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J. Fungi, Volume 4, Issue 2 (June 2018)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Special Issue: Mucosal Fungal Infections
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020043
Received: 24 March 2018 / Revised: 25 March 2018 / Accepted: 25 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
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Abstract
The past four decades have seen a staggering escalation in the number of invasive fungal infections worldwide.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mucosal Fungal Infections)

Research

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Open AccessArticle Burden of Fungal Infections in Colombia
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020041
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 14 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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Abstract
Data with respect to the epidemiological situation of fungal diseases in Colombia is scarce. Thus, the aim of this study is to estimate the burden of fungal infections. A population projection for 2017 from the Colombian Department for National Statistics was used, as
[...] Read more.
Data with respect to the epidemiological situation of fungal diseases in Colombia is scarce. Thus, the aim of this study is to estimate the burden of fungal infections. A population projection for 2017 from the Colombian Department for National Statistics was used, as well as official information from the Ministry of Health and National Institute of Health. A bibliographical search for Colombian data on mycotic diseases and population at risk (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, HIV infection/AIDS, cancer, and transplant patients) was done. The Colombian population for 2017 was estimated at 49,291,609 inhabitants, and the estimated number of fungal infections for Colombia in 2017 was between 753,523 and 757,928, with nearly 600,000 cases of candidiasis, 130,000 cases of aspergillosis, and 16,000 cases of opportunistic infection in HIV, affecting around 1.5% of the population. In conclusion, fungal infections represent an important burden of disease for the Colombian population. Different clinical, epidemiological, and developmental scenarios can be observed in which fungal infections occur in Colombia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Burden in Different Countries)
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Open AccessArticle The Burden of Serious Fungal Infections in Cameroon
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020044
Received: 22 February 2018 / Revised: 25 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 30 March 2018
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Abstract
Fungal infections are frequent in Cameroon, and invasive fungal infections are sometimes detected, usually in HIV-infected patients. For these reasons, we have estimated the burden of fungal infections. Using published literature and population estimates for the at-risk group, we used deterministic modelling to
[...] Read more.
Fungal infections are frequent in Cameroon, and invasive fungal infections are sometimes detected, usually in HIV-infected patients. For these reasons, we have estimated the burden of fungal infections. Using published literature and population estimates for the at-risk group, we used deterministic modelling to derive national incidence and prevalence estimates for the most serious fungal diseases. HIV infection is common and an estimated 120,000 have CD4 counts <200 × 106/mL and commonly present with opportunistic infection. Oesophageal candidiasis in HIV is common, and in poorly controlled diabetics. We estimate 6720 cases of cryptococcal meningitis, 9000 of Pneumocystis pneumonia, 1800 of disseminated histoplasmosis annually complicating AIDS, and 1200 deaths from invasive aspergillosis in AIDS, but there are no data. We found that 2.4% of adults have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and 2.65% have asthma, with “fungal asthma” affecting 20,000. Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis probably affects about 5000 people, predominantly after tuberculosis but also with COPD and other lung diseases. Also, tinea capitis in schoolchildren is frequent. Overall, an estimated 1,236,332 people are affected by a serious fungal infection. There is an urgent need for government and clinician attention, improved laboratory facilities, fungal diagnostic tests, and competent laboratory technicians, as well as all World Health Organization (WHO)-endorsed essential antifungal drugs to be made available, as only fluconazole is registered and available in the country. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Burden in Different Countries)
Open AccessArticle Mucormycosis: Battle with the Deadly Enemy over a Five-Year Period in India
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020046
Received: 15 March 2018 / Revised: 31 March 2018 / Accepted: 2 April 2018 / Published: 6 April 2018
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Abstract
Mucormycosis is an emerging opportunistic fungal infection. Increasing immunocompromization, widespread use of antibacterial and antifungal agents (such as voriconazole prophylaxis), carcinomas, transplantation and lifestyle diseases such as diabetes are the main contributors to this situation. The predominant clinical manifestations of mucormycosis vary from
[...] Read more.
