Special Issue "Coccidioides and Coccidioidomycosis 2020"

A special issue of Journal of Fungi (ISSN 2309-608X). This special issue belongs to the section "Fungal Pathogenesis and Disease Control".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 April 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Theo N. Kirkland
Website
Guest Editor
University of California School of Medicine, San Diego, CA, USA
Interests: Coccidioidomycosis; primary pathogenic fungi; pathogenesis; immunology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Interest in coccidioidomycosis has increased dramatically over the past several years as the number of cases has increased and more genetic information has become available. There are 900 papers about Coccidioidomycosis within the past ten years indexed in PubMed. It is now recognized that coccidioidomycosis is a common cause of serious infections in Southern California and Southern Arizona, including the heavily populated Phoenix area. The endemic area of the organism is much larger than previously recognized and there have been several studies of the ecology and phylogenetics of these species. Our understanding of the conversion from mycelia to spherules is also growing. There has continued to be much interest in the immune response to the organism and novel studies of diagnostic tests and potential therapies have also been done. This Special Issue will showcase papers from several disciplines on Coccidioides spp. and coccidioidomycosis.

Dr. Theo N. Kirkland
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Fungi is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Coccidioides spp.
  • coccidioidomycosis
  • genomics
  • fungal biology
  • ecology
  • phylogenetics
  • immunology
  • diagnostic tests
  • anti-fungal drugs

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Differential Thermotolerance Adaptation between Species of Coccidioides
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 366; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040366 - 14 Dec 2020
Viewed by 796
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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Open AccessArticle
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 634
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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Open AccessArticle
Of Mice and Fungi: Coccidioides spp. Distribution Models
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 320; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040320 - 27 Nov 2020
Viewed by 439
Abstract
The continuous increase of Coccidioidomycosis cases requires reliable detection methods of the causal agent, Coccidioides spp., in its natural environment. This has proven challenging because of our limited knowledge on the distribution of this soil-dwelling fungus. Knowing the pathogen’s geographic distribution and its [...] Read more.
The continuous increase of Coccidioidomycosis cases requires reliable detection methods of the causal agent, Coccidioides spp., in its natural environment. This has proven challenging because of our limited knowledge on the distribution of this soil-dwelling fungus. Knowing the pathogen’s geographic distribution and its relationship with the environment is crucial to identify potential areas of risk and to prevent disease outbreaks. The maximum entropy (Maxent) algorithm, Geographic Information System (GIS) and bioclimatic variables were combined to obtain current and future potential distribution models (DMs) of Coccidioides and its putative rodent reservoirs for Arizona, California and Baja California. We revealed that Coccidioides DMs constructed with presence records from one state are not well suited to predict distribution in another state, supporting the existence of distinct phylogeographic populations of Coccidioides. A great correlation between Coccidioides DMs and United States counties with high Coccidioidomycosis incidence was found. Remarkably, under future scenarios of climate change and high concentration of greenhouse gases, the probability of habitat suitability for Coccidioides increased. Overlap analysis between the DMs of rodents and Coccidioides, identified Neotoma lepida as one of the predominant co-occurring species in all three states. Considering rodents DMs would allow to implement better surveillance programs to monitor disease spread. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coccidioides and Coccidioidomycosis 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparative Study of Newer and Established Methods of Diagnosing Coccidioidal Meningitis
J. Fungi 2020, 6(3), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6030125 - 04 Aug 2020
Viewed by 620
Abstract
Meningitis is the most devastating form of coccidioidomycosis. A convenient, rapid diagnostic method could result in early treatment and avoid many meningitis complications. We studied cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples in patients with documented coccidioidal meningitis, and controls, with complement fixation (CF), immunodiffusion (ID) [...] Read more.
Meningitis is the most devastating form of coccidioidomycosis. A convenient, rapid diagnostic method could result in early treatment and avoid many meningitis complications. We studied cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples in patients with documented coccidioidal meningitis, and controls, with complement fixation (CF), immunodiffusion (ID) (the “classical” assays), lateral flow assays (LFA; one-strip and two-strip), and two enzyme immunoassays (EIA). The two-strip LFA and EIAs not only enabled separate testing for IgG and IgM antibodies separately, but also could aggregate results for each method. CF with ID or the aggregate use of IgG and IgM tests were considered optimal test uses. LFAs and EIAs were evaluated at 1:21 and 1:441 dilutions of specimens. All assays were compared to true patient status. With 49 patient specimens and 40 controls, this is the largest comparative study of CSF coccidioidal diagnostics. Sensitivity of these tests ranged from 71–95% and specificity 90–100%. IgM assays were less sensitive. Assays at 1:441 were similarly specific but less sensitive, suggesting that serial dilutions of samples could result in assays yielding titers. Agreement of positive results on cases was 87–100%. When kits are available, hospital laboratories in endemic areas can perform testing. LFA assays do not require a laboratory, are simple to use, and give rapid results, potentially even at the bedside. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coccidioides and Coccidioidomycosis 2020)

Review

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Open AccessReview
Coccidioidomycosis in Brazil: Historical Challenges of a Neglected Disease
J. Fungi 2021, 7(2), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7020085 - 27 Jan 2021
Viewed by 245
Abstract
Coccidioidomycosis is a deep-seated fungal infection that occurs exclusively in semiarid areas in the Americas. In Brazil, coccidioidomycosis occurs exclusively in rural areas in the northeast region and affects counties that are hit by recurrent droughts, poverty and economic stagnation. Since 1978, approximately [...] Read more.
Coccidioidomycosis is a deep-seated fungal infection that occurs exclusively in semiarid areas in the Americas. In Brazil, coccidioidomycosis occurs exclusively in rural areas in the northeast region and affects counties that are hit by recurrent droughts, poverty and economic stagnation. Since 1978, approximately 136 cases of the disease have been reported in Brazil, according to scientific publications. However, a lack of governmental epidemiological data as well as a similarity to tuberculosis have led scientists and experts to assume that a greater number of cases occur in the country, which are not diagnosed and/or reported. In this review, general characteristics of coccidioidomycosis are presented, followed by a description of the main clinical and epidemiological data of cases in Brazil. The purpose of this article is to discuss the inclusion of coccidioidomycosis in the list of neglected tropical diseases. We believe that the adoption of coccidioidomycosis as a neglected tropical disease will enable the creation of an effective epidemiological surveillance system and the development of feasible public health solutions for its control in vulnerable populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coccidioides and Coccidioidomycosis 2020)
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