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J. Fungi, Volume 6, Issue 4 (December 2020) – 200 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Imaging has evolved significantly over the last 30 years; nonetheless, data on brain imaging in pediatric patients with central nervous system invasive mold infection (IMD) are scarce. This manuscript describes the brain imaging abnormalities seen in immunocompromised children with CNS-IMD, as well as analyzes retrospectively whether specific imaging findings and sequences have a prognostic value. The results were correlated with outcome, namely, death, severe sequelae, or no neurological sequelae. View this paper
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Article
Safety and Efficacy of Intermittent High-Dose Liposomal Amphotericin B Antifungal Prophylaxis in Haemato-Oncology: An Eight-Year Single-Centre Experience and Review of the Literature
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 385; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040385 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1199
Abstract
Triazoles remain first-line agents for antifungal prophylaxis in high-risk haemato-oncology patients, but their use is increasingly contraindicated due to drug–drug interactions and additive toxicities with novel treatments. In this retrospective, single-centre, observational study, we present our eight-year experience of antifungal prophylaxis using intermittent [...] Read more.
Triazoles remain first-line agents for antifungal prophylaxis in high-risk haemato-oncology patients, but their use is increasingly contraindicated due to drug–drug interactions and additive toxicities with novel treatments. In this retrospective, single-centre, observational study, we present our eight-year experience of antifungal prophylaxis using intermittent high-dose liposomal Amphotericin B (L-AmB). All adults identified through our Antifungal Stewardship Programme as receiving L-AmB prophylaxis at 7.5 mg/kg once-weekly between February 2012 and January 2020 were included. Adverse reactions, including infusion reactions, electrolyte loss, and nephrotoxicity, were recorded. ‘Breakthrough’ invasive fungal infection (IFI) occurring within four weeks of L-AmB was classified using European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer/Invasive Fungal Infections Cooperative Group and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Mycoses Study Group (EORTC/MSG) criteria. Moreover, 114 courses of intermittent high-dose L-AmB prophylaxis administered to 92 unique patients were analysed. Hypokalaemia was the most common grade 3–4 adverse event, with 26 (23%) courses. Grade 3 nephrotoxicity occurred in 8 (7%) and reversed in all six patients surviving to 90 days. There were two (1.8%) episodes of breakthrough IFI, one ‘probable’ and one ‘possible’. In this study, the largest evaluation of intermittent high-dose L-AmB prophylaxis conducted to date, toxicity was manageable and reversible and breakthrough IFI was rare. L-AmB prophylaxis represents a viable alternative for patients with a contraindication to triazoles. Full article
Article
Bioprocessing of Agricultural Residues as Substrates and Optimal Conditions for Phytase Production of Chestnut Mushroom, Pholiota adiposa, in Solid State Fermentation
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 384; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040384 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1242
Abstract
Phytase is an enzyme that breaks down phytates to release phosphorus in an available form. This enzyme plays an important role in animals, especially monogastric animals. It serves to improve phytate digestion along with phosphorus absorption, which are required for optimal growth performance [...] Read more.
Phytase is an enzyme that breaks down phytates to release phosphorus in an available form. This enzyme plays an important role in animals, especially monogastric animals. It serves to improve phytate digestion along with phosphorus absorption, which are required for optimal growth performance and health. In this study, five mushroom species (Amauroderma rugosum SDBR-CMU-A83, Ganoderma mastoporum SDBR-CMU-NK0244, Marusmius sp.1 SDBR-CMU-NK0215, Pholiota adiposa SDBR-CMU-R32 and Piptoporellus triqueter SDBR-CMU-P234) out of 27 mushroom species displayed positive phytase production by agar plate assay. Consequently, these five mushroom species were selected for determination of their potential ability to produce phytase under solid-state fermentation using five agricultural residues (coffee parchment, oil palm empty fruit bunches, rice bran, sawdust, and water hyacinth) as substrates. The highest yield of phytase production (17.02 ± 0.92 units/gram dry substrate) was obtained after one week of fermentation. Optimization for phytase production was determined by statistical approaches using a Plackett–Burman design to screen ten parameters of relevant substrate components. Two significant parameters, the amount of water hyacinth and the moisture content, were found to affect the production process of phytase. Furthermore, the optimal temperature, pH value, and fermentation period were evaluated. The results indicated that the highest degree of phytase production at 53.66 ± 1.68 units/gram dry substrate (3.15-fold increase) was obtained in water hyacinth containing 85% moisture content by addition with a suitable basal liquid medium at a pH value of 6.5 after being incubated at 30 °C for seven days. The crude phytase of P. adiposa was precipitated and the precipitated extract was then used to determine partial characterizations. The precipitated extract displayed high activities after exposure to conditions of 42 °C and pH 5.0. Furthermore, Fe2+ enhanced phytase activity and precipitated extract displayed the best stability at a pH value of 8.0 and a temperature of 4 °C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploiting Fungal Solutions for Today's Challenges)
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Article
Investigation of the Antifungal and Anti-Aflatoxigenic Potential of Plant-Based Essential Oils against Aspergillus flavus in Peanuts
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 383; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040383 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1997
Abstract
Aspergillus species are known to cause damage to food crops and are associated with opportunistic infections in humans. In the United States, significant losses have been reported in peanut production due to contamination caused by the Aspergillus species. This study evaluated the antifungal [...] Read more.
Aspergillus species are known to cause damage to food crops and are associated with opportunistic infections in humans. In the United States, significant losses have been reported in peanut production due to contamination caused by the Aspergillus species. This study evaluated the antifungal effect and anti-aflatoxin activity of selected plant-based essential oils (EOs) against Aspergillus flavus in contaminated peanuts, Tifguard, runner type variety. All fifteen essential oils, tested by the poisoned food technique, inhibited the growth of A. flavus at concentrations ranging between 125 and 4000 ppm. The most effective oils with total clearance of the A. flavus on agar were clove (500 ppm), thyme (1000 ppm), lemongrass, and cinnamon (2000 ppm) EOs. The gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis of clove EO revealed eugenol (83.25%) as a major bioactive constituent. An electron microscopy study revealed that clove EO at 500 ppm caused noticeable morphological and ultrastructural alterations of the somatic and reproductive structures. Using both the ammonia vapor (AV) and coconut milk agar (CMA) methods, we not only detected the presence of an aflatoxigenic form of A. flavus in our contaminated peanuts, but we also observed that aflatoxin production was inhibited by clove EO at concentrations between 500 and 2000 ppm. In addition, we established a correlation between the concentration of clove EO and AFB1 production by reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). We demonstrate in our study that clove oil could be a promising natural fungicide for an effective bio-control, non-toxic bio-preservative, and an eco-friendly alternative to synthetic additives against A. flavus in Georgia peanuts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Different Antimycotoxin Strategies)
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Article
Degenerated Virulence and Irregular Development of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum Induced by Successive Subculture
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 382; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040382 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1306
Abstract
Successive cultivation of fungi on artificial media has been reported to cause the sectorization, which leads to degeneration of developmental phenotype, and virulence. Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum (Fon), the causal agent of watermelon Fusarium wilt, forms degenerated sectors after successive cultivation. In [...] Read more.
