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J. Fungi, Volume 9, Issue 3 (March 2023) – 108 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): We investigated natural vegetation’s potential for hosting a widespread pathogenic group of fungi, namely the Colletotrichum gloeosporioides species complex. We sampled diverse forest environments and vegetation strata and found that the complex was broadly distributed in the wild flora, with high prevalence in every environment and strata. Yet variation occurred, as more humid areas had greater prevalence levels, while drier places had a slightly lower presence of these fungi. We also highlighted potential differences in disease effects of strains between strata components of forest flora, suggesting that while natural vegetation is a probable source of inoculum for local crops growing nearby, compositional differences between strata might also lead to differential impact on cultivated crops. View this paper
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12 pages, 1121 KiB  
Article
Genetic Variation of Puccinia triticina Populations in Iran from 2010 to 2017 as Revealed by SSR and ISSR Markers
by Zahra Nemati, Ali Dadkhodaie, Reza Mostowfizadeh-Ghalamfarsa, Rahim Mehrabi and Santa Olga Cacciola
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 388; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030388 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1432
Abstract
Puccinia triticina is a major wheat pathogen worldwide. Although Iran is within the Fertile Crescent, which is supposed to be the center of origin of both wheat and P. triticina, the knowledge of the genetic variability of local populations of this basidiomycete [...] Read more.
Puccinia triticina is a major wheat pathogen worldwide. Although Iran is within the Fertile Crescent, which is supposed to be the center of origin of both wheat and P. triticina, the knowledge of the genetic variability of local populations of this basidiomycete is limited. We analyzed 12 inter simple sequence repeats (ISSRs) and 18 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) of 175 P. triticina isolates sampled between 2010 and 2017 from wheat and other Poaceae in 14 provinces of Iran. SSRs revealed more polymorphisms than ISSRs, indicating they were more effective in differentiating P. triticina populations. Based on a dissimilarity matrix with a variable mutation rate for SSRs and a Dice coefficient for ISSRs, the isolates were separated into three large groups, each including isolates from diverse geographic origins and hosts. The grouping of SSR genotypes in UPGMA dendrograms was consistent with the grouping inferred from the Bayesian approach. However, isolates with a common origin clustered into separate subgroups within each group. The high proportion of heterozygous alleles suggests that in Iran clonal reproduction prevails over sexual reproduction of the pathogen. A significant correlation was found between SSR and ISSR genotypes and the virulence phenotypes of the isolates, as determined in a previous study. Full article
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10 pages, 831 KiB  
Review
Mold-Active Antifungal Prophylaxis in Pediatric Patients with Cancer or Undergoing Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation
by Thomas Lehrnbecher, Konrad Bochennek and Andreas H. Groll
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 387; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030387 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2329
Abstract
Invasive fungal diseases (IFDs), in particular invasive mold infections, still pose considerable problems in the care of children and adolescents treated for cancer or undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation. As these infections are difficult to diagnose, and the outcomes for IFDs are still unsatisfactory, [...] Read more.
Invasive fungal diseases (IFDs), in particular invasive mold infections, still pose considerable problems in the care of children and adolescents treated for cancer or undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation. As these infections are difficult to diagnose, and the outcomes for IFDs are still unsatisfactory, antifungal prophylaxis has become an important strategy in the clinical setting. Antifungal prophylaxis is indicated in patients at high risk for IFD, which is commonly defined as a natural incidence of at least 10%. As there is a growing interest in pediatric-specific clinical trials and pediatric-specific guidelines, this review focuses on the available data of mold-active antifungal prophylaxis in children and adolescents. The data demonstrate that a major effort is needed to characterize the pediatric patient population in which the net effect of prophylactic antifungals will be beneficial as well as to find the optimal prophylactic antifungal compound and dosage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pediatric Fungal Infections)
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13 pages, 2295 KiB  
Article
Biological Crust Diversity Related to Elevation and Soil Properties at Local Scale in a Montane Scrub of Ecuador
by Leslye Ruiz, Vinicio Carrión-Paladines, Marlon Vega, Fausto López and Ángel Benítez
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 386; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030386 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2247
Abstract
The montane shrublands of southern Ecuador represent one of the least studied ecosystems, which in the last decade have been seriously threatened by increasing wildfires, deforestation, overgrazing, and conversion to forest plantations. Our main objective was to determine, at the local scale, the [...] Read more.
The montane shrublands of southern Ecuador represent one of the least studied ecosystems, which in the last decade have been seriously threatened by increasing wildfires, deforestation, overgrazing, and conversion to forest plantations. Our main objective was to determine, at the local scale, the diversity of species composing the biological soil crust (BSC) at three elevations (2100, 2300, and 2500 m.a.s.l.) and their possible relationships with soil physical and chemical properties in montane shrublands. For this purpose, three monitoring plots of 100 m2 were established at each elevation, and within each plot, 20 subplots were established (180 subplots sampled in total). In addition, composite soil samples were collected at a depth of 0 to 10 cm, and some physical and biochemical parameters (e.g., bulk density, texture, pH, organic matter, soil organic carbon, total nitrogen, available phosphorus, and potassium) of the soil were analyzed. The results show 35 species (23 lichens, 10 bryophytes and 2 cyanobacteria) at three elevations with a bell-shaped or hump-shaped distribution pattern. This allowed us to point out that the species richness was higher at the intermediate elevations and that the composition showed significant differences in the three elevations related to soil factors. Elevation and soil drivers may help to better chose the more suitable biological soil crust (lichen-dominated and bryophyte-dominated BSC) for the management and conservation of the montane scrub of Ecuador, which is strongly threatened by human activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Evolution of Lichens and Associated Microorganisms)
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18 pages, 3793 KiB  
Article
Mebendazole Inhibits Histoplasma capsulatum In Vitro Growth and Decreases Mitochondrion and Cytoskeleton Protein Levels
by Marcos Abreu Almeida, Andrea Reis Bernardes-Engemann, Rowena Alves Coelho, Camila Jantoro Guzman Lugones, Iara Bastos de Andrade, Dario Corrêa-Junior, Simone Santiago Carvalho de Oliveira, André Luis Souza dos Santos, Susana Frases, Márcio Lourenço Rodrigues, Richard Hemmi Valente, Rosely Maria Zancopé-Oliveira and Rodrigo Almeida-Paes
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 385; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030385 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1853
Abstract
Histoplasmosis is a frequent mycosis in people living with HIV/AIDS and other immunocompromised hosts. Histoplasmosis has high rates of mortality in these patients if treatment is unsuccessful. Itraconazole and amphotericin B are used to treat histoplasmosis; however, both antifungals have potentially severe pharmacokinetic [...] Read more.