Mucormycosis is an emerging opportunistic fungal infection. Increasing immunocompromization, widespread use of antibacterial and antifungal agents (such as voriconazole prophylaxis), carcinomas, transplantation and lifestyle diseases such as diabetes are the main contributors to this situation. The predominant clinical manifestations of mucormycosis vary from host to host, with rhino-orbital-cerebral, pulmonary, cutaneous, and gastrointestinal infections being the most common. In India, the prevalence of mucormycosis is approximately 0.14 cases/1000 population, which is about 70 times the worldwide-estimated rate for mucormycosis. The present study was undertaken over a period of five years (January 2009–December 2014) to determine the prevalence of mucormycosis. The samples suspected of mucormycosis were examined by direct KOH wet mount and cultured on Sabouraud’s dextrose agar without actidione and on blood agar as per standard mycological techniques. Histopathological correlation was done for most of the cases. Antifungal susceptibility testing was performed by the EUCAST reference method. We identified a total of 82 cases of mucormycosis out of a total of 6365 samples received for mycological culture and examination during the said time period. Out of these, 56 were male patients and 27 were females. Most common presentation was rhino-orbito-cerebral (37), followed by cutaneous (25), pulmonary (14), oral cavity involvement (4) and gastrointestinal (2). The most common risk factors were diabetes and intramuscular injections. The fungi isolated were Rhizopus arrhizus (17), Apophysomyces variabilis (12), R. microsporus (9), Lichtheimia ramosa (8), Saksenaea erythrospora (5), Syncephalastrum racemosus (4), R. homothallicus (2), Rhizomucor pusillus (1), Mucor irregularis (1) and A. elegans (1). The mainstay of the treatment was amphotericin B, along with extensive surgical debridement whenever feasible. Most of the patients (50) recovered, but 25 died. The rest of the patients left against medical advice. “Nip in the Bud” should be the mantra for clinicians/surgeons for a favorable prognosis. Early diagnosis, prompt institution of appropriate antifungal therapy, surgical debridement whenever necessary, knowledge of risk factors and their timely reversal is the key for management. Full article
Open AccessArticle Microenvironment Responsive Modulations in the Fatty Acid Content, Cell Surface Hydrophobicity, and Adhesion of Candida albicans Cells
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020047
Received: 2 February 2018 / Revised: 18 March 2018 / Accepted: 4 April 2018 / Published: 6 April 2018
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Abstract
Considering the significance in survival and virulence, we have made an attempt to understand modulations in the membrane and cell wall properties of Candida albicans hyphae induced by temperature (37 °C) and neutral pH and yeast form cells grown under low hydrostatic pressure
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Considering the significance in survival and virulence, we have made an attempt to understand modulations in the membrane and cell wall properties of Candida albicans hyphae induced by temperature (37 °C) and neutral pH and yeast form cells grown under low hydrostatic pressure (LHP). Our results suggest that cell surface hydrophobicity (CSH) and adhesion are dynamic properties determined largely by the microenvironment rather than morphological forms, citing the significance of variation in niche specific virulence. GC-MS analysis showed that 49 and 41 fatty acids modulated under hyphal form induced by temperature alone (37 °C) and neutral pH, respectively while that of 58 under yeast form cells under low hydrostatic pressure (LHP) (1800 Pa). Fatty acid and ergosterol data indicates that fluidity increases with increase in temperature (37 °C) and neutral pH i.e., saturated fatty acids and ergosterol decreases. Similarly, CSH and adhesion decrease in response to temperature (37 °C), pH 7, and LHP compared to controls, irrespective of morphological forms. In general, membranes were more rigid, and cell walls were more hydrophobic and adhesive in yeast form compared to hyphal form cells, except in case of yeast form cells grown under LHP. Yeast form cells grown under LHP are less hydrophobic and adhesive. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Pseudogymnoascus destructans: Causative Agent of White-Nose Syndrome in Bats Is Inhibited by Safe Volatile Organic Compounds
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020048
Received: 24 February 2018 / Revised: 27 March 2018 / Accepted: 3 April 2018 / Published: 10 April 2018
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Abstract
White-nose syndrome (WNS) is caused by Pseudogymnoascus destructans, a psychrophilic fungus that infects hibernating bats and has caused a serious decline in some species. Natural aroma compounds have been used to control growth of fungal food storage pathogens, so we hypothesized that
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White-nose syndrome (WNS) is caused by Pseudogymnoascus destructans, a psychrophilic fungus that infects hibernating bats and has caused a serious decline in some species. Natural aroma compounds have been used to control growth of fungal food storage pathogens, so we hypothesized that a similar strategy could work for control of P. destructans. The effectiveness of exposure to low concentrations of the vapor phase of four of these compounds was tested on mycelial plugs and conidiospores at temperatures of 5, 10 and 15 °C. Here we report the efficacy of vapor phase mushroom alcohol (1-octen-3-ol) for inhibiting mycelial and conidiospore growth of P. destructans at 0.4 and 0.8 µmol/mL and demonstrate that the R enantiomer of this compound is more effective than the S enantiomer, supporting the finding that biological systems can be sensitive to stereochemistry. Further, we report that vapor phase leaf aldehyde (trans-2-hexenal), a common aroma compound associated with cut grass odors and also the major volatile compound in extra virgin olive oil, is more effective than mushroom alcohol. At 0.05 µmol/mL, trans-2-hexenal is fungicidal to both conidiospores and mycelia of P. destructans. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Burden of Serious Fungal Infections in Argentina
