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Sample records for albicans cryptococcus neoformans

  1. Growth and pigment production on D-tryptophan medium by Cryptococcus gattii, Cryptococcus neoformans, and Candida albicans.

    PubMed

    Chaskes, Stuart; Frases, Susana; Cammer, Michael; Gerfen, Gary; Casadevall, Arturo

    2008-01-01

    Given the increasing prevalence of cryptococcosis caused by Cryptococcus gattii (serotypes B and C) strains, there is a need for rapid and reliable tests that discriminate C. gattii from Cryptococcus neoformans (serotypes A, D, and AD). Seventy-two C. neoformans strains, sixty-seven C. gattii strains, and five Candida albicans strains were analyzed for their ability to grow and produce pigment on minimal D-tryptophan D-proline (m-DTDP) medium, on yeast carbon base D-tryptophan D-proline (YCB-DTDP) medium, and on fructose D-tryptophan glycine (m-FDTG) medium. Of the C. gattii and C. neoformans isolates, 94% and 0% grew on m-DTDP agar, respectively, and 98% and 0% grew in YCB-DTDP medium, respectively. C. gattii produced large amounts of brown intracellular pigment(s) on m-DTDP agar and smaller amounts of yellow-brown (amber) extracellular pigment(s). C. albicans grew on both media and produced a pink photoactivated pigment on m-DTDP agar. C. gattii produced large amounts of brown intracellular pigments on the differential medium m-FDTG, whereas C. neoformans produced smaller amounts of the brown pigments and C. albicans produced a pink pigment. The pigments produced by C. gattii from D-tryptophan were distinct and were not related to melanin formation from 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine. Thin-layer chromatography of the methanol-extracted C. gattii cells detected four different pigments, including brown (two types), yellow, and pink-purple compounds. We conclude that tryptophan-derived pigments are not melanins and that growth on m-DTDP or YCB-DTDP agar can be used to rapidly differentiate C. gattii from C. neoformans.

  2. Growth and pigment production on D-tryptophan medium by Cryptococcus gattii, Cryptococcus neoformans, and Candida albicans.

    PubMed

    Chaskes, Stuart; Frases, Susana; Cammer, Michael; Gerfen, Gary; Casadevall, Arturo

    2008-01-01

    Given the increasing prevalence of cryptococcosis caused by Cryptococcus gattii (serotypes B and C) strains, there is a need for rapid and reliable tests that discriminate C. gattii from Cryptococcus neoformans (serotypes A, D, and AD). Seventy-two C. neoformans strains, sixty-seven C. gattii strains, and five Candida albicans strains were analyzed for their ability to grow and produce pigment on minimal D-tryptophan D-proline (m-DTDP) medium, on yeast carbon base D-tryptophan D-proline (YCB-DTDP) medium, and on fructose D-tryptophan glycine (m-FDTG) medium. Of the C. gattii and C. neoformans isolates, 94% and 0% grew on m-DTDP agar, respectively, and 98% and 0% grew in YCB-DTDP medium, respectively. C. gattii produced large amounts of brown intracellular pigment(s) on m-DTDP agar and smaller amounts of yellow-brown (amber) extracellular pigment(s). C. albicans grew on both media and produced a pink photoactivated pigment on m-DTDP agar. C. gattii produced large amounts of brown intracellular pigments on the differential medium m-FDTG, whereas C. neoformans produced smaller amounts of the brown pigments and C. albicans produced a pink pigment. The pigments produced by C. gattii from D-tryptophan were distinct and were not related to melanin formation from 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine. Thin-layer chromatography of the methanol-extracted C. gattii cells detected four different pigments, including brown (two types), yellow, and pink-purple compounds. We conclude that tryptophan-derived pigments are not melanins and that growth on m-DTDP or YCB-DTDP agar can be used to rapidly differentiate C. gattii from C. neoformans. PMID:17989195

  3. In vitro antifungal and antibiofilm activities of halogenated quinoline analogues against Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Zuo, Ran; Garrison, Aaron T; Basak, Akash; Zhang, Peilan; Huigens, Robert W; Ding, Yousong

    2016-08-01

    With the increasing prevalence of fungal infections coupled with emerging drug resistance, there is an urgent need for new and effective antifungal agents. Here we report the antifungal activities of 19 diverse halogenated quinoline (HQ) small molecules against Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans. Four HQ analogues inhibited C. albicans growth with a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 100 nM, whilst 16 analogues effectively inhibited C. neoformans at MICs of 50-780 nM. Remarkably, two HQ analogues eradicated mature C. albicans and C. neoformans biofilms [minimum biofilm eradication concentration (MBEC) = 6.25-62.5 µM]. Several active HQs were found to penetrate into fungal cells, whilst one inactive analogue was unable to, suggesting that HQs elicit their antifungal activities through an intracellular mode of action. HQs are a promising class of small molecules that may be useful in future antifungal treatments. PMID:27256584

  4. Antifungal effect of lavender honey against Candida albicans , Candida krusei and Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Estevinho, Maria Leticia; Afonso, Sílvia Esteves; Feás, Xesús

    2011-10-01

    Monofloral lavender honey samples (n = 30), were analyzed to test antifungal effect against Candida albicans, Candida krusei, and Cryptococcus neoformans. The specific growth rates (μ) showed that all the yeast growths were reduced in the presence of honey. The honey concentration (% w/v) that inhibited 10% of the yeasts growth (X min) ranged from 31.0% (C. albicans), 16.8% (C. krusei) and 23.0% (C. neoformans). A synthetic honey solution was also tested to determine antifungal activity attributable to sugars. The presence of synthetic honey in the C. krusei culture medium at concentrations above 58.0% (w/v) was established as X min, while C. albicans and C. neoformans were more resistant, since X min values were not reached over the ranged tested (10-60%, w/v). What the data suggests is that the component in the lavender honey responsible for the observed antifungal in vitro properties is not sugar based. Honey might be tapped as a natural resource to look for new medicines for the treatment of mycotic infections. This could be very useful, onsidering the increasing resistance of antifungals. It should be noticed that this is the first study concerning the effect of lavender honey on the growth of pathogenic yeasts.

  5. Dithiocarbamates are strong inhibitors of the beta-class fungal carbonic anhydrases from Cryptococcus neoformans, Candida albicans and Candida glabrata.

    PubMed

    Monti, Simona Maria; Maresca, Alfonso; Viparelli, Francesca; Carta, Fabrizio; De Simone, Giuseppina; Mühlschlegel, Fritz A; Scozzafava, Andrea; Supuran, Claudiu T

    2012-01-15

    A series of N-mono- and N,N-disubstituted dithiocarbamates have been investigated as inhibitors of three β-carbonic anhydrases (CAs, EC 4.2.1.1) from the fungal pathogens Cryptococcus neoformans, Candida albicans and Candida glabrata, that is, Can2, CaNce103 and CgNce103, respectively. These enzymes were inhibited with efficacies between the subnanomolar to the micromolar range, depending on the substitution pattern at the nitrogen atom from the dithiocarbamate zinc-binding group. This new class of β-CA inhibitors may have the potential for developing antifungal agents with a diverse mechanism of action compared to the clinically used drugs for which drug resistance was reported, and may also explain the efficacy of dithiocarbamates as agricultural antifungal agents. PMID:22209456

  6. Cryptococcus neoformans carried by Odontomachus bauri ants.

    PubMed

    Jesus, Mariana Santos de; Rodrigues, William Costa; Barbosa, Glaucia; Trilles, Luciana; Wanke, Bodo; Lazéra, Márcia dos Santos; Silva, Manuela da

    2012-06-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is the most common causative agent of cryptococcosis worldwide. Although this fungus has been isolated from a variety of organic substrates, several studies suggest that hollow trees constitute an important natural niche for C. neoformans. A previously surveyed hollow of a living pink shower tree (Cassia grandis) positive for C. neoformans in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was chosen for further investigation. Odontomachus bauri ants (trap-jaw ants) found inside the hollow were collected for evaluation as possible carriers of Cryptococcus spp. Two out of 10 ants were found to carry phenoloxidase-positive colonies identified as C. neoformans molecular types VNI and VNII. The ants may have acted as a mechanical vector of C. neoformans and possibly contributed to the dispersal of the fungi from one substrate to another. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the association of C. neoformans with ants of the genus Odontomachus. PMID:22666855

  7. Cryptococcus neoformans carried by Odontomachus bauri ants.

    PubMed

    Jesus, Mariana Santos de; Rodrigues, William Costa; Barbosa, Glaucia; Trilles, Luciana; Wanke, Bodo; Lazéra, Márcia dos Santos; Silva, Manuela da

    2012-06-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is the most common causative agent of cryptococcosis worldwide. Although this fungus has been isolated from a variety of organic substrates, several studies suggest that hollow trees constitute an important natural niche for C. neoformans. A previously surveyed hollow of a living pink shower tree (Cassia grandis) positive for C. neoformans in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was chosen for further investigation. Odontomachus bauri ants (trap-jaw ants) found inside the hollow were collected for evaluation as possible carriers of Cryptococcus spp. Two out of 10 ants were found to carry phenoloxidase-positive colonies identified as C. neoformans molecular types VNI and VNII. The ants may have acted as a mechanical vector of C. neoformans and possibly contributed to the dispersal of the fungi from one substrate to another. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the association of C. neoformans with ants of the genus Odontomachus.

  8. Cryptococcus neoformans infection in malignancy.

    PubMed

    Schmalzle, Sarah A; Buchwald, Ulrike K; Gilliam, Bruce L; Riedel, David J

    2016-09-01

    Cryptococcosis is an opportunistic invasive fungal infection that is well described and easily recognised when it occurs as meningitis in HIV-infected persons. Malignancy and its treatment may also confer a higher risk of infection with Cryptococcus neoformans, but this association has not been as well described. A case of cryptococcosis in a cancer patient is presented, and all cases of coincident C. neoformans infection and malignancy in adults published in the literature in English between 1970 and 2014 are reviewed. Data from these cases were aggregated in order to describe the demographics, type of malignancy, site of infection, clinical manifestations, treatment and outcomes of cryptococcosis in patients with cancer. Haematologic malignancies accounted for 82% of cases, with lymphomas over-represented compared to US population data (66% vs. 53% respectively). Cryptococcosis was reported rarely in patients with solid tumours. Haematologic malignancy patients were more likely to have central nervous system (P < 0.001) or disseminated disease (P < 0.001), receive Amphotericin B as part of initial therapy (P = 0.023), and had higher reported mortality rates than those with solid tumours (P = 0.222). Providers should have heightened awareness of the possibility of cryptococcosis in patients with haematologic malignancy presenting with infection. PMID:26932366

  9. Epidemiological and Immunological Studies of Cryptococcus neoformans1

    PubMed Central

    Walter, Jinks E.; Atchison, Robert W.

    1966-01-01

    Walter, Jinks E. (University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa.), and Robert W. Atchison. Epidemiological and immunological studies of Cryptococcus neoformans. J. Bacteriol. 92:82–87. 1966.—The complement-fixation fluorescent-antibody test provided a means of differentiating between antibodies of Cryptococcus neoformans and Candida albicans. The test was applied to the sera of 134 pigeon fanciers for detection of antibodies to C. neoformans only. About 22% were positive as compared with 3% of a control group composed of 36 non-pigeon breeders. Positive reactions were observed only with C. neoformans types A and B cells. It was concluded that the pigeon fanciers had presumably been infected previously with C. neoformans type A or type B. Moreover, 48 of 49 isolates of C. neoformans cultured from the pigeon habitats of 72 fanciers studied were serotype A. These findings would seem to substantiate the hypothesis that pigeon habitats serve as reservoirs for human infections, and also that subclinical cryptococcosis is more prevalent than is realized. Images PMID:5328755

  10. Melanin-deficient mutants of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Torres-Guererro, H; Edman, J C

    1994-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a significant fungal pathogen in immunocompromised patients. The ability of C. neoformans to produce melanin has been correlated with virulence. The role of melanin in promoting virulence is unclear, although an anti-oxidant function has been suggested. To begin to define the genetic mechanisms responsible for melanin production in C. neoformans, we describe the isolation of seven melanin-deficient mutant classes. Some of the mutants can be suppressed by addition of Cu2+ to media, suggesting that the phenoloxidase of C. neoformans, like other fungal phenoloxidases, contains copper. Other mutants display a recessive sterile phenotype. A genetic and phenotypic characterisation of these mutants is presented. PMID:7983575

  11. Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. Inhibition of the beta-class enzymes from the fungal pathogens Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans with aliphatic and aromatic carboxylates.

    PubMed

    Innocenti, Alessio; Hall, Rebecca A; Schlicker, Christine; Mühlschlegel, Fritz A; Supuran, Claudiu T

    2009-04-01

    The inhibition of the beta-carbonic anhydrases (CAs, EC 4.2.1.1) from the pathogenic fungi Cryptococcus neoformans (Can2) and Candida albicans (Nce103) with carboxylates such as the C1-C5 aliphatic carboxylates, oxalate, malonate, maleate, malate, pyruvate, lactate, citrate and some benzoates has been investigated. The best Can2 inhibitors were acetate and maleate (K(I)s of 7.3-8.7 microM), whereas formate, acetate, valerate, oxalate, maleate, citrate and 2,3,5,6-tetrafluorobenzoate showed less effective inhibition, with K(I)s in the range of 42.8-88.6 microM. Propionate, butyrate, malonate, L-malate, pyruvate, L-lactate and benzoate, were weak Can2 inhibitors, with inhibition constants in the range of 225-1267 microM. Nce103 was more susceptible to inhibition with carboxylates compared to Can2, with the best inhibitors (maleate, benzoate, butyrate and malonate) showing K(I)s in the range of 8.6-26.9 microM. L-Malate and pyruvate together with valerate were the less efficient Nce103 inhibitors (K(I)s of 87.7-94.0 microM), while the remaining carboxylates showed a compact behavior of efficient inhibitors (K(I)s in the range of 35.1-61.6 microM). Notably the inhibition profiles of the two fungal beta-CAs was very different from that of the ubiquitous host enzyme hCA II (belonging to the alpha-CA family), with maleate showing selectivity ratios of 113.6 and 115 for Can2 and Nce103, respectively, over hCA II inhibition. Therefore, maleate is a promising starting lead molecule for the development of better, low nanomolar, selective beta-CA inhibitors. PMID:19297172

  12. What makes Cryptococcus neoformans a pathogen?

    PubMed Central

    Buchanan, K. L.; Murphy, J. W.

    1998-01-01

    Life-threatening infections caused by the encapsulated fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans have been increasing steadily over the past 10 years because of the onset of AIDS and the expanded use of immunosuppressive drugs. Intricate host-organism interactions make the full understanding of pathogenicity and virulence of C. neoformans difficult. We discuss the current knowledge of the characteristics C. neoformans must possess to enter the host and establish progressive disease: basic growth requirements and virulence factors, such as the polysaccharide capsule; shed products of the organism; melanin production; mannitol secretion; superoxide dismutase; proteases; and phospholipases. PMID:9452400

  13. Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii, the Etiologic Agents of Cryptococcosis

    PubMed Central

    Kwon-Chung, Kyung J.; Fraser, James A.; Doering, Tamara L.; Wang, Zhou; Janbon, Guilhem; Idnurm, Alexander; Bahn, Yong-Sun

    2014-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii are the two etiologic agents of cryptococcosis. They belong to the phylum Basidiomycota and can be readily distinguished from other pathogenic yeasts such as Candida by the presence of a polysaccharide capsule, formation of melanin, and urease activity, which all function as virulence determinants. Infection proceeds via inhalation and subsequent dissemination to the central nervous system to cause meningoencephalitis. The most common risk for cryptococcosis caused by C. neoformans is AIDS, whereas infections caused by C. gattii are more often reported in immunocompetent patients with undefined risk than in the immunocompromised. There have been many chapters, reviews, and books written on C. neoformans. The topics we focus on in this article include species description, pathogenesis, life cycle, capsule, and stress response, which serve to highlight the specializations in virulence that have occurred in this unique encapsulated melanin-forming yeast that causes global deaths estimated at more than 600,000 annually. PMID:24985132

  14. Innate host defenses against Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Hole, Camaron; Wormley, Floyd L

    2016-03-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans, the predominant etiological agent of cryptococcosis, can cause life-threatening infections of the central nervous system in immunocompromised and immunocompetent individuals. Cryptococcal meningoencephalitis is the most common disseminated fungal infection in AIDS patients, and remains the third most common invasive fungal infection among organ transplant recipients. The administration of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has resulted in a decrease in the number of cases of AIDS-related cryptococcosis in developed countries, but in developing countries where HAART is not readily available, Cryptococcus is still a major concern. Therefore, there is an urgent need for the development of novel therapies and/or vaccines to combat cryptococcosis. Understanding the protective immune responses against Cryptococcus is critical for development of vaccines and immunotherapies to combat cryptococcosis. Consequently, this review focuses on our current knowledge of protective immune responses to C. neoformans, with an emphasis on innate immune responses. PMID:26920880

  15. Natural habitat of Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii.

    PubMed Central

    Ellis, D H; Pfeiffer, T J

    1990-01-01

    Environmental isolations have established that Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii appears to have a specific ecological association with Eucalyptus camaldulensis. So far, we have isolated C. neoformans var. gattii on 35 separate occasions, all from samples associated with E. camaldulensis. The global distribution of E. camaldulensis appears to correspond to the epidemiologic distribution of cryptococcosis caused by C. neoformans var. gattii. No other environmental source for the fungus has yet been detected, and no other eucalypt has the distribution pattern corresponding to reported cases caused by this fungus. These findings may provided an explanation for the high incidence of infections caused by C. neoformans var. gattii in Australian aborigines living in the Northern Territory and for its low worldwide incidence in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome patients. Images PMID:2199524

  16. Cryptococcus neoformans var neoformans isolated from droppings of captive birds in Nigeria.

    PubMed

    Irokanulo, E O; Makinde, A A; Akuesgi, C O; Ekwonu, M

    1997-04-01

    The yeast, Cryptococcus neoformans, was found in apparently healthy birds at the Jos Wildlife Park and Zoo in Jos, Nigeria. Cryptococcus neoformans var neoformans was isolated from feces of four captive bird species. Five isolates belonged to serotype A while two were serotype D. Serotype A of C. neoformans was isolated from a white face duck (Dendrocygna viduata), eagle owl (Bubo africanus cinerascene) and peacock (Pavo cristatus). The other two (serotype D), were isolated from a spotted eagle owl. PMID:9131573

  17. Virulence-Associated Enzymes of Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Almeida, Fausto; Wolf, Julie M.

    2015-01-01

    Enzymes play key roles in fungal pathogenesis. Manipulation of enzyme expression or activity can significantly alter the infection process, and enzyme expression profiles can be a hallmark of disease. Hence, enzymes are worthy targets for better understanding pathogenesis and identifying new options for combatting fungal infections. Advances in genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, and mass spectrometry have enabled the identification and characterization of new fungal enzymes. This review focuses on recent developments in the virulence-associated enzymes from Cryptococcus neoformans. The enzymatic suite of C. neoformans has evolved for environmental survival, but several of these enzymes play a dual role in colonizing the mammalian host. We also discuss new therapeutic and diagnostic strategies that could be based on the underlying enzymology. PMID:26453651

  18. [Ecology of Cryptococcus neoformans in central Africa].

    PubMed

    Swinne, D; Taelman, H; Batungwanayo, J; Bigirankana, A; Bogaerts, J

    1994-01-01

    Cryptococcosis associated with AIDS is mainly due to Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans which is found in saprophytic form in pigeon droppings. This variety has been isolated in Central Africa, particularly in Zaire, Burundi and Rwanda, from dust collected from the houses of patients with cryptococcosis. Several patients confirmed frequent contact with pigeons. Recent studies in Australia demonstrated a link between the yeast and Eucalyptus of the camaldulensis and teriticornis species. These two species were imported to Central Africa from Australia. Examination of 657 Eucalyptus specimens collected in Rwanda did not detect the yeast in any type of tree. This finding casts doubt on the role of Eucalyptus in the ecology of cryptococcosis in Central Africa. PMID:8196527

  19. Creatinine metabolism in Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus bacillisporus.

    PubMed Central

    Polacheck, I; Kwon-Chung, K J

    1980-01-01

    The pathogenic species of Cryptococcus, C. neoformans and C. bacillisporus, utilized creatinine as a source of nitrogen but not of carbon. Chromatographic and autoradiographic studies suggest that creatinine metabolism in both species involves a single step resulting in the production of methylhydantoin and ammonia. The enzyme responsible for this step, creatinine deiminase, was produced by the cells only in the presence of creatinine in both species. The synthesis of creatinine deiminase was repressed by ammonia in C. neoformans, but not in C. bacillisporus. A possible explanation for this variation, based on the ecological differences between the two species, is discussed. A novel method for measuring creatinine deiminase activity is also described. Images PMID:6989801

  20. Vesicle-associated melanization in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Eisenman, Helene C; Frases, Susana; Nicola, André M; Rodrigues, Marcio L; Casadevall, Arturo

    2009-12-01

    Recently, several pathogenic fungi were shown to produce extracellular vesicles that contain various components associated with virulence. In the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, these components included laccase, an enzyme that catalyses melanin synthesis. Spherical melanin granules have been observed in the cell wall of C. neoformans. Given that melanin granules have dimensions that are comparable to those of extracellular vesicles, and that metazoan organisms produce melanin in vesicular structures known as melanosomes, we investigated the role of vesicles in cryptococcal melanization. Extracellular vesicles melanized when incubated with the melanin precursor L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA). The kinetics of substrate incorporation into cells and vesicles was analysed using radiolabelled L-DOPA. The results indicated that substrate incorporation was different for cells and isolated vesicles. Acid-generated melanin ghosts stained with lipophilic dyes, implying the presence of associated lipid. A model for C. neoformans melanization is proposed that accounts for these observations and provides a mechanism for the assembly of melanin into relatively uniform spherical particles stacked in an orderly arrangement in the cell wall.

  1. Vesicle-associated melanization in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Eisenman, Helene C.; Frases, Susana; Nicola, André M.; Rodrigues, Marcio L.; Casadevall, Arturo

    2009-01-01

    Recently, several pathogenic fungi were shown to produce extracellular vesicles that contain various components associated with virulence. In the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, these components included laccase, an enzyme that catalyses melanin synthesis. Spherical melanin granules have been observed in the cell wall of C. neoformans. Given that melanin granules have dimensions that are comparable to those of extracellular vesicles, and that metazoan organisms produce melanin in vesicular structures known as melanosomes, we investigated the role of vesicles in cryptococcal melanization. Extracellular vesicles melanized when incubated with the melanin precursor l-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (l-DOPA). The kinetics of substrate incorporation into cells and vesicles was analysed using radiolabelled l-DOPA. The results indicated that substrate incorporation was different for cells and isolated vesicles. Acid-generated melanin ghosts stained with lipophilic dyes, implying the presence of associated lipid. A model for C. neoformans melanization is proposed that accounts for these observations and provides a mechanism for the assembly of melanin into relatively uniform spherical particles stacked in an orderly arrangement in the cell wall. PMID:19729402

  2. Pigment Production on L-Tryptophan Medium by Cryptococcus gattii and Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Chaskes, Stuart; Cammer, Michael; Nieves, Edward; Casadevall, Arturo

    2014-01-01

    In recent years strains previously grouped within Cryptococcus neoformans have been divided into two species C. neoformans and C. gattii, with Cryptococcus neoformans comprising serotypes A, D, and AD and C. gattii comprising serotypes B and C. Cryptococcus neoformans have also been subdivided into two varieties C. neoformans var. grubii, serotype A, and C. neoformans var. neoformans, serotype D. We analyzed the growth and pigment production characteristics of 139 strains of Cryptococcus spp. in L-tryptophan containing media. Nearly all strains of Cryptococcus, including each variety and serotype tested produced a pink water-soluble pigment (molecular weight of 535.2 Da) from L-tryptophan. Consequently, the partial separation of the species was based on whether the pink pigment was secreted into the medium (extracellular) or retained as an intracellular pigment. On L-tryptophan medium C. neoformans var. grubii and serotype AD produced a pink extracellular pigment. In contrast, for C. gattii, the pink pigment was localized intracellularly and masked by heavy production of brown pigments. Pigment production by C. neoformans var. neoformans was variable with some strains producing the pink extracellular pigment and others retained the pink pigment intracellularly. The pink intracellular pigment produced by strains of C. neoformans var. neoformans was masked by production of brown pigments. Cryptococcus laccase mutants failed to produce pigments from L-tryptophan. This is the first report that the enzyme laccase is involved in tryptophan metabolism. Prior to this report Cryptococcus laccase produced melanin or melanin like-pigments from heterocyclic compounds that contained ortho or para diphenols, diaminobenzenes and aminophenol compounds. The pigments produced from L-tryptophan were not melanin. PMID:24736553

  3. Pigment production on L-tryptophan medium by Cryptococcus gattii and Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Chaskes, Stuart; Cammer, Michael; Nieves, Edward; Casadevall, Arturo

    2014-01-01

    In recent years strains previously grouped within Cryptococcus neoformans have been divided into two species C. neoformans and C. gattii, with Cryptococcus neoformans comprising serotypes A, D, and AD and C. gattii comprising serotypes B and C. Cryptococcus neoformans have also been subdivided into two varieties C. neoformans var. grubii, serotype A, and C. neoformans var. neoformans, serotype D. We analyzed the growth and pigment production characteristics of 139 strains of Cryptococcus spp. in L-tryptophan containing media. Nearly all strains of Cryptococcus, including each variety and serotype tested produced a pink water-soluble pigment (molecular weight of 535.2 Da) from L-tryptophan. Consequently, the partial separation of the species was based on whether the pink pigment was secreted into the medium (extracellular) or retained as an intracellular pigment. On L-tryptophan medium C. neoformans var. grubii and serotype AD produced a pink extracellular pigment. In contrast, for C. gattii, the pink pigment was localized intracellularly and masked by heavy production of brown pigments. Pigment production by C. neoformans var. neoformans was variable with some strains producing the pink extracellular pigment and others retained the pink pigment intracellularly. The pink intracellular pigment produced by strains of C. neoformans var. neoformans was masked by production of brown pigments. Cryptococcus laccase mutants failed to produce pigments from L-tryptophan. This is the first report that the enzyme laccase is involved in tryptophan metabolism. Prior to this report Cryptococcus laccase produced melanin or melanin like-pigments from heterocyclic compounds that contained ortho or para diphenols, diaminobenzenes and aminophenol compounds. The pigments produced from L-tryptophan were not melanin. PMID:24736553

  4. Mathematical modeling of pathogenicity of Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Garcia, Jacqueline; Shea, John; Alvarez-Vasquez, Fernando; Qureshi, Asfia; Luberto, Chiara; Voit, Eberhard O; Del Poeta, Maurizio

    2008-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn) is the most common cause of fungal meningitis worldwide. In infected patients, growth of the fungus can occur within the phagolysosome of phagocytic cells, especially in non-activated macrophages of immunocompromised subjects. Since this environment is characteristically acidic, Cn must adapt to low pH to survive and efficiently cause disease. In the present work, we designed, tested, and experimentally validated a theoretical model of the sphingolipid biochemical pathway in Cn under acidic conditions. Simulations of metabolic fluxes and enzyme deletions or downregulation led to predictions that show good agreement with experimental results generated post hoc and reconcile intuitively puzzling results. This study demonstrates how biochemical modeling can yield testable predictions and aid our understanding of fungal pathogenesis through the design and computational simulation of hypothetical experiments. PMID:18414484

  5. Growth and Pigment Production on d-Tryptophan Medium by Cryptococcus gattii, Cryptococcus neoformans, and Candida albicans▿

    PubMed Central

    Chaskes, Stuart; Frases, Susana; Cammer, Michael; Gerfen, Gary; Casadevall, Arturo

    2008-01-01

    Given the increasing prevalence of cryptococcosis caused by Cryptococcus gattii (serotypes B and C) strains, there is a need for rapid and reliable tests that discriminate C. gattii from Cryptococcus neoformans (serotypes A, D, and AD). Seventy-two C. neoformans strains, sixty-seven C. gattii strains, and five Candida albicans strains were analyzed for their ability to grow and produce pigment on minimal d-tryptophan d-proline (m-DTDP) medium, on yeast carbon base d-tryptophan d-proline (YCB-DTDP) medium, and on fructose d-tryptophan glycine (m-FDTG) medium. Of the C. gattii and C. neoformans isolates, 94% and 0% grew on m-DTDP agar, respectively, and 98% and 0% grew in YCB-DTDP medium, respectively. C. gattii produced large amounts of brown intracellular pigment(s) on m-DTDP agar and smaller amounts of yellow-brown (amber) extracellular pigment(s). C. albicans grew on both media and produced a pink photoactivated pigment on m-DTDP agar. C. gattii produced large amounts of brown intracellular pigments on the differential medium m-FDTG, whereas C. neoformans produced smaller amounts of the brown pigments and C. albicans produced a pink pigment. The pigments produced by C. gattii from d-tryptophan were distinct and were not related to melanin formation from 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine. Thin-layer chromatography of the methanol-extracted C. gattii cells detected four different pigments, including brown (two types), yellow, and pink-purple compounds. We conclude that tryptophan-derived pigments are not melanins and that growth on m-DTDP or YCB-DTDP agar can be used to rapidly differentiate C. gattii from C. neoformans. PMID:17989195

  6. Cryptococcus neoformans as a cause of bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia.

    PubMed

    Kessler, Alexander T; Al Kharrat, Tamim; Kourtis, Athena P

    2010-06-01

    The most frequent manifestations of Cryptococcus neoformans (CN) disease are systemic infections in immunocompromised patients and localized pulmonary disease in immunocompetent individuals. Such pulmonary cryptococcosis can range from asymptomatic infection to frank pneumonia that can be severe. Bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia (BOOP) is a rare severe form of pneumonitis caused by a variety of infectious and toxic agents or connective tissue diseases. BOOP due to Cryptococcus neoformans has very rarely been reported; there have been only five such case reports, mostly in immunocompromised patients. We report herein on a case of CN-associated BOOP in an immunocompetent individual and discuss the diagnosis and treatment of this entity. PMID:20169387

  7. Control of Cryptococcus neoformans in nature by biotic factors.

    PubMed

    Ruiz, A; Neilson, J B; Bulmer, G S

    1982-03-01

    Two bacterial species (Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Bacillus subtilis) isolated from pigeon droppings, displayed anti Cryptococcus neoformans activity on 4 of 6 media and sterilized pigeon droppings. Acanthamoeba palestinensis trophozoites isolated from pigeon droppings ingested and killed 99.9% of C neoformans cells after 7 days of incubation. Mites and sow bugs (Metoponorthus pruinosus) isolated from pigeon droppings appear to be fungivorous. These findings suggest that many organisms that occur in pigeon droppings influence C. neoformans persistence, reproduction, morphology and distribution in nature. PMID:6801787

  8. Ferric iron reduction by Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed Central

    Nyhus, K J; Wilborn, A T; Jacobson, E S

    1997-01-01

    The pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans must reduce Fe(III) to Fe(II) prior to uptake. We investigated mechanisms of reduction using the chromogenic ferrous chelator bathophenanthroline disulfonate. Iron-depleted cells reduced 57 nmol of Fe(III) per 10(6) cells per h, while iron-replete cells reduced only 8 nmol of Fe(III). Exponential-phase cells reduced the most and stationary-phase cells reduced the least Fe(III), independent of iron status. Supernatants from iron-depleted cells reduced up to 2 nmol of Fe(III) per 10(6) cells per h, while supernatants from iron-replete cells reduced 0.5 nmol of Fe(III), implying regulation of the secreted reductant(s). One such reductant is 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid (3HAA), which was found at concentrations up to 29 microM in iron-depleted cultures but <2 microM in cultures supplemented with iron. Moreover, when washed and resuspended in low iron medium, iron-depleted cells secreted 20.4 microM 3HAA, while iron-replete cells secreted only 4.5 microM 3HAA. Each mole of 3HAA reduced 3 mol of Fe(III), and increasing 3HAA concentrations correlated with increasing reducing activity of supernatants; however, 3HAA accounted for only half of the supernatant's reducing activity, indicating the presence of additional reductants. Finally, we found that melanized stationary-phase cells reduced 2 nmol of Fe(III) per 10(6) cells per h--16 times the rate of nonmelanized cells--suggesting that this redox polymer participates in reduction of Fe(III). PMID:9009293

  9. Cryptococcus neoformans: pseudohyphal forms surviving culture with Acanthamoeba polyphaga.

    PubMed Central

    Neilson, J B; Ivey, M H; Bulmer, G S

    1978-01-01

    During experiments on the gastrointestinal tract as a possible portal of entry for Cryptococcus neoformans, we occasionally observed the free-living amoeba, Acanthamoeba polyphaga, growing in the presence of C. neoformans cultured from mouse feces. Examination of the amoebic trophozoites revealed that they were engorged with yeast cells. Over a period of 2 to 3 weeks of incubation, the amoebae apparently killed most of the yeast cells. Some of the surviving C. neoformans cells formed atypical colonies which contained pseudohyphae. Seven other strains have since been cultured with this amoeba. Pseudohyphal forms were found among the surviving colonies in all strains tested. Virulence studies were performed on one randomly selected pseudohyphal isolate from each of the eight strains of C. neoformans. Pseudohyphal isolates from seven of the eight strains failed to kill mice 30 days after intracranial inoculation. The potential role of soil amoebae in the control of C. neoformans in nature is discussed. Images PMID:352931

  10. 21 CFR 866.3165 - Cryptococcus neoformans serological reagents.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 8 2014-04-01 2014-04-01 false Cryptococcus neoformans serological reagents. 866.3165 Section 866.3165 Food and Drugs FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (CONTINUED) MEDICAL DEVICES IMMUNOLOGY AND MICROBIOLOGY DEVICES Serological Reagents §...

  11. 21 CFR 866.3165 - Cryptococcus neoformans serological reagents.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 8 2010-04-01 2010-04-01 false Cryptococcus neoformans serological reagents. 866.3165 Section 866.3165 Food and Drugs FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (CONTINUED) MEDICAL DEVICES IMMUNOLOGY AND MICROBIOLOGY DEVICES Serological Reagents §...

  12. 21 CFR 866.3165 - Cryptococcus neoformans serological reagents.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 8 2012-04-01 2012-04-01 false Cryptococcus neoformans serological reagents. 866.3165 Section 866.3165 Food and Drugs FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (CONTINUED) MEDICAL DEVICES IMMUNOLOGY AND MICROBIOLOGY DEVICES Serological Reagents §...

  13. 21 CFR 866.3165 - Cryptococcus neoformans serological reagents.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 8 2011-04-01 2011-04-01 false Cryptococcus neoformans serological reagents. 866.3165 Section 866.3165 Food and Drugs FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (CONTINUED) MEDICAL DEVICES IMMUNOLOGY AND MICROBIOLOGY DEVICES Serological Reagents §...

  14. 21 CFR 866.3165 - Cryptococcus neoformans serological reagents.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-04-01

    ... 21 Food and Drugs 8 2013-04-01 2013-04-01 false Cryptococcus neoformans serological reagents. 866.3165 Section 866.3165 Food and Drugs FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (CONTINUED) MEDICAL DEVICES IMMUNOLOGY AND MICROBIOLOGY DEVICES Serological Reagents §...

  15. A genetic linkage map of Cryptococcus neoformans variety neoformans serotype D (Filobasidiella neoformans).

    PubMed Central

    Marra, Robert E; Huang, Johnny C; Fung, Eula; Nielsen, Kirsten; Heitman, Joseph; Vilgalys, Rytas; Mitchell, Thomas G

    2004-01-01

    To construct a genetic linkage map of the heterothallic yeast, Cryptococcus neoformans (Filobasidiella neoformans), we crossed two mating-compatible strains and analyzed 94 progeny for the segregation of 301 polymorphic markers, consisting of 228 restriction site polymorphisms, 63 microsatellites, two indels, and eight mating-type (MAT)-associated markers. All but six markers showed no significant (P < 0.05) segregation distortion. At a minimum LOD score of 6.0 and a maximum recombination frequency of 0.30, 20 linkage groups were resolved, resulting in a map length of approximately 1500 cM. Average marker density is 5.4 cM (range 1-28.7 cM). Hybridization of selected markers to blots of electrophoretic karyotypes unambiguously assigned all linkage groups to chromosomes and led us to conclude that the C. neoformans genome is approximately 20.2 Mb, comprising 14 chromosomes ranging in size from 0.8 to 2.3 Mb, with a ratio of approximately 13.2 kb/cM averaged across the genome. However, only 2 of 12 ungrouped markers hybridized to chromosome 10. The hybridizations revealed at least one possible reciprocal translocation involving chromosomes 8, 9, and 12. This map has been critical to genome sequence assembly and will be essential for future studies of quantitative trait inheritance. PMID:15238516

  16. Cryptococcus neoformans Yap1 is required for normal fluconazole and oxidative stress resistance.

    PubMed

    Paul, Sanjoy; Doering, Tamara L; Moye-Rowley, W Scott

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a pathogen that is the most common cause of fungal meningitis. As with most fungal pathogens, the most prevalent clinical antifungal used to treat Cryptococcosis is orally administered fluconazole. Resistance to this antifungal is an increasing concern in treatment of fungal disease in general. Our knowledge of the specific determinants involved in fluconazole resistance in Cryptococcus is limited. Here we report the identification of an important genetic determinant of fluconazole resistance in C. neoformans that encodes a basic region-leucine zipper transcription factor homologous to Saccharomyces cerevisiae Yap1. Expression of a codon-optimized form of the Cn YAP1 cDNA in S. cerevisiae complemented defects caused by loss of the endogenous S. cerevisiae YAP1 gene and activated transcription from a reporter gene construct. Mutant strains of C. neoformans lacking YAP1 were hypersensitive to a range of oxidative stress agents but importantly also to fluconazole. Loss of Yap1 homologues from other fungal pathogens like Candida albicans or Aspergillus fumigatus was previously found to cause oxidant hypersensitivity but had no detectable effect on fluconazole resistance. Our data provide evidence for a unique biological role of Yap1 in wild-type fluconazole resistance in C. neoformans.

  17. Interferon-γ promotes phagocytosis of Cryptococcus neoformans but not Cryptococcus gattii by murine macrophages.

    PubMed

    Ikeda-Dantsuji, Yurika; Ohno, Hideaki; Tanabe, Koichi; Umeyama, Takashi; Ueno, Keigo; Nagi, Minoru; Yamagoe, Satoshi; Kinjo, Yuki; Miyazaki, Yoshitsugu

    2015-12-01

    Among invasive fungal infections, cryptococcosis caused by inhalation of Cryptococcus neoformans or Cryptococcus gattii is particularly dangerous because it can disseminate to the central nervous system and cause life-threatening meningitis or meningoencephalitis. Previous reports described significant differences in the histopathological features of C. neoformans and C. gattii infection, such as greater pathogen proliferation and a limited macrophage response in mouse lung infected by C. gattii. To elucidate the difference in pathogenicity of these two Cryptococcus species, we investigated the interaction of C. neoformans and C. gattii with murine macrophages, the first line of host defense, by confocal laser microscopy. Only thin-capsulated, and not thick-capsulated C. neoformans and C. gattii were phagocytosed by macrophages. Preactivation with interferon-γ increased the phagocytic rate of thin-capsulated C. neoformans up to two-fold, but did not promote phagocytosis of thin-capsulated C. gattii. Lipopolysaccharide preactivation or Aspergillus fumigatus conidia co-incubation had no effect on internalization of thin-capsulated C. neoformans or C. gattii by macrophages. Phagocytosis of live thin-capsulated C. neoformans, but not that of live thin-capsulated C. gattii, induced interleukin-12 release from macrophages. However, phagocytosis of heat-killed or paraformaldehyde-fixed thin-capsulated C. neoformans did not increase IL-12 release, showing that the internalization of live yeast is important for initiating the immune response during C. neoformans-macrophage interactions. Our data suggest that macrophage response to C. gattii is limited compared with that to C. neoformans and that these results may partially explain the limited immune response and the greater pathogenicity of C. gattii.

  18. Multilocus sequence typing analysis reveals that Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans is a recombinant population

    PubMed Central

    Cogliati, Massimo; Zani, Alberto; Rickerts, Volker; McCormick, Ilka; Desnos-Ollivier, Marie; Velegraki, Aristea; Escandon, Patricia; Ichikawa, Tomoe; Ikeda, Reiko; Bienvenue, Anne-Lise; Tintelnot, Kathrin; Tore, Okan; Akcaglar, Sevim; Lockhart, Shawn; Tortorano, Anna Maria; Varma, Ashok

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans (serotype D) represents about 30% of the clinical isolates in Europe and is present less frequently in the other continents. It is the prevalent etiological agent in primary cutaneous cryptococcosis as well as in cryptococcal skin lesions of disseminated cryptococcosis. Very little is known about the genotypic diversity of this Cryptococcus subtype. The aim of this study was to investigate the genotypic diversity among a set of clinical and environmental C. neoformans var. neoformans isolates and to evaluate the relationship between genotypes, geographical origin and clinical manifestations. A total of 83 globally collected C. neoformans var. neoformans isolates from Italy, Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Turkey, Thailand, Japan, Colombia, and the USA, recovered from different sources (primary and secondary cutaneous cryptococcosis, disseminated cryptococcosis, the environment, and animals), were included in the study. All isolates were confirmed to belong to genotype VNIV by molecular typing and they were further investigated by MLST analysis. Maximum likelihood phylogenetic as well as network analysis strongly suggested the existence of a recombinant rather than a clonal population structure. Geographical origin and source of isolation were not correlated with a specific MLST genotype. The comparison with a set of outgroup C. neoformans var. grubii isolates provided clear evidence that the two varieties have different population structures. PMID:26768709

  19. Effect of different K+ concentrations on Cryptococcus neoformans phenoloxidase activity.

    PubMed

    Vidotto, Valerio; Defina, Nicola; Pugliese, Agostino; Aoki, Shigeji; Nakamura, Kenjrou; Takeo, Kanjj

    2002-01-01

    Melanin synthesis in Cryptococcus neoformans, catalyzed by phenoloxidase activity, is one of the oldest virulence factors known. However, until now, the relationship between melanin production in C. neoformans and its virulence has been poorly understood. Among different chemical compounds only Fe3+ and Cu2+ cations enhance the phenoloxidase activity in C. neoformans. A few reports in the literature describe the influence of different cations on C. neoformans phenoloxidase activity, excluding iron. In this study, 13 C. neoformans strains isolated from AIDS patients and 7 from bird droppings (B.D.), were examined in order to clarify the effect of different K+ concentrations on phenoloxidase activity. A new solid and liquid caffeic acid minimal synthetic medium (MSM-CAF) containing only caffeic acid and ferric citrate with different potassium concentrations was used to evaluate C. neoformans phenoloxidase activity. In the MSM-CAF solid medium the degree of brown pigmentation on the agar plates was read on days 1, 2 and 3 of incubation, and the pigmentation of the C. neoformans strains was classed into 5 categories. The brown pigment of the liquid MSM-CAF test tubes were checked after 24 hours of incubation by measuring the optical density (O.D.) at 480 nm. Three C. neoformans AIDS and B.D. strains, randomly chosen, were tested for phenoloxidase activity, according to the modified protocols of Polacheck et al., Torres-Guerrero et al. and Rhodes. According to the results obtained, it has been observed that K+ does not activate the phenoloxidase activity in the C. neoformans AIDS and B.D. strains. In particular, with an increase in potassium concentrations in the MSM-CAF solid and liquid medium, there was a corresponding inhibition of the phenoloxidase activity on both the C. neoformans AIDS and B.D. strains. PMID:12749580

  20. Serotyping of Cryptococcus neoformans Isolates from Clinical and Environmental Sources in Spain

    PubMed Central

    Baró, Teresa; Torres-Rodríguez, Josep M.; Morera, Yolanda; Alía, Concepción; López, Olga; Méndez, Raul

    1999-01-01

    We determined biovars and serotypes of 154 isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans from clinical and environmental sources from different areas of Spain. All clinical isolates belonged to C. neoformans var. neoformans. Serotypes showed an irregular distribution. C. neoformans var. gattii serotype B was isolated from necropsy specimens from goats with pulmonary disease. PMID:10074545

  1. Antibody Response to Cryptococcus neoformans Proteins in Rodents and Humans

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Lin-Chi; Goldman, David L.; Doering, Tamara L.; Pirofski, Liise-anne; Casadevall, Arturo

    1999-01-01

    The prevalence and specificity of serum antibodies to Cryptococcus neoformans proteins was studied in mice and rats with experimental infection, in individuals with or without a history of potential laboratory exposure to C. neoformans, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive individuals who developed cryptococcosis, in matched samples from HIV-positive individuals who did not develop cryptococcosis, and in HIV-negative individuals. Rodents had little or no serum antibody reactive with C. neoformans proteins prior to infection. The intensity and specificity of the rodent antibody response were dependent on the species, the mouse strain, and the viability of the inoculum. All humans had serum antibodies reactive with C. neoformans proteins regardless of the potential exposure, the HIV infection status, or the subsequent development of cryptococcosis. Our results indicate (i) a high prevalence of antibodies reactive with C. neoformans proteins in the sera of rodents after cryptococcal infection and in humans with or without HIV infection; (ii) qualitative and quantitative differences in the antibody profiles of HIV-positive individuals; and (iii) similarities and differences between humans, mice, and rats with respect to the specificity of the antibodies reactive with C. neoformans proteins. The results are consistent with the view that C. neoformans infections are common in human populations, and the results have implications for the development of vaccination strategies against cryptococcosis. PMID:10225877

  2. Morphotype-specific effector functions of Cryptococcus neoformans PUM1

    PubMed Central

    Kaur, Jan Naseer; Panepinto, John C.

    2016-01-01

    The basidiomycete fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans requires the PUF protein, Pum1, for hyphal morphogenesis during sexual development. In this study we found that Pum1 was auto-repressive under growth as yeast, but that auto-repression was relieved during filamentous growth through utilization of an alternative transcription start site driven by the master filamentation regulator Znf2. In addition, Pum1 was required to stabilize the ZNF2 mRNA through an indirect mechanism suggesting that Znf2 and Pum1 each positively regulate the expression of the other to achieve the filamentous morphotype required for sexual development in Cryptococcus. PMID:27008977

  3. Morphotype-specific effector functions of Cryptococcus neoformans PUM1.

    PubMed

    Kaur, Jan Naseer; Panepinto, John C

    2016-01-01

    The basidiomycete fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans requires the PUF protein, Pum1, for hyphal morphogenesis during sexual development. In this study we found that Pum1 was auto-repressive under growth as yeast, but that auto-repression was relieved during filamentous growth through utilization of an alternative transcription start site driven by the master filamentation regulator Znf2. In addition, Pum1 was required to stabilize the ZNF2 mRNA through an indirect mechanism suggesting that Znf2 and Pum1 each positively regulate the expression of the other to achieve the filamentous morphotype required for sexual development in Cryptococcus. PMID:27008977

  4. Targeted Genome Editing via CRISPR in the Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Arras, Samantha D. M.; Chua, Sheena M. H.; Wizrah, Maha S. I.; Faint, Joshua A.; Yap, Amy S.; Fraser, James A.

    2016-01-01

    Low rates of homologous integration have hindered molecular genetic studies in Cryptococcus neoformans over the past 20 years, and new tools that facilitate genome manipulation in this important pathogen are greatly needed. To this end, we have investigated the use of a Class 2 CRISPR system in C. neoformans (formerly C. neoformans var. grubii). We first expressed a derivative of the Streptococcus pyogenes Cas9 nuclease in C. neoformans, and showed that it has no effect on growth, production of virulence factors in vitro, or virulence in a murine inhalation model. In proof of principle experiments, we tested the CAS9 construct in combination with multiple self-cleaving guide RNAs targeting the well-characterized phosphoribosylaminoamidazole carboxylase-encoding ADE2 gene. Utilizing combinations of transient and stable expression of our constructs, we revealed that functionality of our CRISPR constructs in C. neoformans is dependent upon the CAS9 construct being stably integrated into the genome, whilst transient expression of the guide RNA is sufficient to enhance rates of homologous recombination in the CAS9 genetic background. Given that the presence of the CRISPR nuclease does not influence virulence in a murine inhalation model, we have successfully demonstrated that this system is compatible with studies of C. neoformans pathogenesis and represents a powerful tool that can be exploited by researchers in the field. PMID:27711143

  5. Galactoxylomannans from Cryptococcus neoformans Varieties neoformans and grubii Are Structurally and Antigenically Variable▿

    PubMed Central

    De Jesus, Magdia; Chow, Siu-Kei; Cordero, Radames J. B.; Frases, Susana; Casadevall, Arturo

    2010-01-01

    Prior studies have established that the Cryptococcus neoformans capsular polysaccharide component galactoxylomannan (GalXM) manifests serotype-related structural differences that translate into antigenic differences. We analyzed GalXM from acapsular serotype A and D strains by carbohydrate analysis and static and dynamic light scattering to determine mass, effective diameter, polydispersity, and diffusion coefficients. Multiangle laser light scattering showed that GalXM from C. neoformans var. grubii strain cap59 (serotype A) had larger molecular mass (4.21 × 106 ± 0.95 × 106 g/mol) and radius of gyration (207 ± 27 nm) than GalXM from C. neoformans var. neoformans cap67 (serotype D). cap67 GalXM had corresponding values of 0.70 × 106 ± 0.05 × 106 g/mol and 120 ± 22 nm, respectively. The effective diameter for GalXM and polydispersity from the two strains varied depending on temperature and medium growth conditions, indicating that GalXM structure can vary within a strain, depending on its environment. Zeta potential determinations were negative for GalXM from both strains under all conditions, consistent with the recently reported presence of glucuronic acid. These results imply that C. neoformans GalXM, like glucuronoxylomannan, can manifest variety- and growth condition-related variations. Analysis of 16 C. neoformans and 7 Cryptococcus gattii strains with polyclonal antibody to a GalXM strain revealed antigenic similarities among the C. neoformans variety neoformans and grubii strains and no reactivity with C. gattii. As a result of the deleterious effects of GalXM on immune function, structural and antigenic variability between serotypes may translate into differences in immunomodulatory effects. PMID:20061411

  6. Galactoxylomannans from Cryptococcus neoformans varieties neoformans and grubii are structurally and antigenically variable.

    PubMed

    De Jesus, Magdia; Chow, Siu-Kei; Cordero, Radames J B; Frases, Susana; Casadevall, Arturo

    2010-07-01

    Prior studies have established that the Cryptococcus neoformans capsular polysaccharide component galactoxylomannan (GalXM) manifests serotype-related structural differences that translate into antigenic differences. We analyzed GalXM from acapsular serotype A and D strains by carbohydrate analysis and static and dynamic light scattering to determine mass, effective diameter, polydispersity, and diffusion coefficients. Multiangle laser light scattering showed that GalXM from C. neoformans var. grubii strain cap59 (serotype A) had larger molecular mass (4.21 x 10(6) +/- 0.95 x 10(6) g/mol) and radius of gyration (207 +/- 27 nm) than GalXM from C. neoformans var. neoformans cap67 (serotype D). cap67 GalXM had corresponding values of 0.70 x 10(6) +/- 0.05 x 10(6) g/mol and 120 +/- 22 nm, respectively. The effective diameter for GalXM and polydispersity from the two strains varied depending on temperature and medium growth conditions, indicating that GalXM structure can vary within a strain, depending on its environment. Zeta potential determinations were negative for GalXM from both strains under all conditions, consistent with the recently reported presence of glucuronic acid. These results imply that C. neoformans GalXM, like glucuronoxylomannan, can manifest variety- and growth condition-related variations. Analysis of 16 C. neoformans and 7 Cryptococcus gattii strains with polyclonal antibody to a GalXM strain revealed antigenic similarities among the C. neoformans variety neoformans and grubii strains and no reactivity with C. gattii. As a result of the deleterious effects of GalXM on immune function, structural and antigenic variability between serotypes may translate into differences in immunomodulatory effects.

  7. In vitro interactions of immune lymphocytes and Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed Central

    Fung, P Y; Murphy, J W

    1982-01-01

    CBA/J mice immunized subcutaneously with emulsions of heat-killed Cryptococcus neoformans in complete Freund adjuvant displayed delayed-type hypersensitivity to cryptococcal culture filtrate antigen and developed sensitized splenic lymphoid cells which inhibited the growth of C. neoformans in vitro. The in vitro assay of growth inhibition served to investigate further the kinetics of the effect of sensitized lymphoid cells on the pathogen. There was a close correlation between the delayed-type hypersensitivity response in mice and inhibition of growth of C. neoformans by lymphoid cells. Sensitized splenic lymphocytes capable of inhibiting the growth of the cryptococci were detected at day 6 after immunization and reached maximum levels by days 8 through 16. Inhibition of growth was highest with effector-to-target cell ratios of 300:1 or greater. Inhibition of growth of C. neoformans by sensitized lymphoid cells was detectable as early as 4 h after effector and target cells were mixed and increased gradually, reaching a maximum at 24 h, but dropped significantly by 48 h. By supplementing the reaction mixtures with fresh medium or additional sensitized effector cells during incubation, the inhibition of growth of C. neoformans could be maintained through 48 h. C. neoformans-sensitized effector lymphoid populations not only inhibited the growth of the pathogen in vitro but also restricted C. neoformans proliferation in various vital organs upon transfer to naive recipient animals, indicating that the in vitro growth inhibition assay may be a means of assessing the resistance of animals to C. neoformans. The effector cells from sensitized animals were nylon wool-nonadherent Thy-1+ and Ia+ lymphocytes. PMID:7047393

  8. Immunity to Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii during cryptococcosis

    PubMed Central

    Gibson, Josie F.; Johnston, Simon A.

    2015-01-01

    The vast majority of infection with cryptococcal species occurs with Cryptococcus neoformans in the severely immunocompromised. A significant exception to this is the infections of those with apparently normal immune systems by Cryptococcus gattii. Susceptibility to cryptococcosis can be broadly categorised as a defect in adaptive immune responses, especially in T cell immunity. However, innate immune cells such as macrophages play a key role and are likely the primary effector cell in the killing and ultimate clearance of cryptococcal infection. In this review we discuss the current state of our understanding of how the immune system responds to cryptococcal infection in health and disease, with reference to the work communicated at the 9th International Conference on Cryptococcus and Cryptococcosis (ICCC9). We have focussed on cell mediated responses, particularly early in infection, but with the aim of presenting a broad overview of our understanding of immunity to cryptococcal infection, highlighting some recent advances and offering some perspectives on future directions. PMID:25498576

  9. DAP12 Inhibits Pulmonary Immune Responses to Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Heung, Lena J; Hohl, Tobias M

    2016-06-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that is inhaled into the lungs and can lead to life-threatening meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised patients. Currently, the molecular mechanisms that regulate the mammalian immune response to respiratory cryptococcal challenge remain poorly defined. DAP12, a signaling adapter for multiple pattern recognition receptors in myeloid and natural killer (NK) cells, has been shown to play both activating and inhibitory roles during lung infections by different bacteria and fungi. In this study, we demonstrate that DAP12 plays an important inhibitory role in the immune response to C. neoformans Infectious outcomes in DAP12(-/-) mice, including survival and lung fungal burden, are significantly improved compared to those in C57BL/6 wild-type (WT) mice. We find that eosinophils and macrophages are decreased while NK cells are increased in the lungs of infected DAP12(-/-) mice. In contrast to WT NK cells, DAP12(-/-) NK cells are able to repress C. neoformans growth in vitro Additionally, DAP12(-/-) macrophages are more highly activated than WT macrophages, with increased production of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and CCL5/RANTES and more efficient uptake and killing of C. neoformans These findings suggest that DAP12 acts as a brake on the pulmonary immune response to C. neoformans by promoting pulmonary eosinophilia and by inhibiting the activation and antifungal activities of effector cells, including NK cells and macrophages. PMID:27068093

  10. Cryptococcus neoformans melanin and virulence: mechanism of action.

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Y; Aisen, P; Casadevall, A

    1995-01-01

    Black melanin-like pigments are produced by several neurotropic fungi, including Cryptococcus neoformans. Pigment production is associated with virulence. In media containing phenolic substrates such as L-dopa, C. neoformans cells become black as a result of pigment accumulation. Pigmented and nonpigmented C. neoformans cells were studied with transmission electron microscopy and electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy. Transmission electron microscopy showed electron-dense cell walls, and ESR spectroscopy revealed a stable free-radical population in pigmented cells. The ESR signals of pigmented cells were increased by light, alkaline pH, and Zn2+ and decreased by acid pH, indicating that the black pigment was a type of melanin. A mutant deficient in melanin synthesis (mel) generated by UV radiation lacked ESR-detectable radicals, was less virulent for mice, was more susceptible to killing by nitrogen- and oxygen-derived radicals, and had 100-foldless phenoloxidase activity than the parent strain. The interaction of melanized C. neoformans, nonmelanized C. neoformans, and the hypomelanotic mel mutant with J774.16 murine macrophage-like cells was studied. Melanized cells were more resistant to antibody-mediated phagocytosis and the antifungal effects of murine macrophages than nonmelanized cells. Small increases in the intensity of the ESR signals of melanized cells in solutions containing chemically generated oxygen- and nitrogen-derived radicals indicated electron transfer to or from melanin. Melanin appears to contribute to virulence by protecting fungal cells against attack by immune effector cells. PMID:7622240

  11. The capsule of the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Zaragoza, Oscar; Rodrigues, Marcio L.; De Jesus, Magdia; Frases, Susana; Dadachova, Ekaterina; Casadevall, Arturo

    2009-01-01

    The capsule of the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans has been studied extensively in recent decades, and a large body of information is now available to the scientific community. Well-known aspects of the capsule include its structure, antigenic properties and its function as a virulence factor. The capsule is composed primarily of two polysaccharides, glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) and galactoxylomannan (GalXM), in addition to a smaller proportion of mannoproteins (MP). Most of the studies on the composition of the capsule have focused on GXM, which comprises more than 90% of the capsule's polysaccharide mass. It is GalXM, however, that is of particular scientific interest because of its immunological properties. The molecular structure of these polysaccharides is very complex and has not yet been fully elucidated. Both GXM and GalXM are high molecular mass polymers with the mass of GXM equaling roughly 10 times that of GalXM. Recent findings suggest, however, that the actual Mw might be different to what it has traditionally been thought to be. In addition to their structural roles in the polysaccharide capsule, these molecules have been associated with many deleterious effects on the immune response. Capsular components are therefore considered key virulence determinants in Cryptococcus neoformans, which has motivated their use in vaccines and made them targets for monoclonal antibody treatments. In this review we will provide an update on the current knowledge of the C. neoformans capsule, covering aspects related to its structure, synthesis, and particularly, its role as a virulence factor. PMID:19426855

  12. Systematic functional profiling of transcription factor networks in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Jung, Kwang-Woo; Yang, Dong-Hoon; Maeng, Shinae; Lee, Kyung-Tae; So, Yee-Seul; Hong, Joohyeon; Choi, Jaeyoung; Byun, Hyo-Jeong; Kim, Hyelim; Bang, Soohyun; Song, Min-Hee; Lee, Jang-Won; Kim, Min Su; Kim, Seo-Young; Ji, Je-Hyun; Park, Goun; Kwon, Hyojeong; Cha, Suyeon; Meyers, Gena Lee; Wang, Li Li; Jang, Jooyoung; Janbon, Guilhem; Adedoyin, Gloria; Kim, Taeyup; Averette, Anna K; Heitman, Joseph; Cheong, Eunji; Lee, Yong-Hwan; Lee, Yin-Won; Bahn, Yong-Sun

    2015-04-07

    Cryptococcus neoformans causes life-threatening meningoencephalitis in humans, but its overall biological and pathogenic regulatory circuits remain elusive, particularly due to the presence of an evolutionarily divergent set of transcription factors (TFs). Here, we report the construction of a high-quality library of 322 signature-tagged gene-deletion strains for 155 putative TF genes previously predicted using the DNA-binding domain TF database, and examine their in vitro and in vivo phenotypic traits under 32 distinct growth conditions. At least one phenotypic trait is exhibited by 145 out of 155 TF mutants (93%) and ∼85% of them (132/155) are functionally characterized for the first time in this study. The genotypic and phenotypic data for each TF are available in the C. neoformans TF phenome database (http://tf.cryptococcus.org). In conclusion, our phenome-based functional analysis of the C. neoformans TF mutant library provides key insights into transcriptional networks of basidiomycetous fungi and human fungal pathogens.

  13. Isolation of Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans from bird droppings, fruits and vegetables in Mexico City.

    PubMed

    López-Martínez, R; Castañón-Olivares, L R

    1995-01-01

    The presence of Cryptococcus neoformans in various natural sources, such as bird droppings, fruits and vegetables, was investigated. A total of 711 samples were analyzed; C. neoformans var. neoformans was isolated from seven out of 74 bird droppings (9.5%), with parrots as one of the most significant sources. Fruits were positive in 9.5% of the 169 samples studied, specially citrus fruits, particularly grapefruit, in which the highest frequency was found. From the 468 vegetable samples, only 20 were positive (4.2%). It is emphasized that five of the positive vegetables species are autochthonous to Mexico: avocado (Nectandra salicifolia), beet (Beta vulgaris var. quinopodiace), chayote (Sechium edule), stringbean (Cassia sp), and nopal (Opuntia ficus-indica). PMID:7617014

  14. Light microscopy of basidia, basidiospores, and nuclei in spores and hyphae of Filobasidiella neoformans (Cryptococcus neoformans).

    PubMed Central

    Erke, K H

    1976-01-01

    Three hypha-forming strains of Cryptococcus neoformans were induced to form basidia and basidiospores. Light microscopy showed that basidia formed at the ends of terminal hyphal cells and were able to produce from a few to many basidiospores. The morphology of the sexual structures indicated that these strains belonged to the recently described perfect state of C. neoformans, Filobasidiella neoformans. The average dimensions of the basidiospores were 1.9 mum in width by 2.7 mum in length. Giemsa staining revealed that dikaryotic cells were formed in all three strains. Only one strain had both terminal and subterminal dikaryons, indicating functional clamp connections, whereas the two remaining strains had dikaryons restricted to the terminal cells. Basidiospores of two strains were mononucleate, and yeast cell clones derived from single basidiospores of these two strains were able to complete the sexual life cycle, thus indicating their primary homothallic nature. Images PMID:789347

  15. Capsule of Cryptococcus neoformans grows by enlargement of polysaccharide molecules.

    PubMed

    Frases, Susana; Pontes, Bruno; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Viana, Nathan B; Rodrigues, Marcio L; Casadevall, Arturo

    2009-01-27

    The human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans has a distinctive polysaccharide (PS) capsule that enlarges during infection. The capsule is essential for virulence, but the mechanism for capsular growth is unknown. In the present study, we used dynamic light scattering (LS) analysis of capsular PS and optical tweezers (OT) to explore the architecture of the capsule. Analysis of capsular PS from cells with small and large capsules by dynamic LS revealed a linear correlation between PS effective diameter and microscopic capsular diameter. This result implied that capsule growth was achieved by the addition of molecules with larger effective diameter, such that some molecules can span the entire diameter of the capsule. Measurement of polystyrene bead penetration of C. neoformans capsules by using OT techniques revealed that the outer regions were penetrable, but not the inner regions. Our results provide a mechanism for capsular enlargement based on the axial lengthening of PS molecules and suggest a model for the architecture of a eukaryotic microbial capsule.

  16. Temporal Kinetics and Quantitative Analysis of Cryptococcus neoformans Nonlytic Exocytosis

    PubMed Central

    Stukes, Sabriya A.; Cohen, Hillel W.

    2014-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a facultative intracellular pathogen and the causative agent of cryptococcosis, a disease that is often fatal to those with compromised immune systems. C. neoformans has the capacity to escape phagocytic cells through a process known as nonlytic exocytosis whereby the cryptococcal cell is released from the macrophage into the extracellular environment, leaving both the host and pathogen alive. Little is known about the mechanism behind nonlytic exocytosis, but there is evidence that both the fungal and host cells contribute to the process. In this study, we used time-lapse movies of C. neoformans-infected macrophages to delineate the kinetics and quantitative aspects of nonlytic exocytosis. We analyzed approximately 800 macrophages containing intracellular C. neoformans and identified 163 nonlytic exocytosis events that were further characterized into three subcategories: type I (complete emptying of macrophage), type II (partial emptying of macrophage), and type III (cell-to-cell transfer). The majority of type I and II events occurred after several hours of intracellular residence, whereas type III events occurred significantly (P < 0.001) earlier in the course of macrophage infection. Our results show that nonlytic exocytosis is a morphologically and temporally diverse process that occurs relatively rapidly in the course of macrophage infection. PMID:24595144

  17. Production of diagnostic pigment by phenoloxidase activity of cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Shaw, C E; Kapica, L

    1972-11-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans produces brown pigmented colonies when grown on agar media made from an extract of potatoes and carrots, broad beans (Vicia faba), or Guizotia abyssinica seeds. Since other yeasts do not produce the pigment, these media are useful as differential isolation media for C. neoformans. Similar specific pigment was produced by C. neoformans on chemically defined agar media which contained six different substrates of phenoloxidase (o-diphenol: oxygen oxidoreductase EC 1.10.3.1) an enzyme which catalyses the oxidation of o-diphenols to melanin. Substrates were incorporated singly into the media and included L-3, 4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA), chlorogenic acid, protocatechuic acid, catechol, norepinephrine, and 3-hydroxytyramine hydrochloride (dopamine). No pigment was produced on media without substrate. Phenoloxidase activity in (NH(4))(2)SO(4) precipitates of C. neoformans cell-free extract was assayed by measuring increases in absorbance at 480 nm produced in solutions of L-DOPA. This reaction showed oxygen uptake and was effectively inhibited by copper chelators, but not by catalase. The enzyme also oxidized the five other substrates which induced pigment formation. Electron micrographs of cells incubated in L-DOPA showed deposition of the pigment in the cell wall. PMID:4118328

  18. Radioimmunotherapy of Cryptococcus neoformans spares bystander mammalian cells

    PubMed Central

    Bryan, Ruth A; Jiang, Zewei; Morgenstern, Alfred; Bruchertseifer, Frank; Casadevall, Arturo; Dadachova, Ekaterina

    2013-01-01

    Aim Previously, we showed that radioimmunotherapy (RIT) for cryptococcal infections using radioactively labeled antibodies recognizing the cryptococcal capsule reduced fungal burden and prolonged survival of mice infected with Cryptococcus neoformans. Here, we investigate the effects of RIT on bystander mammalian cells. Materials & methods Heat-killed C. neoformans bound to anticapsular antibodies, unlabeled or labeled with the β-emitter rhenium-188 (16.9-h half-life) or the α-emitter bismuth-213 (46-min half-life), was incubated with macrophage-like J774.16 cells or epithelial-like Chinese hamster ovary cells. Lactate dehydrogenase activity, crystal violet uptake, reduction of tetrazolium dye (2,3)-bis-(2-methoxy-4-nitro-5-sulfenyl)-(2H)-terazolium-5-carboxanilide and nitric oxide production were measured. Results The J774.16 and Chinese hamster ovary cells maintained membrane integrity, viability and metabolic activity following exposure to radiolabeled C. neoformans. Conclusion RIT of C. neoformans is a selective therapy with minimal effects on host cells and these results are consistent with observations that RIT-treated mice with cryptococcal infection lacked RIT-related pathological changes in lungs and brain tissues. PMID:24020737

  19. In vitro antifungal synergy between amphiphilic aminoglycoside K20 and azoles against Candida species and Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Shrestha, Sanjib K; Grilley, Michelle; Anderson, Thomas; Dhiman, Christine; Oblad, John; Chang, Cheng-Wei T; Sorensen, Kevin N; Takemoto, Jon Y

    2015-11-01

    Several azoles are widely used to treat human fungal infections. Increasing resistance to these azoles has prompted exploration of their synergistic antifungal activities when combined with other agents. The amphiphilic aminoglycoside, K20, was recently shown to inhibit filamentous fungi, yeasts and heterokonts, but not bacteria. In this study, in vitro synergistic growth inhibition by combinations of K20 and azoles (fluconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole, clotrimazole, or posaconazole) were examined against Candida species and Cryptococcus neoformans. Checkerboard microbroth dilution, time-kill curve, and disk diffusion assays revealed that K20 has synergistic inhibitory activities with all five azoles against C. albicans including azole-resistant C. albicans strains ATCC 64124 and ATCC 10231. Four (fluconazole, itraconazole, clotrimazole, posaconazole) and three (fluconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole) azoles were synergistically inhibitory with K20 against C. lusitaniae and C. tropicalis, respectively. Only posaconazole showed synergy with K20 against two Cryptococcus neoformans strains (90-26 and VR-54). Time-kill curves with azole-resistant C. albicans 64124 and azole-sensitive C. albicans MYA-2876 confirmed the K20-azole synergistic interactions with a ≥ 2 log10 decrease in colony-forming units (CFU)/ml compared with the corresponding azoles alone. These results suggest that combinations of K20 and azoles offer a possible strategy for developing therapies against candidiasis.

  20. Isolation of Cryptococcus neoformans and other opportunistic fungi from pigeon droppings

    PubMed Central

    Soltani, Maryam; Bayat, Mansour; Hashemi, Seyed J.; Zia, Mohammadali; Pestechian, Nader

    2013-01-01

    Background: Invasive fungal infections cause considerable morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised hosts. Pigeon droppings could especially be a potential carrier in the spread of pathogenic yeasts and mold fungi into the environment. The objective of this study was to isolation of Cryptococcus neoformans and other opportunistic fungi from pigeon droppings. Materials and Methods: One hundred twenty samples of pigeon droppings were suspended 1:10 in saline solution and then cultured. Identification of C. neoformans was performed on bird seed agar, presence of a capsule on India ink preparation, urease production on urea agar medium and RapID yeast plus system. The identification of candida species was based on micro-morphological analysis on corn meal-Tween 80 agar, RapID yeast plus system and growth in CHROMagar candida. The identification of other fungi was based on macromorphologic, microscopic, biochemical and physiological characteristics. Results: The highest frequency of yeasts and mold fungi were observed in Candida albicans 6.6% and Penicillium spp. 25%. The frequency rate of C. neoformans isolation was 2.5%. Conclusion: Several types of fungi are present in pigeon droppings that can spread in environment and transmit to children and elderly as well as immunocompromised patients who are at increased risk of contracting opportunistic diseases. PMID:23901339

  1. Antifungal activity from Ocimum gratissimum L. towards Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Lemos, Janine de Aquino; Passos, Xisto Sena; Fernandes, Orionalda de Fátima Lisboa; Paula, José Realino de; Ferri, Pedro Henrique; Souza, Lúcia Kioko Hasimoto E; Lemos, Aline de Aquino; Silva, Maria do Rosário Rodrigues

    2005-02-01

    Cryptococcal infection had an increased incidence in last years due to the explosion of acquired immune deficiency syndrome epidemic and by using new and effective immunosuppressive agents. The currently antifungal therapies used such as amphotericin B, fluconazole, and itraconazole have certain limitations due to side effects and emergence of resistant strains. So, a permanent search to find new drugs for cryptococcosis treatment is essential. Ocimum gratissimum, plant known as alfavaca (Labiatae family), has been reported earlier with in vitro activity against some bacteria and dermatophytes. In our work, we study the in vitro activity of the ethanolic crude extract, ethyl acetate, hexane, and chloroformic fractions, essential oil, and eugenol of O. gratissimum using an agar dilution susceptibility method towards 25 isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans. All the extracts of O. gratissimum studied showed activity in vitro towards C. neoformans. Based on the minimal inhibitory concentration values the most significant results were obtained with chloroformic fraction and eugenol. It was observed that chloroformic fraction inhibited 23 isolates (92%) of C. neoformans at a concentration of 62.5 microg/ml and eugenol inhibited 4 isolates (16%) at a concentration of 0.9 microg/ml. This screening may be the basis for the study of O. gratissimum as a possible antifungal agent. PMID:15867965

  2. The capsule of the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Zaragoza, Oscar; Rodrigues, Marcio L; De Jesus, Magdia; Frases, Susana; Dadachova, Ekaterina; Casadevall, Arturo

    2009-01-01

    The capsule of the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans has been studied extensively in recent decades and a large body of information is now available to the scientific community. Well-known aspects of the capsule include its structure, antigenic properties and its function as a virulence factor. The capsule is composed primarily of two polysaccharides, glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) and galactoxylomannan (GalXM), in addition to a smaller proportion of mannoproteins (MPs). Most of the studies on the composition of the capsule have focused on GXM, which comprises more than 90% of the capsule's polysaccharide mass. It is GalXM, however, that is of particular scientific interest because of its immunological properties. The molecular structure of these polysaccharides is very complex and has not yet been fully elucidated. Both GXM and GalXM are high molecular mass polymers with the mass of GXM equaling roughly 10 times that of GalXM. Recent findings suggest, however, that the actual molecular weight might be different to what it has traditionally been thought to be. In addition to their structural roles in the polysaccharide capsule, these molecules have been associated with many deleterious effects on the immune response. Capsular components are therefore considered key virulence determinants in C. neoformans, which has motivated their use in vaccines and made them targets for monoclonal antibody treatments. In this review, we will provide an update on the current knowledge of the C. neoformans capsule, covering aspects related to its structure, synthesis and particularly, its role as a virulence factor.

  3. Role of Cln1 during melanization of Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    García-Rodas, Rocío; Trevijano-Contador, Nuria; Román, Elvira; Janbon, Guilhem; Moyrand, Frédérique; Pla, Jesús; Casadevall, Arturo; Zaragoza, Oscar

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that has several well-described virulence determinants. A polysaccharide capsule and the ability to produce melanin are among the most important. Melanization occurs both in vitro, in the presence of catecholamine and indole compounds, and in vivo during the infection. Despite the importance of melanin production for cryptococcal virulence, the component and mechanisms involved in its synthesis have not been fully elucidated. In this work, we describe the role of a G1/S cyclin (Cln1) in the melanization process. Cln1 has evolved specifically with proteins present only in other basidiomycetes. We found that Cln1 is required for the cell wall stability and production of melanin in C. neoformans. Absence of melanization correlated with a defect in the expression of the LAC1 gene. The relation between cell cycle elements and melanization was confirmed by the effect of drugs that cause cell cycle arrest at a specific phase, such as rapamycin. The cln1 mutant was consistently more susceptible to oxidative damage in a medium that induces melanization. Our results strongly suggest a novel and hitherto unrecognized role for C. neoformans Cln1 in the expression of virulence traits. PMID:26322026

  4. The Cryptococcus neoformans Capsule: a Sword and a Shield

    PubMed Central

    O'Meara, Teresa R.

