Open AccessArticle
An Estimate of the Burden of Fungal Disease in Norway
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 29; doi:10.3390/jof4010029 -
Abstract
The aim of this study was to examine the burden of fungal disease in Norway, contributing to a worldwide effort to improve awareness of the needs for better diagnosis and treatment of such infections. We used national registers and actual data from the
[...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to examine the burden of fungal disease in Norway, contributing to a worldwide effort to improve awareness of the needs for better diagnosis and treatment of such infections. We used national registers and actual data from the Departments of Microbiology from 2015 and estimated the incidence and/or prevalence of superficial, allergic and invasive fungal disease using published reports on specific populations at risk. One in 6 Norwegians suffered from fungal disease: Superficial skin infections (14.3%: 745,600) and recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis in fertile women (6%: 43,123) were estimated to be the most frequent infections. Allergic fungal lung disease was estimated in 17,755 patients (341/100,000). Pneumocystis jirovecii was diagnosed in 262 patients (5/100,000), invasive candidiasis in 400 patients (7.7/100,000), invasive aspergillosis in 278 patients (5.3/100,000) and mucormycosis in 7 patients (0.1/100,000). Particular fungal infections from certain geographic areas were not observed. Overall, 1.79% of the population was estimated to be affected by serious fungal infections in Norway in 2015. Even though estimates for invasive infections are small, the gravity of such infections combined with expected demographic changes in the future emphasizes the need for better epidemiological data. Full article
Open AccessReview
PS, It’s Complicated: The Roles of Phosphatidylserine and Phosphatidylethanolamine in the Pathogenesis of Candida albicans and Other Microbial Pathogens
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 28; doi:10.3390/jof4010028 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The phospholipids phosphatidylserine (PS) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) play important roles in the virulence of Candida albicans and loss of PS synthesis or synthesis of PE from PS (PS decarboxylase) severely compromises virulence in C. albicans in a mouse model of systemic candidiasis. This
[...] Read more.
The phospholipids phosphatidylserine (PS) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) play important roles in the virulence of Candida albicans and loss of PS synthesis or synthesis of PE from PS (PS decarboxylase) severely compromises virulence in C. albicans in a mouse model of systemic candidiasis. This review discusses synthesis of PE and PS in C. albicans and mechanisms by which these lipids impact virulence in this fungus. This is further compared to how PS and PE synthesis impact virulence in other fungi, parasites and bacteria. Furthermore, the impact of PS asymmetry on virulence and extracellular vesicle formation in several microbes is reviewed. Finally, the potential for PS and PE synthases as drug targets in these various kingdoms is also examined. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Non-Culture Diagnostics for Invasive Candidiasis: Promise and Unintended Consequences
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 27; doi:10.3390/jof4010027 -
Abstract
Blood cultures are positive for Candida species in < 50% and < 20% of hematogenously disseminated and intra-abdominal candidiasis, respectively. Non-culture tests such as mannan, anti-mannan antibody, Candida albicans germ tube antibody (CAGTA), 1,3-β-d-glucan (BDG), the T2Candida nanodiagnostic panel, and polymerase
[...] Read more.
Blood cultures are positive for Candida species in < 50% and < 20% of hematogenously disseminated and intra-abdominal candidiasis, respectively. Non-culture tests such as mannan, anti-mannan antibody, Candida albicans germ tube antibody (CAGTA), 1,3-β-d-glucan (BDG), the T2Candida nanodiagnostic panel, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are available for clinical use, but their roles in patient care are uncertain. Sensitivity/specificity of combined mannan/anti-mannan, BDG, T2Candida and PCR for candidemia are ~80%/80%, ~80%/80%, ~90%/98%, and ~90%/90%, respectively. Limited data for intra-abdominal candidiasis suggest CAGTA, BDG sensitivity/specificity of ~65%/75% and PCR sensitivity of ~85–90%. PCR specificity has varied widely for intra-abdominal candidiasis (33–97%), and T2Candida data are lacking. Tests will be useful if restricted to cases in which positive and negative predictive values (PPVs, NPVs) differ in a clinically meaningful way from the pre-test likelihood of invasive candidiasis. In some patients, PPVs are sufficient to justify antifungal treatment, even if blood cultures are negative. In most patients, NPVs of each test are excellent, which may support decisions to withhold antifungal therapy. If test results are not interpreted judiciously, non-culture diagnostics may have unintended consequences for stewardship and infection prevention programs. In particular, discrepant non-culture test-positive/culture-negative results may promote inappropriate antifungal treatment of patients who are unlikely to have candidiasis, and lead to spurious reporting of hospital-acquired infections. In conclusion, non-culture Candida diagnostics have potential to advance patient care, but this promise will be realized only if users understand tests’ strengths and limitations, and plan proactively for how best to employ them at their hospitals. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Differences in Sirtuin Regulation in Response to Calorie Restriction in Cryptococcus neoformans
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 26; doi:10.3390/jof4010026 -
Abstract
Cryptococcus neoformans successfully replicates in low glucose in infected patients. In the serotype A strain, H99, growth in this condition prolongs lifespan regulated by SIR2, and can be modulated with SIR2-specific drugs. Previous studies show that lifespan modulation of a cryptococcal population affects
[...] Read more.