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020051
Received: 14 February 2018 / Revised: 9 April 2018 / Accepted: 13 April 2018 / Published: 24 April 2018
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Abstract
The number of fungal infections at any given time in Argentina is not known. Here we estimate the burden of serious fungal infections in Argentina for the first time. Specific population statistics were searched from multiple sources, local literature was identified, and estimates
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The number of fungal infections at any given time in Argentina is not known. Here we estimate the burden of serious fungal infections in Argentina for the first time. Specific population statistics were searched from multiple sources, local literature was identified, and estimates made. Some additional data were sourced from the Ministry of Health, the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) program, and national haematology and transplant societies. Argentina has a population of 43.8 million, with 25% of this total being children under 15 years. The predicted candidemia annual incidence is 2193 cases, with 50% occurring in the ICU. At a 6% prevalence rate, an estimated 593,695 women suffer from recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis. Invasive aspergillosis is relatively common because of high smoking and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) rates, with 268 cases in immunocompromised patients and another 1938 in the 168,000 COPD patients admitted to hospital. Asthma is also common, affecting 14% of adults, and so allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) and severe asthma with fungal sensitization (SAFS) are major problems. An estimated 432 cases of cryptococcal meningitis (CM)—90% of them in AIDS patients—and 1177 cases of Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) occur each year. The estimated annual case number of disseminated histoplasmosis is 404 in AIDS patients, almost as frequent as CM. Paracoccidioidomycosis annual incidence is estimated at 219, and coccidioidomycosis at 16 cases. At least 881,023 people (>2.01%) in Argentina are affected by a serious fungal disease annually, with considerable morbidity and mortality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Burden in Different Countries)
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Genetic Diversity among Pleurotus spp. Isolates from Jordan
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020052
Received: 16 February 2018 / Revised: 22 April 2018 / Accepted: 25 April 2018 / Published: 29 April 2018
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Abstract
Pleurotus is considered an important genus that belongs to the family Pleurotaceae and includes the edible King Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus eryngii). In the present study, 19 Pleurotus isolates were collected from two locations in the north of Jordan (Tell ar-Rumman and
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Pleurotus is considered an important genus that belongs to the family Pleurotaceae and includes the edible King Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus eryngii). In the present study, 19 Pleurotus isolates were collected from two locations in the north of Jordan (Tell ar-Rumman and Um-Qais). The morphological characteristics among collected isolates revealed that there was a morphological similarity among the collected isolates. Nucleotide sequence analysis of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS1–5.8S rDNA–ITS4 region) and 28S nuclear large subunit (nLSU) in the ribosomal DNA gene of the isolated stains showed that all of them share over 98% sequence similarity with P. eryngii. Genetic diversity among the collected strains was assessed using inter simple sequence repeat (ISSR) analysis using 18 different primer pairs. Using this approach, 141 out of 196 bands obtained were considered polymorphic and the highest percentage of polymorphism was observed using primer UBC827 (92.3%) with an overall Polymorphism Information Content (PIC) value of 70.56%. Cluster analysis showed that the Jordanian Pleurotus isolates fall into two main clades with a coefficient of similarity values ranging from 0.59 to 0.74 with a clear clustering based on collection sites. The results of the present study reveal that molecular techniques of ISSR and rDNA sequencing can greatly aid in classification and identification of Pleurotus spp. in Jordan. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Development of an Expression Vector to Overexpress or Downregulate Genes in Curvularia protuberata
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020054
Received: 12 April 2018 / Revised: 3 May 2018 / Accepted: 3 May 2018 / Published: 5 May 2018
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Abstract
Curvularia protuberata, an endophytic fungus in the Ascomycota, provides plants with thermotolerance only when it carries a mycovirus known as Curvularia thermotolerance virus (CThTV), and forms a three-way symbiotic relationship among these organisms. Under heat stress, several genes are expressed differently between