    2012-01-01

    Summary: The human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans is characterized by its ability to induce a distinct polysaccharide capsule in response to a number of host-specific environmental stimuli. The induction of capsule is a complex biological process encompassing regulation at multiple steps, including the biosynthesis, transport, and maintenance of the polysaccharide at the cell surface. By precisely regulating the composition of its cell surface and secreted polysaccharides, C. neoformans has developed intricate ways to establish chronic infection and dormancy in the human host. The plasticity of the capsule structure in response to various host conditions also underscores the complex relationship between host and parasite. Much of this precise regulation of capsule is achieved through the transcriptional responses of multiple conserved signaling pathways that have been coopted to regulate this C. neoformans-specific virulence-associated phenotype. This review focuses on specific host stimuli that trigger the activation of the signal transduction cascades and on the downstream transcriptional responses that are required for robust encapsulation around the cell. PMID:22763631

  5. Histone deacetylases inhibitors effects on Cryptococcus neoformans major virulence phenotypes

    PubMed Central

    Brandão, Fabiana AS; Derengowski, Lorena S; Albuquerque, Patrícia; Nicola, André M; Silva-Pereira, Ildinete; Poças-Fonseca, Marcio J

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans undergoes phenotypical changes during host infection in order to promote persistence and survival. Studies have demonstrated that such adaptations require alterations in gene transcription networks by distinct mechanisms. Drugs such as the histone deacetylases inhibitors (HDACi) Sodium Butyrate (NaBut) and Trichostatin A (TSA) can alter the chromatin conformation and have been used to modulate epigenetic states in the treatment of diseases such as cancer. In this work, we have studied the effect of NaBut and TSA on the expression of C. neoformans major virulence phenotypes and on the survival rate of an animal model infected with drugs-treated yeasts. Both drugs affected fungal growth at 37°C more intensely than at 30°C; nonetheless, drugs did not affect cell viability at the concentrations we studied. HDACi also provoked the reduction of the fungal capsule expansion. Phospholipases enzyme activity decreased; mating process and melanin synthesis were also affected by both inhibitors. NaBut led to an increase in the population of cells in G2/M. Treated yeast cells, which were washed in order to remove the drugs from the culture medium prior to the inoculation in the Galleria mellonela infection model, did not cause significant difference at the host survival curve when compared to non-treated cells. Overall, NaBut effects on the impairment of C. neoformans main virulence factors were more intense and stable than the TSA effects. PMID:26103530

  6. Molecular typing of clinical isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans/Cryptococcus gattii species complex from Northeast Mexico.

    PubMed

    González, Gloria M; Casillas-Vega, Néstor; Garza-González, Elvira; Hernández-Bello, Romel; Rivera, Gildardo; Rodríguez, Jesús Ancer; Bocanegra-Garcia, Virgilio

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcosis is caused by members of the Cryptococcus neoformans/Cryptococcus gattii species complex. Based on molecular identification, these two species have been further differentiated into molecular types. The aim of this work was to characterize clinical cryptococcal isolates recovered from six hospitals in Northeast Mexico from 1995 to 2011. One hundred and sixty-six isolates, which were characterized by biochemical tests and in vitro susceptibility to amphotericin B, fluconazole, and voriconazole, and M13 PCR fingerprinting, were included in this study. Utilizing phenotypic tests, 153 isolates (92.16 %) were identified as C. neoformans and 13 (7.83 %) as C. gattii. All isolates were susceptible to all antifungals tested. Employing M13 PCR fingerprinting, eight molecular types were detected. VNI was the most common genotype (124 cases; 74.6 %), followed by VNII (15 cases; 9 %), VNIII (8 cases; 4.8 %), VNIV (6 cases; 3.6 %), VGI (6 cases; 3.6 %), VGII (3 cases; 1.8 %), and VGIII and VGIV (2 cases, 1.2 % each). We confirm the presence of C. gattii in clinical isolates in Northeast Mexico, and a high clonal diversity in the studied strains of C. neoformans/C. gattii species complex.

  7. Cryptococcus neoformans Host Adaptation: Toward Biological Evidence of Dormancy

    PubMed Central

    Vernel-Pauillac, Frédérique; Sturny-Leclère, Aude; Dromer, Françoise

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Cryptococcosis is an opportunistic infection due to the ubiquitous yeast Cryptococcus neoformans. This yeast interacts closely with innate immune cells, leading to various fates, including fungal persistence within cells, making possible the dissemination of the yeast cells with monocytes via a Trojan horse strategy. In humans, the natural history of the infection begins with primoinfection during childhood, which is followed by dormancy and, in some individuals, reactivation upon immunosuppression. To address the question of dormancy, we studied C. neoformans infection at the macrophage level (in vitro H99-macrophage interaction) and at the organ level in a murine model of cryptococcosis. We analyzed the diversity of yeast adaptation to the host by characterizing several C. neoformans populations with new assays based on flow cytometry (quantitative flow cytometry, multispectral imaging flow cytometry, sorting), microscopy (dynamic imaging), and gene expression analysis. On the basis of parameters of multiplication and stress response, various populations of yeast cells were observed over time in vivo and in vitro. Cell sorting allowed the identification of a subpopulation that was less prone to grow under standard conditions than the other populations, with growth enhanced by the addition of serum. Gene expression analysis revealed that this population had specific metabolic characteristics that could reflect dormancy. Our data suggest that dormant yeast cells could exist in vitro and in vivo. C. neoformans exhibits a huge plasticity and adaptation to hosts that deserves further study. In vitro generation of dormant cells is now the main challenge to overcome the limited number of yeast cells recovered in our models. PMID:25827423

  8. Microevolution of Cryptococcus neoformans driven by massive tandem gene amplification.

    PubMed

    Chow, Eve W L; Morrow, Carl A; Djordjevic, Julianne T; Wood, Ian A; Fraser, James A

    2012-08-01

    The subtelomeric regions of organisms ranging from protists to fungi undergo a much higher rate of rearrangement than is observed in the rest of the genome. While characterizing these ~40-kb regions of the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, we have identified a recent gene amplification event near the right telomere of chromosome 3 that involves a gene encoding an arsenite efflux transporter (ARR3). The 3,177-bp amplicon exists in a tandem array of 2-15 copies and is present exclusively in strains with the C. neoformans var. grubii subclade VNI A5 MLST profile. Strains bearing the amplification display dramatically enhanced resistance to arsenite that correlates with the copy number of the repeat; the origin of increased resistance was verified as transport-related by functional complementation of an arsenite transporter mutant of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Subsequent experimental evolution in the presence of increasing concentrations of arsenite yielded highly resistant strains with the ARR3 amplicon further amplified to over 50 copies, accounting for up to ~1% of the whole genome and making the copy number of this repeat as high as that seen for the ribosomal DNA. The example described here therefore represents a rare evolutionary intermediate-an array that is currently in a state of dynamic flux, in dramatic contrast to relatively common, static relics of past tandem duplications that are unable to further amplify due to nucleotide divergence. Beyond identifying and engineering fungal isolates that are highly resistant to arsenite and describing the first reported instance of microevolution via massive gene amplification in C. neoformans, these results suggest that adaptation through gene amplification may be an important mechanism that C. neoformans employs in response to environmental stresses, perhaps including those encountered during infection. More importantly, the ARR3 array will serve as an ideal model for further molecular genetic analyses of

  9. Unveiling Protein Kinase A Targets in Cryptococcus neoformans Capsule Formation.

    PubMed

    Alspaugh, J Andrew

    2016-01-01

    The protein kinase A (PKA) signal transduction pathway has been associated with pathogenesis in many fungal species. Geddes and colleagues [mBio 7(1):e01862-15, 2016, doi:10.1128/mBio.01862-15] used quantitative proteomics approaches to define proteins with altered abundance during protein kinase A (PKA) activation and repression in the opportunistic human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. They observed an association between microbial PKA signaling and ubiquitin-proteasome regulation of protein homeostasis. Additionally, they correlated these processes with expression of polysaccharide capsule on the fungal cell surface, the main virulence-associated phenotype in this organism. Not only are their findings important for microbial pathogenesis, but they also support similar associations between human PKA signaling and ubiquitinated protein accumulation in neurodegenerative diseases. PMID:26861014

  10. Fulminant atypical Cryptococcus neoformans pneumonia confirmed by PLEX-ID.

    PubMed

    Gariani, Karim; Rougemont, Mathieu; Renzi, Gesuele; Hibbs, Jonathan; Emonet, Stéphane; Schrenzel, Jacques

    2014-05-01

    Use of the PLEX-ID system can lead to a rapid molecular diagnosis in microbiology. To illustrate the clinical implications of this new diagnostic tool, we present the case of a 46-year-old patient admitted with severe respiratory failure and septic shock. Cryptococcal pneumonia was diagnosed by Fungi-Fluor™ staining of the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and the patient tested positive for HIV. Unfortunately, he died 12h after admission despite intensive care support and treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics, amphotericin B, and flucytosine. Retrospective use of the PLEX-ID on the BAL, bronchial aspirate, and blood yielded Cryptococcus neoformans in all fluids tested. Rapid molecular diagnosis with PLEX-ID, especially when performed on the blood of septic patients, may reduce the time to adequate treatment and limit the number of diagnostic procedures needed.

  11. Unveiling Protein Kinase A Targets in Cryptococcus neoformans Capsule Formation

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT The protein kinase A (PKA) signal transduction pathway has been associated with pathogenesis in many fungal species. Geddes and colleagues [mBio 7(1):e01862-15, 2016, doi:10.1128/mBio.01862-15] used quantitative proteomics approaches to define proteins with altered abundance during protein kinase A (PKA) activation and repression in the opportunistic human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. They observed an association between microbial PKA signaling and ubiquitin-proteasome regulation of protein homeostasis. Additionally, they correlated these processes with expression of polysaccharide capsule on the fungal cell surface, the main virulence-associated phenotype in this organism. Not only are their findings important for microbial pathogenesis, but they also support similar associations between human PKA signaling and ubiquitinated protein accumulation in neurodegenerative diseases. PMID:26861014

  12. In vitro evaluation of combination of fluconazole and flucytosine against Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans.

    PubMed Central

    Nguyen, M H; Barchiesi, F; McGough, D A; Yu, V L; Rinaldi, M G

    1995-01-01

    Amphotericin B and fluconazole are current acceptable therapies for cryptococcal meningitis; however, their effect remains suboptimal. The combination of fluconazole and flucytosine has yielded encouraging clinical results in human immunodeficiency virus patients with cryptococcal meningitis. To investigate the biological basis of this finding, we performed in vitro combination testing of fluconazole and flucytosine against 50 clinical strains of Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans. Synergy (fractional inhibitory concentration index of < 1.0) was observed in 62% of cases, while antagonism (fractional inhibitory concentration index of > 2.0) was not observed. For cases in which synergy was not achieved (autonomous or additive effects), the beneficial effect of the combination was still seen (i.e., there was still a decrease, although not as dramatic, in the MIC of one or both drugs when used in combination). The in vitro inhibitory action of flucytosine was greatly enhanced by the addition of fluconazole; the flucytosine MICs for Cryptococcus isolates were markedly decreased to concentrations which were severalfold lower than the achievable cerebrospinal fluid flucytosine concentration. On the other hand, the addition of flucytosine did not greatly enhance the in vitro activity of fluconazole if the initial fluconazole MIC for the isolate was > or = 8 micrograms/ml. Controlled clinical studies are warranted to further elucidate the potential utility of fluconazole-flucytosine combination therapy. PMID:7486902

  13. Amino Acid Permeases and Virulence in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Takahashi, Juliana Possato Fernandes; Guerra, Juliana Mariotti; Santos, Dayane Cristina da Silva; Purisco, Sônia Ueda; Melhem, Márcia de Souza Carvalho; Fazioli, Raquel dos Anjos; Phanord, Clerlune; Sartorelli, Patrícia; Vallim, Marcelo A.

    2016-01-01

    Fungal opportunistic pathogens colonize various environments, from plants and wood to human and animal tissue. Regarding human pathogens, one great challenge during contrasting niche occupation is the adaptation to different conditions, such as temperature, osmolarity, salinity, pressure, oxidative stress and nutritional availability, which may constitute sources of stress that need to be tolerated and overcome. As an opportunistic pathogen, C. neoformans faces exactly these situations during the transition from the environment to the human host, encountering nutritional constraints. Our previous and current research on amino acid biosynthetic pathways indicates that amino acid permeases are regulated by the presence of the amino acids, nitrogen and temperature. Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida albicans have twenty-four and twenty-seven genes encoding amino acid permeases, respectively; conversely, they are scarce in number in Basidiomycetes (C. neoformans, Coprinopsis cinerea and Ustilago maydis), where nine to ten permease genes can be found depending on the species. In this study, we have demonstrated that two amino acid permeases are essential for virulence in C. neoformans. Our data showed that C. neoformans uses two global and redundant amino acid permeases, Aap4 and Aap5 to respond correctly to thermal and oxidative stress. Double deletion of these permeases causes growth arrest in C. neoformans at 37°C and in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. The inability to uptake amino acid at a higher temperature and under oxidative stress also led to virulence attenuation in vivo. Our data showed that thermosensitivity caused by the lack of permeases Aap4 and Aap5 can be remedied by alkaline conditions (higher pH) and salinity. Permeases Aap4 and Aap5 are also required during fluconazole stress and they are the target of the plant secondary metabolite eugenol, a potent antifungal inhibitor that targets amino acid permeases. In summary, our work unravels (i

  14. Transcriptional control of sexual development in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Mead, Matthew E; Hull, Christina M

    2016-05-01

    Developmental processes are essential for the normal life cycles of many pathogenic fungi, and they can facilitate survival in challenging environments, including the human host. Sexual development of the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans not only produces infectious particles (spores) but has also enabled the evolution of new disease-related traits such as drug resistance. Transcription factor networks are essential to the development and pathogenesis of C. neoformans, and a variety of sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins control both key developmental transitions and virulence by regulating the expression of their target genes. In this review we discuss the roles of known transcription factors that harbor important connections to both development and virulence. Recent studies of these transcription factors have identified a common theme in which metabolic, stress, and other responses that are required for sexual development appear to have been co-opted for survival in the human host, thus facilitating pathogenesis. Future work elucidating the connection between development and pathogenesis will provide vital insights into the evolution of complex traits in eukaryotes as well as mechanisms that may be used to combat fungal pathogens. PMID:27095452

  15. The use of chitosan to damage Cryptococcus neoformans biofilms.

    PubMed

    Martinez, Luis R; Mihu, Mircea Radu; Han, George; Frases, Susana; Cordero, Radames J B; Casadevall, Arturo; Friedman, Adam J; Friedman, Joel M; Nosanchuk, Joshua D

    2010-02-01

    The use of indwelling medical devices (e.g. pacemakers, prosthetic joints, catheters, etc) continues to increase, yet these devices are all too often complicated by infections with biofilm-forming microbes with increased resistance to antimicrobial agents and host defense mechanisms. We investigated the ability of chitosan, a polymer isolated from crustacean exoskeletons, to damage biofilms formed by the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. Using 2,3-bis(2-methoxy-4-nitro-5-sulfophenyl)-5-[(phenylamino) carbonyl]-2H-tetrazolium-hydroxide (XTT) reduction assay and CFU determinations, we showed that chitosan significantly reduced both the metabolic activity of the biofilms and cell viability, respectively. We further demonstrated that chitosan penetrated biofilms and damaged fungal cells using confocal and scanning electron microscopy. Notably, melanization, an important virulence determinant of C. neoformans, did not protect cryptococcal biofilms against chitosan. The chitosan concentrations used in this study to evaluate fungal biofilm susceptibility were not toxic to human endothelial cells. Our results indicate that cryptococcal biofilms are susceptible to treatment with chitosan, suggesting an option for the prevention or treatment of fungal biofilms on indwelling medical devices.

  16. Capsule of Cryptococcus neoformans grows by enlargement of polysaccharide molecules

    PubMed Central

    Frases, Susana; Pontes, Bruno; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Viana, Nathan B.; Rodrigues, Marcio L.; Casadevall, Arturo

    2009-01-01

    The human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans has a distinctive polysaccharide (PS) capsule that enlarges during infection. The capsule is essential for virulence, but the mechanism for capsular growth is unknown. In the present study, we used dynamic light scattering (LS) analysis of capsular PS and optical tweezers (OT) to explore the architecture of the capsule. Analysis of capsular PS from cells with small and large capsules by dynamic LS revealed a linear correlation between PS effective diameter and microscopic capsular diameter. This result implied that capsule growth was achieved by the addition of molecules with larger effective diameter, such that some molecules can span the entire diameter of the capsule. Measurement of polystyrene bead penetration of C. neoformans capsules by using OT techniques revealed that the outer regions were penetrable, but not the inner regions. Our results provide a mechanism for capsular enlargement based on the axial lengthening of PS molecules and suggest a model for the architecture of a eukaryotic microbial capsule. PMID:19164571

  17. Lipophilic dye staining of Cryptococcus neoformans extracellular vesicles and capsule.

    PubMed

    Nicola, André Moraes; Frases, Susana; Casadevall, Arturo

    2009-09-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an encapsulated yeast that causes systemic mycosis in immunosuppressed individuals. Recent studies have determined that this fungus produces vesicles that are released to the extracellular environment both in vivo and in vitro. These vesicles contain assorted cargo that includes several molecules associated with virulence and implicated in host-pathogen interactions, such as capsular polysaccharides, laccase, urease, and other proteins. To date, visualization of extracellular vesicles has relied on transmission electron microscopy, a time-consuming technique. In this work we report the use of fluorescent membrane tracers to stain lipophilic structures in cryptococcal culture supernatants and capsules. Two dialkylcarbocyanine probes with different spectral characteristics were used to visualize purified vesicles by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. Dual staining of vesicles with dialkylcarbocyanine and RNA-selective nucleic acid dyes suggested that a fraction of the vesicle population carried RNA. Use of these dyes to stain whole cells, however, was hampered by their possible direct binding to capsular polysaccharide. A fluorescent phospholipid was used as additional membrane tracer to stain whole cells, revealing punctate structures on the edge of the capsule which are consistent with vesicular trafficking. Lipophilic dyes provide new tools for the study of fungal extracellular vesicles and their content. The finding of hydrophobic regions in the capsule of C. neoformans adds to the growing evidence for a structurally complex structure composed of polysaccharide and nonpolysaccharide components.

  18. The Elastic Properties of the Cryptococcus neoformans Capsule

    PubMed Central

    Frases, Susana; Pontes, Bruno; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Rodrigues, Marcio L.; Viana, Nathan B.; Casadevall, Arturo

    2009-01-01

    Abstract Microbial capsules are important for virulence, but their architecture and physical properties are poorly understood. The human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans has a large polysaccharide capsule that is necessary for virulence and is the target of protective antibody responses. To study the C. neoformans capsule we developed what we believe is a new approach whereby we probed the capsular elastic properties by applying forces using polystyrene beads manipulated with optical tweezers. This method allowed us to determine the Young's modulus for the capsule in various conditions that affect capsule growth. The results indicate that the Young's modulus of the capsule decreases with its size and increases with the Ca2+ concentration in solution. Also, capsular polysaccharide manifests an unexpected affinity for polystyrene beads, a property that may function in attachment to host cells and environmental structures. Bead probing with optical tweezers provides a new, nondestructive method that may have wide applicability for studying the effects of growth conditions, immune components, and drugs on capsular properties. PMID:19686640

  19. THE USE OF CHITOSAN TO DAMAGE CRYPTOCOCCUS NEOFORMANS BIOFILMS

    PubMed Central

    Martinez, Luis R.; Mihu, Mircea Radu; Han, George; Frases, Susana; Cordero, Radames J. B.; Casadevall, Arturo; Friedman, Adam J.; Friedman, Joel M.; Nosanchuk, Joshua D.

    2009-01-01

    The use of indwelling medical devices (e.g. pacemakers, prosthetic joints, catheters, etc) continues to increase, yet these devices are all too often complicated by infections with biofilm-forming microbes with increased resistance to antimicrobial agents and host defense mechanisms. We investigated the ability of chitosan, a polymer isolated from crustacean exoskeletons, to damage biofilms formed by the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. Using 2,3-bis(2-methoxy-4-nitro-5-sulfophenyl)-5-[(phenylamino) carbonyl]-2H-tetrazolium-hydroxide (XTT) reduction assay and CFU determinations, we showed that chitosan significantly reduced both the metabolic activity of the biofilms and cell viability, respectively. We further demonstrated that chitosan penetrated biofilms and damaged fungal cells using confocal and scanning electron microscopy. Notably, melanization, an important virulence determinant of C. neoformans, did not protect cryptococcal biofilms against chitosan. The chitosan concentrations used in this study to evaluate fungal biofilm susceptibility were not toxic to human endothelial cells. Our results indicate that cryptococcal biofilms are susceptible to treatment with chitosan, suggesting an option for the prevention or treatment of fungal biofilms on indwelling medical devices. PMID:19819009

  20. Lipophilic Dye Staining of Cryptococcus neoformans Extracellular Vesicles and Capsule▿

    PubMed Central

    Nicola, André Moraes; Frases, Susana; Casadevall, Arturo

    2009-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an encapsulated yeast that causes systemic mycosis in immunosuppressed individuals. Recent studies have determined that this fungus produces vesicles that are released to the extracellular environment both in vivo and in vitro. These vesicles contain assorted cargo that includes several molecules associated with virulence and implicated in host-pathogen interactions, such as capsular polysaccharides, laccase, urease, and other proteins. To date, visualization of extracellular vesicles has relied on transmission electron microscopy, a time-consuming technique. In this work we report the use of fluorescent membrane tracers to stain lipophilic structures in cryptococcal culture supernatants and capsules. Two dialkylcarbocyanine probes with different spectral characteristics were used to visualize purified vesicles by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. Dual staining of vesicles with dialkylcarbocyanine and RNA-selective nucleic acid dyes suggested that a fraction of the vesicle population carried RNA. Use of these dyes to stain whole cells, however, was hampered by their possible direct binding to capsular polysaccharide. A fluorescent phospholipid was used as additional membrane tracer to stain whole cells, revealing punctate structures on the edge of the capsule which are consistent with vesicular trafficking. Lipophilic dyes provide new tools for the study of fungal extracellular vesicles and their content. The finding of hydrophobic regions in the capsule of C. neoformans adds to the growing evidence for a structurally complex structure composed of polysaccharide and nonpolysaccharide components. PMID:19465562

  1. The elastic properties of the Cryptococcus neoformans capsule.

    PubMed

    Frases, Susana; Pontes, Bruno; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Rodrigues, Marcio L; Viana, Nathan B; Casadevall, Arturo

    2009-08-19

    Microbial capsules are important for virulence, but their architecture and physical properties are poorly understood. The human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans has a large polysaccharide capsule that is necessary for virulence and is the target of protective antibody responses. To study the C. neoformans capsule we developed what we believe is a new approach whereby we probed the capsular elastic properties by applying forces using polystyrene beads manipulated with optical tweezers. This method allowed us to determine the Young's modulus for the capsule in various conditions that affect capsule growth. The results indicate that the Young's modulus of the capsule decreases with its size and increases with the Ca(2+) concentration in solution. Also, capsular polysaccharide manifests an unexpected affinity for polystyrene beads, a property that may function in attachment to host cells and environmental structures. Bead probing with optical tweezers provides a new, nondestructive method that may have wide applicability for studying the effects of growth conditions, immune components, and drugs on capsular properties.

  2. Extensive Genetic Diversity within the Dutch Clinical Cryptococcus neoformans Population

    PubMed Central

    Hagen, Ferry; Illnait-Zaragozí, María-Teresa; Meis, Jacques F.; Chew, William H. M.; Curfs-Breuker, Ilse; Mouton, Johan W.; Hoepelman, Andy I. M.; Spanjaard, Lodewijk; Verweij, Paul E.; Kampinga, Greetje A.; Kuijper, Ed J.; Klaassen, Corné H. W.

    2012-01-01

    A set of 300 Dutch Cryptococcus neoformans isolates, obtained from 237 patients during 1977 to 2007, was investigated by determining the mating type, serotype, and AFLP and microsatellite genotype and susceptibility to seven antifungal compounds. Almost half of the studied cases were from HIV-infected patients, followed by a patient group of individuals with other underlying diseases and immunocompetent individuals. The majority of the isolates were mating type α and serotype A, followed by αD isolates and other minor categories. The most frequently observed genotype was AFLP1, distantly followed by AFLP2 and AFLP3. Microsatellite typing revealed a high genetic diversity among serotype A isolates but a lower diversity within the serotype D set of isolates. One patient was infected by multiple AFLP genotypes. Fluconazole and flucytosine had the highest geometric mean MICs of 2.9 and 3.5 μg/ml, respectively, while amphotericin B (0.24 μg/ml), itraconazole (0.08 μg/ml), voriconazole (0.07 μg/ml), posaconazole (0.06 μg/ml), and isavuconazole (0.03 μg/ml) had much lower geometric mean MICs. One isolate had a high flucytosine MIC (>64 μg/ml), while decreased susceptibility (≥16 μg/ml) for flucytosine and fluconazole was found in 9 and 10 C. neoformans isolates, respectively. PMID:22442325

  3. Human neutrophil-mediated nonoxidative antifungal activity against Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Mambula, S S; Simons, E R; Hastey, R; Selsted, M E; Levitz, S M

    2000-11-01

    It has long been appreciated that polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) kill Cryptococcus neoformans, at least in part via generation of fungicidal oxidants. The aim of this study was to examine the contribution of nonoxidative mechanisms to the inhibition and killing of C. neoformans. Treatment of human PMN with inhibitors and scavengers of respiratory burst oxidants only partially reversed anticryptococcal activity, suggesting that both oxidative and nonoxidative mechanisms were operative. To define the mediators of nonoxidative anticryptococcal activity, PMN were fractionated into cytoplasmic, primary (azurophil) granule, and secondary (specific) granule fractions. Incubation of C. neoformans with these fractions for 18 h resulted in percent inhibition of growth of 67.4 +/- 3.4, 84.6 +/- 4.4, and 29.2 +/- 10.5 (mean +/- standard error, n = 3), respectively. Anticryptococcal activity of the cytoplasmic fraction was abrogated by zinc and depletion of calprotectin. Antifungal activity of the primary granules was significantly reduced by pronase treatment, boiling, high ionic strength, and magnesium but not calcium. Fractionation of the primary granules by reverse phase high-pressure liquid chromatography on a C(4) column over an acetonitrile gradient revealed multiple peaks with anticryptococcal activity. Of these, peaks 1 and 6 had substantial fungistatic and fungicidal activity. Peak 1 was identified by acid-urea polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) and mass spectroscopy as human neutrophil proteins (defensins) 1 to 3. Analysis of peak 6 by sodium dodecyl sulfate-PAGE revealed multiple bands. Thus, human PMN have nonoxidative anticryptococcal activity residing principally in their cytoplasmic and primary granule fractions. Calprotectin mediates the cytoplasmic activity, whereas multiple proteins, including defensins, are responsible for activity of the primary granules. PMID:11035733

  4. Tumor necrosis factor-inducing activities of Cryptococcus neoformans components.

    PubMed Central

    Delfino, D; Cianci, L; Migliardo, M; Mancuso, G; Cusumano, V; Corradini, C; Teti, G

    1996-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans-induced tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) production may lead to increased human immunodeficiency virus replication in patients with AIDS. In order to identify cryptococcal components that are predominantly responsible for stimulating TNF production, various concentrations of glucuronoxylomannan (GXM), galactoxylomannan (GalXM), mannoproteins (MP), and alpha(1-3) [corrected] glucan were added to whole-blood cultures. All of the cryptococcal components tested, as well as whole heat-killed cryptococci, were capable of inducing TNF-alpha release in a dose-dependent manner. MP were significantly more potent than any of the other cryptococcal components tested or heat-killed cryptococci in stimulating TNF-alpha production (P < 0.05). GXM, in contrast, was significantly less potent in this activity than either GalXM or MP (P < 0.05). As little as 0.5 microg of MP per ml was sufficient to produce moderate but significant elevations of TNF-alpha release. Maximal MP-induced TNF-alpha levels were similar to those induced by Salmonella enteritidis lipopolysaccharide, our positive control. Further experiments using isolated leukocytes suggested that monocytes were the cell population mainly responsible for TNF-alpha production, although the participation of other cell types could not be excluded. The presence of complement-sufficient plasma was a necessary requirement for TNF-alpha induction by GXM, GalXM, and low doses of MP. High MP concentrations (100 microg/ml) were also capable of stimulating TNF-alpha production in the absence of plasma. These data indicate that soluble products released by C. neoformans are capable of inducing TNF-alpha secretion in human leukocytes. This may be clinically relevant, since high concentrations of such products are frequently found in the body fluids of AIDS patients infected with C. neoformans. PMID:8945566

  5. Environmental distribution of Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii around the Mediterranean basin.

    PubMed

    Cogliati, Massimo; D'Amicis, Roberta; Zani, Alberto; Montagna, Maria Teresa; Caggiano, Giuseppina; De Giglio, Osvalda; Balbino, Stella; De Donno, Antonella; Serio, Francesca; Susever, Serdar; Ergin, Cagri; Velegraki, Aristea; Ellabib, Mohamed S; Nardoni, Simona; Macci, Cristina; Oliveri, Salvatore; Trovato, Laura; Dipineto, Ludovico; Rickerts, Volker; McCormick-Smith, Ilka; Akcaglar, Sevim; Tore, Okan; Mlinaric-Missoni, Emilija; Bertout, Sebastien; Mallié, Michele; Martins, Maria da Luz; Vencà, Ana C F; Vieira, Maria L; Sampaio, Ana C; Pereira, Cheila; Griseo, Giuseppe; Romeo, Orazio; Ranque, Stéphane; Al-Yasiri, Mohammed H Y; Kaya, Meltem; Cerikcioglu, Nilgun; Marchese, Anna; Vezzulli, Luigi; Ilkit, Macit; Desnos-Ollivier, Marie; Pasquale, Vincenzo; Korem, Maya; Polacheck, Itzhack; Scopa, Antonio; Meyer, Wieland; Ferreira-Paim, Kennio; Hagen, Ferry; Theelen, Bart; Boekhout, Teun; Lockhart, Shawn R; Tintelnot, Kathrin; Tortorano, Anna Maria; Dromer, Françoise; Varma, Ashok; Kwon-Chung, Kyung J; Inácio, Joäo; Alonso, Beatriz; Colom, Maria F

    2016-06-01

    In order to elucidate the distribution of Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii in the Mediterranean basin, an extensive environmental survey was carried out during 2012-2015. A total of 302 sites located in 12 countries were sampled, 6436 samples from 3765 trees were collected and 5% of trees were found to be colonized by cryptococcal yeasts. Cryptococcus neoformans was isolated from 177 trees and C. gattii from 13. Cryptococcus neoformans colonized 27% of Ceratonia, 10% of Olea, Platanus and Prunus trees and a lower percentage of other tree genera. The 13 C. gattii isolates were collected from five Eucalyptus, four Ceratonia, two Pinus and two Olea trees. Cryptococcus neoformans was distributed all around the Mediterranean basin, whereas C. gattii was isolated in Greece, Southern Italy and Spain, in agreement with previous findings from both clinical and environmental sources. Among C. neoformans isolates, VNI was the prevalent molecular type but VNII, VNIV and VNIII hybrid strains were also isolated. With the exception of a single VGIV isolate, all C. gattii isolates were VGI. The results confirmed the presence of both Cryptococcus species in the Mediterranean environment, and showed that both carob and olive trees represent an important niche for these yeasts. PMID:27188887

  6. Environmental distribution of Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii around the Mediterranean basin.

    PubMed

    Cogliati, Massimo; D'Amicis, Roberta; Zani, Alberto; Montagna, Maria Teresa; Caggiano, Giuseppina; De Giglio, Osvalda; Balbino, Stella; De Donno, Antonella; Serio, Francesca; Susever, Serdar; Ergin, Cagri; Velegraki, Aristea; Ellabib, Mohamed S; Nardoni, Simona; Macci, Cristina; Oliveri, Salvatore; Trovato, Laura; Dipineto, Ludovico; Rickerts, Volker; McCormick-Smith, Ilka; Akcaglar, Sevim; Tore, Okan; Mlinaric-Missoni, Emilija; Bertout, Sebastien; Mallié, Michele; Martins, Maria da Luz; Vencà, Ana C F; Vieira, Maria L; Sampaio, Ana C; Pereira, Cheila; Griseo, Giuseppe; Romeo, Orazio; Ranque, Stéphane; Al-Yasiri, Mohammed H Y; Kaya, Meltem; Cerikcioglu, Nilgun; Marchese, Anna; Vezzulli, Luigi; Ilkit, Macit; Desnos-Ollivier, Marie; Pasquale, Vincenzo; Korem, Maya; Polacheck, Itzhack; Scopa, Antonio; Meyer, Wieland; Ferreira-Paim, Kennio; Hagen, Ferry; Theelen, Bart; Boekhout, Teun; Lockhart, Shawn R; Tintelnot, Kathrin; Tortorano, Anna Maria; Dromer, Françoise; Varma, Ashok; Kwon-Chung, Kyung J; Inácio, Joäo; Alonso, Beatriz; Colom, Maria F

    2016-06-01

    In order to elucidate the distribution of Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii in the Mediterranean basin, an extensive environmental survey was carried out during 2012-2015. A total of 302 sites located in 12 countries were sampled, 6436 samples from 3765 trees were collected and 5% of trees were found to be colonized by cryptococcal yeasts. Cryptococcus neoformans was isolated from 177 trees and C. gattii from 13. Cryptococcus neoformans colonized 27% of Ceratonia, 10% of Olea, Platanus and Prunus trees and a lower percentage of other tree genera. The 13 C. gattii isolates were collected from five Eucalyptus, four Ceratonia, two Pinus and two Olea trees. Cryptococcus neoformans was distributed all around the Mediterranean basin, whereas C. gattii was isolated in Greece, Southern Italy and Spain, in agreement with previous findings from both clinical and environmental sources. Among C. neoformans isolates, VNI was the prevalent molecular type but VNII, VNIV and VNIII hybrid strains were also isolated. With the exception of a single VGIV isolate, all C. gattii isolates were VGI. The results confirmed the presence of both Cryptococcus species in the Mediterranean environment, and showed that both carob and olive trees represent an important niche for these yeasts.

  7. Allergen 1 Regulates Polysaccharide Structure in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Jain, Neena; Cordero, Radames J.B.; Casadevall, Arturo; Fries, Bettina C.

    2013-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an important human, fungal pathogen that sheds polysaccharide (exo-PS) into host tissues. While shed exo-PS mediates numerous untoward effects (including promoting increased intracranial pressure), little is known about the regulation of this phenomenon. Since down-regulation of the Allergen 1 (ALL1) gene is associated with high ICP, we investigated the relationship between ALL1 expression and exo-PS structure using a variety of biophysical techniques. The Δall1 mutants of two serotypes produced a shorter exo-PS with less branching and structural complexity than the parental strains. Consistent with lower branching, these exo-PSs manifested higher intrinsic viscosity than the parental strains. The Δall1 mutant strains manifested differences in epitope expression and significant resistance to phagocytosis. Exo-PS of Δall1 mutant exhibited anti-phagocytic properties. Comparative transcriptome analysis of mutant and parental strainunder iron-deprived conditions indicateda role of ALL1 in iron homeostasis, characterized by differential regulation of genes that mediate iron reduction and transport. Together, our results demonstrate a role of ALL1 in regulating conformational aspects of PS structure and iron homeostasis. These findings provide a mechanism to explain how changes in ALL1 expression influence virulence of switch variants and suggest that structural changes and polymer length are epigenetically regulated. PMID:23565821

  8. Macrophage mitochondrial and stress response to ingestion of Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Coelho, Carolina; Souza, Ana Camila Oliveira; Derengowski, Lorena da Silveira; de Leon-Rodriguez, Carlos; Wang, Bo; Leon-Rivera, Rosiris; Bocca, Anamelia Lorenzetti; Gonçalves, Teresa; Casadevall, Arturo

    2015-01-01

    Human infection with Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn), a common fungal pathogen follows deposition of yeast spores in the lung alveoli. The subsequent host-pathogen interaction can result in either eradication, latency or extra-pulmonary dissemination. Successful control of Cn infection is dependent on host macrophages but macrophages display little ability to kill Cn in vitro. Recently, we reported that ingestion of Cn by mouse macrophages induces early cell cycle progression followed by mitotic arrest, an event that almost certainly reflects host cell damage. The goal of the present work was to understand macrophage pathways affected by Cn toxicity. Infection of macrophages by Cn was associated with alterations in protein translation rate and activation of several stress pathways such as Hypoxia Inducing Factor-1α (HIF-1α), Receptor-interacting Protein 1 (RIP1) and Apoptosis Inducing Factor (AIF). Concomitantly we observed mitochondrial depolarization in infected macrophages, an observation that was replicated in vivo. We also observed differences in the stress pathways activated depending on macrophage cell type, consistent with the non-specific nature of Cn virulence known to infect phylogenetically distant hosts. Our results indicate that Cn infection impairs multiple host cellular functions and undermines the health of these critical phagocytic cells, which can potentially interfere with their ability to clear this fungal pathogen. PMID:25646306

  9. Cryptococcus neoformans enters the endolysosomal pathway of dendritic cells and is killed by lysosomal components.

    PubMed

    Wozniak, Karen L; Levitz, Stuart M

    2008-10-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that primarily causes disease in immunocompromised individuals. Dendritic cells (DCs) can phagocytose C. neoformans, present cryptococcal antigen, and kill C. neoformans. However, early events following C. neoformans phagocytosis by DCs are not well defined. We hypothesized that C. neoformans traffics to the endosome and the lysosome following phagocytosis by DCs and is eventually killed in the lysosome. Murine bone marrow-derived DCs (BMDCs) or human monocyte-derived DCs (HDCs) were incubated with live, encapsulated C. neoformans yeast cells and opsonizing antibody. Following incubation, DCs were intracellularly stained with antibodies against EEA1 (endosome) and LAMP-1 (late endosome/lysosome). As assessed by confocal microscopy, C. neoformans trafficked to endosomal compartments of DCs within 10 min and to lysosomal compartments within 30 min postincubation. For HDCs, the studies were repeated using complement-sufficient autologous plasma for the opsonization of C. neoformans. These data showed results similar to those for antibody opsonization, with C. neoformans localized to endosomes within 20 min and to lysosomes within 60 min postincubation. Additionally, the results of live real-time imaging studies demonstrated that C. neoformans entered lysosomal compartments within 20 min following the initiation of phagocytosis. The results of scanning and transmission electron microscopy demonstrated conventional zipper phagocytosis of C. neoformans by DCs. Finally, lysosomal extracts were purified from BMDCs and incubated with C. neoformans to determine their potential to kill C. neoformans. The extracts killed C. neoformans in a dose-dependent manner. This study shows that C. neoformans enters into endosomal and lysosomal pathways following DC phagocytosis and can be killed by lysosomal components.

  10. Challenge of Drosophila melanogaster with Cryptococcus neoformans and Role of the Innate Immune Response

    PubMed Central

    Apidianakis, Yiorgos; Rahme, Laurence G.; Heitman, Joseph; Ausubel, Frederick M.; Calderwood, Stephen B.; Mylonakis, Eleftherios

    2004-01-01

    We found that the ingestion of Cryptococcus neoformans by Drosophila melanogaster resulted in the death of the fly but that the ingestion of Saccharomyces cerevisiae or the nonpathogenic Cryptococcus kuetzingii or Cryptococcus laurentii did not. The C. neoformans protein kinase A and RAS signal transduction pathways, previously shown to be involved in virulence in mammals, also played a role in killing Drosophila. Mutation of the Toll immune response pathway, the predominant antifungal pathway of the fly, did not play a role in Drosophila defense following ingestion of the yeast. However, the Toll pathway was necessary for the clearance of C. neoformans introduced directly into the hemolymph of D. melanogaster and for the survival of systemically infected flies. PMID:15075271

  11. Infection due to Cryptococcus neoformans of unusual morphology in a patient with AIDS.

    PubMed

    Anandi, V; Babu, P G; John, T J

    1991-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans with a rare morphology of hand-mirror appearance was demonstrated by direct microscopic preparation of both cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and sputum of a patient with AIDS. In addition, one to six blastoconidia were seen at the tip of a germ-tube like structure. Cr. neoformans was isolated in pure culture and the identification was confirmed by biochemical and serological tests as well as by animal pathogenicity. PMID:1820516

  12. Cryptococcus neoformans Virulence Is Enhanced after Growth in the Genetically Malleable Host Dictyostelium discoideum

    PubMed Central

    Steenbergen, Judith N.; Nosanchuk, Joshua D.; Malliaris, Stephanie D.; Casadevall, Arturo

    2003-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an encapsulated, environmental fungus that can cause life-threatening meningitis. Pathogenicity of C. neoformans for macrophages and vertebrate hosts may be a mechanism selected in evolution for protection against environmental predators. In this study, we investigated whether Dictyostelium discoideum could serve as an alternate host for C. neoformans. D. discoideum has a defined genetic system which provides significant advantages for the study of fungus-amoeba interactions. Our results show that D. discoideum is susceptible to infection with C. neoformans and that the interactions are similar to those described previously for this fungus with macrophages and Acanthamoeba castellanii. Acapsular C. neoformans cells did not replicate when coincubated with D. discoideum. However, incubation of acapsular C. neoformans with D. discoideum mutants defective in myosin VII synthesis resulted in infection, validating the concept that avirulent organisms can be virulent in impaired hosts even at the unicellular level. Phagocytosis of C. neoformans by D. discoideum could be inhibited with capsule-specific antibodies and various sugars. Passage of an encapsulated C. neoformans strain through D. discoideum cultures increased virulence and was accompanied by larger capsules and faster time to melanization. These results add to the evidence implicating soil ameboid predators as important factors for the maintenance of C. neoformans virulence in the environment and suggest that D. discoideum promises to be an extremely useful system for studying the interaction of C. neoformans with phagocytic cells. PMID:12933827

  13. The Cryptococcus neoformans capsule: lessons from the use of optical tweezers and other biophysical tools

    PubMed Central

    Pontes, Bruno; Frases, Susana

    2015-01-01

    The fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans causes life-threatening infections in immunocompromised individuals, representing one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in AIDS patients. The main virulence factor of C. neoformans is the polysaccharide capsule; however, many fundamental aspects of capsule structure and function remain poorly understood. Recently, important capsule properties were uncovered using optical tweezers and other biophysical techniques, including dynamic and static light scattering, zeta potential and viscosity analysis. This review provides an overview of the latest findings in this emerging field, explaining the impact of these findings on our understanding of C. neoformans biology and resistance to host immune defenses. PMID:26157436

  14. The Cryptococcus neoformans capsule: lessons from the use of optical tweezers and other biophysical tools.

    PubMed

    Pontes, Bruno; Frases, Susana

    2015-01-01

    The fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans causes life-threatening infections in immunocompromised individuals, representing one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in AIDS patients. The main virulence factor of C. neoformans is the polysaccharide capsule; however, many fundamental aspects of capsule structure and function remain poorly understood. Recently, important capsule properties were uncovered using optical tweezers and other biophysical techniques, including dynamic and static light scattering, zeta potential and viscosity analysis. This review provides an overview of the latest findings in this emerging field, explaining the impact of these findings on our understanding of C. neoformans biology and resistance to host immune defenses.

  15. Mitochondrial Protein Nfu1 Influences Homeostasis of Essential Metals in the Human Fungal Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Jeongmi; Park, Minji; Do, Eunsoo

    2014-01-01

    Mitochondrial protein Nfu1 plays an important role in the assembly of mitochondrial Fe-S clusters and intracellular iron homeostasis in the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In this study, we identified the Nfu1 ortholog in the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. Our data showed that C. neoformans Nfu1 localized in the mitochondria and influenced homeostasis of essential metals such as iron, copper and manganese. Marked growth defects were observed in the mutant lacking NFU1, which suggests a critical role of Nfu1 in Fe-S cluster biosynthesis and intracellular metal homeostasis in C. neoformans. PMID:25606020

  16. Unisexual Reproduction Drives Meiotic Recombination and Phenotypic and Karyotypic Plasticity in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Sheng; Billmyre, R. Blake; Mieczkowski, Piotr A.; Heitman, Joseph

    2014-01-01

    In fungi, unisexual reproduction, where sexual development is initiated without the presence of two compatible mating type alleles, has been observed in several species that can also undergo traditional bisexual reproduction, including the important human fungal pathogens Cryptococcus neoformans and Candida albicans. While unisexual reproduction has been well characterized qualitatively, detailed quantifications are still lacking for aspects of this process, such as the frequency of recombination during unisexual reproduction, and how this compares with bisexual reproduction. Here, we analyzed meiotic recombination during α-α unisexual and a-α bisexual reproduction of C. neoformans. We found that meiotic recombination operates in a similar fashion during both modes of sexual reproduction. Specifically, we observed that in α-α unisexual reproduction, the numbers of crossovers along the chromosomes during meiosis, recombination frequencies at specific chromosomal regions, as well as meiotic recombination hot and cold spots, are all similar to those observed during a-α bisexual reproduction. The similarity in meiosis is also reflected by the fact that phenotypic segregation among progeny collected from the two modes of sexual reproduction is also similar, with transgressive segregation being observed in both. Additionally, we found diploid meiotic progeny were also produced at similar frequencies in the two modes of sexual reproduction, and transient chromosomal loss and duplication likely occurs frequently and results in aneuploidy and loss of heterozygosity that can span entire chromosomes. Furthermore, in both α-α unisexual and a-α bisexual reproduction, we observed biased allele inheritance in regions on chromosome 4, suggesting the presence of fragile chromosomal regions that might be vulnerable to mitotic recombination. Interestingly, we also observed a crossover event that occurred within the MAT locus during α-α unisexual reproduction. Our results

  17. Cryptococcus neoformans: Tripping on Acid in the Phagolysosome.

    PubMed

    DeLeon-Rodriguez, Carlos M; Casadevall, Arturo

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn) is a basidiomycetous pathogenic yeast that is a frequent cause of meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised individuals. Cn is a facultative intracellular pathogen in mammals, insects and amoeba. Cn infection occurs after inhalation of spores or desiccated cells from the environment. After inhalation Cn localizes to the lungs where it can be phagocytosed by alveolar macrophages. Cn is surrounded by a polysaccharide capsule that helps the fungus survive in vivo by interfering with phagocytosis, quenching free radical bursts and shedding polysaccharides that negatively modulates the immune system. After phagocytosis, Cn resides within the phagosome that matures to become a phagolysosome, a process that results in the acidification of the phagolysosomal lumen. Cn replicates at a higher rate inside macrophages than in the extracellular environment, possibly as a result that the phagosomal pH is near that optimal for growth. Cn increases the phagolysosomal pH and modulates the dynamics of Rab GTPases interaction with the phagolysosome. Chemical manipulation of the phagolysosomal pH with drugs can result in direct and indirect killing of Cn and reduced non-lytic exocytosis. Phagolysosomal membrane damage after Cn infection occurs both in vivo and in vitro, and is required for Cn growth and survival. Macrophage treatment with IFN-γ reduces the phagolysosomal damage and increases intracellular killing of Cn. Studies on mice and humans show that treatment with IFN-γ can improve host control of the disease. However, the mechanism by which Cn mediates phagolysosomal membrane damage remains unknown but likely candidates are phospholipases and mechanical damage from an enlarging capsule. Here we review Cn intracellular interaction with a particular emphasis on phagosomal interactions and develop the notion that the extent of damage of the phagosomal membrane is a key determinant of the outcome of the Cn-macrophage interaction. PMID:26925039

  18. Cryptococcus neoformans: Tripping on Acid in the Phagolysosome

    PubMed Central

    DeLeon-Rodriguez, Carlos M.; Casadevall, Arturo

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn) is a basidiomycetous pathogenic yeast that is a frequent cause of meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised individuals. Cn is a facultative intracellular pathogen in mammals, insects and amoeba. Cn infection occurs after inhalation of spores or desiccated cells from the environment. After inhalation Cn localizes to the lungs where it can be phagocytosed by alveolar macrophages. Cn is surrounded by a polysaccharide capsule that helps the fungus survive in vivo by interfering with phagocytosis, quenching free radical bursts and shedding polysaccharides that negatively modulates the immune system. After phagocytosis, Cn resides within the phagosome that matures to become a phagolysosome, a process that results in the acidification of the phagolysosomal lumen. Cn replicates at a higher rate inside macrophages than in the extracellular environment, possibly as a result that the phagosomal pH is near that optimal for growth. Cn increases the phagolysosomal pH and modulates the dynamics of Rab GTPases interaction with the phagolysosome. Chemical manipulation of the phagolysosomal pH with drugs can result in direct and indirect killing of Cn and reduced non-lytic exocytosis. Phagolysosomal membrane damage after Cn infection occurs both in vivo and in vitro, and is required for Cn growth and survival. Macrophage treatment with IFN-γ reduces the phagolysosomal damage and increases intracellular killing of Cn. Studies on mice and humans show that treatment with IFN-γ can improve host control of the disease. However, the mechanism by which Cn mediates phagolysosomal membrane damage remains unknown but likely candidates are phospholipases and mechanical damage from an enlarging capsule. Here we review Cn intracellular interaction with a particular emphasis on phagosomal interactions and develop the notion that the extent of damage of the phagosomal membrane is a key determinant of the outcome of the Cn-macrophage interaction. PMID:26925039

  19. Eucalyptus Tree: A Potential Source of Cryptococcus neoformans in Egyptian Environment.

    PubMed

    Elhariri, Mahmoud; Hamza, Dalia; Elhelw, Rehab; Refai, Mohamed

    2016-01-01

    In Egypt, the River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) is a well-known tree and is highly appreciated by the rural and urban dwellers. The role of Eucalyptus trees in the ecology of Cryptococcus neoformans is documented worldwide. The aim of this survey was to show the prevalence of C. neoformans during the flowering season of E. camaldulensis at the Delta region in Egypt. Three hundred and eleven samples out of two hundred Eucalyptus trees, including leaves, flowers, and woody trunks, were collected from four governorates in the Delta region. Thirteen isolates of C. neoformans were recovered from Eucalyptus tree samples (4.2%). Molecular identification of C. neoformans was done by capsular gene specific primer CAP64 and serotype identification was done depending on LAC1 gene. This study represents an update on the ecology of C. neoformans associated with Eucalyptus tree in Egyptian environment. PMID:26884765

  20. Eucalyptus Tree: A Potential Source of Cryptococcus neoformans in Egyptian Environment

    PubMed Central

    Hamza, Dalia; Elhelw, Rehab; Refai, Mohamed

    2016-01-01

    In Egypt, the River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) is a well-known tree and is highly appreciated by the rural and urban dwellers. The role of Eucalyptus trees in the ecology of Cryptococcus neoformans is documented worldwide. The aim of this survey was to show the prevalence of C. neoformans during the flowering season of E. camaldulensis at the Delta region in Egypt. Three hundred and eleven samples out of two hundred Eucalyptus trees, including leaves, flowers, and woody trunks, were collected from four governorates in the Delta region. Thirteen isolates of C. neoformans were recovered from Eucalyptus tree samples (4.2%). Molecular identification of C. neoformans was done by capsular gene specific primer CAP64 and serotype identification was done depending on LAC1 gene. This study represents an update on the ecology of C. neoformans associated with Eucalyptus tree in Egyptian environment. PMID:26884765

  1. Human astrocytes inhibit Cryptococcus neoformans growth by a nitric oxide-mediated mechanism

    PubMed Central

    1994-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungus that causes life- threatening meningoencephalitis in 5-10% of patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Cryptococcal meningoencephalitis is characterized by a lymphohistiocytic infiltrate, accumulation of encapsulated forms of C. neoformans, and varying degrees of glial reaction. Little is known about the contribution of endogenous central nervous system cells to the pathogenesis of cryptococcal infections. In this study, we investigated the role of astrocytes as potential effector cells against C. neoformans. Primary cultures of human fetal astrocytes, activated with interleukin 1 beta plus interferon gamma inhibited the growth of C. neoformans. The inhibition of C. neoformans growth was paralleled by production of nitrite, and reversed by the inhibitors of nitric oxide (NO.) synthase, NG-methyl-mono-arginine and NG-nitro-arginine methyl ester. The results suggest a novel function for human astrocytes in host defence and provide a precedent for the use of NO. as an antimicrobial effector molecule by human cells. PMID:8006595

  2. Virulence, serotype, and molecular characteristics of environmental strains of Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii.

    PubMed Central

    Kwon-Chung, K J; Wickes, B L; Stockman, L; Roberts, G D; Ellis, D; Howard, D H

    1992-01-01

    Four strains of Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii originating from Eucalyptus camaldulensis, three from Australia and one from San Francisco, were tested for their serotype, virulence for mice, and a number of genetic and molecular characteristics. All were found to be serotype B and showed significantly higher virulence for mice than did the type strains of C. neoformans var. gattii and Filobasidiella neoformans var. bacillispora, which were obtained from human cryptococcosis cases. Electrophoretic karyotypes of the strains from Australia were identical, although they were collected from sites at least 15 to 500 km apart. The electrophoretic karyotype of the strain from San Francisco was the same as that of the Australian isolates except for the mobility of one chromosome. On the contrary, no two isolates of serotype B (of a total of 11) from clinical sources were the same, regardless of their geographic origin. Furthermore, none of the clinical isolates showed a chromosomal banding pattern identical to that of Eucalyptus-originated strains. The Eucalyptus-originated strains failed to form dikaryons when crossed with the tester strains of the two varieties of F. neoformans. Hybridization analysis with a nucleic acid probe (AccuProbe C. neoformans Culture Confirmation Test; Gen-Probe Inc., San Diego, Calif.), however, showed signals of equal intensity for clinical strains and the Eucalyptus-originated strains. Various fungi phylogenetically related to C. neoformans, including a phenol oxidase-positive strain of Cryptococcus laurentii obtained from E. camaldulensis, were negative in the nucleic acid hybridization test. These observations confirm that, in spite of karyotypic differences and the lack of dikaryon formation with the tester strains of F. neoformans, Eucalyptus-originated C. neoformans var. gattii is the same organism as those isolated from cases of human infection. Furthermore, the C. neoformans culture confirmation test using a commercial nucleic acid

  3. A case of Cryptococcus neoformans meningitis in a patient with abnormal levels of isolated immunological markers.

    PubMed

    Simsek, B; Guven, E; Gumral, R; Mert, G; Saracli, M A; Besirbellioglu, B; Yildiran, S T

    2016-09-01

    Cryptococcal meningitis is considered rare in immunocompetent patients and is mainly a disease of immunocompromised patients. We report a case of cryptococcal meningitis, due to Cryptococcus neoformans, in an apparently healthy individual with abnormal levels of isolated immunological markers. Regardless of the patient's immune status, the result of the disease can be serious unless the disease is diagnosed early. PMID:27402508

  4. First case of human cryptococcosis due to Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii in Spain.

    PubMed

    Colom, M Francisca; Frasés, Susana; Ferrer, Consuelo; Jover, Alejandro; Andreu, Mariano; Reus, Sergio; Sánchez, Manuel; Torres-Rodríguez, Josep M

    2005-07-01

    We report the first case of human cryptococcosis due to Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii described in our country, which was presented as brain cryptococcoma in an immunocompetent patient. An extensive sampling of the patient's environment was carried out to find the source of infection.

  5. First Case of Human Cryptococcosis Due to Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii in Spain

    PubMed Central

    Colom, M. Francisca; Frasés, Susana; Ferrer, Consuelo; Jover, Alejandro; Andreu, Mariano; Reus, Sergio; Sánchez, Manuel; Torres-Rodríguez, Josep M.

    2005-01-01

    We report the first case of human cryptococcosis due to Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii described in our country, which was presented as brain cryptococcoma in an immunocompetent patient. An extensive sampling of the patient's environment was carried out to find the source of infection. PMID:16000503

  6. Cryptococcus neoformans capsule protects cell from oxygen reactive species generated by antimicrobial photodynamic inactivation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prates, Renato Araujo; Hamblin, Michael R.; Kato, Ilka T.; Fuchs, Beth; Mylonakis, Eleytherios; Simões Ribeiro, Martha; Tegos, George

    2011-03-01

    Antimicrobial photodynamic inactivation (APDI) is based on the utilization of substances that can photosensitize biological tissues and are capable of being activated in the presence of light. Cryptococcus neoformans is an yeast surrounded by a capsule composed primarily of glucoronoxylomannan that plays an important role in its virulence. This yeast causes infection on skin, lungs and brain that can be associated with neurological sequelae and neurosurgical interventions, and its conventional treatment requires prolonged antifungal therapy, which presents important adverse effects. The aim of this study was to evaluate the protective effect of Cryptococcus neoformans capsule against reactive oxygen species generated by APDI. Cryptococcus neoformans KN99α, which is a strain able to produce capsule, and CAP59 that does not present capsule production were submitted to APDI using methylene blue (MB), rose bengal (RB), and pL-ce6 as photosensitizers (PS). Then microbial inactivation was evaluated by counting colony form units following APDI and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) illustrated localization as well as the preferential accumulation of PS into the fungal cells. C. neoformans KN99α was more resistant to APDI than CAP59 for all PSs tested. CLSM showed incorporation of MB and RB into the cytoplasm and a preferential uptake in mitochondria. A nuclear accumulation of MB was also observed. Contrarily, pL-ce6 appears accumulated in cell wall and cell membrane and minimal florescence was observed inside the fungal cells. In conclusion, the ability of C. neoformans to form capsule enhances survival following APDI.

  7. Cryptococcus neoformans is internalized by receptor-mediated or 'triggered' phagocytosis, dependent on actin recruitment.

    PubMed

    Guerra, Caroline Rezende; Seabra, Sergio Henrique; de Souza, Wanderley; Rozental, Sonia

    2014-01-01

    Cryptococcosis by the encapsulated yeast Cryptococcus neoformans affects mostly immunocompromised individuals and is a frequent neurological complication in AIDS patients. Recent studies support the idea that intracellular survival of Cryptococcus yeast cells is important for the pathogenesis of cryptococcosis. However, the initial steps of Cryptococcus internalization by host cells remain poorly understood. Here, we investigate the mechanism of Cryptococcus neoformans phagocytosis by peritoneal macrophages using confocal and electron microscopy techniques, as well as flow cytometry quantification, evaluating the importance of fungal capsule production and of host cell cytoskeletal elements for fungal phagocytosis. Electron microscopy analyses revealed that capsular and acapsular strains of C. neoformans are internalized by macrophages via both 'zipper' (receptor-mediated) and 'trigger' (membrane ruffle-dependent) phagocytosis mechanisms. Actin filaments surrounded phagosomes of capsular and acapsular yeasts, and the actin depolymerizing drugs cytochalasin D and latrunculin B inhibited yeast internalization and actin recruitment to the phagosome area. In contrast, nocodazole and paclitaxel, inhibitors of microtubule dynamics decreased internalization but did not prevent actin recruitment to the site of phagocytosis. Our results show that different uptake mechanisms, dependent on both actin and tubulin dynamics occur during yeast internalization by macrophages, and that capsule production does not affect the mode of Cryptococcus uptake by host cells. PMID:24586631

  8. Astemizole and an analogue promote fungicidal activity of fluconazole against Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii and Cryptococcus gattii.

    PubMed

    Vu, Kiem; Gelli, Angie

    2010-03-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is the leading cause of fungal meningitis, a life-threatening infection that occurs predominately in immuocompromised patients. Current drug therapies are limited to amphotericin B, flucytosine and the azoles since the echinocandins have no demonstrated activity against yeast like pathogens. Fluconazole, a drug belonging to the azole class and often the only available antifungal in the developing world, is fungistatic and therefore not effective in clearing cryptococcal infections in immunosuppressed individuals. Here we report that astemizole and a closely related analog (A2) promoted in vitro fungicidal activity of fluconazole against Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii and Cryptococcus gattii. Astemizole, a second-generation antihistamine drug used as an H1 antagonist, has also been found to have antimalarial activity. Disk diffusion assays and MIC and MFC analysis confirmed that the inhibitory concentrations of these drug combinations were fungicidal. When tested in vivo, astemizole or A2 in combination with fluconazole significantly improved the survival of Galleria mellonella (wax moth caterpillar) that had been previously challenged with C. neoformans but not when caterpillars were challenged with a fluconazole-resistant strain. The findings reported here suggest that fungicidal combinations between azoles and other existing drugs may represent an alternative strategy for improving treatments for fungal infections. PMID:19572230

  9. Identification of QTLs Associated with Virulence Related Traits and Drug Resistance in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Vogan, Aaron A; Khankhet, Jordan; Samarasinghe, Himeshi; Xu, Jianping

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a basidiomycete fungus capable of causing deadly meningoenchephilitis, primarily in immunocompromised individuals. Formerly, C. neoformans was composed of two divergent lineages, but these have recently been elevated to species status, now C. neoformans (formerly C. neoformans var. grubii) and C. deneoformans (formerly C. neoformans var. neoformans). While both species can cause deadly infections in humans, C. neoformans is much more prevalent in clinical settings than C. deneoformans However, the genetic factors contributing to their significant differences in virulence remain largely unknown. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping is a powerful tool that can be used to identify genomic regions associated with phenotypic differences between strains. Here, we analyzed a hybrid cross between these two species and identified a total of 23 QTL, including five for melanin production, six for cell size, one for cell wall thickness, five for the frequency of capsule production, three for minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of fluconazole in broth, and three for MIC on solid medium. For the fluconazole resistance-associated QTL, three showed environment and/or concentration-specific effects. Our results provide a large number of candidate gene regions from which to explore the molecular bases for phenotypic differences between C. neoformans and C. deneoformans. PMID:27371951

  10. Identification of QTLs Associated with Virulence Related Traits and Drug Resistance in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Vogan, Aaron A.; Khankhet, Jordan; Samarasinghe, Himeshi; Xu, Jianping

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a basidiomycete fungus capable of causing deadly meningoenchephilitis, primarily in immunocompromised individuals. Formerly, C. neoformans was composed of two divergent lineages, but these have recently been elevated to species status, now C. neoformans (formerly C. neoformans var. grubii) and C. deneoformans (formerly C. neoformans var. neoformans). While both species can cause deadly infections in humans, C. neoformans is much more prevalent in clinical settings than C. deneoformans. However, the genetic factors contributing to their significant differences in virulence remain largely unknown. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping is a powerful tool that can be used to identify genomic regions associated with phenotypic differences between strains. Here, we analyzed a hybrid cross between these two species and identified a total of 23 QTL, including five for melanin production, six for cell size, one for cell wall thickness, five for the frequency of capsule production, three for minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of fluconazole in broth, and three for MIC on solid medium. For the fluconazole resistance-associated QTL, three showed environment and/or concentration-specific effects. Our results provide a large number of candidate gene regions from which to explore the molecular bases for phenotypic differences between C. neoformans and C. deneoformans. PMID:27371951

  11. Cellular charge of Cryptococcus neoformans: contributions from the capsular polysaccharide, melanin, and monoclonal antibody binding.

    PubMed Central

    Nosanchuk, J D; Casadevall, A

    1997-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a human pathogenic fungus which is unusual in two respects: it has a polysaccharide capsule similar to that found in encapsulated bacteria and it can produce melanin. Capsular and melanization phenotypes are associated with virulence. In this study we analyzed the contributions of the capsular polysaccharide, melanization, and antibody binding to the capsule to the cellular charge of C. neoformans. Cell charge was inferred from measurements of zeta potential. The results indicate that (i) C. neoformans cells are significantly more negatively charged than Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells, (ii) the polysaccharide capsule of C. neoformans is responsible for the high negative charge of the cells, (iii) C. neoformans melanin is negatively charged, (iv) melanization in C. neoformans is associated with an increased negative charge per cell, and (v) antibody binding to the capsule of C. neoformans significantly alters the cell charge. These results suggest that alterations in cell charge attributable to polysaccharide capsule formation, melanization, and antibody binding may affect C. neoformans virulence given that macrophage phagocytosis is effected by the zeta potential of microorganisms. PMID:9125569

  12. Cryptococcus neoformans virulence gene discovery through insertional mutagenesis.

    PubMed

    Idnurm, Alexander; Reedy, Jennifer L; Nussbaum, Jesse C; Heitman, Joseph

    2004-04-01

    Insertional mutagenesis was applied to Cryptococcus neoformans to identify genes associated with virulence attributes. Using biolistic transformation, we generated 4,300 nourseothricin (NAT)-resistant strains, of which 590 exhibited stable resistance. We focused on mutants with defects in established virulence factors and identified two with reduced growth at 37 degrees C, four with reduced production of the antioxidant pigment melanin, and two with an increased sensitivity to nitric oxide (NO). The NAT insertion and mutant phenotypes were genetically linked in five of eight mutants, and the DNA flanking the insertions was characterized. For the strains with altered growth at 37 degrees C and altered melanin production, mutations were in previously uncharacterized genes, while the two NO-sensitive strains bore insertions in the flavohemoglobin gene FHB1, whose product counters NO stress. Because of the frequent instability of nourseothricin resistance associated with biolistic transformation, Agrobacterium-mediated transformation was tested. This transkingdom DNA delivery approach produced 100% stable nourseothricin-resistant transformants, and three melanin-defective strains were identified from 576 transformants, of which 2 were linked to NAT in segregation analysis. One of these mutants contained a T-DNA insertion in the promoter of the LAC1 (laccase) gene, which encodes a key enzyme required for melanin production, while the second contained an insertion in the promoter of the CLC1 gene, encoding a voltage-gated chloride channel. Clc1 and its homologs are required for ion homeostasis, and in their absence Cu+ transport into the secretory pathway is compromised, depriving laccase and other Cu(+)-dependent proteins of their essential cofactor. The NAT resistance cassette was optimized for cryptococcal codon usage and GC content and was then used to disrupt a mitogen-activated protein kinase gene, a predicted gene, and two putative chloride channel genes to

  13. Cryptococcus neoformans glucuronoxylomannan fractions of different molecular masses are functionally distinct

    PubMed Central

    Albuquerque, Priscila C; Fonseca, Fernanda L; Dutra, Fabianno F; Bozza, Marcelo T; Frases, Susana; Casadevall, Arturo; Rodrigues, Marcio L

    2015-01-01

    Aims Glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) is the major polysaccharide component of Cryptococcus neoformans. We evaluated in this study whether GXM fractions of different molecular masses were functionally distinct. Materials & methods GXM samples isolated from C. neoformans cultures were fractionated to generate polysaccharide preparations differing in molecular mass. These fractions were used in experiments focused on the association of GXM with cell wall components of C. neoformans, as well as on the interaction of the polysaccharide with host cells. Results & conclusion GXM fractions of variable molecular masses bound to the surface of a C. neoformans acapsular mutant in a punctate pattern that is in contrast to the usual annular pattern of surface coating observed when GXM samples containing the full molecular mass range were used. The polysaccharide samples were also significantly different in their ability to stimulate cytokine production by host cells. Our findings indicate that GXM fractions are functionally distinct depending on their mass. PMID:24571070

  14. Kinetics of lymphocyte transformation in mice immunized with viable avirulent forms of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed Central

    Fromtling, R A; Blackstock, R; Hall, N K; Bulmer, G S

    1979-01-01

    A murine model was developed to study the cell-mediated immune response of mice immunized with one of two live, avirulent forms of Cryptococcus neoformans: a nonencapsulated mutant and a thinly encapsulated pseudohyphal variant. A lymphocyte transformation assay was used to evaluate the cellular response of control and sensitized spleen cells after in vitro incubation with three merthiolate-killed whole-cell antigens of C. neoformans. An antigen-to-spleen cell ratio of 10:1 and 5 days of incubation of antigen-spleen cell mixtures were established as optimal conditions for maximum lymphocyte transformation. Maximum responses occurred from 2 to 3 weeks after the last of eight weekly intraperitoneal inoculations of C. neoformans. This assay provided an accurate, reproducible method of studying cell-mediated immunity to C. neoformans, and applications to the study of cryptococcal pathogenesis are proposed. PMID:378854

  15. Magnesium Ion Acts as a Signal for Capsule Induction in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Rathore, Sudarshan S; Raman, Thiagarajan; Ramakrishnan, Jayapradha

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcal meningitis caused by Cryptococcus neoformans, is a common opportunistic neural infection in immunocompromised individuals. Cryptococcus meningitis is associated with fungal burden with larger capsule size in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). To understand the role of CSF constituents in capsule enlargement, we have evaluated the effect of artificial CSF on capsule induction in comparison with various other capsule inducing media. Two different strains of C. neoformans, an environmental and a clinical isolates were used in the present study. While comparing the various capsule inducing media for the two different strains of C. neoformans, it was observed that the capsule growth was significantly increased when grown in artificial CSF at pH 5.5, temperature 34°C for ATCC C. neoformans and 37°C for Clinical C. neoformans and with an incubation period of 72 h. In addition, artificial CSF supports biofilm formation in C. neoformans. While investigating the individual components of artificial CSF, we found that Mg(2+) ions influence the capsule growth in both environmental and clinical strains of C. neoformans. To confirm our results we studied the expression of four major CAP genes namely, CAP10, CAP59, CAP60, and CAP64 in various capsule inducing media and in different concentrations of Mg(2+) and Ca(2+). Our results on gene expression suggest that, Mg(2+) does have an effect on CAP gene expression, which are important for capsule biosynthesis and virulence. Our findings on the role of Mg(2+) ion as a signal for capsule induction will promote a way to elucidate the control mechanisms for capsule biosynthesis in C. neoformans. PMID:27014245

  16. Magnesium Ion Acts as a Signal for Capsule Induction in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Rathore, Sudarshan S.; Raman, Thiagarajan; Ramakrishnan, Jayapradha

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcal meningitis caused by Cryptococcus neoformans, is a common opportunistic neural infection in immunocompromised individuals. Cryptococcus meningitis is associated with fungal burden with larger capsule size in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). To understand the role of CSF constituents in capsule enlargement, we have evaluated the effect of artificial CSF on capsule induction in comparison with various other capsule inducing media. Two different strains of C. neoformans, an environmental and a clinical isolates were used in the present study. While comparing the various capsule inducing media for the two different strains of C. neoformans, it was observed that the capsule growth was significantly increased when grown in artificial CSF at pH 5.5, temperature 34°C for ATCC C. neoformans and 37°C for Clinical C. neoformans and with an incubation period of 72 h. In addition, artificial CSF supports biofilm formation in C. neoformans. While investigating the individual components of artificial CSF, we found that Mg2+ ions influence the capsule growth in both environmental and clinical strains of C. neoformans. To confirm our results we studied the expression of four major CAP genes namely, CAP10, CAP59, CAP60, and CAP64 in various capsule inducing media and in different concentrations of Mg2+ and Ca2+. Our results on gene expression suggest that, Mg2+ does have an effect on CAP gene expression, which are important for capsule biosynthesis and virulence. Our findings on the role of Mg2+ ion as a signal for capsule induction will promote a way to elucidate the control mechanisms for capsule biosynthesis in C. neoformans. PMID:27014245

  17. STAT1 Signaling within Macrophages Is Required for Antifungal Activity against Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Leopold Wager, Chrissy M.; Hole, Camaron R.; Wozniak, Karen L.; Olszewski, Michal A.; Mueller, Mathias

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans, the predominant etiological agent of cryptococcosis, is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that primarily affects AIDS patients and patients undergoing immunosuppressive therapy. In immunocompromised individuals, C. neoformans can lead to life-threatening meningoencephalitis. Studies using a virulent strain of C. neoformans engineered to produce gamma interferon (IFN-γ), denoted H99γ, demonstrated that protection against pulmonary C. neoformans infection is associated with the generation of a T helper 1 (Th1)-type immune response and signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1)-mediated classical (M1) macrophage activation. However, the critical mechanism by which M1 macrophages mediate their anti-C. neoformans activity remains unknown. The current studies demonstrate that infection with C. neoformans strain H99γ in mice with macrophage-specific STAT1 ablation resulted in severely increased inflammation of the pulmonary tissue, a dysregulated Th1/Th2-type immune response, increased fungal burden, deficient M1 macrophage activation, and loss of protection. STAT1-deficient macrophages produced significantly less nitric oxide (NO) than STAT1-sufficient macrophages, correlating with an inability to control intracellular cryptococcal proliferation, even in the presence of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Furthermore, macrophages from inducible nitric oxide synthase knockout mice, which had intact ROS production, were deficient in anticryptococcal activity. These data indicate that STAT1 activation within macrophages is required for M1 macrophage activation and anti-C. neoformans activity via the production of NO. PMID:26351277

  18. Cryptococcus neoformans Hyperfilamentous Strain Is Hypervirulent in a Murine Model of Cryptococcal Meningoencephalitis

    PubMed Central

    Feretzaki, Marianna; Hardison, Sarah E.; Wormley, Floyd L.; Heitman, Joseph

    2014-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a human fungal pathogen that causes lethal infections of the lung and central nervous system in immunocompromised individuals. C. neoformans has a defined bipolar sexual life cycle with a and α mating types. During the sexual cycle, which can occur between cells of opposite mating types (bisexual reproduction) or cells of one mating type (unisexual reproduction), a dimorphic transition from yeast to hyphal growth occurs. Hyphal development and meiosis generate abundant spores that, following inhalation, penetrate deep into the lung to enter the alveoli, germinate, and establish a pulmonary infection growing as budding yeast cells. Unisexual reproduction has been directly observed only in the Cryptococcus var. neoformans (serotype D) lineage under laboratory conditions. However, hyphal development has been previously associated with reduced virulence and the serotype D lineage exhibits limited pathogenicity in the murine model. In this study we show that the serotype D hyperfilamentous strain XL280α is hypervirulent in an animal model. It can grow inside the lung of the host, establish a pulmonary infection, and then disseminate to the brain to cause cryptococcal meningoencephalitis. Surprisingly, this hyperfilamentous strain triggers an immune response polarized towards Th2-type immunity, which is usually observed in the highly virulent sibling species C. gattii, responsible for the Pacific Northwest outbreak. These studies provide a technological advance that will facilitate analysis of virulence genes and attributes in C. neoformans var. neoformans, and reveal the virulence potential of serotype D as broader and more dynamic than previously appreciated. PMID:25093333

  19. In vitro susceptibilities of clinical and environmental isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans to five antifungal drugs.

    PubMed Central

    Franzot, S P; Hamdan, J S

    1996-01-01

    A total of 53 Cryptococcus neoformans strains, including clinical and environmental Brazilian isolates, were tested for their susceptibilities to amphotericin B, 5-flucytosine, ketoconazole, fluconazole, and itraconazole. The tests were performed according to the National Committee of Clinical Laboratory Standards recommendations (document M27-P). In general, there was a remarkable homogeneity of results for all strains, and comparable MICs were found for environmental and clinical isolates. This paper represents the first contribution in which susceptibility data for Brazilian C. neoformans isolates are provided. PMID:8851624

  20. Variables affecting production of monocyte chemotactic factor 1 from human leukocytes stimulated with Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed Central

    Levitz, S M; North, E A; Jiang, Y; Nong, S H; Kornfeld, H; Harrison, T S

    1997-01-01

    The chemokine monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) is produced predominantly by mononuclear phagocytes and stimulates recruitment into infected tissues of blood monocytes and T cells. These cell types are thought to be critical to host defenses against infections due to Cryptococcus neoformans, a major cause of disease in persons with AIDS and other disorders of cell-mediated immunity. Accordingly, in the present study, we examined the conditions under which human monocytes and bronchoalveolar macrophages (BAM) are stimulated by C. neoformans to produce MCP-1. C. neoformans was a potent inducer of MCP-1 release from monocytes, with levels of chemokine secreted similar to that seen following stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). BAM, in contrast, were stimulated by LPS, but not by C. neoformans, to secrete MCP-1. A peak in MCP-1 mRNA was seen 8 h following cryptococcal stimulation of monocytes. Nine strains of C. neoformans stimulated monocytes to release MCP-1, and there was only modest variation between strains. However, when an individual strain was used, the capacity of C. neoformans to stimulate monocyte MCP-1 release did vary, depending upon the conditions used to grow the fungal stimuli. Finally, C. neoformans stimulated comparable quantities of MCP-1 release in monocytes from donors with and without human immunodeficiency virus infection. These data establish C. neoformans as a potent stimulator of MCP-1 in monocytes, but not in BAM. The failure of C. neoformans to stimulate MCP-1 in BAM, if occurring in vivo, could result in a diminished cell-mediated inflammatory response following inhalation of airborne fungi. PMID:9038295

  1. Phospholipids trigger Cryptococcus neoformans capsular enlargement during interactions with amoebae and macrophages.

    PubMed

    Chrisman, Cara J; Albuquerque, Patricia; Guimaraes, Allan J; Nieves, Edward; Casadevall, Arturo

    2011-05-01

    A remarkable aspect of the interaction of Cryptococcus neoformans with mammalian hosts is a consistent increase in capsule volume. Given that many aspects of the interaction of C. neoformans with macrophages are also observed with amoebae, we hypothesized that the capsule enlargement phenomenon also had a protozoan parallel. Incubation of C. neoformans with Acanthamoeba castellanii resulted in C. neoformans capsular enlargement. The phenomenon required contact between fungal and protozoan cells but did not require amoeba viability. Analysis of amoebae extracts showed that the likely stimuli for capsule enlargement were protozoan polar lipids. Extracts from macrophages and mammalian serum also triggered cryptococcal capsular enlargement. C. neoformans capsule enlargement required expression of fungal phospholipase B, but not phospholipase C. Purified phospholipids, in particular, phosphatidylcholine, and derived molecules triggered capsular enlargement with the subsequent formation of giant cells. These results implicate phospholipids as a trigger for both C. neoformans capsule enlargement in vivo and exopolysaccharide production. The observation that the incubation of C. neoformans with phospholipids led to the formation of giant cells provides the means to generate these enigmatic cells in vitro. Protozoan- or mammalian-derived polar lipids could represent a danger signal for C. neoformans that triggers capsular enlargement as a non-specific defense mechanism against potential predatory cells. Hence, phospholipids are the first host-derived molecules identified to trigger capsular enlargement. The parallels apparent in the capsular response of C. neoformans to both amoebae and macrophages provide additional support for the notion that certain aspects of cryptococcal virulence emerged as a consequence of environmental interactions with other microorganisms such as protists.