Cryptococcus neoformans successfully replicates in low glucose in infected patients. In the serotype A strain, H99, growth in this condition prolongs lifespan regulated by SIR2, and can be modulated with SIR2-specific drugs. Previous studies show that lifespan modulation of a cryptococcal population affects its sensitivity to antifungals, and survival in an infection model. Sirtuins and their role in longevity are conserved among fungi; however, the effect of glucose starvation is not confirmed even in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Lifespan analysis of C. neoformans strains in low glucose showed that 37.5% exhibited pro-longevity, and lifespan of a serotype D strain, RC2, was shortened. Transcriptome comparison of H99 and RC2 under calorie restriction demonstrated differences, confirmed by real-time PCR showing that SIR2, TOR1, SCH9,and PKA1 expression correlated with lifespan response to calorie restriction. As expected, RC2-sir2Δ cells exhibited a shortened lifespan, which was reconstituted. However, shortened lifespan from calorie restriction was independent of SIR2. In contrast to H99 but consistent with altered SIR2 regulation, SIR2-specific drugs did not affect outcome of RC2 infection. These data suggest that SIR2 regulation and response to calorie restriction varies in C. neoformans, which should be considered when Sirtuins are investigated as potential therapy targets for fungal infections. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Mechanisms of Pulmonary Escape and Dissemination by Cryptococcus neoformans
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 25; doi:10.3390/jof4010025 -
Abstract
Cryptococcus neoformans is a common environmental saprophyte and human fungal pathogen that primarily causes disease in immunocompromised individuals. Similar to many environmentally acquired human fungal pathogens, C. neoformans initiates infection in the lungs.However, the main driver of mortality is invasive cryptococcosis leading
[...] Read more.
Cryptococcus neoformans is a common environmental saprophyte and human fungal pathogen that primarily causes disease in immunocompromised individuals. Similar to many environmentally acquired human fungal pathogens, C. neoformans initiates infection in the lungs.However, the main driver of mortality is invasive cryptococcosis leading to fungal meningitis. After C. neoformans gains a foothold in the lungs, a critical early step in invasion is transversal of the respiratory epithelium. In this review, we summarize current knowledge relating to pulmonary escape. We focus on fungal factors that allow C. neoformans to disseminate from the lungs via intracellular and extracellular routes. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
From Concept to Commerce: Developing a Successful Fungal Endophyte Inoculant for Agricultural Crops
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 24; doi:10.3390/jof4010024 -
Abstract
The development of endophyte inoculants for agricultural crops has been bedevilled by the twin problems of a lack of reliability and consistency, with a consequent lack of belief among end users in the efficacy of such treatments. We have developed a successful research
[...] Read more.
The development of endophyte inoculants for agricultural crops has been bedevilled by the twin problems of a lack of reliability and consistency, with a consequent lack of belief among end users in the efficacy of such treatments. We have developed a successful research pipeline for the production of a reliable, consistent and environmentally targeted fungal endophyte seed-delivered inoculant for barley cultivars. Our approach was developed de novo from an initial concept to source candidate endophyte inoculants from a wild relative of barley, Hordeum murinum (wall barley). A careful screening and selection procedure and extensive controlled environment testing of fungal endophyte strains, followed by multi-year field trials has resulted in the validation of an endophyte consortium suitable for barley crops grown on relatively dry sites. Our approach can be adapted for any crop or environment, provided that the set of first principles we have developed is followed. Here, we report how we developed the successful pipeline for the production of an economically viable fungal endophyte inoculant for barley cultivars. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Inner Leaf Gel of Aloe striata Induces Adhesion-Reducing Morphological Hyphal Aberrations
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 23; doi:10.3390/jof4010023 -
Abstract
Fungi, particularly molds that are cosmopolitan in soils, are frequent etiologic agents of opportunistic mycoses. Members of the Fusarium solani and Fusarium oxysporum species complexes are the most commonly implicated etiologic agents of opportunistic fusarial infections in mammals, while Paecilomyces variotii is one
[...] Read more.
