of sporotrichosis with suppurating subcutaneous nodules that progressed proximally along lymphatic channels. Across the main pathogenic members of the S. schenckii clade, S. brasiliensis was usually more virulent than S. schenckii and S. globosa. However, the virulence in S. brasiliensis was strain-dependent, and we demonstrated that highly virulent isolates disseminate from the left hind footpad to the liver, spleen, kidneys, lungs, heart, and brain of infected animals, inducing significant and chronic weight loss (losing up to 15% of their body weight). The weight loss correlated with host death between 2 and 16 weeks post-infection. Histopathological features included necrosis, suppurative inflammation, and polymorphonuclear and mononuclear inflammatory infiltrates. Immunoblot using specific antisera and homologous exoantigen investigated the humoral response. Antigenic profiles were isolate-specific, supporting the hypothesis that different Sporothrix species can elicit a heterogeneous humoral response over time, but cross reaction was observed between S. brasiliensis and S. schenckii proteomes. Despite great diversity in the immunoblot profiles, antibodies were mainly derived against 3-carboxymuconate cyclase, a glycoprotein oscillating between 60 and 70 kDa (gp60-gp70) and a 100-kDa molecule in nearly 100% of the assays. Thus, our data broaden the current view of virulence and immunogenicity in the Sporothrix-sporotrichosis system, substantially expanding the possibilities for comparative genomic with isolates bearing divergent virulence traits and helping uncover the molecular mechanisms and evolutionary pressures underpinning the emergence of Sporothrix virulence.
Project description:Sporotrichosis is a subcutaneous mycosis caused by pathogenic species of the Sporothrix genus. A new emerging species, Sporothrix brasiliensis, is related to cat-transmitted sporotrichosis and has severe clinical manifestations. The cell wall of pathogenic fungi is a unique structure and impacts directly on the host immune response. We reveal and compare the cell wall structures of Sporothrix schenckii and S. brasiliensis using high-pressure freezing electron microscopy to study the cell wall organization of both species. To analyze the components of the cell wall, we also used infrared and 13C and 1H NMR spectroscopy and the sugar composition was determined by quantitative high-performance anion-exchange chromatography. Our ultrastructural data revealed a bi-layered cell wall structure for both species, including an external microfibrillar layer and an inner electron-dense layer. The inner and outer layers of the S. brasiliensis cell wall were thicker than those of S. schenckii, correlating with an increase in the chitin and rhamnose contents. Moreover, the outer microfibrillar layer of the S. brasiliensis cell wall had longer microfibrils interconnecting yeast cells. Distinct from those of other dimorphic fungi, the cell wall of Sporothrix spp. lacked ?-glucan component. Interestingly, glycogen ?-particles were identified in the cytoplasm close to the cell wall and the plasma membrane. The cell wall structure as well as the presence of glycogen ?-particles varied over time during cell culture. The structural differences observed in the cell wall of these Sporothrix species seemed to impact its uptake by monocyte-derived human macrophages. The data presented here show a unique cell wall structure of S. brasiliensis and S. schenckii during the yeast parasitic phase. A new cell wall model for Sporothrix spp. is therefore proposed that suggests that these fungi molt sheets of intact cell wall layers. This observation may have significant effects on localized and disseminated immunopathology.
Project description:Sporothrix schenckii, previously assumed to be the sole agent of human and animal sporotrichosis, is in fact a species complex. Recently recognized taxa include S. brasiliensis, S. globosa, S. mexicana, and S. luriei, in addition to S. schenckii sensu stricto. Over the last decades, large epidemics of sporotrichosis occurred in Brazil due to zoonotic transmission, and cats were pointed out as key susceptible hosts. In order to understand the eco-epidemiology of feline sporotrichosis and its role in human sporotrichosis a survey was conducted among symptomatic cats. Prevalence and phylogenetic relationships among feline Sporothrix species were investigated by reconstructing their phylogenetic origin using the calmodulin (CAL) and the translation elongation factor-1 alpha (EF1?) loci in strains originated from Rio de Janeiro (RJ, n = 15), Rio Grande do Sul (RS, n = 10), Paraná (PR, n = 4), São Paulo (SP, n =3) and Minas Gerais (MG, n = 1). Our results showed that S. brasiliensis is highly prevalent among cats (96.9%) with sporotrichosis, while S. schenckii was identified only once. The genotype of Sporothrix from cats was found identical to S. brasiliensis from human sources confirming that the disease is transmitted by cats. Sporothrix brasiliensis presented low genetic diversity compared to its sister taxon S. schenckii. No evidence of recombination in S. brasiliensis was found by split decomposition or PHI-test analysis, suggesting that S. brasiliensis is a clonal species. Strains recovered in states SP, MG and PR share the genotype of the RJ outbreak, different from the RS clone. The occurrence of separate genotypes among strains indicated that the Brazilian S. brasiliensis epidemic has at least two distinct sources. We suggest that cats represent a major host and the main source of cat and human S. brasiliensis infections in Brazil.