  2. Intron retention-dependent gene regulation in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Gonzalez-Hilarion, Sara; Paulet, Damien; Lee, Kyung-Tae; Hon, Chung-Chau; Lechat, Pierre; Mogensen, Estelle; Moyrand, Frédérique; Proux, Caroline; Barboux, Rony; Bussotti, Giovanni; Hwang, Jungwook; Coppée, Jean-Yves; Bahn, Yong-Sun; Janbon, Guilhem

    2016-01-01

    The biological impact of alternative splicing is poorly understood in fungi, although recent studies have shown that these microorganisms are usually intron-rich. In this study, we re-annotated the genome of C. neoformans var. neoformans using RNA-Seq data. Comparison with C. neoformans var. grubii revealed that more than 99% of ORF-introns are in the same exact position in the two varieties whereas UTR-introns are much less evolutionary conserved. We also confirmed that alternative splicing is very common in C. neoformans, affecting nearly all expressed genes. We also observed specific regulation of alternative splicing by environmental cues in this yeast. However, alternative splicing does not appear to be an efficient method to diversify the C. neoformans proteome. Instead, our data suggest the existence of an intron retention-dependent mechanism of gene expression regulation that is not dependent on NMD. This regulatory process represents an additional layer of gene expression regulation in fungi and provides a mechanism to tune gene expression levels in response to any environmental modification. PMID:27577684

  3. Intron retention-dependent gene regulation in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Gonzalez-Hilarion, Sara; Paulet, Damien; Lee, Kyung-Tae; Hon, Chung-Chau; Lechat, Pierre; Mogensen, Estelle; Moyrand, Frédérique; Proux, Caroline; Barboux, Rony; Bussotti, Giovanni; Hwang, Jungwook; Coppée, Jean-Yves; Bahn, Yong-Sun; Janbon, Guilhem

    2016-01-01

    The biological impact of alternative splicing is poorly understood in fungi, although recent studies have shown that these microorganisms are usually intron-rich. In this study, we re-annotated the genome of C. neoformans var. neoformans using RNA-Seq data. Comparison with C. neoformans var. grubii revealed that more than 99% of ORF-introns are in the same exact position in the two varieties whereas UTR-introns are much less evolutionary conserved. We also confirmed that alternative splicing is very common in C. neoformans, affecting nearly all expressed genes. We also observed specific regulation of alternative splicing by environmental cues in this yeast. However, alternative splicing does not appear to be an efficient method to diversify the C. neoformans proteome. Instead, our data suggest the existence of an intron retention-dependent mechanism of gene expression regulation that is not dependent on NMD. This regulatory process represents an additional layer of gene expression regulation in fungi and provides a mechanism to tune gene expression levels in response to any environmental modification. PMID:27577684

  4. Impact of Resistance to Fluconazole on Virulence and Morphological Aspects of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii Isolates.

    PubMed

    Rossi, Suélen A; Trevijano-Contador, Nuria; Scorzoni, Liliana; Mesa-Arango, Ana Cecilia; de Oliveira, Haroldo C; Werther, Karin; de Freitas Raso, Tânia; Mendes-Giannini, Maria J S; Zaragoza, Oscar; Fusco-Almeida, Ana M

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus sp. are responsible for around 1 million cases of meningitis every year. Fluconazole (FLU) is commonly used in the treatment of cryptococcosis, mainly in immunocompromised patients and the resistance is usually reported after long periods of treatment. In this study, the morphological characterization and virulence profile of FLU-susceptible and FLU-resistant clinical and environmental isolates of C. neoformans and C. gattii were performed both in vitro and in vivo using the Galleria mellonella model. FLU-susceptible isolates from C. neoformans were significantly more virulent than the FLU-resistant isolates. FLU-susceptible C. gattii isolates showed a different virulence profile from C. neoformans isolates where only the environmental isolate, CL, was more virulent compared with the resistant isolates. Cell morphology and capsule size were analyzed and the FLU-resistant isolates did not change significantly compared with the most sensitive isolates. Growth at 37°C was also evaluated and in both species, the resistant isolates showed a reduced growth at this temperature, indicating that FLU resistance can affect their growth. Based on the results obtained is possible suggest that FLU resistance can influence the morphology of the isolates and consequently changed the virulence profiles. The most evident results were observed for C. neoformans showing that the adaptation of isolates to antifungal selective pressure influenced the loss of virulence. PMID:26909069

  5. Impact of Resistance to Fluconazole on Virulence and Morphological Aspects of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii Isolates

    PubMed Central

    Rossi, Suélen A.; Trevijano-Contador, Nuria; Scorzoni, Liliana; Mesa-Arango, Ana Cecilia; de Oliveira, Haroldo C.; Werther, Karin; de Freitas Raso, Tânia; Mendes-Giannini, Maria J. S.; Zaragoza, Oscar; Fusco-Almeida, Ana M.

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus sp. are responsible for around 1 million cases of meningitis every year. Fluconazole (FLU) is commonly used in the treatment of cryptococcosis, mainly in immunocompromised patients and the resistance is usually reported after long periods of treatment. In this study, the morphological characterization and virulence profile of FLU-susceptible and FLU-resistant clinical and environmental isolates of C. neoformans and C. gattii were performed both in vitro and in vivo using the Galleria mellonella model. FLU-susceptible isolates from C. neoformans were significantly more virulent than the FLU-resistant isolates. FLU-susceptible C. gattii isolates showed a different virulence profile from C. neoformans isolates where only the environmental isolate, CL, was more virulent compared with the resistant isolates. Cell morphology and capsule size were analyzed and the FLU-resistant isolates did not change significantly compared with the most sensitive isolates. Growth at 37°C was also evaluated and in both species, the resistant isolates showed a reduced growth at this temperature, indicating that FLU resistance can affect their growth. Based on the results obtained is possible suggest that FLU resistance can influence the morphology of the isolates and consequently changed the virulence profiles. The most evident results were observed for C. neoformans showing that the adaptation of isolates to antifungal selective pressure influenced the loss of virulence. PMID:26909069

  6. Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization–Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry-Based Method for Discrimination between Molecular Types of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii

    PubMed Central

    Posteraro, Brunella; Vella, Antonietta; Cogliati, Massimo; De Carolis, Elena; Florio, Ada Rita; Posteraro, Patrizia; Tortorano, Anna Maria

    2012-01-01

    We evaluated the usefulness of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) for Cryptococcus identification at the species and subspecies levels by using an in-house database of 25 reference cryptococcal spectra. Eighty-one out of the 82 Cryptococcus isolates (72 Cryptococcus neoformans and 10 Cryptococcus gattii) tested were correctly identified with respect to their molecular type designations. We showed that MALDI-TOF MS is a practicable alternative to conventional mycology or DNA-based methods. PMID:22573595

  7. Synthesis of part structures of Cryptococcus neoformans serotype C capsular polysaccharide.

    PubMed

    Guazzelli, Lorenzo; McCabe, Orla; Oscarson, Stefan

    2016-10-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungal pathogen that can cause life-threatening infections in immunocompromised patients. The development of a vaccine based on the capsular polysaccharide of C. neoformans is still an open challenge due to the heterogeneity of the capsular polysaccharide and the difficulty of identifying protective epitopes. Therefore, construction of structurally defined part structures of the C. neoformans GXM capsule is in great demand. Herein is presented the synthesis of a 3-O-naphthalenylmethyl protected trisaccharide thioglycoside building block which is present in C. neoformans serotype C polysaccharide. Its property as a donor in a glycosylation reaction with a model acceptor has been evaluated together with its behaviour as an acceptor following removal of the temporary protecting group. The heavily branched hexasaccharide was obtained in good yields and excellent α-selectivity. The frame shifted octasaccharide structural triad motif for serotype C was also prepared following the same building block strategy. For the first time this structural motif, which is the most substituted amongst the four C. neoformans serotypes, was prepared. Three synthesized C. neoformans serotype C fragments of varying size, from penta-up to octasaccharide, were deprotected and will be included in unique glycoarrays to further investigate the possibility to develop a synthetic vaccine against this pathogen. PMID:27423877

  8. Occurrence and susceptibilities to disinfectants of Cryptococcus neoformans in fecal droppings from pigeons in Bangkok, Thailand.

    PubMed

    Krangvichain, Prathomporn; Niyomtham, Waree; Prapasarakul, Nuvee

    2016-03-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic pathogenic yeast that causes meningoencephalitis and deep skin dermatitis in humans and animals. A hygienic strategy using disinfectants on environmental samples can reduce the risk to the public. The objectives were to survey the distribution of C. neoformans in pigeon fecal droppings collected in 11 districts in Bangkok during 2011-2012 and to evaluate the efficacy of three commercial disinfectant products (based on potassium monopersulfate, sodium hypochlorite and quaternary ammonium compounds, respectively). These were evaluated against pure C. neoformans and yeasts resuspended in sterile pigeon feces using the dilution-neutralization method [Europäische NORM (EN) 1656]. In total, 18 of 164 (11%) samples were positive for C. neoformans. These came from only three of the 11 districts, with a prevalence of between 13-56%. Using multiplex PCR, serotype A was the sole group found. For all disinfectants, C. neoformans mixed in feces was tolerated at a higher dose and time exposure than pure isolates. The most effective disinfectant in this study was a 0.12% quaternary ammonium compound that could rapidly eradicate the yeasts mixed in feces. This finding highlights the occurrence and distribution of C. neoformans in the capital city of Thailand and the need to prolong the duration of exposure to disinfectants with pigeon feces.

  9. Induction by Klebsiella aerogenes of a Melanin-Like Pigment in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Frases, Susana; Chaskes, Stuart; Dadachova, Ekaterina; Casadevall, Arturo

    2006-01-01

    While studying the interaction of Cryptococcus neoformans with Dictyostelium discoideum, we noticed that yeast colonies in agar with a feeder lawn of Klebsiella aerogenes were brown. This finding was intriguing because C. neoformans colonies are not pigmented unless they are provided with precursors for melanization. Strains of all C. neoformans serotypes produced brown pigment in response to K. aerogenes at 22, 30, and 37°C. Pigment production required fungal laccase and was suppressed by high concentrations of glucose. Treatment of brown cells with guanidinium isothiocyanate and hot concentrated HCl yielded particulate material that had the physical and chemical characteristics of melanins. No pigment formation was observed when C. neoformans was exposed to live Escherichia coli or heat-killed K. aerogenes. Analysis of K. aerogenes supernatants revealed the presence of dopamine, which can be a substrate for melanin synthesis by C. neoformans. Our findings illustrate a remarkable interaction between a pathogenic fungus and a gram-negative bacterium, in which the bacterium produces a substrate that promotes fungal melanization. This observation provides a precedent that could explain the source of a substrate for C. neoformans melanization in the environment. PMID:16461709

  10. Capsule enlargement in Cryptococcus neoformans confers resistance to oxidative stress suggesting a mechanism for intracellular survival.

    PubMed

    Zaragoza, Oscar; Chrisman, Cara J; Castelli, Maria Victoria; Frases, Susana; Cuenca-Estrella, Manuel; Rodríguez-Tudela, Juan Luis; Casadevall, Arturo

    2008-10-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a facultative intracellular pathogen. The most distinctive feature of C. neoformans is a polysaccharide capsule that enlarges depending on environmental stimuli. The mechanism by which C. neoformans avoids killing during phagocytosis is unknown. We hypothesized that capsule growth conferred resistance to microbicidal molecules produced by the host during infection, particularly during phagocytosis. We observed that capsule enlargement conferred resistance to reactive oxygen species produced by H(2)O(2) that was not associated with a higher catalase activity, suggesting a new function for the capsule as a scavenger of reactive oxidative intermediates. Soluble capsular polysaccharide protected C. neoformans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae from killing by H(2)O(2). Acapsular mutants had higher susceptibility to free radicals. Capsular polysaccharide acted as an antioxidant in the nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) reduction coupled to beta-nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH)/phenazine methosulfate (PMS) assay. Capsule enlargement conferred resistance to antimicrobial peptides and the antifungal drug Amphotericin B. Interestingly, the capsule had no effect on susceptibility to azoles and increased susceptibility to fluconazole. Capsule enlargement reduced phagocytosis by environmental predators, although we also noticed that in this system, starvation of C. neoformans cells produced resistance to phagocytosis. Our results suggest that capsular enlargement is a mechanism that enhances C. neoformans survival when ingested by phagocytic cells.

  11. Capsule enlargement in Cryptococcus neoformans confers resistance to oxidative stress suggesting a mechanism for intracellular survival

    PubMed Central

    Zaragoza, Oscar; Chrisman, Cara J.; Castelli, Maria Victoria; Frases, Susana; Cuenca-Estrella, Manuel; Rodríguez-Tudela, Juan Luis; Casadevall, Arturo

    2015-01-01

    Summary Cryptococcus neoformans is a facultative intracellular pathogen. The most distinctive feature of C. neoformans is a polysaccharide capsule that enlarges depending on environmental stimuli. The mechanism by which C. neoformans avoids killing during phagocytosis is unknown. We hypothesized that capsule growth conferred resistance to microbicidal molecules produced by the host during infection, particularly during phagocytosis. We observed that capsule enlargement conferred resistance to reactive oxygen species produced by H2O2 that was not associated with a higher catalase activity, suggesting a new function for the capsule as a scavenger of reactive oxidative intermediates. Soluble capsular polysaccharide protected C. neoformans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae from killing by H2O2. Acapsular mutants had higher susceptibility to free radicals. Capsular polysaccharide acted as an antioxidant in the nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) reduction coupled to β-nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH)/phenazine methosulfate (PMS) assay. Capsule enlargement conferred resistance to antimicrobial peptides and the antifungal drug Amphotericin B. Interestingly, the capsule had no effect on susceptibility to azoles and increased susceptibility to fluconazole. Capsule enlargement reduced phagocytosis by environmental predators, although we also noticed that in this system, starvation of C. neoformans cells produced resistance to phagocytosis. Our results suggest that capsular enlargement is a mechanism that enhances C. neoformans survival when ingested by phagocytic cells. PMID:18554313

  12. Induction by Klebsiella aerogenes of a melanin-like pigment in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Frases, Susana; Chaskes, Stuart; Dadachova, Ekaterina; Casadevall, Arturo

    2006-02-01

    While studying the interaction of Cryptococcus neoformans with Dictyostelium discoideum, we noticed that yeast colonies in agar with a feeder lawn of Klebsiella aerogenes were brown. This finding was intriguing because C. neoformans colonies are not pigmented unless they are provided with precursors for melanization. Strains of all C. neoformans serotypes produced brown pigment in response to K. aerogenes at 22, 30, and 37 degrees C. Pigment production required fungal laccase and was suppressed by high concentrations of glucose. Treatment of brown cells with guanidinium isothiocyanate and hot concentrated HCl yielded particulate material that had the physical and chemical characteristics of melanins. No pigment formation was observed when C. neoformans was exposed to live Escherichia coli or heat-killed K. aerogenes. Analysis of K. aerogenes supernatants revealed the presence of dopamine, which can be a substrate for melanin synthesis by C. neoformans. Our findings illustrate a remarkable interaction between a pathogenic fungus and a gram-negative bacterium, in which the bacterium produces a substrate that promotes fungal melanization. This observation provides a precedent that could explain the source of a substrate for C. neoformans melanization in the environment.

  13. Occurrence and susceptibilities to disinfectants of Cryptococcus neoformans in fecal droppings from pigeons in Bangkok, Thailand

    PubMed Central

    KRANGVICHAIN, Prathomporn; NIYOMTHAM, Waree; PRAPASARAKUL, Nuvee

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic pathogenic yeast that causes meningoencephalitis and deep skin dermatitis in humans and animals. A hygienic strategy using disinfectants on environmental samples can reduce the risk to the public. The objectives were to survey the distribution of C. neoformans in pigeon fecal droppings collected in 11 districts in Bangkok during 2011–2012 and to evaluate the efficacy of three commercial disinfectant products (based on potassium monopersulfate, sodium hypochlorite and quaternary ammonium compounds, respectively). These were evaluated against pure C. neoformans and yeasts resuspended in sterile pigeon feces using the dilution-neutralization method [Europäische NORM (EN) 1656]. In total, 18 of 164 (11%) samples were positive for C. neoformans. These came from only three of the 11 districts, with a prevalence of between 13–56%. Using multiplex PCR, serotype A was the sole group found. For all disinfectants, C. neoformans mixed in feces was tolerated at a higher dose and time exposure than pure isolates. The most effective disinfectant in this study was a 0.12% quaternary ammonium compound that could rapidly eradicate the yeasts mixed in feces. This finding highlights the occurrence and distribution of C. neoformans in the capital city of Thailand and the need to prolong the duration of exposure to disinfectants with pigeon feces. PMID:26596636

  14. Photodynamic therapy can kill Cryptococcus neoformans in in vitro and in vivo models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prates, Renato A.; da Silva, Eriques G.; Chaves, Priscila F.; Santos, Antônio José S.; Paula, Claudete R.; Ribeiro, Martha S.

    2009-02-01

    Cryptococcosis is an infection caused by the encapsulated yeast Cryptococcus neoformans and the most afflicted sites are lung, skin and central nervous system. A range of studies had reported that photodynamic therapy (PDT) can inactivate yeast cells; however, the in vivo experimental models of cryptococcosis photoinactivation are not commonly reported. The aim of this study was to investigate the ability of methylene blue (MB) combined with a low-power red laser to inactivate Cryptococcus neoformans in in vitro and in vivo experimental models. To perform the in vitro study, suspension of Cryptococcus neoformans ATCC-90112 (106cfu/mL) was used. The light source was a laser (Photon Lase III, DMC, SÃ#o Carlos, Brazil) emitting at λ660nm with output power of 90mW for 6 and 9min of irradiation, resulting fluences at 108 and 162J/cm². As photosensitizer, 100μM MB was used. For the in vivo study, 10 BALB/c mice had the left paw inoculated with C. neoformans ATCC-90112 (107cfu). Twenty-four hours after inoculation, PDT was performed using 150μM MB and 100mW red laser with fluence at 180J/cm2. PDT was efficient in vitro against C. neoformans in both parameters used: 3 log reduction with 108J/cm² and 6 log reduction with 162J/cm². In the in vivo experiment, PDT was also effective; however, its effect was less expressive than in the in vitro study (about 1 log reduction). In conclusion, PDT seems to be a helpful alternative to treat dermal cryptococcosis; however, more effective parameters must be found in in vivo studies.

  15. Molecular typing of environmental Cryptococcus neoformans/C. gattii species complex isolates from Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil.

    PubMed

    Alves, Gleica Soyan Barbosa; Freire, Ana Karla Lima; Bentes, Amaury Dos Santos; Pinheiro, José Felipe de Souza; de Souza, João Vicente Braga; Wanke, Bodo; Matsuura, Takeshi; Jackisch-Matsuura, Ani Beatriz

    2016-08-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii are the main causative agents of cryptococcosis, a systemic fungal disease that affects internal organs and skin, and which is acquired by inhalation of spores or encapsulated yeasts. It is currently known that the C. neoformans/C. gattii species complex has a worldwide distribution, however, some molecular types seem to prevail in certain regions. Few environmental studies of Cryptococcus have been conducted in the Brazilian Amazon. This is the first ecological study of the pathogenic fungi C. neoformans/C. gattii species complex in the urban area of Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil. A total of 506 samples from pigeon droppings (n = 191), captive bird droppings (n = 60) and tree hollows (n = 255) were collected from June 2012 to January 2014 at schools and public buildings, squares, pet shops, households, the zoo and the bus station. Samples were plated on niger seed agar (NSA) medium supplemented with chloramphenicol and incubated at 25°C for 5 days. Dark-brown colonies were isolated and tested for thermotolerance at 37°C, cycloheximide resistance and growth on canavanine-glycine-bromothymol blue agar. Molecular typing was done by PCR-RFLP. Susceptibility to the antifungal drugs amphotericin B, fluconazole, itraconazole and ketoconazole was tested using Etest(®) strips. In total, 13 positive samples were obtained: one tree hollow (C. gattiiVGII), nine pigeon droppings (C. neoformansVNI) and three captive bird droppings (C. neoformansVNI). The environmental cryptococcal isolates found in this study were of the same molecular types as those responsible for infections in Manaus. PMID:27005969

  16. Molecular typing of environmental Cryptococcus neoformans/C. gattii species complex isolates from Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil.

    PubMed

    Alves, Gleica Soyan Barbosa; Freire, Ana Karla Lima; Bentes, Amaury Dos Santos; Pinheiro, José Felipe de Souza; de Souza, João Vicente Braga; Wanke, Bodo; Matsuura, Takeshi; Jackisch-Matsuura, Ani Beatriz

    2016-08-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii are the main causative agents of cryptococcosis, a systemic fungal disease that affects internal organs and skin, and which is acquired by inhalation of spores or encapsulated yeasts. It is currently known that the C. neoformans/C. gattii species complex has a worldwide distribution, however, some molecular types seem to prevail in certain regions. Few environmental studies of Cryptococcus have been conducted in the Brazilian Amazon. This is the first ecological study of the pathogenic fungi C. neoformans/C. gattii species complex in the urban area of Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil. A total of 506 samples from pigeon droppings (n = 191), captive bird droppings (n = 60) and tree hollows (n = 255) were collected from June 2012 to January 2014 at schools and public buildings, squares, pet shops, households, the zoo and the bus station. Samples were plated on niger seed agar (NSA) medium supplemented with chloramphenicol and incubated at 25°C for 5 days. Dark-brown colonies were isolated and tested for thermotolerance at 37°C, cycloheximide resistance and growth on canavanine-glycine-bromothymol blue agar. Molecular typing was done by PCR-RFLP. Susceptibility to the antifungal drugs amphotericin B, fluconazole, itraconazole and ketoconazole was tested using Etest(®) strips. In total, 13 positive samples were obtained: one tree hollow (C. gattiiVGII), nine pigeon droppings (C. neoformansVNI) and three captive bird droppings (C. neoformansVNI). The environmental cryptococcal isolates found in this study were of the same molecular types as those responsible for infections in Manaus.

  17. Cryptococcus neoformans responds to mannitol by increasing capsule size in vitro and in vivo.

    PubMed

    Guimarães, Allan Jefferson; Frases, Susana; Cordero, Radamés J B; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Casadevall, Arturo; Nosanchuk, Joshua D

    2010-06-01

    The polysaccharide capsule of the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans is its main virulence factor. In this study, we determined the effects of mannitol and glucose on the capsule and exopolysaccharide production. Growth in mannitol significantly increased capsular volume compared with cultivation in glucose. However, cells grown in glucose concentrations higher than 62.5 mM produced more exopolysaccharide than cells grown in mannitol. The fibre lengths and glycosyl composition of capsular polysaccharide from yeast grown in mannitol was structurally different from that of yeast grown in glucose. Furthermore, mannitol treatment of mice infected intratracheally with C. neoformans resulted in fungal cells with significantly larger capsules and the mice had reduced fungal dissemination to the brain. Our results demonstrate the capacity of carbohydrate source and concentration to modify the expression of a major virulence factor of C. neoformans. These findings may impact the clinical management of cryptococcosis.

  18. Cryptococcus neoformans responds to mannitol by increasing capsule size in vitro and in vivo

    PubMed Central

    Guimarães, Allan Jefferson; Frases, Susana; Cordero, Radamés J. B.; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Casadevall, Arturo; Nosanchuk, Joshua D.

    2010-01-01

    The polysaccharide capsule of the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans is its main virulence factor. In this study, we determined the effects of mannitol and glucose on the capsule and exopolysaccharide production. Growth in mannitol significantly increased capsular volume compared to cultivation in glucose. However, cells grown in glucose concentrations higher than 62.5mM produced more exopolysaccharide than cells grown in mannitol. The fiber lengths and glycosyl composition of capsular polysaccharide from yeast grown in mannitol was structurally different from that of yeast grown in glucose. Furthermore, mannitol treatment of mice infected intratracheally with C. neoformans resulted in fungal cells with significantly larger capsules and the mice had reduced fungal dissemination to the brain. Our results demonstrate the capacity of carbohydrate source and concentration to modify the expression of a major virulence factor of C. neoformans. These findings may impact the clinical management of cryptococcosis. PMID:20070311

  19. Paramecium species ingest and kill the cells of the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    FRAGER, SHALOM Z.; CHRISMAN, CARA J.; SHAKKED, RACHEL; CASADEVALL, ARTURO

    2015-01-01

    A fundamental question in the field of medical mycology is the origin of virulence in those fungal pathogens acquired directly from the environment. In recent years, it was proposed that the virulence of certain environmental animal-pathogenic microbes, such as Cryptococcus neoformans , originated from selection pressures caused by species-specific predation. In this study, we analyzed the interaction of C. neoformans with three Paramecium spp., all of which are ciliated mobile protists. In contrast to the interaction with amoebae, some Paramecium spp. rapidly ingested C. neoformans and killed the fungus. This study establishes yet another type of protist-fungal interaction supporting the notion that animal-pathogenic fungi in the environment are under constant selection by predation. PMID:20233022

  20. Cryptococcus neoformans capsular polysaccharides form branched and complex filamentous networks viewed by high-resolution microscopy.

    PubMed

    Araújo, Glauber R de S; Fontes, Giselle N; Leão, Daniela; Rocha, Gustavo Miranda; Pontes, Bruno; Sant'Anna, Celso; de Souza, Wanderley; Frases, Susana

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungal pathogen that causes life-threatening infections in immunocompromised individuals. Its main virulence factor is an extracellular polysaccharide capsule whose structure, assembly and dynamics remain poorly understood. In this study, we apply improved protocols for sample preparation and recently-developed scanning microscopy techniques to visualize the ultrastructure of the C. neoformans capsule at high-resolution (up to 1 nm) and improved structural preservation. Although most capsule structures in nature consist of linear polymers, we show here that the C. neoformans capsule is a 'microgel-like' structure composed of branched polysaccharides. Moreover, we imaged the capsule-to-cell wall link, which is formed by thin fibers that branch out of thicker capsule filaments, and have one end firmly embedded in the cell wall structure. Together, our findings provide compelling ultrastructural evidence for a branched and complex capsule conformation, which may have important implications for the biological activity of the capsule as a virulence factor.

  1. Biochemical studies of phenoloxidase and utilization of catecholamines in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed Central

    Polacheck, I; Hearing, V J; Kwon-Chung, K J

    1982-01-01

    Protoplasts of Cryptococcus neoformans contain phenoloxidase as a membrane-bound enzyme. The enzyme appeared to be attached on the inner side of cytoplasmic membranes. Synthesis of the enzyme was derepressed by low levels of glucose but was not affected by the level of ammonium. Copper chelators which inhibited the phenoloxidase of other organisms did not affect cryptococcal enzymes. However, cyanide- or iron-chelating agents such as hydroximide derivates or 8-hydroxyquinoline were effective inhibitors, suggesting that cryptococcal phenoloxidase is an iron-containing enzyme. Phenoloxidase of C. neoformans catalyzed the oxidation of various diphenols via dopachrome and labile intermediates to melanin polymers. The kinetic constants (Km) of the phenoloxidase and the permease for dopamine and norepinephrine were low. The correlation between phenoloxidase and the preferential growth of C. neoformans in the host brain is discussed. PMID:6804439

  2. Paramecium species ingest and kill the cells of the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Frager, Shalom Z; Chrisman, Cara J; Shakked, Rachel; Casadevall, Arturo

    2010-08-01

    A fundamental question in the field of medical mycology is the origin of virulence in those fungal pathogens acquired directly from the environment. In recent years, it was proposed that the virulence of certain environmental animal-pathogenic microbes, such as Cryptococcus neoformans, originated from selection pressures caused by species-specific predation. In this study, we analyzed the interaction of C. neoformans with three Paramecium spp., all of which are ciliated mobile protists. In contrast to the interaction with amoebae, some Paramecium spp. rapidly ingested C. neoformans and killed the fungus. This study establishes yet another type of protist-fungal interaction supporting the notion that animal-pathogenic fungi in the environment are under constant selection by predation.

  3. Ventriculoatrial shunt infection due to Cryptococcus neoformans: an ultrastructural and quantitative microbiological study.

    PubMed

    Walsh, T J; Schlegel, R; Moody, M M; Costerton, J W; Salcman, M

    1986-03-01

    A 28-year-old man presented with hydrocephalus due to an infection by Cryptococcus neoformans involving his ventriculoatrial shunt. Ultrastructural studies of the ventriculoatrial shunt demonstrated yeastlike organisms consistent with C. neoformans within a biofilm on the appliance. Quantitative microbiological studies of segments of the shunt demonstrated C. neoformans in a concentration gradient from 9 X 10(6) colony-forming units (CFU)/0.5-cm section involving the ventricular portion of the catheter to 1 X 10(2) CFU/0.5-cm section at the vascular tip. The clinical, microbiological, and ultrastructural data suggest that this cryptococcal infection started as a ventriculitis or encephalitis with extension to the meningeal surface. Future application of these methods may further elucidate the pathogenesis of ventriculoatrial shunt infections.

  4. Multilocus sequence typing of Cryptococcus neoformans in non-HIV associated cryptococcosis in Nagasaki, Japan.

    PubMed

    Mihara, Tomo; Izumikawa, Koichi; Kakeya, Hiroshi; Ngamskulrungroj, Popchai; Umeyama, Takashi; Takazono, Takahiro; Tashiro, Masato; Nakamura, Shigeki; Imamura, Yoshifumi; Miyazaki, Taiga; Ohno, Hideaki; Yamamoto, Yoshihiro; Yanagihara, Katsunori; Miyzaki, Yoshitsugu; Kohno, Shigeru

    2013-04-01

    Cryptococcosis is primarily caused by two Cryptococcus species, i.e., Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii. Both include several genetically diverse subgroups that can be differentiated using various molecular strain typing methods. Since little is known about the molecular epidemiology of the C. neoformans/C. gattii species complex in Japan, we conducted a molecular epidemiological analysis of 35 C. neoformans isolates from non-HIV patients in Nagasaki, Japan and 10 environmental isolates from Thailand. All were analyzed using URA5-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Combined sequence data for all isolates were evaluated with the neighbor-joining method. All were found to be serotype A and mating type MATα. Thirty-two of the 35 clinical isolates molecular type VNI, while the three remaining isolates were VNII as determined through the URA5-RFLP method. Thirty-one of the VNI isolates were identified as MLST sequence type (ST) 5, the remaining one was ST 32 and the three VNII isolates were found to be ST 43. All the environmental isolates were identified as molecular type VNI (four MLST ST 5 and six ST 4). Our study shows that C. neoformans isolates in Nagasaki are genetically homogeneous, with most of the isolates being ST 5. PMID:22901045

  5. Evidence that the Human Pathogenic Fungus Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii May Have Evolved in Africa

    PubMed Central

    Litvintseva, Anastasia P.; Carbone, Ignazio; Rossouw, Jenny; Thakur, Rameshwari; Govender, Nelesh P.; Mitchell, Thomas G.

    2011-01-01

    Most of the species of fungi that cause disease in mammals, including Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii (serotype A), are exogenous and non-contagious. Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii is associated worldwide with avian and arboreal habitats. This airborne, opportunistic pathogen is profoundly neurotropic and the leading cause of fungal meningitis. Patients with HIV/AIDS have been ravaged by cryptococcosis – an estimated one million new cases occur each year, and mortality approaches 50%. Using phylogenetic and population genetic analyses, we present evidence that C. neoformans var. grubii may have evolved from a diverse population in southern Africa. Our ecological studies support the hypothesis that a few of these strains acquired a new environmental reservoir, the excreta of feral pigeons (Columba livia), and were globally dispersed by the migration of birds and humans. This investigation also discovered a novel arboreal reservoir for highly diverse strains of C. neoformans var. grubii that are restricted to southern Africa, the mopane tree (Colophospermum mopane). This finding may have significant public health implications because these primal strains have optimal potential for evolution and because mopane trees contribute to the local economy as a source of timber, folkloric remedies and the edible mopane worm. PMID:21589919

  6. Requirement of the isocitrate lyase gene ICL1 for VPS41-mediated starvation response in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Xu, Zhe; Zhi, Yafei; Dong, Jianzhang; Lin, Benfeng; Ye, Di; Liu, Xiaoguang

    2016-07-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a major cause of fungal meningitis in individuals with impaired immunity. Our previous studies have shown that the VPS41 gene plays a critical role in the survival of Cryptococcus neoformans under nitrogen starvation; however, the molecular mechanisms underlying VPS41-mediated starvation response remain to be elucidated. In the present study, we show that, under nitrogen starvation, VPS41 strongly enhanced ICL1 expression in C. neoformans and that overexpression of ICL1 in the vps41 mutant dramatically suppressed its defects in starvation response due to the loss of VPS41 function. Moreover, targeted deletion of ICL1 resulted in a dramatic decline in viability of C. neoformans cells under nitrogen deprivation. Taken together, our data suggest a model in which VPS41 up-regulates ICL1 expression, directly or indirectly, to promote survival of C. neoformans under nitrogen starvation. PMID:27350614

  7. Rapid direct identification of Cryptococcus neoformans from pigeon droppings by nested PCR using CNLAC1 gene.

    PubMed

    Chae, H S; Park, G N; Kim, S H; Jo, H J; Kim, J T; Jeoung, H Y; An, D J; Kim, N H; Shin, B W; Kang, Y I; Chang, K S

    2012-08-01

    Isolation and identification of Cryptococcus neoformans and pathogenic yeast-like fungi from pigeon droppings has been taken for a long time and requires various nutrients for its growth. In this study, we attempted to establish a rapid direct identification method of Cr. neoformans from pigeon dropping samples by nested-PCR using internal transcribed spacer (ITS) CAP64 and CNLAC1 genes, polysaccharide capsule gene and laccase-associated gene to produce melanin pigment, respectively, which are common genes of yeasts. The ITS and CAP64 genes were amplified in all pathogenic yeasts, but CNLAC1 was amplified only in Cr. neoformans. The ITS gene was useful for yeast genotyping depending on nucleotide sequence. Homology of CAP64 genes among the yeasts were very high. The specificity of PCR using CNLAC1 was demonstrated in Cr. neoformans environmental strains but not in other yeast-like fungi. The CNLAC1 gene was detected in 5 serotypes of Cr. neoformans. The nested-PCR amplified up to 10(-11) μg of the genomic DNA and showed high sensitivity. All pigeon droppings among 31 Cr. neoformans-positive samples were positive and all pigeon droppings among 348 Cr. neoformans-negative samples were negative by the direct nested-PCR. In addition, after primary enrichment of pigeon droppings in Sabouraud dextrose broth, all Cr. neoformans-negative samples were negative by the nested-PCR, which showed high specificity. The nested-PCR showed high sensitivity without culture of pigeon droppings. Nested-PCR using CNLAC1 provides a rapid and reliable molecular diagnostic method to overcome weak points such as long culture time of many conventional methods.

  8. Macrophage cholesterol depletion and its effect on the phagocytosis of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Bryan, Arielle M; Farnoud, Amir M; Mor, Visesato; Del Poeta, Maurizio

    2014-01-01

    Cryptococcosis is a life-threatening infection caused by pathogenic fungi of the genus Cryptococcus. Infection occurs upon inhalation of spores, which are able to replicate in the deep lung. Phagocytosis of Cryptococcus by macrophages is one of the ways that the disease is able to spread into the central nervous system to cause lethal meningoencephalitis. Therefore, study of the association between Cryptococcus and macrophages is important to understanding the progression of the infection. The present study describes a step-by-step protocol to study macrophage infectivity by C. neoformansin vitro. Using this protocol, the role of host sterols on host-pathogen interactions is studied. Different concentrations of methyl--cyclodextrin (MCD) were used to deplete cholesterol from murine reticulum sarcoma macrophage-like cell line J774A.1. Cholesterol depletion was confirmed and quantified using both a commercially available cholesterol quantification kit and thin layer chromatography. Cholesterol depleted cells were activated using Lipopolysacharide (LPS) and Interferon gamma (IFNγ) and infected with antibody-opsonized Cryptococcus neoformans wild-type H99 cells at an effector-to-target ratio of 1:1. Infected cells were monitored after 2 hr of incubation with C. neoformans and their phagocytic index was calculated. Cholesterol depletion resulted in a significant reduction in the phagocytic index. The presented protocols offer a convenient method to mimic the initiation of the infection process in a laboratory environment and study the role of host lipid composition on infectivity.

  9. The Stress-Activated Signaling (SAS) Pathways of a Human Fungal Pathogen, Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Jung, Kwang-Woo; Bahn, Yong-Sun

    2009-09-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a basidiomycete human fungal pathogen that causes meningoencephalitis in both immunocompromised and immunocompetent individuals. The ability to sense and respond to diverse extracellular signals is essential for the pathogen to infect and cause disease in the host. Four major stress-activated signaling (SAS) pathways have been characterized in C. neoformans, including the HOG (high osmolarity glycerol response), PKC/Mpk1 MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase), calcium-dependent calcineurin, and RAS signaling pathways. The HOG pathway in C. neoformans not only controls responses to diverse environmental stresses, including osmotic shock, UV irradiation, oxidative stress, heavy metal stress, antifungal drugs, toxic metabolites, and high temperature, but also regulates ergosterol biosynthesis. The PKC (Protein kinase C)/Mpk1 pathway in C. neoformans is involved in a variety of stress responses, including osmotic, oxidative, and nitrosative stresses and breaches of cell wall integrity. The Ca(2+)/calmodulin- and Ras-signaling pathways also play critical roles in adaptation to certain environmental stresses, such as high temperature and sexual differentiation. Perturbation of the SAS pathways not only impairs the ability of C. neoformans to resist a variety of environmental stresses during host infection, but also affects production of virulence factors, such as capsule and melanin. A drug(s) capable of targeting signaling components of the SAS pathway will be effective for treatment of cryptococcosis.

  10. Neutrophil swarming toward Cryptococcus neoformans is mediated by complement and leukotriene B4.

    PubMed

    Sun, Donglei; Shi, Meiqing

    2016-09-01

    Swarming behavior of neutrophils has been noticed in both sterile injury and infection models and the mechanisms are being unveiled. So far, no in vitro model has been established to study neutrophil swarming to microbes. In the current study, using live-cell imaging, we observed in vitro neutrophil swarming toward Cryptococcus neoformans, a fungal pathogen causing human meningoencephalitis. Complement C3 and CD11b expression are essential for neutrophils to form cell swarms surrounding C. neoformans. Leukotriene B4 (LTB4) was quickly released by neutrophils during their interactions with C. neoformans. Blockade of LTB4 synthesis inhibited the swarming response to C. neoformans. Importantly, blockade of LTB4 synthesis also significantly reduced neutrophil recruitment in the lung vasculature of mice infected intravenously with C. neoformans, demonstrating a critical role of LTB4 in intravascular neutrophil swarming during infection. Together, this is the first report of neutrophil dynamics of swarming toward a microorganism in vitro, mediated by complement and LTB4. PMID:27402276

  11. Susceptibility profile and epidemiological cut-off values of Cryptococcus neoformans species complex from Argentina.

    PubMed

    Córdoba, Susana; Isla, Maria G; Szusz, Wanda; Vivot, Walter; Altamirano, Rodrigo; Davel, Graciela

    2016-06-01

    Epidemiological cut-off values (ECVs) based on minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) distribution have been recently proposed for some antifungal drug/Cryptococcus neoformans combinations. However, these ECVs vary according to the species studied, being serotypes and the geographical origin of strains, variables to be considered. The aims were to define the wild-type (WT) population of the C. neoformans species complex (C. neoformans) isolated from patients living in Argentina, and to propose ECVs for six antifungal drugs. A total of 707 unique C. neoformans isolates obtained from HIV patients suffering cryptococcal meningitis were studied. The MIC of amphotericin B, flucytosine, fluconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole and posaconazole was determined according to the EDef 7.2 (EUCAST) reference document. The MIC distribution, MIC50 , MIC90 and ECV for each of these drugs were calculated. The highest ECV, which included ≥95% of the WT population modelled, was observed for flucytosine and fluconazole (32 μg ml(-1) each). For amphotericin B, itraconazole, voriconazole and posaconazole, the ECVs were: 0.5, 0.5, 0.5 and 0.06 μg ml(-1) respectively. The ECVs determined in this study may aid in identifying the C. neoformans strains circulating in Argentina with decreased susceptibility to the antifungal drugs tested. PMID:26865081

  12. Isolation of Cryptococcus neoformans from pigeon (Columba livia) droppings in Mexico City.

    PubMed

    Castanón-Olivares, L R; López-Martínez, R

    1994-01-01

    To determine the ecological and epidemiological significance of pigeon excrement in cryptococcosis in Mexico City, 251 samples of pigeon droppings were studied. These were collected from houses, public buildings, churches, parks and pigeon nests. Each sample was suspended 1:10 in isotonic saline solution and then cultured in Staib medium. Identification of Cryptococcus neoformans was performed based on the development of brown-coloured colonies and the presence of encapsulated yeasts. Of 251 samples, 52 (20.7%) were positive for Cr. neoformans. The highest frequency was observed in droppings from public buildings (31.2%), followed by churches (22.0%) and houses (13.3%). No significant differences in isolation frequency were observed between fresh or dried excrement. All isolates obtained were Cr. neoformans var. neoformans. As in other studies on Cr. neoformans from pigeons, performed in other countries, these frequency data are considered 'normal'. The results, however, accentuate the potential risk of cryptococcosis acquisition, especially now that cryptococcosis frequency is increasing in Mexico, mainly in AIDS patients.

  13. Structures of Cryptococcus neoformans Protein Farnesyltransferase Reveal Strategies for Developing Inhibitors That Target Fungal Pathogens

    SciTech Connect

    Hast, Michael A.; Nichols, Connie B.; Armstrong, Stephanie M.; Kelly, Shannon M.; Hellinga, Homme W.; Alspaugh, J. Andrew; Beese, Lorena S.

    2012-09-17

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungal pathogen that causes life-threatening infections in immunocompromised individuals, including AIDS patients and transplant recipients. Few antifungals can treat C. neoformans infections, and drug resistance is increasing. Protein farnesyltransferase (FTase) catalyzes post-translational lipidation of key signal transduction proteins and is essential in C. neoformans. We present a multidisciplinary study validating C. neoformans FTase (CnFTase) as a drug target, showing that several anticancer FTase inhibitors with disparate scaffolds can inhibit C. neoformans and suggesting structure-based strategies for further optimization of these leads. Structural studies are an essential element for species-specific inhibitor development strategies by revealing similarities and differences between pathogen and host orthologs that can be exploited. We, therefore, present eight crystal structures of CnFTase that define the enzymatic reaction cycle, basis of ligand selection, and structurally divergent regions of the active site. Crystal structures of clinically important anticancer FTase inhibitors in complex with CnFTase reveal opportunities for optimization of selectivity for the fungal enzyme by modifying functional groups that interact with structurally diverse regions. A substrate-induced conformational change in CnFTase is observed as part of the reaction cycle, a feature that is mechanistically distinct from human FTase. Our combined structural and functional studies provide a framework for developing FTase inhibitors to treat invasive fungal infections.

  14. Cryptococcus neoformans can utilize the bacterial melanin precursor homogentisic acid for fungal melanogenesis.

    PubMed

    Frases, Susana; Salazar, Angela; Dadachova, Ekaterina; Casadevall, Arturo

    2007-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans melanizes in the environment and in mammalian tissues, but the process of melanization in either venue is mysterious given that this microbe produces melanin only from exogenous substrates. Understanding the process of melanization is important because melanization is believed to protect against various stresses in the environment, including UV radiation, and pigment production is associated with virulence. Melanization in C. neoformans requires the availability of diphenolic precursors. In contrast, many bacteria synthesize melanin from homogentisic acid (HGA). We report that C. neoformans strains representing all four serotypes can produce a brown pigment from HGA. The brown pigment was acid resistant and had the electron paramagnetic resonance spectrum of a stable free radical, qualities that identified it as a melanin. Melanin "ghost"-like particles obtained from pigmented C. neoformans cells were hydrophobic, fluorescent under a variety of irradiation wavelengths, negatively charged, insoluble in organic solvents and alcohols, resistant to degradation by strong acids, and vulnerable to bleaching. HGA melanization was laccase dependent and repressed by high concentrations of glucose. The ability of C. neoformans to utilize a bacterial melanin precursor compound suggests a new substrate source for melanization in the environment.

  15. Effects of microplusin, a copper-chelating antimicrobial peptide, against Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Silva, Fernanda D; Rossi, Diego C P; Martinez, Luis R; Frases, Susana; Fonseca, Fernanda L; Campos, Claudia Barbosa L; Rodrigues, Marcio L; Nosanchuk, Joshua D; Daffre, Sirlei

    2011-11-01

    Microplusin is an antimicrobial peptide isolated from the cattle tick Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus. Its copper-chelating ability is putatively responsible for its bacteriostatic activity against Micrococcus luteus as microplusin inhibits respiration in this species, which is a copper-dependent process. Microplusin is also active against Cryptococcus neoformans (MIC(50) = 0.09 μM), the etiologic agent of cryptococcosis. Here, we show that microplusin is fungistatic to C. neoformans and this inhibitory effect is abrogated by copper supplementation. Notably, microplusin drastically altered the respiratory profile of C. neoformans. In addition, microplusin affects important virulence factors of this fungus. We observed that microplusin completely inhibited fungal melanization, and this effect correlates with the inhibition of the related enzyme laccase. Also, microplusin significantly inhibited the capsule size of C. neoformans. Our studies reveal, for the first time, a copper-chelating antimicrobial peptide that inhibits respiration and growth of C. neoformans and modifies two major virulence factors: melanization and formation of a polysaccharide capsule. These features suggest that microplusin, or other copper-chelation approaches, may be a promising therapeutic for cryptococcosis.

  16. Cryptococcus neoformans Can Utilize the Bacterial Melanin Precursor Homogentisic Acid for Fungal Melanogenesis▿

    PubMed Central

    Frases, Susana; Salazar, Angela; Dadachova, Ekaterina; Casadevall, Arturo

    2007-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans melanizes in the environment and in mammalian tissues, but the process of melanization in either venue is mysterious given that this microbe produces melanin only from exogenous substrates. Understanding the process of melanization is important because melanization is believed to protect against various stresses in the environment, including UV radiation, and pigment production is associated with virulence. Melanization in C. neoformans requires the availability of diphenolic precursors. In contrast, many bacteria synthesize melanin from homogentisic acid (HGA). We report that C. neoformans strains representing all four serotypes can produce a brown pigment from HGA. The brown pigment was acid resistant and had the electron paramagnetic resonance spectrum of a stable free radical, qualities that identified it as a melanin. Melanin “ghost”-like particles obtained from pigmented C. neoformans cells were hydrophobic, fluorescent under a variety of irradiation wavelengths, negatively charged, insoluble in organic solvents and alcohols, resistant to degradation by strong acids, and vulnerable to bleaching. HGA melanization was laccase dependent and repressed by high concentrations of glucose. The ability of C. neoformans to utilize a bacterial melanin precursor compound suggests a new substrate source for melanization in the environment. PMID:17098915

  17. PI3K signaling of autophagy is required for starvation tolerance and virulenceof Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Guowu; Hacham, Moshe; Waterman, Scott R.; Panepinto, John; Shin, Soowan; Liu, Xiaoguang; Gibbons, Jack; Valyi-Nagy, Tibor; Obara, Keisuke; Jaffe, H. Ari; Ohsumi, Yoshinori; Williamson, Peter R.

    2008-01-01

    Autophagy is a process by which cells recycle cytoplasm and defective organelles during stress situations such as nutrient starvation. It can also be used by host cells as an immune defense mechanism to eliminate infectious pathogens. Here we describe the use of autophagy as a survival mechanism and virulence-associated trait by the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. We report that a mutant form of C. neoformans lacking the Vps34 PI3K (vps34Δ), which is known to be involved in autophagy in ascomycete yeast, was defective in the formation of autophagy-related 8–labeled (Atg8-labeled) vesicles and showed a dramatic attenuation in virulence in mouse models of infection. In addition, autophagic vesicles were observed in WT but not vps34Δ cells after phagocytosis by a murine macrophage cell line, and Atg8 expression was exhibited in WT C. neoformans during human infection of brain. To dissect the contribution of defective autophagy in vps34Δ C. neoformans during pathogenesis, a strain of C. neoformans in which Atg8 expression was knocked down by RNA interference was constructed and these fungi also demonstrated markedly attenuated virulence in a mouse model of infection. These results demonstrated PI3K signaling and autophagy as a virulence-associated trait and survival mechanism during infection with a fungal pathogen. Moreover, the data show that molecular dissection of such pathogen stress-response pathways may identify new approaches for chemotherapeutic interventions. PMID:18259613

  18. Catch me if you can: phagocytosis and killing avoidance by Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    García-Rodas, Rocío; Zaragoza, Oscar

    2012-03-01

    After inhalation of infectious particles, Cryptococcus neoformans resides in the alveolar spaces, where it can survive and replicate in the extracellular environment. This yeast has developed different mechanisms to avoid internalization by phagocytic cells, the main one being a polysaccharide capsule around the cell body, which inhibits the uptake of the yeast by macrophages. In addition, capsule-independent mechanisms have also been described, such as the production of antiphagocytic proteins. Despite these mechanisms, phagocytosis can occur in the presence of opsonins, and once C. neoformans is internalized, multiple outcomes are possible, including pathogen killing or intracellular replication and escape from macrophages. For this reason, C. neoformans is considered a facultative intracellular pathogen. As alveolar macrophages are the first component of the host immune system to confront C. neoformans, the outcome of this interaction could determine the degree of infection, producing either a severe disseminated disease or a latency state. In this review, we will tackle the complexity of the interaction between C. neoformans and macrophages, including the phagocytic avoidance mechanisms and all the possible outcomes that have been described for this interaction. Finally, we will discuss the consequences of the different outcomes for the type of infection produced in the host.

  19. Susceptibility profile and epidemiological cut-off values of Cryptococcus neoformans species complex from Argentina.

    PubMed

    Córdoba, Susana; Isla, Maria G; Szusz, Wanda; Vivot, Walter; Altamirano, Rodrigo; Davel, Graciela

    2016-06-01

    Epidemiological cut-off values (ECVs) based on minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) distribution have been recently proposed for some antifungal drug/Cryptococcus neoformans combinations. However, these ECVs vary according to the species studied, being serotypes and the geographical origin of strains, variables to be considered. The aims were to define the wild-type (WT) population of the C. neoformans species complex (C. neoformans) isolated from patients living in Argentina, and to propose ECVs for six antifungal drugs. A total of 707 unique C. neoformans isolates obtained from HIV patients suffering cryptococcal meningitis were studied. The MIC of amphotericin B, flucytosine, fluconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole and posaconazole was determined according to the EDef 7.2 (EUCAST) reference document. The MIC distribution, MIC50 , MIC90 and ECV for each of these drugs were calculated. The highest ECV, which included ≥95% of the WT population modelled, was observed for flucytosine and fluconazole (32 μg ml(-1) each). For amphotericin B, itraconazole, voriconazole and posaconazole, the ECVs were: 0.5, 0.5, 0.5 and 0.06 μg ml(-1) respectively. The ECVs determined in this study may aid in identifying the C. neoformans strains circulating in Argentina with decreased susceptibility to the antifungal drugs tested.

  20. 3-Hydroxyanthranilate in Cryptococcus neoformans: a secreted reductant that does not enable wood rot.

    PubMed

    Jacobson, E S; Milhausen, S M; Manthey, M K

    2003-08-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans secretes 3-hydroxyanthranilate (3HAA), but the utility is unknown. Exogenous 3HAA promoted growth of cultures starved for iron with transferrin, presumably by releasing Fe(III) reductively. Exogenous 3HAA protected C. neoformans from strong oxidants, suggesting a role in resistance to killing by immune cells. 3HAA represents an endogenous laccase substrate, in that crude laccase preparations convert 3HAA to cinnabarinic acid, whereas 3HAA concentrations are higher in Lac- mutants. We isolated hypersecreting mutants as highly fluorescent clones. Because C. neoformans has been isolated from rotting wood, we looked for a role in degradation of lignin. Using cyclic voltammetry, we found no electrochemical evidence that organic oxidation products of 3HAA are capable of oxidizing lignin. We found neither cellulose dehydrogenase nor lignin peroxidase enzymic activity, nor did C. neoformans grow on cellulose as carbon source. We found no evidence for production of Fenton reagent by cultures, even in the presence of transition metal ions or of those and 3HAA. The biological utility of 3HAA may be related to its functions as reducing agent and, conceivably, as laccase substrate. It does not appear to attack wood, nor does C. neoformans appear to have a mechanism to rot wood. PMID:12964724

  1. Proteogenomic analysis of pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans using high resolution mass spectrometry

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Cryptococcus neoformans, a basidiomycetous fungus of universal occurrence, is a significant opportunistic human pathogen causing meningitis. Owing to an increase in the number of immunosuppressed individuals along with emergence of drug-resistant strains, C. neoformans is gaining importance as a pathogen. Although, whole genome sequencing of three varieties of C. neoformans has been completed recently, no global proteomic studies have yet been reported. Results We performed a comprehensive proteomic analysis of C. neoformans var. grubii (Serotype A), which is the most virulent variety, in order to provide protein-level evidence for computationally predicted gene models and to refine the existing annotations. We confirmed the protein-coding potential of 3,674 genes from a total of 6,980 predicted protein-coding genes. We also identified 4 novel genes and corrected 104 predicted gene models. In addition, our studies led to the correction of translational start site, splice junctions and reading frame used for translation in a number of proteins. Finally, we validated a subset of our novel findings by RT-PCR and sequencing. Conclusions Proteogenomic investigation described here facilitated the validation and refinement of computationally derived gene models in the intron-rich genome of C. neoformans, an important fungal pathogen in humans. PMID:24484775

  2. Chemical Inhibitors of Non-Homologous End Joining Increase Targeted Construct Integration in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Arras, Samantha D M; Fraser, James A

    2016-01-01

    The development of a biolistic transformation protocol for Cryptococcus neoformans over 25 years ago ushered in a new era of molecular characterization of virulence in this previously intractable fungal pathogen. However, due to the low rate of homologous recombination in this species, the process of creating targeted gene deletions using biolistic transformation remains inefficient. To overcome the corresponding difficulty achieving molecular genetic modifications, members of the Cryptococcus community have investigated the use of specific genetic backgrounds or construct design strategies aimed at reducing ectopic construct integration via non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). One such approach involves deletion of components of the NHEJ-associated Ku heterodimer. While this strategy increases homologous recombination to nearly 100%, it also restricts strain generation to a ku80Δ genetic background and requires subsequent complex mating procedures to reestablish wild-type DNA repair. In this study, we have investigated the ability of known inhibitors of mammalian NHEJ to transiently phenocopy the C. neoformans Ku deletion strains. Testing of eight candidate inhibitors revealed a range of efficacies in C. neoformans, with the most promising compound (W7) routinely increasing the rate of gene deletion to over 50%. We have successfully employed multiple inhibitors to reproducibly enhance the deletion rate at multiple loci, demonstrating a new, easily applied methodology to expedite acquisition of precise genetic alterations in C. neoformans. Based on this success, we anticipate that the use of these inhibitors will not only become widespread in the Cryptococcus community, but may also find use in other fungal species as well. PMID:27643854

  3. Chemical Inhibitors of Non-Homologous End Joining Increase Targeted Construct Integration in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Arras, Samantha D. M.; Fraser, James A.

    2016-01-01

    The development of a biolistic transformation protocol for Cryptococcus neoformans over 25 years ago ushered in a new era of molecular characterization of virulence in this previously intractable fungal pathogen. However, due to the low rate of homologous recombination in this species, the process of creating targeted gene deletions using biolistic transformation remains inefficient. To overcome the corresponding difficulty achieving molecular genetic modifications, members of the Cryptococcus community have investigated the use of specific genetic backgrounds or construct design strategies aimed at reducing ectopic construct integration via non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). One such approach involves deletion of components of the NHEJ-associated Ku heterodimer. While this strategy increases homologous recombination to nearly 100%, it also restricts strain generation to a ku80Δ genetic background and requires subsequent complex mating procedures to reestablish wild-type DNA repair. In this study, we have investigated the ability of known inhibitors of mammalian NHEJ to transiently phenocopy the C. neoformans Ku deletion strains. Testing of eight candidate inhibitors revealed a range of efficacies in C. neoformans, with the most promising compound (W7) routinely increasing the rate of gene deletion to over 50%. We have successfully employed multiple inhibitors to reproducibly enhance the deletion rate at multiple loci, demonstrating a new, easily applied methodology to expedite acquisition of precise genetic alterations in C. neoformans. Based on this success, we anticipate that the use of these inhibitors will not only become widespread in the Cryptococcus community, but may also find use in other fungal species as well. PMID:27643854

  4. Chemical Inhibitors of Non-Homologous End Joining Increase Targeted Construct Integration in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Arras, Samantha D M; Fraser, James A

    2016-01-01

    The development of a biolistic transformation protocol for Cryptococcus neoformans over 25 years ago ushered in a new era of molecular characterization of virulence in this previously intractable fungal pathogen. However, due to the low rate of homologous recombination in this species, the process of creating targeted gene deletions using biolistic transformation remains inefficient. To overcome the corresponding difficulty achieving molecular genetic modifications, members of the Cryptococcus community have investigated the use of specific genetic backgrounds or construct design strategies aimed at reducing ectopic construct integration via non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). One such approach involves deletion of components of the NHEJ-associated Ku heterodimer. While this strategy increases homologous recombination to nearly 100%, it also restricts strain generation to a ku80Δ genetic background and requires subsequent complex mating procedures to reestablish wild-type DNA repair. In this study, we have investigated the ability of known inhibitors of mammalian NHEJ to transiently phenocopy the C. neoformans Ku deletion strains. Testing of eight candidate inhibitors revealed a range of efficacies in C. neoformans, with the most promising compound (W7) routinely increasing the rate of gene deletion to over 50%. We have successfully employed multiple inhibitors to reproducibly enhance the deletion rate at multiple loci, demonstrating a new, easily applied methodology to expedite acquisition of precise genetic alterations in C. neoformans. Based on this success, we anticipate that the use of these inhibitors will not only become widespread in the Cryptococcus community, but may also find use in other fungal species as well.

  5. Cryptococcus neoformans laccase catalyses melanin synthesis from both D- and L-DOPA.

    PubMed

    Eisenman, Helene C; Mues, Mascha; Weber, Sarah E; Frases, Susana; Chaskes, Stuart; Gerfen, Gary; Casadevall, Arturo

    2007-12-01

    The human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans produces melanin in the presence of various substrates, including the L enantiomer of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA). The enzyme laccase catalyses the formation of melanin by oxidizing L-DOPA, initiating a series of presumably spontaneous reactions that ultimately leads to the polymerization of the pigment in the yeast cell wall. There, melanin protects the cell from a multitude of environmental and host assaults. Thus, the ability of C. neoformans to produce pigments from a variety of available substrates is likely to confer a survival advantage. A number of C. neoformans isolates of different serotypes produced pigments from D-DOPA, the stereoisomer of L-DOPA. Acid-resistant particles were isolated from pigmented C. neoformans cells grown in the presence of D-DOPA. Biophysical characterization showed the particles had a stably detectable free-radical signal by EPR, and negative zeta potential, similar to L-DOPA-derived particles. No major differences were found between L- and D-DOPA ghosts in terms of binding to anti-melanin antibodies, or in overall architecture when imaged by electron microscopy. C. neoformans cells utilized L- and D-DOPA at a similar rate. Overall, our results indicate that C. neoformans shows little stereoselectivity for utilizing DOPA in melanin synthesis. The ability of C. neoformans to use both L and D enantiomers for melanization implies that this organism has access to a greater potential pool of substrates for melanin synthesis, and this could potentially be exploited in the design of therapeutic inhibitors of laccase.

  6. Lipid Flippase Subunit Cdc50 Mediates Drug Resistance and Virulence in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Wei; Liao, Guojian; Baker, Gregory M.; Wang, Yina; Lau, Richard; Paderu, Padmaja; Perlin, David S.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Cryptococcus neoformans is a human fungal pathogen and a major cause of fungal meningitis in immunocompromised individuals. Treatment options for cryptococcosis are limited. Of the two major antifungal drug classes, azoles are active against C. neoformans but exert a fungistatic effect, necessitating long treatment regimens and leaving open an avenue for emergence of azole resistance. Drugs of the echinocandin class, which target the glucan synthase and are fungicidal against a number of other fungal pathogens, such as Candida species, are ineffective against C. neoformans. Despite the sensitivity of the target enzyme to the drug, the reasons for the innate resistance of C. neoformans to echinocandins remain unknown. To understand the mechanism of echinocandin resistance in C. neoformans, we screened gene disruption and gene deletion libraries for mutants sensitive to the echinocandin-class drug caspofungin and identified a mutation of CDC50, which encodes the β-subunit of membrane lipid flippase. We found that the Cdc50 protein localized to membranes and that its absence led to plasma membrane defects and enhanced caspofungin penetration into the cell, potentially explaining the increased caspofungin sensitivity. Loss of CDC50 also led to hypersensitivity to the azole-class drug fluconazole. Interestingly, in addition to functioning in drug resistance, CDC50 was also essential for fungal resistance to macrophage killing and for virulence in a murine model of cryptococcosis. Furthermore, the surface of cdc50Δ cells contained increased levels of phosphatidylserine, which has been proposed to act as a macrophage recognition signal. Together, these results reveal a previously unappreciated role of membrane lipid flippase in C. neoformans drug resistance and virulence. PMID:27165800

  7. Usefulness of silkworm as a host animal for understanding pathogenicity of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Ishii, Masaki; Matsumoto, Yasuhiko; Sekimizu, Kazuhisa

    2016-02-01

    We propose Cryptococcus neoformans infection model using silkworm for understanding cryptococcosis and screening of therapeutically effective antibiotics. Silkworm is an insect whose rearing methods were established through a long history of the sericulture industry. Silkworm facilitates experiments using a large number of individuals because of low cost for rearing and few ethical problems caused by killing animals. Silkworm can be reared at 37˚C to perform infection experiments at same temperature to human body. Injection of accurate amounts of samples into hemolymph of silkworm by usual syringes is easy to be done since silkworm has an appropriate size to handle. Moreover two injection methods, injection into hemolymph and intestine, are distinguishable for silkworms. The former is correspondent to intravenous injection, and the latter is to oral administration in humans. Taking these advantages of silkworms as host animals, it is possible to evaluate the virulence factors in C. neoformans and the therapeutic efficacy of antifungal agents. PMID:26902902

  8. Systematic functional analysis of kinases in the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Kyung-Tae; So, Yee-Seul; Yang, Dong-Hoon; Jung, Kwang-Woo; Choi, Jaeyoung; Lee, Dong-Gi; Kwon, Hyojeong; Jang, Juyeong; Wang, Li Li; Cha, Soohyun; Meyers, Gena Lee; Jeong, Eunji; Jin, Jae-Hyung; Lee, Yeonseon; Hong, Joohyeon; Bang, Soohyun; Ji, Je-Hyun; Park, Goun; Byun, Hyo-Jeong; Park, Sung Woo; Park, Young-Min; Adedoyin, Gloria; Kim, Taeyup; Averette, Anna F.; Choi, Jong-Soon; Heitman, Joseph; Cheong, Eunji; Lee, Yong-Hwan; Bahn, Yong-Sun

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is the leading cause of death by fungal meningoencephalitis; however, treatment options remain limited. Here we report the construction of 264 signature-tagged gene-deletion strains for 129 putative kinases, and examine their phenotypic traits under 30 distinct in vitro growth conditions and in two different hosts (insect larvae and mice). Clustering analysis of in vitro phenotypic traits indicates that several of these kinases have roles in known signalling pathways, and identifies hitherto uncharacterized signalling cascades. Virulence assays in the insect and mouse models provide evidence of pathogenicity-related roles for 63 kinases involved in the following biological categories: growth and cell cycle, nutrient metabolism, stress response and adaptation, cell signalling, cell polarity and morphology, vacuole trafficking, transfer RNA (tRNA) modification and other functions. Our study provides insights into the pathobiological signalling circuitry of C. neoformans and identifies potential anticryptococcal or antifungal drug targets. PMID:27677328

  9. Self-Aggregation of Cryptococcus neoformans Capsular Glucuronoxylomannan Is Dependent on Divalent Cations▿ ‡

    PubMed Central

    Nimrichter, Leonardo; Frases, Susana; Cinelli, Leonardo P.; Viana, Nathan B.; Nakouzi, Antonio; Travassos, Luiz R.; Casadevall, Arturo; Rodrigues, Marcio L.

    2007-01-01

    The capsular components of the human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans are transported to the extracellular space and then used for capsule enlargement by distal growth. It is not clear, however, how the glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) fibers are incorporated into the capsule. In the present study, we show that concentration of C. neoformans culture supernatants by ultrafiltration results in the formation of highly viscous films containing pure polysaccharide, providing a novel, nondenaturing, and extremely rapid method to isolate extracellular GXM. The weight-averaged molecular mass of GXM in the film, determined using multiangle laser light scattering, was ninefold smaller than that of GXM purified from culture supernatants by differential precipitation with cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide (CTAB). Polysaccharides obtained either by ultrafiltration or by CTAB-mediated precipitation showed different reactivities with GXM-specific monoclonal antibodies. Viscosity analysis associated with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and measurements of zeta potential in the presence of different ions implied that polysaccharide aggregation was a consequence of the interaction between the carboxyl groups of glucuronic acid and divalent cations. Consistent with this observation, capsule enlargement in living C. neoformans cells was influenced by Ca2+ in the culture medium. These results suggest that capsular assembly in C. neoformans results from divalent cation-mediated self-aggregation of extracellularly accumulated GXM molecules. PMID:17573547

  10. Role for chitin and chitooligomers in the capsular architecture of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Fonseca, Fernanda L; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Cordero, Radames J B; Frases, Susana; Rodrigues, Jessica; Goldman, David L; Andruszkiewicz, Ryszard; Milewski, Slawomir; Travassos, Luiz R; Casadevall, Arturo; Rodrigues, Marcio L

    2009-10-01

    Molecules composed of beta-1,4-linked N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) and deacetylated glucosamine units play key roles as surface constituents of the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. GlcNAc is the monomeric unit of chitin and chitooligomers, which participate in the connection of capsular polysaccharides to the cryptococcal cell wall. In the present study, we evaluated the role of GlcNAc-containing structures in the assembly of the cryptococcal capsule. The in vivo expression of chitooligomers in C. neoformans varied depending on the infected tissue, as inferred from the differential reactivity of yeast forms to the wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) in infected brain and lungs of rats. Chromatographic and dynamic light-scattering analyses demonstrated that glucuronoxylomannan (GXM), the major cryptococcal capsular component, interacts with chitin and chitooligomers. When added to C. neoformans cultures, chitooligomers formed soluble complexes with GXM and interfered in capsular assembly, as manifested by aberrant capsules with defective connections with the cell wall and no reactivity with a monoclonal antibody to GXM. Cultivation of C. neoformans in the presence of an inhibitor of glucosamine 6-phosphate synthase resulted in altered expression of cell wall chitin. These cells formed capsules that were loosely connected to the cryptococcal wall and contained fibers with decreased diameters and altered monosaccharide composition. These results contribute to our understanding of the role played by chitin and chitooligosaccharides on the cryptococcal capsular structure, broadening the functional activities attributed to GlcNAc-containing structures in this biological system.

  11. Self-aggregation of Cryptococcus neoformans capsular glucuronoxylomannan is dependent on divalent cations.

    PubMed

    Nimrichter, Leonardo; Frases, Susana; Cinelli, Leonardo P; Viana, Nathan B; Nakouzi, Antonio; Travassos, Luiz R; Casadevall, Arturo; Rodrigues, Marcio L

    2007-08-01

    The capsular components of the human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans are transported to the extracellular space and then used for capsule enlargement by distal growth. It is not clear, however, how the glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) fibers are incorporated into the capsule. In the present study, we show that concentration of C. neoformans culture supernatants by ultrafiltration results in the formation of highly viscous films containing pure polysaccharide, providing a novel, nondenaturing, and extremely rapid method to isolate extracellular GXM. The weight-averaged molecular mass of GXM in the film, determined using multiangle laser light scattering, was ninefold smaller than that of GXM purified from culture supernatants by differential precipitation with cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide (CTAB). Polysaccharides obtained either by ultrafiltration or by CTAB-mediated precipitation showed different reactivities with GXM-specific monoclonal antibodies. Viscosity analysis associated with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and measurements of zeta potential in the presence of different ions implied that polysaccharide aggregation was a consequence of the interaction between the carboxyl groups of glucuronic acid and divalent cations. Consistent with this observation, capsule enlargement in living C. neoformans cells was influenced by Ca(2+) in the culture medium. These results suggest that capsular assembly in C. neoformans results from divalent cation-mediated self-aggregation of extracellularly accumulated GXM molecules.

  12. Effects of Pimenta pseudocaryophyllus (Gomes) L. R. Landrum, on melanized and non-melanized Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    de Fátima Lisboa Fernandes, Orionalda; Costa, Carolina Rodrigues; de Souza Lino Junior, Ruy; Vinaud, Marina Clare; Hasimoto E Souza, Lúcia Kioko; de Paula, Joelma Abadia Marciano; do Rosário Rodrigues Silva, Maria

    2012-12-01

    In the present study, the in vitro susceptibility and capsular width from both melanized and non-melanized Cryptococcus neoformans cells in the presence of Pimenta pseudocaryophyllus crude extract were determined. The results were compared with those obtained for voriconazole and amphotericin B. Melanization was obtained in minimal medium broth with the addition of L-dopa, and the antifungal susceptibility tests were performed using the broth microdilution method. Capsular width of 30 cells of each one of the isolates in medium with crude extracts of P. pseudocaryophyllus or voriconazole or amphotericin B at a concentration corresponding to 0.5 times the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) was measured, and the mean was calculated. The MICs and minimal fungicidal concentrations (MFCs) for plant extract and voriconazole were identical for both melanized and non-melanized C. neoformans isolates, but for amphotericin, the MFCs for melanized cells were up to 8 times higher than for non-melanized cells. The capsular width of C. neoformans cells was smaller (p < 0.001) in the presence crude extract of P. pseudocaryophyllus and of voriconazole regardless melanization. The findings of capsule alterations of C. neoformans verified in this study provide fertile ways for future research into the effects of antifungal agents on the pathogenesis of cryptococcosis.

  13. Methylation of glycosylated sphingolipid modulates membrane lipid topography and pathogenicity of Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Singh, Arpita; Wang, Haitao; Silva, Liana C.; Na, Chongzheng; Prieto, Manuel; Futerman, Anthony H.; Luberto, Chiara; Del Poeta, Maurizio

    2011-01-01

    In previous studies we showed that the replication of Cryptococcus neoformans in the lung environment is controlled by the glucosylceramide (GlcCer) synthase gene (GCS1), which synthesizes the membrane sphingolipid GlcCer from the C9-methyl ceramide. Here, we studied the effect of the mutation of the sphingolipid C9 methyltransferase gene (SMT1), which adds a methyl group to position 9 of the sphingosine backbone of ceramide. The C. neoformans Δsmt1 mutant does not make C9-methyl ceramide and, thus, any methylated GlcCer. However, it accumulates de-methylated ceramide and de-methylated GlcCer. The Δsmt1 mutant loses more than 80% of its virulence compared to the wild-type and the reconstituted strain. Interestingly, growth of C. neoformans Δsmt1 in the lung was decreased and C. neoformans cells were contained in lung granulomas, which significantly reduced the rate of their dissemination to the brain reducing the onset of meningoencephalitis. Thus, using fluorescent spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy we compared the wild-type and Δsmt1 mutant and found that the altered membrane composition and GlcCer structure affects fungal membrane rigidity, suggesting that specific sphingolipid structures are required for proper fungal membrane organization and integrity. Therefore, we propose that the physical structure of the plasma membrane imparted by specific classes of sphingolipids represents a critical factor for the ability of the fungus to establish virulence. PMID:22151739

  14. Estimating the spontaneous mutation rate of loss of sex in the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Jianping

    2002-01-01

    Few events have evolutionary consequences as pervasive as changes in reproductive behavior. Among those changes, the loss of the ability to undergo sexual reproduction is probably the most profound. However, little is known about the rate of loss of sex. Here I describe an experimental system using the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans and provide the first empirical estimate of the spontaneous mutation rate of loss of sex in fungi. Two critical steps in sexual reproduction in C. neoformans were examined: mating and filamentation. Mating, the fusion of cells of opposite sexes, is a universal first step in eukaryotic sexual reproduction. In contrast, filamentation, a prerequisite process preceding meiosis and sexual spore development, is restricted to C. neoformans and a few other fungal species. After approximately 600 mitotic divisions under favorable asexual growth conditions, mean abilities for mating and filamentation decreased significantly by >67 and 24%, respectively. Similarly, though statistically not significant, the mean vegetative growth rates also decreased and among the mutation accumulation lines, the vegetative growth rates were negatively correlated to the mating ability. The estimated mutation rates to decreases in mating ability and filamentation were in excess of 0.0172 and 0.0036, respectively. The results show that C. neoformans can be a highly attractive model for analyses of reproductive system evolution in fungi. PMID:12454063

  15. Role of Sphingomyelin Synthase in Controlling the Antimicrobial Activity of Neutrophils against Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Grey, Angus; Schey, Kevin; Del Poeta, Maurizio; Luberto, Chiara

    2010-01-01

    The key host cellular pathway(s) necessary to control the infection caused by inhalation of the environmental fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans are still largely unknown. Here we have identified that the sphingolipid pathway in neutrophils is required for them to exert their killing activity on the fungus. In particular, using both pharmacological and genetic approaches, we show that inhibition of sphingomyelin synthase (SMS) activity profoundly impairs the killing ability of neutrophils by preventing the extracellular release of an antifungal factor(s). We next found that inhibition of protein kinase D (PKD), which controls vesicular sorting and secretion and is regulated by diacylglycerol (DAG) produced by SMS, totally blocks the extracellular killing activity of neutrophils against C. neoformans. The expression of SMS genes, SMS activity and the levels of the lipids regulated by SMS (namely sphingomyelin (SM) and DAG) are up-regulated during neutrophil differentiation. Finally, tissue imaging of lungs infected with C. neoformans using matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS), revealed that specific SM species are associated with neutrophil infiltration at the site of the infection. This study establishes a key role for SMS in the regulation of the killing activity of neutrophils against C. neoformans through a DAG-PKD dependent mechanism, and provides, for the first time, new insights into the protective role of host sphingolipids against a fungal infection. PMID:21203393

  16. RNA biology and the adaptation of Cryptococcus neoformans to host temperature and stress.

    PubMed

    Bloom, Amanda L M; Panepinto, John C

    2014-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an environmental fungus that can cause severe disease in humans. C. neoformans encounters a multitude of stresses within the human host to which it must adapt in order to survive and proliferate. Upon stressful changes in the external milieu, C. neoformans must reprogram its gene expression to properly respond to and combat stress in order to maintain homeostasis. Several studies have investigated the changes that occur in response to these stresses to begin to unravel the mechanisms of adaptation in this organism. Here, we review studies that have explored stress-induced changes in gene expression with a focus on host temperature adaptation. We compare global messenger RNA (mRNA) expression data compiled from several studies and identify patterns that suggest that orchestrated, transient responses occur. We also utilize the available expression data to explore the possibility of a common stress response that may contribute to cellular protection against a variety of stresses in C. neoformans. In addition, we review studies that have revealed the significance of post-transcriptional mechanisms of mRNA regulation in response to stress, and discuss how these processes may contribute to adaptation and virulence.