Successive cultivation of fungi on artificial media has been reported to cause the sectorization, which leads to degeneration of developmental phenotype, and virulence. Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum (Fon), the causal agent of watermelon Fusarium wilt, forms degenerated sectors after successive cultivation. In the present research, we demonstrated that subculture with aged mycelia increased the incidence of degenerations. To further investigate the differences between the Fon wild type (sporodochial type, ST) and variants (MT: mycelial type and PT: pionnotal type), developmental phenotypes and pathogenicity to watermelon were examined. Results in variants (PT2, PT3, PT11, and MT6) were different from ST with mycelia growth, conidia production and chlamydospore formation. Virulence of degenerated variants on susceptible watermelon Grand Baby (GB) cultivar was determined after inoculation with Fon variants and Fon ST. In root dipping methods, Fon variants showed no significant differences in disease progress compared with ST. Fon variants showed a significant decrease in disease progression compared with ST through infested soil inoculation. The contrasting results of two inoculation methods suggest that the degenerative changes due to repeated successive cultivation may lead to the loss of pathogen virulence-related factors of the early stage of Fon infection process. Therefore, cell wall-degrading enzymes (CWDEs; cellulase, pectinase, and xylanase) activities of different variants were analyzed. All Fon degenerated variants demonstrated significant decreases of CWDEs activities compared with ST. Additionally, transcript levels of 9 virulence-related genes (fmk1, fgb1, pacC, xlnR, pl1, rho1, gas1, wc1, and fow1) were assessed in normal state. The degenerated variants demonstrated a significantly low level of tested virulence-related gene transcripts except for fmk1, xlnR, and fow1. In summary, the degeneration of Fon is triggered with successive subculture through aged mycelia. The degeneration showed significant impacts on virulence to watermelon, which was correlated with the reduction of CWDEs activities and declining expression of a set of virulence-related genes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Fungal Pathogenesis)
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Review
Update on Respiratory Fungal Infections in Cystic Fibrosis Lung Disease and after Lung Transplantation
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 381; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040381 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1221
Abstract
Cystic fibrosis is the most common autosomal-recessive metabolic disease in the Western world. Impaired trans-membrane chloride transport via the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein causes thickened body fluids. In the respiratory system, this leads to chronic suppurative cough and recurrent pulmonary [...] Read more.
Cystic fibrosis is the most common autosomal-recessive metabolic disease in the Western world. Impaired trans-membrane chloride transport via the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein causes thickened body fluids. In the respiratory system, this leads to chronic suppurative cough and recurrent pulmonary infective exacerbations, resulting in progressive lung damage and respiratory failure. Whilst the impact of bacterial infections on CF lung disease has long been recognized, our understanding of pulmonary mycosis is less clear. The range and detection rates of fungal taxa isolated from CF airway samples are expanding, however, in the absence of consensus criteria and univocal treatment protocols for most respiratory fungal conditions, interpretation of laboratory reports and the decision to treat remain challenging. In this review, we give an overview on fungal airway infections in CF and CF-lung transplant recipients and focus on the most common fungal taxa detected in CF, Aspergillus fumigatus, Candida spp., Scedosporium apiospermum complex, Lomentospora species, and Exophiala dermatitidis, their clinical presentations, common treatments and prophylactic strategies, and clinical challenges from a physician’s point of view. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology, Diagnosis of Fungal Infections)
Case Report
Candida lusitaniae Breakthrough Fungemia in an Immuno-Compromised Adolescent: Case Report and Review of the Literature
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 380; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040380 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1191
Abstract
Candida lusitaniae is a rare cause of candidemia that is known for its unique capability to rapidly acquire resistance to amphotericin B. We report the case of an adolescent with grade IV graft-vs.-host disease after hematopoietic cell transplantation who developed catheter-associated C. lusitaniae [...] Read more.
Candida lusitaniae is a rare cause of candidemia that is known for its unique capability to rapidly acquire resistance to amphotericin B. We report the case of an adolescent with grade IV graft-vs.-host disease after hematopoietic cell transplantation who developed catheter-associated C. lusitaniae candidemia while on therapeutic doses of liposomal amphotericin B. We review the epidemiology of C. lusitaniae bloodstream infections in adult and pediatric patients, the development of resistance, and its role in breakthrough candidemia. Appropriate species identification, in vitro susceptibility testing, and source control are pivotal to optimal management of C. lusitaniae candidemia. Initial antifungal therapy may consist of an echinocandin and be guided by in vitro susceptibility and clinical response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives for Candidiasis)
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Article
Prediction of Conserved Peptides of Paracoccidioides for Interferon-γ Release Assay: The First Step in the Development of a Lab-Based Approach for Immunological Assessment during Antifungal Therapy
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 379; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040379 - 19 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1212
Abstract
Impaired antigen-specific cell-mediated immunity (CMI) is a primary immunological disturbance observed in individuals that develop paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) after exposure to Paracoccidioides spp. Restoration of Paracoccidioides-specific CMI is crucial to stop the antifungal treatment and avoid relapses. A convenient and specific laboratory tool [...] Read more.
Impaired antigen-specific cell-mediated immunity (CMI) is a primary immunological disturbance observed in individuals that develop paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) after exposure to Paracoccidioides spp. Restoration of Paracoccidioides-specific CMI is crucial to stop the antifungal treatment and avoid relapses. A convenient and specific laboratory tool to assess antigen specific CMI is required for the appropriate clinical treatment of fungal infections, in order to decrease the time of antifungal therapy. We used an interferon-γ release assay strategy, used in the diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infection, to address our aims in this study. Information on proteins secreted by two well-studied representative strains—Paracoccidioides brasiliensis (Pb18) and P. lutzii (Pb-01)—were explored using PubMed or MEDLINE. From 26 publications, 252 proteins were identified, of which 203 were similar according to the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool. This enabled a selection of conserved peptides using the MEGA software. The SignalP-5.0, TMHMM, IEDB, NetMHC II, and IFNepitope algorithms were used to identify appropriate epitopes. In our study, we predicted antigenic epitopes of Paracoccidioides that could bind to MHC class II and induce IFN-γ secretion. These T cell epitopes can be used in the development of a laboratory tool to monitor the CMI of patients with PCM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Paracoccidioides and Paracoccidioidomycosis)
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Article
Characterization of Sporidiobolus ruineniae A45.2 Cultivated in Tannin Substrate for Use as a Potential Multifunctional Probiotic Yeast in Aquaculture
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 378; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040378 - 18 Dec 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1027
Abstract
At present, few yeast species have been evaluated for their beneficial capabilities as probiotics. Sporidiobolus ruineniae A45.2, a carotenoid-producing yeast, was able to co-produce cell-associated tannase (CAT), gallic acid and viable cells with antioxidant activity when grown in a tannic acid substrate. The [...] Read more.