Histoplasmosis is a frequent mycosis in people living with HIV/AIDS and other immunocompromised hosts. Histoplasmosis has high rates of mortality in these patients if treatment is unsuccessful. Itraconazole and amphotericin B are used to treat histoplasmosis; however, both antifungals have potentially severe pharmacokinetic drug interactions and toxicity. The present study determined the minimal inhibitory and fungicidal concentrations of mebendazole, a drug present in the NIH Clinical Collection, to establish whether it has fungicidal or fungistatic activity against Histoplasma capsulatum. Protein extracts from H. capsulatum yeasts, treated or not with mebendazole, were analyzed by proteomics to understand the metabolic changes driven by this benzimidazole. Mebendazole inhibited the growth of 10 H. capsulatum strains, presenting minimal inhibitory concentrations ranging from 5.0 to 0.08 µM. Proteomics revealed 30 and 18 proteins exclusively detected in untreated and mebendazole-treated H. capsulatum yeast cells, respectively. Proteins related to the tricarboxylic acid cycle, cytoskeleton, and ribosomes were highly abundant in untreated cells. Proteins related to the nitrogen, sulfur, and pyrimidine metabolisms were enriched in mebendazole-treated cells. Furthermore, mebendazole was able to inhibit the oxidative metabolism, disrupt the cytoskeleton, and decrease ribosomal proteins in H. capsulatum. These results suggest mebendazole as a drug to be repurposed for histoplasmosis treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diagnosis and Treatments of Invasive Fungal Diseases)
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20 pages, 3125 KiB  
Article
Fungal Endophytes Enhance Wheat and Tomato Drought Tolerance in Terms of Plant Growth and Biochemical Parameters
by Victoria Miranda, Gloria Andrea Silva-Castro, Juan Manuel Ruiz-Lozano, Sebastian Fracchia and Inmaculada García-Romera
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 384; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030384 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2579
Abstract
Drought is a major threat to plant growth in many parts of the world. During periods of drought, multiple aspects of plant physiology are negatively affected. For instance, water shortages induce osmotic imbalance, inhibit photosynthesis, decrease nutrient uptake, and increases the production of [...] Read more.
Drought is a major threat to plant growth in many parts of the world. During periods of drought, multiple aspects of plant physiology are negatively affected. For instance, water shortages induce osmotic imbalance, inhibit photosynthesis, decrease nutrient uptake, and increases the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In this context, it is necessary to develop sustainable strategies for crops that would help mitigate these conditions. In previous studies, endophytic Zopfiella erostrata strains were found to extensively colonize plant roots, forming a profuse melanized mycelium in the rhizosphere, which could be involved in improving water uptake and nutrient mineralization in plants. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of different strains of Z. erostrata on stress mitigation in wheat and tomato plants grown under water deficit conditions. General plant growth variables, as well as physiological and biochemical parameters, related to oxidative status were determined. Our data demonstrate that inoculation with both Zopfiella strains had a very significant effect on plant growth, even under water deficit conditions. However, we observed an even more pronounced impact, depending on the plant and strain involved, suggesting a certain degree of plant/strain compatibility. The biochemical aspects, the accumulation of proline, the oxidative damage to lipids, and the activity of antioxidant enzymes varied considerably depending on the endophyte and the plant evaluated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant and Fungal Interactions, 2nd Edition)
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15 pages, 3389 KiB  
Article
A New Species Agrocybe striatipes, also a Newly Commercially Cultivated Mushroom with Highly Nutritional and Healthy Values
by Jiaxin Li, Wenqiang Yang, Jinwei Ren, Bin Cao, Xinyu Zhu, Li Lin, Wen Ye and Ruilin Zhao
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 383; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030383 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2011
Abstract
The species of Agrocybe (Strophariaceae, Agaricales, Agaricomycetes) are saprophytic and widely distributed in temperate regions. In this study, a new species named Agrocybe striatipes from China is described, which has been successfully cultivated in China recently. The phenotypic characteristics examination and molecular phylogenetic [...] Read more.
The species of Agrocybe (Strophariaceae, Agaricales, Agaricomycetes) are saprophytic and widely distributed in temperate regions. In this study, a new species named Agrocybe striatipes from China is described, which has been successfully cultivated in China recently. The phenotypic characteristics examination and molecular phylogenetic analyses using multilocus data (ITS and nrLSU) both support it as a new species in the genus Agrocybe. Moreover, nutritional ingredient analysis showed that the fruiting body of A. striatipes was rich in seventeen amino acids, including eight essential amino acids, in addition to high levels of calcium (78.5 mg/kg) and vitamin D (44.1 μg/100g). The following analysis of the heavy metal contents of the fruiting bodies show that it does not contain lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, and other heavy metal elements. In the crude extract of the mushroom, the nutrients in the aqueous phase are amino acids and oligosaccharides, and the active substances in the ethyl acetate layer are sterols, which have a variety of pharmacological effects. In conclusion, A. striatipes is not only a new species but also has highly application values as a cultivated edible mushroom in nutrition and health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Edible and Medicinal Macrofungi, 2nd Edition)
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16 pages, 2954 KiB  
Article
A Feasibility Study on the Recall of Metallophilic Fungi from Fe(III)-Contaminated Soil and Evaluating Their Mycoremediation Capacity: Experimental and Theoretical Study
by Aya I. Tagyan, Manal M. Yasser, Ahmed M. Mousa, Dalal Hussien M. Alkhalifah, Wael N. Hozzein and Marym A. Marzouk
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 382; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030382 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1511
Abstract
Mycoremediation is one of the most attractive, eco-friendly, and sustainable methods to mitigate the toxic effects of heavy metals. This study aimed to determine the mycoremediation capacity of metallophilic fungi isolated from heavy-metal-contaminated soil containing a high Fe(III) concentration (118.40 mg/kg). Four common [...] Read more.
Mycoremediation is one of the most attractive, eco-friendly, and sustainable methods to mitigate the toxic effects of heavy metals. This study aimed to determine the mycoremediation capacity of metallophilic fungi isolated from heavy-metal-contaminated soil containing a high Fe(III) concentration (118.40 mg/kg). Four common fungal strains were isolated, including Curvularia lunata, Fusarium equiseti, Penicillium pinophilum, and Trichoderma harzianum. These fungal strains were exposed to gradually increasing concentrations of Fe(III) of 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, and 1000 mg/L. Sophisticated techniques and tests were employed to investigate the mycoremediation capability, including tolerance index (TI), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and adsorption isotherm. Furthermore, the impacts of initial concentration, pH, and temperature on the Fe(III) removal (%) and uptake capacity (mg/g) of the studied samples were investigated. The results were validated by statistical analysis using one-way ANOVA. It was found that the Fe(III) uptake with different ratios triggered alterations in the Fe(III) tolerance (TI) morphological (SEM), chemical (FTIR), and adsorption capacity properties. The highest Fe(III) tolerance for all studied fungal strains was achieved at 100 mg/L. Moreover, the optimum conditions of Fe(III) removal (%) for all studied fungal strains were within pH 7 and 28 °C, with similar performance at the initial Fe(III) concentration ranging from 50–200 mg/L. At the same time, the maximum Fe(III) uptake was achieved at pH 7, 20 °C, and 200 mg/L. Compared to other strains, the Fe(III) tolerance of T. harzianum was rise in the Fe(III) concentration. The Fe(III) uptake reaction was corroborated by best fitting with the Langmuir model, achieving optimum adsorption capacities of 61.34, 62.90, 63.30, and 72.46 mg/g for C.lunata, F. equiseti, P. pinophilum, T. harzianum, respectively. It can be deduced that the addressed fungi species can be applied in mycoremediation according to the utilized Fe(III) concentrations with more superiority for live T. harzianum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental and Ecological Interactions of Fungi)
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41 pages, 2002 KiB  
Review
Clinical Manifestations of Human Exposure to Fungi
by Manuela Oliveira, Diana Oliveira, Carmen Lisboa, José Laerte Boechat and Luís Delgado
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 381; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030381 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 5913
Abstract
Biological particles, along with inorganic gaseous and particulate pollutants, constitute an ever-present component of the atmosphere and surfaces. Among these particles are fungal species colonizing almost all ecosystems, including the human body. Although inoffensive to most people, fungi can be responsible for several [...] Read more.