  17. Microevolution During Serial Mouse Passage Demonstrates FRE3 as a Virulence Adaptation Gene in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Guowu; Chen, Shu Hui; Qiu, Jin; Bennett, John E.; Myers, Timothy G.; Williamson, Peter R.

    2014-01-01

    ABSTRACT Passage in mice of opportunistic pathogens such as Cryptococcus neoformans is known to increase virulence, but little is known about the molecular mechanisms involved in virulence adaptation. Serial mouse passage of nine environmental strains of serotype A C. neoformans identified two highly adapted virulent strains that showed a 4-fold reduction in time to death after four passages. Transcriptome sequencing expression studies demonstrated increased expression of a FRE3-encoded iron reductase in the two strains but not in a control strain that did not demonstrate increased virulence during mouse passage. FRE3 was shown to express an iron reductase activity and to play a role in iron-dependent growth of C. neoformans. Overexpression of FRE3 in the two original environmental strains increased growth in the macrophage cell line J774.16 and increased virulence. These data demonstrate a role for FRE3 in the virulence of C. neoformans and demonstrate how the increased expression of such a “virulence acquisition gene” during the environment-to-mammal transition, can optimize the virulence of environmental strains in mammalian hosts. PMID:24692633

  18. Direct anticryptococcal activity of lymphocytes from Cryptococcus neoformans-immunized mice.

    PubMed Central

    Muth, S M; Murphy, J W

    1995-01-01

    Assessment of the direct anticryptococcal activity of murine lymphocytes from both Cryptococcus neoformans-immunized and control mice was the focus of this investigation. We demonstrate that at a 2:1 effector cell-to-cryptococcal target cell ratio, effector cell populations comprised of alpha beta T-cell receptor-positive T lymphocytes (98 to 99% CD3+) from C. neoformans-immunized mice inhibited the growth of cryptococcal cells better than similar populations of lymphocytes from nonimmunized control mice. Almost immediately after mixing of cryptococci with the effector cells, C. neoformans-lymphocyte conjugates were observed. The percentage of conjugates increased over the first 30 min of incubation and then remained constant over the next 1.5 h. T-lymphocyte-enriched populations from C. neoformans-immunized mice formed significantly greater percentages of conjugates with cryptococci than control T lymphocytes at each time period that assessment was made. For growth inhibition to occur, direct contact between the effector and target cells was necessary, as evidenced by abrogation of cryptococcal growth inhibition when lymphocyte and cryptococcal cell populations were separated by a porous membrane during the growth inhibition assay. Vital staining of cryptococci after incubation with the T-cell-enriched populations showed that the T lymphocytes killed the cryptococcal cells. PMID:7729867

  19. Pleiotropic Roles of the Msi1-Like Protein Msl1 in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Dong-Hoon; Maeng, Shinae; Strain, Anna K.; Floyd, Anna; Nielsen, Kirsten; Heitman, Joseph

    2012-01-01

    Msi1-like (MSIL) proteins contain WD40 motifs and have a pleiotropic cellular function as negative regulators of the Ras/cyclic AMP (cAMP) pathway and components of chromatin assembly factor 1 (CAF-1), yet they have not been studied in fungal pathogens. Here we identified and characterized an MSIL protein, Msl1, in Cryptococcus neoformans, which causes life-threatening meningoencephalitis in humans. Notably, Msl1 plays pleiotropic roles in C. neoformans in both cAMP-dependent and -independent manners largely independent of Ras. Msl1 negatively controls antioxidant melanin production and sexual differentiation, and this was repressed by the inhibition of the cAMP-signaling pathway. In contrast, Msl1 controls thermotolerance, diverse stress responses, and antifungal drug resistance in a Ras/cAMP-independent manner. Cac2, which is the second CAF-1 component, appears to play both redundant and distinct functions compared to the functions of Msl1. Msl1 is required for the full virulence of C. neoformans. Transcriptome analysis identified a group of Msl1-regulated genes, which include stress-related genes such as HSP12 and HSP78. In conclusion, this study demonstrates pleiotropic roles of Msl1 in the human fungal pathogen C. neoformans, providing insight into a potential novel antifungal therapeutic target. PMID:23042129

  20. Detection of Cryptococcus neoformans DNA in Tissue Samples by Nested and Real-Time PCR Assays

    PubMed Central

    Bialek, Ralf; Weiss, Michael; Bekure-Nemariam, Kubrom; Najvar, Laura K.; Alberdi, Maria B.; Graybill, John R.; Reischl, Udo

    2002-01-01

    Two PCR protocols targeting the 18S rRNA gene of Cryptococcus neoformans were established, compared, and evaluated in murine cryptococcal meningitis. One protocol was designed as a nested PCR to be performed in conventional block thermal cyclers. The other protocol was designed as a quantitative single-round PCR adapted to LightCycler technology. One hundred brain homogenates and dilutions originating from 20 ICR mice treated with different azoles were examined. A fungal burden of 3 × 101 to 2.9 × 104 CFU per mg of brain tissue was determined by quantitative culture. Specific PCR products were amplified by the conventional and the LightCycler methods in 86 and 87 samples, respectively, with products identified by DNA sequencing and real-time fluorescence detection. An analytical sensitivity of 1 CFU of C. neoformans per mg of brain tissue and less than 10 CFU per volume used for extraction was observed for both PCR protocols, while homogenates of 70 organs from mice infected with other fungi were PCR negative. Specificity testing was performed with genomic DNA from 31 hymenomycetous fungal species and from the ustilaginomycetous yeast Malassezia furfur, which are phylogenetically related to C. neoformans. Twenty-four strains, including species of human skin flora like M. furfur and Trichosporon spp., were PCR negative. Amplification was observed with Cryptococcus amylolentus, Filobasidiella depauperata, Cryptococcus laurentii, and five species unrelated to clinical specimens. LightCycler PCR products from F. depauperata and Trichosporon faecale could be clearly discriminated by melting curve analysis. The sensitive and specific nested PCR assay as well as the rapid and quantitative LightCycler PCR assay might be useful for the diagnosis and monitoring of human cryptococcal infections. PMID:11874894

  1. Isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans from infected animals reveal genetic exchange in unisexual, alpha mating type populations.

    PubMed

    Bui, Tien; Lin, Xiaorong; Malik, Richard; Heitman, Joseph; Carter, Dee

    2008-10-01

    Sexual reproduction and genetic exchange are important for the evolution of fungal pathogens and for producing potentially infective spores. Studies to determine whether sex occurs in the pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii have produced enigmatic results, however: basidiospores are the most likely infective propagules, and clinical isolates are fertile and genetically diverse, consistent with a sexual species, but almost all populations examined consist of a single mating type and have little evidence for genetic recombination. The choice of population is critical when looking for recombination, particularly when significant asexual propagation is likely and when latency may complicate assessing the origin of an isolate. We therefore selected isolates from infected animals living in the region of Sydney, Australia, with the assumption that the relatively short life spans and limited travels of the animal hosts would provide a very defined population. All isolates were mating type alpha and were of molecular genotype VNI or VNII. A lack of linkage disequilibrium among loci suggested that genetic exchange occurred within both genotype groups. Four diploid VNII isolates that produced filaments and basidium-like structures when cultured in proximity to an a mating type strain were found. Recent studies suggest that compatible alpha-alpha unions can occur in C. neoformans var. neoformans populations and in populations of the sibling species Cryptococcus gattii. As a mating type strains of C. neoformans var. grubii have never been found in Australia, or in the VNII molecular type globally, the potential for alpha-alpha unions is evidence that alpha-alpha unisexual mating maintains sexual recombination and diversity in this pathogen and may produce infectious propagules.

  2. Disseminated Cryptococcus neoformans infection and Crohn's disease in an immunocompetent patient.

    PubMed

    Sciaudone, Guido; Pellino, Gianluca; Guadagni, Ilaria; Somma, Anna; D'Armiento, Francesco P; Selvaggi, Francesco

    2011-02-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a human pathogen ubiquitously present in the environment. It primarily affects immunocompromised patients, but individuals with no underlying disease or immunodeficiency can also be affected. We herein describe the case of a patient found to have Crohn's disease and disseminated cryptococcosis simultaneously. She had no predisposing underlying cause for impaired immunity. Our patient showed signs that would have make it hard to discriminate between an inflammatory bowel disease and an infection if bowel only would have been involved. The patient underwent surgical intervention; medical therapy was effective against Cryptococcus. She is at now being followed-up for Crohn's disease. When dealing with patient affected with inflammatory bowel diseases, careful history taking, objective and instrumental examination are demandable in order not to overlook associated conditions or infectious diseases. Diagnosis and therapy of cryptococcosis infection in patient with Crohn's disease are herein discussed. PMID:21272807

  3. De novo GTP Biosynthesis Is Critical for Virulence of the Fungal Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Morrow, Carl A.; Valkov, Eugene; Stamp, Anna; Chow, Eve W. L.; Lee, I. Russel; Wronski, Ania; Williams, Simon J.; Hill, Justine M.; Djordjevic, Julianne T.; Kappler, Ulrike; Kobe, Bostjan; Fraser, James A.

    2012-01-01

    We have investigated the potential of the GTP synthesis pathways as chemotherapeutic targets in the human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, a common cause of fatal fungal meningoencephalitis. We find that de novo GTP biosynthesis, but not the alternate salvage pathway, is critical to cryptococcal dissemination and survival in vivo. Loss of inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH) in the de novo pathway results in slow growth and virulence factor defects, while loss of the cognate phosphoribosyltransferase in the salvage pathway yielded no phenotypes. Further, the Cryptococcus species complex displays variable sensitivity to the IMPDH inhibitor mycophenolic acid, and we uncover a rare drug-resistant subtype of C. gattii that suggests an adaptive response to microbial IMPDH inhibitors in its environmental niche. We report the structural and functional characterization of IMPDH from Cryptococcus, revealing insights into the basis for drug resistance and suggesting strategies for the development of fungal-specific inhibitors. The crystal structure reveals the position of the IMPDH moveable flap and catalytic arginine in the open conformation for the first time, plus unique, exploitable differences in the highly conserved active site. Treatment with mycophenolic acid led to significantly increased survival times in a nematode model, validating de novo GTP biosynthesis as an antifungal target in Cryptococcus. PMID:23071437

  4. 'Ready made' virulence and 'dual use' virulence factors in pathogenic environmental fungi--the Cryptococcus neoformans paradigm.

    PubMed

    Casadevall, Arturo; Steenbergen, Judith N; Nosanchuk, Joshua D

    2003-08-01

    Environmental pathogenic fungi present a paradox in that they are virulent in animals without requiring animal hosts for replication or survival, a phenomenon we call 'ready-made' virulence. In the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, the capacity for virulence in animals may originate from environmental selective pressures imposed by such organisms as amoeboid and nematode predators. Many C. neoformans virulence factors appear to have 'dual use' capabilities that confer survival advantages in both animal hosts and in the environment. The findings with C. neoformans may provide a paradigm for understanding the origin and maintenance of virulence in other pathogenic environmental fungi.

  5. Antifungal susceptibility of clinical and environmental Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii isolates in Jabalpur, a city of Madhya Pradesh in Central India

    PubMed Central

    Gutch, Ruchi Sethi; Nawange, Shesh Rao; Singh, Shankar Mohan; Yadu, Ruchika; Tiwari, Aditi; Gumasta, Richa; Kavishwar, Arvind

    2015-01-01

    In this study, we present antifungal susceptibility data of clinical and environmental isolates of Central Indian Cryptococcus neoformans (Serotype A, n = 8 and n = 50 respectively) and Cryptococcus gattii (Serotype B, n = 01 and n = 04 respectively). Susceptibilities to fluconazole, itraconazole and ketoconazole were determined by using NCCLS broth micro-dilution methodology. The total number of resistant strains for fluconazole in case of C. neoformans and C. gattii showed a significant difference by using chi-square test (p < 0.05*), while considering fisher's exact p value was nonsignificant (p > 0.05). However, the total number of resistant strains for itraconazole and ketoconazole was not found statistically significant. A comparison of geometric means of clinical and environmental strains of C. gattii and C. neoformans was not found statistically significant using student ‘t’ test (p value > 0.05 NS). Though less, the antifungal data obtained in this study suggests that primary resistance among environmental and clinical isolates of C. neoformans and C. gattii against tested antifungal was present and C. gattii comparatively was less susceptible than C. neoformans var. grubii isolates to fluconazole than to itraconazole and ketoconazole. A continuous surveillance of antifungal susceptibility of clinical and environmental isolates of C. neoformans and C. gattii is desirable to monitor the emergence of any resistant strains for better management of cryptococcosis patients. PMID:26691471

  6. Cryptococcus neoformans induces antimicrobial responses and behaves as a facultative intracellular pathogen in the non mammalian model Galleria mellonella

    PubMed Central

    Trevijano-Contador, Nuria; Herrero-Fernández, Inés; García-Barbazán, Irene; Scorzoni, Liliana; Rueda, Cristina; Rossi, Suélen Andreia; García-Rodas, Rocío; Zaragoza, Oscar

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an encapsulated opportunistic fungal pathogen that is found in multiple niches in the environment and that can cause fatal meningoencephalitis in susceptible patients, mainly HIV+ individuals. Cryptococcus also infects environmental hosts such as nematodes, insects and plants. In particular, C. neoformans can kill the lepidopteran Galleria mellonella, which offers a useful tool to study microbial virulence and drug efficacy. Galleria mellonella immunity relies on innate responses based on melanization, accumulation of antimicrobial peptides, and cellular responses as phagocytosis or multicellular encapsulation. In this work we have investigated the immune response of G. mellonella during cryptococcal infection. We found that G. mellonella infected with C. neoformans had a high lytic activity in their hemolymph. This response was temperature- and capsule-dependent. During interaction with phagocytic cells, C. neoformans behaved as an intracellular pathogen since it could replicate within hemocytes. Non-lytic events were also observed. In contrast to Candida species, C. neoformans did not induce melanization of G. mellonella after infection. Finally, passage of C. neoformans through G. mellonella resulted in changes in capsule structure as it has been also reported during infection in mammals. Our results highlight that G. mellonella is an optimal model to investigate innate immune responses against C. neoformans. PMID:25531532

  7. Structure and inhibition of the CO2-sensing carbonic anhydrase Can2 from the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Schlicker, Christine; Hall, Rebecca A; Vullo, Daniela; Middelhaufe, Sabine; Gertz, Melanie; Supuran, Claudiu T; Mühlschlegel, Fritz A; Steegborn, Clemens

    2009-01-30

    In the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, a CO(2)-sensing system is essential for survival in the natural environment (approximately 0.03% CO(2)) and mediates the switch to virulent growth in the human host (approximately 5% CO(2)). This system is composed of the carbonic anhydrase (CA) Can2, which catalyzes formation of bicarbonate, and the fungal, bicarbonate-stimulated adenylyl cyclase Cac1. The critical role of these enzymes for fungal metabolism and pathogenesis identifies them as targets for antifungal drugs. Here, we prove functional similarity of Can2 to the CA Nce103 from Candida albicans and describe its biochemical and structural characterization. The crystal structure of Can2 reveals that the enzyme belongs to the "plant-type" beta-CAs but carries a unique N-terminal extension that can interact with the active-site entrance of the dimer. We further tested a panel of compounds, identifying nanomolar Can2 inhibitors, and present the structure of a Can2 complex with the inhibitor and product analog acetate, revealing insights into interactions with physiological ligands and inhibitors. PMID:19071134

  8. The Cryptococcus neoformans Rim101 Transcription Factor Directly Regulates Genes Required for Adaptation to the Host

    PubMed Central

    O'Meara, Teresa R.; Xu, Wenjie; Selvig, Kyla M.; O'Meara, Matthew J.; Mitchell, Aaron P.

    2014-01-01

    The Rim101 protein is a conserved pH-responsive transcription factor that mediates important interactions between several fungal pathogens and the infected host. In the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, the Rim101 protein retains conserved functions to allow the microorganism to respond to changes in pH and other host stresses. This coordinated cellular response enables this fungus to effectively evade the host immune response. Preliminary studies suggest that this conserved transcription factor is uniquely regulated in C. neoformans both by the canonical pH-sensing pathway and by the cyclic AMP (cAMP)/protein kinase A (PKA) pathway. Here we present comparative transcriptional data that demonstrate a strong concordance between the downstream effectors of PKA and Rim101. To define Rim101-dependent gene expression during a murine lung infection, we used nanoString profiling of lung tissue infected with a wild-type or rim101Δ mutant strain. In this setting, we demonstrated that Rim101 controls the expression of multiple cell wall-biosynthetic genes, likely explaining the enhanced immunogenicity of the rim101Δ mutant. Despite its divergent upstream regulation, the C. neoformans Rim101 protein recognizes a conserved DNA binding motif. Using these data, we identified direct targets of this transcription factor, including genes involved in cell wall regulation. Therefore, the Rim101 protein directly controls cell wall changes required for the adaptation of C. neoformans to its host environment. Moreover, we propose that integration of the cAMP/PKA and pH-sensing pathways allows C. neoformans to respond to a broad range of host-specific signals. PMID:24324006

  9. Genetic and environmental influences on the germination of basidiospores in the Cryptococcus neoformans species complex.

    PubMed

    Forsythe, Adrian; Vogan, Aaron; Xu, Jianping

    2016-01-01

    In basidiomycetous fungi, the viability of basidiospores is an important component of sexual fitness. However, relatively little is known about the genetic and environmental factors influencing basidiospore germination. In this study, we used human opportunistic yeast pathogens, Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus deneoformans, as models to investigate the potential effects of selected genetic and environmental factors on basidiospore germination. A total of five strains with known genome structure were used to construct six crosses, three of which were between strains within the same species, while the remaining three were hybrid crosses between C. neoformans and C. deneoformans. Offspring from these crosses were incubated on two media (a nutrient-limiting and a nutrient-rich) and three temperatures (23 °C, 30 °C, and 37 °C). In general, spores from intra-specific crosses had greater germination rates than those from inter-specific crosses. Of the two environmental factors, temperature showed a greater influence than nutrient medium, with the 37 °C environment yielding lower germination rates than at 23 °C and 30 °C environments in most crosses. Furthermore, there were notable interaction effects between environmental factors and parental strains or strain pairs on basidiospore germination. We discuss the implications of these results on pathogenesis and speciation in this human fungal pathogen. PMID:27644692

  10. Genetic and environmental influences on the germination of basidiospores in the Cryptococcus neoformans species complex

    PubMed Central

    Forsythe, Adrian; Vogan, Aaron; Xu, Jianping

    2016-01-01

    In basidiomycetous fungi, the viability of basidiospores is an important component of sexual fitness. However, relatively little is known about the genetic and environmental factors influencing basidiospore germination. In this study, we used human opportunistic yeast pathogens, Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus deneoformans, as models to investigate the potential effects of selected genetic and environmental factors on basidiospore germination. A total of five strains with known genome structure were used to construct six crosses, three of which were between strains within the same species, while the remaining three were hybrid crosses between C. neoformans and C. deneoformans. Offspring from these crosses were incubated on two media (a nutrient-limiting and a nutrient-rich) and three temperatures (23 °C, 30 °C, and 37 °C). In general, spores from intra-specific crosses had greater germination rates than those from inter-specific crosses. Of the two environmental factors, temperature showed a greater influence than nutrient medium, with the 37 °C environment yielding lower germination rates than at 23 °C and 30 °C environments in most crosses. Furthermore, there were notable interaction effects between environmental factors and parental strains or strain pairs on basidiospore germination. We discuss the implications of these results on pathogenesis and speciation in this human fungal pathogen. PMID:27644692

  11. Morphology and its underlying genetic regulation impact the interaction between Cryptococcus neoformans and its hosts.

    PubMed

    Lin, Jianfeng; Idnurm, Alexander; Lin, Xiaorong

    2015-06-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungus that causes the majority of fatal cryptococcal meningitis cases worldwide. This pathogen is capable of assuming different morphotypes: yeast, pseudohypha, and hypha. The yeast form is the most common cell type observed clinically. The hyphal and pseudohyphal forms are rarely observed in the clinical setting and are considered attenuated in virulence. However, as a ubiquitous environmental pathogen, Cryptococcus interacts with various organisms, and it is known to be parasitic to different hosts. Capitalizing on recent discoveries, morphogenesis regulators were manipulated to examine the impact of cell shape on the cryptococcal interaction with three different host systems: the soil amoeba Acanthamoeba castellanii (a protist), the greater wax moth Galleria mellonella (an insect), and the murine macrophage cell line J774A.1 (mammalian cells). The regulation of Ace2 and morphogenesis (RAM) pathway is a highly conserved pathway among eukaryotes that regulates cytokinesis. Disruption of any of five RAM components in Cryptococcus renders cells constitutively in the pseudohyphal form. The transcription factor Znf2 is the master activator of the yeast to hyphal transition. Deletion of ZNF2 locks cells in the yeast form, while overexpression of this regulator drives hyphal growth. Genetic epistasis analyses indicate that the RAM and the Znf2 pathways regulate distinct aspects of cryptococcal morphogenesis and independently of each other. These investigations using the Cryptococcus RAM and ZNF2 mutants indicate that cell shape, cell size, and likely cell surface properties weigh differently on the outcome of cryptococcal interactions with different hosts. Thus, certain traits evolved in Cryptococcus that are beneficial within one host might be detrimental when a different host is encountered.

  12. Cryptococcus neoformans Is Internalized by Receptor-Mediated or ‘Triggered’ Phagocytosis, Dependent on Actin Recruitment

    PubMed Central

    Guerra, Caroline Rezende; Seabra, Sergio Henrique; de Souza, Wanderley; Rozental, Sonia

    2014-01-01

    Cryptococcosis by the encapsulated yeast Cryptococcus neoformans affects mostly immunocompromised individuals and is a frequent neurological complication in AIDS patients. Recent studies support the idea that intracellular survival of Cryptococcus yeast cells is important for the pathogenesis of cryptococcosis. However, the initial steps of Cryptococcus internalization by host cells remain poorly understood. Here, we investigate the mechanism of Cryptococcus neoformans phagocytosis by peritoneal macrophages using confocal and electron microscopy techniques, as well as flow cytometry quantification, evaluating the importance of fungal capsule production and of host cell cytoskeletal elements for fungal phagocytosis. Electron microscopy analyses revealed that capsular and acapsular strains of C. neoformans are internalized by macrophages via both ‘zipper’ (receptor-mediated) and ‘trigger’ (membrane ruffle-dependent) phagocytosis mechanisms. Actin filaments surrounded phagosomes of capsular and acapsular yeasts, and the actin depolymerizing drugs cytochalasin D and latrunculin B inhibited yeast internalization and actin recruitment to the phagosome area. In contrast, nocodazole and paclitaxel, inhibitors of microtubule dynamics decreased internalization but did not prevent actin recruitment to the site of phagocytosis. Our results show that different uptake mechanisms, dependent on both actin and tubulin dynamics occur during yeast internalization by macrophages, and that capsule production does not affect the mode of Cryptococcus uptake by host cells. PMID:24586631

  13. Relative Contributions of Prenylation and Postprenylation Processing in Cryptococcus neoformans Pathogenesis.

    PubMed

    Esher, Shannon K; Ost, Kyla S; Kozubowski, Lukasz; Yang, Dong-Hoon; Kim, Min Su; Bahn, Yong-Sun; Alspaugh, J Andrew; Nichols, Connie B

    2016-01-01

    Prenyltransferase enzymes promote the membrane localization of their target proteins by directing the attachment of a hydrophobic lipid group at a conserved C-terminal CAAX motif. Subsequently, the prenylated protein is further modified by postprenylation processing enzymes that cleave the terminal 3 amino acids and carboxymethylate the prenylated cysteine residue. Many prenylated proteins, including Ras1 and Ras-like proteins, require this multistep membrane localization process in order to function properly. In the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, previous studies have demonstrated that two distinct forms of protein prenylation, farnesylation and geranylgeranylation, are both required for cellular adaptation to stress, as well as full virulence in animal infection models. Here, we establish that the C. neoformans RAM1 gene encoding the farnesyltransferase β-subunit, though not strictly essential for growth under permissive in vitro conditions, is absolutely required for cryptococcal pathogenesis. We also identify and characterize postprenylation protease and carboxyl methyltransferase enzymes in C. neoformans. In contrast to the prenyltransferases, deletion of the genes encoding the Rce1 protease and Ste14 carboxyl methyltransferase results in subtle defects in stress response and only partial reductions in virulence. These postprenylation modifications, as well as the prenylation events themselves, do play important roles in mating and hyphal transitions, likely due to their regulation of peptide pheromones and other proteins involved in development. IMPORTANCE Cryptococcus neoformans is an important human fungal pathogen that causes disease and death in immunocompromised individuals. The growth and morphogenesis of this fungus are controlled by conserved Ras-like GTPases, which are also important for its pathogenicity. Many of these proteins require proper subcellular localization for full function, and they are directed to cellular membranes

  14. Essential Gene Discovery in the Basidiomycete Cryptococcus neoformans for Antifungal Drug Target Prioritization

    PubMed Central

    Ianiri, Giuseppe

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Fungal diseases represent a major burden to health care globally. As with other pathogenic microbes, there is a limited number of agents suitable for use in treating fungal diseases, and resistance to these agents can develop rapidly. Cryptococcus neoformans is a basidiomycete fungus that causes cryptococcosis worldwide in both immunocompromised and healthy individuals. As a basidiomycete, it diverged from other common pathogenic or model ascomycete fungi more than 500 million years ago. Here, we report C. neoformans genes that are essential for viability as identified through forward and reverse genetic approaches, using an engineered diploid strain and genetic segregation after meiosis. The forward genetic approach generated random insertional mutants in the diploid strain, the induction of meiosis and sporulation, and selection for haploid cells with counterselection of the insertion event. More than 2,500 mutants were analyzed, and transfer DNA (T-DNA) insertions in several genes required for viability were identified. The genes include those encoding the thioredoxin reductase (Trr1), a ribosome assembly factor (Rsa4), an mRNA-capping component (Cet1), and others. For targeted gene replacement, the C. neoformans homologs of 35 genes required for viability in ascomycete fungi were disrupted, meiosis and sporulation were induced, and haploid progeny were evaluated for their ability to grow on selective media. Twenty-one (60%) were found to be required for viability in C. neoformans. These genes are involved in mitochondrial translation, ergosterol biosynthesis, and RNA-related functions. The heterozygous diploid mutants were evaluated for haploinsufficiency on a number of perturbing agents and drugs, revealing phenotypes due to the loss of one copy of an essential gene in C. neoformans. This study expands the knowledge of the essential genes in fungi using a basidiomycete as a model organism. Genes that have no mammalian homologs and are essential

  15. Relative Contributions of Prenylation and Postprenylation Processing in Cryptococcus neoformans Pathogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Esher, Shannon K.; Ost, Kyla S.; Kozubowski, Lukasz; Yang, Dong-Hoon; Kim, Min Su; Bahn, Yong-Sun; Nichols, Connie B.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Prenyltransferase enzymes promote the membrane localization of their target proteins by directing the attachment of a hydrophobic lipid group at a conserved C-terminal CAAX motif. Subsequently, the prenylated protein is further modified by postprenylation processing enzymes that cleave the terminal 3 amino acids and carboxymethylate the prenylated cysteine residue. Many prenylated proteins, including Ras1 and Ras-like proteins, require this multistep membrane localization process in order to function properly. In the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, previous studies have demonstrated that two distinct forms of protein prenylation, farnesylation and geranylgeranylation, are both required for cellular adaptation to stress, as well as full virulence in animal infection models. Here, we establish that the C. neoformans RAM1 gene encoding the farnesyltransferase β-subunit, though not strictly essential for growth under permissive in vitro conditions, is absolutely required for cryptococcal pathogenesis. We also identify and characterize postprenylation protease and carboxyl methyltransferase enzymes in C. neoformans. In contrast to the prenyltransferases, deletion of the genes encoding the Rce1 protease and Ste14 carboxyl methyltransferase results in subtle defects in stress response and only partial reductions in virulence. These postprenylation modifications, as well as the prenylation events themselves, do play important roles in mating and hyphal transitions, likely due to their regulation of peptide pheromones and other proteins involved in development. IMPORTANCE Cryptococcus neoformans is an important human fungal pathogen that causes disease and death in immunocompromised individuals. The growth and morphogenesis of this fungus are controlled by conserved Ras-like GTPases, which are also important for its pathogenicity. Many of these proteins require proper subcellular localization for full function, and they are directed to cellular

  16. Cryptococcus neoformans Intracellular Proliferation and Capsule Size Determines Early Macrophage Control of Infection.

    PubMed

    Bojarczuk, Aleksandra; Miller, Katie A; Hotham, Richard; Lewis, Amy; Ogryzko, Nikolay V; Kamuyango, Alfred A; Frost, Helen; Gibson, Rory H; Stillman, Eleanor; May, Robin C; Renshaw, Stephen A; Johnston, Simon A

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a significant fungal pathogen of immunocompromised patients. Many questions remain regarding the function of macrophages in normal clearance of cryptococcal infection and the defects present in uncontrolled cryptococcosis. Two current limitations are: 1) The difficulties in interpreting studies using isolated macrophages in the context of the progression of infection, and 2) The use of high resolution imaging in understanding immune cell behavior during animal infection. Here we describe a high-content imaging method in a zebrafish model of cryptococcosis that permits the detailed analysis of macrophage interactions with C. neoformans during infection. Using this approach we demonstrate that, while macrophages are critical for control of C. neoformans, a failure of macrophage response is not the limiting defect in fatal infections. We find phagocytosis is restrained very early in infection and that increases in cryptococcal number are driven by intracellular proliferation. We show that macrophages preferentially phagocytose cryptococci with smaller polysaccharide capsules and that capsule size is greatly increased over twenty-four hours of infection, a change that is sufficient to severely limit further phagocytosis. Thus, high-content imaging of cryptococcal infection in vivo demonstrates how very early interactions between macrophages and cryptococci are critical in the outcome of cryptococcosis. PMID:26887656

  17. The common Cryptococcus neoformans glucuronoxylomannan M2 motif elicits non-protective antibodies

    PubMed Central

    Nakouzi, Antonio; Zhang, Tong; Oscarson, Stefan; Casadevall, Arturo

    2009-01-01

    The Cryptococcus neoformans capsular glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) is a potential vaccine antigen that can elicit protective and non-protective antibodies. In an attempt to focus the immune response on a single antigenic component, a heptasaccharide oligosaccharide representing the major structural motif (M2) of the most common clinical isolate was synthesized and conjugated to Human serum albumin (HSA). Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) generated from mice immunized with M2-HSA produced the characteristic punctuate immunofluorescence associated with non-protective mAbs. None of the mAbs elicited by M2 immunization were opsonic. Passive administration of mAbs elicited by M2-HSA was not protective and there was no difference in the survival of mice immunized with M2-HSA and HSA. Hence, we conclude that the M2 motif represents an antigenic determinant in C. neoformans GXM that elicits non-protective responses and is not a suitable vaccine candidate. Furthermore, the results illustrate the first molecular assignment of a C. neoformans polysaccharide epitope and suggest a general strategy for the identification of GXM epitopes. PMID:19464529

  18. Methamphetamine Enhances Cryptococcus neoformans Pulmonary Infection and Dissemination to the Brain

    PubMed Central

    Patel, Dhavan; Desai, Gunjan M.; Frases, Susana; Cordero, Radames J. B.; DeLeon-Rodriguez, Carlos M.; Eugenin, Eliseo A.; Nosanchuk, Joshua D.; Martinez, Luis R.

    2013-01-01

    ABSTRACT Methamphetamine (METH) is a major addictive drug of abuse in the United States and worldwide, and its use is linked to HIV acquisition. The encapsulated fungus Cryptococcus neoformans is the most common cause of fungal meningitis in patients with AIDS. In addition to functioning as a central nervous system stimulant, METH has diverse effects on host immunity. Using a systemic mouse model of infection and in vitro assays in order to critically assess the impact of METH on C. neoformans pathogenesis, we demonstrate that METH stimulates fungal adhesion, glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) release, and biofilm formation in the lungs. Interestingly, structural analysis of the capsular polysaccharide of METH-exposed cryptococci revealed that METH alters the carbohydrate composition of this virulence factor, an event of adaptation to external stimuli that can be advantageous to the fungus during pathogenesis. Additionally, we show that METH promotes C. neoformans dissemination from the respiratory tract into the brain parenchyma. Our findings provide novel evidence of the impact of METH abuse on host homeostasis and increased permissiveness to opportunistic microorganisms. PMID:23900172

  19. Role of the Apt1 Protein in Polysaccharide Secretion by Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Rizzo, Juliana; Oliveira, Débora L.; Joffe, Luna S.; Hu, Guanggan; Gazos-Lopes, Felipe; Fonseca, Fernanda L.; Almeida, Igor C.; Frases, Susana; Kronstad, James W.

    2014-01-01

    Flippases are key regulators of membrane asymmetry and secretory mechanisms. Vesicular polysaccharide secretion is essential for the pathogenic mechanisms of Cryptococcus neoformans. On the basis of the observations that flippases are required for polysaccharide secretion in plants and the putative Apt1 flippase is required for cryptococcal virulence, we analyzed the role of this enzyme in polysaccharide release by C. neoformans, using a previously characterized apt1Δ mutant. Mutant and wild-type (WT) cells shared important phenotypic characteristics, including capsule morphology and dimensions, glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) composition, molecular size, and serological properties. The apt1Δ mutant, however, produced extracellular vesicles (EVs) with a lower GXM content and different size distribution in comparison with those of WT cells. Our data also suggested a defective intracellular GXM synthesis in mutant cells, in addition to changes in the architecture of the Golgi apparatus. These findings were correlated with diminished GXM production during in vitro growth, macrophage infection, and lung colonization. This phenotype was associated with decreased survival of the mutant in the lungs of infected mice, reduced induction of interleukin-6 (IL-6) cytokine levels, and inefficacy in colonization of the brain. Taken together, our results indicate that the lack of APT1 caused defects in both GXM synthesis and vesicular export to the extracellular milieu by C. neoformans via processes that are apparently related to the pathogenic mechanisms used by this fungus during animal infection. PMID:24337112

  20. Role of the Apt1 protein in polysaccharide secretion by Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Rizzo, Juliana; Oliveira, Débora L; Joffe, Luna S; Hu, Guanggan; Gazos-Lopes, Felipe; Fonseca, Fernanda L; Almeida, Igor C; Frases, Susana; Kronstad, James W; Rodrigues, Marcio L

    2014-06-01

    Flippases are key regulators of membrane asymmetry and secretory mechanisms. Vesicular polysaccharide secretion is essential for the pathogenic mechanisms of Cryptococcus neoformans. On the basis of the observations that flippases are required for polysaccharide secretion in plants and the putative Apt1 flippase is required for cryptococcal virulence, we analyzed the role of this enzyme in polysaccharide release by C. neoformans, using a previously characterized apt1Δ mutant. Mutant and wild-type (WT) cells shared important phenotypic characteristics, including capsule morphology and dimensions, glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) composition, molecular size, and serological properties. The apt1Δ mutant, however, produced extracellular vesicles (EVs) with a lower GXM content and different size distribution in comparison with those of WT cells. Our data also suggested a defective intracellular GXM synthesis in mutant cells, in addition to changes in the architecture of the Golgi apparatus. These findings were correlated with diminished GXM production during in vitro growth, macrophage infection, and lung colonization. This phenotype was associated with decreased survival of the mutant in the lungs of infected mice, reduced induction of interleukin-6 (IL-6) cytokine levels, and inefficacy in colonization of the brain. Taken together, our results indicate that the lack of APT1 caused defects in both GXM synthesis and vesicular export to the extracellular milieu by C. neoformans via processes that are apparently related to the pathogenic mechanisms used by this fungus during animal infection.

  1. Sec6-dependent sorting of fungal extracellular exosomes and laccase of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Panepinto, John; Komperda, Kazimierz; Frases, Susana; Park, Yoon-Dong; Djordjevic, Julianne T; Casadevall, Arturo; Williamson, Peter R

    2009-03-01

    The cell wall of pathogenic fungi such as Cryptococcus neoformans, provides a formidable barrier to secrete virulence factors that produce host cell damage. To study secretion of virulence factors to the cell periphery, sec6 RNAi mutant strains of C. neoformans were tested for virulence factor expression. The studies reported here show that SEC6 RNAi mutant strains were defective in a number of virulence factors including laccase, urease as well as soluble polysaccharide and demonstrated attenuated virulence in mice. Further analysis by transmission electron microscopy detected the production of abundant extracellular exosomes in wild-type strains containing empty plasmid, but a complete absence in the iSEC6 strain. In addition, a green fluorescent protein-laccase fusion protein demonstrated aberrant localization within cytoplasmic vesicles in iSEC6 strains. In contrast, iSEC6 strains retained normal growth at 37 degrees C, as well as substantially normal capsule formation, phospholipase activity and total secreted protein. These results provide the first molecular evidence for the existence of fungal exosomes and associate these vesicles with the virulence of C. neoformans.

  2. Leu1 plays a role in iron metabolism and is required for virulence in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Do, Eunsoo; Hu, Guanggan; Caza, Mélissa; Oliveira, Debora; Kronstad, James W.; Jung, Won Hee

    2015-01-01

    Amino acid biosynthetic pathways that are absent in mammals are considered an attractive target for antifungal therapy. Leucine biosynthesis is one such target pathway, consisting of a five-step conversion process starting from the valine precursor 2-keto-isovalerate. Isopropylmalate dehydrogenase (Leu1) is an Fe-S cluster protein that is required for leucine biosynthesis in the model fungus Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans possesses an ortholog of S. cerevisiae Leu1, and our previous transcriptome data showed that the expression of LEU1 is regulated by iron availability. In this study, we characterized the role of Leu1 in iron homeostasis and the virulence of C. neoformans. We found that deletion of LEU1 caused leucine auxotrophy and that Leu1 may play a role in the mitochondrial-cytoplasmic Fe-S cluster balance. Whereas cytoplasmic Fe-S protein levels were not affected, mitochondrial Fe-S proteins were up- regulated in the leu1 mutant, suggesting that Leu1 mainly influences mitochondrial iron metabolism. The leu1 mutant also displayed increased sensitivity to oxidative stress and cell wall/membrane disrupting agents, which may have been caused by mitochondrial dysfunction. Furthermore, the leu1 mutant was deficient in capsule formation and showed attenuated virulence in a mouse inhalation model of cryptococcosis. Overall, our results indicate that Leu1 plays a role in iron metabolism and is required for virulence in C. neoformans. PMID:25554701

  3. Capsular polysaccharides from Cryptococcus neoformans modulate production of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) by human neutrophils.

    PubMed

    Rocha, Juliana D B; Nascimento, Michelle T C; Decote-Ricardo, Debora; Côrte-Real, Suzana; Morrot, Alexandre; Heise, Norton; Nunes, Marise P; Previato, José Osvaldo; Mendonça-Previato, Lucia; DosReis, George A; Saraiva, Elvira M; Freire-de-Lima, Célio G

    2015-01-01

    In the present study, we characterized the in vitro modulation of NETs (neutrophil extracellular traps) induced in human neutrophils by the opportunistic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, evaluating the participation of capsular polysaccharides glucuronoxylomanan (GXM) and glucuronoxylomannogalactan (GXMGal) in this phenomenon. The mutant acapsular strain CAP67 and the capsular polysaccharide GXMGal induced NET production. In contrast, the wild-type strain and the major polysaccharide GXM did not induce NET release. In addition, C. neoformans and the capsular polysaccharide GXM inhibited PMA-induced NET release. Additionally, we observed that the NET-enriched supernatants induced through CAP67 yeasts showed fungicidal activity on the capsular strain, and neutrophil elastase, myeloperoxidase, collagenase and histones were the key components for the induction of NET fungicidal activity. The signaling pathways associated with NET induction through the CAP67 strain were dependent on reactive oxygen species (ROS) and peptidylarginine deiminase-4 (PAD-4). Neither polysaccharide induced ROS production however both molecules blocked the production of ROS through PMA-activated neutrophils. Taken together, the results demonstrate that C. neoformans and the capsular component GXM inhibit the production of NETs in human neutrophils. This mechanism indicates a potentially new and important modulation factor for this fungal pathogen. PMID:25620354

  4. Multicenter evaluation of broth microdilution method for susceptibility testing of Cryptococcus neoformans against fluconazole.

    PubMed Central

    Sanati, H; Messer, S A; Pfaller, M; Witt, M; Larsen, R; Espinel-Ingroff, A; Ghannoum, M

    1996-01-01

    We have developed a microdilution method for measuring the susceptibility of Cryptococcus neoformans to fluconazole. The present study evaluated the interlaboratory agreement of the results for the microdilution method obtained at three different sites and compared this method with the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards M27-P reference method. Excellent interlaboratory agreement among the results obtained at the three sites was achieved with this method (83 and 96% agreement within 1 and 2 log2 dilutions, respectively). An overall agreement of 90% between the microdilution method and the M27-P method was observed, demonstrating the comparability of the two methods. However, there are inherent problems with the M27-P method in relation to measuring C. neoformans susceptibility, including suboptimal growth of the organism in RPMI 1640, a longer incubation period, and a narrow range of MICs. On the basis of these data, the microdilution method tested in this study is recommended for inclusion in the National Committee for Laboratory Standards method for testing the antifungal susceptibility of C. neoformans. PMID:8727919

  5. A vanillin derivative causes mitochondrial dysfunction and triggers oxidative stress in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Kim, Jin Hyo; Lee, Han-Ok; Cho, Yong-Joon; Kim, Jeongmi; Chun, Jongsik; Choi, Jaehyuk; Lee, Younghoon; Jung, Won Hee

    2014-01-01

    Vanillin is a well-known food and cosmetic additive and has antioxidant and antimutagenic properties. It has also been suggested to have antifungal activity against major human pathogenic fungi, although it is not very effective. In this study, the antifungal activities of vanillin and 33 vanillin derivatives against the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, the main pathogen of cryptococcal meningitis in immunocompromised patients, were investigated. We found a structural correlation between the vanillin derivatives and antifungal activity, showing that the hydroxyl or alkoxy group is more advantageous than the halogenated or nitrated group in benzaldehyde. Among the vanillin derivatives with a hydroxyl or alkoxy group, o-vanillin and o-ethyl vanillin showed the highest antifungal activity against C. neoformans. o-Vanillin was further studied to understand the mechanism of antifungal action. We compared the transcriptome of C. neoformans cells untreated or treated with o-vanillin by using RNA sequencing and found that the compound caused mitochondrial dysfunction and triggered oxidative stress. These antifungal mechanisms of o-vanillin were experimentally confirmed by the significantly reduced growth of the mutants lacking the genes involved in mitochondrial functions and oxidative stress response.

  6. Cryptococcus neoformans Intracellular Proliferation and Capsule Size Determines Early Macrophage Control of Infection

    PubMed Central

    Bojarczuk, Aleksandra; Miller, Katie A.; Hotham, Richard; Lewis, Amy; Ogryzko, Nikolay V.; Kamuyango, Alfred A.; Frost, Helen; Gibson, Rory H.; Stillman, Eleanor; May, Robin C.; Renshaw, Stephen A.; Johnston, Simon A.

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a significant fungal pathogen of immunocompromised patients. Many questions remain regarding the function of macrophages in normal clearance of cryptococcal infection and the defects present in uncontrolled cryptococcosis. Two current limitations are: 1) The difficulties in interpreting studies using isolated macrophages in the context of the progression of infection, and 2) The use of high resolution imaging in understanding immune cell behavior during animal infection. Here we describe a high-content imaging method in a zebrafish model of cryptococcosis that permits the detailed analysis of macrophage interactions with C. neoformans during infection. Using this approach we demonstrate that, while macrophages are critical for control of C. neoformans, a failure of macrophage response is not the limiting defect in fatal infections. We find phagocytosis is restrained very early in infection and that increases in cryptococcal number are driven by intracellular proliferation. We show that macrophages preferentially phagocytose cryptococci with smaller polysaccharide capsules and that capsule size is greatly increased over twenty-four hours of infection, a change that is sufficient to severely limit further phagocytosis. Thus, high-content imaging of cryptococcal infection in vivo demonstrates how very early interactions between macrophages and cryptococci are critical in the outcome of cryptococcosis. PMID:26887656

  7. Molecular epidemiology and antifungal susceptibility of Cryptococcus neoformans isolates from Ugandan AIDS patients.

    PubMed

    Pfaller, M; Zhang, J; Messer, S; Tumberland, M; Mbidde, E; Jessup, C; Ghannoum, M

    1998-11-01

    Little is known of the antifungal susceptibility patterns and molecular epidemiology of Cryptococcus neoformans from tropical regions. We studied 164 clinical isolates of C. neofomans from 120 Ugandan AIDS patients with cryptococcal meningitis by analyzing their electrophoretic karyotypes and antifungal susceptibility profiles. Computer-assisted analysis of karyotype patterns was performed to generate dendrograms. MICs of fluconazole and flucytosine were determined by reference methods. A total of 43 distinguishable DNA types were identified among the 164 isolates. Only 30 patients (25%) were infected with their own unique strain of c. neoformans, whereas 75% of the patients shared their infecting strain with at least one other patient. Among 17 patients with more than one CSF isolate of C. neoformans, sequential isolates were identical or highly related in 12 (71%) and were different in five patients (29%). The isolates were susceptible to both fluconazole and flucytosine and there were no instances in which a stepwise increase in either fluconazole or flucytosine MICs was observed among serial isolates. These findings suggest that the epidemiology of cryptococcal disease in AIDS patients from tropical regions may be somewhat different from that observed in more temperate climates.

  8. Co-infection by Cryptococcus neoformans and Mycobacterium avium intracellulare in AIDS.

    PubMed

    Arastéh, K; Cordes, C; Futh, U; Grosse, G; Dietz, E; Staib, F

    In the observation of various opportunistic pathogens in HIV-positive persons, co-infection by Cryptococcus neoformans together with Mycobacterium avium intracellulare was found if there was a CD4 lymphocyte count as low as 3-20 microl. In 1540 HIV-positive patients under treatment at a Berlin hospital (Auguste-Viktoria-Krankenhaus) during 1985-1994, all AIDS-relevant diseases were examined in a multivariate analysis as variables of influence on the manifestation of a systemic Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection. The analysis involved data on 36 cases of cryptococcosis and 202 cases with a typical clinical course in whom MAC had been detected at sterile body sites. As significant and independent factors of influence, the following were identified: C. neoformans infection, wasting syndrome, lower age, low CD4 lymphocyte count and preceding Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PcP) prophylaxis. Cryptococcosis ranged first with an odds ratio of 2.75. The concomitant manifestation of cryptococcosis and systemic MAC infection in six patients is shown. Because both opportunists, C. neoformans and avian mycobacteria, may have their common habitat in droppings of defined species of pet birds, a common source of infection deserves further clinical and epidemiological attention.

  9. Co-infection by Cryptococcus neoformans and Mycobacterium avium intracellulare in AIDS. Clinical and epidemiological aspects.

    PubMed

    Arastéh, K; Cordes, C; Futh, U; Grosse, G; Dietz, E; Staib, F

    In the observation of various opportunistic pathogens in HIV-positive persons, co-infection by Cryptococcus neoformans together with Mycobacterium avium intracellulare was found if there was a CD4 lymphocyte count as low as 3-20/microliters. In 1540 HIV-positive patients under treatment at a Berlin hospital (Auguste-Viktoria-Krankenhaus) during 1985-1994, all AIDS-relevant diseases were examined in a multivariate analysis as variables of influence on the manifestation of a systemic Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection. The analysis involved data on 36 cases of cryptococcosis and 202 cases with a typical clinical course in whom MAC had been detected at sterile body sites. As significant and independent factors of influence, the following were identified: C. neoformans infection, wasting syndrome, lower age, low CD4 lymphocyte count and preceding Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PcP) prophylaxis. Cryptococcosis ranged first with an ods ratio of 2.75. The concomitant manifestation of cryptococcosis and systemic MAC infection in six patients is shown. Because both opportunists, C. neoformans and avian mycobacteria, may have their common habitat in droppings of defined species of pet birds, a common source of infection deserves further clinical and epidemiological attention.

  10. Molecular epidemiology and in vitro antifungal susceptibility testing of 108 clinical Cryptococcus neoformans sensu lato and Cryptococcus gattii sensu lato isolates from Denmark.

    PubMed

    Hagen, Ferry; Hare Jensen, Rasmus; Meis, Jacques F; Arendrup, Maiken Cavling

    2016-09-01

    Cryptococcosis is mainly caused by members of the Cryptococcus gattii/Cryptococcus neoformans species complexes. Here, we report the molecular characterisation and in vitro antifungal susceptibility of Danish clinical cryptococcal isolates. Species, genotype, serotype and mating type were determined by amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) fingerprinting and qPCR. EUCAST E.Def 7.2 MICs were determined for amphotericin B, flucytosine, fluconazole, voriconazole and isavuconazole. Most isolates were C. neoformans (serotype A; n = 66) and belonged to genotype AFLP1/VNI (n = 61) or AFLP1B/VNII (n = 5) followed by Cryptococcus deneoformans (serotype D; genotype AFLP2, n = 20), C. neoformans × C. deneoformans hybrids (serotype AD; genotype AFLP3, n = 13) and Cryptococcus curvatus (n = 2). Six isolates were C. gattii sensu lato, and one isolate was a C. deneoformans × C. gattii hybrid (genotype AFLP8). All isolates were amphotericin B susceptible. Flucytosine susceptibility was uniform MIC50 of 4-8 mg l(-1) except for C. curvatus (MICs >32 mg l(-1) ). Cryptococcus gattii sensu lato isolates were somewhat less susceptible to the azoles. MICs of fluconazole (>32 mg l(-1) ), voriconazole (≥0.5 mg l(-1) ) and isavuconazole (0.06 and 0.25 mg l(-1) respectively) were elevated compared to the wild-type population for 1/19 C. deneoformans and 1/2 C. curvatus isolates. Flucytosine MIC was elevated for 1/61 C. neoformans (>32 mg l(-1) ). Antifungal susceptibility revealed species-specific differential susceptibility, but suggested acquired resistance was an infrequent phenomenon. PMID:27061834

  11. Unisexual versus bisexual mating in Cryptococcus neoformans: Consequences and biological impacts

    PubMed Central

    Fu, Ci; Sun, Sheng; Billmyre, R. Blake; Roach, Kevin C.; Heitman, Joseph

    2014-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic human fungal pathogen and can undergo both bisexual and unisexual mating. Despite the fact that one mating type is dispensable for unisexual mating, the two sexual cycles share surprisingly similar features. Both mating cycles are affected by similar environmental factors and regulated by the same pheromone response pathway. Recombination takes place during unisexual reproduction in a fashion similar to bisexual reproduction and can both admix pre-existing genetic diversity and also generate diversity de novo just like bisexual reproduction. These common features may allow the unisexual life cycle to provide phenotypic and genotypic plasticity for the natural Cryptococcus population, which is predominantly α mating type, and to avoid Muller’s ratchet. The morphological transition from yeast to hyphal growth during both bisexual and unisexual mating may provide increased opportunities for outcrossing and the ability to forage for nutrients at a distance. The unisexual life cycle is a key evolutionary factor for Cryptococcus as a highly successful global fungal pathogen. PMID:25173822

  12. Susceptibility of intact germinating Arabidopsis thaliana to human fungal pathogens Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii.

    PubMed

    Warpeha, Katherine M; Park, Yoon-Dong; Williamson, Peter R

    2013-05-01

    The fungus Cryptococcus contributes a large global burden of infectious death in both HIV-infected and healthy individuals. As Cryptococcus is an opportunistic pathogen, much of the evolutionary pressure shaping virulence occurs in environments in contact with plants and soil. The present studies investigated inoculation of intact seeds of the common weed Arabidopsis thaliana with fungal cells over a 21-day period. C. gattii was the more virulent plant pathogen, resulting in disrupted germination as well as increased stem lodging, fungal burden, and plant tissue colocalization. C. neoformans was a less virulent plant pathogen but exhibited prolonged tissue residence within the cuticle and vascular spaces. Arabidopsis mutants of the PRN1 gene, which is involved in abiotic and biotic signaling affecting phenylalanine-derived flavonoids, showed altered susceptibility to cryptoccocal infections, suggesting roles for this pathway in cryptococcal defense. The fungal virulence factor laccase was also implicated in plant pathogenesis, as a cryptococcal lac1Δ strain was less virulent than wild-type fungi and was unable to colonize seedlings. In conclusion, these studies expand knowledge concerning the ecological niche of Cryptococcus by demonstrating the pathogenic capacity of the anamorphic form of cryptococcal cells against healthy seedlings under physiologically relevant conditions. In addition, an important role of laccase in plant as well as human virulence may suggest mechanisms for laccase retention and optimization during evolution of this fungal pathogen. PMID:23435895

  13. In Vitro Analysis of Metabolites Secreted during Infection of Lung Epithelial Cells by Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Liew, Kah Leong; Jee, Jap Meng; Yap, Ivan; Yong, Phelim Voon Chen

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an encapsulated basidiomycetous yeast commonly associated with pigeon droppings and soil. The opportunistic pathogen infects humans through the respiratory system and the metabolic implications of C. neoformans infection have yet to be explored. Studying the metabolic profile associated with the infection could lead to the identification of important metabolites associated with pulmonary infection. Therefore, the aim of the study was to simulate cryptococcal infection at the primary site of infection, the lungs, and to identify the metabolic profile and important metabolites associated with the infection at low and high multiplicity of infections (MOI). The culture supernatant of lung epithelial cells infected with C. neoformans at MOI of 10 and 100 over a period of 18 hours were analysed using gas chromatography mass spectrometry. The metabolic profiles obtained were further analysed using multivariate analysis and the pathway analysis tool, MetaboAnalyst 2.0. Based on the results from the multivariate analyses, ten metabolites were selected as the discriminatory metabolites that were important in both the infection conditions. The pathways affected during early C. neoformans infection of lung epithelial cells were mainly the central carbon metabolism and biosynthesis of amino acids. Infection at a higher MOI led to a perturbance in the β-alanine metabolism and an increase in the secretion of pantothenic acid into the growth media. Pantothenic acid production during yeast infection has not been documented and the β-alanine metabolism as well as the pantothenate and CoA biosynthesis pathways may represent underlying metabolic pathways associated with disease progression. Our study suggested that β-alanine metabolism and the pantothenate and CoA biosynthesis pathways might be the important pathways associated with cryptococcal infection. PMID:27054608

  14. A Small Protein Associated with Fungal Energy Metabolism Affects the Virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans in Mammals.

    PubMed

    McClelland, Erin E; Ramagopal, Udupi A; Rivera, Johanna; Cox, James; Nakouzi, Antonio; Prabu, Moses M; Almo, Steven C; Casadevall, Arturo

    2016-09-01

    The pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans causes cryptococcosis, a life-threatening fungal disease. C. neoformans has multiple virulence mechanisms that are non-host specific, induce damage and interfere with immune clearance. Microarray analysis of C. neoformans strains serially passaged in mice associated a small gene (CNAG_02591) with virulence. This gene, hereafter identified as HVA1 (hypervirulence-associated protein 1), encodes a protein that has homologs of unknown function in plant and animal fungi, consistent with a conserved mechanism. Expression of HVA1 was negatively correlated with virulence and was reduced in vitro and in vivo in both mouse- and Galleria-passaged strains of C. neoformans. Phenotypic analysis in hva1Δ and hva1Δ+HVA1 strains revealed no significant differences in established virulence factors. Mice infected intravenously with the hva1Δ strain had higher fungal burden in the spleen and brain, but lower fungal burden in the lungs, and died faster than mice infected with H99W or the hva1Δ+HVA1 strain. Metabolomics analysis demonstrated a general increase in all amino acids measured in the disrupted strain and a block in the TCA cycle at isocitrate dehydrogenase, possibly due to alterations in the nicotinamide cofactor pool. Macrophage fungal burden experiments recapitulated the mouse hypervirulent phenotype of the hva1Δ strain only in the presence of exogenous NADPH. The crystal structure of the Hva1 protein was solved, and a comparison of structurally similar proteins correlated with the metabolomics data and potential interactions with NADPH. We report a new gene that modulates virulence through a mechanism associated with changes in fungal metabolism. PMID:27583447

  15. A Small Protein Associated with Fungal Energy Metabolism Affects the Virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans in Mammals

    PubMed Central

    Cox, James; Nakouzi, Antonio; Prabu, Moses M.; Almo, Steven C.

    2016-01-01

    The pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans causes cryptococcosis, a life-threatening fungal disease. C. neoformans has multiple virulence mechanisms that are non-host specific, induce damage and interfere with immune clearance. Microarray analysis of C. neoformans strains serially passaged in mice associated a small gene (CNAG_02591) with virulence. This gene, hereafter identified as HVA1 (hypervirulence-associated protein 1), encodes a protein that has homologs of unknown function in plant and animal fungi, consistent with a conserved mechanism. Expression of HVA1 was negatively correlated with virulence and was reduced in vitro and in vivo in both mouse- and Galleria-passaged strains of C. neoformans. Phenotypic analysis in hva1Δ and hva1Δ+HVA1 strains revealed no significant differences in established virulence factors. Mice infected intravenously with the hva1Δ strain had higher fungal burden in the spleen and brain, but lower fungal burden in the lungs, and died faster than mice infected with H99W or the hva1Δ+HVA1 strain. Metabolomics analysis demonstrated a general increase in all amino acids measured in the disrupted strain and a block in the TCA cycle at isocitrate dehydrogenase, possibly due to alterations in the nicotinamide cofactor pool. Macrophage fungal burden experiments recapitulated the mouse hypervirulent phenotype of the hva1Δ strain only in the presence of exogenous NADPH. The crystal structure of the Hva1 protein was solved, and a comparison of structurally similar proteins correlated with the metabolomics data and potential interactions with NADPH. We report a new gene that modulates virulence through a mechanism associated with changes in fungal metabolism. PMID:27583447

  16. In Vitro Analysis of Metabolites Secreted during Infection of Lung Epithelial Cells by Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an encapsulated basidiomycetous yeast commonly associated with pigeon droppings and soil. The opportunistic pathogen infects humans through the respiratory system and the metabolic implications of C. neoformans infection have yet to be explored. Studying the metabolic profile associated with the infection could lead to the identification of important metabolites associated with pulmonary infection. Therefore, the aim of the study was to simulate cryptococcal infection at the primary site of infection, the lungs, and to identify the metabolic profile and important metabolites associated with the infection at low and high multiplicity of infections (MOI). The culture supernatant of lung epithelial cells infected with C. neoformans at MOI of 10 and 100 over a period of 18 hours were analysed using gas chromatography mass spectrometry. The metabolic profiles obtained were further analysed using multivariate analysis and the pathway analysis tool, MetaboAnalyst 2.0. Based on the results from the multivariate analyses, ten metabolites were selected as the discriminatory metabolites that were important in both the infection conditions. The pathways affected during early C. neoformans infection of lung epithelial cells were mainly the central carbon metabolism and biosynthesis of amino acids. Infection at a higher MOI led to a perturbance in the β-alanine metabolism and an increase in the secretion of pantothenic acid into the growth media. Pantothenic acid production during yeast infection has not been documented and the β-alanine metabolism as well as the pantothenate and CoA biosynthesis pathways may represent underlying metabolic pathways associated with disease progression. Our study suggested that β-alanine metabolism and the pantothenate and CoA biosynthesis pathways might be the important pathways associated with cryptococcal infection. PMID:27054608

  17. Restricted Substrate Specificity for the Geranylgeranyltransferase-I Enzyme in Cryptococcus neoformans: Implications for Virulence

    PubMed Central

    Selvig, Kyla; Ballou, Elizabeth R.; Nichols, Connie B.

    2013-01-01

    Proper cellular localization is required for the function of many proteins. The CaaX prenyltransferases (where CaaX indicates a cysteine followed by two aliphatic amino acids and a variable amino acid) direct the subcellular localization of a large group of proteins by catalyzing the attachment of hydrophobic isoprenoid moieties onto C-terminal CaaX motifs, thus facilitating membrane association. This group of enzymes includes farnesyltransferase (Ftase) and geranylgeranyltransferase-I (Ggtase-1). Classically, the variable (X) amino acid determines whether a protein will be an Ftase or Ggtase-I substrate, with Ggtase-I substrates often containing CaaL motifs. In this study, we identify the gene encoding the β subunit of Ggtase-I (CDC43) and demonstrate that Ggtase-mediated activity is not essential. However, Cryptococcus neoformans CDC43 is important for thermotolerance, morphogenesis, and virulence. We find that Ggtase-I function is required for full membrane localization of Rho10 and the two Cdc42 paralogs (Cdc42 and Cdc420). Interestingly, the related Rac and Ras proteins are not mislocalized in the cdc43Δ mutant even though they contain similar CaaL motifs. Additionally, the membrane localization of each of these GTPases is dependent on the prenylation of the CaaX cysteine. These results indicate that C. neoformans CaaX prenyltransferases may recognize their substrates in a unique manner from existing models of prenyltransferase specificity. It also suggests that the C. neoformans Ftase, which has been shown to be more important for C. neoformans proliferation and viability, may be the primary prenyltransferase for proteins that are typically geranylgeranylated in other species. PMID:24014765

  18. Cryptococcosis Serotypes Impact Outcome and Provide Evidence of Cryptococcus neoformans Speciation

    PubMed Central

    Desnos-Ollivier, Marie; Patel, Sweta; Raoux-Barbot, Dorothée; Heitman, Joseph

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Cryptococcus neoformans is a human opportunistic fungal pathogen causing severe disseminated meningoencephalitis, mostly in patients with cellular immune defects. This species is divided into three serotypes: A, D, and the AD hybrid. Our objectives were to compare population structures of serotype A and D clinical isolates and to assess whether infections with AD hybrids differ from infections with the other serotypes. For this purpose, we analyzed 483 isolates and the corresponding clinical data from 234 patients enrolled during the CryptoA/D study or the nationwide survey on cryptococcosis in France. Isolates were characterized in terms of ploidy, serotype, mating type, and genotype, utilizing flow cytometry, serotype- and mating type-specific PCR amplifications, and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) methods. Our results suggest that C. neoformans serotypes A and D have different routes of multiplication (primarily clonal expansion versus recombination events for serotype A and serotype D, respectively) and important genomic differences. Cryptococcosis includes a high proportion of proven or probable infections (21.5%) due to a mixture of genotypes, serotypes, and/or ploidies. Multivariate analysis showed that parameters independently associated with failure to achieve cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) sterilization by week 2 were a high serum antigen titer, the lack of flucytosine during induction therapy, and the occurrence of mixed infection, while infections caused by AD hybrids were more likely to be associated with CSF sterilization. Our study provides additional evidence for the possible speciation of C. neoformans var. neoformans and grubii and highlights the importance of careful characterization of causative isolates. PMID:26060271

  19. Isolation, Identification and Molecular Typing of Cryptococcus neoformans from Pigeon Droppings and Other Environmental Sources in Tripoli, Libya.

    PubMed

    Ellabib, Mohamed S; Aboshkiwa, Mohamed A; Husien, Walid M; D'Amicis, Roberta; Cogliati, Massimo

    2016-08-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii are the major cause of fungal meningitis, a potentially lethal mycosis. Since pigeon excreta and other environmental sources can be considered a significant environmental reservoir of this species in urban areas, 100 samples of pigeon excreta and 420 samples from Eucalyptus camaldulensis and Olea europaea (olive tree) around the city of Tripoli, Libya, were collected. C. neoformans was isolated and identified using standard biochemical assays from 46 samples: 34 from pigeon droppings, 3 from Eucalyptus trees and 9 from olive trees. Molecular typing revealed that all isolates from pigeon droppings belonged to molecular type VNI (C. neoformans var. grubii) and mating type αA, whereas those from trees included also the molecular type VNII and VNIII (AD hybrids). The present study reports, for the first time, information about the distribution of species, mating types and molecular types of C. neoformans/C. gattii species complex in Libya. PMID:26943725

  20. Isolation, Identification and Molecular Typing of Cryptococcus neoformans from Pigeon Droppings and Other Environmental Sources in Tripoli, Libya.

    PubMed

    Ellabib, Mohamed S; Aboshkiwa, Mohamed A; Husien, Walid M; D'Amicis, Roberta; Cogliati, Massimo

    2016-08-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii are the major cause of fungal meningitis, a potentially lethal mycosis. Since pigeon excreta and other environmental sources can be considered a significant environmental reservoir of this species in urban areas, 100 samples of pigeon excreta and 420 samples from Eucalyptus camaldulensis and Olea europaea (olive tree) around the city of Tripoli, Libya, were collected. C. neoformans was isolated and identified using standard biochemical assays from 46 samples: 34 from pigeon droppings, 3 from Eucalyptus trees and 9 from olive trees. Molecular typing revealed that all isolates from pigeon droppings belonged to molecular type VNI (C. neoformans var. grubii) and mating type αA, whereas those from trees included also the molecular type VNII and VNIII (AD hybrids). The present study reports, for the first time, information about the distribution of species, mating types and molecular types of C. neoformans/C. gattii species complex in Libya.

  1. Networks of fibers and factors: regulation of capsule formation in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Ding, Hao; Mayer, François L; Sánchez-León, Eddy; de S Araújo, Glauber R; Frases, Susana; Kronstad, James W

    2016-01-01

    The ability of the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans to cause life-threatening meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised individuals is due in large part to elaboration of a capsule consisting of polysaccharide fibers. The size of the cell-associated capsule is remarkably responsive to a variety of environmental and host conditions, but the mechanistic details of the regulation, synthesis, trafficking, and attachment of the polysaccharides are poorly understood. Recent studies reveal a complex network of transcription factors that influence capsule elaboration in response to several different signals of relevance to disease (e.g., iron deprivation). The emerging complexity of the network is consistent with the diversity of conditions that influence the capsule and illustrates the responsiveness of the fungus to both the environment and mammalian hosts. PMID:27516877

  2. All about that fat: Lipid modification of proteins in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Santiago-Tirado, Felipe H; Doering, Tamara L

    2016-03-01

    Lipid modification of proteins is a widespread, essential process whereby fatty acids, cholesterol, isoprenoids, phospholipids, or glycosylphospholipids are attached to polypeptides. These hydrophobic groups may affect protein structure, function, localization, and/or stability; as a consequence such modifications play critical regulatory roles in cellular systems. Recent advances in chemical biology and proteomics have allowed the profiling of modified proteins, enabling dissection of the functional consequences of lipid addition. The enzymes that mediate lipid modification are specific for both the lipid and protein substrates, and are conserved from fungi to humans. In this article we review these enzymes, their substrates, and the processes involved in eukaryotic lipid modification of proteins. We further focus on its occurrence in the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, highlighting unique features that are both relevant for the biology of the organism and potentially important in the search for new therapies. PMID:26920881

  3. Networks of fibers and factors: regulation of capsule formation in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Ding, Hao; Mayer, François L; Sánchez-León, Eddy; de S Araújo, Glauber R; Frases, Susana; Kronstad, James W

    2016-01-01

    The ability of the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans to cause life-threatening meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised individuals is due in large part to elaboration of a capsule consisting of polysaccharide fibers. The size of the cell-associated capsule is remarkably responsive to a variety of environmental and host conditions, but the mechanistic details of the regulation, synthesis, trafficking, and attachment of the polysaccharides are poorly understood. Recent studies reveal a complex network of transcription factors that influence capsule elaboration in response to several different signals of relevance to disease (e.g., iron deprivation). The emerging complexity of the network is consistent with the diversity of conditions that influence the capsule and illustrates the responsiveness of the fungus to both the environment and mammalian hosts.

  4. Networks of fibers and factors: regulation of capsule formation in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    de S. Araújo, Glauber R.; Frases, Susana; Kronstad, James W.

    2016-01-01

    The ability of the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans to cause life-threatening meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised individuals is due in large part to elaboration of a capsule consisting of polysaccharide fibers. The size of the cell-associated capsule is remarkably responsive to a variety of environmental and host conditions, but the mechanistic details of the regulation, synthesis, trafficking, and attachment of the polysaccharides are poorly understood. Recent studies reveal a complex network of transcription factors that influence capsule elaboration in response to several different signals of relevance to disease (e.g., iron deprivation). The emerging complexity of the network is consistent with the diversity of conditions that influence the capsule and illustrates the responsiveness of the fungus to both the environment and mammalian hosts. PMID:27516877

  5. All about that fat: Lipid modification of proteins in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Santiago-Tirado, Felipe H.; Doering, Tamara L.

    2016-01-01

    Lipid modification of proteins is a widespread, essential process whereby fatty acids, cholesterol, isoprenoids, phospholipids, or glycosylphospholipids are attached to polypeptides. These hydrophobic groups may affect protein structure, function, localization, and/or stability; as a consequence such modifications play critical regulatory roles in cellular systems. Recent advances in chemical biology and proteomics have allowed the profiling of modified proteins, enabling dissection of the functional consequences of lipid addition. The enzymes that mediate lipid modification are specific for both the lipid and protein substrates, and are conserved from fungi to humans. In this article we review these enzymes, their substrates, and the processes involved in eukaryotic lipid modification of proteins. We further focus on its occurrence in the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, highlighting unique features that are both relevant for the biology of the organism and potentially important in the search for new therapies. PMID:26920881

  6. The Cryptococcus neoformans alkaline response pathway: identification of a novel rim pathway activator.

    PubMed

    Ost, Kyla S; O'Meara, Teresa R; Huda, Naureen; Esher, Shannon K; Alspaugh, J Andrew

    2015-04-01

    The Rim101/PacC transcription factor acts in a fungal-specific signaling pathway responsible for sensing extracellular pH signals. First characterized in ascomycete fungi such as Aspergillus nidulans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the Rim/Pal pathway maintains conserved features among very distantly related fungi, where it coordinates cellular adaptation to alkaline pH signals and micronutrient deprivation. However, it also directs species-specific functions in fungal pathogens such as Cryptococcus neoformans, where it controls surface capsule expression. Moreover, disruption of the Rim pathway central transcription factor, Rim101, results in a strain that causes a hyper-inflammatory response in animal infection models. Using targeted gene deletions, we demonstrate that several genes encoding components of the classical Rim/Pal pathway are present in the C. neoformans genome. Many of these genes are in fact required for Rim101 activation, including members of the ESCRT complex (Vps23 and Snf7), ESCRT-interacting proteins (Rim20 and Rim23), and the predicted Rim13 protease. We demonstrate that in neutral/alkaline pH, Rim23 is recruited to punctate regions on the plasma membrane. This change in Rim23 localization requires upstream ESCRT complex components but does not require other Rim101 proteolysis components, such as Rim20 or Rim13. Using a forward genetics screen, we identified the RRA1 gene encoding a novel membrane protein that is also required for Rim101 protein activation and, like the ESCRT complex, is functionally upstream of Rim23-membrane localization. Homologs of RRA1 are present in other Cryptococcus species as well as other basidiomycetes, but closely related genes are not present in ascomycetes. These findings suggest that major branches of the fungal Kingdom developed different mechanisms to sense and respond to very elemental extracellular signals such as changing pH levels.

  7. Effects of CTR4 deletion on virulence and stress response in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Ping; Zhang, Defa; Zhao, Xueru; Wei, Dongsheng; Wang, Yu; Zhu, Xudong

    2016-08-01

    Roles of the high-affinity copper transporter Ctr4 in the virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans remain to be fully determined. Here we demonstrate that Ctr4 plays a necessary role in virulence and tolerance to a number of stress conditions. We first observed, with the method of flame atomic absorption spectrometry, that deletion of CTR4 resulted in a significant decrease in intracellular copper level, confirming the role of Ctr4 as a copper transporter in C. neoformans. Furthermore, CTR4 was critical for the yeast to survive at both elevated and low temperatures, as the growth rate of the ctr4Δ mutant at 4 and 37 °C was significantly decreased. The mutant ctr4Δ also exhibited hypersensitivity to osmotic stress imposed by 2 M NaCl or KCl, indicating the possible crosstalk of Ctr4 with the HOG signalling pathway. Moreover, cell wall and plasma membrane integrity appeared to be impaired in the ctr4Δ strain. The virulence of ctr4Δ in two mouse cryptococcosis models was remarkably reduced either via an intranasal or intravenous inoculation. Our work confirms the roles of Ctr4 in virulence and copper homeostasis as well as other additional novel functions. PMID:27317510

  8. Diagnostic Challenges of Cryptococcus neoformans in an Immunocompetent Individual Masquerading as Chronic Hydrocephalus.

    PubMed

    Mahajan, Kedar R; Roberts, Amity L; Curtis, Mark T; Fortuna, Danielle; Dharia, Robin; Sheehan, Lori

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans can cause disseminated meningoencephalitis and evade immunosurveillance with expression of a major virulence factor, the polysaccharide capsule. Direct diagnostic assays often rely on the presence of the cryptococcal glucuronoxylomannan capsular antigen (CrAg) or visualization of the capsule. Strain specific phenotypic traits and environmental conditions influence differences in expression that can thereby compromise detection and timely diagnosis. Immunocompetent hosts may manifest clinical signs and symptoms indolently, often expanding the differential and delaying appropriate treatment and diagnosis. We describe a 63-year-old man who presented with a progressive four-year history of ambulatory dysfunction, headache, and communicating hydrocephalus. Serial lumbar punctures (LPs) revealed elevated protein (153-300 mg/dL), hypoglycorrhachia (19-47 mg/dL), lymphocytic pleocytosis (89-95% lymphocyte, WBC 67-303 mg/dL, and RBC 34-108 mg/dL), and normal opening pressure (13-16 cm H2O). Two different cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) CrAg assays were negative. A large volume CSF fungal culture grew unencapsulated C. neoformans. He was initiated on induction therapy with amphotericin B plus flucytosine and consolidation/maintenance therapy with flucytosine, but he died following discharge due to complications. Elevated levels of CSF Th1 cytokines and decreased IL6 may have affected the virulence and detection of the pathogen. PMID:27525140

  9. Systematic capsule gene disruption reveals the central role of galactose metabolism on Cryptococcus neoformans virulence.