At present, few yeast species have been evaluated for their beneficial capabilities as probiotics. Sporidiobolus ruineniae A45.2, a carotenoid-producing yeast, was able to co-produce cell-associated tannase (CAT), gallic acid and viable cells with antioxidant activity when grown in a tannic acid substrate. The aim of this research study was to identify the potential uses of S. ruineniae A45.2 obtained from a co-production system as a potential feed additive for aquaculture. S. ruineniae A45.2 and its CAT displayed high tolerance in pH 2.0, pepsin, bile salts and pancreatin. Furthermore, its viable cells were characterized by moderate hydrophobicity, high auto-aggregation and moderate co-aggregation with Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella ser. Thyphimurium and Streptococcus agalactiae. These attributes promoted S. ruineniae A45.2 as a multifunctional probiotic yeast. In addition, the intact cells possessed antioxidant activities in a 100–150 μg gallic acid equivalent (GAE)/mL culture. Remarkably, the fermentation broth demonstrated higher antioxidant activity of 9.2 ± 1.8, 9.0 ± 0.9, and 9.8 ± 0.7 mg GAE/mL culture after FRAP, DPPH and ABTS assays, respectively. Furthermore, higher antimicrobial activity was observed against Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus and Strep. agalactiae. Therefore, cultivation of S. ruineniae A45.2 with a tannic acid substrate displayed significant potential as an effective multifunctional feed additive. Full article
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Article
Efficacy of LAMB against Emerging Azole- and Multidrug-Resistant Candida parapsilosis Isolates in the Galleria mellonella Model
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 377; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040377 - 18 Dec 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 829
Abstract
While being the third leading cause of candidemia worldwide, numerous studies have shown severe clonal outbreaks due to fluconazole-resistant (FLCR) Candida parapsilosis isolates associated with fluconazole therapeutic failure (FTF) with enhanced mortality. More recently, multidrug resistant (MDR) C. parapsilosis blood isolates have also [...] Read more.
While being the third leading cause of candidemia worldwide, numerous studies have shown severe clonal outbreaks due to fluconazole-resistant (FLCR) Candida parapsilosis isolates associated with fluconazole therapeutic failure (FTF) with enhanced mortality. More recently, multidrug resistant (MDR) C. parapsilosis blood isolates have also been identified that are resistant to both azole and echinocandin drugs. Amphotericin B (AMB) resistance is rarely reported among C. parapsilosis isolates and proper management of bloodstream infections due to FLZR and MDR isolates requires prompt action at the time of outbreak. Therefore, using a well-established Galleria mellonella model, we assessed whether (a) laboratory-based findings on azole or echinocandin (micafungin) resistance in C. parapsilosis lead to therapeutic failure, (b) LAMB could serve as an efficient salvage treatment option, and (c) distinct mutations in ERG11 impact mortality. Our in vivo data confirm fluconazole inefficacy against FLCR C. parapsilosis isolates carrying Y132F, Y132F + K143R, Y132F + G307A, and G307A + G458S in Erg11p, while LAMB proved to be an efficacious accessible option against both FLCR and MDR C. parapsilosis isolates. Moreover, positive correlation of in vitro and in vivo data further highlights the utility of G. melonella as a reliable model to investigate azole and polyene drug efficacy. Full article
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Article
Gene Expression Analysis of Non-Clinical Strain of Aspergillus fumigatus (LMB-35Aa): Does Biofilm Affect Virulence?
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040376 - 18 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1020
Abstract
Aspergillus fumigatus LMB-35Aa, a saprophytic fungus, was used for cellulase production through biofilms cultures. Since biofilms usually favor virulence in clinical strains, the expression of the related genes of the LMB 35-Aa strain was analyzed by qPCR from the biomass of planktonic cultures [...] Read more.
Aspergillus fumigatus LMB-35Aa, a saprophytic fungus, was used for cellulase production through biofilms cultures. Since biofilms usually favor virulence in clinical strains, the expression of the related genes of the LMB 35-Aa strain was analyzed by qPCR from the biomass of planktonic cultures and biofilms developed on polyester cloth and polystyrene microplates. For this, virulence-related genes reported for the clinical strain Af293 were searched in A. fumigatus LMB 35-Aa genome, and 15 genes were identified including those for the synthesis of cell wall components, hydrophobins, invasins, efflux transporters, mycotoxins and regulators. When compared with planktonic cultures at 37 °C, invasin gene calA was upregulated in both types of biofilm and efflux transporter genes mdr4 and atrF were predominantly upregulated in biofilms on polystyrene, while aspHs and ftmA were upregulated only in biofilms formed on polyester. Regarding the transcription regulators, laeA was downregulated in biofilms, and medA did not show a significant change. The effect of temperature was also evaluated by comparing the biofilms grown on polyester at 37 vs. 28 °C. Non-significant changes at the expression level were found for most genes evaluated, except for atrF, gliZ and medA, which were significantly downregulated at 37 °C. According to these results, virulence appears to depend on the interaction of several factors in addition to biofilms and growth temperature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Biofilms 2020)
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Article
Aqueous Two-Phase System Extraction of Polyketide-Based Fungal Pigments Using Ammonium- or Imidazolium-Based Ionic Liquids for Detection Purpose: A Case Study
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 375; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040375 - 18 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1042
Abstract
Demand for microbial colorants is now becoming a competitive research topic for food, cosmetics and pharmaceutics industries. In most applications, the pigments of interest such as polyketide-based red pigments from fungal submerged cultures are extracted by conventional liquid–liquid extraction methods requiring large volumes [...] Read more.