Biological particles, along with inorganic gaseous and particulate pollutants, constitute an ever-present component of the atmosphere and surfaces. Among these particles are fungal species colonizing almost all ecosystems, including the human body. Although inoffensive to most people, fungi can be responsible for several health problems, such as allergic fungal diseases and fungal infections. Worldwide fungal disease incidence is increasing, with new emerging fungal diseases appearing yearly. Reasons for this increase are the expansion of life expectancy, the number of immunocompromised patients (immunosuppressive treatments for transplantation, autoimmune diseases, and immunodeficiency diseases), the number of uncontrolled underlying conditions (e.g., diabetes mellitus), and the misusage of medication (e.g., corticosteroids and broad-spectrum antibiotics). Managing fungal diseases is challenging; only four classes of antifungal drugs are available, resistance to these drugs is increasing, and no vaccines have been approved. The present work reviews the implications of fungal particles in human health from allergic diseases (i.e., allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, severe asthma with fungal sensitization, thunderstorm asthma, allergic fungal rhinosinusitis, and occupational lung diseases) to infections (i.e., superficial, subcutaneous, and systemic infections). Topics such as the etiological agent, risk factors, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment will be revised to improve the knowledge of this growing health concern. Full article
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25 pages, 28527 KiB  
Article
Freshwater Lichens, Including New Species in the Genera Verrucaria, Placopyrenium and Circinaria, Associated with Lobothallia hydrocharis (Poelt & Nimis) Sohrabi & Nimis from Watercourses of Sardinia
by Juri Nascimbene, Pier Luigi Nimis, Johanna Klüßendorf and Holger Thüs
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 380; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030380 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2120
Abstract
This work summarizes the results of the exploration of freshwater lichen biota on the island of Sardinia associated with the regional flagship species Lobothallia hydrocharis, a large-sized crustose lichen from the splash zone along mountain streams, so far known from Sardinia only. [...] Read more.
This work summarizes the results of the exploration of freshwater lichen biota on the island of Sardinia associated with the regional flagship species Lobothallia hydrocharis, a large-sized crustose lichen from the splash zone along mountain streams, so far known from Sardinia only. Molecular data were used to confirm its distinctiveness from other taxa and its systematic placement and to identify critical taxa among its associated lichen biota. We found 25 species of lichenized fungi, including three species new to science in the genera Verrucaria, Placopyrenium, and Circinaria, and seven species new to Sardinia (Hydropunctaria rheithrophila, Ionaspis chrysophana, I. odora, Verrucaria aquatilis, V. collematodes, V. pseudovirescens), or new to Southern Europe (V. devensis). Specific traits for the freshwater lichen biota of Sardinia were identified and compared to those reported from freshwater sites in the Alps and Carpathian mountains, e.g., a relative scarcity of subgelatinous lichens. Parasitic or epilichenic interactions were found frequently but only in the splash zone and not in the permanently submerged zone, i.e., two parasitic Placopyrenium species, and clearly lichenicolous thalli of Kuettlingeria atroflava and Lobothallia hydrocharis. Due to its specific trait profile and the great potential for the discovery of new species, we recommend the inclusion of Sardinian and further Mediterranean sites in continental-scale monitoring programs for freshwater lichens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Lichen Species)
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15 pages, 6084 KiB  
Article
Insights into the Global Transcriptome Response of Lentinula edodes Mycelia during Aging
by Qi Gao, Yangyang Fan, Sai Wei, Shuang Song, Yuan Guo, Shouxian Wang, Yu Liu and Dong Yan
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 379; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030379 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1616
Abstract
The spawn of Lentinula edodes and other basidiomycete fungi tend to age with long-term culture. This causes heavy yield losses if aging spawn is used for propagation. In this study, we cultivated dikaryotic L. edodes mycelia in plates for 60 days to produce [...] Read more.
The spawn of Lentinula edodes and other basidiomycete fungi tend to age with long-term culture. This causes heavy yield losses if aging spawn is used for propagation. In this study, we cultivated dikaryotic L. edodes mycelia in plates for 60 days to produce intrinsic aging phenotypes. We found that intracellular reactive oxygen species levels increased in contrast to mitochondrial depolarization and also observed greater DNA fragmentation with longer culture time. Transcriptome analysis of mycelia at different growth stages revealed pronounced expression differences between short- and long-term cultures. In particular, “phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan biosynthesis”, “mitophagy and autophagy”, “MAPK signaling pathway”, and “ABC transporter” were among the enriched terms in the mycelial aging process. Weighted correlation network analysis identified LeAtg8, LeHog1, LePbs2, and LemTOR as key genes during aging. Western blotting confirmed that LeATG8 and phosphorylated LeHOG1 protein levels were significantly upregulated in aging mycelia. Our combined analytical approach provides insights into the mechanisms that regulate mycelial aging, indicating that autophagy/mitophagy plays a major role in counteracting the effects of age on mycelial growth development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genomics and Evolution of Macrofungi)
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14 pages, 4258 KiB  
Article
Heterologous Expression, Purification and Characterization of an Alkalic Thermophilic β-Mannanase CcMan5C from Coprinopsis cinerea
by Songling Yan, Baiyun Duan, Cuicui Liu, Guiyou Liu, Liqin Kang, Lei Sun, Lin Yi, Zhenqing Zhang, Zhonghua Liu and Sheng Yuan
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 378; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030378 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1417
Abstract
A endo-1,4-β-mannanase (CcMan5C) gene was cloned from Coprinopsis cinerea and heterologously expressed in Pichia pastoris, and the recombinant enzyme was purified by Ni-affinity chromatography and identified by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/TOF-MS). CcMan5C hydrolyzed only locust bean gum galactomannan (LBG) [...] Read more.