    PubMed

    Moyrand, Frédérique; Fontaine, Thierry; Janbon, Guilhem

    2007-05-01

    The polysaccharidic capsule is the main virulence factor of Cryptococcus neoformans. It primarily comprised of two polysaccharides: glucuronoxylomannan (GXM, 88% of the capsule mass) and galactoxylomannan (GalXM, 7% of the capsule mass). We constructed a large collection of mutant strains in which genes potentially involved in capsule biosynthesis were deleted. We used a new post-genomic approach to study the virulence of the strains. Primers specific for unique tags associated with the disruption cassette were used in a real-time PCR virulence assay to measure the fungal burden of each strain in different organs of mice in multi-infection experiments. With this very sensitive assay, we identified a putative UDP-glucose epimerase (Uge1p) and a putative UDP-galactose transporter (Ugt1p) essential for C. neoformans virulence. The uge1Delta and ugt1Delta strains are temperature sensitive and do not produce GalXM but synthesize a larger capsule. These mutant strains (GalXM negative, GXM positive) are not able to colonize the brain even at the first day of infection whereas GXM-negative strains (GalXM positive) can still colonize the brain, although less efficiently than the wild-type strain.

  10. An unusual organelle in Cryptococcus neoformans links luminal pH and capsule biosynthesis.

    PubMed

    Yoneda, Aki; Doering, Tamara L

    2009-09-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a basidiomycete that causes deadly infections in the immunocompromised. We previously generated a secretion mutant in this fungus by introducing a mutation in the SAV1 gene, which encodes a homolog of the Sec4/Rab8 subfamily GTPases. Under restrictive conditions there are two notable morphological changes in the sav1 mutant: accumulation of post-Golgi vesicles and the appearance of an unusual organelle, which we term the sav1 body (SB). The SB is an electron-transparent structure 0.2-1microm in diameter, with vesicles or other membranous structures associated with the perimeter. Surprisingly, the SB was heavily labeled with anti-glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) antibodies, suggesting that it contains a secreted capsule component, GXM. A structure similar to the SB, also labeled by anti-GXM antibodies, was induced in wild type cells treated with the vacuolar-ATPase inhibitor, bafilomycin A(1). Bafilomycin A(1) and other agents that increase intraluminal pH also inhibited capsule polysaccharide shedding and capsule growth. These studies highlight an unusual organelle observed in C. neoformans with a potential role in polysaccharide synthesis, and a link between luminal pH and GXM biosynthesis.

  11. Cryptococcus neoformans cryoultramicrotomy and vesicle fractionation reveals an intimate association between membrane lipids and glucuronxylomannan

    PubMed Central

    Oliveira, Débora L.; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Miranda, Kildare; Frases, Susana; Faull, Kym F.; Casadevall, Arturo; Rodrigues, Marcio L.

    2009-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an encapsulated pathogenic fungus. The cryptococcal capsule is composed of polysaccharides and is necessary for virulence. It has been previously reported that glucuronoxylomannan (GXM), the major capsular component, is synthesized in cytoplasmic compartments and transported to the extracellular space in vesicles, but knowledge on the organelles involved in polysaccharide synthesis and traffic is extremely limited. In this paper we report the GXM distribution in C. neoformans cells sectioned by cryoultramicrotomy and visualized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and polysaccharide immunogold staining. Cryosections of fungal cells showed high preservation of intracellular organelles and cell wall structure. Incubation of cryosections with an antibody to GXM revealed that cytoplasmic structures associated to vesicular compartments and reticular membranes are in close proximity to the polysaccharide. GXM was generally found in association with the membrane of intracellular compartments and within different layers of the cell wall. Analysis of extracellular fractions from cryptococcal supernatants by transmission electron microscopy in combination with serologic, chromatographic and spectroscopic methods revealed fractions containing GXM and lipids. These results indicate an intimate association of GXM and lipids in both intracellular and extracellular spaces consistent with polysaccharide synthesis and transport in membrane-associated structures. PMID:19747978

  12. Cryptococcus neoformans cryoultramicrotomy and vesicle fractionation reveals an intimate association between membrane lipids and glucuronoxylomannan.

    PubMed

    Oliveira, Débora L; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Miranda, Kildare; Frases, Susana; Faull, Kym F; Casadevall, Arturo; Rodrigues, Marcio L

    2009-12-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an encapsulated pathogenic fungus. The cryptococcal capsule is composed of polysaccharides and is necessary for virulence. It has been previously reported that glucuronoxylomannan (GXM), the major capsular component, is synthesized in cytoplasmic compartments and transported to the extracellular space in vesicles, but knowledge on the organelles involved in polysaccharide synthesis and traffic is extremely limited. In this paper we report the GXM distribution in C. neoformans cells sectioned by cryoultramicrotomy and visualized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and polysaccharide immunogold staining. Cryosections of fungal cells showed high preservation of intracellular organelles and cell wall structure. Incubation of cryosections with an antibody to GXM revealed that cytoplasmic structures associated to vesicular compartments and reticular membranes are in close proximity to the polysaccharide. GXM was generally found in association with the membrane of intracellular compartments and within different layers of the cell wall. Analysis of extracellular fractions from cryptococcal supernatants by transmission electron microscopy in combination with serologic, chromatographic and spectroscopic methods revealed fractions containing GXM and lipids. These results indicate an intimate association of GXM and lipids in both intracellular and extracellular spaces consistent with polysaccharide synthesis and transport in membrane-associated structures.

  13. Cluster of Cryptococcus neoformans Infections in Intensive Care Unit, Arkansas, USA, 2013

    PubMed Central

    Haselow, Dirk; Lloyd, Spencer; Lockhart, Shawn; Moulton-Meissner, Heather; Lester, Laura; Wheeler, Gary; Gladden, Linda; Garner, Kelley; Derado, Gordana; Park, Benjamin; Harris, Julie R.

    2015-01-01

    We investigated an unusual cluster of 6 patients with Cryptococcus neoformans infection at a community hospital in Arkansas during April–December 2013, to determine source of infection. Four patients had bloodstream infection and 2 had respiratory infection; 3 infections occurred within a 10-day period. Five patients had been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with diagnoses other than cryptococcosis; none had HIV infection, and 1 patient had a history of organ transplantation. We then conducted a retrospective cohort study of all patients admitted to the ICU during April–December 2013 to determine risk factors for cryptococcosis. Four patients with C. neoformans infection had received a short course of steroids; this short-term use was associated with increased risk for cryptococcosis (rate ratio 19.1; 95% CI 2.1–170.0; p<0.01). Although long-term use of steroids is a known risk factor for cryptococcosis, the relationship between short-term steroid use and disease warrants further study PMID:26403080

  14. Carbonic anhydrase and CO2 sensing during Cryptococcus neoformans growth, differentiation, and virulence.

    PubMed

    Bahn, Yong-Sun; Cox, Gary M; Perfect, John R; Heitman, Joseph

    2005-11-22

    The gas carbon dioxide (CO2) plays a critical role in microbial and mammalian respiration, photosynthesis in algae and plants, chemoreception in insects, and even global warming . However, how CO2 is transported, sensed, and metabolized by microorganisms is largely not understood. For instance, CO2 is known to induce production of polysaccharide capsule virulence determinants in pathogenic bacteria and fungi via unknown mechanisms . Therefore, we studied CO2 actions in growth, differentiation, and virulence of the basidiomycetous human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. The CAN2 gene encoding beta-carbonic anhydrase in C. neoformans was found to be essential for growth in environmental ambient conditions but dispensable for in vivo proliferation and virulence at the high CO2 levels in the host. The can2Delta mutant in vitro growth defect is largely attributable to defective fatty acid synthesis. CO2 was found to inhibit cell-cell fusion but not filamentation during sexual reproduction. The can2 mutation restored early mating events in high CO2 but not later steps (fruiting body formation, sporulation), indicating a major role for carbonic anhydrase and CO2/HCO3- in this developmental cascade leading to the production of infectious spores. Our studies illustrate diverse roles of an ancient enzyme class in enabling environmental survival of a ubiquitous human pathogen.

  15. Capsule Growth in Cryptococcus neoformans Is Coordinated with Cell Cycle Progression

    PubMed Central

    García-Rodas, Rocío; Cordero, Radames J. B.; Trevijano-Contador, Nuria; Janbon, Guilhem; Moyrand, Frédérique; Casadevall, Arturo

    2014-01-01

    ABSTRACT The fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans has several virulence factors, among which the most important is a polysaccharide capsule. The size of the capsule is variable and can increase significantly during infection. In this work, we investigated the relationship between capsular enlargement and the cell cycle. Capsule growth occurred primarily during the G1 phase. Real-time visualization of capsule growth demonstrated that this process occurred before the appearance of the bud and that capsule growth arrested during budding. Benomyl, which arrests the cells in G2/M, inhibited capsule growth, while sirolimus (rapamycin) addition, which induces G1 arrest, resulted in cells with larger capsule. Furthermore, we have characterized a mutant strain that lacks a putative G1/S cyclin. This mutant showed an increased capacity to enlarge the capsule, both in vivo (using Galleria mellonella as the host model) and in vitro. In the absence of Cln1, there was a significant increase in the production of extracellular vesicles. Proteomic assays suggest that in the cln1 mutant strain, there is an upregulation of the glyoxylate acid cycle. Besides, this cyclin mutant is avirulent at 37°C, which correlates with growth defects at this temperature in rich medium. In addition, the cln1 mutant showed lower intracellular replication rates in murine macrophages. We conclude that cell cycle regulatory elements are involved in the modulation of the expression of the main virulence factor in C. neoformans. PMID:24939886

  16. Delayed-type hypersensitivity responses in infected mice elicited by cytoplasmic fractions of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed Central

    Hay, R J; Reiss, E

    1978-01-01

    Four subcellular fractions of Cryptococcus neoformans prepared by differential centrifugation of disrupted whole yeast and a 3-day culture filtrate were examined for their ability to elicit delayed-type hypersensitivity in sensitized animals. The methods used to detect sensitization were (i) the footpad swelling test and inhibition of peritoneal macrophage migration in mice and (ii) skin testing in guinea pigs. Two entities, the post-mitochondrial supernatant and the culture filtrate, showed considerable activity in the footpad test, with 26- and 30-microliter 24-h swellings, respectively, at 6 weeks after infection. With the latter there was interference from a strong antibody-mediated 4-h skin reaction. The post-mitochondrial supernatant produced strong delayed-type hypersensitivity in guinea pigs at a dose of 69 microgram, and there was no demonstrable cross-reactivity in animals sensitized with heterologous fungi. The footpad swelling in mice correlated well with the macrophage migration inhibition test, with 71% inhibition in mice infected subcutaneously with C. neoformans at 6 weeks. However, mice infected intravenously developed poorer cell-mediated immunity than the subcutaneously infected mice. The post-mitochondrial supernatant was found to contain detectable amounts of cryptococcal capsular polysaccharide. Images PMID:365751

  17. Cryptococcosis in the era of AIDS--100 years after the discovery of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed Central

    Mitchell, T G; Perfect, J R

    1995-01-01

    Although Cryptococcus neoformans and cryptococcosis have existed for several millennia, a century has passed since the discovery of this encapsulated yeast and its devastating disease. With the advent of the AIDS pandemic, cryptococcal meningitis has emerged as a leading cause of infectious morbidity and mortality and a frequently life-threatening opportunistic mycosis among patients with AIDS. Both basic and clinical research have accelerated in the 1990s, and this review attempts to highlight some of these advances. The discussion covers recent findings, current concepts, controversies, and unresolved issues related to the ecology and genetics of C. neoformans; the surface structure of the yeast; and the mechanisms of host defense. Regarding cell-mediated immunity, CD4+ T cells are crucial for successful resistance, but CD8+ T cells may also participate significantly in the cytokine-mediated activation of anticryptococcal effector cells. In addition to cell-mediated immunity, monoclonal antibodies to the major capsular polysaccharide, the glucuronoxylomannan, offer some protection in murine models of cryptococcosis. Clinical concepts are presented that relate to the distinctive features of cryptococcosis in patients with AIDS and the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cryptococcosis in AIDS patients. PMID:8665468

  18. Diagnostic Challenges of Cryptococcus neoformans in an Immunocompetent Individual Masquerading as Chronic Hydrocephalus

    PubMed Central

    Fortuna, Danielle; Dharia, Robin

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans can cause disseminated meningoencephalitis and evade immunosurveillance with expression of a major virulence factor, the polysaccharide capsule. Direct diagnostic assays often rely on the presence of the cryptococcal glucuronoxylomannan capsular antigen (CrAg) or visualization of the capsule. Strain specific phenotypic traits and environmental conditions influence differences in expression that can thereby compromise detection and timely diagnosis. Immunocompetent hosts may manifest clinical signs and symptoms indolently, often expanding the differential and delaying appropriate treatment and diagnosis. We describe a 63-year-old man who presented with a progressive four-year history of ambulatory dysfunction, headache, and communicating hydrocephalus. Serial lumbar punctures (LPs) revealed elevated protein (153–300 mg/dL), hypoglycorrhachia (19–47 mg/dL), lymphocytic pleocytosis (89–95% lymphocyte, WBC 67–303 mg/dL, and RBC 34–108 mg/dL), and normal opening pressure (13–16 cm H2O). Two different cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) CrAg assays were negative. A large volume CSF fungal culture grew unencapsulated C. neoformans. He was initiated on induction therapy with amphotericin B plus flucytosine and consolidation/maintenance therapy with flucytosine, but he died following discharge due to complications. Elevated levels of CSF Th1 cytokines and decreased IL6 may have affected the virulence and detection of the pathogen. PMID:27525140

  19. Rapid mapping of insertional mutations to probe cell wall regulation in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Esher, Shannon K.; Granek, Joshua A.; Alspaugh, J. Andrew

    2015-01-01

    Random insertional mutagenesis screens are important tools in microbial genetics studies. Investigators in fungal systems have used the plant pathogen Agrobacterium tumefaciens to create tagged, random mutations for genetic screens in their fungal species of interest through a unique process of trans-kingdom cellular transconjugation. However, identifying the locations of insertion has traditionally required tedious PCR-based methods, limiting the effective throughput of this system. We have developed an efficient genomic sequencing and analysis method (AIM-Seq) to facilitate identification of randomly generated genomic insertions in microorganisms. AIM-Seq combines batch sampling, whole genome sequencing, and a novel bioinformatics pipeline, AIM-HII, to rapidly identify sites of genomic insertion. We have specifically applied this technique to Agrobacterium-mediated transconjugation in the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. With this approach, we have screened a library of C. neoformans cell wall mutants, selecting twenty-seven mutants of interest for analysis by AIM-Seq. We identified thirty-five putative genomic insertions in known and previously unknown regulators of cell wall processes in this pathogenic fungus. We confirmed the relevance of a subset of these by creating independent mutant strains and analyzing resulting cell wall phenotypes. Through our sequence-based analysis of these mutations, we observed “typical” insertions of the Agrobacterium transfer DNA as well as atypical insertion events, including large deletions and chromosomal rearrangements. Initially applied to C. neoformans, this mutant analysis tool can be applied to a wide range of experimental systems and methods of mutagenesis, facilitating future microbial genetic screens. PMID:26112692

  20. The ZIP family zinc transporters support the virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Do, Eunsoo; Hu, Guanggan; Caza, Mélissa; Kronstad, James W; Jung, Won Hee

    2016-08-01

    Zinc is an essential element in living organisms and a cofactor for various metalloproteins. To disseminate and survive, a pathogenic microbe must obtain zinc from the host, which is an environment with extremely limited zinc availability. In this study, we investigated the roles of the ZIP family zinc transporters Zip1 and Zip2 in the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans Zip1 and Zip2 are homologous to Zrt1 and Zrt2 of the model fungus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, respectively. We found that the expression of ZIP1 was regulated by the zinc concentration in the environment. Furthermore, the mutant lacking ZIP1 displayed a severe growth defect under zinc-limited conditions, while the mutant lacking ZIP2 displayed normal growth. Inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy analysis showed that the absence of Zip1 expression significantly reduced total cellular zinc levels relative to that in the wild type, while overexpression of Zip1 was associated with increased cellular zinc levels. These findings suggested that Zip1 plays roles in zinc uptake in C. neoformans We also constructed a Zip1-FLAG fusion protein and found, by immunofluorescence, not only that the protein was localized to the periphery implying it is a membrane transporter, but also that the protein was N-glycosylated. Furthermore, the mutant lacking ZIP1 showed attenuated virulence in a murine inhalation model of cryptococcosis and reduced survival within murine macrophages. Overall, our data suggest that Zip1 plays essential roles in zinc transport and the virulence of C. neoformans. PMID:27118799

  1. Mitochondria are inherited from the MATa parent in crosses of the basidiomycete fungus Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed Central

    Yan, Zhun; Xu, Jianping

    2003-01-01

    Previous studies demonstrated that mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was uniparentally transmitted in laboratory crosses of the pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans. To begin understanding the mechanisms, this study examined the potential role of the mating-type locus on mtDNA inheritance in C. neoformans. Using existing isogenic strains (JEC20 and JEC21) that differed only at the mating-type locus and a clinical strain (CDC46) that possessed a mitochondrial genotype different from JEC20 and JEC21, we constructed strains that differed only in mating type and mitochondrial genotype. These strains were then crossed to produce hyphae and sexual spores. Among the 206 single spores analyzed from six crosses, all but one inherited mtDNA from the MATa parents. Analyses of mating-type alleles and mtDNA genotypes of natural hybrids from clinical and natural samples were consistent with the hypothesis that mtDNA is inherited from the MATa parent in C. neoformans. To distinguish two potential mechanisms, we obtained a pair of isogenic strains with different mating-type alleles, mtDNA types, and auxotrophic markers. Diploid cells from mating between these two strains were selected and 29 independent colonies were genotyped. These cells did not go through the hyphal stage or the meiotic process. All 29 colonies contained mtDNA from the MATa parent. Because no filamentation, meiosis, or spore formation was involved in generating these diploid cells, our results suggest a selective elimination of mtDNA from the MATalpha parent soon after mating. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that mating type controls mtDNA inheritance in fungi. PMID:12702677

  2. DNA Mutations Mediate Microevolution between Host-Adapted Forms of the Pathogenic Fungus Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Magditch, Denise A.; Liu, Tong-Bao; Xue, Chaoyang; Idnurm, Alexander

    2012-01-01

    The disease cryptococcosis, caused by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, is acquired directly from environmental exposure rather than transmitted person-to-person. One explanation for the pathogenicity of this species is that interactions with environmental predators select for virulence. However, co-incubation of C. neoformans with amoeba can cause a “switch” from the normal yeast morphology to a pseudohyphal form, enabling fungi to survive exposure to amoeba, yet conversely reducing virulence in mammalian models of cryptococcosis. Like other human pathogenic fungi, C. neoformans is capable of microevolutionary changes that influence the biology of the organism and outcome of the host-pathogen interaction. A yeast-pseudohyphal phenotypic switch also happens under in vitro conditions. Here, we demonstrate that this morphological switch, rather than being under epigenetic control, is controlled by DNA mutation since all pseudohyphal strains bear mutations within genes encoding components of the RAM pathway. High rates of isolation of pseudohyphal strains can be explained by the physical size of RAM pathway genes and a hypermutator phenotype of the strain used in phenotypic switching studies. Reversion to wild type yeast morphology in vitro or within a mammalian host can occur through different mechanisms, with one being counter-acting mutations. Infection of mice with RAM mutants reveals several outcomes: clearance of the infection, asymptomatic maintenance of the strains, or reversion to wild type forms and progression of disease. These findings demonstrate a key role of mutation events in microevolution to modulate the ability of a fungal pathogen to cause disease. PMID:23055925

  3. Generation of stable mutants and targeted gene deletion strains in Cryptococcus neoformans through electroporation.

    PubMed

    Lin, Xiaorong; Chacko, Nadia; Wang, Linqi; Pavuluri, Yashwant

    2015-04-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is the etiologic agent of cryptococcal meningitis that causes more than half a million deaths worldwide each year. This capsulated basidiomycetous yeast also serves as a model for micropathogenic studies. The ability to make stable mutants, either via ectopic integration or homologous recombination, has been accomplished using biolistic transformation. This technical advance has greatly facilitated the research on the basic biology and pathogenic mechanisms of this pathogen in the past two decades. However, biolistic transformation is costly, and its reproducibility varies widely. Here we found that stable ectopic integration or targeted gene deletion via homologous replacement could be accomplished through electroporative transformation. The stability of the transformants obtained through electroporation and the frequency of homologous replacement is highly dependent on the selective marker. A frequency of homologous recombination among the stable transformants obtained by electroporation is comparable to those obtained by biolistic transformation (∼10%) when dominant drug selection markers are used, which is much higher than what has been previously reported for electroporation when auxotrophic markers were used (0.001% to 0.1%). Furthermore, disruption of the KU80 gene or generation of gene deletion constructs using the split marker strategy, two approaches known to increase homologous replacement among transformants obtained through biolistic transformation, also increase the frequency of homologous replacement among transformants obtained through electroporation. Therefore, electroporation provides a low cost alternative for mutagenesis in Cryptococcus.

  4. A new F-actin structure in fungi: actin ring formation around the cell nucleus of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Kopecká, Marie; Kawamoto, Susumu; Yamaguchi, Masashi

    2013-04-01

    The F-actin cytoskeleton of Cryptococcus neoformans is known to comprise actin cables, cortical patches and cytokinetic ring. Here, we describe a new F-actin structure in fungi, a perinuclear F-actin collar ring around the cell nucleus, by fluorescent microscopic imaging of rhodamine phalloidin-stained F-actin. Perinuclear F-actin rings form in Cryptococcus neoformans treated with the microtubule inhibitor Nocodazole or with the drug solvent dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) or grown in yeast extract peptone dextrose (YEPD) medium, but they are absent in cells treated with Latrunculin A. Perinuclear F-actin rings may function as 'funicular cabin' for the cell nucleus, and actin cables as intracellular 'funicular' suspending nucleus in the central position in the cell and moving nucleus along the polarity axis along actin cables.

  5. Triclosan Demonstrates Synergic Effect with Amphotericin B and Fluconazole and Induces Apoptosis-Like Cell Death in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Movahed, Elaheh; Tan, Grace Min Yi; Munusamy, Komathy; Yeow, Tee Cian; Tay, Sun Tee; Wong, Won Fen; Looi, Chung Yeng

    2016-01-01

    Objectives: Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungus that causes fatal meningoencephalitis especially in AIDS patients. There is an increasing need for discovery of new anti-cryptococcal drugs due to emergence of resistance cases in recent years. In this study, we aim to elucidate the antifungal effect of triclosan against C. neoformans. Methods: Minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of triclosan in different C. neoformans strains was first examined. The in vitro interactions between triclosan and two standard anti-fungal drugs (amphotericin B and fluconazole) were further evaluated by microdilution checkerboard assay. Mechanism of triclosan fungicidal activity was then investigated by viewing the cell morphology under transmission electron microscope. Results: We reported that triclosan potently inhibited the growth of C. neoformans. A combination of triclosan with amphotericin B or with fluconazole enhanced their fungicidal effects. Triclosan-treated C. neoformans displayed characteristics such as nuclear chromatin condensation, extensive intracellular vacuolation and mitochondrial swelling, indicating that triclosan triggered apoptosis-like cell death. Conclusion: In summary, our report suggests triclosan as an independent drug or synergent for C. neoformans treatment. PMID:27047474

  6. Intravascular clearance of disseminating Cryptococcus neoformans in the brain can be improved by enhancing neutrophil recruitment in mice.

    PubMed

    Sun, Donglei; Zhang, Mingshun; Liu, Gongguan; Wu, Hui; Li, Chang; Zhou, Hong; Zhang, Xiquan; Shi, Meiqing

    2016-07-01

    Extrapulmonary dissemination of Cryptococcus neoformans (C. neoformans) is one of the most critical steps in the development of meningoencephalitis. Here, we report that clearance of the disseminating C. neoformans occurs within the brain microvasculature. Interestingly, the efficiency of the intravascular clearance in the brain is reduced compared to that in the lung. Intravascular clearance is mainly mediated by neutrophils, and complement C5a receptor signaling is crucial for mediating neutrophil recruitment in the vasculature. C. neoformans stimulated actin polymerization of neutrophils is critically involved in their recruitment to the lung, which is associated with the unique vascular structure detected in the lung. The relatively lower efficiency of fungal clearance in the brain vasculature correlates with less efficient recruitment of neutrophils. Accordingly, intravascular clearance of C. neoformans in the brain could be remarkably improved by increasing the recruitment of neutrophils. We conclude that neutrophils have the ability to eliminate C. neoformans arrested in the vasculature. However, insufficient recruitment of neutrophils limited the optimal clearance of this microorganism in the brain. These results imply that a therapeutic strategy aimed at enhancing the accumulation of neutrophils could help prevent cryptococcal meningoencephalitis. PMID:27109176

  7. Distribution and association between environmental and clinical isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans in Bogotá-Colombia, 2012-2015

    PubMed Central

    Vélez, Norida; Escandón, Patricia

    2016-01-01

    The propagules of the fungal species Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii, whose varieties are distributed world wide, are the primary cause of cryptococcosis, a life threatening disease. The study of environmental and clinical isolates of Cryptococcosis is an important contribution to the epidemiology and ecology of the fungus. The aim of this work was to determine the presence of C. neoformans and C. gattii in the environment in Bogotá, Colombia’s capital city and to establish the relation between clinical and environmental isolates in the period 2012-2015. From a total of 4.116 environmental samples collected between October 2012 - March 2014, 35 were positive for C. neoformans var. grubii. From 55 cryptococcosis cases reported in Bogotá during 2012-2015, 49 isolates were recovered. From those, 94% were identified as C. neoformans var. grubii molecular type VNI; 4% as VNII and 1,2% as C. neoformans var neoformans VNIV. The 84 detected clinical and environmental isolates studied had a similarity between 49-100% according with molecular typing. The correlation between environmental and clinical samples confirms the hypothesis that patients acquire the disease from environmental exposure to the fungal propagules. PMID:27706379

  8. Cryptococcus neoformans senses CO2 through the carbonic anhydrase Can2 and the adenylyl cyclase Cac1.

    PubMed

    Mogensen, Estelle Geweiss; Janbon, Guilhem; Chaloupka, James; Steegborn, Clemens; Fu, Man Shun; Moyrand, Frédérique; Klengel, Torsten; Pearson, David S; Geeves, Michael A; Buck, Jochen; Levin, Lonny R; Mühlschlegel, Fritz A

    2006-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans, a fungal pathogen of humans, causes fatal meningitis in immunocompromised patients. Its virulence is mainly determined by the elaboration of a polysaccharide capsule surrounding its cell wall. During its life, C. neoformans is confronted with and responds to dramatic variations in CO2 concentrations; one important morphological change triggered by the shift from its natural habitat (0.033% CO2) to infected hosts (5% CO2) is the induction of capsule biosynthesis. In cells, CO2 is hydrated to bicarbonate in a spontaneous reaction that is accelerated by carbonic anhydrases. Here we show that C. neoformans contains two beta-class carbonic anhydrases, Can1 and Can2. We further demonstrate that CAN2, but not CAN1, is abundantly expressed and essential for the growth of C. neoformans in its natural environment, where CO2 concentrations are limiting. Structural studies reveal that Can2 forms a homodimer in solution. Our data reveal Can2 to be the main carbonic anhydrase and suggest a physiological role for bicarbonate during C. neoformans growth. Bicarbonate directly activates the C. neoformans Cac1 adenylyl cyclase required for capsule synthesis. We show that this specific activation is optimal at physiological pH. PMID:16400172

  9. Amino acid substitution in Cryptococcus neoformans lanosterol 14-α-demethylase involved in fluconazole resistance in clinical isolates.

    PubMed

    Bosco-Borgeat, María E; Mazza, Mariana; Taverna, Constanza G; Córdoba, Susana; Murisengo, Omar A; Vivot, Walter; Davel, Graciela

    2016-01-01

    The molecular basis of fluconazole resistance in Cryptococcus neoformans has been poorly studied. A common azole resistance mechanism in Candida species is the acquisition of point mutations in the ERG11 gene encoding the enzyme lanosterol 14-α-demethylase, target of the azole class of drugs. In C. neoformans only two mutations were described in this gene. In order to evaluate other mutations that could be implicated in fluconazole resistance in C. neoformans we studied the genomic sequence of the ERG11 gene in 11 clinical isolates with minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) values to fluconazole of ≥16μg/ml. The sequencing revealed the G1855A mutation in 3 isolates, resulting in the enzyme amino acid substitution G484S. These strains were isolated from two fluconazole-treated patients. This mutation would not intervene in the susceptibility to itraconazole and voriconazole. PMID:27311753

  10. Cryptococcus neoformans Thermotolerance to Avian Body Temperature Is Sufficient For Extracellular Growth But Not Intracellular Survival In Macrophages.

    PubMed

    Johnston, Simon A; Voelz, Kerstin; May, Robin C

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a fatal fungal pathogen of humans that efficiently parasitises macrophages. Birds can be colonised by cryptococci and can transmit cryptococcosis to humans via inhalation of inoculated bird excreta. However, colonisation of birds appears to occur in the absence of symptomatic infection. Here, using a pure population of primary bird macrophages, we demonstrate a mechanism for this relationship. We find that bird macrophages are able to suppress the growth of cryptococci seen in mammalian cells despite C. neoformans being able to grow at bird body temperature, and are able to escape from bird macrophages by vomocytosis. A small subset of cryptococci are able to adapt to the inhibitory intracellular environment of bird macrophages, exhibiting a large cell phenotype that rescues growth suppression. Thus, restriction of intracellular growth combined with survival at bird body temperature explains the ability of birds to efficiently spread C. neoformans in the environment whilst avoiding systemic disease. PMID:26883088

  11. Vesicular polysaccharide export in Cryptococcus neoformans is a eukaryotic solution to the problem of fungal trans-cell wall transport.

    PubMed

    Rodrigues, Marcio L; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Oliveira, Débora L; Frases, Susana; Miranda, Kildare; Zaragoza, Oscar; Alvarez, Mauricio; Nakouzi, Antonio; Feldmesser, Marta; Casadevall, Arturo

    2007-01-01

    The mechanisms by which macromolecules are transported through the cell wall of fungi are not known. A central question in the biology of Cryptococcus neoformans, the causative agent of cryptococcosis, is the mechanism by which capsular polysaccharide synthesized inside the cell is exported to the extracellular environment for capsule assembly and release. We demonstrate that C. neoformans produces extracellular vesicles during in vitro growth and animal infection. Vesicular compartments, which are transferred to the extracellular space by cell wall passage, contain glucuronoxylomannan (GXM), a component of the cryptococcal capsule, and key lipids, such as glucosylceramide and sterols. A correlation between GXM-containing vesicles and capsule expression was observed. The results imply a novel mechanism for the release of the major virulence factor of C. neoformans whereby polysaccharide packaged in lipid vesicles crosses the cell wall and the capsule network to reach the extracellular environment.

  12. Vesicular Polysaccharide Export in Cryptococcus neoformans Is a Eukaryotic Solution to the Problem of Fungal Trans-Cell Wall Transport▿

    PubMed Central

    Rodrigues, Marcio L.; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Oliveira, Débora L.; Frases, Susana; Miranda, Kildare; Zaragoza, Oscar; Alvarez, Mauricio; Nakouzi, Antonio; Feldmesser, Marta; Casadevall, Arturo

    2007-01-01

    The mechanisms by which macromolecules are transported through the cell wall of fungi are not known. A central question in the biology of Cryptococcus neoformans, the causative agent of cryptococcosis, is the mechanism by which capsular polysaccharide synthesized inside the cell is exported to the extracellular environment for capsule assembly and release. We demonstrate that C. neoformans produces extracellular vesicles during in vitro growth and animal infection. Vesicular compartments, which are transferred to the extracellular space by cell wall passage, contain glucuronoxylomannan (GXM), a component of the cryptococcal capsule, and key lipids, such as glucosylceramide and sterols. A correlation between GXM-containing vesicles and capsule expression was observed. The results imply a novel mechanism for the release of the major virulence factor of C. neoformans whereby polysaccharide packaged in lipid vesicles crosses the cell wall and the capsule network to reach the extracellular environment. PMID:17114598

  13. Cryptococcus neoformans Thermotolerance to Avian Body Temperature Is Sufficient For Extracellular Growth But Not Intracellular Survival In Macrophages

    PubMed Central

    Johnston, Simon A.; Voelz, Kerstin; May, Robin C.

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a fatal fungal pathogen of humans that efficiently parasitises macrophages. Birds can be colonised by cryptococci and can transmit cryptococcosis to humans via inhalation of inoculated bird excreta. However, colonisation of birds appears to occur in the absence of symptomatic infection. Here, using a pure population of primary bird macrophages, we demonstrate a mechanism for this relationship. We find that bird macrophages are able to suppress the growth of cryptococci seen in mammalian cells despite C. neoformans being able to grow at bird body temperature, and are able to escape from bird macrophages by vomocytosis. A small subset of cryptococci are able to adapt to the inhibitory intracellular environment of bird macrophages, exhibiting a large cell phenotype that rescues growth suppression. Thus, restriction of intracellular growth combined with survival at bird body temperature explains the ability of birds to efficiently spread C. neoformans in the environment whilst avoiding systemic disease. PMID:26883088

  14. Role of Sterylglucosidase 1 (Sgl1) on the pathogenicity of Cryptococcus neoformans: potential applications for vaccine development

    PubMed Central

    Rella, Antonella; Mor, Visesato; Farnoud, Amir M.; Singh, Ashutosh; Shamseddine, Achraf A.; Ivanova, Elitza; Carpino, Nicholas; Montagna, Maria T.; Luberto, Chiara; Del Poeta, Maurizio

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcosis caused by Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii affects a large population and is a cause of significant morbidity and mortality. Despite its public health burden, there are currently no vaccines against cryptococcosis and new strategies against such infections are needed. In this study, we demonstrate that C. neoformans has the biochemical ability to metabolize sterylglucosides (SGs), a class of immunomodulatory glycolipids. Genetic manipulations that eliminate cryptococccal sterylglucosidase lead to the accumulation of SGs and generate a mutant strain (Δsgl1) that is non-pathogenic in the mouse models of cryptococcosis. Interestingly, this mutant strain acts as a vaccine strain and protects mice against cryptococcosis following infection with C. neoformans or C. gattii. The immunity induced by the Δsgl1 strain is not CD4+ T-cells dependent. Immunocompromised mice, which lack CD4+ T-cells, are able to control the infection by Δsgl1 and acquire immunity against the challenge by wild-type C. neoformans following vaccination with the Δsgl1 strain. These findings are particularly important in the context of HIV/AIDS immune deficiency and suggest that the Δsgl1 strain might provide a potential vaccination strategy against cryptococcosis. PMID:26322039

  15. Cryptococcus neoformans serotype A glucuronoxylomannan-protein conjugate vaccines: synthesis, characterization, and immunogenicity.

    PubMed

    Devi, S J; Schneerson, R; Egan, W; Ulrich, T J; Bryla, D; Robbins, J B; Bennett, J E

    1991-10-01

    We synthesized Cryptococcus neoformans serotype A glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) conjugate vaccines under conditions suitable for human use to prevent disseminated cryptococcosis. The purified, sonicated GXM was derivatized with adipic acid dihydrazide through either hydroxyl or carboxyl groups and then covalently bound to tetanus toxoid (TT) or Pseudomonas aeruginosa exoprotein A (rEPA). The immunogenicity of these conjugates was evaluated in BALB/c and general purpose mice by subcutaneous injection in saline. The conjugates elicited higher GXM antibody responses than GXM alone. Booster immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgM responses were elicited by all conjugates in BALB/c mice. The conjugates prepared through hydroxyl activation (GXM-TT2 and GXM-rEPA) were more immunogenic than the one prepared through carboxyl activation (GXM-TT1). GXM antibody response was enhanced by the administration of monophosphoryl lipid A 2 days following the injection of GXM-TT2 (P less than 0.03). The conjugates also elicited IgG antibodies to the carrier proteins. Gel diffusion tests using conjugate-induced hyperimmune sera and chemically modified GXMs suggested that the specificity of GXM-TT1-induced antibodies was conferred by the O-acetyl groups. Hyperimmune sera generated by GXM-TT2 precipitated with the chemically unmodified and the de-O-acetylated GXMs but not with the carboxyl-reduced and de-O-acetylated GXM. GXM-TT2-induced hyperimmune serum also precipitated with the capsular polysaccharides of C. neoformans serotypes D, B, and C. The conjugate vaccines prepared through hydroxyl activation of the GXM are sufficiently immunogenic and appear to be suitable for clinical evaluation. PMID:1716613

  16. Characterization of the Complete Uric Acid Degradation Pathway in the Fungal Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Lee, I. Russel; Yang, Liting; Sebetso, Gaseene; Allen, Rebecca; Doan, Thi H. N.; Blundell, Ross; Lui, Edmund Y. L.; Morrow, Carl A.; Fraser, James A.

    2013-01-01

    Degradation of purines to uric acid is generally conserved among organisms, however, the end product of uric acid degradation varies from species to species depending on the presence of active catabolic enzymes. In humans, most higher primates and birds, the urate oxidase gene is non-functional and hence uric acid is not further broken down. Uric acid in human blood plasma serves as an antioxidant and an immune enhancer; conversely, excessive amounts cause the common affliction gout. In contrast, uric acid is completely degraded to ammonia in most fungi. Currently, relatively little is known about uric acid catabolism in the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans even though this yeast is commonly isolated from uric acid-rich pigeon guano. In addition, uric acid utilization enhances the production of the cryptococcal virulence factors capsule and urease, and may potentially modulate the host immune response during infection. Based on these important observations, we employed both Agrobacterium-mediated insertional mutagenesis and bioinformatics to predict all the uric acid catabolic enzyme-encoding genes in the H99 genome. The candidate C. neoformans uric acid catabolic genes identified were named: URO1 (urate oxidase), URO2 (HIU hydrolase), URO3 (OHCU decarboxylase), DAL1 (allantoinase), DAL2,3,3 (allantoicase-ureidoglycolate hydrolase fusion protein), and URE1 (urease). All six ORFs were then deleted via homologous recombination; assaying of the deletion mutants' ability to assimilate uric acid and its pathway intermediates as the sole nitrogen source validated their enzymatic functions. While Uro1, Uro2, Uro3, Dal1 and Dal2,3,3 were demonstrated to be dispensable for virulence, the significance of using a modified animal model system of cryptococcosis for improved mimicking of human pathogenicity is discussed. PMID:23667704

  17. Antibodies to the Cryptococcus neoformans capsular glucuronoxylomannan are ubiquitous in serum from HIV+ and HIV- individuals.

    PubMed Central

    Deshaw, M; Pirofski, L A

    1995-01-01

    Murine MoAbs to the Cryptococcus neoformans capsular glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) polysaccharide are protective in mice in vivo and in vitro. The prevalence of protective anti-GXM antibodies in human serum is unknown. To provide further insight into the human antibody response to C. neoformans we determined the prevalence, isotype, and IgG subclass utilization of human anti-GXM antibodies in HIV+ and HIV- sera by a sensitive antigen capture FLISA assay. One hundred and twenty-three sera from the Bronx Municipal Hospital Centre serum bank were studied retrospectively. Seventy were from HIV+ individuals, 10 with a history of cryptococcal meningitis (CM), and 53 were from HIV- individuals. Serum GXM determinations were also performed on 61 HIV+ sera. Our results demonstrated that anti-GXM IgG, IgA, and IgM are ubiquitous in both HIV+ (including those with CM), and HIV- sera. Anti-GXM IgA titres and total serum IgA concentration were elevated in HIV+ sera. Anti-GXM IgG antibodies were almost exclusively isotype-restricted to the IgG2 subclass. Our data also demonstrated elevations of anti-bovine serum albumin (BSA) titres in HIV+ sera. Taken together, our findings confirm hypergammaglobulinaemia and expansion of anti-protein (BSA) antibodies in HIV+ individuals and isotype restriction of human anti-carbohydrate (GXM) antibodies to the IgG2 subclass. Our report of ubiquitous anti-GXM antibodies of the IgG and IgA isotypes suggests that anti-GXM antibodies exist before HIV infection. PMID:7882565

  18. Network-assisted genetic dissection of pathogenicity and drug resistance in the opportunistic human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Kim, Hanhae; Jung, Kwang-Woo; Maeng, Shinae; Chen, Ying-Lien; Shin, Junha; Shim, Jung Eun; Hwang, Sohyun; Janbon, Guilhem; Kim, Taeyup; Heitman, Joseph; Bahn, Yong-Sun; Lee, Insuk

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic human pathogenic fungus that causes meningoencephalitis. Due to the increasing global risk of cryptococcosis and the emergence of drug-resistant strains, the development of predictive genetics platforms for the rapid identification of novel genes governing pathogenicity and drug resistance of C. neoformans is imperative. The analysis of functional genomics data and genome-scale mutant libraries may facilitate the genetic dissection of such complex phenotypes but with limited efficiency. Here, we present a genome-scale co-functional network for C. neoformans, CryptoNet, which covers ~81% of the coding genome and provides an efficient intermediary between functional genomics data and reverse-genetics resources for the genetic dissection of C. neoformans phenotypes. CryptoNet is the first genome-scale co-functional network for any fungal pathogen. CryptoNet effectively identified novel genes for pathogenicity and drug resistance using guilt-by-association and context-associated hub algorithms. CryptoNet is also the first genome-scale co-functional network for fungi in the basidiomycota phylum, as Saccharomyces cerevisiae belongs to the ascomycota phylum. CryptoNet may therefore provide insights into pathway evolution between two distinct phyla of the fungal kingdom. The CryptoNet web server (www.inetbio.org/cryptonet) is a public resource that provides an interactive environment of network-assisted predictive genetics for C. neoformans.

  19. Essential Roles of the Kar2/BiP Molecular Chaperone Downstream of the UPR Pathway in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Jung, Kwang-Woo; Kang, Hyun Ah; Bahn, Yong-Sun

    2013-01-01

    The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a central hub where secreted or membrane-bound proteins are maturated and folded properly in eukaryotes. Maintenance of ER homeostasis is particularly important for human fungal pathogens, such as Cryptococcus neoformans, which encounter a plethora of host-mediated stresses during infection. Our previous study demonstrated that the unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway, composed of the evolutionarily conserved Ire1 kinase and the unique Hxl1 transcription factor, has pleiotropic roles in ER stress response, thermotolerance, antifungal drug resistance, and virulence in C. neoformans. Here, we functionally characterized an ER-resident molecular chaperone, Kar2/BiP, in C. neoformans. Conditional expression of KAR2 by the copper-regulated promoter revealed that Kar2 is essential for the viability of C. neoformans. Constitutive expression of KAR2 by the strong histone H3 promoter partially restores resistance to ER stress, cell wall stress, thermotolerance, and genotoxic stress in ire1Δ and hxl1Δ mutants, suggesting that Kar2 mainly functions downstream of the UPR pathway. Furthermore, Kar2 appears to control azole resistance in C. neoformans downstream of the UPR pathway without regulation of ERG11 or ERG3. Interestingly, we discovered that azole treatment is sensed as ER-stress and subsequently activates the Ire1-dependent Hxl1 splicing event and induction of KAR2 by the UPR pathway. In contrast, the constitutive expression of Kar2 is not sufficient to restore the Ire1-mediated regulation of capsule production in C. neoformans UPR mutants. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that Kar2 is not only essential for vegetative growth but also required for response and adaptation to the environmental stresses and antifungal drugs downstream of the UPR pathway in C. neoformans. PMID:23484059

  20. The lysine biosynthetic enzyme Lys4 influences iron metabolism, mitochondrial function and virulence in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Do, Eunsoo; Park, Minji; Hu, Guanggan; Caza, Mélissa; Kronstad, James W; Jung, Won Hee

    2016-09-01

    The lysine biosynthesis pathway via α-aminoadipate in fungi is considered an attractive target for antifungal drugs due to its absence in mammalian hosts. The iron-sulfur cluster-containing enzyme homoaconitase converts homocitrate to homoisocitrate in the lysine biosynthetic pathway, and is encoded by LYS4 in the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In this study, we identified the ortholog of LYS4 in the human fungal pathogen, Cryptococcus neoformans, and found that LYS4 expression is regulated by iron levels and by the iron-related transcription factors Hap3 and HapX. Deletion of the LYS4 gene resulted in lysine auxotrophy suggesting that Lys4 is essential for lysine biosynthesis. Our study also revealed that lysine uptake was mediated by two amino acid permeases, Aap2 and Aap3, and influenced by nitrogen catabolite repression (NCR). Furthermore, the lys4 mutant showed increased sensitivity to oxidative stress, agents that challenge cell wall/membrane integrity, and azole antifungal drugs. We showed that these phenotypes were due in part to impaired mitochondrial function as a result of LYS4 deletion, which we propose disrupts iron homeostasis in the organelle. The combination of defects are consistent with our observation that the lys4 mutant was attenuated virulence in a mouse inhalation model of cryptococcosis. PMID:27353379

  1. Visualizing Non-lytic Exocytosis of Cryptococcus neoformans from Macrophages Using Digital Light Microscopy

    PubMed Central

    Stukes, Sabriya; Casadevall, Arturo

    2014-01-01

    Many aspects of the infection of macrophages by Cryptococcus neoformans have been extensively studied and well defined. However, one particular interaction that is not clearly understood is non-lytic exocytosis. In this process, yeast cells are released into the extracellular space by a poorly understood mechanism that leaves both the macrophage and Cn viable. Here, we describe how to follow a large number of individually infected macrophages for a 24 hr infection period by time-lapsed microscopy. Infected macrophages are housed in a heating chamber with a CO2 atmosphere attached to a microscope that provides the same conditions as a cell-culture incubator. Live digital microscopy can provide information about the dynamic interactions between a host and pathogen that is not available from static images. Being able to visualize each infected cell can provide clues as to how macrophages handle fungal infections, and vice versa. This technique is a powerful tool in studying the dynamics that are behind a complex phenomenon. PMID:25350860

  2. Antibody binding to Cryptococcus neoformans impairs budding by altering capsular mechanical properties.

    PubMed

    Cordero, Radames J B; Pontes, Bruno; Frases, Susana; Nakouzi, Antonio S; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Rodrigues, Marcio L; Viana, Nathan B; Casadevall, Arturo

    2013-01-01

    Abs to microbial capsules are critical for host defense against encapsulated pathogens, but very little is known about the effects of Ab binding on the capsule, apart from producing qualitative capsular reactions ("quellung" effects). A problem in studying Ab-capsule interactions is the lack of experimental methodology, given that capsules are fragile, highly hydrated structures. In this study, we pioneered the use of optical tweezers microscopy to study Ab-capsule interactions. Binding of protective mAbs to the capsule of the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans impaired yeast budding by trapping newly emerging buds inside the parental capsule. This effect is due to profound mAb-mediated changes in capsular mechanical properties, demonstrated by a concentration-dependent increase in capsule stiffness. This increase involved mAb-mediated cross-linking of capsular polysaccharide molecules. These results provide new insights into Ab-mediated immunity, while suggesting a new nonclassical mechanism of Ab function, which may apply to other encapsulated pathogens. Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that Abs have direct antimicrobial functions independent of other components of the immune system.

  3. Antibody Binding to Cryptococcus neoformans Impairs Budding by Altering Capsular Mechanical Properties

    PubMed Central

    Cordero, Radames J. B.; Pontes, Bruno; Frases, Susana; Nakouzi, Antonio S.; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Rodrigues, Marcio L.; Viana, Nathan B.

    2013-01-01

    Abs to microbial capsules are critical for host defense against encapsulated pathogens, but very little is known about the effects of Ab binding on the capsule, apart from producing qualitative capsular reactions (“quellung” effects). A problem in studying Ab–capsule interactions is the lack of experimental methodology, given that capsules are fragile, highly hydrated structures. In this study, we pioneered the use of optical tweezers microscopy to study Ab–capsule interactions. Binding of protective mAbs to the capsule of the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans impaired yeast budding by trapping newly emerging buds inside the parental capsule. This effect is due to profound mAb-mediated changes in capsular mechanical properties, demonstrated by a concentration-dependent increase in capsule stiffness. This increase involved mAb-mediated cross-linking of capsular polysaccharide molecules. These results provide new insights into Ab-mediated immunity, while suggesting a new nonclassical mechanism of Ab function, which may apply to other encapsulated pathogens. Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that Abs have direct antimicrobial functions independent of other components of the immune system. PMID:23233725

  4. Cryptococcus neoformans capsular polysaccharide and exopolysaccharide fractions manifest physical, chemical, and antigenic differences.

    PubMed

    Frases, Susana; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Viana, Nathan B; Nakouzi, Antonio; Casadevall, Arturo

    2008-02-01

    The human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans has a large polysaccharide (PS) capsule and releases copious amounts of PS into cultures and infected tissues. The capsular PS is a major virulence factor that can elicit protective antibody responses. PS recovered from culture supernatants has historically provided an ample and convenient source of material for structural and immunological studies. Two major assumptions in such studies are that the structural features of the exopolysaccharide material faithfully mirror those of capsular PS and that the isolation methods do not change PS properties. However, a comparison of exopolysaccharide made by two isolation techniques with capsular PS stripped from cells with gamma radiation or dimethyl sulfoxide revealed significant differences in glycosyl composition, mass, size, charge, viscosity, circular-dichroism spectra, and reactivity with monoclonal antibodies. Our results strongly suggest that exopolysaccharides and capsular PS are structurally different. A noteworthy finding was that PS made by cetyltrimethylammonium bromide precipitation had a larger mass and a different conformation than PS isolated by concentration and filtration, suggesting that the method most commonly used to purify glucuronoxylomannan alters the PS. Hence, the method used to isolate PS can significantly influence the structural and antigenic properties of the product. Our findings have important implications for current views of the relationship between capsular PS and exopolysaccharides, for the generation of PS preparations suitable for immunological studies, and for the formulation of PS-based vaccines for the prevention of cryptococcosis.

  5. Molecular epidemiology of isolates of the Cryptococcus neoformans species complex from Spain.

    PubMed

    Frasés, Susana; Ferrer, Consuelo; Sánchez, Manuel; Colom-Valiente, María Francisca

    2009-06-30

    To study genetic diversity of Cryptococcus neoformans species complex in Spain, 97 isolates of the yeast recovered from human, animal and environmental samples have been analysed using three molecular epidemiological techniques. One of these, URA5 gene fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis, has been previously described as a molecular epidemiology tool. Thus, standard profiles and reference strains have been defined for it. In addition, 5S rDNA/IGS RFLP and [GACA](4) microsatellite PCR fingerprinting were also used. Our results show five of the previously defined URA5 genotypes with a high frequency (33%) of the VNI type, which is in concordance with other studies. The high presence of VNIII pattern (28.9%) among our strains is remarkable and could be a specific feature of the isolates from our country. 5S rDNA/IGS RFLP showed a low intra-species discriminative power. Three different molecular profiles (S1-3), which showed a good correlation with the different species, varieties and genotypes, were obtained. [GACA](4) microsatellite PCR-fingerprinting analysis showed a high variability of patterns among the studied strains. Molecular profiles represented in a dendrogram clustered strains in four main groups related with the source of the yeast and also in concordance with some of the described genotypes (VNI-IV and VGI).

  6. Cryptococcus neoformans Capsular Polysaccharide and Exopolysaccharide Fractions Manifest Physical, Chemical, and Antigenic Differences▿

    PubMed Central

    Frases, Susana; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Viana, Nathan B.; Nakouzi, Antonio; Casadevall, Arturo

    2008-01-01

    The human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans has a large polysaccharide (PS) capsule and releases copious amounts of PS into cultures and infected tissues. The capsular PS is a major virulence factor that can elicit protective antibody responses. PS recovered from culture supernatants has historically provided an ample and convenient source of material for structural and immunological studies. Two major assumptions in such studies are that the structural features of the exopolysaccharide material faithfully mirror those of capsular PS and that the isolation methods do not change PS properties. However, a comparison of exopolysaccharide made by two isolation techniques with capsular PS stripped from cells with gamma radiation or dimethyl sulfoxide revealed significant differences in glycosyl composition, mass, size, charge, viscosity, circular-dichroism spectra, and reactivity with monoclonal antibodies. Our results strongly suggest that exopolysaccharides and capsular PS are structurally different. A noteworthy finding was that PS made by cetyltrimethylammonium bromide precipitation had a larger mass and a different conformation than PS isolated by concentration and filtration, suggesting that the method most commonly used to purify glucuronoxylomannan alters the PS. Hence, the method used to isolate PS can significantly influence the structural and antigenic properties of the product. Our findings have important implications for current views of the relationship between capsular PS and exopolysaccharides, for the generation of PS preparations suitable for immunological studies, and for the formulation of PS-based vaccines for the prevention of cryptococcosis. PMID:18156290

  7. Intra-strain variability of Cryptococcus neoformans can be detected on phloxin B medium.

    PubMed

    Kucsera, Judit; Yarita, Kyoko; Takeo, Kanji; Yoshida, Soichi; Gácser, Attila; Hamari, Zsuzsanna; Avasi, Zoltán; Kevei, Ferenc

    2002-01-01

    A method was devised for easy detection of intra-strain variability of the human pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans. Cultivation of strains on a medium containing Phloxin B resulted in different coloured colonies. Generally, colonies were either pink or red; however there were also several colony-colour segregant in which both colours could be observed. A number of these segregants were isolated and analysed. Virulence factors such as the cell and capsule sizes were measured; further temperature sensitivity, growth rates, mating-types and melanin production were also studied. Segregants were examined by random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) fingerprinting and electrophoretic karyotyping by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (CHEF). They showed both phenotypic and genotypic differences. The main differences appeared in phenotypic characters and RAPD patterns; while the chromosomal patterns remained unchanged. Reversion frequency analysis revealed that the reason for this segregation could be due to phenotypic switching. The physiological reason for the colour changes was also investigated and was attributed to the differential ability of the cells to accumulate Phloxin B either into their capsules or into their cells. The method described here is potentially applicable for the detection of strain heterogeneity in both basic and clinical microbiology laboratories. PMID:11981875

  8. Molecular epidemiology of isolates of the Cryptococcus neoformans species complex from Spain.

    PubMed

    Frasés, Susana; Ferrer, Consuelo; Sánchez, Manuel; Colom-Valiente, María Francisca

    2009-06-30

    To study genetic diversity of Cryptococcus neoformans species complex in Spain, 97 isolates of the yeast recovered from human, animal and environmental samples have been analysed using three molecular epidemiological techniques. One of these, URA5 gene fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis, has been previously described as a molecular epidemiology tool. Thus, standard profiles and reference strains have been defined for it. In addition, 5S rDNA/IGS RFLP and [GACA](4) microsatellite PCR fingerprinting were also used. Our results show five of the previously defined URA5 genotypes with a high frequency (33%) of the VNI type, which is in concordance with other studies. The high presence of VNIII pattern (28.9%) among our strains is remarkable and could be a specific feature of the isolates from our country. 5S rDNA/IGS RFLP showed a low intra-species discriminative power. Three different molecular profiles (S1-3), which showed a good correlation with the different species, varieties and genotypes, were obtained. [GACA](4) microsatellite PCR-fingerprinting analysis showed a high variability of patterns among the studied strains. Molecular profiles represented in a dendrogram clustered strains in four main groups related with the source of the yeast and also in concordance with some of the described genotypes (VNI-IV and VGI). PMID:19631160

  9. Role of Phospholipases in Fungal Fitness, Pathogenicity, and Drug Development – Lessons from Cryptococcus Neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Djordjevic, Julianne Teresa

    2010-01-01

    Many pathogenic microbes, including many fungi, produce phospholipases which facilitate survival of the pathogen in vivo, invasion and dissemination throughout the host, expression of virulence traits and evasion of host immune defense mechanisms. These phospholipases are either secreted or produced intracellularly and act by physically disrupting host membranes, and/or by affecting fungal cell signaling and production of immunomodulatory effectors. Many of the secreted phospholipases acquire a glycosylphosphatidylinositol sorting motif to facilitate membrane and/or cell wall association and secretion. This review focuses primarily on the role of two members of the phospholipase enzyme family, phospholipase B (Plb) and phosphatidylinositol (PI)-specific phospholipase C (PI-C/Plc), in fungal pathogenesis and in particular, what has been learnt about their function from studies performed in the model pathogenic yeast, Cryptococcus neoformans. These studies have revealed how Plb has adapted to become an important part of the virulence repertoire of pathogenic fungi and how its secretion is regulated. They have also provided valuable insight into how the intracellular enzyme, Plc1, contributes to fungal fitness and pathogenicity – via a putative role in signal transduction pathways that regulate the production of stress-protecting pigments, polysaccharide capsule, cell wall integrity, and adaptation to growth at host temperature. Finally, this review will address the role fungal phospholipases have played in the development of a new class of antifungal drugs, which mimic their phospholipid substrates. PMID:21687772

  10. The ESCRT machinery influences haem uptake and capsule elaboration in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Guanggan; Caza, Mélissa; Cadieux, Brigitte; Bakkeren, Erik; Do, Eunsoo; Jung, Won Hee; Kronstad, James W.

    2015-01-01

    Summary Iron availability is a key determinant of virulence in the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. Previous work revealed that the ESCRT (endosomal sorting complex required for transport) protein Vps23 functions in iron acquisition, capsule formation and virulence. Here, we further characterized the ESCRT machinery to demonstrate that defects in the ESCRT-II and III complexes caused reduced capsule attachment, impaired growth on haem and resistance to non-iron metalloprotoporphyrins. The ESCRT mutants shared several phenotypes with a mutant lacking the pH-response regulator Rim101 and, in other fungi, the ESCRT machinery is known to activate Rim101 via proteolytic cleavage. We therefore expressed a truncated and activated version of Rim101 in the ESCRT mutants and found that this allele restored capsule formation but not growth on haem, thus suggesting a Rim101-independent contribution to haem uptake. We also demonstrated that the ESCRT machinery acts downstream of the cAMP/protein kinase A pathway to influence capsule elaboration. Defects in the ESCRT components also attenuated virulence in macrophage survival assays and a mouse model of cryptococcosis to a greater extent than reported for loss of Rim101. Overall, these results indicate that the ESCRT complexes function in capsule elaboration, haem uptake and virulence via Rim101-dependent and independent mechanisms. PMID:25732100

  11. Cryptococcus neoformans-induced macrophage lysosome damage crucially contributes to fungal virulence1

    PubMed Central

    Davis, Michael J.; Eastman, Alison J.; Qiu, Yafeng; Gregorka, Brian; Kozel, Thomas R.; Osterholzer, John J.; Curtis, Jeffrey L.; Swanson, Joel A.; Olszewski, Michal A.

    2015-01-01

    Upon ingestion by macrophages, Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn) can survive and replicate intracellularly unless the macrophages become classically activated. The mechanism enabling intracellular replication is not fully understood; neither are the mechanisms which allow classical activation to counteract replication. Cn-induced lysosome damage was observed in infected murine bone marrow-derived macrophages, increased with time and required yeast viability. To demonstrate lysosome damage in the infected host, we developed a novel flow-cytometric method for measuring lysosome damage. Increased lysosome damage was found in Cn-containing lung cells compared to Cn–free cells. Among Cn-containing myeloid cells, recently recruited cells displayed lower damage than resident cells, consistent with the protective role of recruited macrophages. The magnitude of lysosome damage correlated with increased Cn replication. Experimental induction of lysosome damage increased Cn replication. Activation of macrophages with IFN-γ abolished macrophage lysosome damage and enabled increased killing of Cn. We conclude that induction of lysosome damage is an important Cn survival strategy and that classical activation of host macrophages counters replication by preventing damage. Thus, therapeutic strategies which decrease lysosomal damage, or increase resistance to such damage, could be valuable in treating cryptococcal infections. PMID:25637026

  12. Visualizing non-lytic exocytosis of Cryptococcus neoformans from macrophages using digital light microscopy.

    PubMed

    Stukes, Sabriya; Casadevall, Arturo

    2014-01-01

    Many aspects of the infection of macrophages by Cryptococcus neoformans have been extensively studied and well defined. However, one particular interaction that is not clearly understood is non-lytic exocytosis. In this process, yeast cells are released into the extracellular space by a poorly understood mechanism that leaves both the macrophage and Cn viable. Here, we describe how to follow a large number of individually infected macrophages for a 24 hr infection period by time-lapsed microscopy. Infected macrophages are housed in a heating chamber with a CO2 atmosphere attached to a microscope that provides the same conditions as a cell-culture incubator. Live digital microscopy can provide information about the dynamic interactions between a host and pathogen that is not available from static images. Being able to visualize each infected cell can provide clues as to how macrophages handle fungal infections, and vice versa. This technique is a powerful tool in studying the dynamics that are behind a complex phenomenon. PMID:25350860

  13. Cryptococcus neoformans dual GDP-mannose transporters and their role in biology and virulence.

    PubMed

    Wang, Zhuo A; Griffith, Cara L; Skowyra, Michael L; Salinas, Nichole; Williams, Matthew; Maier, Ezekiel J; Gish, Stacey R; Liu, Hong; Brent, Michael R; Doering, Tamara L

    2014-06-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic yeast responsible for lethal meningoencephalitis in humans. This pathogen elaborates a polysaccharide capsule, which is its major virulence factor. Mannose constitutes over one-half of the capsule mass and is also extensively utilized in cell wall synthesis and in glycosylation of proteins and lipids. The activated mannose donor for most biosynthetic reactions, GDP-mannose, is made in the cytosol, although it is primarily consumed in secretory organelles. This compartmentalization necessitates specific transmembrane transporters to make the donor available for glycan synthesis. We previously identified two cryptococcal GDP-mannose transporters, Gmt1 and Gmt2. Biochemical studies of each protein expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae showed that both are functional, with similar kinetics and substrate specificities in vitro. We have now examined these proteins in vivo and demonstrate that cells lacking Gmt1 show significant phenotypic differences from those lacking Gmt2 in terms of growth, colony morphology, protein glycosylation, and capsule phenotypes. Some of these observations may be explained by differential expression of the two genes, but others suggest that the two proteins play overlapping but nonidentical roles in cryptococcal biology. Furthermore, gmt1 gmt2 double mutant cells, which are unexpectedly viable, exhibit severe defects in capsule synthesis and protein glycosylation and are avirulent in mouse models of cryptococcosis.

  14. Loss of cell wall alpha(1–3) glucan affects Cryptococcus neoformans from ultrastructure to virulence

    PubMed Central

    Reese, Amy J.; Yoneda, Aki; Breger, Julia A.; Beauvais, Anne; Liu, Hong; Griffith, Cara L.; Bose, Indrani; Kim, Myoung-Ju; Skau, Colleen; Yang, Sarah; Sefko, Julianne A.; Osumi, Masako; Latge, Jean-Paul; Mylonakis, Eleftherios; Doering, Tamara L.

    2007-01-01

    SUMMARY Yeast cell walls are critical for maintaining cell integrity, particularly in the face of challenges such as growth in mammalian hosts. The pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans additionally anchors its polysaccharide capsule to the cell surface via α(1–3) glucan in the wall. Cryptococcal cells disrupted in their alpha glucan synthase gene were sensitive to stresses, including temperature, and showed difficulty dividing. These cells lacked surface capsule, although they continued to shed capsule material into the environment. Electron microscopy showed that the alpha glucan that is usually localized to the outer portion of the cell wall was absent, the outer region of the wall was highly disorganized, and the inner region was hypertrophic. Analysis of cell wall composition demonstrated complete loss of alpha glucan accompanied by a compensatory increase in chitin/chitosan and a redistribution of beta glucan between cell wall fractions. The mutants were unable to grow in a mouse model of infection, but caused death in nematodes. These studies integrate morphological and biochemical investigations of the role of alpha glucan in the cryptococcal cell wall. PMID:17244196

  15. Cryptococcus neoformans Dual GDP-Mannose Transporters and Their Role in Biology and Virulence

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Zhuo A.; Griffith, Cara L.; Skowyra, Michael L.; Salinas, Nichole; Williams, Matthew; Maier, Ezekiel J.; Gish, Stacey R.; Liu, Hong; Brent, Michael R.

    2014-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic yeast responsible for lethal meningoencephalitis in humans. This pathogen elaborates a polysaccharide capsule, which is its major virulence factor. Mannose constitutes over one-half of the capsule mass and is also extensively utilized in cell wall synthesis and in glycosylation of proteins and lipids. The activated mannose donor for most biosynthetic reactions, GDP-mannose, is made in the cytosol, although it is primarily consumed in secretory organelles. This compartmentalization necessitates specific transmembrane transporters to make the donor available for glycan synthesis. We previously identified two cryptococcal GDP-mannose transporters, Gmt1 and Gmt2. Biochemical studies of each protein expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae showed that both are functional, with similar kinetics and substrate specificities in vitro. We have now examined these proteins in vivo and demonstrate that cells lacking Gmt1 show significant phenotypic differences from those lacking Gmt2 in terms of growth, colony morphology, protein glycosylation, and capsule phenotypes. Some of these observations may be explained by differential expression of the two genes, but others suggest that the two proteins play overlapping but nonidentical roles in cryptococcal biology. Furthermore, gmt1 gmt2 double mutant cells, which are unexpectedly viable, exhibit severe defects in capsule synthesis and protein glycosylation and are avirulent in mouse models of cryptococcosis. PMID:24747214

  16. The first isolation of Cryptococcus neoformans from Eucalyptus trees in South Aegean and Mediterranean Regions of Anatolia in Turkey despite Taurus Mountains alkalinity.

    PubMed

    Ergin, Cağri; Ilkit, Macit; Hilmioğlu, Süleyha; Kaleli, Ilknur; Gülbaba, A Gani; Demirci, Mustafa; Kaya, Selçuk

    2004-07-01

    Eucalyptus trees are widespread in subtropical parts of Turkey that have alkaline environments due to the soil structure of Taurus Mountains. In this study, the existence of Cryptococcus neoformans in eucalyptus trees in the South Aegean and Mediterranean Regions of Anatolia, Turkey, was screened between March 1998 and September 2002. Only one strain of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii (Serotype A) was isolated from 1175 eucalyptus samples including debris and flowers in culture by Guizotia abyssinica agar. The environmental niche of the isolate was Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehn in the Gokova Region, in the western part of the Taurus Mountains. In this study, the existence of Cryptococcus neoformans was shown in the eucalyptus flora of Turkey despite the alkaline soil condition. PMID:15487319

  17. Effects of immunization with Cryptococcus neoformans cells or cryptococcal culture filtrate antigen on direct anticryptococcal activities of murine T lymphocytes.

    PubMed Central

    Muth, S M; Murphy, J W

    1995-01-01

    Immunizing CBA/J mice with intact Cryptococcus neoformans cells or with a cryptococcal culture filtrate antigen (CneF) induces an anticryptococcal delayed-type hypersensitivity response. Recently, it has been shown that two phenotypically different T-cell populations are responsible for delayed-type hypersensitivity reactivity in mice immunized with intact cryptococcal cells, whereas only one of those populations is present in mice immunized with soluble cryptococcal antigens in complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA). The purpose of this study was to determine if differences occur with regard to direct anticryptococcal activity between T-lymphocyte-enriched populations from mice immunized with intact viable or dead cryptococcal cells and similar cell populations from mice immunized with the soluble cryptococcal culture filtrate antigen, CneF, emulsified in CFA. The percentage of lymphocytes which form conjugates with C. neoformans and the percentage of cryptococcal growth inhibition in vitro are greater with T-lymphocyte-enriched populations from mice sublethally infected with C. neoformans or from mice immunized with intact heat-killed cryptococcal cells in the presence or absence of CFA than with lymphocyte populations from mice immunized with CneF-CFA. Enhanced anticryptococcal activity of T lymphocytes could be induced by immunizing mice with heat-killed C. neoformans cells of serotype A, B, C, or D as well as by immunizing with a similar preparation of an acapsular C. neoformans mutant but not by immunizing with CFA emulsified with CneF prepared from any one of the C. neoformans isolates. These data indicate that the soluble cryptococcal culture filtrate antigens do not induce the same array of functional T lymphocytes as whole cryptococcal cells. PMID:7729868

  18. In vitro synergistic effects of chlorpromazine and sertraline in combination with amphotericin B against Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii.

    PubMed

    Rossato, Luana; Loreto, Érico S; Zanette, Régis A; Chassot, Francieli; Santurio, Janio M; Alves, Sydney H

    2016-09-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is encapsulated yeast that causes cryptococcosis. The cryptococcal meningitis may cause neuropsychiatric symptoms. Here, we evaluated the in vitro activity of amphotericin B (AMB), chlorpromazine (CLOR), and sertraline (SERT) alone or in combination against clinical isolates of C. neoformans considering the capsular induction in vitro. Susceptibility tests were carried out using the broth microdilution method in accordance with the CLSI document M27-A3. The combination [CLOR + AMB] exhibited synergism for 50 and 67 % of strains before capsular induction (group I) and after capsular induction (group II), respectively. The combination [SERT + AMB] showed 60 % of synergism against the both groups. Antagonism was not observed. Our results show the therapeutic potential of chlorpromazine and sertraline in combination with amphotericin B against neurocryptococcosis. PMID:26847460

  19. High-Throughput Screen in Cryptococcus neoformans Identifies a Novel Molecular Scaffold That Inhibits Cell Wall Integrity Pathway Signaling

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is one of the most important human fungal pathogens; however, no new therapies have been developed in over 50 years. Fungicidal activity is crucially important for an effective anticryptococal agent and, therefore, we screened 361,675 molecules against C. neoformans using an adenylate kinase release assay that specifically detects fungicidal activity. A set of secondary assays narrowed the set of hits to molecules that interfere with fungal cell wall integrity and identified three benzothioureas with low in vitro mammalian toxicity and good in vitro anticryptococcal (minimum inhibitory concentration = 4 μg/mL). This scaffold inhibits signaling through the cell wall integrity MAP kinase cascade. Structure–activity studies indicate that the thiocarbonyl moiety is crucial for activity. Genetic and biochemical data suggest that benzothioureas inhibit signaling upstream of the kinase cascade. Thus, the benzothioureas appear to be a promising new scaffold for further exploration in the search for new anticryptococcal agents. PMID:26807437

  20. A role for LHC1 in higher order structure and complement binding of the Cryptococcus neoformans capsule.

    PubMed

    Park, Yoon-Dong; Shin, Soowan; Panepinto, John; Ramos, Jeanie; Qiu, Jin; Frases, Susana; Albuquerque, Patricia; Cordero, Radames J B; Zhang, Nannan; Himmelreich, Uwe; Beenhouwer, David; Bennett, John E; Casadevall, Arturo; Williamson, Peter R

    2014-05-01

    Polysaccharide capsules are important virulence factors for many microbial pathogens including the opportunistic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. In the present study, we demonstrate an unusual role for a secreted lactonohydrolase of C. neoformans, LHC1 in capsular higher order structure. Analysis of extracted capsular polysaccharide from wild-type and lhc1Δ strains by dynamic and static light scattering suggested a role for the LHC1 locus in altering the capsular polysaccharide, both reducing dimensions and altering its branching, density and solvation. These changes in the capsular structure resulted in LHC1-dependent alterations of antibody binding patterns, reductions in human and mouse complement binding and phagocytosis by the macrophage-like cell line J774, as well as increased virulence in mice. These findings identify a unique molecular mechanism for tertiary structural changes in a microbial capsule, facilitating immune evasion and virulence of a fungal pathogen.

  1. A Role for LHC1 in Higher Order Structure and Complement Binding of the Cryptococcus neoformans Capsule

    PubMed Central

    Park, Yoon-Dong; Shin, Soowan; Panepinto, John; Ramos, Jeanie; Qiu, Jin; Frases, Susana; Albuquerque, Patricia; Cordero, Radames J. B.; Zhang, Nannan; Himmelreich, Uwe; Beenhouwer, David; Bennett, John E.; Casadevall, Arturo; Williamson, Peter R.

    2014-01-01

    Polysaccharide capsules are important virulence factors for many microbial pathogens including the opportunistic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. In the present study, we demonstrate an unusual role for a secreted lactonohydrolase of C. neoformans, LHC1 in capsular higher order structure. Analysis of extracted capsular polysaccharide from wild-type and lhc1Δ strains by dynamic and static light scattering suggested a role for the LHC1 locus in altering the capsular polysaccharide, both reducing dimensions and altering its branching, density and solvation. These changes in the capsular structure resulted in LHC1-dependent alterations of antibody binding patterns, reductions in human and mouse complement binding and phagocytosis by the macrophage-like cell line J774, as well as increased virulence in mice. These findings identify a unique molecular mechanism for tertiary structural changes in a microbial capsule, facilitating immune evasion and virulence of a fungal pathogen. PMID:24789368

  2. Crystal structure of Gib2, a signal-transducing protein scaffold associated with ribosomes in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Ero, Rya; Dimitrova, Valya Tenusheva; Chen, Yun; Bu, Wenting; Feng, Shu; Liu, Tongbao; Wang, Ping; Xue, Chaoyang; Tan, Suet Mien; Gao, Yong-Gui

    2015-01-01

    The atypical Gβ-like/RACK1 Gib2 protein promotes cAMP signalling that plays a central role in regulating the virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans. Gib2 contains a seven-bladed β transducin structure and is emerging as a scaffold protein interconnecting signalling pathways through interactions with various protein partners. Here, we present the crystal structure of Gib2 at a 2.2-Å resolution. The structure allows us to analyse the association between Gib2 and the ribosome, as well as to identify the Gib2 amino acid residues involved in ribosome binding. Our studies not only suggest that Gib2 has a role in protein translation but also present Gib2 as a physical link at the crossroads of various regulatory pathways important for the growth and virulence of C. neoformans.

  3. Crystal structure of Gib2, a signal-transducing protein scaffold associated with ribosomes in Cryptococcus neoformans

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ero, Rya; Dimitrova, Valya Tenusheva; Chen, Yun; Bu, Wenting; Feng, Shu; Liu, Tongbao; Wang, Ping; Xue, Chaoyang; Tan, Suet Mien; Gao, Yong-Gui

    2015-03-01

    The atypical Gβ-like/RACK1 Gib2 protein promotes cAMP signalling that plays a central role in regulating the virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans. Gib2 contains a seven-bladed β transducin structure and is emerging as a scaffold protein interconnecting signalling pathways through interactions with various protein partners. Here, we present the crystal structure of Gib2 at a 2.2-Å resolution. The structure allows us to analyse the association between Gib2 and the ribosome, as well as to identify the Gib2 amino acid residues involved in ribosome binding. Our studies not only suggest that Gib2 has a role in protein translation but also present Gib2 as a physical link at the crossroads of various regulatory pathways important for the growth and virulence of C. neoformans.

  4. Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii-Induced Arthritis with Encephalitic Dissemination in a Dog and Review of Published Literature.