Demand for microbial colorants is now becoming a competitive research topic for food, cosmetics and pharmaceutics industries. In most applications, the pigments of interest such as polyketide-based red pigments from fungal submerged cultures are extracted by conventional liquid–liquid extraction methods requiring large volumes of various organic solvents and time. To address this question from a different angle, we proposed, here, to investigate the use of three different aqueous two-phase extraction systems using either ammonium- or imidazolium-based ionic liquids. We applied these to four fermentation broths of Talaromyces albobiverticillius (deep red pigment producer), Emericella purpurea (red pigment producer), Paecilomyces marquandii (yellow pigment producer) and Trichoderma harzianum (yellow-brown pigment producer) to investigate their selective extraction abilities towards the detection of polyketide-based pigments. Our findings led us to conclude that (i) these alternative extraction systems using ionic liquids as greener extractant means worked well for this extraction of colored molecules from the fermentation broths of the filamentous fungi investigated here; (ii) tetrabutylammonium bromide, [N4444]Br-, showed the best pigment extraction ability, with a higher putative affinity for azaphilone red pigments; (iii) the back extraction and recovery of the fungal pigments from ionic liquid phases remained the limiting point of the method under our selected conditions for potential industrial applications. Nevertheless, these alternative extraction procedures appeared to be promising ways for the detection of polyketide-based colorants in the submerged cultures of filamentous fungi. Full article
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Communication
Candida duobushaemulonii: An Old But Unreported Pathogen
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 374; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040374 - 17 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1411
Abstract
Candidiasis caused by species of the Candida haemulonii complex (Candida haemulonii and Candida duobushaemulonii) and closely related species, Candida auris and Candida pseudohaemulonii are increasing. These species often show reduced susceptibility to antifungal drugs, such as azoles and amphotericin B or, [...] Read more.
Candidiasis caused by species of the Candida haemulonii complex (Candida haemulonii and Candida duobushaemulonii) and closely related species, Candida auris and Candida pseudohaemulonii are increasing. These species often show reduced susceptibility to antifungal drugs, such as azoles and amphotericin B or, less frequently, echinocandins. However, conventional phenotypic identification methods are unable to accurately differentiate these species and, therefore, their prevalence may have been underestimated. In this study, 150 isolates that were probably misidentified were reanalyzed using two novel PCR approaches. We found that one isolate previously identified in 1996 as Candida intermedia was C. duobushaemulonii, being one of the oldest isolates of this species described to date. We also found that this isolate had reduced susceptibility to fluconazole, itraconazole, and amphotericin B. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives for Candidiasis)
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Review
PC945, a Novel Inhaled Antifungal Agent, for the Treatment of Respiratory Fungal Infections
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 373; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040373 - 17 Dec 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1842
Abstract
Disease due to pulmonary Aspergillus infection remains a significant unmet need, particularly in immunocompromised patients, patients in critical care and those with underlying chronic lung diseases. To date, treatment using inhaled antifungal agents has been limited to repurposing available systemic medicines. PC945 is [...] Read more.
Disease due to pulmonary Aspergillus infection remains a significant unmet need, particularly in immunocompromised patients, patients in critical care and those with underlying chronic lung diseases. To date, treatment using inhaled antifungal agents has been limited to repurposing available systemic medicines. PC945 is a novel triazole antifungal agent, a potent inhibitor of CYP51, purpose-designed to be administered via inhalation for high local lung concentrations and limited systemic exposure. In preclinical testing, PC945 is potent versus Aspergillus spp. and Candida spp. and showed two remarkable properties in preclinical studies, in vitro and in vivo. The antifungal effects against Aspergillus fumigatus accumulate on repeat dosing and improved efficacy has been demonstrated when PC945 is dosed in combination with systemic anti-fungal agents of multiple classes. Resistance to PC945 has been induced in Aspergillus fumigatus in vitro, resulting in a strain which remained susceptible to other antifungal triazoles. In healthy volunteers and asthmatics, nebulised PC945 was well tolerated, with limited systemic exposure and an apparently long lung residency time. In two lung transplant patients, PC945 treated an invasive pulmonary Aspergillus infection that had been unresponsive to multiple antifungal agents (systemic ± inhaled) without systemic side effects or detected drug–drug interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antifungal Agents Recently Approved or Under Development)
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Article
Monitoring and Surveillance of Aerial Mycobiota of Rice Paddy through DNA Metabarcoding and qPCR
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 372; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040372 - 17 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1257
Abstract
The airborne mycobiota has been understudied in comparison with the mycobiota present in other agricultural environments. Traditional, culture-based methods allow the study of a small fraction of the organisms present in the atmosphere, thus missing important information. In this study, the aerial mycobiota [...] Read more.
The airborne mycobiota has been understudied in comparison with the mycobiota present in other agricultural environments. Traditional, culture-based methods allow the study of a small fraction of the organisms present in the atmosphere, thus missing important information. In this study, the aerial mycobiota in a rice paddy has been examined during the cropping season (from June to September 2016) using qPCRs for two important rice pathogens (Pyricularia oryzae and Bipolaris oryzae) and by using DNA metabarcoding of the fungal ITS region. The metabarcoding results demonstrated a higher alpha diversity (Shannon–Wiener diversity index H′ and total number of observed species) at the beginning of the trial (June), suggesting a higher level of community complexity, compared with the end of the season. The main taxa identified by HTS analysis showed a shift in their relative abundance that drove the cluster separation as a function of time and temperature. The most abundant OTUs corresponded to genera such as Cladosporium, Alternaria, Myrothecium, or Pyricularia. Changes in the mycobiota composition were clearly dependent on the average air temperature with a potential impact on disease development in rice. In parallel, oligotyping analysis was performed to obtain a sub-OTU identification which revealed the presence of several oligotypes of Pyricularia and Bipolaris with relative abundance changing during monitoring. Full article
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Article
Diversity within Aspergillus niger Clade and Description of a New Species: Aspergillus vinaceus sp. nov.
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 371; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040371 - 17 Dec 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1258
Abstract
Diversity of species within Aspergillus niger clade, currently represented by A. niger sensu stricto and A. welwitshiae, was investigated combining three-locus gene sequences, Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA, secondary metabolites profile and morphology. Firstly, approximately 700 accessions belonging to this clade were [...] Read more.