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Curvularia protuberata, an endophytic fungus in the Ascomycota, provides plants with thermotolerance only when it carries a mycovirus known as Curvularia thermotolerance virus (CThTV), and forms a three-way symbiotic relationship among these organisms. Under heat stress, several genes are expressed differently between virus-free C. protuberata (VF) and C. protuberata carrying CThTV (AN). We developed an expression vector, pM2Z-fun, carrying a zeocin resistance gene driven by the ToxA promoter, to study gene functions in C. protuberata to better understand this three-way symbiosis. Using this new 3.7-kb vector, five genes that are differentially expressed in C. protuberata—including genes involved in the trehalose, melanin, and catalase biosynthesis pathways—were successfully overexpressed or downregulated in VF or AN C. protuberata strains, respectively. The VF overexpression lines showed higher metabolite and enzyme activity than in the control VF strain. Furthermore, downregulation of expression of the same genes in the AN strain resulted in lower metabolite and enzyme activity than in the control AN strain. The newly generated expression vector, pM2Z-fun, has been successfully used to express target genes in C. protuberata and will be useful in further functional expression studies in other Ascomycota fungi. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sporotrichin Skin Test for the Diagnosis of Sporotrichosis
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020055
Received: 1 April 2018 / Revised: 3 May 2018 / Accepted: 5 May 2018 / Published: 9 May 2018
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Abstract
Sporotrichosis is the most common implantation mycosis caused by several species of the Sporothrix schenckii complex. The gold standard for diagnosis is concerned with the isolation of the fungus; although, fresh examinations, staining, and biopsies are also helpful for this purpose. The sporotrichin
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Sporotrichosis is the most common implantation mycosis caused by several species of the Sporothrix schenckii complex. The gold standard for diagnosis is concerned with the isolation of the fungus; although, fresh examinations, staining, and biopsies are also helpful for this purpose. The sporotrichin is an antigenic complex comprised of a peptide-rhamnomannan, which is relevant with respect to pathogenic fungi; it is primarily used for serological and skin testing. We present a study regarding the use of sporotrichin as a diagnostic aid for cutaneous sporotrichosis. Furthermore, 138 cases with suspicion of sporotrichosis were included, 55 of which were proven through cultures. Moreover, out of these 55 cases, 52 (94.5%) tested positive for sporotrichin, while the negative cases corresponded to the disseminated cutaneous forms. We observed a sensitivity of 94.5% and a specificity of 95.2%. We consider that the use of sporotrichin as a skin test helps us as an auxiliary diagnosis before a positive sample culture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sporothrix and Sporotrichosis)
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Open AccessArticle Observations on the Early Establishment of Foliar Endophytic Fungi in Leaf Discs and Living Leaves of a Model Woody Angiosperm, Populus trichocarpa (Salicaceae)
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020058
Received: 1 May 2018 / Revised: 11 May 2018 / Accepted: 13 May 2018 / Published: 16 May 2018
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Abstract
Fungal endophytes are diverse and widespread symbionts that occur in the living tissues of all lineages of plants without causing evidence of disease. Culture-based and culture-free studies indicate that they often are abundant in the leaves of woody angiosperms, but only a few
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Fungal endophytes are diverse and widespread symbionts that occur in the living tissues of all lineages of plants without causing evidence of disease. Culture-based and culture-free studies indicate that they often are abundant in the leaves of woody angiosperms, but only a few studies have visualized endophytic fungi in leaf tissues, and the process through which most endophytes colonize leaves has not been studied thoroughly. We inoculated leaf discs and the living leaves of a model woody angiosperm, Populus trichocarpa, which has endophytes that represent three distantly-related genera (Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Trichoderma). We used scanning electron microscopy and light microscopy to evaluate the timeline and processes by which they colonize leaf tissue. Under laboratory conditions with high humidity, conidia germinated on leaf discs to yield hyphae that grew epiphytically and incidentally entered stomata, but did not grow in a directed fashion toward stomatal openings. No cuticular penetration was observed. The endophytes readily colonized the interiors of leaf discs that were detached from living leaves, and could be visualized within discs with light microscopy. Although they were difficult to visualize within the interior of living leaves following in vivo inoculations, standard methods for isolating foliar endophytes confirmed their presence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Endophytes in Plants)
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Open AccessArticle Estimated Burden of Serious Fungal Infections in Malawi
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020061
Received: 18 April 2018 / Revised: 16 May 2018 / Accepted: 17 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
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Abstract
Despite efforts to address the burden of fungal infections in Malawi, the prevalence and incidence remain largely unknown. We assessed the annual burden in the general population and among populations at high risk and fungal infection frequencies in each particular population to estimate