A endo-1,4-β-mannanase (CcMan5C) gene was cloned from Coprinopsis cinerea and heterologously expressed in Pichia pastoris, and the recombinant enzyme was purified by Ni-affinity chromatography and identified by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/TOF-MS). CcMan5C hydrolyzed only locust bean gum galactomannan (LBG) but not α-mannan from S. cerevisiae or Avicel cellulose, oat spelt xylan, or laminarin from Laminaria digitata. CcMan5C exhibited distinctive catalytic features that were different from previously reported β-mannanases. (1) CcMan5C is the first reported fungal β-mannase with an optimal alkalic pH of 8.0–9.0 for hydrolytic activity under assay conditions. (2) CcMan5C is the first reported alkalic fungal β-mannase with an optimal temperature of 70 °C for hydrolytic activity under assay conditions. (3) The organic solvents methanol, ethanol, isopropanol, and acetone at concentrations of 10% or 20% did not inhibit CcMan5C activity, while 10% or 20% isopropanol and acetone even enhanced CcMan5C activity by 9.20–34.98%. Furthermore, CcMan5C tolerated detergents such as Tween 20 and Triton X-100, and its activity was even enhanced to 26.2–45.6% by 1% or 10% Tween 20 and Triton X-100. (4) CcMan5C solution or lyophilized CcMan5C exhibited unchanged activity and even increasing activity after being stored at −20 °C or −80 °C for 12 months and retained above 50% activity after being stored at 4 °C for 12 months. These features make CcMan5C a suitable candidate for the detergent industry and paper and pulp industry. Full article
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12 pages, 1875 KiB  
Article
Baseline Analysis of Endophytic Fungal Associates of Solenopsis invicta Buren from Mounds across Five Counties of Guangdong Province, China
by Bamisope Steve Bamisile, Junaid Ali Siddiqui, Lei Nie, Atif Idrees, Luis Carlos Ramos Aguila, Chunsheng Jia and Yijuan Xu
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 377; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030377 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1733
Abstract
Red imported fire ants mounds have been suggested as a potential reservoir for beneficial entomopathogenic fungal species that are vital for more complex roles in the ecosystem aside from infecting the insects. In the current study, the assemblage of fungal symbionts of the [...] Read more.
Red imported fire ants mounds have been suggested as a potential reservoir for beneficial entomopathogenic fungal species that are vital for more complex roles in the ecosystem aside from infecting the insects. In the current study, the assemblage of fungal symbionts of the red imported fire ants (RIFA) were obtained across five cities in Guangdong Province, China. The sampling areas were selected because of high occurrence of fire ants mounds in the regions. Mound soils, plant debris within mounds, and ants were collected from three sampling locations in each city for potential isolation of entomopathogenic fungal associates of RIFA. All samples were collected during the spring of 2021. Following successful isolation from substrates, the patterns of fungal species composition, and richness were evaluated. In total, 843 isolates were recovered, and based on their phenotypic distinctiveness and molecular characterization based on DNA sequences of multiple loci including the ITS, SSU, and LSU regions, 46 fungal taxa were obtained, including 12 that were unidentified. Species richness and abundance was highest in the mound soils, while the lowest value was recorded from the ant body. As per the different locations, the highest abundance level was recorded in Zhuhai, where 15 fungal taxa were cultivated. The most common taxa across all substrates and locations was Talaromyces diversus. A baseline analysis of the fungal community composition of RIFA would better our understanding on the interactions between these social ants and their associated microbial organisms, and this knowledge in turn would be important for the successful management of the RIFA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental and Ecological Interactions of Fungi)
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8 pages, 2784 KiB  
Communication
Tubulin Polymerization Promoting Proteins (TPPPs) of Aphelidiomycota: Correlation between the Incidence of p25alpha Domain and the Eukaryotic Flagellum
by Ferenc Orosz
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030376 - 19 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1379
Abstract
The seven most early diverging lineages of the 18 phyla of fungi are the non-terrestrial fungi, which reproduce through motile flagellated zoospores. There are genes/proteins that are present only in organisms with flagellum or cilium. It was suggested that TPPP-like proteins (proteins containing [...] Read more.
The seven most early diverging lineages of the 18 phyla of fungi are the non-terrestrial fungi, which reproduce through motile flagellated zoospores. There are genes/proteins that are present only in organisms with flagellum or cilium. It was suggested that TPPP-like proteins (proteins containing at least one complete or partial p25alpha domain) are among them, and a correlation between the incidence of the p25alpha domain and the eukaryotic flagellum was hypothesized. Of the seven phyla of flagellated fungi, six have been known to contain TPPP-like proteins. Aphelidiomycota, one of the early-branching phyla, has some species (e.g., Paraphelidium tribonematis) that retain the flagellum, whereas the Amoeboaphelidium genus has lost the flagellum. The first two Aphelidiomycota genomes (Amoeboaphelidium protococcorum and Amoeboaphelidium occidentale) were sequenced and published last year. A BLASTP search revealed that A. occidentale does not have a TPPP, but A. protococcorum, which possesses pseudocilium, does have a TPPP. This TPPP is the ‘long-type’ which occurs mostly in animals as well as other Opisthokonta. P. tribonematis has a ‘fungal-type’ TPPP, which is found only in some flagellated fungi. These data on Aphelidiomycota TPPP proteins strengthen the correlation between the incidence of p25alpha domain-containing proteins and that of the eukaryotic flagellum/cilium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Signal Transductions in Fungi 2.0)
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19 pages, 4280 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Aspartic Proteases from Paracoccidioides brasiliensis and Their Role in Fungal Thermo-Dimorphism
by Rafael de Souza Silva, Wilson Dias Segura, Reinaldo Souza Oliveira, Patricia Xander and Wagner Luiz Batista
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 375; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030375 - 19 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1771
Abstract
Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is the most prevalent systemic mycosis in Latin America and is caused by fungi from the Paracoccidioides genus. The infection begins after inhalation of the fungal propagules and their thermo-dimorphic shift to yeast form. Proteases play an important role in the [...] Read more.
Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is the most prevalent systemic mycosis in Latin America and is caused by fungi from the Paracoccidioides genus. The infection begins after inhalation of the fungal propagules and their thermo-dimorphic shift to yeast form. Proteases play an important role in the host invasion process and immune modulation in many pathogenic microorganisms. Aspartyl proteases are virulence factors in many human fungal pathogens that play an important role in the host invasion process morphogenesis, cellular function, immunity, and nutrition. In the present study, we characterized the modulation of acid proteases from Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. We detected four aspartyl proteases in P. brasiliensis with high homology to aspartic protease from Saccharomyces cerevisiae Pep4. Furthermore, we demonstrated that Pepstatin A can inhibit dimorphic switching (mycelium→yeast) in P. brasiliensis. In addition, these genes were modulated during thermo-dimorphism (M→Y transition) in the presence or absence of carbon and nitrogen sources and during growth at pH 4 during 24 and 48 h. We also observed that P. brasiliensis increase the secretion of aspartic proteases when cultivated at pH 4, and these acid proteases cleave BSA, collagen, and hemoglobin. These data suggest that aspartyl proteases are modulated by environmental conditions and during fungal thermo-dimorphism. Thus, this work brings new possibilities for studying the role of aspartyl proteases in the host–pathogen relationship and P. brasiliensis biology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogenicity and Molecular Biology of Human Pathogenic Fungi)
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10 pages, 1375 KiB  
Article
Cytochalasans from the Endophytic Fungus Aspergillus sp. LE2: Their Structures, Antibacterial and NO Production Inhibitory Activities
by Yong-Chao Li, Jing Yang, Yuan-Zeng Zhao, Qin-Di Ma, Ben-Guo Liu and Jun-Liang Sun
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 374; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030374 - 19 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1139
Abstract
Six new cytochalasans—namely, aspergicytochalasins A–F (16)—together with five known analogs were isolated and characterized from the endophytic fungus Aspergillus sp. from the medicinal plant Lonicera japonica. The structures of the new compounds were established by NMR and MS [...] Read more.