Diversity of species within Aspergillus niger clade, currently represented by A. niger sensu stricto and A. welwitshiae, was investigated combining three-locus gene sequences, Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA, secondary metabolites profile and morphology. Firstly, approximately 700 accessions belonging to this clade were investigated using calmodulin gene sequences. Based on these sequences, eight haplotypes were clearly identified as A. niger (n = 247) and 17 as A. welwitschiae (n = 403). However, calmodulin sequences did not provide definitive species identities for six haplotypes. To elucidate the taxonomic position of these haplotypes, two other loci, part of the beta-tubulin gene and part of the RNA polymerase II gene, were sequenced and used to perform an analysis of Genealogical Concordance Phylogenetic Species Recognition. This analysis enabled the recognition of two new phylogenetic species. One of the new phylogenetic species showed morphological and chemical distinguishable features in comparison to the known species A. welwitschiae and A. niger. This species is illustrated and described as Aspergillus vinaceus sp. nov. In contrast to A. niger and A. welwitschiae, A. vinaceus strains produced asperazine, but none of them were found to produce ochratoxin A and/or fumonisins. Sclerotium production on laboratory media, which does not occur in strains of A. niger and A. welwitschiae, and strictly sclerotium-associated secondary metabolites (14-Epi-hydroxy-10,23-dihydro-24,25-dehydroaflavinine; 10,23-Dihydro-24,25-dehydroaflavinine; 10,23-Dihydro-24,25-dehydro-21-oxo-aflavinine) were found in A. vinaceus. The strain type of A. vinaceus sp. nov. is ITAL 47,456 (T) (=IBT 35556). Full article
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Article
Transcriptome Analysis Identified Coordinated Control of Key Pathways Regulating Cellular Physiology and Metabolism upon Aspergillus flavus Infection Resulting in Reduced Aflatoxin Production in Groundnut
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 370; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040370 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1583
Abstract
Aflatoxin-affected groundnut or peanut presents a major global health issue to both commercial and subsistence farming. Therefore, understanding the genetic and molecular mechanisms associated with resistance to aflatoxin production during host–pathogen interactions is crucial for breeding groundnut cultivars with minimal level of aflatoxin [...] Read more.
Aflatoxin-affected groundnut or peanut presents a major global health issue to both commercial and subsistence farming. Therefore, understanding the genetic and molecular mechanisms associated with resistance to aflatoxin production during host–pathogen interactions is crucial for breeding groundnut cultivars with minimal level of aflatoxin contamination. Here, we performed gene expression profiling to better understand the mechanisms involved in reduction and prevention of aflatoxin contamination resulting from Aspergillus flavus infection in groundnut seeds. RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) of 16 samples from different time points during infection (24 h, 48 h, 72 h and the 7th day after inoculation) in U 4-7-5 (resistant) and JL 24 (susceptible) genotypes yielded 840.5 million raw reads with an average of 52.5 million reads per sample. A total of 1779 unique differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified. Furthermore, comprehensive analysis revealed several pathways, such as disease resistance, hormone biosynthetic signaling, flavonoid biosynthesis, reactive oxygen species (ROS) detoxifying, cell wall metabolism and catabolizing and seed germination. We also detected several highly upregulated transcription factors, such as ARF, DBB, MYB, NAC and C2H2 in the resistant genotype in comparison to the susceptible genotype after inoculation. Moreover, RNA-Seq analysis suggested the occurrence of coordinated control of key pathways controlling cellular physiology and metabolism upon A. flavus infection, resulting in reduced aflatoxin production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Host Defense against Fungi)
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Article
The Application of Trichoderma Strains or Metabolites Alters the Olive Leaf Metabolome and the Expression of Defense-Related Genes
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 369; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040369 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1285
Abstract
Biocontrol fungal strains of the genus Trichoderma can antagonize numerous plant pathogens and promote plant growth using different mechanisms of action, including the production of secondary metabolites (SMs). In this work we analyzed the effects of repeated applications of selected Trichoderma strains or [...] Read more.
Biocontrol fungal strains of the genus Trichoderma can antagonize numerous plant pathogens and promote plant growth using different mechanisms of action, including the production of secondary metabolites (SMs). In this work we analyzed the effects of repeated applications of selected Trichoderma strains or SMs on young olive trees on the stimulation of plant growth and on the development of olive leaf spot disease caused by Fusicladium oleagineum. In addition, metabolomic analyses and gene expression profiles of olive leaves were carried out by LC–MS Q-TOF and real-time RT-PCR, respectively. A total of 104 phenolic compounds were detected from olive leave extracts and 20 were putatively identified. Targeted and untargeted approaches revealed significant differences in both the number and type of phenolic compounds accumulated in olive leaves after Trichoderma applications, as compared to water-treated plants. Different secoiridoids were less abundant in treated plants than in controls, while the accumulation of flavonoids (including luteolin and apigenin derivatives) increased following the application of specific Trichoderma strain. The induction of defense-related genes, and of genes involved in the synthesis of the secoiridoid oleuropein, was also analyzed and revealed a significant variation of gene expression according to the strain or metabolite applied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycorrhizal Fungi and Plants)
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Review
Investigating the Smuts: Common Cues, Signaling Pathways, and the Role of MAT in Dimorphic Switching and Pathogenesis
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 368; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040368 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1328
Abstract
The corn smut fungus Ustilago maydis serves as a model species for studying fungal dimorphism and its role in phytopathogenic development. The pathogen has two growth phases: a saprobic yeast phase and a pathogenic filamentous phase. Dimorphic transition of U. maydis involves complex [...] Read more.
The corn smut fungus Ustilago maydis serves as a model species for studying fungal dimorphism and its role in phytopathogenic development. The pathogen has two growth phases: a saprobic yeast phase and a pathogenic filamentous phase. Dimorphic transition of U. maydis involves complex processes of signal perception, mating, and cellular reprogramming. Recent advances in improvement of reference genomes, high-throughput sequencing and molecular genetics studies have been expanding research in this field. However, the biology of other non-model species is frequently overlooked. This leads to uncertainty regarding how much of what is known in U. maydis is applicable to other dimorphic fungi. In this review, we will discuss dimorphic fungi in the aspects of physiology, reproductive biology, genomics, and molecular genetics. We also perform comparative analyses between U. maydis and other fungi in Ustilaginomycotina, the subphylum to which U. maydis belongs. We find that lipid/hydrophobicity is a potential common cue for dimorphic transition in plant-associated dimorphic fungi. However, genomic profiles alone are not adequate to explain dimorphism across different fungi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smut Fungi)
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Article
Siderophore Scaffold as Carrier for Antifungal Peptides in Therapy of Aspergillus fumigatus Infections
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040367 - 15 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1187
Abstract
Antifungal resistance of human fungal pathogens represents an increasing challenge in modern medicine. Short antimicrobial peptides (AMP) display a promising class of antifungals with a different mode of action, but lack target specificity and metabolic stability. In this study the hexapeptide PAF26 (Ac-dArg-dLys-dLys-dTrp-dPhe-dTrp-NH2) [...] Read more.