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Despite efforts to address the burden of fungal infections in Malawi, the prevalence and incidence remain largely unknown. We assessed the annual burden in the general population and among populations at high risk and fungal infection frequencies in each particular population to estimate the national incidence or prevalence. The Malawi population is approximately 17.7 million (2017), with 48% under 15 years of age. Approximately 8% of the population is HIV positive. The most common infections are present in HIV/AIDS patients, with oral candidiasis being the commonest. Life threatening infections among those with AIDS patients include cryptococcal meningitis (8200 cases) and Pneumocystis pneumonia (3690 cases). Pulmonary TB is common, but extra pulmonary TB is rare; an estimated 2329 people have chronic pulmonary aspergillosis after TB. Asthma is a significant problem in Malawi, with an estimated 680,000 adults affected (4.67%) and 14,010 cases of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA). Tinea capitis is estimated to be present in over 670,000 young people (21% of school age children). The annual incidence of fungal keratitis is difficult to estimate, but as cases are frequently seen in the eye department, is likely to be a minimum of 1825 (10.3/100,000) cases. Among the most serious infections, cryptococcal meningitis and Pneumocystis pneumonia are top of the list. Overall, some 1,338,523 (7.54%) people are affected by a serious fungal infection in Malawi. These basic estimates are limited, due to poor record keeping, and require epidemiological studies to validate or modify the substantial burden estimates. National surveillance of fungal infections is urgently needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Burden in Different Countries)
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Open AccessArticle Alternaria and Fusarium Fungi: Differences in Distribution and Spore Deposition in a Topographically Heterogeneous Wheat Field
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020063
Received: 5 April 2018 / Revised: 26 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 24 May 2018
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Abstract
Fusarium spp. and Alternaria spp., two genera of filamentous fungi, are common colonizers of the wheat phyllosphere. Both can be pathogenic and produce mycotoxins that are harmful to consumers. Their in-field infection dynamics have been a focus for the development of new control
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Fusarium spp. and Alternaria spp., two genera of filamentous fungi, are common colonizers of the wheat phyllosphere. Both can be pathogenic and produce mycotoxins that are harmful to consumers. Their in-field infection dynamics have been a focus for the development of new control strategies. We analysed the abundance on plant ears and spore deposition patterns of Fusarium spp. and Alternaria spp. in a topographically heterogeneous field. Abundances were assessed genetically, using qPCR-based techniques, and passive spore traps were installed for quantifying the spore deposition at different plant heights. Data loggers were placed to measure the differences in microclimate across the field. Results indicate different distribution and spore deposition patterns for the two fungi. Fusarium spp. spore and genetic abundances were higher in spots with a more humid and colder under-canopy microclimate. Alternaria spp. showed the opposite trend for genetic abundance, while its spore deposition was not correlated to any of the microclimatic conditions and was more uniform across the field. Our study extends the knowledge on the dispersal and in-field infection dynamics of Fusarium spp. and Alternaria spp., important for a better understanding of the epidemiology of these wheat pathogens. It also illustrates that topographically heterogeneous fields are a suitable environment for studying the ecology of phyllosphere-colonizing fungi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Pathogenic Fungi and Oomycetes)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Endophytic Mycoflora and Their Bioactive Compounds from Azadirachta Indica: A Comprehensive Review
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020042
Received: 3 February 2018 / Revised: 12 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 24 March 2018
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Abstract
Plants are all inhabited by endophytic fungi in the interior of their tissues. The neem tree Azadirachta is an Indian lilac used for various therapeutic purposes in different forms of preparations. This plant hosts different types of endophytic fungi. In some cases, different
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Plants are all inhabited by endophytic fungi in the interior of their tissues. The neem tree Azadirachta is an Indian lilac used for various therapeutic purposes in different forms of preparations. This plant hosts different types of endophytic fungi. In some cases, different tissues of a given plant are inhabited by different endophytic fungi which are discussed in this paper. Recently, there have been new reports on endophytic fungi and their bioactive compounds from Azadirachta indica. The biological function of bioactive compounds was discussed in view of their future industrial prospects. There are a number of different research investigations that examine the endophytes isolated and screened for their potential bioactive secondary metabolites from neem, but there is no comprehensive review on neem endophytes and their secondary metabolites to bring all trends from different researchers together. Therefore, in this review, we have discussed the endophytic fungi from the different tissues of neem, in view of the latest understandings of antimicrobial, antioxidant, and pathogenicity target compounds. Importantly, tracing the previous findings would pave the way to forecast the missing link for future work by researchers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Endophytes in Plants)
Open AccessReview T2 Magnetic Resonance Assay: Overview of Available Data and Clinical Implications
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020045
Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 31 March 2018 / Accepted: 2 April 2018 / Published: 4 April 2018
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Abstract