Fungi, particularly molds that are cosmopolitan in soils, are frequent etiologic agents of opportunistic mycoses. Members of the Fusarium solani and Fusarium oxysporum species complexes are the most commonly implicated etiologic agents of opportunistic fusarial infections in mammals, while Paecilomyces variotii is one of the most frequently encountered Paecilomyces species in human infections. Prevention and treatment of these mycoses are problematic because available antimycotics are limited and often have toxic side effects. Popular folk medicines, such as the inner leaf gel from Aloe spp., offer potential sources for novel antimycotic compounds. To screen for antifungal properties of Aloe striata, we treated conidia of three strains each of F. solani, F. oxysporum, and P. variotii with homogenized and filtered inner leaf gel. Exposure to gel homogenates caused minimal inhibition of conidial germination in tested strains. However, it significantly increased the frequency of hyphal aberrations characterized by increased hyphal diameters that resulted in intervals of non-parallel cell walls. Non-parallel cell walls ostensibly reduce total hyphal surface area available for adhesion. We found a significant decrease in the ability of aberrated P. variotii hyphae to remain adhered to microscope slides after repeated washing with reverse osmosis water. Our results suggest that treatment with A. striata contributes to a decrease in the adhesion frequency of tested P. variotii strains. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Candida–Epithelial Interactions
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 22; doi:10.3390/jof4010022 -
Abstract
A plethora of intricate and dynamic molecular interactions occur between microbes and the epithelial cells that form the mucosal surfaces of the human body. Fungi, particularly species of Candida, are commensal members of our microbiota, continuously interacting with epithelial cells. Transient and
[...] Read more.
A plethora of intricate and dynamic molecular interactions occur between microbes and the epithelial cells that form the mucosal surfaces of the human body. Fungi, particularly species of Candida, are commensal members of our microbiota, continuously interacting with epithelial cells. Transient and localised perturbations to the mucosal environment can facilitate the overgrowth of fungi, causing infection. This minireview will examine the direct and indirect mechanisms by which Candida species and epithelial cells interact with each other, and explore the factors involved in the central processes of adhesion, invasion, and destruction of host mucosal surfaces. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
The Plant Defensin NaD1 Enters the Cytoplasm of Candida albicans via Endocytosis
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 20; doi:10.3390/jof4010020 -
Abstract
Antimicrobial peptides are widespread in nature and are produced by many organisms as a first line of defence against pathogens. These peptides have a broad range of biological activities, such as antibacterial or antifungal activities and act with varied mechanisms of action. A
[...] Read more.
Antimicrobial peptides are widespread in nature and are produced by many organisms as a first line of defence against pathogens. These peptides have a broad range of biological activities, such as antibacterial or antifungal activities and act with varied mechanisms of action. A large number of the peptides are amphipathic α-helices which act by disrupting plasma membranes and allowing leakage of intracellular contents. However, some peptides have more complex mechanisms of action that require internalisation into the target organisms’ cytoplasm. The method by which these peptides enter the cytoplasm varies, with some requiring the energy dependent processes of endocytosis or polyamine transport and others entering via passive transport. Here we describe the mechanism that the antimicrobial peptide, the plant defensin NaD1, uses to transverse the fungal membrane and gain access to the fungal cytoplasm. By inhibiting ATP synthesis and using an inhibitor of actin polymerisation, we show that NaD1 is internalised into C. albicans yeast cells by the energy-dependent process of endocytosis. Full article
Figures

Open AccessReview
Experimental In Vivo Models of Candidiasis
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 21; doi:10.3390/jof4010021 -
Abstract
Candidiasis is a multifaceted fungal disease including mucosal-cutaneous, visceral, and disseminated infections caused by yeast species of the genus Candida. Candida infections are among the most common human mycoses. Candida species are the third to fourth most common isolates from bloodstream infections
[...] Read more.