Project description:Sporothrix brasiliensis is the prevalent agent of a large zoonotic outbreak in Brazil. With the involvement of several thousands of cases, this is the largest cohort of human and animal sporotrichosis on record in the world. Infections are characterized by local cutaneous dissemination in humans without underlying disease. S. brasiliensis has shown a high degree of virulence in a mouse model compared to the remaining Sporothrix species, including the ancestral species, Sporothrix schenckii The present paper investigates a genomic and expressed-proteome comparison of S. brasiliensis to S. schenckii Using bottom-up proteomics, we found 60 proteins exclusively expressed in S. brasiliensis No significant genomic differences were found among the genes coding for this protein set. A comparison with literature data identified nine proteins that are known to be involved in virulence and immune evasion in other species, several of which had not yet been reported for the Sporothrix species analyzed.IMPORTANCE Sporotrichosis is an important disease in Brazil that is caused by fungi of the genus Sporothrix and affects cats and humans. Our work investigated the proteins differentially expressed by S. brasiliensis in order to find out why this species is more virulent and pathogenic than S. schenckii We verified a set of proteins that may be related to immune escape and that can explain the high virulence.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Sporotrichosis is a subcutaneous mycosis caused by dimorphic pathogenic fungi belonging to the Sporothrix genus. Pathogenic Sporothrix species typically produce melanin, which is known to be a virulence factor. OBJECTIVES:The aim of this study was to perform phenotypic, genotypic, and virulence analyses of two distinct Sporothrix brasiliensis strains isolated from the same lesion on a patient from Rio de Janeiro. METHODS AND FINDINGS:Genotypic analyses by partial sequencing of the calmodulin, ?-tubulin, and chitin synthase genes, as well as polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-fingerprinting by T3B, M13, and GACA, showed that the isolates were very similar but not identical. Both isolates had similar phenotypic characteristics and effectively produced melanin in their yeast forms, accounting for their ability of causing disease in a murine sporotrichosis model. Remarkably, isolate B was albino in its environmental form but caused more severe disease than the pigmented A isolate. CONCLUSIONS:These findings indicate that the patient was infected by two genetically and biologically distinct S. brasiliensis that vary in their production of melanin in their environmental forms. The results underscore the importance of characterizing phenotypically different isolates found in the same clinical specimen or patient.
Project description:The metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro is hyperendemic for cat-associated sporotrichosis. This study aimed to assess the virulence of serial Sporothrix isolates from a 61-year-old male patient with chronic, destructive disseminated sporotrichosis. Five Sporothrix isolates were cultured from skin exudates and bone samples over a 5-year period, and all were molecularly identified as Sporothrix brasiliensis. The final isolate was significantly more virulent in Galleria mellonella larvae compared to earlier isolates. We conclude that S. brasiliensis has the capacity to increase in virulence in vivo. This finding is significant to clinicians caring for individuals with S. brasiliensis disease and it suggests that further studies are needed to identify the mechanisms underlying pathogenicity enhancement during chronic disease.
Project description:Sporotrichosis is a neglected endemic mycosis with a high incidence in Latin America, mainly in Brazil. Sporothrix schenckii is the most frequent species in Latin America, whereas Sporothrix brasiliensis is the predominant species observed in Brazil and is associated with both human and animal sporotrichosis. Sporotrichosis treatment remains restricted to a few options, itraconazole being the first choice for human and animal therapy. In this work, we screened the molecular library Pathogen Box (Medicines for Malaria Venture [MMV], Switzerland) in search of compounds with anti-Sporothrix activity. Our initial screen of the 400 compounds identified five compounds that inhibited more than 80% of S. brasiliensis and S. schenkii growth. Among those, three compounds (MMV675968, MMV102872, and MMV002817 (known as iodoquinol)) not previously described as antifungals or agrochemicals, were selected for further evaluation. MMV102872 and iodoquinol showed the most promising combination of antifungal activity (lower inhibitory concentration) and fungal selectivity (lower cytotoxicity in LLC-MK2 cells). Scanning electron microscopy and flow cytometry analyses revealed that MMV102872 and iodoquinol induced changes in cell morphology, membrane integrity, and the presence of neutral lipids, impairing fungal survival. Our results indicate that MMV102872 and iodoquinol are promising molecules for use as scaffolds for the development of new antifungal agents.