    PubMed

    Headley, Selwyn Arlington; Mota, Francisco Claudio D; Lindsay, Scott; de Oliveira, Luiza M; Medeiros, Alessandra Aparecida; Pretto-Giordano, Lucienne Garcia; Saut, João Paulo Elsen; Krockenberger, Mark

    2016-08-01

    This article describes the clinical, pathological, and immunohistochemical findings associated with Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii in a 4-year-old female Boxer dog from Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Southeastern Brazil. Clinically, there was a swelling at the right metatarsal region and the hock joint with enlargement of regional lymph nodes. Radiographical evaluation revealed lysis of the tarsal bone; cytology demonstrated cryptococcal intralesional organisms at the swollen joint. Despite empirical antifungals therapeutic, the animal developed neurological cryptococcosis and died spontaneously. Significant pathological alterations included arthritis, lymphadenitis, and encephalitic cryptococcomas associated with numerous intralesional narrow-necked budding encapsulated yeasts. Immunohistochemistry utilising monoclonal antibodies that label C. neoformans sp. complex capsule, characterised the yeasts as C. neoformans var. grubii. Collectively, the pathological and immunohistochemical findings of this dog indicate that the intralesional organisms observed within the articular surface of the hock joint, lymph nodes, and the brain were C. neoformans var. grubii, confirming the participation of this fungal pathogen in the development of cryptococcal arthritis. In this case, the most likely pathogenesis was percutaneous inoculation with resultant abscess-like lesion, which resulted in the draining sinus, swelling of the right hind limb with progression to the articular disease. Thereafter, the fungal pathogen probably compromised the adjacent lymph nodes with subsequent haematogenous distribution to the brain, terminating with cryptococcal arthritis, lymphadenitis, and encephalitis. PMID:27126588

  5. Binding of the wheat germ lectin to Cryptococcus neoformans chitooligomers affects multiple mechanisms required for fungal pathogenesis.

    PubMed

    Fonseca, Fernanda L; Guimarães, Allan J; Kmetzsch, Lívia; Dutra, Fabianno F; Silva, Fernanda D; Taborda, Carlos P; Araujo, Glauber de S; Frases, Susana; Staats, Charley C; Bozza, Marcelo T; Schrank, Augusto; Vainstein, Marilene H; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Casadevall, Arturo; Rodrigues, Marcio L

    2013-11-01

    The principal capsular component of Cryptococcus neoformans, glucuronoxylomannan (GXM), interacts with surface glycans, including chitin-like oligomers. Although the role of GXM in cryptococcal infection has been well explored, there is no information on how chitooligomers affect fungal pathogenesis. In this study, surface chitooligomers of C. neoformans were blocked through the use of the wheat germ lectin (WGA) and the effects on animal pathogenesis, interaction with host cells, fungal growth and capsule formation were analyzed. Treatment of C. neoformans cells with WGA followed by infection of mice delayed mortality relative to animals infected with untreated fungal cells. This observation was associated with reduced brain colonization by lectin-treated cryptococci. Blocking chitooligomers also rendered yeast cells less efficient in their ability to associate with phagocytes. WGA did not affect fungal viability, but inhibited GXM release to the extracellular space and capsule formation. In WGA-treated yeast cells, genes that are involved in capsule formation and GXM traffic had their transcription levels decreased in comparison with untreated cells. Our results suggest that cellular pathways required for capsule formation and pathogenic mechanisms are affected by blocking chitin-derived structures at the cell surface of C. neoformans. Targeting chitooligomers with specific ligands may reveal new therapeutic alternatives to control cryptococcosis.

  6. Binding of the wheat germ lectin to Cryptococcus neoformans chitooligomers affects multiple mechanisms required for fungal pathogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Fonseca, Fernanda L.; Guimarães, Allan J.; Kmetzsch, Lívia; Dutra, Fabianno F.; Silva, Fernanda D.; Taborda, Carlos P.; Araujo, Glauber de S.; Frases, Susana; Staats, Charley C.; Bozza, Marcelo T.; Schrank, Augusto; Vainstein, Marilene H.; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Casadevall, Arturo; Rodrigues, Marcio L.

    2015-01-01

    The principal capsular component of Cryptococcus neoformans, glucuronoxylomannan (GXM), interacts with surface glycans, including chitin-like oligomers. Although the role of GXM in cryptococcal infection has been well explored, there is no information on how chitooligomers affect fungal pathogenesis. In this study, surface chitooligomers of C. neoformans were blocked through the use of the wheat germ lectin (WGA) and the effects on animal pathogenesis, interaction with host cells, fungal growth and capsule formation were analyzed. Treatment of C. neoformans cells with WGA followed by infection of mice delayed mortality relative to animals infected with untreated fungal cells. This observation was associated with reduced brain colonization by lectin-treated cryptococci. Blocking chitooligomers also rendered yeast cells less efficient in their ability to associate with phagocytes. WGA did not affect fungal viability, but inhibited GXM release to the extracellular space and capsule formation. In WGA-treated yeast cells, genes that are involved in capsule formation and GXM traffic had their transcription levels decreased in comparison with untreated cells. Our results suggest that cellular pathways required for capsule formation and pathogenic mechanisms are affected by blocking chitin-derived structures at the cell surface of C. neoformans. Targeting chitooligomers with specific ligands may reveal new therapeutic alternatives to control cryptococcosis. PMID:23608320

  7. Remodeling of global transcription patterns of Cryptococcus neoformans genes mediated by the stress-activated HOG signaling pathways.

    PubMed

    Ko, Young-Joon; Yu, Yeong Man; Kim, Gyu-Bum; Lee, Gir-Won; Maeng, Pil Jae; Kim, Sangsoo; Floyd, Anna; Heitman, Joseph; Bahn, Yong-Sun

    2009-08-01

    The ability to sense and adapt to a hostile host environment is a crucial element for virulence of pathogenic fungi, including Cryptococcus neoformans. These cellular responses are evoked by diverse signaling cascades, including the stress-activated HOG pathway. Despite previous analysis of central components of the HOG pathway, its downstream signaling network is poorly characterized in C. neoformans. Here we performed comparative transcriptome analysis with HOG signaling mutants to explore stress-regulated genes and their correlation with the HOG pathway in C. neoformans. In this study, we not only provide important insights into remodeling patterns of global gene expression for counteracting external stresses but also elucidate novel characteristics of the HOG pathway in C. neoformans. First, inhibition of the HOG pathway increases expression of ergosterol biosynthesis genes and cellular ergosterol content, conferring a striking synergistic antifungal activity with amphotericin B and providing an excellent opportunity to develop a novel therapeutic method for treatment of cryptococcosis. Second, a number of cadmium-sensitive genes are differentially regulated by the HOG pathway, and their mutation causes resistance to cadmium. Finally, we have discovered novel stress defense and HOG-dependent genes, which encode a sodium/potassium efflux pump, protein kinase, multidrug transporter system, and elements of the ubiquitin-dependent system.

  8. Binding of Serum Mannan Binding Lectin to a Cell Integrity-Defective Cryptococcus neoformans ccr4Δ Mutant▿

    PubMed Central

    Panepinto, John C.; Komperda, Kazimierz W.; Hacham, Moshe; Shin, Soowan; Liu, Xiaoguang; Williamson, Peter R.

    2007-01-01

    Mannan binding lectin (MBL) is an innate immune mediator belonging to the collectin family known to bind to the surfaces of many viruses, bacteria, and fungi. However, pathogenic strains of the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans are resistant to MBL binding. To dissect the mechanism of cryptococcal resistance to MBL, we compared MBL binding to an encapsulated wild-type strain, an encapsulated ccr4Δ mutant defective in cell integrity, and an acapsular cap60Δ strain. No MBL binding was detected on wild-type C. neoformans. In contrast, the ccr4Δ mutant bound MBL to the cell wall, predominantly at the ends of enlarged buds, whereas the acapsular strain bound MBL only at the bud neck and bud scars. In addition, the ccr4Δ mutant was sensitive to the cell wall-active antifungal caspofungin and other cell wall stress inducers, and its virulence was reduced in a mouse model of cryptococcosis. Interestingly, treatment of wild-type cells with caspofungin also increased MBL binding to C. neoformans. These results suggest that both the presence of capsule and wild-type cell wall architecture preclude MBL binding to C. neoformans. PMID:17646356

  9. Microsatellite Typing of Clinical and Environmental Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii Isolates from Cuba Shows Multiple Genetic Lineages

    PubMed Central

    Illnait-Zaragozi, Maria-Teresa; Martínez-Machín, Gerardo F.; Fernández-Andreu, Carlos M.; Boekhout, Teun; Meis, Jacques F.; Klaassen, Corné H. W.

    2010-01-01

    Background Human cryptococcal infections have been associated with bird droppings as a likely source of infection. Studies toward the local and global epidemiology of Cryptococcus spp. have been hampered by the lack of rapid, discriminatory, and exchangeable molecular typing methods. Methodology/Principal Findings We selected nine microsatellite markers for high-resolution fingerprinting from the genome of C. neoformans var. grubii. This panel of markers was applied to a collection of clinical (n = 122) and environmental (n = 68; from pigeon guano) C. neoformans var. grubii isolates from Cuba. All markers proved to be polymorphic. The average number of alleles per marker was 9 (range 5–51). A total of 104 genotypes could be distinguished. The discriminatory power of this panel of markers was 0.993. Multiple clusters of related genotypes could be discriminated that differed in only one or two microsatellite markers. These clusters were assigned as microsatellite complexes. The majority of environmental isolates (>70%) fell into 1 microsatellite complex containing only few clinical isolates (49 environmental versus 2 clinical). Clinical isolates were segregated over multiple microsatellite complexes. Conclusions/Significance A large genotypic variation exists in C. neoformans var. grubii. The genotypic segregation between clinical and environmental isolates from pigeon guano suggests additional source(s) of human cryptococcal infections. The selected panel of microsatellite markers is an excellent tool to study the epidemiology of C. neoformans var. grubii. PMID:20161737

  10. Computational modeling and in silico analysis of differential regulation of myo-inositol catabolic enzymes in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Mackenzie, Emalee A; Klig, Lisa S

    2008-01-01

    Background Inositol is a key cellular metabolite for many organisms. Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic pathogen which primarily infects the central nervous system, a region of high inositol concentration, of immunocompromised individuals. Through the use of myo-inositol oxygenase C. neoformans can catabolize inositol as a sole carbon source to support growth and viability. Results Three myo-inositol oxygenase gene sequences were identified in the C. neoformans genome. Differential regulation was suggested by computational analyses of the three gene sequences. This included examination of the upstream regulatory regions, identifying ORE/TonE and UASINO sequences, conserved introns/exons, and in frame termination sequences. Homology modeling of the proteins encoded by these genes revealed key differences in the myo-inositol active site. Conclusion The results suggest there are two functional copies of the myo-inositol oxygenase gene in the C. neoformans genome. The functional genes are differentially expressed in response to environmental inositol concentrations. Both the upstream regulatory regions of the genes and the structure of the specific proteins suggest that MIOX1 would function when inositol concentrations are low, whereas MIOX2 would function when inositol concentrations are high. PMID:18854045

  11. Transgene Induced Co-Suppression during Vegetative Growth in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Xuying; Wang, Ping; Sun, Sheng; Darwiche, Sabrina; Idnurm, Alexander; Heitman, Joseph

    2012-01-01

    Introduction of DNA sequences into the genome often results in homology-dependent gene silencing in organisms as diverse as plants, fungi, flies, nematodes, and mammals. We previously showed in Cryptococcus neoformans that a repeat transgene array can induce gene silencing at a high frequency during mating (∼50%), but at a much lower frequency during vegetative growth (∼0.2%). Here we report a robust asexual co-suppression phenomenon triggered by the introduction of a cpa1::ADE2 transgene. Multiple copies of the cpa1::ADE2 transgene were ectopically integrated into the genome, leading to silencing of the endogenous CPA1 and CPA2 genes encoding the cyclosporine A target protein cyclophilin A. Given that CPA1-derived antisense siRNAs were detected in the silenced isolates, and that RNAi components (Rdp1, Ago1, and Dcr2) are required for silencing, we hypothesize that an RNAi pathway is involved, in which siRNAs function as trans factors to silence both the CPA1 and the CPA2 genes. The silencing efficiency of the CPA1 and CPA2 genes is correlated with the transgene copy number and reached ∼90% in the presence of >25 copies of the transgene. We term this transgene silencing phenomenon asexual co-suppression to distinguish it from the related sex-induced silencing (SIS) process. We further show that replication protein A (RPA), a single-stranded DNA binding complex, is required for transgene silencing, suggesting that RPA might play a similar role in aberrant RNA production as observed for quelling in Neurospora crassa. Interestingly, we also observed that silencing of the ADE2 gene occurred at a much lower frequency than the CPA1/2 genes even though it is present in the same transgene array, suggesting that factors in addition to copy number influence silencing. Taken together, our results illustrate that a transgene induced co-suppression process operates during C. neoformans vegetative growth that shares mechanistic features with quelling. PMID:22916030

  12. Redox buffering by melanin and Fe(II) in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed Central

    Jacobson, E S; Hong, J D

    1997-01-01

    Melanin is a fungal extracellular redox buffer which, in principle, can neutralize antimicrobial oxidants generated by immunologic effector cells, but its source of reducing equivalents is not known. We wondered whether Fe(II) generated by the external ferric reductase of fungi might have the physiologic function of reducing fungal melanin and thereby promoting pathogenesis. We observed that exposure of a melanin film electrode to reductants decreased the open-circuit potential (OCP) and reduced the area of a cyclic voltammetric reduction wave whereas exposure to oxidants produced the opposite effects. Exposure to 10, 100, 1,000 or 10,000 microM Fe(II) decreased the OCP of melanin by 0.015, 0.038, 0.100, and 0.120 V, respectively, relative to a silver-silver chloride standard, and decreased the area of the cyclic voltammetric reduction wave by 27, 35, 50, and 83%, respectively. Moreover, exposure to Fe(II) increased the buffering capacity by 44%, while exposure to millimolar dithionite did not increase the buffering capacity. The ratio of the amount of bound iron to the amount of the incremental increase in the following oxidation wave was approximately 1.0, suggesting that bound iron participates in buffering. Light absorption by melanin suspensions was decreased 14% by treatment with Fe(II), consistent with reduction of melanin. Light absorption by suspensions of melanized Cryptococcus neoformans was decreased 1.3% by treatment with Fe(II) (P < 0.05). Cultures of C. neoformans generated between 2 and 160 microM Fe(II) in culture supernatant, depending upon the strain and the conditions [the higher values were achieved by a constitutive ferric reductase mutant in high concentrations of Fe(III)]. We infer that Fe(II) can reduce melanin under physiologic conditions; moreover, it binds to melanin and cooperatively increases redox buffering. The data support a model for physiologic redox cycling of fungal melanin, whereby electrons exported by the yeast to form

  13. [Characterization of Cryptococcus neoformans strains isolated from patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)].

    PubMed

    Garza-Garza, D; Buendía-Uribe, J L; Martínez-Cruz, E; Argüero-Licea, B

    1995-01-01

    In Mexico cryptococosis ranks third in frequency among the mycoses ocurring as complications in AIDS patients. Neither the prevalence of the two varieties of C. neoformans in these patients nor the morphological and physiological changes suffered by these strains in AIDS patients are known. A total of 60 isolates were obtained from patients with AIDS from the Hospital de Infectología, Centro Médico "La Raza" IMSS. The identity of each isolate was established by: growth at 37 degrees C, colony and microscopic characteristics, urease and phenoloxidase activity, carbon sources assimilation. The canavanine glycine-bromothymol blue agar was used to distinguish C. neoformans var. neoformans and C. neoformans var. gattii. Pathogenicity in mice was also tested. Fifty one isolates of C. neoformans var. neoformans and nine of C. neoformans var. gattii were identified. All strains grew well at 37 degrees C, urease and phenoloxidase were positive, the morphology and the auxanographic profile were variable. C. neoformans var. neoformans was more virulent in mouse than C. neoformans var. gattii. This study has confirmed the presence of the two varieties of C. neoformans in Mexico with 85% prevalence of var. neoformans and 15% of var. gattii in AIDS patients. This frequency was higher than in reports from other countries.

  14. A multiplex real-time PCR assay for identification of Pneumocystis jirovecii, Histoplasma capsulatum, and Cryptococcus neoformans/Cryptococcus gattii in samples from AIDS patients with opportunistic pneumonia.

    PubMed

    Gago, Sara; Esteban, Cristina; Valero, Clara; Zaragoza, Oscar; Puig de la Bellacasa, Jorge; Buitrago, María José

    2014-04-01

    A molecular diagnostic technique based on real-time PCR was developed for the simultaneous detection of three of the most frequent causative agents of fungal opportunistic pneumonia in AIDS patients: Pneumocystis jirovecii, Histoplasma capsulatum, and Cryptococcus neoformans/Cryptococcus gattii. This technique was tested in cultured strains and in clinical samples from HIV-positive patients. The methodology used involved species-specific molecular beacon probes targeted to the internal transcribed spacer regions of the rDNA. An internal control was also included in each assay. The multiplex real-time PCR assay was tested in 24 clinical strains and 43 clinical samples from AIDS patients with proven fungal infection. The technique developed showed high reproducibility (r(2) of >0.98) and specificity (100%). For H. capsulatum and Cryptococcus spp., the detection limits of the method were 20 and 2 fg of genomic DNA/20 μl reaction mixture, respectively, while for P. jirovecii the detection limit was 2.92 log10 copies/20 μl reaction mixture. The sensitivity in vitro was 100% for clinical strains and 90.7% for clinical samples. The assay was positive for 92.5% of the patients. For one of the patients with proven histoplasmosis, P. jirovecii was also detected in a bronchoalveolar lavage sample. No PCR inhibition was detected. This multiplex real-time PCR technique is fast, sensitive, and specific and may have clinical applications.

  15. The Role of Host Gender in the Pathogenesis of Cryptococcus neoformans Infections

    PubMed Central

    McClelland, Erin E.; Hobbs, Letizia M.; Rivera, Johanna; Casadevall, Arturo; Potts, Wayne K.; Smith, Jennifer M.; Ory, Jeramia J.

    2013-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn) is a pathogenic yeast and the cause of cryptococcal meningitis. Prevalence of disease between males and females is skewed, with males having an increased incidence of disease. Based on the reported gender susceptibility differences to Cn in the literature, we used clinical isolates from Botswanan HIV-infected patients to test the hypothesis that different gender environments exerted different selective pressures on Cn. When we examined this data set, we found that men had significantly higher risk of death despite having significantly higher CD4+ T lymphocyte counts upon admittance to the hospital. These observations suggested that Cn strains are uniquely adapted to different host gender environments and that the male immune response may be less efficient in controlling Cn infection. To discriminate between these possibilities, we tested whether there were phenotypic differences between strains isolated from males and females and whether there was an interaction between Cn and the host immune response. Virulence phenotypes showed that Cn isolates from females had longer doubling times and released more capsular glucoronoxylomannan (GXM). The presence of testosterone but not 17-β estradiol was associated with higher levels of GXM release for a laboratory strain and 28 clinical isolates. We also measured phagocytic efficiency, survival of Cn, and amount of killing of human macrophages by Cn after incubation with four isolates. While macrophages from females phagocytosed more Cn than macrophages from males, male macrophages had a higher fungal burden and showed increased killing by Cn. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that differential interaction between Cn and macrophages within different gender environments contribute to the increased prevalence of cryptococcosis in males. This could be related to differential expression of cryptococcal virulence genes and capsule metabolism, changes in Cn phagocytosis and increased death

  16. Secreted Acb1 Contributes to the Yeast-to-Hypha Transition in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Xinping; Zhao, Youbao; Kirkman, Elyssa

    2015-01-01

    Adaptation to stress by eukaryotic pathogens is often accompanied by a transition in cellular morphology. The human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans is known to switch between the yeast and the filamentous form in response to amoebic predation or during mating. As in the classic dimorphic fungal pathogens, the morphotype is associated with the ability of cryptococci to infect various hosts. Many cryptococcal factors and environmental stimuli, including pheromones (small peptides) and nutrient limitation, are known to induce the yeast-to-hypha transition. We recently discovered that secreted matricellular proteins could also act as intercellular signals to promote the yeast-to-hypha transition. Here we show that the secreted acyl coenzyme A (acyl-CoA)-binding protein Acb1 plays an important role in enhancing this morphotype transition. Acb1 does not possess a signal peptide. Its extracellular secretion and, consequently, its function in filamentation are dependent on an unconventional GRASP (Golgi reassembly stacking protein)-dependent secretion pathway. Surprisingly, intracellular recruitment of Acb1 to the secretory vesicles is independent of Grasp. In addition to Acb1, Grasp possibly controls the secretion of other cargos, because the graspΔ mutant, but not the acb1Δ mutant, is defective in capsule production and macrophage phagocytosis. Nonetheless, Acb1 is likely the major or the sole effector of Grasp in terms of filamentation. Furthermore, we found that the key residue of Acb1 for acyl binding, Y80, is critical for the proper subcellular localization and secretion of Acb1 and for cryptococcal morphogenesis. PMID:26637591

  17. Genetic circuits that govern bisexual and unisexual reproduction in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Feretzaki, Marianna; Heitman, Joseph

    2013-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a human fungal pathogen with a defined sexual cycle. Nutrient-limiting conditions and pheromones induce a dimorphic transition from unicellular yeast to multicellular hyphae and the production of infectious spores. Sexual reproduction involves cells of either opposite (bisexual) or one (unisexual) mating type. Bisexual and unisexual reproduction are governed by shared components of the conserved pheromone-sensing Cpk1 MAPK signal transduction cascade and by Mat2, the major transcriptional regulator of the pathway. However, the downstream targets of the pathway are largely unknown, and homology-based approaches have failed to yield downstream transcriptional regulators or other targets. In this study, we applied insertional mutagenesis via Agrobacterium tumefaciens transkingdom DNA delivery to identify mutants with unisexual reproduction defects. In addition to elements known to be involved in sexual development (Crg1, Ste7, Mat2, and Znf2), three key regulators of sexual development were identified by our screen: Znf3, Spo11, and Ubc5. Spo11 and Ubc5 promote sporulation during both bisexual and unisexual reproduction. Genetic and phenotypic analyses provide further evidence implicating both genes in the regulation of meiosis. Phenotypic analysis of sexual development showed that Znf3 is required for hyphal development during unisexual reproduction and also plays a central role during bisexual reproduction. Znf3 promotes cell fusion and pheromone production through a pathway parallel to and independent of the pheromone signaling cascade. Surprisingly, Znf3 participates in transposon silencing during unisexual reproduction and may serve as a link between RNAi silencing and sexual development. Our studies illustrate the power of unbiased genetic screens to reveal both novel and conserved circuits that operate sexual reproduction.

  18. Regulatory Effects of Macrophage Inflammatory Protein 1α/CCL3 on the Development of Immunity to Cryptococcus neoformans Depend on Expression of Early Inflammatory Cytokines

    PubMed Central

    Olszewski, Michal A.; Huffnagle, Gary B.; Traynor, Timothy R.; McDonald, Roderick A.; Cook, Donald N.; Toews, Galen B.

    2001-01-01

    Macrophage inflammatory protein 1α (MIP-1α)/CCL3 prevents the development of eosinophilic pneumonia (EP) driven by a nonprotective T2-type immunity during infection with a highly virulent strain of Cryptococcus neoformans. The present study evaluated the interaction of MIP-1α with other innate immune system cytokines by comparing the immune responses that followed pulmonary infections with high- (C. neoformans 145A) and low (C. neoformans 52D)-virulence strains. In contrast to what was found for C. neoformans 145A infection, lack of MIP-1α in C. neoformans 52D infection did not cause the development of EP. C. neoformans 52D induced tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), gamma interferon (IFN-γ), and MCP-1 in the lungs of infected wild-type (WT) and MIP-1α knockout (KO) mice by day 7 postinfection. Both WT and MIP-1α KO mice subsequently cleared this infection. Thus, the robust expression of early inflammatory cytokines in C. neoformans 52D-infected mice promoted the development of protective immunity even in the absence of MIP-1α. Alternatively, C. neoformans 145A-infected WT and MIP-1α KO mice had diminished TNF-α, IFN-γ, and macrophage chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) responses, indicating that virulent C. neoformans 145A evaded early innate host defenses. However C. neoformans 145A-infected WT mice had an early induction of MIP-1α and subsequently did not develop EP. In contrast, C. neoformans 145A-infected MIP-1α KO mice developed EP and had increased C. neoformans dissemination into the brain by day 35. We conclude that, in the absence of other innate immune response effector molecules, MIP-1α is crucial to prevent the development of EP and to control C. neoformans dissemination to the brain. PMID:11553568

  19. Insights into the mechanisms of protective immunity against Cryptococcus neoformans infection using a mouse model of pulmonary cryptococcosis.

    PubMed

    Wozniak, Karen L; Ravi, Sailatha; Macias, Sandra; Young, Mattie L; Olszewski, Michal A; Steele, Chad; Wormley, Floyd L

    2009-09-03

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that causes life-threatening pneumonia and meningoencephalitis in immune compromised individuals. Previous studies have shown that immunization of BALB/c mice with an IFN-gamma-producing C. neoformans strain, H99gamma, results in complete protection against a second pulmonary challenge with an otherwise lethal cryptococcal strain. The current study evaluated local anamnestic cell-mediated immune responses against pulmonary cryptococcosis in mice immunized with C. neoformans strain H99gamma compared to mice immunized with heat-killed C. neoformans (HKC.n.). Mice immunized with C. neoformans strain H99gamma had significantly reduced pulmonary fungal burden post-secondary challenge compared to mice immunized with HKC.n. Protection against pulmonary cryptococcosis was associated with increased pulmonary granulomatous formation and leukocyte infiltration followed by a rapid resolution of pulmonary inflammation, which protected the lungs from severe allergic bronchopulmonary mycosis (ABPM)-pathology that developed in the lungs of mice immunized with HKC.n. Pulmonary challenge of interleukin (IL)-4 receptor, IL-12p40, IL-12p35, IFN-gamma, T cell and B cell deficient mice with C. neoformans strain H99gamma demonstrated a requirement for Th1-type T cell-mediated immunity, but not B cell-mediated immunity, for the induction of H99gamma-mediated protective immune responses against pulmonary C. neoformans infection. CD4(+) T cells, CD11c(+) cells, and Gr-1(+) cells were increased in both proportion and absolute number in protected mice. In addition, significantly increased production of Th1-type/pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, and conversely, reduced Th2-type cytokine production was observed in the lungs of protected mice. Interestingly, protection was not associated with increased production of cytokines IFN-gamma or TNF-alpha in lungs of protected mice. In conclusion, immunization with C. neoformans

  20. Cloning of a Cryptococcus neoformans gene, GPA1, encoding a G-protein alpha-subunit homolog.

    PubMed Central

    Tolkacheva, T; McNamara, P; Piekarz, E; Courchesne, W

    1994-01-01

    We have isolated a gene, GPA1, from Cryptococcus neoformans by the PCR technique. DNA sequencing of the GPA1 clone suggested that it encodes a protein homologous to the G-protein alpha-subunit family. Comparison of the deduced amino acid sequence of the GPA1-encoded protein revealed that it is about 45% identical to several mammalian Gi alpha subunits and 48% identical to the G alpha protein Gpa2 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. G alpha proteins are known to be involved in mating of other yeasts, such as S. cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Southern analysis demonstrated that GPA1 is present in a single copy within the Cryptococcus genome. Isolation of the cDNA for GPA1 confirmed that the gene contains six introns within the coding region. The GPA1 transcript was identified by Northern (RNA) analysis as a 1.6-kb RNA present in exponentially growing cells of both the alpha and a mating types. Moreover, the abundance of this transcript increased in cells shifted to starvation medium. Coincubation of alpha and a cells on starvation medium is required for mating of cryptococcal cells. Thus, our results are consistent with the involvement of C. neoformans GPA1 in mating. Images PMID:8005675

  1. Decayed wood of Syzygium cumini and Ficus religiosa living trees in Delhi/New Delhi metropolitan area as natural habitat of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Randhawa, H S; Kowshik, T; Khan, Z U

    2003-06-01

    The isolation is reported of Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii and C. n. var. neoformans from decayed wood inside trunk hollows of Syzygium cumini and of C. n. var. neoformans from Ficus religiosa trees in the Delhi/New Delhi metropolitan area. Fourteen of sixty-six (21%) S. cumini trees investigated proved to be positive, seven for each variety. The two varieties never co-occurred in the same hollow. C. n. var. neoformans was also isolated from three of seventeen Ficus religiosa-trees. Two of these isolates originated from decayed wood and one from bark. The C. n. var. gattii and C. n. var. neoformans isolates belonged to serotype B and serotype A, respectively. The data strongly supported colonization of S. cumini by both varieties and of F. religiosa trees by C. n. var. neoformans. Evidence of this was found by repeated isolations. For example, in 36/44 (82%) samples for C. n. var. gattii and 22/27 (81%) samples for C. n. var. neoformans, and by a high population density in the tested wood debris (maximally 6 x 10(5) colony-forming units per gram [c.f.u./g] for C. n. var. gattii and 8 x 10(4) c.f.u./g for C. n. var. neoformans). No eucalypt trees were seen near the positive S. cumini and F. religiosa trees. The densities of C. neoformans in these trees exceeded those found previously in Eucalyptus camaldulensis and in other tree species more rarely reported to be sources of C. neoformans in India. S. cumini and F. religiosa appear not to have been reported to date as sources for either C. n. var. gattii or C n. var. neoformans. Our results add to the recently emerging evidence that the natural habitat of C. n. var. gattii and C. n. var. neoformans is not specific to woody or other debris of particular tree species, but instead is more generalized. PMID:12964711

  2. [Evaluation of a new medium, eggplant (Solanum melongena) agar as a screening medium for Cryptococcus neoformans in environmental samples].

    PubMed

    Sengul, Mustafa; Ergin, Cağrı; Kartal, Tuğba

    2014-04-01

    Cryptococcus neofomans is an encapsulated yeast-like fungus that causes life-threatening infections, especially in immunosuppresive patients. C.neoformans infection is believed to be acquired via inhalation of aerosolized particles from the environment. Avian guano, decaying tree hollows and soil are the related known environmental niches. Brown pigmented yeast growth from the precursors in growth media is an important step for the identification and isolation of C.neoformans. Seeds of plants in nature are preferred owing to easy accessibility and low costs for the preparation of such media. Guizotia abysinicca (Niger seed) as Staib agar, Helianthus annus (Sunflower) as Pal's medium, Brassica nigra (Mustard) agar, tobacco agar, Mucuna pruriens (Velvet bean) seed agar, Perilla frutescens (Beefsteak plant) seed agar, Rubus fruticosus (Blackberry) agar and ground red hot pepper agar are pigment-based selective media for the differentiation of C.neoformans. The aim of this study was to observe the pigment production of C.neoformans in a new medium based on eggplant (Solanum melongena) and also to compare its performance with the simplified Staib, Pal's and tobacco agar for isolation from the environment. Three different eggplant-based medium (S.melongena Melanzaza viserba, S.melongena Pinstripe F1 and S.ovigerum Ivory F1) were included in the study. Pigment-forming eggplant medium, simplified Staib agar, Pal's agar and tobacco agar were used for the cultivation of the environmental swabbed samples from 19 Eucalyptus camaldulensis trunk hollows in continuous colonization region. While pigment formation were observed with S.melongena Melanzaza viserba and S.melongena Pinstripe F1 containing media, S.ovigerum Ivory F1 medium was found to be non-reactive. In colonization area (Gökova-Akyaka, Turkey), 11 (57.9%) out of 19 E.camaldulensis samples were positive with simplified Staib agar, Pal's agar and eggplant agar while 10 (52.6%) of them are positive with tobacco agar. C.neoformans

  3. [Evaluation of a new medium, eggplant (Solanum melongena) agar as a screening medium for Cryptococcus neoformans in environmental samples].

    PubMed

    Sengul, Mustafa; Ergin, Cağrı; Kartal, Tuğba

    2014-04-01

    Cryptococcus neofomans is an encapsulated yeast-like fungus that causes life-threatening infections, especially in immunosuppresive patients. C.neoformans infection is believed to be acquired via inhalation of aerosolized particles from the environment. Avian guano, decaying tree hollows and soil are the related known environmental niches. Brown pigmented yeast growth from the precursors in growth media is an important step for the identification and isolation of C.neoformans. Seeds of plants in nature are preferred owing to easy accessibility and low costs for the preparation of such media. Guizotia abysinicca (Niger seed) as Staib agar, Helianthus annus (Sunflower) as Pal's medium, Brassica nigra (Mustard) agar, tobacco agar, Mucuna pruriens (Velvet bean) seed agar, Perilla frutescens (Beefsteak plant) seed agar, Rubus fruticosus (Blackberry) agar and ground red hot pepper agar are pigment-based selective media for the differentiation of C.neoformans. The aim of this study was to observe the pigment production of C.neoformans in a new medium based on eggplant (Solanum melongena) and also to compare its performance with the simplified Staib, Pal's and tobacco agar for isolation from the environment. Three different eggplant-based medium (S.melongena Melanzaza viserba, S.melongena Pinstripe F1 and S.ovigerum Ivory F1) were included in the study. Pigment-forming eggplant medium, simplified Staib agar, Pal's agar and tobacco agar were used for the cultivation of the environmental swabbed samples from 19 Eucalyptus camaldulensis trunk hollows in continuous colonization region. While pigment formation were observed with S.melongena Melanzaza viserba and S.melongena Pinstripe F1 containing media, S.ovigerum Ivory F1 medium was found to be non-reactive. In colonization area (Gökova-Akyaka, Turkey), 11 (57.9%) out of 19 E.camaldulensis samples were positive with simplified Staib agar, Pal's agar and eggplant agar while 10 (52.6%) of them are positive with tobacco agar. C.neoformans

  4. Cryptococcal xylosyltransferase 1 (Cxt1p) from Cryptococcus neoformans plays a direct role in the synthesis of capsule polysaccharides.

    PubMed

    Klutts, J Stacey; Doering, Tamara L

    2008-05-23

    The opportunistic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans causes serious disease in humans and expresses a prominent polysaccharide capsule that is required for its virulence. Little is known about how this capsule is synthesized. We previously identified a beta1,2-xylosyltransferase (Cxt1p) with in vitro enzymatic activity appropriate for involvement in capsule synthesis. Here, we investigate C. neoformans strains in which the corresponding gene has been deleted (cxt1Delta). Loss of CXT1 does not affect in vitro growth of the mutant cells or the general morphology of their capsules. However, NMR structural analysis of the two main capsule polysaccharides, glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) and galactoxylomannan (GalXM), showed that both were missing beta1,2-xylose residues. There was an approximately 30% reduction in the abundance of this residue in GXM in mutant compared with wild-type strains, and mutant GalXM was almost completely devoid of beta1,2-linked xylose. The GalXM from the mutant strain was also missing a beta1,3-linked xylose residue. Furthermore, deletion of CXT1 led to attenuation of cryptococcal growth in a mouse model of infection, suggesting that the affected xylose residues are important for normal host-pathogen interactions. Cxt1p is the first glycosyltransferase with a defined role in C. neoformans capsule biosynthesis, and cxt1Delta is the only strain identified to date with structural alterations of the capsule polysaccharide GalXM.

  5. Characterization of Lipids and Proteins Associated to the Cell Wall of the Acapsular Mutant Cryptococcus neoformans Cap 67

    PubMed Central

    Longo, Larissa V. G.; Nakayasu, Ernesto S.; Pires, Jhon H. S.; Gazos-Lopes, Felipe; Vallejo, Milene C.; Sobreira, Tiago J. P.; Almeida, Igor C.; Puccia, Rosana

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic human pathogen that causes life-threatening meningitis. In this fungus, the cell wall is exceptionally not the outermost structure due to the presence of a surrounding polysaccharide capsule, which has been highly studied. Considering that there is little information about C. neoformans cell wall composition, we aimed at describing proteins and lipids extractable from this organelle, using as model the acapsular mutant C. neoformans cap 67. Purified cell wall preparations were extracted with either chloroform/methanol or hot SDS. Total lipids fractionated in silica gel 60 were analyzed by electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS), while trypsin digested proteins were analyzed by liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). We detected 25 phospholipid species among phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylinositol, and phosphatidic acid. Two glycolipid species were identified as monohexosyl ceramides. We identified 192 non-covalently linked proteins belonging to different metabolic processes. Most proteins were classified as secretory, mainly via nonclassical mechanisms, suggesting a role for extracellular vesicles in transwall transportation. In concert with that, orthologs from 86% of these proteins have previously been reported both in fungal cell wall and/or in extracellular vesicles. The possible role of the presently described structures in fungal-host relationship is discussed. PMID:25733123

  6. Cleavage of human fibronectin and other basement membrane-associated proteins by a Cryptococcus neoformans serine proteinase.

    PubMed

    Rodrigues, Marcio L; dos Reis, Flavia C G; Puccia, Rosana; Travassos, Luiz R; Alviano, Celuta S

    2003-02-01

    The interaction between the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans and human fibronectin (HFN) was examined in this study. Polypeptides from cryptococcal whole homogenates and cell wall with molecular masses of 25 and 35 kDa, respectively reacted with HFN. The relevance of the occurrence of these proteins in intact cells was uncertain, since yeast cells from different strains and serotypes of C. neoformans did not significantly adhere to soluble or solid-phased HFN. In contrast, an exocellular proteolytic activity that cleaves HFN was suggested. Degradation of HFN by culture supernatant fluids was demonstrated by Western blotting using a monoclonal anti-HFN antibody. Several fragments of lower molecular weights were observed which reacted with the antibody. Proteolysis was mediated by a serine protease activity, since HFN cleavage was completely inhibited by phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride (PMSF), aprotinin, and N-tosyl-L-phenylalanyl chloromethylketone (TPCK), but not by inhibitors of metalo, cysteine, or aspartyl proteases. Similar results were obtained when the fluorogenic peptide carbobenzoxy-phenylalanyl-arginyl-7-amido-4-methylcoumarin (CBZ-Phe-Arg-NHmet-C) was used as substrate. The cryptococcal supernatant also cleaved laminin and type IV collagen, as demonstrated by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with co-polymerized proteins. The hydrolysis of these proteins was mediated by a single cryptococcal protease with a molecular mass of 75 kDa. The cleavage of key host components of the basement membrane and extracellular matrix by C. neoformans may be a relevant factor in the process of fungal invasion.

  7. Cryptococcus neoformans Requires the ESCRT Protein Vps23 for Iron Acquisition from Heme, for Capsule Formation, and for Virulence

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Guanggan; Caza, Mélissa; Cadieux, Brigitte; Chan, Vivienne; Liu, Victor

    2013-01-01

    Iron availability is a key regulator of virulence factor elaboration in Cryptococcus neoformans, the causative agent of fungal meningoencephalitis in HIV/AIDS patients. In addition, iron is an essential nutrient for pathogen proliferation in mammalian hosts but little is known about the mechanisms of iron sensing and uptake in fungal pathogens that attack humans. In this study, we mutagenized C. neoformans by Agrobacterium-mediated T-DNA insertion and screened for mutants with reduced growth on heme as the sole iron source. Among 34 mutants, we identified a subset with insertions in the gene for the ESCRT-I (endosomal sorting complex required for transport) protein Vps23 that resulted in a growth defect on heme, presumably due to a defect in uptake via endocytosis or misregulation of iron acquisition from heme. Remarkably, vps23 mutants were also defective in the elaboration of the cell-associated capsular polysaccharide that is a major virulence factor, while overexpression of Vps23 resulted in cells with a slightly enlarged capsule. These phenotypes were mirrored by a virulence defect in the vps23 mutant in a mouse model of cryptococcosis and by hypervirulence of the overexpression strain. Overall, these results reveal an important role for trafficking via ESCRT functions in both heme uptake and capsule formation, and they further reinforce the connection between iron and virulence factor deployment in C. neoformans. PMID:23132495

  8. Functional analysis of host factors that mediate the intracellular lifestyle of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Qin, Qing-Ming; Luo, Jijing; Lin, Xiaorong; Pei, Jianwu; Li, Lei; Ficht, Thomas A; de Figueiredo, Paul

    2011-06-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn), the major causative agent of human fungal meningoencephalitis, replicates within phagolysosomes of infected host cells. Despite more than a half-century of investigation into host-Cn interactions, host factors that mediate infection by this fungal pathogen remain obscure. Here, we describe the development of a system that employs Drosophila S2 cells and RNA interference (RNAi) to define and characterize Cn host factors. The system recapitulated salient aspects of fungal interactions with mammalian cells, including phagocytosis, intracellular trafficking, replication, cell-to-cell spread and escape of the pathogen from host cells. Fifty-seven evolutionarily conserved host factors were identified using this system, including 29 factors that had not been previously implicated in mediating fungal pathogenesis. Subsequent analysis indicated that Cn exploits host actin cytoskeletal elements, cell surface signaling molecules, and vesicle-mediated transport proteins to establish a replicative niche. Several host molecules known to be associated with autophagy (Atg), including Atg2, Atg5, Atg9 and Pi3K59F (a class III PI3-kinase) were also uncovered in our screen. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) mediated depletion of these autophagy proteins in murine RAW264.7 macrophages demonstrated their requirement during Cn infection, thereby validating findings obtained using the Drosophila S2 cell system. Immunofluorescence confocal microscopy analyses demonstrated that Atg5, LC3, Atg9a were recruited to the vicinity of Cn containing vacuoles (CnCvs) in the early stages of Cn infection. Pharmacological inhibition of autophagy and/or PI3-kinase activity further demonstrated a requirement for autophagy associated host proteins in supporting infection of mammalian cells by Cn. Finally, systematic trafficking studies indicated that CnCVs associated with Atg proteins, including Atg5, Atg9a and LC3, during trafficking to a terminal intracellular compartment that

  9. Requirement for CD4+ T Lymphocytes in Host Resistance against Cryptococcus neoformans in the Central Nervous System of Immunized Mice

    PubMed Central

    Buchanan, Kent L.; Doyle, Hester A.

    2000-01-01

    The importance of cell-mediated immunity (CMI) and CD4+ T lymphocytes in host resistance against Cryptococcus neoformans is well documented and is exemplified by the high susceptibility to progressive infection with this pathogen of AIDS patients with reduced CD4+ T-cell numbers. Although much has been learned about the role of CMI in the clearance of C. neoformans from the lungs and other internal organs, less is known about the protective mechanisms in the brain, the organ most frequently involved with a fatal outcome of cryptococcosis. We hypothesized that host resistance mechanisms against C. neoformans in the central nervous system (CNS) were similar to those outside the CNS (i.e., gamma interferon [IFN-γ], CD4+ T cells, and others). To test this hypothesis, we used a murine model of cryptococcal meningitis whereby cryptococci are introduced directly into the CNS. In experiments where mice were immunized to mount an anticryptococcal CMI response, our results indicate that immunization induced protective mechanisms that could be detected in the CNS by inhibition of the growth of viable yeast cells. Flow cytometric analyses of leukocytes in brain and spinal cord homogenates revealed that T lymphocytes, macrophages, and neutrophils accumulated in C. neoformans-infected brains of immune mice. In vivo depletion of CD4+ T cells, but not CD8+ T cells, resulted in significantly reduced leukocyte accumulation in the brains of immune mice. Furthermore, depletion of CD4+ T cells or neutralization of IFN-γ exacerbated CNS infection in immune mice, suggesting a critical role for CMI mechanisms in acquired protection in the CNS. PMID:10639404

  10. Macrophage M1/M2 polarization dynamically adapts to changes in cytokine microenvironments in Cryptococcus neoformans infection.

    PubMed

    Davis, Michael J; Tsang, Tiffany M; Qiu, Yafeng; Dayrit, Jeremy K; Freij, Joudeh B; Huffnagle, Gary B; Olszewski, Michal A

    2013-06-18

    The outcome of cryptococcal pneumonia correlates with local macrophage polarization status, as M1 and M2 polarization marks protective and nonprotective responses, respectively. Overall, pulmonary macrophage polarization status changes over time during a cryptococcal infection. This could have been caused by repolarization of individual macrophages or by a replacement of M2-polarized cells by new M1-polarized cells. To explore the ability of macrophages to change between polarization states, we conducted a series of experiments using in vitro macrophages. Coculture of macrophages with Cryptococcus neoformans resulted in development of a weak M1-like phenotype, with modestly increased inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) but lacking interleukin 6 (IL-6) induction. The C. neoformans-induced M1-like polarization state was plastic, as macrophages stimulated first with C. neoformans and then with gamma interferon (IFN-γ) or IL-4 expressed mRNA polarization patterns similar to those stimulated with cytokines alone. To further evaluate macrophage polarization plasticity, cytokine stimulatory conditions were established which fully polarized macrophages. IFN-γ and IL-4 stimulation differentially induced complete M1 and M2 polarization, defined by differential expression of marker mRNA panels, surface marker expression, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) protein production. Switching IFN-γ- to IL-4-stimulating conditions, and vice versa, resulted in uniform changes in profiles of polarization marker genes consistent with the most recent cytokine environment. Furthermore, the ability of sequentially stimulated macrophages to inhibit C. neoformans reflected the most recent polarizing condition, independent of previous polarization. Collectively, these data indicate that M1/M2 macrophage polarization phenotypes are highly plastic to external signals, and interventions which therapeutically repolarize macrophages could be beneficial for treatment of cryptococcosis.

  11. Susceptibility to Progressive Cryptococcus neoformans Pulmonary Infection Is Regulated by Loci on Mouse Chromosomes 1 and 9

    PubMed Central

    Carroll, Scott F.; Lafferty, Erin I.; Flaczyk, Adam; Fujiwara, T. Mary; Homer, Robert; Morgan, Kenneth; Loredo-Osti, J C.

    2012-01-01

    Genetic factors that regulate the pathogenesis of pneumonia caused by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans are poorly understood. Through a phenotypic strain survey we observed that inbred C3H/HeN mice develop a significantly greater lung fungal burden than mice of the resistant CBA/J strain 4 weeks following intratracheal infection with C. neoformans ATCC 24067. The aim of the present study was to characterize the inflammatory response of C3H/HeN mice following C. neoformans pulmonary infection and to identify genetic loci that regulate host defense. Following cryptococcal infection, C3H/HeN mice demonstrated a Th2 immune response with heightened airway and tissue eosinophilia, goblet cell metaplasia, and significantly higher lung interleukin-5 (IL-5) and IL-13 protein expression relative to CBA/J mice. Conversely, CBA/J mice exhibited greater airway and tissue neutrophilia that was associated with significantly higher pulmonary expression of gamma interferon, CXCL10, and IL-17 proteins than C3H/HeN mice. Using the fungal burden at 4 weeks postinfection as a phenotype, genome-wide quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis among 435 segregating (C3H/HeN × CBA/J)F2 (C3HCBAF2) hybrids identified two significant QTLs on chromosomes 1 (Cnes4) and 9 (Cnes5) that control susceptibility to cryptococcal pneumonia in an additive manner. Susceptible C3H/HeN mice carry a resistance allele at Cnes4 and a susceptibility allele at Cnes5. These studies reveal additional genetic complexity of the host response to C. neoformans that is associated with divergent patterns of pulmonary inflammation. PMID:22988020

  12. Methamphetamine alters blood brain barrier protein expression in mice, facilitating central nervous system infection by neurotropic Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Eugenin, Eliseo A; Greco, Jade M; Frases, Susana; Nosanchuk, Joshua D; Martinez, Luis R

    2013-08-15

    Methamphetamine (METH) is a drug of abuse that is a potent and highly addictive central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. The blood brain barrier (BBB) is a unique interface that in part functions to prevent microbial invasion of the CNS. The effects of METH on brain vasculature have not been studied extensively. We hypothesized that METH alters the BBB integrity, increasing susceptibility to CNS infection. Using a murine model of METH administration, we demonstrated that METH alters BBB integrity and modifies the expression of tight junction and adhesion molecules. Additionally, we showed that BBB disruption accelerates transmigration of the neurotropic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans into the brain parenchyma after systemic infection. Furthermore, METH-treated mice displayed increased mortality as compared to untreated animals. Our findings provide novel evidence of the impact of METH abuse on the integrity of the cells that comprise the BBB and protect the brain from infection.

  13. Methamphetamine Alters Blood Brain Barrier Protein Expression in Mice, Facilitating Central Nervous System Infection by Neurotropic Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Eugenin, Eliseo A.; Greco, Jade M.; Frases, Susana; Nosanchuk, Joshua D.; Martinez, Luis R.

    2013-01-01

    Methamphetamine (METH) is a drug of abuse that is a potent and highly addictive central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. The blood brain barrier (BBB) is a unique interface that in part functions to prevent microbial invasion of the CNS. The effects of METH on brain vasculature have not been studied extensively. We hypothesized that METH alters the BBB integrity, increasing susceptibility to CNS infection. Using a murine model of METH administration, we demonstrated that METH alters BBB integrity and modifies the expression of tight junction and adhesion molecules. Additionally, we showed that BBB disruption accelerates transmigration of the neurotropic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans into the brain parenchyma after systemic infection. Furthermore, METH-treated mice displayed increased mortality as compared to untreated animals. Our findings provide novel evidence of the impact of METH abuse on the integrity of the cells that comprise the BBB and protect the brain from infection. PMID:23532099

  14. Cryptococcal meningitis due to Cryptococcus neoformans genotype AFLP1/VNI in Iran: a review of the literature.

    PubMed

    Badali, Hamid; Alian, Shahriar; Fakhim, Hamed; Falahatinejad, Mahsa; Moradi, Ali; Mohammad Davoudi, Mehrnaz; Hagen, Ferry; Meis, Jacques F

    2015-12-01

    Cryptococcal meningitis is the most important opportunistic fungal infection with a high mortality in HIV-patients in less developed regions. Here, we report a case of cryptococcal meningitis in a 49-year-old HIV-positive female due to Cryptococcus neoformans (serotype A, mating-type alpha, genotype AFLP1/VNI) in Sari, Iran. In vitro antifungal susceptibility tests showed MICs of isavuconazole (0.016 μg ml(-1) ), voriconazole (0.031 μg ml(-1) ), posaconazole (0.031 μg ml(-1) ), itraconazole (0.063 μg ml(-1) ), amphotericin B (0.125 μg ml(-1) ) and fluconazole (8 μg ml(-1) ). Despite immediate antifungal therapy, the patient died 4 days later due to respiratory failure. Cryptococcal infections have been infrequently reported from Iran and therefore we analysed all published cases of cryptococcosis in Iran since the first reported case from 1969.

  15. Classification of Cryptococcus neoformans and yeast-like fungus isolates from pigeon droppings by colony phenotyping and ITS genotyping and their seasonal variations in Korea.

    PubMed

    Chae, H S; Jang, G E; Kim, N H; Son, H R; Lee, J H; Kim, S H; Park, G N; Jo, H J; Kim, J T; Chang, K S

    2012-03-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans (C neoformans) is a frequent cause of invasive fungal disease in immunocompromised human hosts. Ninety-eight samples of pigeon droppings were collected from the pigeon shelters in Seoul, and cultured on birdseed agar (BSA) and Sabouraud dextrose agar (SDA). One hundred yeast-like colonies were selected and identified via phenotype characteristics, such as colony morphology and biochemical characteristics. This was then followed with genotyping via sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. The colonies were classified into four kinds of colony color types: brown type (BrT), beige type (BeT), pink type (PT), and white type (WT). Numbers of isolated BrT, BeT, PT, and WT colonies were 22 (22%), 30 (30%), 19 (19%), and 39 (39%), respectively. All BrT colonies were identified as C neoformans. BeT were identified as 19 isolates of Cryptococcus laurentii, 10 isolates of Malassezia furfur, and 1 isolate of Cryptococcus uniguttulatus. PT was divided into two colony color types: light-PT (l-PT) and deep-PT (d-PT). Eighteen of l-PT and one of d-PT were identified as Rhodotorula glutinis and Rhodotorula mucilaginosa, respectively. WT were identified as 34 isolates of Cryptococcus guilliermondii, 3 isolates of Cryptococcus zeylanoides, 1 isolate of Cryptococcus sake, and 1 isolate of Stephanoascus ciferrii. Most strains were classified identically with the use of either phenotype or genotyping techniques, but C uniguttulatus and C sake classified by phenotyping were Pseudozyma aphidis and Cryptococcus famata by genotyping. This rapid screening technique of pathogenic yeast-like fungi by only colony characteristics is also expected to be very useful for primary yeast screening. Additionally, we investigated the seasonal variations of C neoformans and other yeast-like fungi from 379 pigeon-dropping samples that were collected from February 2011 to March 2011. We isolated 685 yeast-like fungi from the samples. Almost all C neoformans and

  16. Classification of Cryptococcus neoformans and yeast-like fungus isolates from pigeon droppings by colony phenotyping and ITS genotyping and their seasonal variations in Korea.

    PubMed

    Chae, H S; Jang, G E; Kim, N H; Son, H R; Lee, J H; Kim, S H; Park, G N; Jo, H J; Kim, J T; Chang, K S

    2012-03-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans (C neoformans) is a frequent cause of invasive fungal disease in immunocompromised human hosts. Ninety-eight samples of pigeon droppings were collected from the pigeon shelters in Seoul, and cultured on birdseed agar (BSA) and Sabouraud dextrose agar (SDA). One hundred yeast-like colonies were selected and identified via phenotype characteristics, such as colony morphology and biochemical characteristics. This was then followed with genotyping via sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. The colonies were classified into four kinds of colony color types: brown type (BrT), beige type (BeT), pink type (PT), and white type (WT). Numbers of isolated BrT, BeT, PT, and WT colonies were 22 (22%), 30 (30%), 19 (19%), and 39 (39%), respectively. All BrT colonies were identified as C neoformans. BeT were identified as 19 isolates of Cryptococcus laurentii, 10 isolates of Malassezia furfur, and 1 isolate of Cryptococcus uniguttulatus. PT was divided into two colony color types: light-PT (l-PT) and deep-PT (d-PT). Eighteen of l-PT and one of d-PT were identified as Rhodotorula glutinis and Rhodotorula mucilaginosa, respectively. WT were identified as 34 isolates of Cryptococcus guilliermondii, 3 isolates of Cryptococcus zeylanoides, 1 isolate of Cryptococcus sake, and 1 isolate of Stephanoascus ciferrii. Most strains were classified identically with the use of either phenotype or genotyping techniques, but C uniguttulatus and C sake classified by phenotyping were Pseudozyma aphidis and Cryptococcus famata by genotyping. This rapid screening technique of pathogenic yeast-like fungi by only colony characteristics is also expected to be very useful for primary yeast screening. Additionally, we investigated the seasonal variations of C neoformans and other yeast-like fungi from 379 pigeon-dropping samples that were collected from February 2011 to March 2011. We isolated 685 yeast-like fungi from the samples. Almost all C neoformans and

  17. A 'suicide' CRISPR-Cas9 system to promote gene deletion and restoration by electroporation in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yu; Wei, Dongsheng; Zhu, Xiangyang; Pan, Jiao; Zhang, Ping; Huo, Liang; Zhu, Xudong

    2016-01-01

    Loss-of-function mutagenesis is an important tool used to characterize gene functions, and the CRISPR-Cas9 system is a powerful method for performing targeted mutagenesis in organisms that present low recombination frequencies, such as the serotype D strains of Cryptococcus neoformans. However, when the CRISPR-Cas9 system persists in the host cells, off-target effects and Cas9 cytotoxicity may occur, which might block subsequent genetic manipulation. Here, we report a method of spontaneously eliminating the CRISPR-Cas9 system without impairing its robust editing function. We successfully expressed single guide RNA under the driver of an endogenous U6 promoter and the human codon-optimized Cas9 endonuclease with an ACT1 promoter. This system can effectively generate an indel mutation and efficiently perform targeted gene disruption via homology-directed repair by electroporation in yeast. We then demonstrated the spontaneous elimination of the system via a cis arrangement of the CRISPR-Cas9 expression cassettes to the recombination construct. After a system-mediated double crossover, the CRISPR-Cas9 cassettes were cleaved and degraded, which was validated by Southern blotting. This 'suicide' CRISPR-Cas9 system enables the validation of gene functions by subsequent complementation and has the potential to minimize off-target effects. Thus, this technique has the potential for use in functional genomics studies of C. neoformans. PMID:27503169

  18. Using solid-state NMR to monitor the molecular consequences of Cryptococcus neoformans melanization with different catecholamine precursors.

    PubMed

    Chatterjee, Subhasish; Prados-Rosales, Rafael; Frases, Susana; Itin, Boris; Casadevall, Arturo; Stark, Ruth E

    2012-08-01

    Melanins are a class of natural pigments associated with a wide range of biological functions, including microbial virulence, energy transduction, and protection against solar radiation. Because of their insolubility and structural heterogeneity, solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy provides an unprecedented means to define the molecular architecture of these enigmatic pigments. The requirement of obligatory catecholamines for melanization of the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans also offers unique opportunities for investigating melanin development. In the current study, pigments produced with L-dopa, methyl-L-dopa, epinephrine, and norepinephrine precursors are compared structurally using (13)C and (1)H magic-angle spinning (MAS) NMR. Striking structural differences were observed for both aromatic and aliphatic molecular constituents of the mature fungal pigment assemblies, thus making it possible to redefine the molecular prerequisites for formation of the aromatic domains of insoluble indole-based biopolymers, to rationalize their distinctive physical characteristics, and to delineate the role of cellular constituents in assembly of the melanized macromolecules with polysaccharides and fatty acyl chain-containing moieties. By achieving an augmented understanding of the mechanisms of C. neoformans melanin biosynthesis and cellular assembly, such studies can guide future drug discovery efforts related to melanin-associated virulence, resistance to tumor therapy, and production of melanin mimetics under cell-free conditions.

  19. Using Solid-state NMR to Monitor the Molecular Consequences of Cryptococcus neoformans Melanization with Different Catecholamine Precursors

    PubMed Central

    Chatterjee, Subhasish; Prados-Rosales, Rafael; Frases, Susana; Itin, Boris; Casadevall, Arturo; Stark, Ruth E.

    2012-01-01

    Melanins are a class of natural pigments associated with a wide range of biological functions, including microbial virulence, energy transduction, and protection against solar radiation. Because of their insolubility and structural heterogeneity, solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy provides an unprecedented means to define the molecular architecture of these enigmatic pigments. The requirement of obligatory catecholamines for melanization of the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans also offers unique opportunities for investigating melanin development. In the current study, pigments produced with L-dopa, methyl-L-dopa, epinephrine, and norepinephrine precursors are compared structurally using 13C and 1H magic-angle spinning (MAS) NMR. Striking structural differences were observed for both aromatic and aliphatic molecular constituents of the mature fungal pigment assemblies, thus making it possible to redefine the molecular prerequisites for formation of the aromatic domains of insoluble indole-based biopolymers, to rationalize their distinctive physical characteristics, and to delineate the role of cellular constituents in assembly of the melanized macromolecules with polysaccharides and fatty acyl chain-containing moieties. By achieving an augmented understanding of the mechanisms of C. neoformans melanin biosynthesis and cellular assembly, such studies can guide future drug discovery efforts related to melanin-associated virulence, resistance to tumor therapy, and production of melanin mimetics under cell-free conditions. PMID:22765382

  20. Antifungal susceptibility of clinical and environmental isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans to four antifungal drugs determined by two techniques.

    PubMed

    Moraes, E M P; Prímola, N S; Hamdan, Júnia Soares

    2003-06-01

    A total of 64 Cryptococcus neoformans strains, including clinical and environmental Brazilian isolates var. neoformans and var. gattii, were tested for susceptibility to amphotericin B, 5-flucytosine, fluconazole and itraconazole. The tests were performed according to the recommendations of National Committee of Clinical Laboratory Standards and the method of macrodilution in liquid medium of Shadomy et al. [Manual de Microbiologia Clínica, 4th ed. Buenos Aires: Editorial Medica Panamericana, 1987: 1229-38]. For most drugs there was a significant difference between the readings taken at 24 and 48 h with both methods. When the minimum inhibitory concentrations obtained by the two techniques were compared, significant differences were observed for amphotericin B and fluconazole. Overall, differences in drug susceptibility with respect to the origin of the isolates or the variety of the fungus were not observed. As an exception, the gattii variety exhibited a high resistance rate to amphotericin B when the technique of Shadomy et al. was applied, a fact possibly related to the greater difficulty for treatment of the disease caused by this fungal variety.

  1. A major role for capsule-independent phagocytosis-inhibitory mechanisms in mammalian infection by Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Chun, Cheryl D.; Brown, Jessica C. S.; Madhani, Hiten D.

    2011-01-01

    Summary The anti-phagocytic polysaccharide capsule of the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans is a major virulence attribute. However, previous studies of the pleiotropic virulence determinant Gat201, a GATA-family transcription factor, suggested that capsule-independent antiphagocytic mechanisms exist. We have determined that Gat201 controls the mRNA levels of ~1100 genes (16% of the genome) and binds the upstream regions of ~130 genes. Seven Gat201-bound genes encode for putative and known transcription factors—including two previously implicated in virulence—suggesting an extensive regulatory network. Systematic analysis pinpointed two critical Gat201-bound genes, GAT204 (a transcription factor) and BLP1, which account for much of the capsule-independent antiphagocytic function of Gat201. A strong correlation was observed between the quantitative effects of single and double mutants on phagocytosis in vitro and on host colonization in vivo. This genetic dissection provides evidence that capsule-independent anti-phagocytic mechanisms are pivotal for successful mammalian infection by C. neoformans. PMID:21402362

  2. Serotyping of 467 Cryptococcus neoformans Isolates from Clinical and Environmental Sources in Brazil: Analysis of Host and Regional Patterns

    PubMed Central

    Nishikawa, Marília M.; Lazera, Márcia S.; Barbosa, Glaucia G.; Trilles, Luciana; Balassiano, Beatriz R.; Macedo, Regina C. L.; Bezerra, Cláudia C. F.; Pérez, Maurício A.; Cardarelli, Paola; Wanke, Bodo

    2003-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an important zoopathogen, and it is one of the most prevalent lethal mycotic agents. Its polysaccharide capsule, synthesized in vivo and in vitro, is a virulence factor, contains predominantly glucuronoxylomannan, and is responsible for the antigenic differentiation of serotypes A, B, C, D, and AD. A total of 467 isolates of C. neoformans obtained from clinical and environmental sources from Brazilian regions were studied serologically by using the Crypto Check Iatron RM 304-K kit. Serotyping of the clinical isolates showed the following prevalences of the serotypes: A (77.95%), followed by B (18.2%), AD (1.3%), D (0.4%), C (0.2%), and untypeable (1.93%). The epidemiology of serotype A in the Brazilian southern and southeastern regions reproduces the picture observed worldwide. In contrast, serotype B was the most frequent agent of cryptococcosis in the northeastern region, occurring nearly equally in male and female healthy hosts. Among the isolates from environmental sources, serotypes A and B were found to occur in the hollows of tropical trees of the genera Cassia, Ficus, and Moquillea. The few isolates from Eucalyptus camaldulensis debris were serotypes A and B and untypeable. Overall, no association with a specific host tree was identified for these serotypes, denoting a distinct ecoepidemiological regional pattern. The one serotype C isolate was recovered from a human immunodeficiency virus-negative host. Serotype AD predominated over serotype D among both clinical and environmental isolates. PMID:12517828

  3. Variable Region Identical IgA and IgE to Cryptococcus neoformans Capsular Polysaccharide Manifest Specificity Differences*

    PubMed Central

    Janda, Alena; Eryilmaz, Ertan; Nakouzi, Antonio; Pohl, Mary Ann; Bowen, Anthony; Casadevall, Arturo

    2015-01-01

    In recent years several groups have shown that isotype switching from IgM to IgG to IgA can affect the affinity and specificity of antibodies sharing identical variable (V) regions. However, whether the same applies to IgE is unknown. In this study we compared the fine specificity of V region-identical IgE and IgA to Cryptococcus neoformans capsular polysaccharide and found that these differed in specificity from each other. The IgE and IgA paratopes were probed by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy with 15N-labeled peptide mimetics of cryptococcal polysaccharide antigen (Ag). IgE was found to cleave the peptide at a much faster rate than V region-identical IgG subclasses and IgA, consistent with an altered paratope. Both IgE and IgA were opsonic for C. neoformans and protected against infection in mice. In summary, V-region expression in the context of the ϵ constant (C) region results in specificity changes that are greater than observed for comparable IgG subclasses. These results raise the possibility that expression of certain V regions in the context of α and ϵ C regions affects their function and contributes to the special properties of those isotypes. PMID:25778397

  4. Antifungal activity against Cryptococcus neoformans strains and genotoxicity assessment in human leukocyte cells of Euphorbia tirucalli L

    PubMed Central

    de Oliveira, Luís Flávio Souza; Fuentefria, Alexandre Meneghello; Klein, Fernanda da Silva; Machado, Michel Mansur

    2014-01-01

    In the last times, focus on plant research has increased all over the world. Euphorbia tirucalli L., a plant known popularly as Aveloz, and originally used in Africa, has been drawing attention for its use in the United States and Latin America, both for use as an ornamental plant and as a medicinal plant. E. tirucalli L. is a member of the family Euphorbiaceae and contains many diterpenoids and triterpenoids, in particular phorbol esters, apparently the main constituent of this plant, which are assumed to be responsible for their activities in vivo and in vitro. The in vitro antifungal activities of Euphorbia tirucalli (L.) against opportunistic yeasts were studied using microbroth dilution assay. The results showed that aqueous extract and latex preparation were effective against ten clinical strains of Cryptococcus neoformans in vitro (Latex and extract MIC range of 3.2 – > 411 μg/mL). Aiming the safe use in humans, the genotoxic effects of E. tirucalli were evaluated in human leukocytes cells. Our data show that both aqueous extract and latex preparation have no genotoxic effect in human leukocytes cells in vitro. Although the results cannot be extrapolated by itself for use in vivo, they suggest a good perspective for a therapeutic application in future. In conclusion, our results show that the aqueous extract and latex preparation from E. tirucalli L. are antifungal agents effectives against several strains of C. neoformans and do not provoke DNA damage in human leukocyte cells, considering the concentrations tested. PMID:25763040

  5. Comparative Study of Trichothecin, Amphotericin B, and 5-Fluorocytosine Against Cryptococcus neoformans In Vitro and In Vivo

    PubMed Central

    Sneller, M. R.; Hariri, A.; Sorenson, W. G.; Larsh, H. W.

    1977-01-01

    Trichothecin (T-cin), amphotericin B (AB), and 5-fluorocytosine (FC) were compared singly and in combination for capacities to inhibit growth of Cryptococcus neoformans in culture and to protect mice bearing infections with this yeast. The minimum inhibitory concentrations for T-cin, AB, and FC were found to be 0.5, 0.2, and 5.0 μg/ml, respectively. In vitro viability studies demonstrated a marked reduction in colony counts with the AB-FC combination and additive effects with the AB–T-cin and FC–T-cin combinations for a 3-day period. In mice infected intravenously with C. neoformans, the mean effective dose for AB was 0.38 mg/kg, and for FC it was 100 mg/kg for a 30-day treatment period. No mean effective dose could be ascertained when T-cin was tested at doses of 0.1 to 50 mg/kg. Despite this, marked beneficial effects were noted in vivo with the AB–T-cin combination, whereas additive effects and indifference were observed for AB-FC and FC–T-cin combinations, respectively. High-dose T-cin controls survived despite having received a cumulative dosage of more than twice the reported (LD50) mean lethal dose value. PMID:334065

  6. A 'suicide' CRISPR-Cas9 system to promote gene deletion and restoration by electroporation in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yu; Wei, Dongsheng; Zhu, Xiangyang; Pan, Jiao; Zhang, Ping; Huo, Liang; Zhu, Xudong

    2016-08-09

    Loss-of-function mutagenesis is an important tool used to characterize gene functions, and the CRISPR-Cas9 system is a powerful method for performing targeted mutagenesis in organisms that present low recombination frequencies, such as the serotype D strains of Cryptococcus neoformans. However, when the CRISPR-Cas9 system persists in the host cells, off-target effects and Cas9 cytotoxicity may occur, which might block subsequent genetic manipulation. Here, we report a method of spontaneously eliminating the CRISPR-Cas9 system without impairing its robust editing function. We successfully expressed single guide RNA under the driver of an endogenous U6 promoter and the human codon-optimized Cas9 endonuclease with an ACT1 promoter. This system can effectively generate an indel mutation and efficiently perform targeted gene disruption via homology-directed repair by electroporation in yeast. We then demonstrated the spontaneous elimination of the system via a cis arrangement of the CRISPR-Cas9 expression cassettes to the recombination construct. After a system-mediated double crossover, the CRISPR-Cas9 cassettes were cleaved and degraded, which was validated by Southern blotting. This 'suicide' CRISPR-Cas9 system enables the validation of gene functions by subsequent complementation and has the potential to minimize off-target effects. Thus, this technique has the potential for use in functional genomics studies of C. neoformans.

  7. A ‘suicide’ CRISPR-Cas9 system to promote gene deletion and restoration by electroporation in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Yu; Wei, Dongsheng; Zhu, Xiangyang; Pan, Jiao; Zhang, Ping; Huo, Liang; Zhu, Xudong

    2016-01-01

    Loss-of-function mutagenesis is an important tool used to characterize gene functions, and the CRISPR-Cas9 system is a powerful method for performing targeted mutagenesis in organisms that present low recombination frequencies, such as the serotype D strains of Cryptococcus neoformans. However, when the CRISPR-Cas9 system persists in the host cells, off-target effects and Cas9 cytotoxicity may occur, which might block subsequent genetic manipulation. Here, we report a method of spontaneously eliminating the CRISPR-Cas9 system without impairing its robust editing function. We successfully expressed single guide RNA under the driver of an endogenous U6 promoter and the human codon-optimized Cas9 endonuclease with an ACT1 promoter. This system can effectively generate an indel mutation and efficiently perform targeted gene disruption via homology-directed repair by electroporation in yeast. We then demonstrated the spontaneous elimination of the system via a cis arrangement of the CRISPR-Cas9 expression cassettes to the recombination construct. After a system-mediated double crossover, the CRISPR-Cas9 cassettes were cleaved and degraded, which was validated by Southern blotting. This ‘suicide’ CRISPR-Cas9 system enables the validation of gene functions by subsequent complementation and has the potential to minimize off-target effects. Thus, this technique has the potential for use in functional genomics studies of C. neoformans. PMID:27503169

  8. The Mannoprotein Cig1 supports iron acquisition from heme and virulence in the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Cadieux, Brigitte; Lian, Tianshun; Hu, Guanggan; Wang, Joyce; Biondo, Carmelo; Teti, Giuseppe; Liu, Victor; Murphy, Michael E P; Creagh, A Louise; Kronstad, James W

    2013-04-15

    Iron acquisition is critical for virulence of the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. The cryptococcal transcript for the extracellular mannoprotein Cig1 is highly regulated by iron and abundant in iron-starved cells, suggesting a role in iron acquisition. Indeed, loss of Cig1 resulted in delayed growth on heme at physiological pH. Expression of CIG1 is regulated by the pH-responsive transcription factor Rim101, and loss of Rim101 also impaired growth on heme. A cig1Δ mutant was less susceptible than the wild-type strain to noniron metalloporphyrins, further indicating a role for Cig1 in heme uptake. Recombinant Cig1 exhibited the absorbance spectrum of a heme-binding protein upon heme titration, and Cig1 may therefore function as a hemophore at the cell surface. Cig1 contributed to virulence in a mouse model of cryptococcosis but only in a mutant that also lacked the high-affinity iron uptake system. Overall, Cig1-mediated heme uptake is a potential therapeutic target in C. neoformans.

  9. CD4+ T cell-dependent acquired state of immunity that protects the brain against Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Hill, J O; Aguirre, K M

    1994-03-01

    In immunodeficient hosts, a failure in defense mechanisms allows Cryptococcus neoformans to establish foci of infection in the brain. Immune and nonspecific responses in the primary site of infection in the lung have been described, but those extrapulmonary defense mechanisms that can be mobilized against the yeast have received little attention. This paper describes a response expressed against yeast in the brain of immunocompetent hosts, a response that is weakened in hosts deficient in CD4+ T cells. When a small number of yeast gain access to the vasculature, for example through an i.v. injection, about 0.1% establish themselves in the brain. Normal mice but not SCID mice have the capacity to suppress the multiplication of these yeast cells. The host response is accelerated in mice that are recovering from a primary lung infection, resulting in long term survival without antibiotic chemotherapy. This response is ablated by anti-CD4 mAb treatment and CD4+ cells obtained from infected primed donors are needed to confer immunity on SCID recipients. The critical target for the anti-Cryptococcus immune response are yeast in the brain cortex. However, rather than preventing the colonization of the brain by blood-borne yeast, immunity apparently serves to restrict the growth of yeast in a small number of established foci.

  10. The Zinc Finger Protein Mig1 Regulates Mitochondrial Function and Azole Drug Susceptibility in the Pathogenic Fungus Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Caza, Mélissa; Hu, Guanggan; Price, Michael; Perfect, John R; Kronstad, James W

    2016-01-01

    The opportunistic pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans causes fungal meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised individuals. In previous studies, we found that the Hap complex in this pathogen represses genes encoding mitochondrial respiratory functions and tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle components under low-iron conditions. The orthologous Hap2/3/4/5 complex in Saccharomyces cerevisiae exerts a regulatory influence on mitochondrial functions, and Hap4 is subject to glucose repression via the carbon catabolite repressor Mig1. In this study, we explored the regulatory link between a candidate ortholog of the Mig1 protein and the HapX component of the Hap complex in C. neoformans. This analysis revealed repression of MIG1 by HapX and activation of HAPX by Mig1 under low-iron conditions and Mig1 regulation of mitochondrial functions, including respiration, tolerance for reactive oxygen species, and expression of genes for iron consumption and iron acquisition functions. Consistently with these regulatory functions, a mig1Δ mutant had impaired growth on inhibitors of mitochondrial respiration and inducers of ROS. Furthermore, deletion of MIG1 provoked a dysregulation in nutrient sensing via the TOR pathway and impacted the pathway for cell wall remodeling. Importantly, loss of Mig1 increased susceptibility to fluconazole, thus further establishing a link between azole antifungal drugs and mitochondrial function. Mig1 and HapX were also required together for survival in macrophages, but Mig1 alone had a minimal impact on virulence in mice. Overall, these studies provide novel insights into a HapX/Mig1 regulatory network and reinforce an association between mitochondrial dysfunction and drug susceptibility that may provide new targets for the development of antifungal drugs. IMPORTANCE Fungal pathogens of humans are difficult to treat, and there is a pressing need to identify new targets for antifungal drugs and to obtain a detailed understanding of fungal proliferation in

  11. The Zinc Finger Protein Mig1 Regulates Mitochondrial Function and Azole Drug Susceptibility in the Pathogenic Fungus Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Caza, Mélissa; Hu, Guanggan; Price, Michael; Perfect, John R.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT The opportunistic pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans causes fungal meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised individuals. In previous studies, we found that the Hap complex in this pathogen represses genes encoding mitochondrial respiratory functions and tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle components under low-iron conditions. The orthologous Hap2/3/4/5 complex in Saccharomyces cerevisiae exerts a regulatory influence on mitochondrial functions, and Hap4 is subject to glucose repression via the carbon catabolite repressor Mig1. In this study, we explored the regulatory link between a candidate ortholog of the Mig1 protein and the HapX component of the Hap complex in C. neoformans. This analysis revealed repression of MIG1 by HapX and activation of HAPX by Mig1 under low-iron conditions and Mig1 regulation of mitochondrial functions, including respiration, tolerance for reactive oxygen species, and expression of genes for iron consumption and iron acquisition functions. Consistently with these regulatory functions, a mig1Δ mutant had impaired growth on inhibitors of mitochondrial respiration and inducers of ROS. Furthermore, deletion of MIG1 provoked a dysregulation in nutrient sensing via the TOR pathway and impacted the pathway for cell wall remodeling. Importantly, loss of Mig1 increased susceptibility to fluconazole, thus further establishing a link between azole antifungal drugs and mitochondrial function. Mig1 and HapX were also required together for survival in macrophages, but Mig1 alone had a minimal impact on virulence in mice. Overall, these studies provide novel insights into a HapX/Mig1 regulatory network and reinforce an association between mitochondrial dysfunction and drug susceptibility that may provide new targets for the development of antifungal drugs. IMPORTANCE Fungal pathogens of humans are difficult to treat, and there is a pressing need to identify new targets for antifungal drugs and to obtain a detailed understanding of fungal

  12. Proanthocyanidin-rich extracts from cranberry fruit (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) selectively inhibit the growth of human pathogenic fungi Candida spp. and Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Patel, Kunal D; Scarano, Frank J; Kondo, Miwako; Hurta, Robert A R; Neto, Catherine C

    2011-12-28

    Cranberry ( Vaccinium macrocarpon ) has been shown in clinical studies to reduce infections caused by Escherichia coli and other bacteria, and proanthocyanidins are believed to play a role. The ability of cranberry to inhibit the growth of opportunistic human fungal pathogens that cause oral, skin, respiratory, and systemic infections has not been well-studied. Fractions from whole cranberry fruit were screened for inhibition of five Candida species and Cryptococcus neoformans , a causative agent of fungal meningitis. Candida glabrata , Candida lusitaniae , Candida krusei , and Cryptococcus neoformans showed significant susceptibility to treatment with cranberry proanthocyanidin fractions in a broth microdilution assay, with minimum inhibitory concentrations as low as 1 μg/mL. MALDI-TOF MS analysis of subfractions detected epicatechin oligomers of up to 12 degrees of polymerization. Those containing larger oligomers caused the strongest inhibition. This study suggests that cranberry has potential as an antifungal agent.