Candidiasis is a multifaceted fungal disease including mucosal-cutaneous, visceral, and disseminated infections caused by yeast species of the genus Candida. Candida infections are among the most common human mycoses. Candida species are the third to fourth most common isolates from bloodstream infections in neutropenic or immunocompromised hospitalized patients. The mucosal-cutaneous forms—particularly vaginal infections—have a high prevalence. Vaginitis caused by Candida species is the second most common vaginal infection. Hence, candidiasis is a major subject for research, including experimental in vivo models to study pathogenesis, prevention, or therapy of the disease. The following review article will focus on various experimental in vivo models in different laboratory animals, such as mammals (mice, rats, rabbits), the fruit fly–Drosophila melanogaster, the larvae of the moth Galleria mellonella, or the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. The review will describe the induction of the different clinical forms of candidiasis in the various models and the validity of such models in mimicking the human clinical situations. The use of such models for the assessment of antifungal drugs, evaluation of potential vaccines to protect before candidiasis, exploration of Candida virulence factors, and comparison of pathogenicity of different Candida species will be included in the review. All of the above will be reported as based on published studies of numerous investigators as well as on the research of the author and his group. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Glycosylphosphatidylinositol Anchors from Galactomannan and GPI-Anchored Protein Are Synthesized by Distinct Pathways in Aspergillus fumigatus
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 19; doi:10.3390/jof4010019 -
Abstract
Glycosylphosphatidylinositols (GPIs) are lipid anchors allowing the exposure of proteins at the outer layer of the plasma membrane. In fungi, a number of GPI-anchored proteins (GPI-APs) are involved in the remodeling of the cell wall polymers. GPIs follow a specific biosynthetic pathway in
[...] Read more.
Glycosylphosphatidylinositols (GPIs) are lipid anchors allowing the exposure of proteins at the outer layer of the plasma membrane. In fungi, a number of GPI-anchored proteins (GPI-APs) are involved in the remodeling of the cell wall polymers. GPIs follow a specific biosynthetic pathway in the endoplasmic reticulum. After the transfer of the protein onto the GPI-anchor, a lipid remodeling occurs to substitute the diacylglycerol moiety by a ceramide. In addition to GPI-APs, A. fumigatus produces a GPI-anchored polysaccharide, the galactomannan (GM), that remains unique in the fungal kingdom. To investigate the role of the GPI pathway in the biosynthesis of the GM and cell wall organization, the deletion of PER1—coding for a phospholipase required for the first step of the GPI lipid remodeling—was undertaken. Biochemical characterization of the GPI-anchor isolated from GPI-APs showed that the PER1 deficient mutant produced a lipid anchor with a diacylglycerol. The absence of a ceramide on GPI-anchors in the Δper1 mutant led to a mislocation of GPI-APs and to an alteration of the composition of the cell wall alkali-insoluble fraction. On the other hand, the GM isolated from the Δper1 mutant membranes possesses a ceramide moiety as the parental strain, showing that GPI anchor of the GM follow a distinct unknown biosynthetic pathway. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Members of Glycosyl-Hydrolase Family 17 of A. fumigatus Differentially Affect Morphogenesis
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 18; doi:10.3390/jof4010018 -
Abstract
Cell wall biosynthesis and remodeling are essential for fungal growth and development. In the fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus, the β(1,3)glucan is the major cell wall polysaccharide. This polymer is synthesized at the plasma membrane by a transmembrane complex, then released into the
[...] Read more.