Six new cytochalasans—namely, aspergicytochalasins A–F (16)—together with five known analogs were isolated and characterized from the endophytic fungus Aspergillus sp. from the medicinal plant Lonicera japonica. The structures of the new compounds were established by NMR and MS methods as well as single crystal X-ray diffractions. Compounds 3 and 4 showed weak antibacterial activities to Staphylococcus aureus, with MIC values of 128 and 64 μg/mL, respectively. Compounds 1, 3, 5 and 6 showed inhibitory activities on NO production, with IC50 values less than 40 μM. Full article
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16 pages, 4373 KiB  
Article
Transcriptomic and Metabolomic Profiles Provide Insights into the Red-Stipe Symptom of Morel Fruiting Bodies
by Chi Yang, Xiaoling Jiang, Lu Ma, Donglai Xiao, Xiaoyu Liu, Zhenghe Ying, Yaru Li and Yanquan Lin
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 373; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030373 - 18 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2427
Abstract
The cultivation of true morels (Morchella spp., Morchellaceae, Ascomycota) has rapidly expanded in recent years, especially in China. Red stipe is a symptom wherein the stipe of morel fruiting bodies becomes red–gray, resulting in the gradual death of the affected fruiting bodies. [...] Read more.
The cultivation of true morels (Morchella spp., Morchellaceae, Ascomycota) has rapidly expanded in recent years, especially in China. Red stipe is a symptom wherein the stipe of morel fruiting bodies becomes red–gray, resulting in the gradual death of the affected fruiting bodies. The impact of red-stipe symptom occurrence on the development and nutritional quality of morel fruiting bodies remains unclear. Herein, morel ascocarps with the red-stipe symptom (R) and normal (N), artificially cultivated in the Fujian Province of China, were selected for the transcriptome and metabolome analysis to study the physiological and biochemical responses of morel fruiting bodies to the red-stipe symptom. Transcriptome data revealed several differentially expressed genes between the R and N groups significantly enriched in the tyrosine, riboflavin, and glycerophospholipid metabolism pathways. Similarly, the differentially accumulated metabolites were mainly assigned to metabolic pathways, including tyrosine, the biosynthesis of plant secondary metabolites, and the biosynthesis of amino acids. Moreover, the transcriptome and metabolome data combination revealed that tyrosine metabolism was the most enriched pathway, which was followed by ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transport, alanine, aspartate, and glutamate metabolism. Overall, the integration of transcriptomic and metabolomic data of M. sextelata affected by red-stipe symptoms identified several important genes, metabolites, and pathways. These findings further improve our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the red-stipe symptom development of M. sextelata and provide new insights into how to optimize its cultivation methods. Full article
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18 pages, 3702 KiB  
Article
High Andean Steppes of Southern Chile Contain Little-Explored Peltigera Lichen Symbionts
by Karla Veas-Mattheos, Katerin Almendras, Matías Pezoa, Cecilia Muster and Julieta Orlando
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 372; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030372 - 18 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1654
Abstract
Peltigera lichens can colonize extreme habitats, such as high-elevation ecosystems, but their biodiversity is still largely unknown in these environments, especially in the southern hemi- sphere. We assessed the genetic diversity of mycobionts and cyanobionts of 60 Peltigera lichens collected in three high [...] Read more.
Peltigera lichens can colonize extreme habitats, such as high-elevation ecosystems, but their biodiversity is still largely unknown in these environments, especially in the southern hemi- sphere. We assessed the genetic diversity of mycobionts and cyanobionts of 60 Peltigera lichens collected in three high Andean steppes of southern Chile using LSU, β-tubulin, COR3 and ITS loci for mycobionts, and SSU and rbcLX loci for cyanobionts. We obtained 240 sequences for the different mycobiont markers and 118 for the cyanobiont markers, including the first report of β-tubulin sequences of P. patagonica through modifying a previously designed primer. Phylogenetic analyses, ITS scrutiny and variability of haplotypes were used to compare the sequences with those previously reported. We found seven mycobiont species and eleven cyanobiont haplotypes, including considerable novel symbionts. This was reflected by ~30% of mycobionts and ~20% of cyanobionts haplotypes that yielded less than 99% BLASTn sequence identity, 15 new sequences of the ITS1-HR, and a putative new Peltigera species associated with 3 Nostoc haplotypes not previously reported. Our results suggest that high Andean steppe ecosystems are habitats of unknown or little-explored lichen species and thus valuable environments to enhance our understanding of global Peltigera biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Evolution of Lichens and Associated Microorganisms)
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18 pages, 2810 KiB  
Article
Phenothiazines Rapidly Induce Laccase Expression and Lignin-Degrading Properties in the White-Rot Fungus Phlebia radiata
by Matthew P. Hirakawa, Alberto Rodriguez, Mary B. Tran-Gyamfi, Yooli K. Light, Salvador Martinez, Henry Diamond-Pott, Blake A. Simmons and Kenneth L. Sale
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 371; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030371 - 18 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2006
Abstract
Phlebia radiata is a widespread white-rot basidiomycete fungus with significance in diverse biotechnological applications due to its ability to degrade aromatic compounds, xenobiotics, and lignin using an assortment of oxidative enzymes including laccase. In this work, a chemical screen with 480 conditions was [...] Read more.
Phlebia radiata is a widespread white-rot basidiomycete fungus with significance in diverse biotechnological applications due to its ability to degrade aromatic compounds, xenobiotics, and lignin using an assortment of oxidative enzymes including laccase. In this work, a chemical screen with 480 conditions was conducted to identify chemical inducers of laccase expression in P. radiata. Among the chemicals tested, phenothiazines were observed to induce laccase activity in P. radiata, with promethazine being the strongest laccase inducer of the phenothiazine-derived compounds examined. Secretomes produced by promethazine-treated P. radiata exhibited increased laccase protein abundance, increased enzymatic activity, and an enhanced ability to degrade phenolic model lignin compounds. Transcriptomics analyses revealed that promethazine rapidly induced the expression of genes encoding lignin-degrading enzymes, including laccase and various oxidoreductases, showing that the increased laccase activity was due to increased laccase gene expression. Finally, the generality of promethazine as an inducer of laccases in fungi was demonstrated by showing that promethazine treatment also increased laccase activity in other relevant fungal species with known lignin conversion capabilities including Trametes versicolor and Pleurotus ostreatus. Full article
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14 pages, 2704 KiB  
Article
Silencing of the Transmembrane Transporter (swnT) Gene of the Fungus Slafractonia leguminicola Results in a Reduction of Mycotoxin Transport
by Sumanjari Das, Dale R. Gardner, Marwa Neyaz, Allen B. Charleston III, Daniel Cook and Rebecca Creamer
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 370; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030370 - 18 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1446
Abstract
Slafractonia leguminicola infects red clover and other legumes, causing black patch disease. This pathogenic fungus also produces two mycotoxins, slaframine and swainsonine, that are toxic to livestock grazing on clover hay or pasture infested with S. leguminicola. Swainsonine toxicosis causes locoism, while [...] Read more.