Invasive candidiasis is a common healthcare-associated infection with a high mortality rate that can exceed 60% in cases of septic shock. Blood culture performance is far from ideal, due to the long time to positivity and suppression by antifungal agents. The T2 Magnetic
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Invasive candidiasis is a common healthcare-associated infection with a high mortality rate that can exceed 60% in cases of septic shock. Blood culture performance is far from ideal, due to the long time to positivity and suppression by antifungal agents. The T2 Magnetic Resonance (T2MR) assay is an FDA-approved qualitative molecular diagnostic method that can detect and speciate the 5 most common Candida spp.; namely, Candida albicans, Candida glabrata, Candida parapsilosis, Candida tropicalis, and Candida krusei, in approximately 5 h. In a multicenter clinical trial that included both a prospective and a contrived arm to represent the full range of clinically relevant concentrations of Candida spp., T2MR demonstrated a sensitivity and specificity of 91.1% and 98.1%, respectively. The utility of T2MR in candidemia depends on the prevalence of disease in each clinical setting. In intensive care units and other high-prevalence settings, the incorporation of T2MR in diagnostic algorithms is very appealing. T2MR is expected to allow timely initiation of antifungal therapy and help with anti-fungal stewardship. In low-prevalence settings, the positive predictive value of T2MR might not be enough to justify initiation of antifungal treatment in itself. The performance of T2MR has not been studied in cases of deep-seated candidiasis. Despite some promising evidence in published clinical trials, further studies are needed to determine the performance of T2MR in invasive candidiasis without candidemia. Overall, experience with T2MR in everyday clinical practice is evolving but, in the right setting, this technology is expected to provide “actionable information” for the management of patients evaluated for candidemia. Full article
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Open AccessReview An Overview of Sex Bias in C. neoformans Infections
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020049
Received: 3 April 2018 / Revised: 2 April 2018 / Accepted: 16 April 2018 / Published: 18 April 2018
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Abstract
Cryptococcosis, a fungal disease arising from the etiologic agent Cryptococcus neoformans, sickens a quarter of a million people annually, resulting in over 180,000 deaths. Interestingly, males are affected by cryptococcosis more frequently than females, a phenomenon observed for more than a half
[...] Read more.
Cryptococcosis, a fungal disease arising from the etiologic agent Cryptococcus neoformans, sickens a quarter of a million people annually, resulting in over 180,000 deaths. Interestingly, males are affected by cryptococcosis more frequently than females, a phenomenon observed for more than a half century. This disparity is seen in both HIV (~3M:1F) and HIV+ (~8M:2F) populations of cryptococcal patients. In humans, male sex is considered a pre-disposing risk factor for cryptococcosis and males suffering from the disease have more severe symptoms and poorer outcomes. There are numerous observational, clinical and epidemiological studies documenting the male disadvantage in C. neoformans but with no further explanation of cause or mechanism. Despite being commonly acknowledged, little primary research has been conducted elucidating the reasons for these differences. The research that has been conducted, however, suggests sex hormones are a likely cause. Given that the sex difference is both prevalent and accepted by many researchers in the field, it is surprising that more is not known. This review highlights the data regarding differences in sexual dimorphism in C. neoformans infections and suggests future directions to close the research gap in this area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryptococcus and Cryptococcosis)
Open AccessReview Lipid Biosynthesis as an Antifungal Target
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020050
Received: 23 March 2018 / Revised: 17 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 April 2018 / Published: 20 April 2018
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Abstract
Lipids, commonly including phospholipids, sphingolipids, fatty acids, sterols, and triacylglycerols (TAGs), are important biomolecules for the viability of all cells. Phospholipids, sphingolipids, and sterols are important constituents of biological membranes. Many lipids play important roles in the regulation of cell metabolism by acting
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Lipids, commonly including phospholipids, sphingolipids, fatty acids, sterols, and triacylglycerols (TAGs), are important biomolecules for the viability of all cells. Phospholipids, sphingolipids, and sterols are important constituents of biological membranes. Many lipids play important roles in the regulation of cell metabolism by acting as signaling molecules. Neutral lipids, including TAGs and sterol esters (STEs), are important storage lipids in cells. In view of the importance of lipid molecules, this review briefly summarizes the metabolic pathways for sterols, phospholipids, sphingolipids, fatty acids, and neutral lipids in fungi and illustrates the differences between fungal and human (or other mammalian) cells, especially in relation to lipid biosynthetic pathways. These differences might provide valuable clues for us to find target proteins for novel antifungal drugs. In addition, the development of lipidomics technology in recent years has supplied us with a shortcut for finding new antifungal drug targets; this ability is important for guiding our research on pathogenic fungi. Full article
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Open AccessReview Endophytic Fungi in Species of Artemisia