Antifungal resistance of human fungal pathogens represents an increasing challenge in modern medicine. Short antimicrobial peptides (AMP) display a promising class of antifungals with a different mode of action, but lack target specificity and metabolic stability. In this study the hexapeptide PAF26 (Ac-dArg-dLys-dLys-dTrp-dPhe-dTrp-NH2) and the three amino acid long peptide NLF (H2N-Asn-Leu-dPhe-COOH) were coupled to diacetylfusarinine C (DAFC), a derivative of the siderophore triacetylfusarinine C (TAFC) of Aspergillus fumigatus, to achieve targeted delivery for treatment of invasive aspergillosis. Conjugated compounds in various modifications were labelled with radioactive gallium-68 to perform in vitro and in vivo characterizations. LogD, serum stability, uptake- growth promotion- and minimal inhibitory concentration assays were performed, as well as in vivo stability tests and biodistribution in BALB/c mice. Uptake and growth assays revealed specific internalization of the siderophore conjugates by A. fumigatus. They showed a high stability in human serum and also in the blood of BALB/c mice but metabolites in urine, probably due to degradation in the kidneys. Only PAF26 showed growth inhibition at 8 µg/ml which was lost after conjugation to DAFC. Despite their lacking antifungal activity conjugates based on a siderophore scaffold have a potential to provide the basis for a new class of antifungals, which allow the combination of imaging by using PET/CT with targeted treatment, thereby opening a theranostic approach for personalized therapy. Full article
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Article
Differential Thermotolerance Adaptation between Species of Coccidioides
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 366; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040366 - 14 Dec 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1627
Abstract
Coccidioidomycosis, or Valley fever, is caused by two species of dimorphic fungi. Based on molecular phylogenetic evidence, the genus Coccidioides contains two reciprocally monophyletic species: C. immitis and C. posadasii. However, phenotypic variation between species has not been deeply investigated. We therefore [...] Read more.
Coccidioidomycosis, or Valley fever, is caused by two species of dimorphic fungi. Based on molecular phylogenetic evidence, the genus Coccidioides contains two reciprocally monophyletic species: C. immitis and C. posadasii. However, phenotypic variation between species has not been deeply investigated. We therefore explored differences in growth rate under various conditions. A collection of 39 C. posadasii and 46 C. immitis isolates, representing the full geographical range of the two species, was screened for mycelial growth rate at 37 °C and 28 °C on solid media. The radial growth rate was measured for 16 days on yeast extract agar. A linear mixed effect model was used to compare the growth rate of C. posadasii and C. immitis at 37 °C and 28 °C, respectively. C. posadasii grew significantly faster at 37 °C, when compared to C. immitis; whereas both species had similar growth rates at 28 °C. These results indicate thermotolerance differs between these two species. As the ecological niche has not been well-described for Coccidioides spp., and disease variability between species has not been shown, the evolutionary pressure underlying the adaptation is unclear. However, this research reveals the first significant phenotypic difference between the two species that directly applies to ecological research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coccidioides and Coccidioidomycosis 2020)
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Article
Laser Capture Microdissection-Assisted Protein Biomarker Discovery from Coccidioides-Infected Lung Tissue
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 365; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040365 - 14 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1377
Abstract
Laser capture microdissection (LCM) coupled to label-free quantitative mass spectrometry is a viable strategy to identify biomarkers from infected tissues. In this study, LCM was employed to take a “snapshot” of proteins produced in vivo during Coccidiodies spp. infection in human lungs. Proteomic [...] Read more.
Laser capture microdissection (LCM) coupled to label-free quantitative mass spectrometry is a viable strategy to identify biomarkers from infected tissues. In this study, LCM was employed to take a “snapshot” of proteins produced in vivo during Coccidiodies spp. infection in human lungs. Proteomic analysis of LCM lung sections revealed hundreds of hosts and Coccidioidal proteins. Twenty-seven highly abundant Coccidioides spp. proteins were identified which do not share significant sequence orthology with human proteins. Three of the 27 Coccidioidal proteins are also potential Coccidoides-specific biomarkers, as they also do not share sequence homology to any other pathogenic fungus or microbe. Gene ontology analysis of the 27 biomarker candidate proteins revealed enriched hydrolase activity and increased purine and carbohydrate metabolism functions. Finally, we provide proteomic evidence that all 27 biomarker candidates are produced by the fungus when grown in vitro in a media- and growth-phase dependent manner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coccidioides and Coccidioidomycosis 2020)
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Article
Fungal Dysbiosis Correlates with the Development of Tumor-Induced Cachexia in Mice
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 364; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040364 - 13 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1504
Abstract
Cachexia (CC) is a devastating metabolic syndrome associated with a series of underlying diseases that greatly affects life quality and expectancy among cancer patients. Studies involving mouse models, in which CC was induced through inoculation with tumor cells, originally suggested the existence of [...] Read more.
Cachexia (CC) is a devastating metabolic syndrome associated with a series of underlying diseases that greatly affects life quality and expectancy among cancer patients. Studies involving mouse models, in which CC was induced through inoculation with tumor cells, originally suggested the existence of a direct correlation between the development of this syndrome and changes in the relative proportions of several bacterial groups present in the digestive tract. However, these analyses have focus solely on the characterization of bacterial dysbiosis, ignoring the possible existence of changes in the relative populations of fungi, during the development of CC. Thus, the present study sought to expand such analyses, by characterizing changes that occur in the gut fungal population (mycobiota) of mice, during the development of cancer-induced cachexia. Our results confirm that cachectic animals, submitted to Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) transplantation, display significant differences in their gut mycobiota, when compared to healthy controls. Moreover, identification of dysbiotic fungi showed remarkable consistency across successive levels of taxonomic hierarchy. Many of these fungi have also been associated with dysbioses observed in a series of gut inflammatory diseases, such as obesity, colorectal cancer (CRC), myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Nonetheless, the dysbiosis verified in the LLC model of cancer cachexia seems to be unique, presenting features observed in both obesity (reduced proportion of Mucoromycota) and CRC/ME/IBD (increased proportions of Sordariomycetes, Saccharomycetaceae and Malassezia). One species of Mucoromycota (Rhyzopus oryzae) stands out as a promising probiotic candidate in adjuvant therapies, aimed at treating and/or preventing the development of CC. Full article
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Article
Cellular and Molecular Response of Macrophages THP-1 during Co-Culture with Inactive Trichophyton rubrum Conidia
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040363 - 12 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1127
Abstract
Trichophyton rubrum is causing an increasing number of invasive infections, especially in immunocompromised and diabetic patients. The fungal invasive infectious process is complex and has not yet been fully elucidated. Therefore, this study aimed to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms during the [...] Read more.