Slafractonia leguminicola infects red clover and other legumes, causing black patch disease. This pathogenic fungus also produces two mycotoxins, slaframine and swainsonine, that are toxic to livestock grazing on clover hay or pasture infested with S. leguminicola. Swainsonine toxicosis causes locoism, while slaframine causes slobbers syndrome. The mechanism of toxin secretion by S. leguminicola is poorly understood. The aim of this research was to investigate the role of a putative transmembrane transporter, SwnT, in mycotoxin transport. The swnT gene was silenced by RNA interference using the silencing vector Psilent1, which included inverted repeat transgenes of swnT. This resulted in a significant reduction of swnT transcript levels compared with the controls. Silencing caused a decline in the active efflux of toxins from the mycelia to the media, as shown by LC–MS analysis. Transformants in which swnT was silenced showed higher concentrations of both toxins in the mycelia compared with the concentrations in the media. These transformants exhibited a visibly distinct phenotype with much thicker and shorter mycelia than in the wild type. These transformants were also unable to infect detached clover leaves, unlike the controls, suggesting that SwnT function may play an important role in pathogenesis in addition to mycotoxin transport. This research demonstrates the importance of this transporter to the secretion of mycotoxins for this phytopathogenic fungus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular and Genetic Diversity in Plant-Pathogenic Fungi)
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12 pages, 11519 KiB  
Article
Chemistry in Fungal Bioluminescence: Theoretical Studies on Biosynthesis of Luciferin from Caffeic Acid and Regeneration of Caffeic Acid from Oxidized Luciferin
by Xiayu Liu, Mingyu Wang and Yajun Liu
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 369; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030369 - 18 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2132
Abstract
Fungal bioluminescence is widely distributed in the terrestrial environment. At a specific stage of growth, luminescent fungi shine green light at the fruiting body or mycelium. From the viewpoint of chemistry, fungal bioluminescence involves an in vivo cycle of caffeic acid. The complete [...] Read more.
Fungal bioluminescence is widely distributed in the terrestrial environment. At a specific stage of growth, luminescent fungi shine green light at the fruiting body or mycelium. From the viewpoint of chemistry, fungal bioluminescence involves an in vivo cycle of caffeic acid. The complete cycle is composed of three stages: biosynthesis of luciferin from caffeic acid, luminescence process from luciferin to oxidized luciferin, and regeneration of caffeic acid from oxidized luciferin. Experimental studies roughly proposed this cycle but not the detailed reaction process and mechanism. Our previous theoretical study clearly described the mechanism of the middle stage. The present article attempts to describe the reaction processes and mechanisms of the other two stages by theoretical calculations. A complete theoretical study on the chemistry in the entire process of fungal bioluminescence is helpful to deeply understand fungal bioluminescence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives on Fungal Bioluminescence)
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17 pages, 383 KiB  
Article
Mycoviruses in Fungi: Carcinogenesis of Fungal Agents May Not Always Be Mycotoxin Related
by Cameron K. Tebbi
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 368; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030368 - 17 Mar 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2455
Abstract
Certain viruses have been found to induce diverse biological pathways to carcinogenesis, evidenced by the presence of viral gene products in some tumors. Despite the fact that many fungal agents contain mycoviruses, until recently, their possible direct effects on human health, including carcinogenesis [...] Read more.
Certain viruses have been found to induce diverse biological pathways to carcinogenesis, evidenced by the presence of viral gene products in some tumors. Despite the fact that many fungal agents contain mycoviruses, until recently, their possible direct effects on human health, including carcinogenesis and leukemogenesis, had not been explored. In this regard, most studies of fungal agents have rightly concentrated on their mycotoxin formation and effects. Recently, the direct role of yeasts and fungi in the etiology of cancers, including leukemia, have been investigated. While greater attention has been placed on the carcinogenic effects of Candida, the role of filamentous fungi in carcinogenesis has also been explored. Recent findings from studies using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technique indicate that the plasma of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) uniformly contains antibodies for a certain mycovirus-containing Aspergillus flavus, while controls are negative. The exposure of mononuclear leukocytes from patients with ALL in full remission, and long-term survivors, to the product of this organism was reported to result in the re-development of typical genetics and cell surface phenotypes characteristic of active ALL. Mycoviruses are known to be able to significantly alter the biological characteristics and functions of their host. The possible carcinogenic and leukemogenic role of mycoviruses, with and without their host, needs to be further investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycoviruses: Emerging Investigations on Virus-Fungal Host Interaction)
19 pages, 3169 KiB  
Article
Mechanisms of Surfactin from Bacillus subtilis SF1 against Fusarium foetens: A Novel Pathogen Inducing Potato Wilt
by Lin Liu, Xiaofan Jin, Xiuhua Lu, Lizhong Guo, Peiwei Lu, Hao Yu and Beibei Lv
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030367 - 17 Mar 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2428
Abstract
Fusarium wilt is a severe and worldwide disease in potato cultivation. In this study, Fusarium foetens was first identified as the pathogen of potato wilt. Bacillus subtilis SF1 has the potential for controlling potato wilt induced by F. foetens, resulting in a mycelium [...] Read more.
Fusarium wilt is a severe and worldwide disease in potato cultivation. In this study, Fusarium foetens was first identified as the pathogen of potato wilt. Bacillus subtilis SF1 has the potential for controlling potato wilt induced by F. foetens, resulting in a mycelium growth inhibition of 52.50 ± 2.59% in vitro and a significant decrease in incidence rate by 45.56% in vivo. This research highlighted the antifungal activity of surfactin from B. subtilis SF1 and attempted to reveal the unknown antifungal mechanisms. Surfactin inhibited F. foetens mycelium growth beyond the concentration of 20 μg/μL. Surfactin-treated mycelium appeared to have morphological malformation. Surfactin enhanced reduced glutathione production and caused the increase in values of the extracellular fluids in OD260 and OD280. Surfactin induced differential protein expression and changed the genes’ transcription levels. Surfactin binds to fungal DNA via groove-binding mode, with a binding constant of Kb 2.97 × 104 M−1. Moreover, B. subtilis SF1 harbored genes encoding plant-promoting determinants, making potato seedlings grow vigorously. The results will help provide a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms of surfactin against filamentous fungi and the application of surfactin-producing microbial in the biocontrol of plant pathogenic fungi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Fungal Pathogenesis and Disease Control)
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11 pages, 937 KiB  
Article
Pediatric Tinea Capitis: A Retrospective Cohort Study from 2010 to 2021
by Joel Dascalu, Hiba Zaaroura, Yael Renert-Yuval, Ziyad Khamaysi, Emily Avitan-Hersh and Rivka Friedland
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 366; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030366 - 17 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2009
Abstract
Pediatric tinea capitis displays a wide range of prevalence, with significant variability among populations. We retrospectively extracted the medical records of 456 pediatric patients diagnosed with tinea capitis during the years 2010–2021, from the dermatology outpatient clinics in two tertiary medical centers. Three [...] Read more.