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020053
Received: 8 March 2018 / Revised: 20 April 2018 / Accepted: 28 April 2018 / Published: 1 May 2018
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Abstract
The genus Artemisia, a collection of ~400 hardy herbaceous plant and shrub species, is an important resource contributing to chemistry, medicine, agriculture, industry, and ecology. Its communities of endophytic fungi have only recently begun to be explored. Summarized from studies conducted on
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The genus Artemisia, a collection of ~400 hardy herbaceous plant and shrub species, is an important resource contributing to chemistry, medicine, agriculture, industry, and ecology. Its communities of endophytic fungi have only recently begun to be explored. Summarized from studies conducted on the fungal endophytes in Artemisia species, both fungal phylogenetic diversity and the associated bioactivity was examined. Isolations from 14 species of Artemisia have led to 51 genera of fungal endophytes, 28 families, and 18 orders. Endophytes belonged mainly to Ascomycota, except for two taxa of Cantharellales and Sporidiobolales, one taxon of Mucoromycota, and one species of Oomycota. The mostly common families were Pleosporaceae, Trichocomaceae, Leptosphaeriaceae, and Botryosphaeriaceae (relative abundance = 14.89, 8.51, 7.14 and 6.38, respectively). In the search for bioactive metabolites, 27 novel compounds were characterized and 22 metabolites were isolated between 2006 and 2017. The first study on endophytic fungi isolated from species of Artemisia was published but 18 years ago. This summary of recently acquired data illustrates the considerable diversity of biological purposes addressed by fungal endophytes of Artemisia spp. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Endophytes in Plants)
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Open AccessReview Nodular Lymphangitis (Sporotrichoid Lymphocutaneous Infections). Clues to Differential Diagnosis
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020056
Received: 6 April 2018 / Revised: 4 May 2018 / Accepted: 8 May 2018 / Published: 9 May 2018
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Abstract
Nodular lymphangitis, also known as sporotrichoid lymphocutaneous infections, is characterized by suppurative inflammatory nodules along the lymphatic vessels. This manifestation is classic of sporotrichosis, however, other infections such as nocardiosis, atypical mycobacteriosis, leishmaniasis, among others, can also express this clinical pattern. Sporotrichosis, which
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Nodular lymphangitis, also known as sporotrichoid lymphocutaneous infections, is characterized by suppurative inflammatory nodules along the lymphatic vessels. This manifestation is classic of sporotrichosis, however, other infections such as nocardiosis, atypical mycobacteriosis, leishmaniasis, among others, can also express this clinical pattern. Sporotrichosis, which often occurs in gardeners, remains the most recognized cause of nodular lymphangitis. The histopathological studies, as well as the culture are diagnostic standards of lesions that do not respond to empirical treatment. In this article, we will review the main causes of nodular lymphangitis or lymphocutaneous sporotrichoid infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sporothrix and Sporotrichosis)
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Open AccessReview What We Do Not Know about Fungal Cell Adhesion Molecules
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020059
Received: 21 March 2018 / Revised: 27 April 2018 / Accepted: 10 May 2018 / Published: 17 May 2018
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Abstract
There has been extensive research on structure and function of fungal cell adhesion molecules, but the most of the work has been about adhesins in Candida albicans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. These yeasts are members of a single ascomycete order, and adhesion molecules from
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There has been extensive research on structure and function of fungal cell adhesion molecules, but the most of the work has been about adhesins in Candida albicans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. These yeasts are members of a single ascomycete order, and adhesion molecules from the six other fungal phyla are only sparsely described in the literature. In these other phyla, most of the research is at the cellular level, rather than at the molecular level, so there has been little characterization of the adhesion molecules themselves. A catalog of known adhesins shows some common features: high Ser/Thr content, tandem repeats, N- and O-glycosylations, GPI anchors, dibasic sequence motifs, and potential amyloid-forming sequences. However, none of these features is universal. Known ligands include proteins and glycans on homologous cells and host cells. Existing and novel tools can exploit the availability of genome sequences to identify and characterize new fungal adhesins. These include bioinformatics tools and well-established yeast surface display models, which could be coupled with an adhesion substrate array. Thus, new knowledge could be exploited to answer key questions in fungal ecology, animal and plant pathogenesis, and roles of biofilms in infection and biomass turnover. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Adhesion in Fungal Life and Pathogenesis)
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Open AccessReview Adhesins in Candida glabrata
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020060
Received: 2 May 2018 / Revised: 15 May 2018 / Accepted: 17 May 2018 / Published: 20 May 2018
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Abstract