Trichophyton rubrum is causing an increasing number of invasive infections, especially in immunocompromised and diabetic patients. The fungal invasive infectious process is complex and has not yet been fully elucidated. Therefore, this study aimed to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms during the interaction of macrophages and T. rubrum. For this purpose, we used a co-culture of previously germinated and heat-inactivated T. rubrum conidia placed in contact with human macrophages cell line THP-1 for 24 h. This interaction led to a higher level of release of interleukins IL-6, IL-2, nuclear factor kappa beta (NF-κB) and an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, demonstrating the cellular defense by macrophages against dead fungal elements. Cell viability assays showed that 70% of macrophages remained viable during co-culture. Human microRNA expression is involved in fungal infection and may modulate the immune response. Thus, the macrophage expression profile of microRNAs during co-culture revealed the modulation of 83 microRNAs, with repression of 33 microRNAs and induction of 50 microRNAs. These data were analyzed using bioinformatics analysis programs and the modulation of the expression of some microRNAs was validated by qRT-PCR. In silico analysis showed that the target genes of these microRNAs are related to the inflammatory response, oxidative stress, apoptosis, drug resistance, and cell proliferation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antifungal Immunity and Fungal Vaccine Development)
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Article
Inhibition of Phenolics Uptake by Ligninolytic Fungal Cells and Its Potential as a Tool for the Production of Lignin-Derived Aromatic Building Blocks
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 362; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040362 - 12 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1521
Abstract
Lignin is the principal natural source of phenolics but its structural complexity and variability make it difficult to valorize through chemical depolymerization approaches. White rots are one of the rare groups of organisms that are able to degrade lignin in ecosystems. This biodegradation [...] Read more.
Lignin is the principal natural source of phenolics but its structural complexity and variability make it difficult to valorize through chemical depolymerization approaches. White rots are one of the rare groups of organisms that are able to degrade lignin in ecosystems. This biodegradation starts through extracellular enzymes producing oxidizing agents to depolymerize lignin and continue with the uptake of the generated oligomers by fungal cells for further degradation. Phanerochaete chrysosporium is one of the most studied species for the elucidation of these biodegradation mechanisms. Although the extracellular depolymerization step appears interesting for phenolics production from lignin, the uptake and intracellular degradation of oligomers occurring in the course of the depolymerization limits its potential. In this study, we aimed at inhibiting the phenolics uptake mechanism through metabolic inhibitors to favor extracellular oligomers accumulation without preventing the ligninases production that is necessary for extracellular depolymerization. The use of sodium azide confirmed that an active transportation phenomenon is involved in the phenolics uptake in P. chrysosporium. A protocol based on carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenyl hydrazone enabled reaching 85% inhibition for vanillin uptake. This protocol was shown not to inhibit, but on the contrary, to stimulate the depolymerization of both dehydrogenation polymers (DHPs) and industrial purified lignins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploiting Fungal Solutions for Today's Challenges)
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Article
On the Fly: Tritrophic Associations of Bats, Bat Flies, and Fungi
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 361; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040361 - 12 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1840
Abstract
Parasitism is one of the most diverse and abundant modes of life, and of great ecological and evolutionary importance. Notwithstanding, large groups of parasites remain relatively understudied. One particularly unique form of parasitism is hyperparasitism, where a parasite is parasitized itself. Bats (Chiroptera) [...] Read more.
Parasitism is one of the most diverse and abundant modes of life, and of great ecological and evolutionary importance. Notwithstanding, large groups of parasites remain relatively understudied. One particularly unique form of parasitism is hyperparasitism, where a parasite is parasitized itself. Bats (Chiroptera) may be parasitized by bat flies (Diptera: Hippoboscoidea), obligate blood-sucking parasites, which in turn may be parasitized by hyperparasitic fungi, Laboulbeniales (Ascomycota: Laboulbeniomycetes). In this study, we present the global tritrophic associations among species within these groups and analyze their host specificity patterns. Bats, bat flies, and Laboulbeniales fungi are shown to form complex networks, and sixteen new associations are revealed. Bat flies are highly host-specific compared to Laboulbeniales. We discuss possible future avenues of study with regard to the dispersal of the fungi, abiotic factors influencing the parasite prevalence, and ecomorphology of the bat fly parasites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Infections and Bats)
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Article
Examining the Impacts of CO2 Concentration and Genetic Compatibility on Perennial Ryegrass—Epichloë festucae var lolii Interactions
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 360; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040360 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1595
Abstract
Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) is the most cultivated cool-season grass worldwide with crucial roles in carbon fixation, turfgrass applications, and fodder for livestock. Lolium perenne forms a mutualism with the strictly vertically transmitted fungal endophyte, Epichloë festucae var lolii. The [...] Read more.
Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) is the most cultivated cool-season grass worldwide with crucial roles in carbon fixation, turfgrass applications, and fodder for livestock. Lolium perenne forms a mutualism with the strictly vertically transmitted fungal endophyte, Epichloë festucae var lolii. The fungus produces alkaloids that protect the grass from herbivory, as well as conferring protection from drought and nutrient stress. The rising concentration of atmospheric CO2, a proximate cause of climatic change, is known to have many direct and indirect effects on plant growth. There is keen interest in how the nature of this plant–fungal interaction will change with climate change. Lolium perenne is an obligately outcrossing species, meaning that the genetic profile of the host is constantly being reshuffled. Meanwhile, the fungus is asexual implying both a relatively constant genetic profile and the potential for incompatible grass–fungus pairings. In this study, we used a single cultivar, “Alto”, of L. perenne. Each plant was infected with one of four strains of the endophyte: AR1, AR37, NEA2, and Lp19 (the “common strain”). We outcrossed the Alto mothers with pollen from a number of individuals from different ryegrass cultivars to create more genetic diversity in the hosts. We collected seed such that we had replicate maternal half-sib families. Seed from each family was randomly allocated into the two levels of the CO2 treatment, 400 and 800 ppm. Elevated CO2 resulted in an c. 18% increase in plant biomass. AR37 produced higher fungal concentrations than other strains; NEA2 produced the lowest fungal concentrations. We did not find evidence of genetic incompatibility between the host plants and the fungal strains. We conducted untargeted metabolomics and quantitative proteomics to investigate the grass-fungus interactions between and within family and treatment groups. We identified a number of changes in both the proteome and metabalome. Taken together, our data set provides new understanding into the intricacy of the interaction between endophyte and host from multiple molecular levels and suggests opportunity to promote plant robustness and survivability in rising CO2 environmental conditions through application of bioprotective epichloid strains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Biology in Fungal Research)
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Article
Dissemination of Isaria fumosorosea Spores by Steinernema feltiae and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040359 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 934
Abstract
Entomopathogenic nematodes and fungi are globally distributed soil organisms that are frequently used as bioagents in biological control and integrated pest management. Many studies have demonstrated that the combination of biocontrol agents can increase their efficacy against target hosts. In our study, we [...] Read more.