Cell wall biosynthesis and remodeling are essential for fungal growth and development. In the fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus, the β(1,3)glucan is the major cell wall polysaccharide. This polymer is synthesized at the plasma membrane by a transmembrane complex, then released into the parietal space to be remodeled by enzymes, and finally incorporated into the pre-existing cell wall. In the Glycosyl-Hydrolases family 17 (GH17) of A. fumigatus, two β(1,3)glucanosyltransferases, Bgt1p and Bgt2p, have been previously characterized. Disruption of BGT1 and BGT2 did not result in a phenotype, but sequence comparison and hydrophobic cluster analysis showed that three other genes in A. fumigatus belong to the GH17 family, SCW4, SCW11, and BGT3. In constrast to Δbgt1bgt2 mutants, single and multiple deletion of SCW4, SCW11, and BGT3 showed a decrease in conidiation associated with a higher conidial mortality and an abnormal conidial shape. Moreover, mycelium was also affected with a slower growth, stronger sensitivity to cell wall disturbing agents, and altered cell wall composition. Finally, the synthetic interactions between Bgt1p, Bgt2p, and the three other members, which support a functional cooperation in cell-wall assembly, were analyzed. Our data suggest that Scw4p, Scw11p, and Bgt3p are essential for cell wall integrity and might have antagonistic and distinct functions to Bgt1p and Bgt2p. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Fungi as Endophytes in Artemisia thuscula: Juxtaposed Elements of Diversity and Phylogeny
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 17; doi:10.3390/jof4010017 -
Abstract
Artemisia is a plant genus highly studied for its medicinal applications. The studies on the associated fungal endophytes are scarce. Ten plants specimens of Artemisia thuscula from Tenerife and La Palma were sampled to isolate the endophytic fungi. Identification of the endophytic fungi
[...] Read more.
Artemisia is a plant genus highly studied for its medicinal applications. The studies on the associated fungal endophytes are scarce. Ten plants specimens of Artemisia thuscula from Tenerife and La Palma were sampled to isolate the endophytic fungi. Identification of the endophytic fungi was based on morphology, Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) and Large Subunit (LSU) regions sequencing and indicates 37 fungal species affiliated to 25 fungal genera. Colonization rate varied among plants (CR = 25% to 92.11%). The most dominant colonizers found were Alternaria alternata (CF = 18.71%), Neofusicoccum sp. (CF = 8.39%) and Preussia sp. (CF = 3.23). Tendency for host specificity of most endophytic fungal species was observed. Sorensen–Dice index revealed that of 45 cases in the matrix, 27 of them were of zero similarity. Further, only one case was found to have 57% similarity (TF2 and TF7) and one case with 50% similarity (TF1 and TF4). The rest of the cases had values ranging between 11% and 40% similarity. Diversity indices like Brillouin, Margalef species richness, Simpson index of diversity and Fisher’s alpha, revealed plants from La Palma with higher values than plants from Tenerife. Three nutrient media (i.e., potato dextrose agar―PDA, lignocellulose agar―LCA, and tomato juice agar―V8) were used in a case study and revealed no differences in terms of colonization rate when data was averaged. Colonization frequency showed several species with preference for nutrient medium (63% of the species were isolated from only one nutrient medium). For the phylogenetic reconstruction using the Bayesian method, 54 endophytic fungal ITS sequences and associated GenBank sequences were analyzed. Ten orders (Diaporthales, Dothideales, Botryosphaeriales, Hypocreales, Trichosphaeriales, Amphisphaeriales, Xylariales, Capnodiales, Pleosporales and Eurotiales) were recognized. Several arrangements of genera draw the attention, like Aureobasidium (Dothideales) and Aplosporella (Botryosphaeriales) which are clustered with a recent ancestor (BS = 0.97). Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Biofilm Formation and Resistance to Fungicides in Clinically Relevant Members of the Fungal Genus Fusarium
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 16; doi:10.3390/jof4010016 -
Abstract
Clinically relevant members of the fungal genus, Fusarium, exhibit an extraordinary genetic diversity and cause a wide spectrum of infections in both healthy individuals and immunocompromised patients. Generally, Fusarium species are intrinsically resistant to all systemic antifungals. We investigated whether the presence
[...] Read more.
Clinically relevant members of the fungal genus, Fusarium, exhibit an extraordinary genetic diversity and cause a wide spectrum of infections in both healthy individuals and immunocompromised patients. Generally, Fusarium species are intrinsically resistant to all systemic antifungals. We investigated whether the presence or absence of the ability to produce biofilms across and within Fusarium species complexes is linked to higher resistance against antifungals. A collection of 41 Fusarium strains, obtained from 38 patients with superficial and systemic infections, and three infected crops, were tested, including 25 species within the Fusarium fujikuroi species complex, 14 from the Fusarium solani species complex (FSSC), one Fusarium dimerum species complex, and one Fusarium oxysporum species complex isolate. Of all isolates tested, only seven strains from two species of FSSC, five F. petroliphilum and two F. keratoplasticum strains, recovered from blood, nail scrapings, and nasal biopsy samples, could produce biofilms under the tested conditions. In the liquid culture tested, sessile biofilm-forming Fusarium strains exhibited elevated minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) for amphotericin B, voriconazole, and posaconazole, compared to their planktonic counterparts, indicating that the ability to form biofilm may significantly increase resistance. Collectively, this suggests that once a surface adherent biofilm has been established, therapies designed to kill planktonic cells of Fusarium are ineffective. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Transposable Elements in Coccidioides Species
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 13; doi:10.3390/jof4010013 -
Abstract
Coccidioides immitis and C. posadasii are primary pathogenic fungi that cause disease in immunologically-normal animals and people. The organism is found exclusively in arid regions of the Southwestern United States, Mexico, and South America, but not in other parts of the world. This
[...] Read more.