Pediatric tinea capitis displays a wide range of prevalence, with significant variability among populations. We retrospectively extracted the medical records of 456 pediatric patients diagnosed with tinea capitis during the years 2010–2021, from the dermatology outpatient clinics in two tertiary medical centers. Three species were isolated in 90% of patients: T. tonsurans, M. canis, and T. violaceum. While T. tonsurans presented a six-fold increase in incidence during the years 2019–2021, M. canis maintained stable incidence rates. Furthermore, terbinafine was the most efficient antifungal agent against T. tonsurans, achieving complete clinical clearance in 95% of patients, as compared to fluconazole (68%) and griseofulvin (38%) (p < 0.001). The mycological cure was recorded in 61/90 (68%) of patients with available data, at an average of 10 weeks. For patients with M. canis, griseofulvin and fluconazole were equally efficient (73% and 66%, respectively) (p = 0.44). Kerion was described in 36% and 14% of patients with T. tonsurans and M. canis, respectively, (p < 0.001). In conclusion, since 2019, there has been a significant increase in the prevalence of T. tonsurans, establishing this pathogen as the most common cause for tinea capitis in our population. Our data suggest that terbinafine is effective and presents high cure rates for tinea capitis in the pediatric population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Infections in Children 2022)
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12 pages, 2877 KiB  
Article
α-Pheromone Precursor Protein Foc4-PP1 Is Essential for the Full Virulence of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense Tropical Race 4
by Lu Liu, Yinghua Huang, Handa Song, Mei Luo and Zhangyong Dong
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 365; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030365 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1528
Abstract
Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc), which causes Fusarium wilt of bananas, is considered one of the most destructive fungal pathogens of banana crops worldwide. During infection, Foc secretes many different proteins which promote its colonization of plant tissues. Although F. [...] Read more.
Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc), which causes Fusarium wilt of bananas, is considered one of the most destructive fungal pathogens of banana crops worldwide. During infection, Foc secretes many different proteins which promote its colonization of plant tissues. Although F. oxysporum has no sexual cycle, it has been reported to secrete an α-pheromone, which acts as a growth regulator, chemoattractant, and quorum-sensing signaling molecule; and to encode a putative protein with the hallmarks of fungal α-pheromone precursors. In this study, we identified an ortholog of the α-pheromone precursor gene, Foc4-PP1, in Foc tropical race 4 (TR4), and showed that it was necessary for the growth and virulence of Foc TR4. Foc4-PP1 deletion from the Foc TR4 genome resulted in decreased fungal growth, increased sensitivity to oxidative stress and cell-wall-damaging agents, and attenuation of pathogen virulence towards banana plantlets. Subcellular localization analysis revealed that Foc4-PP1 was concentrated in the nuclei and cytoplasm of Nicotiana benthamiana cells, where it could suppress BAX-induced programmed cell death. In conclusion, these findings suggest that Foc4-PP1 contributes to Foc TR4 virulence by promoting hyphal growth and abiotic stress resistance and inhibiting the immune defense responses of host plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Pathogenic Fusarium Species 2.0)
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15 pages, 1078 KiB  
Review
Importance of Clinical Isolates in Cryptococcus neoformans Research
by Katrina M. Jackson, Minna Ding and Kirsten Nielsen
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 364; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030364 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2384
Abstract
The human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans is a global health concern. Previous research in the field has focused on studies using reference strains to identify virulence factors, generate mutant libraries, define genomic structures, and perform functional studies. In this review, we discuss the [...] Read more.
The human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans is a global health concern. Previous research in the field has focused on studies using reference strains to identify virulence factors, generate mutant libraries, define genomic structures, and perform functional studies. In this review, we discuss the benefits and drawbacks of using reference strains to study C. neoformans, describe how the study of clinical isolates has expanded our understanding of pathogenesis, and highlight how studies using clinical isolates can further develop our understanding of the host–pathogen interaction during C. neoformans infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Mycology)
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13 pages, 4048 KiB  
Article
Virulence and Genetic Types of Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei in Tibet and Surrounding Areas
by Yunjing Wang, Qucuo Zhuoma, Zhi Xu, Yunliang Peng and Mu Wang
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030363 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1222
Abstract
Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is the most important cereal crop in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and the yield has been seriously threatened by Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei (Bgh) in recent years. To understand the virulence and genetic traits of different [...] Read more.
Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is the most important cereal crop in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and the yield has been seriously threatened by Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei (Bgh) in recent years. To understand the virulence and genetic traits of different Bgh populations, 229 isolates of Bgh were collected from Tibet, Sichuan, Gansu and Yunnan provinces of China during 2020 and 2021, and their pathogenicity to 21 barley lines of different genotypes was assessed. A total of 132 virulent types were identified. The Bgh isolates from Yunnan showed the highest diversity in terms of virulence complexity (Rci) and genetic diversity (KWm), followed by those from Sichuan, Gansu, and Tibet, in that order. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in genes coding for alternative oxidase (AOX), protein kinase A (PKA), and protein phosphatase type 2A (PPA) were detected at seven polymorphic sites. Nine haplotypes (H1–H9) with an average haplotype diversity (Hd) and nucleotide diversity π of 0.564 and 0.00034, respectively, were observed. Of these, haplotypes H1 and H4 accounted for 88.8% of the isolates, and H4 was predominant in Tibet. Genetic diversity analysis using the STRUCTURE (K = 2) and AMOVE indicated that the inter-group variation accounted for 54.68%, and inter- and intra-population genotypic heterogeneity accounted for 23.90% and 21.42%, respectively. The results revealed the recent expansion of the Bgh population in Tibet, accompanied by an increase in virulence and a loss of genetic diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genomics of Fungal Plant Pathogens)
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18 pages, 1123 KiB  
Review
Advances and Challenges in CRISPR/Cas-Based Fungal Genome Engineering for Secondary Metabolite Production: A Review
by Duoduo Wang, Shunda Jin, Qianhui Lu and Yupeng Chen
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 362; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030362 - 15 Mar 2023
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2996
Abstract
Fungi represent an important source of bioactive secondary metabolites (SMs), which have wide applications in many fields, including medicine, agriculture, human health, and many other industries. The genes involved in SM biosynthesis are usually clustered adjacent to each other into a region known [...] Read more.