Entomopathogenic nematodes and fungi are globally distributed soil organisms that are frequently used as bioagents in biological control and integrated pest management. Many studies have demonstrated that the combination of biocontrol agents can increase their efficacy against target hosts. In our study, we focused on another potential benefit of the synergy of two species of nematodes, Steinernema feltiae and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, and the fungus Isaria fumosorosea. According to our hypothesis, these nematodes may be able to disseminate this fungus into the environment. To test this hypothesis, we studied fungal dispersal by the nematodes in different arenas, including potato dextrose agar (PDA) plates, sand heaps, sand barriers, and glass tubes filled with soil. The results of our study showed, for the first time, that the spreading of both conidia and blastospores of I. fumosorosea is significantly enhanced by the presence of entomopathogenic nematodes, but the efficacy of dissemination is negatively influenced by the heterogeneity of the testing arena. We also found that H. bacteriophora spread fungi more effectively than S. feltiae. This phenomenon could be explained by the differences in the presence and persistence of second-stage cuticles or by different foraging behavior. Finally, we observed that blastospores are disseminated more effectively than conidia, which might be due to the different adherence of these spores (conidia are hydrophobic, while blastospores are hydrophilic). The obtained results showed that entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) can enhance the efficiency of fungal dispersal. Full article
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Editorial
Advances against Aspergillosis and Mucormycosis
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 358; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040358 - 11 Dec 2020
Viewed by 900
Abstract
The 9th meeting of Advances Against Aspergillosis in beautiful Lugano, Switzerland clearly had the most drama of any of the previous meetings, exceeding even the 1st one, in San Francisco, when we, the Co-Organizers, weren’t sure that although we had a great educational [...] Read more.
The 9th meeting of Advances Against Aspergillosis in beautiful Lugano, Switzerland clearly had the most drama of any of the previous meetings, exceeding even the 1st one, in San Francisco, when we, the Co-Organizers, weren’t sure that although we had a great educational idea, and had put together a great list of speakers and topics, we might have few attendees, and go bankrupt! (The story of the birth efforts in initiating these meetings is described, for the historical record [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 9th Advances Against Aspergillosis and Mucormycosis)
Article
Immunoproteomic Analysis Reveals Novel Candidate Antigens for the Diagnosis of Paracoccidioidomycosis Due to Paracoccidioides lutzii
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 357; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040357 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1563
Abstract
Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is a life-threatening systemic infection caused by the fungal pathogen Paracoccidioides brasiliensis and related species. Whole-genome sequencing and stage-specific proteomic analysis of Paracoccidioides offer the opportunity to profile humoral immune responses against P. lutzii and P. brasiliensis s. str. infection using [...] Read more.
Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is a life-threatening systemic infection caused by the fungal pathogen Paracoccidioides brasiliensis and related species. Whole-genome sequencing and stage-specific proteomic analysis of Paracoccidioides offer the opportunity to profile humoral immune responses against P. lutzii and P. brasiliensis s. str. infection using innovative screening approaches. Here, an immunoproteomic approach was used to identify PCM-associated antigens that elicit immune responses by combining 2-D electrophoresis of P. lutzii and P. brasiliensis proteomes, immunological detection using a gold-standard serum, and mass spectrometry analysis. A total of 16 and 25 highly immunoreactive proteins were identified in P. lutzii and P. brasiliensis, respectively, and 29 were shown to be the novel antigens for Paracoccidioides species, including seven uncharacterized proteins. Among the panel of proteins identified, most are involved in metabolic pathways, carbon metabolism, and biosynthesis of secondary metabolites in both immunoproteomes. Remarkably, six isoforms of the surface-associated enolase in the range of 54 kDa were identified as the major antigens in human PCM due to P. lutzii. These novel immunoproteomes of Paracoccidioides will be employed to develop a sensitive and affordable point-of-care diagnostic assay and an effective vaccine to identify infected hosts and prevent infection and development of human PCM. These findings provide a unique opportunity for the refinement of diagnostic tools of this important neglected systemic mycosis, which is usually associated with poverty. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Paracoccidioides and Paracoccidioidomycosis)
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Review
β-Glucan Metabolic and Immunomodulatory Properties and Potential for Clinical Application
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 356; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040356 - 10 Dec 2020
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 2901
Abstract
β-glucans are complex polysaccharides that are found in several plants and foods, including mushrooms. β-glucans display an array of potentially therapeutic properties. β-glucans have metabolic and gastro-intestinal effects, modulating the gut microbiome, altering lipid and glucose metabolism, reducing cholesterol, leading to their investigation [...] Read more.
β-glucans are complex polysaccharides that are found in several plants and foods, including mushrooms. β-glucans display an array of potentially therapeutic properties. β-glucans have metabolic and gastro-intestinal effects, modulating the gut microbiome, altering lipid and glucose metabolism, reducing cholesterol, leading to their investigation as potential therapies for metabolic syndrome, obesity and diet regulation, gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel, and to reduce cardiovascular and diabetes risk. β-glucans also have immune-modulating effects, leading to their investigation as adjuvant agents for cancers (solid and haematological malignancies), for immune-mediated conditions (e.g., allergic rhinitis, respiratory infections), and to enhance wound healing. The therapeutic potential of β-glucans is evidenced by the fact that two glucan isolates were licensed as drugs in Japan as immune-adjuvant therapy for cancer in 1980. Significant challenges exist to further clinical testing and translation of β-glucans. The diverse range of conditions for which β-glucans are in clinical testing underlines the incomplete understanding of the diverse mechanisms of action of β-glucans, a key knowledge gap. Furthermore, important differences appear to exist in the effects of apparently similar β-glucan preparations, which may be due to differences in sources and extraction procedures, another poorly understood issue. This review will describe the biology, potential mechanisms of action and key therapeutic targets being investigated in clinical trials of β-glucans and identify and discuss the key challenges to successful translation of this intriguing potential therapeutic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mushrooms—Mycotherapy and Mycochemistry)
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