Coccidioides immitis and C. posadasii are primary pathogenic fungi that cause disease in immunologically-normal animals and people. The organism is found exclusively in arid regions of the Southwestern United States, Mexico, and South America, but not in other parts of the world. This study is a detailed analysis of the transposable elements (TE) in Coccidioides spp. As is common in most fungi, Class I and Class II transposons were identified and the LTR Gypsy superfamily is the most common. The minority of Coccidioides Gypsy transposons contained regions highly homologous to polyprotein domains. Phylogenetic analysis of the integrase and reverse transcriptase sequences revealed that many, but not all, of the Gypsy reverse transcriptase and integrase domains clustered by species suggesting extensive transposition after speciation of the two Coccidiodies spp. The TEs were clustered and the distribution is enriched for the ends on contigs. Analysis of gene expression data from C. immitis found that protein-coding genes within 1 kB of hAT or Gypsy TEs were poorly expressed. The expression of C. posadasii genes within 1 kB of Gypsy TEs was also significantly lower compared to all genes but the difference in expression was smaller than C. immitis. C. posadasii orthologs of C. immitis Gyspsy-associated genes were also likely to be TE-associated. In both C. immitis and C. posadasii the TEs were preferentially associated with genes annotated with protein kinase gene ontology terms. These observations suggest that TE may play a role in influencing gene expression in Coccidioides spp. Our hope is that these bioinformatic studies of the potential TE influence on expression and evolution of Coccidioides will prompt the development of testable hypotheses to better understand the role of TEs in the biology and gene regulation of Coccidioides spp. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Burden of Serious Fungal Infections in Jordan
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 15; doi:10.3390/jof4010015 -
Abstract
Objective: To estimate the burden of fungal infections in Jordan for the first time. Material and Methods: Population data was from UN 2011 statistics and TB cases from WHO in 2012. Fewer than 100 patients with HIV were recorded in Jordan in 2013.
[...] Read more.
Objective: To estimate the burden of fungal infections in Jordan for the first time. Material and Methods: Population data was from UN 2011 statistics and TB cases from WHO in 2012. Fewer than 100 patients with HIV were recorded in Jordan in 2013. Approximately 100 renal transplants and eight liver transplants are performed annually. There were 12,233 major surgical procedures in Jordan in 2013, of which 5.3% were major abdominal surgeries; candidemia was estimated in 5% of the population based on other countries, with 33% occurring in the ICU. Candida peritonitis/intra-abdominal candidiasis was estimated to affect 50% of the number of ICU candidemia cases. No adult asthma rates have been recorded for Jordan, so the rate from the Holy Land (8.54% clinical asthma) from To et al. has been used. There are an estimated 49,607 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients in Jordan, with 64% symptomatic, 25% Gold stage 3% or 4%, and 7% (3472) are assumed to be admitted to hospital each year. No cystic fibrosis cases have been recorded. Literature searches on fungal infections revealed few data and no prevalence data on fungal keratitis or tinea capitis, even though tinea capitis comprised 34% of patients with dermatophytoses in Jordan. Results: Jordan has 6.3 million inhabitants (65% adults, 6% are >60 years old). The current burden of serious fungal infections in Jordan was estimated to affect ~119,000 patients (1.9%), not including any cutaneous fungal infections. Candidemia was estimated at 316 cases and invasive aspergillosis in leukemia, transplant, and COPD patients at 84 cases. Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis prevalence was estimated to affect 36 post-TB patients, and 175 in total. Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) and severe asthma with fungal sensitization (SAFS) prevalence in adults with asthma were estimated at 8900 and 11,748 patients. Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis was estimated to affect 97,804 patients, using a 6% rate among women 15–50 years of age. Conclusion: Based on local data and literature estimates of the frequency of mycoses in susceptible populations, at least 1.9% of Jordanians have some form of serious fungal disease. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Candidate Genes for Aggressiveness in a Natural Fusarium culmorum Population Greatly Differ between Wheat and Rye Head Blight
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 14; doi:10.3390/jof4010014 -
Abstract
Fusarium culmorum is one of the species causing Fusarium head blight (FHB) in cereals in Europe. We aimed to investigate the association between the nucleotide diversity of ten F. culmorum candidate genes and field ratings of aggressiveness in winter rye. A total of
[...] Read more.