Fungi represent an important source of bioactive secondary metabolites (SMs), which have wide applications in many fields, including medicine, agriculture, human health, and many other industries. The genes involved in SM biosynthesis are usually clustered adjacent to each other into a region known as a biosynthetic gene cluster (BGC). The recent advent of a diversity of genetic and genomic technologies has facilitated the identification of many cryptic or uncharacterized BGCs and their associated SMs. However, there are still many challenges that hamper the broader exploration of industrially important secondary metabolites. The recent advanced CRISPR/Cas system has revolutionized fungal genetic engineering and enabled the discovery of novel bioactive compounds. In this review, we firstly introduce fungal BGCs and their relationships with associated SMs, followed by a brief summary of the conventional strategies for fungal genetic engineering. Next, we introduce a range of state-of-the-art CRISPR/Cas-based tools that have been developed and review recent applications of these methods in fungi for research on the biosynthesis of SMs. Finally, the challenges and limitations of these CRISPR/Cas-based systems are discussed and directions for future research are proposed in order to expand their applications and improve efficiency for fungal genetic engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genome Editing Tools in Fungi)
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19 pages, 4330 KiB  
Review
Exploring the Mycovirus Universe: Identification, Diversity, and Biotechnological Applications
by Diana Carolina Villan Larios, Brayan Maudiel Diaz Reyes, Carlos Priminho Pirovani, Leandro Lopes Loguercio, Vinícius Castro Santos, Aristóteles Góes-Neto, Paula Luize Camargos Fonseca and Eric Roberto Guimarães Rocha Aguiar
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 361; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030361 - 15 Mar 2023
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3103
Abstract
Viruses that infect fungi are known as mycoviruses and are characterized by the lack of an extracellular phase. In recent years, the advances on nucleic acids sequencing technologies have led to a considerable increase in the number of fungi-infecting viral species described in [...] Read more.
Viruses that infect fungi are known as mycoviruses and are characterized by the lack of an extracellular phase. In recent years, the advances on nucleic acids sequencing technologies have led to a considerable increase in the number of fungi-infecting viral species described in the literature, with a special interest in assessing potential applications as fungal biocontrol agents. In the present study, we performed a comprehensive review using Scopus, Web of Science, and PubMed databases to mine mycoviruses data to explore their molecular features and their use in biotechnology. Our results showed the existence of 267 mycovirus species, of which 189 are recognized by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). The majority of the mycoviruses identified have a dsRNA genome (38.6%), whereas the Botourmiaviridae (ssRNA+) alone represents 14% of all mycoviruses diversity. Regarding fungal hosts, members from the Sclerotinicaeae appeared as the most common species described to be infected by mycoviruses, with 16 different viral families identified so far. It is noteworthy that such results are directly associated with the high number of studies and strategies used to investigate the presence of viruses in members of the Sclerotinicaeae family. The knowledge about replication strategy and possible impact on fungi biology is available for only a small fraction of the mycoviruses studied, which is the main limitation for considering these elements potential targets for biotechnological applications. Altogether, our investigation allowed us to summarize the general characteristics of mycoviruses and their hosts, the consequences, and the implications of this knowledge on mycovirus–fungi interactions, providing an important source of information for future studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives on Fungal Molecular Biology Research)
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20 pages, 8244 KiB  
Article
Biocontrol of Diseases Caused by Phytophthora capsici and P. parasitica in Pepper Plants
by Mila Santos, Fernando Diánez, Brenda Sánchez-Montesinos, Victoria Huertas, Alejandro Moreno-Gavira, Belén Esteban García, José A. Garrido-Cárdenas and Francisco J. Gea
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 360; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030360 - 15 Mar 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2450
Abstract
The main objective of this study was to evaluate the ability of Trichoderma aggressivum f. europaeum, T. longibrachiatum, Paecilomyces variotii, and T. saturnisporum as biological control agents (BCAs) against diseases caused by P. capsici and P. parasitica in pepper. For [...] Read more.
The main objective of this study was to evaluate the ability of Trichoderma aggressivum f. europaeum, T. longibrachiatum, Paecilomyces variotii, and T. saturnisporum as biological control agents (BCAs) against diseases caused by P. capsici and P. parasitica in pepper. For this purpose, their antagonistic activities were evaluated both in vitro and in vivo. We analysed the expression patterns of five defence related genes, CaBGLU, CaRGA1, CaBPR1, CaPTI1, and CaSAR8.2, in leaves. All BCAs showed a high in vitro antagonistic activity, significantly reducing the mycelial growth of P. capsici and P. parasitica. The treatments with T. aggressivum f. europaeum, T. longibrachiatum, and P. variotii substantially reduced the severity of the disease caused by P. capsici by 54, 76, and 70%, respectively, and of the disease caused by P. parasitica by 66, 55, and 64%, respectively. T. saturnisporum had the lowest values of disease reduction. Reinoculation with the four BCAs increased the control of both plant pathogens. Markedly different expression patterns were observed in the genes CaBGLU, CaRGA1, and CaSAR8.2. Based on the results, all four BCAs under study could be used as a biological alternative to chemicals for the control of P. capsici and P. parasitica in pepper with a high success rate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Isolation and Control of Fruit and Vegetable Rot Fungi)
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23 pages, 2525 KiB  
Article
Conservation and Expansion of Transcriptional Factor Repertoire in the Fusarium oxysporum Species Complex
by Houlin Yu, He Yang, Sajeet Haridas, Richard D. Hayes, Hunter Lynch, Sawyer Andersen, Madison Newman, Gengtan Li, Domingo Martínez-Soto, Shira Milo-Cochavi, Dilay Hazal Ayhan, Yong Zhang, Igor V. Grigoriev and Li-Jun Ma
J. Fungi 2023, 9(3), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9030359 - 15 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2293
Abstract
The Fusarium oxysporum species complex (FOSC) includes both plant and human pathogens that cause devastating plant vascular wilt diseases and threaten public health. Each F. oxysporum genome comprises core chromosomes (CCs) for housekeeping functions and accessory chromosomes (ACs) that contribute to host-specific adaptation. [...] Read more.
The Fusarium oxysporum species complex (FOSC) includes both plant and human pathogens that cause devastating plant vascular wilt diseases and threaten public health. Each F. oxysporum genome comprises core chromosomes (CCs) for housekeeping functions and accessory chromosomes (ACs) that contribute to host-specific adaptation. This study inspects global transcription factor profiles (TFomes) and their potential roles in coordinating CC and AC functions to accomplish host-specific interactions. Remarkably, we found a clear positive correlation between the sizes of TFomes and the proteomes of an organism. With the acquisition of ACs, the FOSC TFomes were larger than the other fungal genomes included in this study. Among a total of 48 classified TF families, 14 families involved in transcription/translation regulations and cell cycle controls were highly conserved. Among the 30 FOSC expanded families, Zn2-C6 and Znf_C2H2 were most significantly expanded to 671 and 167 genes per family including well-characterized homologs of Ftf1 (Zn2-C6) and PacC (Znf_C2H2) that are involved in host-specific interactions. Manual curation of characterized TFs increased the TFome repertoires by 3% including a disordered protein Ren1. RNA-Seq revealed a steady pattern of expression for conserved TF families and specific activation for AC TFs. Functional characterization of these TFs could enhance our understanding of transcriptional regulation involved in FOSC cross-kingdom interactions, disentangle species-specific adaptation, and identify targets to combat diverse diseases caused by this group of fungal pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genomics of Fungal Plant Pathogens, 2nd Edition)
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