The human fungal pathogen Candida glabrata is causing more and more problems in hospitals, as this species shows an intrinsic antifungal drug resistance or rapidly becomes resistant when challenged with antifungals. C. glabrata only grows in the yeast form, so it is lacking
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The human fungal pathogen Candida glabrata is causing more and more problems in hospitals, as this species shows an intrinsic antifungal drug resistance or rapidly becomes resistant when challenged with antifungals. C. glabrata only grows in the yeast form, so it is lacking a yeast-to-hyphae switch, which is one of the main virulence factors of C. albicans. An important virulence factor of C. glabrata is its capacity to strongly adhere to many different substrates. To achieve this, C. glabrata expresses a large number of adhesin-encoding genes and genome comparisons with closely related species, including the non-pathogenic S. cerevisiae, which revealed a correlation between the number of adhesin-encoding genes and pathogenicity. The adhesins are involved in the first steps during an infection; they are the first point of contact with the host. For several of these adhesins, their importance in adherence to different substrates and subsequent biofilm formation was demonstrated in vitro or in vivo. In this review, we provide an overview of the role of C. glabrata adhesins during adhesion and biofilm formation both, under in vitro and in vivo conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Adhesion in Fungal Life and Pathogenesis)
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Open AccessReview Sporotrichosis: From KOH to Molecular Biology
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020062
Received: 18 April 2018 / Revised: 16 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 23 May 2018
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Abstract
Sporotrichosis is a cosmopolitan, chronic granulomatous mycosis, acquired by traumatic inoculation and caused by Sporothrix schenckii complex. Several methods of diagnostic are available, from KOH to molecular biology. In this review, we describe from the simplest (clinical diagnosis) to the most advanced
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Sporotrichosis is a cosmopolitan, chronic granulomatous mycosis, acquired by traumatic inoculation and caused by Sporothrix schenckii complex. Several methods of diagnostic are available, from KOH to molecular biology. In this review, we describe from the simplest (clinical diagnosis) to the most advanced diagnostic techniques (molecular biology). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sporothrix and Sporotrichosis)
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Open AccessOpinion The Emergence of Endophytic Microbes and Their Biological Promise
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4020057
Received: 20 April 2018 / Revised: 11 May 2018 / Accepted: 11 May 2018 / Published: 16 May 2018
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Abstract
As is true with animal species, plants also have an associated microflora including endophytes as well as microbes associated with the phyllosphere and rhizosphere (plant surfaces) and this is considered the plant microbiome. However, those organisms within virtually all tissues and organs of
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As is true with animal species, plants also have an associated microflora including endophytes as well as microbes associated with the phyllosphere and rhizosphere (plant surfaces) and this is considered the plant microbiome. However, those organisms within virtually all tissues and organs of the plant are known as endophytes. Most often fungi are the most frequently recovered endophytes from plant tissues, but bacterial forms generally occur in greater numbers, but not in species varieties. The exact biological/biochemical role of the endophyte in the plant and how it interacts with the plant and other endophytes and plant associated organisms has not been intensely and carefully examined. However, this has not stopped investigators in exploring the direct utility of endophytes in boosting plant production, and discovering that endophytes can directly influence the plant to resist temperature extremes, drought, as well as the presence of disease causing organisms. Also, because of the relationships that endophytes seem to have with their host plants, they make a myriad of biologically active compounds some of which are classified as antibiotics, antioxidants, anticancer agents, volatile antimicrobial agents, immunosuppressive compounds, plant growth promoting agents, and insecticides. These endophytic compounds represent a wide range of organic molecules including terpenoids, peptides, carbohydrates, aromatics, hydrocarbons and others and it seems that these compounds may have a role in the host microbe relationship. Most recently and quite surprisingly, some endophytes have been discovered that make hydrocarbons of the types found in diesel and gasoline fuels. In addition, recently discovered are epigenetic factors relating to the biology and biochemistry of endophytes. Interestingly, only about 1–2% of the entire spectrum of 300,000 known plants have been studied for their endophyte composition. Additionally, only a few plants have ever been completely studied including all tissues for the microbes within them. Likewise, the vast majority of plants, including those in oceans and lower plant forms, have never been examined for their endophytes. Furthermore, endophytes representing the “microbiome” of world’s major food plants as they exist in their native “centers of origin” are largely unknown. This non-classical review is intended to provide background information on aspects of developments in endophyte biology and more importantly the identification of new questions in this field that need to be addressed. The review is primarily based on the author’s long held experience in this field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Endophytes in Plants)
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