Fusarium culmorum is one of the species causing Fusarium head blight (FHB) in cereals in Europe. We aimed to investigate the association between the nucleotide diversity of ten F. culmorum candidate genes and field ratings of aggressiveness in winter rye. A total of 100 F. culmorum isolates collected from natural infections were phenotyped for FHB at two locations and two years. Variance components for aggressiveness showed significant isolate and isolate-by-environment variance, as expected for quantitative host-pathogen interactions. Further analysis of the isolate-by-environment interaction revealed the dominant role of the isolate-by-year over isolate-by-location interaction. One single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the cutinase (CUT) gene was found to be significantly (p < 0.001) associated with aggressiveness and explained 16.05% of the genotypic variance of this trait in rye. The SNP was located 60 base pairs before the start codon, which suggests a role in transcriptional regulation. Compared to a previous study in winter wheat with the same nucleotide sequences, a larger variation of pathogen aggressiveness on rye was found and a different candidate gene was associated with pathogen aggressiveness. This is the first report on the association of field aggressiveness and a host-specific candidate gene codifying for a protein that belongs to the secretome in F. culmorum. Full article
Figures

Open AccessReview
Gaining Insights from Candida Biofilm Heterogeneity: One Size Does Not Fit All
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 12; doi:10.3390/jof4010012 -
Abstract
Despite their clinical significance and substantial human health burden, fungal infections remain relatively under-appreciated. The widespread overuse of antibiotics and the increasing requirement for indwelling medical devices provides an opportunistic potential for the overgrowth and colonization of pathogenic Candida species on both biological
[...] Read more.
Despite their clinical significance and substantial human health burden, fungal infections remain relatively under-appreciated. The widespread overuse of antibiotics and the increasing requirement for indwelling medical devices provides an opportunistic potential for the overgrowth and colonization of pathogenic Candida species on both biological and inert substrates. Indeed, it is now widely recognized that biofilms are a highly important part of their virulence repertoire. Candida albicans is regarded as the primary fungal biofilm forming species, yet there is also increasing interest and growing body of evidence for non-Candida albicans species (NCAS) biofilms, and interkingdom biofilm interactions. C. albicans biofilms are heterogeneous structures by definition, existing as three-dimensional populations of yeast, pseudo-hyphae, and hyphae, embedded within a self-produced extracellular matrix. Classical molecular approaches, driven by extensive studies of laboratory strains and mutants, have enhanced our knowledge and understanding of how these complex communities develop, thrive, and cause host-mediated damage. Yet our clinical observations tell a different story, with differential patient responses potentially due to inherent biological heterogeneity from specific clinical isolates associated with their infections. This review explores some of the recent advances made in an attempt to explore the importance of working with clinical isolates, and what this has taught us. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Candida albicans Hyphae: From Growth Initiation to Invasion
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 10; doi:10.3390/jof4010010 -
Abstract
Candida albicans is a commensal resident of the human gastrointestinal and genital tracts. Under conditions such as dysbiosis, host immune perturbances, or the presence of catheters/implanted medical devices, the fungus may cause debilitating mucosal or fatal systemic infections. The ability of C. albicans
[...] Read more.
Candida albicans is a commensal resident of the human gastrointestinal and genital tracts. Under conditions such as dysbiosis, host immune perturbances, or the presence of catheters/implanted medical devices, the fungus may cause debilitating mucosal or fatal systemic infections. The ability of C. albicans to grow as long filamentous hyphae is critical for its pathogenic potential as it allows the fungus to invade the underlying substratum. In this brief review, I will outline the current understanding regarding the mechanistic regulation of hyphal growth and invasion in C. albicans. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Journal of Fungi in 2017
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 11; doi:10.3390/jof4010011 -
Abstract
Peer review is an essential part in the publication process, ensuring that Journal of Fungi maintains high quality standards for its published papers.[...] Full article