  13. Cryptococcus neoformans granuloma in the lung and spinal cord of a free-ranging cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). A clinical report and literature review.

    PubMed

    Millward, I R; Williams, M C

    2005-12-01

    A 6-year-old, male, wild-born, free-ranging cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) was evaluated for acute onset of progressive lameness in the right hind limb. Survey radiographs were unrewarding and myelography indicated an intramedullary compressive mass at the L3-L4 region. A fine needle aspirate of the lesion indicated the presence of Cryptococcus organisms. Necropsy confirmed the presence of granulomas (cryptococcoma) in the lung and the spinal cord (meningomyelitis) caused by Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii. Cryptococcus neoformans is a yeast-like organism that is a potential pathogen to many species. Initial infection is thought to be of respiratory origin and then it commonly disseminates systemically from the nasal cavity or lungs to the skin, eyes and central nervous system in particular. The cheetah tested negative for both feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), as have all the previously reported cheetah cases. C. neoformans is a non-contagious, opportunistic organism and is the most common systemic mycoses in domestic cats and the cheetah.

  14. Introns Regulate Gene Expression in Cryptococcus neoformans in a Pab2p Dependent Pathway

    PubMed Central

    Goebels, Carolin; Thonn, Aline; Gonzalez-Hilarion, Sara; Rolland, Olga; Moyrand, Frederique; Beilharz, Traude H.; Janbon, Guilhem

    2013-01-01

    Most Cryptococccus neoformans genes are interrupted by introns, and alternative splicing occurs very often. In this study, we examined the influence of introns on C. neoformans gene expression. For most tested genes, elimination of introns greatly reduces mRNA accumulation. Strikingly, the number and the position of introns modulate the gene expression level in a cumulative manner. A screen for mutant strains able to express functionally an intronless allele revealed that the nuclear poly(A) binding protein Pab2 modulates intron-dependent regulation of gene expression in C. neoformans. PAB2 deletion partially restored accumulation of intronless mRNA. In addition, our results demonstrated that the essential nucleases Rrp44p and Xrn2p are implicated in the degradation of mRNA transcribed from an intronless allele in C. neoformans. Double mutant constructions and over-expression experiments suggested that Pab2p and Xrn2p could act in the same pathway whereas Rrp44p appears to act independently. Finally, deletion of the RRP6 or the CID14 gene, encoding the nuclear exosome nuclease and the TRAMP complex associated poly(A) polymerase, respectively, has no effect on intronless allele expression. PMID:23966870

  15. The role of the de novo pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway in Cryptococcus neoformans high temperature growth and virulence.

    PubMed

    de Gontijo, Fabiano Assis; Pascon, Renata C; Fernandes, Larissa; Machado, Joel; Alspaugh, J Andrew; Vallim, Marcelo A

    2014-09-01

    Fungal infections are often difficult to treat due to the inherent similarities between fungal and animal cells and the resulting host toxicity from many antifungal compounds. Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen of humans that causes life-threatening disease, primarily in immunocompromised patients. Since antifungal therapy for this microorganism is limited, many investigators have explored novel drug targets aim at virulence factors, such as the ability to grow at mammalian physiological temperature (37°C). To address this issue, we used the Agrobacterium tumefaciens gene delivery system to create a random insertion mutagenesis library that was screened for altered growth at elevated temperatures. Among several mutants unable to grow at 37°C, we explored one bearing an interruption in the URA4 gene. This gene encodes dihydroorotase (DHOase) that is involved in the de novo synthesis of pyrimidine ribonucleotides. Loss of the C. neoformans Ura4 protein, by targeted gene interruption, resulted in an expected uracil/uridine auxotrophy and an unexpected high temperature growth defect. In addition, the ura4 mutant displayed phenotypic defects in other prominent virulence factors (melanin, capsule and phospholipase) and reduced stress response compared to wild type and reconstituted strains. Accordingly, this mutant had a decreased survival rate in macrophages and attenuated virulence in a murine model of cryptococcal infection. Quantitative PCR analysis suggests that this biosynthetic pathway is induced during the transition from 30°C to 37°C, and that transcriptional regulation of de novo and salvage pyrimidine pathway are under the control of the Ura4 protein. PMID:25011011

  16. Unisexual and Heterosexual Meiotic Reproduction Generate Aneuploidy and Phenotypic Diversity De Novo in the Yeast Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Li, Wenjun; Floyd-Averette, Anna; Mieczkowski, Piotr; Dietrich, Fred S.; Heitman, Joseph

    2013-01-01

    Aneuploidy is known to be deleterious and underlies several common human diseases, including cancer and genetic disorders such as trisomy 21 in Down's syndrome. In contrast, aneuploidy can also be advantageous and in fungi confers antifungal drug resistance and enables rapid adaptive evolution. We report here that sexual reproduction generates phenotypic and genotypic diversity in the human pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans, which is globally distributed and commonly infects individuals with compromised immunity, such as HIV/AIDS patients, causing life-threatening meningoencephalitis. C. neoformans has a defined a-α opposite sexual cycle; however, >99% of isolates are of the α mating type. Interestingly, α cells can undergo α-α unisexual reproduction, even involving genotypically identical cells. A central question is: Why would cells mate with themselves given that sex is costly and typically serves to admix preexisting genetic diversity from genetically divergent parents? In this study, we demonstrate that α-α unisexual reproduction frequently generates phenotypic diversity, and the majority of these variant progeny are aneuploid. Aneuploidy is responsible for the observed phenotypic changes, as chromosome loss restoring euploidy results in a wild-type phenotype. Other genetic changes, including diploidization, chromosome length polymorphisms, SNPs, and indels, were also generated. Phenotypic/genotypic changes were not observed following asexual mitotic reproduction. Aneuploidy was also detected in progeny from a-α opposite-sex congenic mating; thus, both homothallic and heterothallic sexual reproduction can generate phenotypic diversity de novo. Our study suggests that the ability to undergo unisexual reproduction may be an evolutionary strategy for eukaryotic microbial pathogens, enabling de novo genotypic and phenotypic plasticity and facilitating rapid adaptation to novel environments. PMID:24058295

  17. Dynamics of Cryptococcus neoformans-Macrophage Interactions Reveal that Fungal Background Influences Outcome during Cryptococcal Meningoencephalitis in Humans

    PubMed Central

    Alanio, Alexandre; Desnos-Ollivier, Marie; Dromer, Françoise

    2011-01-01

    ABSTRACT Cryptococcosis is a multifaceted fungal infection with variable clinical presentation and outcome. As in many infectious diseases, this variability is commonly assigned to host factors. To investigate whether the diversity of Cryptococcus neoformans clinical (ClinCn) isolates influences the interaction with host cells and the clinical outcome, we developed and validated new quantitative assays using flow cytometry and J774 macrophages. The phenotype of ClinCn-macrophage interactions was determined for 54 ClinCn isolates recovered from cerebrospinal fluids (CSF) from 54 unrelated patients, based on phagocytic index (PI) and 2-h and 48-h intracellular proliferation indexes (IPH2 and IPH48, respectively). Their phenotypes were highly variable. Isolates harboring low PI/low IPH2 and high PI/high IPH2 values were associated with nonsterilization of CSF at week 2 and death at month 3, respectively. A subset of 9 ClinCn isolates with different phenotypes exhibited variable virulence in mice and displayed intramacrophagic expression levels of the LAC1, APP1, VAD1, IPC1, PLB1, and COX1 genes that were highly variable among the isolates and correlated with IPH48. Variation in the expression of virulence factors is thus shown here to depend on not only experimental conditions but also fungal background. These results suggest that, in addition to host factors, the patient’s outcome can be related to fungal determinants. Deciphering the molecular events involved in C. neoformans fate inside host cells is crucial for our understanding of cryptococcosis pathogenesis. PMID:21828220

  18. SEC14 is a specific requirement for secretion of phospholipase B1 and pathogenicity of Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Chayakulkeeree, Methee; Johnston, Simon Andrew; Oei, Johanes Bijosono; Lev, Sophie; Williamson, Peter Richard; Wilson, Christabel Frewen; Zuo, Xiaoming; Leal, Ana Lusia; Vainstein, Marilene Henning; Meyer, Wieland; Sorrell, Tania Christine; May, Robin Charles; Djordjevic, Julianne Teresa

    2011-01-01

    Summary Secreted phospholipase B1 (CnPlb1) is essential for dissemination of Cryptococcus neoformans to the central nervous system (CNS) yet essential components of its secretion machinery remain to be elucidated. Using gene deletion analysis we demonstrate that CnPlb1 secretion is dependent on the CnSEC14 product, CnSec14-1p. CnSec14-1p is a homologue of the phosphatidylinositol transfer protein (PITP) ScSec14p, which is essential for secretion and viability in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In contrast to CnPlb1, neither laccase 1 (Lac1)-induced melanization within the cell wall nor capsule induction were negatively impacted in CnSEC14-1 deletion mutants (CnΔsec14-1 and CnΔsec14-1CnΔsfh5). Similar to the CnPLB1 deletion mutant (CnΔplb1), CnΔsec14-1 was hypo-virulent in mice and did not disseminate to the CNS by day 14 post infection. Furthermore, macrophage expulsion of live CnΔsec14-1 and CnΔplb1 (vomocytosis) was reduced. Individual deletion of CnSEC14-2, a closely-related CnSEC14-1 homologue, and CnSFH5, a distantly-related SEC fourteen-like homologue, did not abrogate CnPlb1 secretion or virulence. However, reconstitution of CnΔsec14-1 with CnSEC14-1 or CnSEC14-2 restored both phenotypes, consistent with functional genetic redundancy. We conclude that CnPlb1 secretion is SEC14-dependent and that C. neoformans preferentially exports virulence determinants to the cell periphery via distinct pathways. We also demonstrate that CnPlb1 secretion is essential for vomocytosis. PMID:21453402

  19. A Flucytosine-Responsive Mbp1/Swi4-Like Protein, Mbs1, Plays Pleiotropic Roles in Antifungal Drug Resistance, Stress Response, and Virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Song, Min-Hee; Lee, Jang-Won; Kim, Min Su; Yoon, Ja-Kyung; White, Theodore C.; Floyd, Anna; Heitman, Joseph; Strain, Anna K.; Nielsen, Judith N.; Nielsen, Kirsten

    2012-01-01

    Cryptococcosis, caused by the basidiomycetous fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, is responsible for more than 600,000 deaths annually in AIDS patients. Flucytosine is one of the most commonly used antifungal drugs for its treatment, but its resistance and regulatory mechanisms have never been investigated at the genome scale in C. neoformans. In the present study, we performed comparative transcriptome analysis by employing two-component system mutants (tco1Δ and tco2Δ) exhibiting opposing flucytosine susceptibility. As a result, a total of 177 flucytosine-responsive genes were identified, and many of them were found to be regulated by Tco1 or Tco2. Among these, we discovered an APSES-like transcription factor, Mbs1 (Mbp1- and Swi4-like protein 1). Expression analysis revealed that MBS1 was regulated in response to flucytosine in a Tco2/Hog1-dependent manner. Supporting this, C. neoformans with the deletion of MBS1 exhibited increased susceptibility to flucytosine. Intriguingly, Mbs1 played pleiotropic roles in diverse cellular processes of C. neoformans. Mbs1 positively regulated ergosterol biosynthesis and thereby affected polyene and azole drug susceptibility. Mbs1 was also involved in genotoxic and oxidative stress responses. Furthermore, Mbs1 promoted production of melanin and capsule and thereby was required for full virulence of C. neoformans. In conclusion, Mbs1 is considered to be a novel antifungal therapeutic target for treatment of cryptococcosis. PMID:22080454

  20. Physical Maps for Genome Analysis of Serotype A and D Strains of the Fungal Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Schein, Jacqueline E.; Tangen, Kristin L.; Chiu, Readman; Shin, Heesun; Lengeler, Klaus B.; MacDonald, William Kim; Bosdet, Ian; Heitman, Joseph; Jones, Steven J.M.; Marra, Marco A.; Kronstad, James W.

    2002-01-01

    The basidiomycete fungus Cryptococcus neoformans is an important opportunistic pathogen of humans that poses a significant threat to immunocompromised individuals. Isolates of C. neoformans are classified into serotypes (A, B, C, D, and AD) based on antigenic differences in the polysaccharide capsule that surrounds the fungal cells. Genomic and EST sequencing projects are underway for the serotype D strain JEC21 and the serotype A strain H99. As part of a genomics program for C. neoformans, we have constructed fingerprinted bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clone physical maps for strains H99 and JEC21 to support the genomic sequencing efforts and to provide an initial comparison of the two genomes. The BAC clones represented an estimated 10-fold redundant coverage of the genomes of each serotype and allowed the assembly of 20 contigs each for H99 and JEC21. We found that the genomes of the two strains are sufficiently distinct to prevent coassembly of the two maps when combined fingerprint data are used to construct contigs. Hybridization experiments placed 82 markers on the JEC21 map and 102 markers on the H99 map, enabling contigs to be linked with specific chromosomes identified by electrophoretic karyotyping. These markers revealed both extensive similarity in gene order (conservation of synteny) between JEC21 and H99 as well as examples of chromosomal rearrangements including inversions and translocations. Sequencing reads were generated from the ends of the BAC clones to allow correlation of genomic shotgun sequence data with physical map contigs. The BAC maps therefore represent a valuable resource for the generation, assembly, and finishing of the genomic sequence of both JEC21 and H99. The physical maps also serve as a link between map-based and sequence-based data, providing a powerful resource for continued genomic studies. [This paper is dedicated to the memory of Michael Smith, Founding Director of the Biotechnology Laboratory and the BC Cancer

  1. Enhanced virulence of Histoplasma capsulatum through transfer and surface incorporation of glycans from Cryptococcus neoformans during co-infection.

    PubMed

    Cordero, Radames J B; Liedke, Susie Coutinho; de S Araújo, Glauber R; Martinez, Luis R; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Frases, Susana; Peralta, Jose Mauro; Casadevall, Arturo; Rodrigues, Marcio L; Nosanchuk, Joshua D; Guimaraes, Allan J

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn) and Histoplasma capsulatum (Hc) co-exist in the environment and occasionally co-infect individuals, which can lead to severe disease/lethal outcomes. We investigated specific interactions between Cn-Hc to determine the impact of synchronous infection in virulence and disease. Co-infected mice had significantly higher mortality than infection with either species or acapsular Cn-Hc. Coating of Hc with cryptococcal glycans (Cn-gly) resulted in higher pulmonary fungal burden in co-infected animals relative to control. Co-cultivation or addition of Cn-gly resulted in enhanced pellicle formation with a hybrid polysaccharide matrix with higher reactivity to GXM mAbs. Transfer and incorporation of Cn polysaccharide onto Hc surface was time and temperature dependent. Cn-gly transfer altered the zeta potential of Hc and was associated with increased resistance to phagocytosis and killing by macrophages. Mice infected with Hc and subsequently injected with purified Cn-gly died significantly more rapidly than Hc alone infected, establishing the precedent that virulence factors from one fungus can enhance the virulence of unrelated species. These findings suggest a new mechanism of microbial interaction involving the transfer of virulence traits that translates into enhanced lethality during mixed fungal infections and highlights the importance of studying heterogeneous microbial populations in the setting of infection. PMID:26908077

  2. Antifungal efficacy of amphotericin B encapsulated fibrin microsphere for treating Cryptococcus neoformans infection in Swiss albino mice.

    PubMed

    Khan, Azmat Ali; Jabeen, Mumtaz; Alanazi, Amer M; Khan, Abdul Arif

    2016-01-01

    A natural and biocompatible fibrin microsphere is one of the most promising dual delivery vehicle as compared to other traditionally designed delivery modalities. It represents sustained delivery of encapsulated drug and is easily biodegradable in the blood circulation. In the present study, we evaluated the systemic augmentation of the antifungal activity of amphotericin B loaded in fibrin microsphere (AMB-fibrin microsphere) against cryptococcosis in Swiss albino mice. Mice infected with Cryptococcus neoformans were treated with 0.5mg/kg AMB-fibrin microsphere that was given alternately for 7 days. The antifungal potential of AMB-fibrin microsphere was assessed on the basis of reduction of cfu count in the systemic circulation and various vital organs of infected mice. The formulation was found to be highly effective in reducing intracellular pathogen from the experimental animals where fibrin microsphere significantly controlled the release of amphotericin B for longer time duration. The AMB-fibrin microsphere chemotherapy was significantly more effective than free amphotericin B in reducing the fungal burden and showed better survival efficacy (p<0.05). The current study demonstrating the use of novel amphotericin B loaded fibrin microsphere not only imparts protection to the encapsulated amphotericin B but also offers an effective strategy to decrease the drug associated toxicities. PMID:27294976

  3. Enhanced virulence of Histoplasma capsulatum through transfer and surface incorporation of glycans from Cryptococcus neoformans during co-infection.

    PubMed

    Cordero, Radames J B; Liedke, Susie Coutinho; de S Araújo, Glauber R; Martinez, Luis R; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Frases, Susana; Peralta, Jose Mauro; Casadevall, Arturo; Rodrigues, Marcio L; Nosanchuk, Joshua D; Guimaraes, Allan J

    2016-02-24

    Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn) and Histoplasma capsulatum (Hc) co-exist in the environment and occasionally co-infect individuals, which can lead to severe disease/lethal outcomes. We investigated specific interactions between Cn-Hc to determine the impact of synchronous infection in virulence and disease. Co-infected mice had significantly higher mortality than infection with either species or acapsular Cn-Hc. Coating of Hc with cryptococcal glycans (Cn-gly) resulted in higher pulmonary fungal burden in co-infected animals relative to control. Co-cultivation or addition of Cn-gly resulted in enhanced pellicle formation with a hybrid polysaccharide matrix with higher reactivity to GXM mAbs. Transfer and incorporation of Cn polysaccharide onto Hc surface was time and temperature dependent. Cn-gly transfer altered the zeta potential of Hc and was associated with increased resistance to phagocytosis and killing by macrophages. Mice infected with Hc and subsequently injected with purified Cn-gly died significantly more rapidly than Hc alone infected, establishing the precedent that virulence factors from one fungus can enhance the virulence of unrelated species. These findings suggest a new mechanism of microbial interaction involving the transfer of virulence traits that translates into enhanced lethality during mixed fungal infections and highlights the importance of studying heterogeneous microbial populations in the setting of infection.

  4. Enhanced virulence of Histoplasma capsulatum through transfer and surface incorporation of glycans from Cryptococcus neoformans during co-infection

    PubMed Central

    Cordero, Radames J. B.; Liedke, Susie Coutinho; de S. Araújo, Glauber R.; Martinez, Luis R.; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Frases, Susana; Peralta, Jose Mauro; Casadevall, Arturo; Rodrigues, Marcio L.; Nosanchuk, Joshua D.; Guimaraes, Allan J.

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn) and Histoplasma capsulatum (Hc) co-exist in the environment and occasionally co-infect individuals, which can lead to severe disease/lethal outcomes. We investigated specific interactions between Cn-Hc to determine the impact of synchronous infection in virulence and disease. Co-infected mice had significantly higher mortality than infection with either species or acapsular Cn-Hc. Coating of Hc with cryptococcal glycans (Cn-gly) resulted in higher pulmonary fungal burden in co-infected animals relative to control. Co-cultivation or addition of Cn-gly resulted in enhanced pellicle formation with a hybrid polysaccharide matrix with higher reactivity to GXM mAbs. Transfer and incorporation of Cn polysaccharide onto Hc surface was time and temperature dependent. Cn-gly transfer altered the zeta potential of Hc and was associated with increased resistance to phagocytosis and killing by macrophages. Mice infected with Hc and subsequently injected with purified Cn-gly died significantly more rapidly than Hc alone infected, establishing the precedent that virulence factors from one fungus can enhance the virulence of unrelated species. These findings suggest a new mechanism of microbial interaction involving the transfer of virulence traits that translates into enhanced lethality during mixed fungal infections and highlights the importance of studying heterogeneous microbial populations in the setting of infection. PMID:26908077

  5. Enhanced binding of capsular polysaccharides of Cryptococcus neoformans to polystyrene microtitration plates for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

    PubMed

    Cherniak, R; Cheeseman, M M; Reyes, G H; Reiss, E; Todaro, F

    1988-01-01

    A sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to measure antibodies against capsular polysaccharide was developed, based on the enhanced binding of polysaccharide to polystyrene microtitration plates. The wells of the microtitration plate were primed with an adipic acid dihydrazide derivative of bovine serum albumin (AH-BSA) (100 micrograms/mL, 0.01 M NaPO4-0.14 M NaCl, pH 7.2 (PBS]. Capsular polysaccharide, the glucuronoxylomannan of Cryptococcus neoformans serotype A, was oxidized with NaIO4 for 5 min; the reaction was then quenched with ethylene glycol. The partially oxidized polysaccharide was dialyzed vs. PBS, and its concentration was adjusted to 50 micrograms/mL with PBS. This solution (100 microL/well) was covalently bound to the AH-BSA primed microtitration plates through formation of a Schiff base between the hydrazide group on the AH-BSA and the aldehyde groups on the polysaccharide. Antimouse IgG-alkaline phosphatase conjugate was used in an indirect ELISA to measure captured murine monoclonal antibodies directed against glucuronoxylomannan. Mean absorbances, after 15 min, were 0.13 in negative control wells, and greater than 0.7 in test wells. No intermediate steps were required to block nonspecific binding of antibody. PMID:3064947

  6. Sterylglucoside Catabolism in Cryptococcus neoformans with Endoglycoceramidase-related Protein 2 (EGCrP2), the First Steryl-β-glucosidase Identified in Fungi*

    PubMed Central

    Watanabe, Takashi; Ito, Tomoharu; Goda, Hatsumi M.; Ishibashi, Yohei; Miyamoto, Tomofumi; Ikeda, Kazutaka; Taguchi, Ryo; Okino, Nozomu; Ito, Makoto

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcosis is an infectious disease caused by pathogenic fungi, such as Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii. The ceramide structure (methyl-d18:2/h18:0) of C. neoformans glucosylceramide (GlcCer) is characteristic and strongly related to its pathogenicity. We recently identified endoglycoceramidase-related protein 1 (EGCrP1) as a glucocerebrosidase in C. neoformans and showed that it was involved in the quality control of GlcCer by eliminating immature GlcCer during the synthesis of GlcCer (Ishibashi, Y., Ikeda, K., Sakaguchi, K., Okino, N., Taguchi, R., and Ito, M. (2012) Quality control of fungus-specific glucosylceramide in Cryptococcus neoformans by endoglycoceramidase-related protein 1 (EGCrP1). J. Biol. Chem. 287, 368–381). We herein identified and characterized EGCrP2, a homologue of EGCrP1, as the enzyme responsible for sterylglucoside catabolism in C. neoformans. In contrast to EGCrP1, which is specific to GlcCer, EGCrP2 hydrolyzed various β-glucosides, including GlcCer, cholesteryl-β-glucoside, ergosteryl-β-glucoside, sitosteryl-β-glucoside, and para-nitrophenyl-β-glucoside, but not α-glucosides or β-galactosides, under acidic conditions. Disruption of the EGCrP2 gene (egcrp2) resulted in the accumulation of a glycolipid, the structure of which was determined following purification to ergosteryl-3β-glucoside, a major sterylglucoside in fungi, by mass spectrometric and two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance analyses. This glycolipid accumulated in vacuoles and EGCrP2 was detected in vacuole-enriched fraction. These results indicated that EGCrP2 was involved in the catabolism of ergosteryl-β-glucoside in the vacuoles of C. neoformans. Distinct growth arrest, a dysfunction in cell budding, and an abnormal vacuole morphology were detected in the egcrp2-disrupted mutants, suggesting that EGCrP2 may be a promising target for anti-cryptococcal drugs. EGCrP2, classified into glycohydrolase family 5, is the first steryl

  7. Direct Invasion of the Optic Nerves, Chiasm, and Tracts by Cryptococcus neoformans in an Immunocompetent Host

    PubMed Central

    Gaines, Nathan; Baradaran, Hediyeh; Schuetz, Audrey N.; Lavi, Ehud; Simpson, Sara A.; Dinkin, Marc J.

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcus spp is a common fungal infection and frequent cause of meningitis in immunocompromised patients; however, immunocompetent patients are also at risk of infection. Visual loss often occurs via elevated intracranial hypertension but can rarely occur through direct optic nerve, chiasm, or tract invasion. We report a case of a 38-year-old woman who presented with decreased acuity in both eyes. She had generalized visual field constriction in the right eye and temporal hemianopsia in the left eye. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and orbits showed multiple areas of ill-defined enhancement in the optic chiasm and tracts as well as in the diaphragmatic sella, prepontine and interpeduncular cisterns, and along cranial nerves VI, VII, and VIII bilaterally. Initial cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) showed 34 white blood cells, hypoglycorrhachia, and negative cryptococcal antigen and bacterial and fungal cultures. A transphenoidal biopsy of the dura and pituitary gland was unremarkable. Empiric steroids resulted in marked improvement in visual acuity in both eyes, but while tapering steroids, she developed rapid visual loss bilaterally. Repeat CSF performed 6 weeks later demonstrated a cryptococcal antigen titer of 1:512. Retroactive staining of the pituitary biopsy was positive for mucicarmine, a component of the polysaccharide capsule of Cryptococcus spp. After induction therapy with amphotericin B and flucytosine and 1 year of fluconazole, her visual acuity was 20/20 in both eyes. In summary, Cryptococcus can affect immunocompetent patients and often presents with insidious, chronic meningitis. Visual loss is common in cryptococcal meningitis but usually results from fulminant papilledema related to elevated intracranial pressure. In rare cases, direct nerve or chiasm infiltration by the fungus results in vision loss. PMID:26425249

  8. Antifungal Activity of Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells against Cryptococcus neoformans In Vitro Requires Expression of Dectin-3 (CLEC4D) and Reactive Oxygen Species.

    PubMed

    Hole, Camaron R; Leopold Wager, Chrissy M; Mendiola, Andrew S; Wozniak, Karen L; Campuzano, Althea; Lin, Xin; Wormley, Floyd L

    2016-09-01

    Conventional dendritic cells (cDCs) are critical for protection against pulmonary infection with the opportunistic fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans; however, the role of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) is unknown. We show for the first time that murine pDCs have direct activity against C. neoformans via reactive oxygen species (ROS), a mechanism different from that employed to control Aspergillus fumigatus infections. The anticryptococcal activity of murine pDCs is independent of opsonization but appears to require the C-type lectin receptor Dectin-3, a receptor not previously evaluated during cryptococcal infections. Human pDCs can also inhibit cryptococcal growth by a mechanism similar to that of murine pDCs. Experimental pulmonary infection of mice with a C. neoformans strain that induces protective immunity demonstrated that recruitment of pDCs to the lungs is CXCR3 dependent. Taken together, our results show that pDCs inhibit C. neoformans growth in vitro via the production of ROS and that Dectin-3 is required for optimal growth-inhibitory activity. PMID:27324480

  9. ANTIFUNGAL SUSCEPTIBILITY TESTING AND GENOTYPING CHARACTERIZATION OF Cryptococcus neoformans AND gattii ISOLATES FROM HIV-INFECTED PATIENTS OF RIBEIRÃO PRETO, SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL

    PubMed Central

    FIGUEIREDO, Thais Pandini; de LUCAS, Rosymar Coutinho; CAZZANIGA, Rodrigo Anselmo; FRANÇA, Carolina Nunes; SEGATO, Fernando; TAGLIALEGNA, Rafael; MAFFEI, Claudia Maria Leite

    2016-01-01

    SUMMARY Cryptococcosis is a leading invasive fungal infection in immunocompromised patients. Considering the high prevalence and severity of these infections in immunocompromised patients attended at HC-FMRP-USP, the present research aimed to characterize the clinical isolates of Cryptococcus strains by biochemical and molecular methods and evaluate antifungal susceptibility of clinical isolates. Fifty isolates from 32 HIV-positive patients were obtained at HC-FMRP-USP. Most of the isolates (78.1%) were identified as C. neoformans, and 100% of C. neoformans and C. gattii strains were susceptible to amphotericin B, ketoconazole and fluconazole. All isolates were classified as serotype A (grubbii variety) by PCR and most of them were characterized in mating type MATa. PCR analysis of specific M13 microsatellite sequence revealed that VNI type was predominant among C. neoformans, while VGII was predominant among C. gattii. The strains did not show a significant resistance to the antifungals tested, and Canavanine-Glycine-Bromthymol Blue Agar (CGB) proved to be a reliable test presenting a good correlation with the molecular characterization. C. neoformans isolated from disseminated infections in the same patient showed molecular identity when different anatomical sites were compared; besides, the studied strains did not present a significant increase in resistance to antifungal agents. In addition, the homogeneity of the molecular types and detection of the mating types suggested a low possibility of crossing among the strains. PMID:27680174

  10. Applying Genetics and Molecular Biology to the Study of the Human Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Chun, Cheryl D.; Madhani, Hiten D.

    2013-01-01

    The basidiomycete yeast Crytococcus neoformans is a prominent human pathogen. It primarily infects immunocompromised individuals producing a meningoencephalitis that is lethal if untreated. Recent advances in its genetics and molecular biology have made it a model system for understanding both the Basidiomycota phylum and mechanisms of fungal pathogenesis. The relative ease of experimental manipulation coupled with the development of murine models for human disease allow for powerful studies in the mechanisms of virulence and host responses. This chapter introduces the organism and its life cycle and then provides detailed step-by-step protocols for culture, manipulation of the genome, analysis of nucleic acids and proteins, and assessment of virulence and expression of virulence factors. PMID:20946836

  11. Modulation of Macrophage Inflammatory Nuclear Factor κB (NF-κB) Signaling by Intracellular Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Hayes, James B; Sircy, Linda M; Heusinkveld, Lauren E; Ding, Wandi; Leander, Rachel N; McClelland, Erin E; Nelson, David E

    2016-07-22

    Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn) is a common facultative intracellular pathogen that can cause life-threatening fungal meningitis in immunocompromised individuals. Shortly after infection, Cn is detectable as both extra- and intracellular yeast particles, with Cn being capable of establishing long-lasting latent infections within host macrophages. Although recent studies have shown that shed capsular polysaccharides and intact extracellular Cn can compromise macrophage function through modulation of NF-κB signaling, it is currently unclear whether intracellular Cn also affects NF-κB signaling. Utilizing live cell imaging and computational modeling, we find that extra- and intracellular Cn support distinct modes of NF-κB signaling in cultured murine macrophages. Specifically, in RAW 264.7 murine macrophages treated with extracellular glucuronoxylomannan (GXM), the major Cn capsular polysaccharide, LPS-induced nuclear translocation of p65 is inhibited, whereas in cells with intracellular Cn, LPS-induced nuclear translocation of p65 is both amplified and sustained. Mathematical simulations and quantification of nascent protein expression indicate that this is a possible consequence of Cn-induced "translational interference," impeding IκBα resynthesis. We also show that long term Cn infection induces stable nuclear localization of p65 and IκBα proteins in the absence of additional pro-inflammatory stimuli. In this case, nuclear localization of p65 is not accompanied by TNFα or inducible NOS (iNOS) expression. These results demonstrate that capsular polysaccharides and intact intracellular yeast manipulate NF-κB via multiple distinct mechanisms and provide new insights into how Cn might modulate cellular signaling at different stages of an infection. PMID:27231343

  12. Molecular characterization of the humoral responses to Cryptococcus neoformans infection and glucuronoxylomannan-tetanus toxoid conjugate immunization

    PubMed Central

    1993-01-01

    The molecular characteristics of the humoral immune response to a serotype A Cryptococcus neoformans infection were compared with the response elicited by a cryptococcal glucuronoxylomannan-tetanus toxoid (GXM-TT) conjugate. Anticryptococcal monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) isolated from both responses have previously been shown to recognize the same antigenic determinant of cryptococcal GXM. Southern blot and sequence analyses indicate that the hybridomas isolated from each response arose from only a few precursor B cells. All the mAbs generated from the infected and GXM-TT conjugate-immunized mice utilize the same VH7183 family member: JH2/JH4, v kappa 5.1, and J kappa 1; mAbs generated by different B cells had complementarity-determining region 3's (CDR3s) composed of seven amino acids with a common sequence motif. Thus, the molecular analysis of these anticryptococcal mAb- producing hybridomas indicated that the response to both cryptococcal infection and conjugate immunization was oligoclonal and highly restricted with regard to immunoglobulin gene utilization. The GXM-TT conjugate primarily stimulated isotype switching and clonal proliferation, and did not result in hybridomas expressing additional immunoglobulin repertoires. The mAbs from both responses had a number of replacement mutations at the 5' end of CDR2 that appear to be the result of antigen-driven selection. Somatic mutation also resulted in altered epitope specificity for one mAb, 13F1. Passive administration of representative mAbs from different clones generated in response to the GXM-TT conjugate prolonged survival of lethally infected mice. PMID:8459205

  13. Characterization of host response to Cryptococcus neoformans through quantitative proteomic analysis of cryptococcal meningitis co-infected with HIV.

    PubMed

    Selvan, Lakshmi Dhevi N; Sreenivasamurthy, Sreelakshmi K; Kumar, Satwant; Yelamanchi, Soujanya D; Madugundu, Anil K; Anil, Abhijith K; Renuse, Santosh; Nair, Bipin G; Gowda, Harsha; Mathur, Premendu P; Satishchandra, Parthasarathy; Shankar, S K; Mahadevan, Anita; Keshava Prasad, T S

    2015-09-01

    Cryptococcal meningitis is the most common opportunistic fungal infection causing morbidity and mortality (>60%) in HIV-associated immunocompromised individuals caused by Cryptococcus neoformans. Molecular mechanisms of cryptococcal infection in brain have been studied using experimental animal models and cell lines. There are limited studies for the molecular understanding of cryptococcal meningitis in human brain. The proteins involved in the process of invasion and infection in human brain still remains obscure. To this end we carried out mass spectrometry-based quantitative proteomics of frontal lobe brain tissues from cryptococcal meningitis patients and controls to identify host proteins that are associated with the pathogenesis of cryptococcal meningitis. We identified 317 proteins to be differentially expressed (≥2-fold) from a total of 3423 human proteins. We found proteins involved in immune response and signal transduction to be differentially expressed in response to cryptococcal infection in human brain. Immune response proteins including complement factors, major histocompatibility proteins, proteins previously known to be involved in fungal invasion to brain such as caveolin 1 and actin were identified to be differentially expressed in cryptococcal meningitis brain tissues co-infected with HIV. We also validated the expression status of 5 proteins using immunohistochemistry. Overexpression of major histocompatibility complexes, class I, B (HLA-B), actin alpha 2 smooth muscle aorta (ACTA2) and caveolin 1 (CAV1) and downregulation of peripheral myelin protein 2 (PMP2) and alpha crystallin B chain (CRYAB) in cryptococcal meningitis were confirmed by IHC-based validation experiments. This study provides the brain proteome profile of cryptococcal meningitis co-infected with HIV for a better understanding of the host response associated with the disease. PMID:26181685

  14. Identification of N-acetylneuraminic acid and its 9-O-acetylated derivative on the cell surface of Cryptococcus neoformans: influence on fungal phagocytosis.

    PubMed

    Rodrigues, M L; Rozental, S; Couceiro, J N; Angluster, J; Alviano, C S; Travassos, L R

    1997-12-01

    Sialic acids from sialoglycoconjugates present at the cell surface of Cryptococcus neoformans yeast forms were analyzed by high-performance thin-layer chromatography, binding of influenza A and C virus strains, enzymatic treatment, and flow cytofluorimetry with fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled lectins. C. neoformans yeast forms grown in a chemically defined medium contain N-acetylneuraminic acid and its 9-O-acetylated derivative. A density of 3 x 10(6) residues of sialic acid per cell was found in C. neoformans. Sialic acids in cryptococcal cells are glycosidically linked to galactopyranosyl units as inferred from the increased reactivity of neuraminidase-treated yeasts with peanut agglutinin. N-Acetylneuraminic acids are alpha-2,6 and alpha-2,3 linked, as indicated by using virus strains M1/5 and M1/5 HS8, respectively, as agglutination probes. The alpha-2,6 linkage markedly predominated. These findings were essentially confirmed by the interaction of cryptococcal cells with the lectins Sambucus nigra agglutinin and Maackia amurensis agglutinin. We also investigated whether the sialyl residues present in C. neoformans are involved in the fungal interaction with a cationic solid-phase substrate and with mouse resident macrophages. Adhesion of yeast cells to poly-L-lysine was mediated, in part, by sialic acid residues, since the number of adherent cells was markedly reduced after treatment with bacterial neuraminidase. The enzymatic removal of sialic acids also made C. neoformans yeast cells more susceptible to endocytosis by macrophages. The results show that sialic acids are components of the cryptococcal cell surface that contribute to its negative charge and protect yeast forms against phagocytosis.

  15. Identification of N-acetylneuraminic acid and its 9-O-acetylated derivative on the cell surface of Cryptococcus neoformans: influence on fungal phagocytosis.

    PubMed Central

    Rodrigues, M L; Rozental, S; Couceiro, J N; Angluster, J; Alviano, C S; Travassos, L R

    1997-01-01

    Sialic acids from sialoglycoconjugates present at the cell surface of Cryptococcus neoformans yeast forms were analyzed by high-performance thin-layer chromatography, binding of influenza A and C virus strains, enzymatic treatment, and flow cytofluorimetry with fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled lectins. C. neoformans yeast forms grown in a chemically defined medium contain N-acetylneuraminic acid and its 9-O-acetylated derivative. A density of 3 x 10(6) residues of sialic acid per cell was found in C. neoformans. Sialic acids in cryptococcal cells are glycosidically linked to galactopyranosyl units as inferred from the increased reactivity of neuraminidase-treated yeasts with peanut agglutinin. N-Acetylneuraminic acids are alpha-2,6 and alpha-2,3 linked, as indicated by using virus strains M1/5 and M1/5 HS8, respectively, as agglutination probes. The alpha-2,6 linkage markedly predominated. These findings were essentially confirmed by the interaction of cryptococcal cells with the lectins Sambucus nigra agglutinin and Maackia amurensis agglutinin. We also investigated whether the sialyl residues present in C. neoformans are involved in the fungal interaction with a cationic solid-phase substrate and with mouse resident macrophages. Adhesion of yeast cells to poly-L-lysine was mediated, in part, by sialic acid residues, since the number of adherent cells was markedly reduced after treatment with bacterial neuraminidase. The enzymatic removal of sialic acids also made C. neoformans yeast cells more susceptible to endocytosis by macrophages. The results show that sialic acids are components of the cryptococcal cell surface that contribute to its negative charge and protect yeast forms against phagocytosis. PMID:9393779

  16. Induction of Protective Immunity to Cryptococcal Infection in Mice by a Heat-Killed, Chitosan-Deficient Strain of Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Upadhya, Rajendra; Lam, Woei C.; Maybruck, Brian; Specht, Charles A.; Levitz, Stuart M.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Cryptococcus neoformans is a major opportunistic fungal pathogen that causes fatal meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised individuals and is responsible for a large proportion of AIDS-related deaths. The fungal cell wall is an essential organelle which undergoes constant modification during various stages of growth and is critical for fungal pathogenesis. One critical component of the fungal cell wall is chitin, which in C. neoformans is predominantly deacetylated to chitosan. We previously reported that three chitin deacetylase (CDA) genes have to be deleted to generate a chitosan-deficient C. neoformans strain. This cda1Δ2Δ3Δ strain was avirulent in mice, as it was rapidly cleared from the lungs of infected mice. Here, we report that clearance of the cda1Δ2Δ3Δ strain was associated with sharply spiked concentrations of proinflammatory molecules that are known to be critical mediators of the orchestration of a protective Th1-type adaptive immune response. This was followed by the selective enrichment of the Th1-type T cell population in the cda1Δ2Δ3Δ strain-infected mouse lung. Importantly, this response resulted in the development of robust protective immunity to a subsequent lethal challenge with a virulent wild-type C. neoformans strain. Moreover, protective immunity was also induced in mice vaccinated with heat-killed cda1Δ2Δ3Δ cells and was effective in multiple mouse strains. The results presented here provide a strong framework to develop the cda1Δ2Δ3Δ strain as a potential vaccine candidate for C. neoformans infection. PMID:27165801

  17. Novel cell-based in vitro screen to identify small-molecule inhibitors against intracellular replication of Cryptococcus neoformans in macrophages.

    PubMed

    Samantaray, Sweta; Correia, Joao N; Garelnabi, Mariam; Voelz, Kerstin; May, Robin C; Hall, Rebecca A

    2016-07-01

    The fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans poses a major threat to immunocompromised patients and is a leading killer of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients worldwide. Cryptococci are known to manipulate host macrophages and can either remain latent or proliferate intracellularly within the host phagocyte, a favourable niche that also renders them relatively insensitive to antifungal agents. Here we report an attempt to address this limitation by using a fluorescence-based drug screening method to identify potential inhibitors of intracellular proliferation of C. neoformans. The Prestwick Chemical Library(®) of FDA-approved small molecules was screened for compounds that limit the intracellular replication of a fluorescently-tagged C. neoformans reference strain (H99-GFP) in macrophages. Preliminary screening revealed 19 of 1200 compounds that could significantly reduce intracellular growth of the pathogen. Secondary screening and host cell cytotoxicity assays highlighted fendiline hydrochloride as a potential drug candidate for the development of future anticryptococcal therapies. Live cell imaging demonstrated that this Ca(2+) channel blocker strongly enhanced phagosome maturation in macrophages leading to improved fungal killing and reduced intracellular replication. Whilst the relatively high dose of fendiline hydrochloride required renders it unfit for clinical deployment against cryptococcosis, this study highlights a novel approach for identifying new lead compounds and unravels a pharmacologically promising scaffold towards the development of novel antifungal therapies for this neglected disease. PMID:27289450

  18. Binding of the Wheat Germ Lectin to Cryptococcus neoformans Suggests an Association of Chitinlike Structures with Yeast Budding and Capsular Glucuronoxylomannan▿ †

    PubMed Central

    Rodrigues, Marcio L.; Alvarez, Mauricio; Fonseca, Fernanda L.; Casadevall, Arturo

    2008-01-01

    The capsule of Cryptococcus neoformans is a complex structure whose assembly requires intermolecular interactions to connect its components into an organized structure. In this study, we demonstrated that the wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), which binds to sialic acids and β-1,4-N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) oligomers, can also bind to cryptococcal capsular structures. Confocal microscopy demonstrated that these structures form round or hooklike projections linking the capsule to the cell wall, as well as capsule-associated structures during yeast budding. Chemical analysis of capsular extracts by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry and high-pH anion-exchange chromatography suggested that the molecules recognized by WGA were firmly associated with the cell wall. Enzymatic treatment, competition assays, and staining with chemically modified WGA revealed that GlcNAc oligomers, but not sialic acids, were the molecules recognized by the lectin. Accordingly, treatment of C. neoformans cells with chitinase released glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) from the cell surface and reduced the capsule size. Chitinase-treated acapsular cells bound soluble GXM in a modified pattern. These results indicate an association of chitin-derived structures with GXM and budding in C. neoformans, which may represent a new mechanism by which the capsular polysaccharide interacts with the cell wall and is rearranged during replication. PMID:18039942

  19. The vacuolar-sorting protein Snf7 is required for export of virulence determinants in members of the Cryptococcus neoformans complex.

    PubMed Central

    da C. Godinho, Rodrigo M.; Crestani, Juliana; Kmetzsch, Lívia; de S. Araujo, Glauber; Frases, Susana; Staats, Charley C.; Schrank, Augusto; Vainstein, Marilene H.; Rodrigues, Marcio L.

    2014-01-01

    Fungal pathogenesis requires a number of extracellularly released virulence factors. Recent studies demonstrating that most fungal extracellular molecules lack secretory tags suggest that unconventional secretion mechanisms and fungal virulence are strictly connected. Proteins of the endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) have been recently associated with polysaccharide export in the yeast-like human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. Snf7 is a key ESCRT operator required for unconventional secretion in Eukaryotes. In this study we generated snf7Δ mutant strains of C. neoformans and its sibling species C. gattii. Lack of Snf7 resulted in important alterations in polysaccharide secretion, capsular formation and pigmentation. This phenotype culminated with loss of virulence in an intranasal model of murine infection in both species. Our data support the notion that Snf7 expression regulates virulence in C. neoformans and C. gattii by ablating polysaccharide and melanin traffic. These results are in agreement with the observation that unconventional secretion is essential for cryptococcal pathogenesis and strongly suggest the occurrence of still obscure mechanisms of exportation of non-protein molecules in Eukaryotes. PMID:25178636

  20. The vacuolar-sorting protein Snf7 is required for export of virulence determinants in members of the Cryptococcus neoformans complex.

    PubMed

    Godinho, Rodrigo M da C; Crestani, Juliana; Kmetzsch, Lívia; Araujo, Glauber de S; Frases, Susana; Staats, Charley C; Schrank, Augusto; Vainstein, Marilene H; Rodrigues, Marcio L

    2014-09-02

    Fungal pathogenesis requires a number of extracellularly released virulence factors. Recent studies demonstrating that most fungal extracellular molecules lack secretory tags suggest that unconventional secretion mechanisms and fungal virulence are strictly connected. Proteins of the endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) have been recently associated with polysaccharide export in the yeast-like human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. Snf7 is a key ESCRT operator required for unconventional secretion in Eukaryotes. In this study we generated snf7Δ mutant strains of C. neoformans and its sibling species C. gattii. Lack of Snf7 resulted in important alterations in polysaccharide secretion, capsular formation and pigmentation. This phenotype culminated with loss of virulence in an intranasal model of murine infection in both species. Our data support the notion that Snf7 expression regulates virulence in C. neoformans and C. gattii by ablating polysaccharide and melanin traffic. These results are in agreement with the observation that unconventional secretion is essential for cryptococcal pathogenesis and strongly suggest the occurrence of still obscure mechanisms of exportation of non-protein molecules in Eukaryotes.

  1. ALL2, a Homologue of ALL1, Has a Distinct Role in Regulating pH Homeostasis in the Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Jain, Neena; Bouklas, Tejas; Gupta, Anjali; Varshney, Avanish K.; Orner, Erika P.

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a facultative intracellular fungal pathogen that has a polysaccharide capsule and causes life-threatening meningoencephalitis. Its capsule, as well as its ability to survive in the acidic environment of the phagolysosome, contributes to the pathogen's resilience in the host environment. Previously, we reported that downregulation of allergen 1 (ALL1) results in the secretion of a shorter, more viscous exopolysaccharide with less branching and structural complexity, as well as altered iron homeostasis. Now, we report on a homologous coregulated gene, allergen 2 (ALL2). ALL2's function was characterized by generating null mutants in C. neoformans. In contrast to ALL1, loss of ALL2 attenuated virulence in the pulmonary infection model. The all2Δ mutant shed a less viscous exopolysaccharide and exhibited higher sensitivity to hydrogen peroxide than the wild type, and as a result, the all2Δ mutant was more resistant to macrophage-mediated killing. Transcriptome analysis further supported the distinct function of these two genes. Unlike ALL1's involvement in iron homeostasis, we now present data on ALL2's unique function in maintaining intracellular pH in low-pH conditions. Thus, our data highlight that C. neoformans, a human-pathogenic basidiomycete, has evolved a unique set of virulence-associated genes that contributes to its resilience in the human niche. PMID:26597983

  2. Analysis of the Genome and Transcriptome of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii Reveals Complex RNA Expression and Microevolution Leading to Virulence Attenuation

    PubMed Central

    Janbon, Guilhem; Ormerod, Kate L.; Paulet, Damien; Byrnes, Edmond J.; Yadav, Vikas; Chatterjee, Gautam; Mullapudi, Nandita; Hon, Chung-Chau; Billmyre, R. Blake; Brunel, François; Bahn, Yong-Sun; Chen, Weidong; Chen, Yuan; Chow, Eve W. L.; Coppée, Jean-Yves; Floyd-Averette, Anna; Gaillardin, Claude; Gerik, Kimberly J.; Goldberg, Jonathan; Gonzalez-Hilarion, Sara; Gujja, Sharvari; Hamlin, Joyce L.; Hsueh, Yen-Ping; Ianiri, Giuseppe; Jones, Steven; Kodira, Chinnappa D.; Kozubowski, Lukasz; Lam, Woei; Marra, Marco; Mesner, Larry D.; Mieczkowski, Piotr A.; Moyrand, Frédérique; Nielsen, Kirsten; Proux, Caroline; Rossignol, Tristan; Schein, Jacqueline E.; Sun, Sheng; Wollschlaeger, Carolin; Wood, Ian A.; Zeng, Qiandong; Neuvéglise, Cécile; Newlon, Carol S.; Perfect, John R.; Lodge, Jennifer K.; Idnurm, Alexander; Stajich, Jason E.; Kronstad, James W.; Sanyal, Kaustuv; Heitman, Joseph; Fraser, James A.; Cuomo, Christina A.; Dietrich, Fred S.

    2014-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a pathogenic basidiomycetous yeast responsible for more than 600,000 deaths each year. It occurs as two serotypes (A and D) representing two varieties (i.e. grubii and neoformans, respectively). Here, we sequenced the genome and performed an RNA-Seq-based analysis of the C. neoformans var. grubii transcriptome structure. We determined the chromosomal locations, analyzed the sequence/structural features of the centromeres, and identified origins of replication. The genome was annotated based on automated and manual curation. More than 40,000 introns populating more than 99% of the expressed genes were identified. Although most of these introns are located in the coding DNA sequences (CDS), over 2,000 introns in the untranslated regions (UTRs) were also identified. Poly(A)-containing reads were employed to locate the polyadenylation sites of more than 80% of the genes. Examination of the sequences around these sites revealed a new poly(A)-site-associated motif (AUGHAH). In addition, 1,197 miscRNAs were identified. These miscRNAs can be spliced and/or polyadenylated, but do not appear to have obvious coding capacities. Finally, this genome sequence enabled a comparative analysis of strain H99 variants obtained after laboratory passage. The spectrum of mutations identified provides insights into the genetics underlying the micro-evolution of a laboratory strain, and identifies mutations involved in stress responses, mating efficiency, and virulence. PMID:24743168

  3. Cryptococcus neoformans biofilm formation depends on surface support and carbon source and reduces fungal cell susceptibility to heat, cold, and UV light.

    PubMed

    Martinez, Luis R; Casadevall, Arturo

    2007-07-01

    The fungus Cryptococcus neoformans possesses a polysaccharide capsule and can form biofilms on medical devices. We describe the characteristics of C. neoformans biofilm development using a microtiter plate model, microscopic examinations, and a colorimetric 2,3-bis(2-methoxy-4-nitro-5-sulfophenyl)-5-[(phenylamino) carbonyl]-2H-tetrazolium-hydroxide (XTT) reduction assay to observe the metabolic activity of cryptococci within a biofilm. A strong correlation between XTT and CFU assays was demonstrated. Chemical analysis of the exopolymeric material revealed sugar composition consisting predominantly of xylose, mannose, and glucose, indicating the presence of other polysaccharides in addition to glucurunoxylomannan. Biofilm formation was affected by surface support differences, conditioning films on the surface, characteristics of the medium, and properties of the microbial cell. A specific antibody to the capsular polysaccharide of this fungus was used to stain the extracellular polysaccharide matrix of the fungal biofilms using light and confocal microscopy. Additionally, the susceptibility of C. neoformans biofilms and planktonic cells to environmental stress was investigated using XTT reduction and CFU assays. Biofilms were less susceptible to heat, cold, and UV light exposition than their planktonic counterparts. Our findings demonstrate that fungal biofilm formation is dependent on support surface characteristics and that growth in the biofilm state makes fungal cells less susceptible to potential environmental stresses. PMID:17513597

  4. Cryptococcal Xylosyltransferase 1 (Cxt1p) from Cryptococcus neoformans Plays a Direct Role in the Synthesis of Capsule Polysaccharides*S⃞

    PubMed Central

    Klutts, J. Stacey; Doering, Tamara L.

    2008-01-01

    The opportunistic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans causes serious disease in humans and expresses a prominent polysaccharide capsule that is required for its virulence. Little is known about how this capsule is synthesized. We previously identified a β1,2-xylosyltransferase (Cxt1p) with in vitro enzymatic activity appropriate for involvement in capsule synthesis. Here, we investigate C. neoformans strains in which the corresponding gene has been deleted (cxt1Δ). Loss of CXT1 does not affect in vitro growth of the mutant cells or the general morphology of their capsules. However, NMR structural analysis of the two main capsule polysaccharides, glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) and galactoxylomannan (GalXM), showed that both were missing β1,2-xylose residues. There was an ∼30% reduction in the abundance of this residue in GXM in mutant compared with wild-type strains, and mutant GalXM was almost completely devoid of β1,2-linked xylose. The GalXM from the mutant strain was also missing a β1,3-linked xylose residue. Furthermore, deletion of CXT1 led to attenuation of cryptococcal growth in a mouse model of infection, suggesting that the affected xylose residues are important for normal host-pathogen interactions. Cxt1p is the first glycosyltransferase with a defined role in C. neoformans capsule biosynthesis, and cxt1Δ is the only strain identified to date with structural alterations of the capsule polysaccharide GalXM. PMID:18347023

  5. Eosinophils elicit proliferation of naive and fungal-specific cells in vivo so enhancing a T helper type 1 cytokine profile in favour of a protective immune response against Cryptococcus neoformans infection.

    PubMed

    Garro, Ana P; Chiapello, Laura S; Baronetti, Jose L; Masih, Diana T

    2011-10-01

    Experimental Cryptococcus neoformans infection in rats has been shown to have similarities with human cryptococcosis, because as in healthy humans, rats can effectively contain cryptococcal infection. Moreover, it has been shown that eosinophils are components of the immune response to C. neoformans infections. In a previous in vitro study, we demonstrated that rat peritoneal eosinophils phagocytose opsonized live yeasts of C. neoformans, thereby triggering their activation, as indicated by the up-regulation of MHC and co-stimulatory molecules and the increase in interleukin-12, tumour necrosis factor-α and interferon-γ production. Furthermore, this work demonstrated that C. neoformans-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T lymphocytes cultured with these activated C. neoformans-pulsed eosinophils proliferated, and produced important amounts of T helper type 1 (Th1) cytokines in the absence of Th2 cytokine synthesis. In the present in vivo study, we have shown that C. neoformans-pulsed eosinophils are also able to migrate into lymphoid organs to present C. neoformans antigens, thereby priming naive and re-stimulating infected rats to induce T-cell and B-cell responses against infection with the fungus. Furthermore, the antigen-specific immune response induced by C. neoformans-pulsed eosinophils, which is characterized by the development of a Th1 microenvironment with increased levels of NO synthesis and C. neoformans-specific immunoglobulin production, was demonstrated to be able to protect rats against subsequent infection with fungus. In summary, the present work demonstrates that eosinophils act as antigen-presenting cells for the fungal antigen, hence initiating and modulating a C. neoformans-specific immune response. Finally, we suggest that C. neoformans-loaded eosinophils might participate in the protective immune response against these fungi.

  6. Analysis of Cryptococcus neoformans sexual development reveals rewiring of the pheromone-response network by a change in transcription factor identity.

    PubMed

    Kruzel, Emilia K; Giles, Steven S; Hull, Christina M

    2012-06-01

    The fundamental mechanisms that control eukaryotic development include extensive regulation at the level of transcription. Gene regulatory networks, composed of transcription factors, their binding sites in DNA, and their target genes, are responsible for executing transcriptional programs. While divergence of these control networks drives species-specific gene expression that contributes to biological diversity, little is known about the mechanisms by which these networks evolve. To investigate how network evolution has occurred in fungi, we used a combination of microarray expression profiling, cis-element identification, and transcription-factor characterization during sexual development of the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. We first defined the major gene expression changes that occur over time throughout sexual development. Through subsequent bioinformatic and molecular genetic analyses, we identified and functionally characterized the C. neoformans pheromone-response element (PRE). We then discovered that transcriptional activation via the PRE requires direct binding of the high-mobility transcription factor Mat2, which we conclude functions as the elusive C. neoformans pheromone-response factor. This function of Mat2 distinguishes the mechanism of regulation through the PRE of C. neoformans from all other fungal systems studied to date and reveals species-specific adaptations of a fungal transcription factor that defies predictions on the basis of sequence alone. Overall, our findings reveal that pheromone-response network rewiring has occurred at the level of transcription factor identity, despite the strong conservation of upstream and downstream components, and serve as a model for how selection pressures act differently on signaling vs. gene regulatory components during eukaryotic evolution.

  7. Extended N-terminal region of the essential phosphorelay signaling protein Ypd1 from Cryptococcus neoformans contributes to structural stability, phosphostability and binding of calcium ions.

    PubMed

    Kennedy, Emily N; Menon, Smita K; West, Ann H

    2016-09-01

    Rapid response to external stimuli is crucial for survival and proliferation of microorganisms. Pathogenic fungi employ histidine-to-aspartate multistep phosphorelay systems to respond to environmental stress, progress through developmental stages and to produce virulence factors. Because these His-to-Asp phosphorelay systems are not found in humans, they are potential targets for the development of new antifungal therapies. Here we report the characterization of the histidine phosphotransfer (HPt) protein Ypd1 from the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans Results from this study demonstrate that CnYpd1 indeed functions as a phosphorelay protein in vitro, and that H138 is confirmed as the site of phosphorylation. We found that CnYpd1 exhibits unique characteristics in comparison to other histidine phosphotransfer proteins, such as an extended N-terminal amino acid sequence, which we find contributes to structural integrity, a longer phosphorylated life time and the ability to bind calcium ions. PMID:27549628

  8. The Membrane Phospholipid Binding Protein Annexin A2 Promotes Phagocytosis and Nonlytic Exocytosis of Cryptococcus neoformans and Impacts Survival in Fungal Infection.

    PubMed

    Stukes, Sabriya; Coelho, Carolina; Rivera, Johanna; Jedlicka, Anne E; Hajjar, Katherine A; Casadevall, Arturo

    2016-08-15

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungal pathogen with a unique intracellular pathogenic strategy that includes nonlytic exocytosis, a phenomenon whereby fungal cells are expunged from macrophages without lysing the host cell. The exact mechanism and specific proteins involved in this process have yet to be completely defined. Using murine macrophages deficient in the membrane phospholipid binding protein, annexin A2 (ANXA2), we observed a significant decrease in both phagocytosis of yeast cells and the frequency of nonlytic exocytosis. Cryptococcal cells isolated from Anxa2-deficient (Anxa2(-/-)) bone marrow-derived macrophages and lung parenchyma displayed significantly larger capsules than those isolated from wild-type macrophages and tissues. Concomitantly, we observed significant differences in the amount of reactive oxygen species produced between Anxa2(-/-) and Anxa2(+/+) macrophages. Despite comparable fungal burden, Anxa2(-/-) mice died more rapidly than wild-type mice when infected with C. neoformans, and Anxa2(-/-) mice exhibited enhanced inflammatory responses, suggesting that the reduced survival reflected greater immune-mediated damage. Together, these findings suggest a role for ANXA2 in the control of cryptococcal infection, macrophage function, and fungal morphology. PMID:27371724

  9. Synthesis of a Glucuronic Acid-Containing Thioglycoside Trisaccharide Building Block and Its Use in the Assembly of Cryptococcus Neoformans Capsular Polysaccharide Fragments.

    PubMed

    Guazzelli, Lorenzo; Ulc, Rebecca; Oscarson, Stefan

    2015-12-01

    As part of an ongoing project aimed at identifying protective capsular polysaccharide epitopes for the development of vaccine candidates against the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, the synthesis and glycosylation properties of a naphthalenylmethyl (NAP) orthogonally protected trisaccharide thioglycoside, a common building block for construction of serotype B and C capsular polysaccharide structures, were investigated. Ethyl (benzyl 2,3,4-tri-O-benzyl-β-d-glucopyranosyl- uronate)-(1→2)-[2,3,4-tri-O-benzyl-β-d-xylopyranosyl-(1→4)]-6-O-benzyl-3-O-(2-naphthalenylmethyl)-1-thio-α-d-mannopyranoside was prepared and used both as a donor and an acceptor in glycosylation reactions to obtain spacer equipped hexa- and heptasaccharide structures suitable either for continued elongation or for deprotection and printing onto a glycan array or conjugation to a carrier protein. The glycosylation reactions proceeded with high yields and α-selectivity, proving the viability of the building block approach also for construction of 4-O-xylosyl-containing C. neoformans CPS structures. PMID:27308199

  10. Analysis of the Protein Kinase A-Regulated Proteome of Cryptococcus neoformans Identifies a Role for the Ubiquitin-Proteasome Pathway in Capsule Formation

    PubMed Central

    Geddes, J. M. H.; Caza, M.; Croll, D.; Stoynov, N.; Foster, L. J.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT The opportunistic fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans causes life-threatening meningitis in immunocompromised individuals. The expression of virulence factors, including capsule and melanin, is in part regulated by the cyclic-AMP/protein kinase A (cAMP/PKA) signal transduction pathway. In this study, we investigated the influence of PKA on the composition of the intracellular proteome to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the regulation that underpins virulence. Through quantitative proteomics, enrichment and bioinformatic analyses, and an interactome study, we uncovered a pattern of PKA regulation for proteins associated with translation, the proteasome, metabolism, amino acid biosynthesis, and virulence-related functions. PKA regulation of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway in C. neoformans showed a striking parallel with connections between PKA and protein degradation in chronic neurodegenerative disorders and other human diseases. Further investigation of proteasome function with the inhibitor bortezomib revealed an impact on capsule production as well as hypersusceptibility for strains with altered expression or activity of PKA. Parallel studies with tunicamycin also linked endoplasmic reticulum stress with capsule production and PKA. Taken together, the data suggest a model whereby expression of PKA regulatory and catalytic subunits and the activation of PKA influence proteostasis and the function of the endoplasmic reticulum to control the elaboration of the polysaccharide capsule. Overall, this study revealed both broad and conserved influences of the cAMP/PKA pathway on the proteome and identified proteostasis as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of cryptococcosis. PMID:26758180

  11. Noncanoncial signal recognition particle RNAs in a major eukaryotic phylum revealed by purification of SRP from the human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Dumesic, Phillip A; Rosenblad, Magnus A; Samuelsson, Tore; Nguyen, Tiffany; Moresco, James J; Yates, John R; Madhani, Hiten D

    2015-10-15

    Despite conservation of the signal recognition particle (SRP) from bacteria to man, computational approaches have failed to identify SRP components from genomes of many lower eukaryotes, raising the possibility that they have been lost or altered in those lineages. We report purification and analysis of SRP in the human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, providing the first description of SRP in basidiomycetous yeast. The C. neoformans SRP RNA displays a predicted structure in which the universally conserved helix 8 contains an unprecedented stem-loop insertion. Guided by this sequence, we computationally identified 152 SRP RNAs throughout the phylum Basidiomycota. This analysis revealed additional helix 8 alterations including single and double stem-loop insertions as well as loop diminutions affecting RNA structural elements that are otherwise conserved from bacteria to man. Strikingly, these SRP RNA features in Basidiomycota are accompanied by phylum-specific alterations in the RNA-binding domain of Srp54, the SRP protein subunit that directly interacts with helix 8. Our findings reveal unexpected fungal SRP diversity and suggest coevolution of the two most conserved SRP features-SRP RNA helix 8 and Srp54-in basidiomycetes. Because members of this phylum include important human and plant pathogens, these noncanonical features provide new targets for antifungal compound development.

  12. Distinct and Redundant Roles of Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases Ptp1 and Ptp2 in Governing the Differentiation and Pathogenicity of Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Kyung-Tae; Byun, Hyo-Jeong; Jung, Kwang-Woo; Hong, Joohyeon; Cheong, Eunji

    2014-01-01

    Protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) serve as key negative-feedback regulators of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling cascades. However, their roles and regulatory mechanisms in human fungal pathogens remain elusive. In this study, we characterized the functions of two PTPs, Ptp1 and Ptp2, in Cryptococcus neoformans, which causes fatal meningoencephalitis. PTP1 and PTP2 were found to be stress-inducible genes, which were controlled by the MAPK Hog1 and the transcription factor Atf1. Ptp2 suppressed the hyperphosphorylation of Hog1 and was involved in mediating vegetative growth, sexual differentiation, stress responses, antifungal drug resistance, and virulence factor regulation through the negative-feedback loop of the HOG pathway. In contrast, Ptp1 was not essential for Hog1 regulation, despite its Hog1-dependent induction. However, in the absence of Ptp2, Ptp1 served as a complementary PTP to control some stress responses. In differentiation, Ptp1 acted as a negative regulator, but in a Hog1- and Cpk1-independent manner. Additionally, Ptp1 and Ptp2 localized to the cytosol but were enriched in the nucleus during the stress response, affecting the transient nuclear localization of Hog1. Finally, Ptp1 and Ptp2 played minor and major roles, respectively, in the virulence of C. neoformans. Taken together, our data suggested that PTPs could be exploited as novel antifungal targets. PMID:24728196

  13. KRE genes are required for beta-1,6-glucan synthesis, maintenance of capsule architecture and cell wall protein anchoring in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Gilbert, Nicole M; Donlin, Maureen J; Gerik, Kimberly J; Specht, Charles A; Djordjevic, Julianne T; Wilson, Christabel F; Sorrell, Tania C; Lodge, Jennifer K

    2010-04-01

    The polysaccharide beta-1,6-glucan is a major component of the cell wall of Cryptococcus neoformans, but its function has not been investigated in this fungal pathogen. We have identified and characterized seven genes, belonging to the KRE family, which are putatively involved in beta-1,6-glucan synthesis. The H99 deletion mutants kre5Delta and kre6Deltaskn1Delta contained less cell wall beta-1,6-glucan, grew slowly with an aberrant morphology, were highly sensitive to environmental and chemical stress and were avirulent in a mouse inhalation model of infection. These two mutants displayed alterations in cell wall chitosan and the exopolysaccharide capsule, a primary cryptococcal virulence determinant. The cell wall content of the GPI-anchored phospholipase B1 (Plb1) enzyme, which is required for cryptococcal cell wall integrity and virulence, was reduced in kre5Delta and kre6Deltaskn1Delta. Our results indicate that KRE5, KRE6 and SKN1 are involved in beta-1,6-glucan synthesis, maintenance of cell wall integrity and retention of mannoproteins and known cryptococcal virulence factors in the cell wall of C. neoformans. This study sets the stage for future investigations into the function of this abundant cell wall polymer.

  14. Noncanoncial signal recognition particle RNAs in a major eukaryotic phylum revealed by purification of SRP from the human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Dumesic, Phillip A; Rosenblad, Magnus A; Samuelsson, Tore; Nguyen, Tiffany; Moresco, James J; Yates, John R; Madhani, Hiten D

    2015-10-15

    Despite conservation of the signal recognition particle (SRP) from bacteria to man, computational approaches have failed to identify SRP components from genomes of many lower eukaryotes, raising the possibility that they have been lost or altered in those lineages. We report purification and analysis of SRP in the human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, providing the first description of SRP in basidiomycetous yeast. The C. neoformans SRP RNA displays a predicted structure in which the universally conserved helix 8 contains an unprecedented stem-loop insertion. Guided by this sequence, we computationally identified 152 SRP RNAs throughout the phylum Basidiomycota. This analysis revealed additional helix 8 alterations including single and double stem-loop insertions as well as loop diminutions affecting RNA structural elements that are otherwise conserved from bacteria to man. Strikingly, these SRP RNA features in Basidiomycota are accompanied by phylum-specific alterations in the RNA-binding domain of Srp54, the SRP protein subunit that directly interacts with helix 8. Our findings reveal unexpected fungal SRP diversity and suggest coevolution of the two most conserved SRP features-SRP RNA helix 8 and Srp54-in basidiomycetes. Because members of this phylum include important human and plant pathogens, these noncanonical features provide new targets for antifungal compound development. PMID:26275773

  15. Noncanoncial signal recognition particle RNAs in a major eukaryotic phylum revealed by purification of SRP from the human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Dumesic, Phillip A.; Rosenblad, Magnus A.; Samuelsson, Tore; Nguyen, Tiffany; Moresco, James J.; Yates, John R.; Madhani, Hiten D.

    2015-01-01

    Despite conservation of the signal recognition particle (SRP) from bacteria to man, computational approaches have failed to identify SRP components from genomes of many lower eukaryotes, raising the possibility that they have been lost or altered in those lineages. We report purification and analysis of SRP in the human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, providing the first description of SRP in basidiomycetous yeast. The C. neoformans SRP RNA displays a predicted structure in which the universally conserved helix 8 contains an unprecedented stem-loop insertion. Guided by this sequence, we computationally identified 152 SRP RNAs throughout the phylum Basidiomycota. This analysis revealed additional helix 8 alterations including single and double stem-loop insertions as well as loop diminutions affecting RNA structural elements that are otherwise conserved from bacteria to man. Strikingly, these SRP RNA features in Basidiomycota are accompanied by phylum-specific alterations in the RNA-binding domain of Srp54, the SRP protein subunit that directly interacts with helix 8. Our findings reveal unexpected fungal SRP diversity and suggest coevolution of the two most conserved SRP features—SRP RNA helix 8 and Srp54—in basidiomycetes. Because members of this phylum include important human and plant pathogens, these noncanonical features provide new targets for antifungal compound development. PMID:26275773

  16. A Ric8/synembryn homolog promotes Gpa1 and Gpa2 activation to respectively regulate cyclic AMP and pheromone signaling in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Gong, Jinjun; Grodsky, Jacob D; Zhang, Zhengguang; Wang, Ping

    2014-10-01

    The G protein α subunits Gpa1, Gpa2, and Gpa3 mediate signal transduction and are important in the growth and virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans. To understand how Gpa1 functions without a conventional Gβ subunit, we characterized a resistance to inhibitors of cholinesterase 8 (Ric8) homolog from C. neoformans, which shares amino acid sequence homology with other Ric8 proteins that exhibit guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) activity toward Gα. We found that the ric8 mutant was reduced in capsule size and melanin formation, which could be suppressed by cyclic AMP (cAMP) supplementation or by introducing the activated GPA1(Q284L) allele. Consistent with the fact that Ric8 participates in cAMP signaling to regulate virulence, the ric8 mutant was attenuated in virulence toward mice. Interestingly, disruption of RIC8 also resulted in opposing effects on pheromone signaling, as the ric8 mutant showed reduced mating but an enhanced ability to induce the pheromone response in the mating partner. To identify Ric8 functional mechanisms, we examined the interactions between Ric8 and the three Gα proteins. Ric8 interacted with Gpa1 and Gpa2, but not Gpa3. The presence of Gpa1(Q284L) negatively affected its interaction with Ric8, whereas the activated Gpa2(Q203L) allele abolished the interaction. Collectively, these findings suggest that Ric8 functions as a GEF to facilitate the activation of Gpa1-cAMP signaling and to promote Gpa2, affecting mating efficiency. Our study highlights the distinct and conserved characteristics associated with G protein signaling and contributes to our overall understanding of how G protein α subunits function with or without a canonical Gβ partner in C. neoformans.

  17. Th2 but Not Th1 Immune Bias Results in Altered Lung Functions in a Murine Model of Pulmonary Cryptococcus neoformans Infection▿

    PubMed Central

    Jain, Aditya V.; Zhang, Yanmei; Fields, W. Bradley; McNamara, David A.; Choe, Mun Y.; Chen, Gwo-hsiao; Erb-Downward, John; Osterholzer, John J.; Toews, Galen B.; Huffnagle, Gary B.; Olszewski, Michal A.

    2009-01-01

    Changes in airway dynamics have been reported in the rat model of pulmonary cryptococcosis. However, it is not known if Cryptococcus neoformans-induced changes in lung functions are related to the immunophenotype that develops in response to cryptococcal infection in the lungs. In this study we performed a parallel analysis of the immunophenotype and airway resistance (standard resistance of the airways [SRAW]) in BALB/c mice infected with highly virulent C. neoformans strain H99 and moderately virulent strain 52D. H99 infection evoked a Th2 response and was associated with increased SRAW, while the SRAW for 52D infection, which resulted in a predominantly Th1-skewed response, did not differ from the SRAW for uninfected mice. We found that an altered SRAW in mice did not positively or negatively correlate with the pulmonary fungal burden, the magnitude of inflammatory response, the numbers of T cells, eosinophils or eosinophil subsets, neutrophils, or monocytes/macrophages, or the levels of cytokines (interleukin-4 [IL-4], IL-10, gamma interferon, or IL-13) produced by lung leukocytes. However, the level of a systemic Th2 marker, serum immunoglobulin E (IgE), correlated significantly with SRAW, indicating that the changes in lung functions were proportional to the level of Th2 skewing in this model. These data also imply that IgE may contribute to the altered SRAW observed in H99-infected mice. Lung histological analysis revealed severe allergic bronchopulmonary mycosis pathology in H99-infected mice and evidence of protective responses in 52D-infected mice with well-marginalized lesions. Taken together, the data show that C. neoformans can significantly affect airflow physiology, particularly in the context of a Th2 immune response with possible involvement of IgE as an important factor. PMID:19752036

  18. Survival Defects of Cryptococcus neoformans Mutants Exposed to Human Cerebrospinal Fluid Result in Attenuated Virulence in an Experimental Model of Meningitis▿ †

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Anthony; Toffaletti, Dena L.; Tenor, Jennifer; Soderblom, Erik J.; Thompson, J. Will; Moseley, M. Arthur; Price, Michael; Perfect, John R.

    2010-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungal pathogen that encounters various microenvironments during growth in the mammalian host, including intracellular vacuoles, blood, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Because the CSF is isolated by the blood-brain barrier, we hypothesize that CSF presents unique stresses that C. neoformans must overcome to establish an infection. We assayed 1,201 mutants for survival defects in growth media, saline, and human CSF. We assessed CSF-specific mutants for (i) mutant survival in both human bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and fetal bovine serum (FBS), (ii) survival in macrophages, and (iii) virulence using both Caenorhabditis elegans and rabbit models of cryptococcosis. Thirteen mutants exhibited significant survival defects unique to CSF. The mutations of three of these mutants were recreated in the clinical serotype A strain H99: deletions of the genes for a cation ATPase transporter (ena1Δ), a putative NEDD8 ubiquitin-like protein (rub1Δ), and a phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase (pik1Δ). Mutant survival rates in yeast media, saline, and BAL fluid were similar to those of the wild type; however, survival in FBS was reduced but not to the levels in CSF. These mutant strains also exhibited decreased intracellular survival in macrophages, various degrees of virulence in nematodes, and severe attenuation of survival in a rabbit meningitis model. We analyzed the CSF by mass spectrometry for candidate compounds responsible for the survival defect. Our findings indicate that the genes required for C. neoformans survival in CSF ex vivo are necessary for survival and infection in this unique host environment. PMID:20696827

  19. The Transcriptional Response of Cryptococcus neoformans to Ingestion by Acanthamoeba castellanii and Macrophages Provides Insights into the Evolutionary Adaptation to the Mammalian Host

    PubMed Central

    Paes, Hugo Costa; Albuquerque, Patrícia; Tavares, Aldo Henrique F. P.; Fernandes, Larissa; Silva-Pereira, Ildinete; Casadevall, Arturo

    2013-01-01

    Virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans for mammals, and in particular its intracellular style, was proposed to emerge from evolutionary pressures on its natural environment by protozoan predation, which promoted the selection of strategies that allow intracellular survival in macrophages. In fact, Acanthamoeba castellanii ingests yeast cells, which then can replicate intracellularly. In addition, most fungal factors needed to establish infection in the mammalian host are also important for survival within the amoeba. To better understand the origin of C. neoformans virulence, we compared the transcriptional profile of yeast cells internalized by amoebae and murine macrophages after 6 h of infection. Our results showed 656 and 293 genes whose expression changed at least 2-fold in response to the intracellular environments of amoebae and macrophages, respectively. Among the genes that were found in both groups, we focused on open reading frame (ORF) CNAG_05662, which was potentially related to sugar transport but had no determined biological function. To characterize its function, we constructed a mutant strain and evaluated its ability to grow on various carbon sources. The results showed that this gene, named PTP1 (polyol transporter protein 1), is involved in the transport of 5- and 6-carbon polyols such as mannitol and sorbitol, but its presence or absence had no effect on cryptococcal virulence for mice or moth larvae. Overall, these results are consistent with the hypothesis that the capacity for mammalian virulence originated from fungus-protozoan interactions in the environment and provide a better understanding of how C. neoformans adapts to the mammalian host. PMID:23524994

  20. A Ric8/Synembryn Homolog Promotes Gpa1 and Gpa2 Activation To Respectively Regulate Cyclic AMP and Pheromone Signaling in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Gong, Jinjun; Grodsky, Jacob D.; Zhang, Zhengguang

    2014-01-01

    The G protein α subunits Gpa1, Gpa2, and Gpa3 mediate signal transduction and are important in the growth and virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans. To understand how Gpa1 functions without a conventional Gβ subunit, we characterized a resistance to inhibitors of cholinesterase 8 (Ric8) homolog from C. neoformans, which shares amino acid sequence homology with other Ric8 proteins that exhibit guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) activity toward Gα. We found that the ric8 mutant was reduced in capsule size and melanin formation, which could be suppressed by cyclic AMP (cAMP) supplementation or by introducing the activated GPA1Q284L allele. Consistent with the fact that Ric8 participates in cAMP signaling to regulate virulence, the ric8 mutant was attenuated in virulence toward mice. Interestingly, disruption of RIC8 also resulted in opposing effects on pheromone signaling, as the ric8 mutant showed reduced mating but an enhanced ability to induce the pheromone response in the mating partner. To identify Ric8 functional mechanisms, we examined the interactions between Ric8 and the three Gα proteins. Ric8 interacted with Gpa1 and Gpa2, but not Gpa3. The presence of Gpa1Q284L negatively affected its interaction with Ric8, whereas the activated Gpa2Q203L allele abolished the interaction. Collectively, these findings suggest that Ric8 functions as a GEF to facilitate the activation of Gpa1-cAMP signaling and to promote Gpa2, affecting mating efficiency. Our study highlights the distinct and conserved characteristics associated with G protein signaling and contributes to our overall understanding of how G protein α subunits function with or without a canonical Gβ partner in C. neoformans. PMID:25084863

  1. Correlation of natural killer cell activity and clearance of Cryptococcus neoformans from mice after adoptive transfer of splenic nylon wool-nonadherent cells.

    PubMed Central

    Hidore, M R; Murphy, J W

    1986-01-01

    Previous reports demonstrate that natural killer (NK) cells inhibit the growth of Cryptococcus neoformans in vitro, but conclusive evidence supporting the effectiveness of NK cells in host resistance to cryptococci is not available. The objective of these studies was to assess the ability of NK cells to clear C. neoformans from the lungs, livers, and spleens of infected mice. CBA/J mice were depleted of NK cells, as well as other natural effector cells, by an intraperitoneal injection of cyclophosphamide (Cy), 240 mg/kg of body weight. One day later, 7.5 X 10(7) nylon wool-nonadherent (NWN) spleen cells, either untreated or treated with anti-asialo GM1 and complement to remove NK cells, were adoptively transferred to Cy-pretreated mice. On day 2 after Cy treatment, the mice were injected intravenously with 2 X 10(4) cryptococci. At 4 and 6 days after Cy treatment, tissues were assayed for NK reactivity, using a 4-h 51Cr-release assay, and for in vivo clearance of cryptococci as reflected by mean log10 CFU per organ. We observed that Cy treatment depleted NK activity against YAC-1 targets and reduced in vivo clearance of C. neoformans from the tissues of infected mice. Additionally, Cy treatment depleted the total lung and spleen cellularity and the total number of peripheral blood lymphocytes when compared with those in normal untreated control mice. Also, spleen weights were significantly decreased in comparison with those of untreated animals 4 days after Cy treatment. Adoptive transfer of untreated NWN spleen cells into Cy-depressed mice restored the NK cell activity which correlated with enhanced clearance of cryptococci from lungs, livers, and spleens. In contrast, treatment of NWN spleen cells with anti-asialo GM1 and complement before adoptive transfer abrogated the ability of these cells to restore NK activity or reduce the numbers of cryptococci present in tissues of infected mice. Taken together, these data indicate that NK cells are the cells effective

  2. Identification of a major IP5 kinase in Cryptococcus neoformans confirms that PP-IP5/IP7, not IP6, is essential for virulence.

    PubMed

    Li, Cecilia; Lev, Sophie; Saiardi, Adolfo; Desmarini, Desmarini; Sorrell, Tania C; Djordjevic, Julianne T

    2016-01-01

    Fungal inositol polyphosphate (IP) kinases catalyse phosphorylation of IP3 to inositol pyrophosphate, PP-IP5/IP7, which is essential for virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans. Cryptococcal Kcs1 converts IP6 to PP-IP5/IP7, but the kinase converting IP5 to IP6 is unknown. Deletion of a putative IP5 kinase-encoding gene (IPK1) alone (ipk1Δ), and in combination with KCS1 (ipk1Δkcs1Δ), profoundly reduced virulence in mice. However, deletion of KCS1 and IPK1 had a greater impact on virulence attenuation than that of IPK1 alone. ipk1Δkcs1Δ and kcs1Δ lung burdens were also lower than those of ipk1Δ. Unlike ipk1Δ, ipk1Δkcs1Δ and kcs1Δ failed to disseminate to the brain. IP profiling confirmed Ipk1 as the major IP5 kinase in C. neoformans: ipk1Δ produced no IP6 or PP-IP5/IP7 and, in contrast to ipk1Δkcs1Δ, accumulated IP5 and its pyrophosphorylated PP-IP4 derivative. Kcs1 is therefore a dual specificity (IP5 and IP6) kinase producing PP-IP4 and PP-IP5/IP7. All mutants were similarly attenuated in virulence phenotypes including laccase, urease and growth under oxidative/nitrosative stress. Alternative carbon source utilisation was also reduced significantly in all mutants except ipk1Δ, suggesting that PP-IP4 partially compensates for absent PP-IP5/IP7 in ipk1Δ grown under this condition. In conclusion, PP-IP5/IP7, not IP6, is essential for fungal virulence. PMID:27033523

  3. Molecular epidemiology of Cryptococcus neoformans in Brazil and the United States: evidence for both local genetic differences and a global clonal population structure.

    PubMed Central

    Franzot, S P; Hamdan, J S; Currie, B P; Casadevall, A

    1997-01-01

    Little is known about the global molecular epidemiology of the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. We studied 51 clinical and environmental (pigeon excreta) isolates from two cities in Brazil (Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro) by analyzing their carbon assimilation patterns, electrophoretic karyotypes, restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) with the C. neoformans repetitive element-1 (CNRE-1), and URA5 sequences. Results were compared to those previously obtained for isolates from New York City by the same DNA typing methods. Computer-assisted analysis of RFLPs and contour-clamped homogeneous electrophoresis (CHEF) patterns and URA5 sequences was performed to generate dendrograms. Some environmental and clinical isolates were found to be indistinguishable by CHEF, CNRE-1 RFLP, and URA5 sequence analyses. Similarly, some isolates from Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte were indistinguishable by the three DNA typing techniques. Overall, Brazilian isolates appeared to be less heterogeneous by DNA analysis than isolates from other regions. Several Brazilian isolates were highly related to New York City isolates. Phylogenetic analysis of the sequences obtained for the Brazilian isolates and those obtained for New York City isolates was congruent with the dendrogram generated from the CNRE-1 RFLP data. In summary our results indicate (i) that the discriminatory power of the DNA typing method differs for Brazilian and New York City strains, with the order being CNRE-1 RFLP analysis > URA5 sequence analysis > CHEF analysis and CHEF analysis > URA5 sequence analysis > CNRE-1 RFLP analysis, respectively; (ii) that there are differences in local genetic diversity for Brazilian and New York City isolates; (iii) that there is additional evidence linking clinical isolates to those in pigeon excreta; and (iv) that some isolates from Brazil and New York City are closely related, consistent with the global dispersal of certain pathogenic strains. PMID

  4. Cryptococcus neoformans Infection in Mice Lacking Type I Interferon Signaling Leads to Increased Fungal Clearance and IL-4-Dependent Mucin Production in the Lungs

    PubMed Central

    Sato, Ko; Yamamoto, Hideki; Nomura, Toshiki; Matsumoto, Ikumi; Miyasaka, Tomomitsu; Zong, Tong; Kanno, Emi; Uno, Kazuko; Ishii, Keiko; Kawakami, Kazuyoshi

    2015-01-01

    Type I interferons (IFNs) are secreted by many cell types upon stimulation via pattern recognition receptors and bind to IFN-α/β receptor (IFNAR), which is composed of IFNAR1 and IFNAR2. Although type I IFNs are well known as anti-viral cytokines, limited information is available on their role during fungal infection. In the present study, we addressed this issue by examining the effect of IFNAR1 defects on the host defense response to Cryptococcus neoformans. In IFNAR1KO mice, the number of live colonies was lower and the host immune response mediated not only by Th1 but also by Th2 and Th17-related cytokines was more accelerated in the infected lungs than in WT mice. In addition, mucin production by bronchoepithelial cells and expression of MUC5AC, a major core protein of mucin in the lungs, were significantly higher in IFNAR1KO mice than in WT mice. This increase in mucin and MUC5AC production was significantly inhibited by treatment with neutralizing anti-IL-4 mAb. In contrast, administration of recombinant IFN-αA/D significantly suppressed the production of IL-4, but not of IFN-γ and IL-17A, in the lungs of WT mice after cryptococcal infection. These results indicate that defects of IFNAR1 led to improved clearance of infection with C. neoformans and enhanced synthesis of IFN-γ and the IL-4-dependent production of mucin. They also suggest that type I IFNs may be involved in the negative regulation of early host defense to this infection. PMID:26384031

  5. Glucuronoxylomannan of Cryptococcus neoformans serotype B: structural analysis by gas-liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and 13C-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

    PubMed

    Turner, S H; Cherniak, R

    1991-04-01

    The major extracellular polysaccharide (glucuronoxylomannan, GXM) from six strains of Cryptococcus neoformans serotype B was characterized by gas-liquid chromatography (g.l.c.), g.l.c.-mass spectrometry (g.l.c.-m.s.), and nuclear magnetic resonance (n.m.r.) spectroscopy. Ultrasonic irradiation (u.i.) was used to reduce the mol.wt. of native GXM from 9.75 x 10(5) to 1.15 x 10(5) without apparent change in its composition (GXM-S). The Xylp:Manp:GlcpA molar ratio of the GXM and GXM-S from the six strains of C. neoformans serotype B is approximately 3.5:3.0:0.6. GXM-S was O-deacetylated (GXM-D) by treatment with NH4OH. The 13C-n.m.r. analysis of GXM-D gave spectra that served as characteristic fingerprints of the structure and also facilitated the assignment of the anomeric carbon resonances to specific structural moieties present in GXM-D. The GXM-D from each serotype B strain was found to be similar by 13C-n.m.r. spectroscopy. The structure contains a linear (1----3)-alpha-D-Manp backbone substituted with 2-O-beta-GlcpA and 2-O-beta-Xylp. beta-Xylp is also O-4 linked to the Manp substituted with GlcpA. In addition, a model for the disposition of the Xylp and GlcpA side chain substituents along the mannopyranan backbone is proposed, based upon results from the combination of g.l.c.-m.s. and 13C-n.m.r. spectroscopy. PMID:1773425

  6. Influence of climatic conditions on the isolation of members of the Cryptococcus neoformans species complex from trees in Colombia from 1992-2004.

    PubMed

    Granados, Diana Paola; Castañeda, Elizabeth

    2006-06-01

    The aim of this retrospective study was to analyze the relationship between occurrence of the serotypes of the Cryptococcus neoformans species complex in tree samples and the climatic conditions registered during samplings in four cities of Colombia, between 1992 and 2004, by means of a logistic regression model and lagged Pearson correlations. During 97 collection dates, 8220 samples from different tree species were taken, of which 2.63% were positive: 56.5% yielded serotype B, 24.7% serotype C and 18.8% serotype A isolates. The prevalence of the serotypes varied among the cities. The results suggest that environmental climatic conditions, mainly humidity, temperature, evaporation and solar radiation, can affect the occurrence of the different serotypes in trees in a differential manner. These different climatic tolerances were reflected in the geographic distribution of the serotypes in Colombia. The climatic conditions for 15 days before the sampling date were correlated with positive or negative isolation of the different serotypes. PMID:16696660

  7. Major histocompatibility complex controls the trajectory but not host-specific adaptation during virulence evolution of the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed Central

    McClelland, Erin E.; Adler, Frederick R.; Granger, Donald L.; Potts, Wayne K.

    2004-01-01

    Genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) play a critical role in immune recognition and are the most genetically diverse loci known. One hypothesis to explain this diversity postulates that pathogens adapt to common MHC haplotypes and thus favour selection of new or rare alleles. To determine whether the pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans adapts to MHC-dependent immune responses, it was serially passaged in two independent replicate lines of five B10 MHC-congenic strains and Balb/c mice. All passaged lines increased in virulence as measured by reduced host survival. MHC influenced the rate (trajectory) of virulence increase during passages as measured by significant differences in mortality rate (p < 0.001). However, when the post-passage strains were tested, no MHC differences in mortality rate remained and only minor differences in titres were observed. Also contrary to expectations, increased virulence in three lines passaged in B10 mice had a larger effect in Balb/c mice, and the evolution of virulence in lines passaged in alternating hosts was not retarded. To our knowledge, these data represent the first experimental test of MHC-specific adaptation in a non-viral pathogen. The failure to observe MHC effects despite dramatically increased virulence and host-genotype-specific adaptation to non-MHC genes suggests that escape of MHC-dependent immune recognition may be difficult for pathogens with unlimited epitopes or that other virulence factors can swamp MHC effects. PMID:15306300

  8. Illuminating choices for library prep: a comparison of library preparation methods for whole genome sequencing of Cryptococcus neoformans using Illumina HiSeq.

    PubMed

    Rhodes, Johanna; Beale, Mathew A; Fisher, Matthew C

    2014-01-01

    The industry of next-generation sequencing is constantly evolving, with novel library preparation methods and new sequencing machines being released by the major sequencing technology companies annually. The Illumina TruSeq v2 library preparation method was the most widely used kit and the market leader; however, it has now been discontinued, and in 2013 was replaced by the TruSeq Nano and TruSeq PCR-free methods, leaving a gap in knowledge regarding which is the most appropriate library preparation method to use. Here, we used isolates from the pathogenic fungi Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii and sequenced them using the existing TruSeq DNA v2 kit (Illumina), along with two new kits: the TruSeq Nano DNA kit (Illumina) and the NEBNext Ultra DNA kit (New England Biolabs) to provide a comparison. Compared to the original TruSeq DNA v2 kit, both newer kits gave equivalent or better sequencing data, with increased coverage. When comparing the two newer kits, we found little difference in cost and workflow, with the NEBNext Ultra both slightly cheaper and faster than the TruSeq Nano. However, the quality of data generated using the TruSeq Nano DNA kit was superior due to higher coverage at regions of low GC content, and more SNPs identified. Researchers should therefore evaluate their resources and the type of application (and hence data quality) being considered when ultimately deciding on which library prep method to use. PMID:25409295

  9. Illuminating choices for library prep: a comparison of library preparation methods for whole genome sequencing of Cryptococcus neoformans using Illumina HiSeq.

    PubMed

    Rhodes, Johanna; Beale, Mathew A; Fisher, Matthew C

    2014-01-01

    The industry of next-generation sequencing is constantly evolving, with novel library preparation methods and new sequencing machines being released by the major sequencing technology companies annually. The Illumina TruSeq v2 library preparation method was the most widely used kit and the market leader; however, it has now been discontinued, and in 2013 was replaced by the TruSeq Nano and TruSeq PCR-free methods, leaving a gap in knowledge regarding which is the most appropriate library preparation method to use. Here, we used isolates from the pathogenic fungi Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii and sequenced them using the existing TruSeq DNA v2 kit (Illumina), along with two new kits: the TruSeq Nano DNA kit (Illumina) and the NEBNext Ultra DNA kit (New England Biolabs) to provide a comparison. Compared to the original TruSeq DNA v2 kit, both newer kits gave equivalent or better sequencing data, with increased coverage. When comparing the two newer kits, we found little difference in cost and workflow, with the NEBNext Ultra both slightly cheaper and faster than the TruSeq Nano. However, the quality of data generated using the TruSeq Nano DNA kit was superior due to higher coverage at regions of low GC content, and more SNPs identified. Researchers should therefore evaluate their resources and the type of application (and hence data quality) being considered when ultimately deciding on which library prep method to use.

  10. Ras-related C3 Botulinum Toxin Substrate (Rac) and Src Family Kinases (SFK) Are Proximal and Essential for Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase (PI3K) Activation in Natural Killer (NK) Cell-mediated Direct Cytotoxicity against Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Xiang, Richard F; Stack, Danuta; Huston, Shaunna M; Li, Shu Shun; Ogbomo, Henry; Kyei, Stephen K; Mody, Christopher H

    2016-03-25

    The activity of Rac in leukocytes is essential for immunity. However, its role in NK cell-mediated anti-microbial signaling remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the role of Rac in NK cell mediated anti-cryptococcal killing. We found thatCryptococcus neoformansindependently activates both Rac and SFK pathways in NK cells, and unlike in tumor killing,Cryptococcusinitiated a novel Rac → PI3K → Erk cytotoxicity cascade. Remarkably, Rac was not required for conjugate formation, despite its essential role in NK cytotoxicity againstC. neoformans Taken together, our data show that, unlike observations with tumor cells, NK cells use a novel Rac cytotoxicity pathway in conjunction with SFK, to killC. neoformans. PMID:26867574

  11. Ras-related C3 Botulinum Toxin Substrate (Rac) and Src Family Kinases (SFK) Are Proximal and Essential for Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase (PI3K) Activation in Natural Killer (NK) Cell-mediated Direct Cytotoxicity against Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Xiang, Richard F; Stack, Danuta; Huston, Shaunna M; Li, Shu Shun; Ogbomo, Henry; Kyei, Stephen K; Mody, Christopher H

    2016-03-25

    The activity of Rac in leukocytes is essential for immunity. However, its role in NK cell-mediated anti-microbial signaling remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the role of Rac in NK cell mediated anti-cryptococcal killing. We found thatCryptococcus neoformansindependently activates both Rac and SFK pathways in NK cells, and unlike in tumor killing,Cryptococcusinitiated a novel Rac → PI3K → Erk cytotoxicity cascade. Remarkably, Rac was not required for conjugate formation, despite its essential role in NK cytotoxicity againstC. neoformans Taken together, our data show that, unlike observations with tumor cells, NK cells use a novel Rac cytotoxicity pathway in conjunction with SFK, to killC. neoformans.

  12. Antifungal susceptibilities of Candida, Cryptococcus neoformans and Aspergillus fumigatus from the Asia and Western Pacific region: data from the SENTRY antifungal surveillance program (2010-2012).

    PubMed

    Pfaller, Michael A; Messer, Shawn A; Jones, Ronald N; Castanheira, Mariana

    2015-09-01

    The SENTRY Antifungal Surveillance Program monitors global susceptibility rates of newer and established antifungal agents. We report the in vitro activity of seven antifungal agents against 496 contemporary clinical isolates of yeasts and molds. The isolates were obtained from 20 laboratories in the Asia-Western Pacific (APAC) region during 2010 through 2012. Anidulafungin, caspofungin, micafungin, fluconazole, itraconazole, posaconazole and voriconazole were susceptibility tested using CLSI methods and species-specific interpretive criteria. Sequencing of fks hot spots was performed for echinocandin-resistant strains. Isolates included 13 species of Candida (n=460), 5 species of non-Candida yeasts (21), 5 species of Aspergillus (11) and 4 other molds. Echinocandin resistance was uncommon among eight species of Candida and was only detected in three isolates of Candida glabrata, two from Australia harboring mutations in fks1 (F625S) and fks2 (S663P). Resistance to the azoles was much more common and was observed among all species with the exception of Candida dubliniensis. Fluconazole resistance rates observed with C. glabrata (6.8%) was comparable to that seen with Candida parapsilosis (5.7%) and Candida tropicalis (3.6%). Cross resistance among the triazoles was seen with each of these three species. The mold-active azoles and the echinocandins were all active against isolates of Aspergillus fumigatus. Azole resistance was not detected among the isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans. Antifungal resistance is uncommon among isolates of fungi causing invasive fungal infections in the APAC region. As in other regions of the world, emerging resistance to the echinocandins among invasive isolates of C. glabrata bears close monitoring.

  13. Immune Modulation Mediated by Cryptococcal Laccase Promotes Pulmonary Growth and Brain Dissemination of Virulent Cryptococcus neoformans in Mice

    PubMed Central

    Qiu, Yafeng; Davis, Michael J.; Dayrit, Jeremy K.; Hadd, Zachary; Meister, Daniel L.; Osterholzer, John J.; Williamson, Peter R.; Olszewski, Michal A.

    2012-01-01

    C. neoformans is a leading cause of fatal mycosis linked to CNS dissemination. Laccase, encoded by the LAC1 gene, is an important virulence factor implicated in brain dissemination yet little is known about the mechanism(s) accounting for this observation. Here, we investigated whether the presence or absence of laccase altered the local immune response in the lungs by comparing infections with the highly virulent strain, H99 (which expresses laccase) and mutant strain of H99 deficient in laccase (lac1Δ) in a mouse model of pulmonary infection. We found that LAC1 gene deletion decreased the pulmonary fungal burden and abolished CNS dissemination at weeks 2 and 3. Furthermore, LAC1 deletion lead to: 1) diminished pulmonary eosinophilia; 2) increased accumulation of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells; 3) increased Th1 and Th17 cytokines yet decreased Th2 cytokines; and 4) lung macrophage shifting of the lung macrophage phenotype from M2- towards M1-type activation. Next, we used adoptively transferred CD4+ T cells isolated from pulmonary lymph nodes of mice infected with either lac1Δ or H99 to evaluate the role of laccase-induced immunomodulation on CNS dissemination. We found that in comparison to PBS treated mice, adoptively transferred CD4+ T cells isolated from lac1Δ-infected mice decreased CNS dissemination, while those isolated from H99-infected mice increased CNS dissemination. Collectively, our findings reveal that immune modulation away from Th1/Th17 responses and towards Th2 responses represents a novel mechanism through which laccase can contribute to cryptococcal virulence. Furthermore, our data support the hypothesis that laccase-induced changes in polarization of CD4+ T cells contribute to CNS dissemination. PMID:23110112

  14. Cryptococcus neoformans isolates from Yaoundé human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients exhibited intra-individual genetic diversity and variation in antifungal susceptibility profiles between isolates from the same patient.

    PubMed

    Kammalac Ngouana, Thierry; Drakulovski, Pascal; Krasteva, Donika; Kouanfack, Charles; Reynes, Jacques; Delaporte, Eric; Boyom, Fabrice Fekam; Mallié, Michèle; Bertout, Sebastien

    2016-07-01

    Cryptococcal meningitis is a dreadful opportunistic fungal infection amongst human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients. One complication in the management of the disease is the possible infection of a patient by two or more different strains of Cryptococcus neoformans. This study investigated the intra-individual genetic diversity and antifungal susceptibility of C. neoformans isolates from Yaoundé (Cameroon) HIV-infected patients with cryptococcal meningitis. Twenty-five clinical isolates were obtained during a prospective study. Five colonies were randomly collected from each initial sample. The 150 isolates obtained (125 colonies and 25 initial samples) were submitted to serotyping by multiplex PCR. Genotyping analyses were achieved using RFLP, and minisatellite- and microsatellite-length polymorphism. The antifungal susceptibility testing was carried out using a Sensititre YeastOne kit. Seven antifungals were tested: itraconazole, fluconazole, amphotericin B, ketoconazole, 5-fluorocytosine, posaconazole and voriconazole. The 150 isolates were identified as C. neoformans serotype A and genotype VNI. The microsatellite and minisatellite sequence analyses generated 15 genotypes. Six out of 25 (24 %) patients were found to be infected by two different genotypes. Antifungal susceptibility showed several profiles: posaconazole (0.015-0.25 µg ml-1), amphotericin B (0.06-1 µg ml-1), fluconazole (0.5-16 µg ml-1), itraconazole (0.008-0.12 µg ml-1), ketoconazole (0.008-0.12 µg ml-1), 5-fluorocytosine (0.25-16 µg ml-1) and voriconazole (0.008-0.12 µg ml-1). It was noted that isolates from the same patient might present different susceptibility profiles to an antifungal drug with differences of more than four dilutions. The results achieved highlighted the possible presence of isolates with different genotypes in a patient with dissimilar antifungal susceptibility profiles during a single episode of cryptococcal meningitis. PMID:27100672

  15. [Mechanism of Cryptococcus Meningoencephalitis].

    PubMed

    Miyazato, Akiko

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii are fungal pathogens that cause diseases in humans. Cryptococcal species mainly enter the body by inhalation and in most cases are eliminated by host defense mechanisms. Some cases, however, progress to pneumonia and subsequent dissemination of the infection to the central nervous system (CNS), leading to meningoencephalitis. Cryptococcus can cross the blood-brain barrier transcellularly, paracellularly and through infected phagocytes (the Trojan horse mechanism). The reason for the tropism of Cryptococcus to the CNS could be partially explained by the abundance of inositol in the brain, which causes the hyaluronic acid in fungal cells to bind to host CD44 receptors. There are differences in the clinical characteristics of C. neoformans and C. gattii. HIV infection is the most common risk factor for cryptococcosis due to C. neoformans, whereas C. gattii infection with CNS involvement is frequently found in otherwise healthy individuals exposed to plant propagules found in tropical and subtropical regions. As the virulence traits of C. neoformans contributing to CNS disease, high macrophage uptake and laccase activity are associated with the fungal burden and the rate of clearance of the infection from the brain. Recent reports suggested that the C. gattii VGII strain suppresses host immune responses in the lung and causes more lung infections than CNS diseases. Furthermore, the anti-GM-CSF autoantibodies are a risk factor for CNS infection by the C. gattii VGI strain. To understand the mechanism by which Cryptococcus causes CNS disease, it is important to consider the specific characteristics of the species and the molecular types. PMID:26936349

  16. 9-O-butyl-13-(4-isopropylbenzyl)berberine, KR-72, is a potent antifungal agent that inhibits the growth of Cryptococcus neoformans by regulating gene expression.

    PubMed

    Bang, Soohyun; Kwon, Hyojeong; Hwang, Hyun Sook; Park, Ki Duk; Kim, Sung Uk; Bahn, Yong-Sun

    2014-01-01

    In this study we explored the mode of action of KR-72, a 9-O-butyl-13-(4-isopropylbenzyl)berberine derivative previously shown to exhibit potent antifungal activity against a variety of human fungal pathogens. The DNA microarray data revealed that KR-72 treatment significantly changed the transcription profiles of C. neoformans, affecting the expression of more than 2,000 genes. Genes involved in translation and transcription were mostly upregulated, whereas those involved in the cytoskeleton, intracellular trafficking, and lipid metabolism were downregulated. KR-72 also exhibited a strong synergistic effect with the antifungal agent FK506. KR-72 treatment regulated the expression of several essential genes, including ECM16, NOP14, HSP10 and MGE1, which are required for C. neoformans growth. The KR-72-mediated induction of MGE1 also likely reduced the viability of C. neoformans by impairing cell cycle or the DNA repair system. In conclusion, KR-72 showed antifungal activity by modulating diverse biological processes through a mode of action distinct from those of clinically available antifungal drugs such as polyene and azole drugs.

  17. Simultaneous central nervous system complications of C. neoformans infection

    PubMed Central

    González-Duarte, Alejandra; Higera Calleja, Jesus; Mitre, Vicente Gijón; Ramos, Guillermo Garcia

    2009-01-01

    The most common neurological manifestation of Cryptococcus neoformans infection is meningitis. Other less common manifestations include parenchymal central nervous system (CNS) granulomatous disease, hydrocephalus and stroke. C. neoformans is often suspected in immunodepressed patients, but it can be easily overlooked in otherwise healthy patients. This paper provides a detailed clinical description of a patient without immunosupression who developed multiple simultaneous neurological manifestations after the infection with C. neoformans. PMID:21577360

  18. Cryptococcus gattii Infections

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Sharon C.-A.; Meyer, Wieland

    2014-01-01

    SUMMARY Understanding of the taxonomy and phylogeny of Cryptococcus gattii has been advanced by modern molecular techniques. C. gattii probably diverged from Cryptococcus neoformans between 16 million and 160 million years ago, depending on the dating methods applied, and maintains diversity by recombining in nature. South America is the likely source of the virulent C. gattii VGII molecular types that have emerged in North America. C. gattii shares major virulence determinants with C. neoformans, although genomic and transcriptomic studies revealed that despite similar genomes, the VGIIa and VGIIb subtypes employ very different transcriptional circuits and manifest differences in virulence phenotypes. Preliminary evidence suggests that C. gattii VGII causes severe lung disease and death without dissemination, whereas C. neoformans disseminates readily to the central nervous system (CNS) and causes death from meningoencephalitis. Overall, currently available data indicate that the C. gattii VGI, VGII, and VGIII molecular types more commonly affect nonimmunocompromised hosts, in contrast to VGIV. New, rapid, cheap diagnostic tests and imaging modalities are assisting early diagnosis and enabling better outcomes of cerebral cryptococcosis. Complications of CNS infection include increased intracranial pressure, severe neurological sequelae, and development of immune reconstitution syndrome, although the mortality rate is low. C. gattii VGII isolates may exhibit higher fluconazole MICs than other genotypes. Optimal therapeutic regimens are yet to be determined; in most cases, initial therapy with amphotericin B and 5-flucytosine is recommended. PMID:25278580

  19. Cross-reactivity in Cryptococcus antigen latex agglutination test in two commercial kits.

    PubMed

    Tone, Kazuya; Umeda, Yoshiko; Makimura, Koichi

    2016-05-01

    This article presents an examination of the cross-reactivity of pathogenic fungi with Cryptococcus neoformans in two commercial Cryptococcus antigen latex agglutination tests performed across 39 fungal strains. Some fungi were newly indicated as Cryptococcus cross-reactive, and the two kits showed differences in cross-reactive fungi. PMID:26922300

  20. Full characterization of the Cu-, Zn-, and Cd-binding properties of CnMT1 and CnMT2, two metallothioneins of the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans acting as virulence factors

    PubMed Central

    Palacios, Òscar; Espart, Anna; Espín, Jordi; Ding, Chen; Thiele, Dennis J.; Atrian, Sílvia; Capdevila, Mercè

    2014-01-01

    We report here the full characterization of the metal binding abilities of CnMT1 and CnMT2, two Cryptococcus neoformans proteins recently identified as metallothioneins (MTs), which have been shown to perform a crucial role for the virulence and pathogenicity of this human-infecting fungus. In this work, we first performed a thorough in silico study of the CnMT1 and CnMT2 genes, cDNAs and corresponding encoded products. Subsequently, the Zn(II)-, Cd(II)- and Cu(I) binding abilities of both proteins were fully determined through the analysis of the metal-to-protein stoichiometries and the structural features (determined by ESI-MS, CD, ICP-AES and UV-vis spectroscopies) of the corresponding recombinant Zn-, Cd- and Cu-MT preparations synthesized in metal-enriched media. Finally, the analysis of the Zn/Cd and Zn/Cu replacement processes undertaken by the respective Zn-MT complexes when allowed to react with Cd(II) or Cu(I) aqueous solutions completed the analysis. Comprehensive consideration of all gathered results allow us to consider both isoforms as genuine copper-thioneins, and led to the identification of unprecedented Cu5-core clusters in MTs. CnMT1 and CnMT2 polypeptides appear as evolutionary related to the small fungal MTs, probably by ancient tandem-duplication events responding to a high selective pressure to chelate copper, and far from the properties of Zn- and Cd-thioneins. Finally, we propose a modular structure of the Cu-CnMT1 and Cu-CnMT2 complexes basically built on the three and five-fold presence of 7-Cys units, each one yielding a Cu5-core cluster. PMID:24317230

  1. Lymphocyte transformation assay for C neoformans antigen is not reliable for detecting cellular impairment in patients with Neurocryptococcosis

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Cryptococcus neoformans causes meningitis and disseminated infection in healthy individuals, but more commonly in hosts with defective immune responses. Cell-mediated immunity is an important component of the immune response to a great variety of infections, including yeast infections. We aimed to evaluate a specific lymphocyte transformation assay to Cryptococcus neoformans in order to identify immunodeficiency associated to neurocryptococcosis (NCC) as primary cause of the mycosis. Methods Healthy volunteers, poultry growers, and HIV-seronegative patients with neurocryptococcosis were tested for cellular immune response. Cryptococcal meningitis was diagnosed by India ink staining of cerebrospinal fluid and cryptococcal antigen test (Immunomycol-Inc, SP, Brazil). Isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells were stimulated with C. neoformans antigen, C. albicans antigen, and pokeweed mitogen. The amount of 3H-thymidine incorporated was assessed, and the results were expressed as stimulation index (SI) and log SI, sensitivity, specificity, and cut-off value (receiver operating characteristics curve). We applied unpaired Student t tests to compare data and considered significant differences for p<0.05. Results The lymphotoxin alpha showed a low capacity with all the stimuli for classifying patients as responders and non-responders. Lymphotoxin alpha stimulated by heated-killed antigen from patients with neurocryptococcosis was not affected by TCD4+ cell count, and the intensity of response did not correlate with the clinical evolution of neurocryptococcosis. Conclusion Response to lymphocyte transformation assay should be analyzed based on a normal range and using more than one stimulator. The use of a cut-off value to classify patients with neurocryptococcosis is inadequate. Statistical analysis should be based on the log transformation of SI. A more purified antigen for evaluating specific response to C. neoformans is needed. PMID:23110700

  2. Isolation and purification of antigenic components of Cryptococcus.

    PubMed

    Wozniak, Karen L; Levitz, Stuart M

    2009-01-01

    The encapsulated fungal pathogens Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii are significant agents of life-threatening infections, particularly in persons with suppressed cell-mediated immunity. This chapter provides detailed methodology for the purification of two of the major antigen fractions of C. neoformans: glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) and mannoprotein (MP). GXM is the primary component of the polysaccharide capsule, which is the major cryptococcal virulence factor. In contrast, MPs have been identified as key antigens that stimulate T-cell responses. Purification of GXM and MP should assist investigators studying the antigenic, biochemical, and virulence properties of Cryptococcus species.

  3. Anti-Candida and anti-Cryptococcus antifungal produced by marine microorganisms.

    PubMed

    El Amraoui, B; El Amraoui, M; Cohen, N; Fassouane, A

    2014-12-01

    In order to search for antifungal from biological origin, we performed a screening of marine microorganisms isolated from seawater, seaweed, sediment and marine invertebrates collected from different coastal areas of the Moroccan Atlantic Ocean. The antifungal activities of these isolates were investigated against the pathogenic yeasts involved in medical mycology. Whole cultures of 34 marine microorganisms were screened for antifungal activities using the method of agar diffusion against four yeasts. The results showed that among the 34 isolates studied, 13 (38%) strains have antifungal activity against at least one out of four yeast species, 11 isolates have anti-Candida albicans CIP 48.72 activity, 12 isolates have anti-C. albicans CIP 884.65 activity, 13 isolates have anti-Cryptococcus neoformans activity and only 6 isolates are actives against Candida tropicalis R2 resistant to nystatin and amphotericin B. Nine isolates showed strong fungicidal activity. Fourteen microorganisms were identified and assigned to the genera Acinetobacter, Aeromonas, Alcaligenes, Bacillus, Chromobacterium, Enterococcus, Pantoea, and Pseudomonas. Due to a competitive role for space and nutrient, the marine microorganisms could produce more antimicrobials; therefore these marine microorganisms were expected to be potential resources of natural products such as those we research: anti-Candida and anti-Cryptococcus fungicides.

  4. Cytocidal amino acid starvation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida albicans acetolactate synthase (ilv2{Delta}) mutants is influenced by the carbon source and rapamycin.

    PubMed

    Kingsbury, Joanne M; McCusker, John H

    2010-03-01

    The isoleucine and valine biosynthetic enzyme acetolactate synthase (Ilv2p) is an attractive antifungal drug target, since the isoleucine and valine biosynthetic pathway is not present in mammals, Saccharomyces cerevisiae ilv2Delta mutants do not survive in vivo, Cryptococcus neoformans ilv2 mutants are avirulent, and both S. cerevisiae and Cr. neoformans ilv2 mutants die upon isoleucine and valine starvation. To further explore the potential of Ilv2p as an antifungal drug target, we disrupted Candida albicans ILV2, and demonstrated that Ca. albicans ilv2Delta mutants were significantly attenuated in virulence, and were also profoundly starvation-cidal, with a greater than 100-fold reduction in viability after only 4 h of isoleucine and valine starvation. As fungicidal starvation would be advantageous for drug design, we explored the basis of the starvation-cidal phenotype in both S. cerevisiae and Ca. albicans ilv2Delta mutants. Since the mutation of ILV1, required for the first step of isoleucine biosynthesis, did not suppress the ilv2Delta starvation-cidal defects in either species, the cidal phenotype was not due to alpha-ketobutyrate accumulation. We found that starvation for isoleucine alone was more deleterious in Ca. albicans than in S. cerevisiae, and starvation for valine was more deleterious than for isoleucine in both species. Interestingly, while the target of rapamycin (TOR) pathway inhibitor rapamycin further reduced S. cerevisiae ilv2Delta starvation viability, it increased Ca. albicans ilv1Delta and ilv2Delta viability. Furthermore, the recovery from starvation was dependent on the carbon source present during recovery for S. cerevisiae ilv2Delta mutants, reminiscent of isoleucine and valine starvation inducing a viable but non-culturable-like state in this species, while Ca. albicans ilv1Delta and ilv2 Delta viability was influenced by the carbon source present during starvation, supporting a role for glucose wasting in the Ca. albicans cidal

  5. Rapid detection and identification of Candida albicans and Torulopsis (Candida) glabrata in clinical specimens by species-specific nested PCR amplification of a cytochrome P-450 lanosterol-alpha-demethylase (L1A1) gene fragment.

    PubMed

    Burgener-Kairuz, P; Zuber, J P; Jaunin, P; Buchman, T G; Bille, J; Rossier, M

    1994-08-01

    PCR of a Candida albicans cytochrome P-450 lanosterol-alpha-demethylase (P450-L1A1) gene segment is a rapid and sensitive method of detection in clinical specimens. This enzyme is a target for azole antifungal action. In order to directly detect and identify the clinically most important species of Candida, we cloned and sequenced 1.3-kbp fragments of the cytochrome P450-L1A1 genes from Torulopsis (Candida) glabrata and from Candida krusei. These segments were compared with the published sequences from C. albicans and Candida tropicalis. Amplimers for gene sequences highly conserved throughout the fungal kingdom were first used; positive PCR results were obtained for C. albicans, T. glabrata, C. krusei, Candida parapsilosis, C. tropicalis, Cryptococcus neoformans, and Trichosporon beigelii DNA extracts. Primers were then selected for a highly variable region of the gene, allowing the species-specific detection from purified DNA of C. albicans, T. glabrata, C. krusei, and C. tropicalis. The assay sensitivity as tested for C. albicans in seeded clinical specimens such as blood, peritoneal fluid, or urine was 10 to 20 cells per 0.1 ml. Compared with results obtained by culture, the sensitivity, specificity, and efficiency of the species-specific nested PCR tested with 80 clinical specimens were 71, 95, and 83% for C. albicans and 100, 97, and 98% for T. glabrata, respectively.

  6. [Evaluation of melanin production by Cryptococcus species in four different culture media].

    PubMed

    Pedroso, Reginaldo dos Santos; da Costa, Karen Regina Carim; Ferreira, Joseane Cristina; Candido, Regina Celia

    2007-01-01

    The capacity of Cryptococcus spp to produce melanin in media containing phenol compounds is widely used for identifying these species in the laboratory. The aim of the present study was to compare the production of this pigment by Cryptococcus spp. in four culture media. Sixteen strains of Cryptococcus neoformans, 17 of Cryptococcus albidus, 13 of Cryptococcus laurentii and two of Cryptococcus uniguttulatus were tested in the following media: potato-carrot agar, Niger seed agar, sunflower seed agar and L-dopa agar. The melanin production was evaluated on the basis of colony pigmentation. Its production after five days of incubation was demonstrated by 93.8% of the strains of Cryptococcus neoformans in the media of potato-carrot agar, sunflower seed agar and L-dopa agar. From the isolates of Cryptococcus albidus, 29.4% produced the pigment in potato-carrot agar and L-dopa agar, 11.8% in Niger seed agar and 36% in sunflower seed agar. From Cryptococcus laurentii, 53.8% produced the pigment in potato-carrot agar and sunflower seed agar, 61.5% in L-dopa agar and 84.6% in Niger seed agar. Only one strain of Cryptococcus uniguttulatus presented slight production of the pigment, in potato-carrot agar.

  7. Cryptococcosis (C. neoformans)

    MedlinePlus

    ... Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases Mycotic Diseases Branch C. neoformans Infection Recommend on Facebook Tweet Share Compartir ... throughout the world. People can become infected with C. neoformans after breathing in the microscopic fungus, although ...

  8. Compositional and immunobiological analyses of extracellular vesicles released by Candida albicans.

    PubMed

    Vargas, Gabriele; Rocha, Juliana D B; Oliveira, Debora Leite; Albuquerque, Priscila Costa; Frases, Susana; Santos, Suelen S; Nosanchuk, Joshua Daniel; Gomes, Andre Marco Oliveira; Medeiros, Lia C A S; Miranda, Kildare; Sobreira, Tiago J P; Nakayasu, Ernesto S; Arigi, Emma A; Casadevall, Arturo; Guimaraes, Allan J; Rodrigues, Marcio L; Freire-de-Lima, Celio Geraldo; Almeida, Igor C; Nimrichter, Leonardo

    2015-03-01

    The release of extracellular vesicles (EV) by fungal organisms is considered an alternative transport mechanism to trans-cell wall passage of macromolecules. Previous studies have revealed the presence of EV in culture supernatants from fungal pathogens, such as Cryptococcus neoformans, Histoplasma capsulatum, Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, Sporothrix schenckii, Malassezia sympodialis and Candida albicans. Here we investigated the size, composition, kinetics of internalization by bone marrow-derived murine macrophages (MO) and dendritic cells (DC), and the immunomodulatory activity of C. albicans EV. We also evaluated the impact of EV on fungal virulence using the Galleria mellonella larvae model. By transmission electron microscopy and dynamic light scattering, we identified two populations ranging from 50 to 100 nm and 350 to 850 nm. Two predominant seroreactive proteins (27 kDa and 37 kDa) and a group of polydispersed mannoproteins were observed in EV by immunoblotting analysis. Proteomic analysis of C. albicans EV revealed proteins related to pathogenesis, cell organization, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, response to stress, and several other functions. The major lipids detected by thin-layer chromatography were ergosterol, lanosterol and glucosylceramide. Short exposure of MO to EV resulted in internalization of these vesicles and production of nitric oxide, interleukin (IL)-12, transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) and IL-10. Similarly, EV-treated DC produced IL-12p40, IL-10 and tumour necrosis factor-alpha. In addition, EV treatment induced the up-regulation of CD86 and major histocompatibility complex class-II (MHC-II). Inoculation of G. mellonella larvae with EV followed by challenge with C. albicans reduced the number of recovered viable yeasts in comparison with infected larvae control. Taken together, our results demonstrate that C. albicans EV were immunologically active and could potentially interfere with the host responses in the setting of

  9. Cryptococcus and Phagocytes: Complex Interactions that Influence Disease Outcome.

    PubMed

    Leopold Wager, Chrissy M; Hole, Camaron R; Wozniak, Karen L; Wormley, Floyd L

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii are fungal pathogens that cause life-threatening disease. These fungi commonly enter their host via inhalation into the lungs where they encounter resident phagocytes, including macrophages and dendritic cells, whose response has a pronounced impact on the outcome of disease. Cryptococcus has complex interactions with the resident and infiltrating innate immune cells that, ideally, result in destruction of the yeast. These phagocytic cells have pattern recognition receptors that allow recognition of specific cryptococcal cell wall and capsule components. However, Cryptococcus possesses several virulence factors including a polysaccharide capsule, melanin production and secretion of various enzymes that aid in evasion of the immune system or enhance its ability to thrive within the phagocyte. This review focuses on the intricate interactions between the cryptococci and innate phagocytic cells including discussion of manipulation and evasion strategies used by Cryptococcus, anti-cryptococcal responses by the phagocytes and approaches for targeting phagocytes for the development of novel immunotherapeutics. PMID:26903984

  10. Stress Signaling Pathways for the Pathogenicity of Cryptococcus

    PubMed Central

    Jung, Kwang-Woo

    2013-01-01

    Sensing, responding, and adapting to the surrounding environment are crucial for all living organisms to survive, proliferate, and differentiate in their biological niches. This ability is also essential for Cryptococcus neoformans and its sibling species Cryptococcus gattii, as these pathogens have saprobic and parasitic life cycles in natural and animal host environments. The ability of Cryptococcus to cause fatal meningoencephalitis is highly related to its capability to remodel and optimize its metabolic and physiological status according to external cues. These cues act through multiple stress signaling pathways through a panoply of signaling components, including receptors/sensors, small GTPases, secondary messengers, kinases, transcription factors, and other miscellaneous adaptors or regulators. In this minireview, we summarize and highlight the importance of several stress signaling pathways that influence the pathogenicity of Cryptococcus and discuss future challenges in these areas. PMID:24078305

  11. Cryptococcus and Phagocytes: Complex Interactions that Influence Disease Outcome

    PubMed Central

    Leopold Wager, Chrissy M.; Hole, Camaron R.; Wozniak, Karen L.; Wormley, Floyd L.

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii are fungal pathogens that cause life-threatening disease. These fungi commonly enter their host via inhalation into the lungs where they encounter resident phagocytes, including macrophages and dendritic cells, whose response has a pronounced impact on the outcome of disease. Cryptococcus has complex interactions with the resident and infiltrating innate immune cells that, ideally, result in destruction of the yeast. These phagocytic cells have pattern recognition receptors that allow recognition of specific cryptococcal cell wall and capsule components. However, Cryptococcus possesses several virulence factors including a polysaccharide capsule, melanin production and secretion of various enzymes that aid in evasion of the immune system or enhance its ability to thrive within the phagocyte. This review focuses on the intricate interactions between the cryptococci and innate phagocytic cells including discussion of manipulation and evasion strategies used by Cryptococcus, anti-cryptococcal responses by the phagocytes and approaches for targeting phagocytes for the development of novel immunotherapeutics. PMID:26903984

  12. Variability of phenotypic traits in Cryptococcus varieties and species and the resulting implications for pathogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Gupta, Gunjan; Fries, Bettina C

    2010-01-01

    Variability of phenotypic characteristics in Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii and var. neoformans as well as Cryptococcus gattii can have diverse effects on the virulence of these fungi and are thus important for pathogenesis. This article summarizes the diverse phenotypic changes that these fungi can manifest. We divide changes into those that affect the entire fungal population and are predominantly induced by environmental signals, and those that involve subpopulations of the fungal population and have to be selected. Last, the article summarizes the experimental evidence that epitopes on the polysaccharide capsule also vary, which may have implications for the pathogenesis as these findings would further diversify the fungal population. PMID:20441549

  13. Literature-Based Gene Curation and Proposed Genetic Nomenclature for Cryptococcus

    PubMed Central

    Inglis, Diane O.; Skrzypek, Marek S.; Liaw, Edward; Moktali, Venkatesh; Sherlock, Gavin

    2014-01-01

    Cryptococcus, a major cause of disseminated infections in immunocompromised patients, kills over 600,000 people per year worldwide. Genes involved in the virulence of the meningitis-causing fungus are being characterized at an increasing rate, and to date, at least 648 Cryptococcus gene names have been published. However, these data are scattered throughout the literature and are challenging to find. Furthermore, conflicts in locus identification exist, so that named genes have been subsequently published under new names or names associated with one locus have been used for another locus. To avoid these conflicts and to provide a central source of Cryptococcus gene information, we have collected all published Cryptococcus gene names from the scientific literature and associated them with standard Cryptococcus locus identifiers and have incorporated them into FungiDB (www.fungidb.org). FungiDB is a panfungal genome database that collects gene information and functional data and provides search tools for 61 species of fungi and oomycetes. We applied these published names to a manually curated ortholog set of all Cryptococcus species currently in FungiDB, including Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans strains JEC21 and B-3501A, C. neoformans var. grubii strain H99, and Cryptococcus gattii strains R265 and WM276, and have written brief descriptions of their functions. We also compiled a protocol for gene naming that summarizes guidelines proposed by members of the Cryptococcus research community. The centralization of genomic and literature-based information for Cryptococcus at FungiDB will help researchers communicate about genes of interest, such as those related to virulence, and will further facilitate research on the pathogen. PMID:24813190

  14. Evaluation of antifungal combination against Cryptococcus spp.

    PubMed

    Reichert-Lima, Franqueline; Busso-Lopes, Ariane F; Lyra, Luzia; Peron, Isabela Haddad; Taguchi, Hideaki; Mikami, Yuzuru; Kamei, Katsuiko; Moretti, Maria Luiza; Schreiber, Angelica Z

    2016-09-01

    The second cause of death among systemic mycoses, cryptococcosis treatment represents a challenge since that 5-flucytosine is not currently available in Brazil. Looking for alternatives, this study evaluated antifungal agents, alone and combined, correlating susceptibility to genotypes. Eighty Cryptococcus clinical isolates were genotyped by URA5 gene restriction fragment length polymorphism. Antifungal susceptibility was assessed following CLSI-M27A3 for amphotericin (AMB), 5-flucytosine (5FC), fluconazole (FCZ), voriconazole (VRZ), itraconazole (ITZ) and terbinafine (TRB). Drug interaction chequerboard assay evaluated: AMB + 5FC, AMB + FCZ, AMB + TRB and FCZ + TRB. Molecular typing divided isolates into 14 C. deuterogattii (VGII) and C. neoformans isolates were found to belong to genotype VNI (n = 62) and VNII (n = 4). C. neoformans VNII was significantly less susceptible than VNI (P = 0.0407) to AMB; C. deuterogattii was significantly less susceptible than VNI and VNII to VRZ (P < 0.0001). C. deuterogattii was less susceptible than C. neoformans VNI for FCZ (P = 0.0170), ITZ (P < 0.0001) and TRB (P = 0.0090). The combination FCZ + TRB showed 95.16% of synergistic effect against C. neoformans genotype VNI isolates and all combinations showed 100% of synergism against genotype VNII isolates, suggesting the relevance of cryptococcal genotyping as it is widely known that the various genotypes (now species) have significant impact in antifungal susceptibilities and clinical outcome. In difficult-to-treat cryptococcosis, terbinafine and different antifungal combinations might be alternatives to 5FC. PMID:27135278

  15. Inhibitory activity of isoniazid and ethionamide against Cryptococcus biofilms.

    PubMed

    Cordeiro, Rossana de Aguiar; Serpa, Rosana; Marques, Francisca Jakelyne de Farias; de Melo, Charlline Vládia Silva; Evangelista, Antonio José de Jesus; Mota, Valquíria Ferreira; Brilhante, Raimunda Sâmia Nogueira; Bandeira, Tereza de Jesus Pinheiro Gomes; Rocha, Marcos Fábio Gadelha; Sidrim, José Júlio Costa

    2015-11-01

    In recent years, the search for drugs to treat systemic and opportunistic mycoses has attracted great interest from the scientific community. This study evaluated the in vitro inhibitory effect of the antituberculosis drugs isoniazid and ethionamide alone and combined with itraconazole and fluconazole against biofilms of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii. Antimicrobials were tested at defined concentrations after susceptibility assays with Cryptococcus planktonic cells. In addition, we investigated the synergistic interaction of antituberculosis drugs and azole derivatives against Cryptococcus planktonic cells, as well as the influence of isoniazid and ethionamide on ergosterol content and cell membrane permeability. Isoniazid and ethionamide inhibited both biofilm formation and viability of mature biofilms. Combinations formed by antituberculosis drugs and azoles proved synergic against both planktonic and sessile cells, showing an ability to reduce Cryptococcus biofilms by approximately 50%. Furthermore, isoniazid and ethionamide reduced the content of ergosterol in Cryptococcus spp. planktonic cells and destabilized or permeabilized the fungal cell membrane, leading to leakage of macromolecules. Owing to the paucity of drugs able to inhibit Cryptococcus biofilms, we believe that the results presented here might be of interest in the designing of new antifungal compounds.

  16. Antifungal drug susceptibility and phylogenetic diversity among Cryptococcus isolates from dogs and cats in North America.

    PubMed

    Singer, Lisa M; Meyer, Wieland; Firacative, Carolina; Thompson, George R; Samitz, Eileen; Sykes, Jane E

    2014-06-01

    Molecular types of the Cryptococcus neoformans/Cryptococcus gattii species complex that infect dogs and cats differ regionally and with host species. Antifungal drug susceptibility can vary with molecular type, but the susceptibility of Cryptococcus isolates from dogs and cats is largely unknown. Cryptococcus isolates from 15 dogs and 27 cats were typed using URA5 restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis (RFLP), PCR fingerprinting, and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Susceptibility was determined using a microdilution assay (Sensititre YeastOne; Trek Diagnostic Systems). MICs were compared among groups. The 42 isolates studied comprised molecular types VGI (7%), VGIIa (7%), VGIIb (5%), VGIIc (5%), VGIII (38%), VGIV (2%), VNI (33%), and VNII (2%), as determined by URA5 RFLP. The VGIV isolate was more closely related to VGIII according to MLST. All VGIII isolates were from cats. All sequence types identified from veterinary isolates clustered with isolates from humans. VGIII isolates showed considerable genetic diversity compared with other Cryptococcus molecular types and could be divided into two major subgroups. Compared with C. neoformans MICs, C. gattii MICs were lower for flucytosine, and VGIII MICs were lower for flucytosine and itraconazole. For all drugs except itraconazole, C. gattii isolates exhibited a wider range of MICs than C. neoformans. MICs varied with Cryptococcus species and molecular type in dogs and cats, and MICs of VGIII isolates were most variable and may reflect phylogenetic diversity in this group. Because sequence types of dogs and cats reflect those infecting humans, these observations may also have implications for treatment of human cryptococcosis.

  17. Nitrogen Source-Dependent Capsule Induction in Human-Pathogenic Cryptococcus Species

    PubMed Central

    Frazzitta, Aubrey E.; Vora, Haily; Price, Michael S.; Tenor, Jennifer L.; Betancourt-Quiroz, Marisol; Toffaletti, Dena L.; Cheng, Nan

    2013-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii cause meningoencephalitis and are an increasing human health threat. These pathogenic Cryptococcus species are neurotropic and persist in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of the mammalian host during infection. In order to survive in the host, pathogenic fungi must procure nutrients, such as carbon and nitrogen, from the CSF. To enhance our understanding of nutrient acquisition during central nervous system infection by Cryptococcus species, we examined the utilization of nitrogen sources available in CSF. We screened for the growth and capsule production of 817 global environmental and clinical isolates on various sources of nitrogen. Both environmental and clinical strains grew robustly on uric acid, Casamino Acids, creatinine, and asparagine as sole nitrogen sources. Urea induced the greatest magnitude of capsule induction. This induction was greater in Cryptococcus gattii than in C. neoformans. We confirmed the ability of nonpreferred nitrogen sources to increase capsule production in pathogenic species of Cryptococcus. Since urea is metabolized to ammonia and CO2 (a known signal for capsule induction), we examined urea metabolism mutants for their transcriptional response to urea regarding capsule production. The transcriptional profile of C. neoformans under urea-supplemented conditions revealed both similar and unique responses to other capsule-inducing conditions, including both intra- and extracellular urea utilization. As one of the most abundant nitrogen sources in the CSF, the ability of Cryptococcus to import urea and induce capsule production may substantially aid this yeast's survival and propagation in the host. PMID:23975889

  18. Cryptococcus and cryptococcosis in Cuba. A minireview.

    PubMed

    Illnait-Zaragozi, María T; Martínez-Machín, Gerardo F; Fernández-Andreu, Carlos M; Perurena-Lancha, Mayda R; Hagen, Ferry; Meis, Jacques F

    2014-12-01

    Cryptococcosis has emerged as an important public health problem in Africa, Asia and the Americas due to the increasing numbers of persons at risk of this infection and the adaptation of its aetiological agents to new environments. The proper management requires early recognition of Cryptococcus neoformans/C. gattii species complex infection, familiarity with the use and limitations of diagnostic tests and knowledge of the available treatment options. This review will address these issues with the goal of providing sufficient information to suspect, diagnose and treat patients with cryptococcosis based on Cuban data and review of the literature.

  19. Antifungal activity of the essential oil of Angelica major against Candida, Cryptococcus, Aspergillus and dermatophyte species.

    PubMed

    Cavaleiro, Carlos; Salgueiro, Lígia; Gonçalves, Maria-José; Hrimpeng, Karnjana; Pinto, Jéssica; Pinto, Eugénia

    2015-04-01

    The composition and antifungal activity of the essential oil (EO) of Angelica major and its main components α-pinene and cis-β-ocimene against clinically relevant yeasts and moulds were evaluated. EO from the plant's aerial parts was obtained by hydrodistillation and analysed by gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). The oil showed high contents of α-pinene (21.8 %) and cis-β-ocimene (30.4 %). Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) were measured according to the broth macrodilution protocols by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). The EO, α-pinene and cis-β-ocimene displayed low MICs and minimum fungicidal concentrations (MFCs) against dermatophytes and Cryptococcus neoformans, with α-pinene being the most active. Regarding Candida species, the EO susceptibility profiles seem to be diverse and not correlated with fluconazole susceptibility patterns. Moreover, an inhibition of yeast-mycelium transition was demonstrated at sub-inhibitory concentrations of the EO, α-pinene and cis-β-ocimene in C. albicans. In addition, their haemolytic activity was low. The activity displayed by A. major EO and its main components associated with low cytotoxic activity confirms their potential as an antifungal agent against fungal species frequently implicated in human mycoses, particularly cryptococcosis and dermatophytosis. The association with commercial antifungal compounds could bring benefits, by the effect on germ tube formation, and be used in mucocutaneous candidiasis treatment.

  20. Mechanisms of Dendritic Cell Lysosomal Killing of Cryptococcus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hole, Camaron R.; Bui, Hoang; Wormley, Floyd L.; Wozniak, Karen L.

    2012-10-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic pulmonary fungal pathogen that disseminates to the CNS causing fatal meningitis in immunocompromised patients. Dendritic cells (DCs) phagocytose C. neoformans following inhalation. Following uptake, cryptococci translocate to the DC lysosomal compartment and are killed by oxidative and non-oxidative mechanisms. DC lysosomal extracts kill cryptococci in vitro; however, the means of antifungal activity remain unknown. Our studies determined non-oxidative antifungal activity by DC lysosomal extract. We examined DC lysosomal killing of cryptococcal strains, anti-fungal activity of purified lysosomal enzymes, and mechanisms of killing against C. neoformans. Results confirmed DC lysosome fungicidal activity against all cryptococcal serotypes. Purified lysosomal enzymes, specifically cathepsin B, inhibited cryptococcal growth. Interestingly, cathepsin B combined with its enzymatic inhibitors led to enhanced cryptococcal killing. Electron microscopy revealed structural changes and ruptured cryptococcal cell walls following treatment. Finally, additional studies demonstrated that osmotic lysis was responsible for cryptococcal death.

  1. In-vitro antifungal activities of sulfa drugs against clinical isolates of Aspergillus and Cryptococcus species.

    PubMed

    Hanafy, Ahmed; Uno, Jun; Mitani, Hiroki; Kang, Yingqian; Mikami, Yuzuru

    2007-01-01

    In vitro susceptibilities of ten clinical isolates, including five strains of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii and five strains of Aspergillus fumigatus, were determined against nine sulfa drugs using a microdilution method. Among the five tested media, minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values were observed only in YNB medium: no detectable level MIC value of less than 125 microg/ml was observed in the four remaining media against Cryptococcus species. Of the nine sulfa drugs, of which sulfaphenazole showed the highest antifungal activity, the MIC values for A. fumigatus and C. neoformans var. grubii were, respectively, 64 microg/ml and 4-8 microg/ml, suggesting high susceptibility of C. neoformans to sulfa drugs.

  2. Lysine biosynthesis in selected pathogenic fungi: characterization of lysine auxotrophs and the cloned LYS1 gene of Candida albicans.

    PubMed Central

    Garrad, R C; Bhattacharjee, J K

    1992-01-01

    The alpha-aminoadipate pathway for the biosynthesis of lysine is present only in fungi and euglena. Until now, this unique metabolic pathway has never been investigated in the opportunistic fungal pathogens Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans, and Aspergillus fumigatus. Five of the eight enzymes (homocitrate synthase, homoisocitrate dehydrogenase, alpha-aminoadipate reductase, saccharopine reductase, and saccharopine dehydrogenase) of the alpha-aminoadipate pathway and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, a glycolytic enzyme used as a control, were demonstrated in wild-type cells of these organisms. All enzymes were present in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the pathogenic organisms except C. neoformans 32608 serotype C, which exhibited no saccharopine reductase activity. The levels of enzyme activity varied considerably from strain to strain. Variation among organisms was also observed for the control enzyme. Among the pathogens, C. albicans exhibited much higher homocitrate synthase, homoisocitrate dehydrogenase, and alpha-aminoadipate reductase activities. Seven lysine auxotrophs of C. albicans and one of Candida tropicalis were characterized biochemically to determine the biochemical blocks and gene-enzyme relationships. Growth responses to alpha-aminoadipate- and lysine-supplemented media, accumulation of alpha-aminoadipate semialdehyde, and the lack of enzyme activity revealed that five of the mutants (WA104, WA153, WC7-1-3, WD1-31-2, and A5155) were blocked at the alpha-aminoadipate reductase step, two (STN57 and WD1-3-6) were blocked at the saccharopine dehydrogenase step, and the C. tropicalis mutant (X-16) was blocked at the saccharopine reductase step. The cloned LYS1 gene of C. albicans in the recombinant plasmid YpB1078 complemented saccharopine dehydrogenase (lys1) mutants of S. cerevisiae and C. albicans. The Lys1+ transformed strains exhibited significant saccharopine dehydrogenase activity in comparison with untransformed mutants. The cloned LYS1

  3. Tetracycline alters drug susceptibility in Candida albicans and other pathogenic fungi

    PubMed Central

    Oliver, Brian G.; Silver, Peter M.; Marie, Chelsea; Hoot, Samantha J.; Leyde, Sarah E.; White, Theodore C.

    2008-01-01

    Summary The tetracycline (TET) promoter has been used in several systems as an inducible regulator of gene expression. In control analyses, the standard Candida albicans laboratory strain SC5314 was found to have altered susceptibility to a variety of antifungal drugs in the presence of relatively high concentrations (50 to 200 μg/ml) of TET. Altered susceptibility was most notable with exposure to amphotericin B (AMB) with a 32 fold increase in susceptibility, and terbinafine (TRB) with a 32 fold decrease in susceptibility. The TET/AMB synergy was observed in several clinical isolates of C. albicans and in distantly related species Aspergillus fumigatus, and Cryptococcus neoformans. The TET/AMB synergy is not related to efflux pump activity, as determined by FACS analyses and by analysis of a strain containing efflux pump deletions. Gene expression analyses by luciferase and by quantitative real time reverse transcriptase PCR failed to identify significant alterations in expression of any genes associated with resistance. C. albicans grown in TET for 48 h does show a reduction in total cellular ergosterol. Analysis of growth curves suggests that the TET effect is associated with lack of a diauxic shift, which is related to a loss of mitochondrial function. MitoTracker fluorescent dye was used to demonstrate that TET has a direct effect on mitochondrial function. These results demonstrate the need for careful analysis of TET effects when using a TET-inducible promoter, especially in studies that involve antifungal drugs. This study defines some limits to the use of the TET inducible promoter, and identifies effects on cells that are the result of TET exposure alone, not the result of expression of a targeted gene. PMID:18310042

  4. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and M13 PCR fingerprinting revealed heterogeneity amongst Cryptococcus species obtained from Italian veterinary isolates.

    PubMed

    Danesi, Patrizia; Firacative, Carolina; Cogliati, Massimo; Otranto, Domenico; Capelli, Gioia; Meyer, Wieland

    2014-09-01

    Cryptococcosis represents a fungal disease acquired from the environment with animals serving as host sentinels for human exposure. The aim of this study was to investigate the genetic characteristics of Cryptococcus isolates from veterinary sources (cats, dogs and birds) to understand their epidemiology and the genetic variability of the casual isolates. Mating-type PCR in connection with MLST analysis using the ISHAM consensus MLST scheme for the C. neoformans/C. gattii species complex was used to genotype 17 C. neoformans isolates. In the absence of an MLST typing scheme Cryptococcus adeliensis, C. albidus, C. aureus, C. carnescens, C. laurentii, C. magnus and C. uniguttulatus strains were typed using M13 PCR fingerprinting. All C. neoformans isolates were MATα mating type, but hybrids possessed αADa and aADα mating and serotypes. Two C. neoformans molecular types VNI, VNIV and VNIII and VNII/VNIV hybrids were identified. Amongst the 66 non-C. neoformans strains investigated 55 M13 PCR fingerprinting types were identified. The wide variety of MLST types of C. neoformans and the occurrence of αADa and aADα hybrids in our study supports the notion of genetic recombination in the area studied. The heterogeneity of the non-C. neoformans isolates remains open to further investigations and should be taken into consideration when identifying emergent pathogens.

  5. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and M13 PCR fingerprinting revealed heterogeneity amongst Cryptococcus species obtained from Italian veterinary isolates.

    PubMed

    Danesi, Patrizia; Firacative, Carolina; Cogliati, Massimo; Otranto, Domenico; Capelli, Gioia; Meyer, Wieland

    2014-09-01

    Cryptococcosis represents a fungal disease acquired from the environment with animals serving as host sentinels for human exposure. The aim of this study was to investigate the genetic characteristics of Cryptococcus isolates from veterinary sources (cats, dogs and birds) to understand their epidemiology and the genetic variability of the casual isolates. Mating-type PCR in connection with MLST analysis using the ISHAM consensus MLST scheme for the C. neoformans/C. gattii species complex was used to genotype 17 C. neoformans isolates. In the absence of an MLST typing scheme Cryptococcus adeliensis, C. albidus, C. aureus, C. carnescens, C. laurentii, C. magnus and C. uniguttulatus strains were typed using M13 PCR fingerprinting. All C. neoformans isolates were MATα mating type, but hybrids possessed αADa and aADα mating and serotypes. Two C. neoformans molecular types VNI, VNIV and VNIII and VNII/VNIV hybrids were identified. Amongst the 66 non-C. neoformans strains investigated 55 M13 PCR fingerprinting types were identified. The wide variety of MLST types of C. neoformans and the occurrence of αADa and aADα hybrids in our study supports the notion of genetic recombination in the area studied. The heterogeneity of the non-C. neoformans isolates remains open to further investigations and should be taken into consideration when identifying emergent pathogens. PMID:24981157

  6. Capsules from pathogenic and non-pathogenic Cryptococcus spp. manifest significant differences in structure and ability to protect against phagocytic cells.

    PubMed

    Araujo, Glauber de S; Fonseca, Fernanda L; Pontes, Bruno; Torres, Andre; Cordero, Radames J B; Zancopé-Oliveira, Rosely M; Casadevall, Arturo; Viana, Nathan B; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Rodrigues, Marcio L; Garcia, Eloi S; Souza, Wanderley de; Frases, Susana

    2012-01-01

    Capsule production is common among bacterial species, but relatively rare in eukaryotic microorganisms. Members of the fungal Cryptococcus genus are known to produce capsules, which are major determinants of virulence in the highly pathogenic species Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii. Although the lack of virulence of many species of the Cryptococcus genus can be explained solely by the lack of mammalian thermotolerance, it is uncertain whether the capsules from these organisms are comparable to those of the pathogenic cryptococci. In this study, we compared the characteristic of the capsule from the non-pathogenic environmental yeast Cryptococcus liquefaciens with that of C. neoformans. Microscopic observations revealed that C. liquefaciens has a capsule visible in India ink preparations that was also efficiently labeled by three antibodies generated to specific C. neoformans capsular antigens. Capsular polysaccharides of C. liquefaciens were incorporated onto the cell surface of acapsular C. neoformans mutant cells. Polysaccharide composition determinations in combination with confocal microscopy revealed that C. liquefaciens capsule consisted of mannose, xylose, glucose, glucuronic acid, galactose and N-acetylglucosamine. Physical chemical analysis of the C. liquefaciens polysaccharides in comparison with C. neoformans samples revealed significant differences in viscosity, elastic properties and macromolecular structure parameters of polysaccharide solutions such as rigidity, effective diameter, zeta potential and molecular mass, which nevertheless appeared to be characteristics of linear polysaccharides that also comprise capsular polysaccharide of C. neoformans. The environmental yeast, however, showed enhanced susceptibility to the antimicrobial activity of the environmental phagocytes, suggesting that the C. liquefaciens capsular components are insufficient in protecting yeast cells against killing by amoeba. These results suggest that capsular

  7. Capsules from Pathogenic and Non-Pathogenic Cryptococcus spp. Manifest Significant Differences in Structure and Ability to Protect against Phagocytic Cells

    PubMed Central

    Araujo, Glauber de S.; Fonseca, Fernanda L.; Pontes, Bruno; Torres, Andre; Cordero, Radames J. B.; Zancopé-Oliveira, Rosely M.; Casadevall, Arturo; Viana, Nathan B.; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Rodrigues, Marcio L.; Garcia, Eloi S.; de Souza, Wanderley; Frases, Susana

    2012-01-01

    Capsule production is common among bacterial species, but relatively rare in eukaryotic microorganisms. Members of the fungal Cryptococcus genus are known to produce capsules, which are major determinants of virulence in the highly pathogenic species Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii. Although the lack of virulence of many species of the Cryptococcus genus can be explained solely by the lack of mammalian thermotolerance, it is uncertain whether the capsules from these organisms are comparable to those of the pathogenic cryptococci. In this study, we compared the characteristic of the capsule from the non-pathogenic environmental yeast Cryptococcus liquefaciens with that of C. neoformans. Microscopic observations revealed that C. liquefaciens has a capsule visible in India ink preparations that was also efficiently labeled by three antibodies generated to specific C. neoformans capsular antigens. Capsular polysaccharides of C. liquefaciens were incorporated onto the cell surface of acapsular C. neoformans mutant cells. Polysaccharide composition determinations in combination with confocal microscopy revealed that C. liquefaciens capsule consisted of mannose, xylose, glucose, glucuronic acid, galactose and N-acetylglucosamine. Physical chemical analysis of the C. liquefaciens polysaccharides in comparison with C. neoformans samples revealed significant differences in viscosity, elastic properties and macromolecular structure parameters of polysaccharide solutions such as rigidity, effective diameter, zeta potential and molecular mass, which nevertheless appeared to be characteristics of linear polysaccharides that also comprise capsular polysaccharide of C. neoformans. The environmental yeast, however, showed enhanced susceptibility to the antimicrobial activity of the environmental phagocytes, suggesting that the C. liquefaciens capsular components are insufficient in protecting yeast cells against killing by amoeba. These results suggest that capsular

  8. Capsules from pathogenic and non-pathogenic Cryptococcus spp. manifest significant differences in structure and ability to protect against phagocytic cells.

    PubMed

    Araujo, Glauber de S; Fonseca, Fernanda L; Pontes, Bruno; Torres, Andre; Cordero, Radames J B; Zancopé-Oliveira, Rosely M; Casadevall, Arturo; Viana, Nathan B; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Rodrigues, Marcio L; Garcia, Eloi S; Souza, Wanderley de; Frases, Susana

    2012-01-01

    Capsule production is common among bacterial species, but relatively rare in eukaryotic microorganisms. Members of the fungal Cryptococcus genus are known to produce capsules, which are major determinants of virulence in the highly pathogenic species Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii. Although the lack of virulence of many species of the Cryptococcus genus can be explained solely by the lack of mammalian thermotolerance, it is uncertain whether the capsules from these organisms are comparable to those of the pathogenic cryptococci. In this study, we compared the characteristic of the capsule from the non-pathogenic environmental yeast Cryptococcus liquefaciens with that of C. neoformans. Microscopic observations revealed that C. liquefaciens has a capsule visible in India ink preparations that was also efficiently labeled by three antibodies generated to specific C. neoformans capsular antigens. Capsular polysaccharides of C. liquefaciens were incorporated onto the cell surface of acapsular C. neoformans mutant cells. Polysaccharide composition determinations in combination with confocal microscopy revealed that C. liquefaciens capsule consisted of mannose, xylose, glucose, glucuronic acid, galactose and N-acetylglucosamine. Physical chemical analysis of the C. liquefaciens polysaccharides in comparison with C. neoformans samples revealed significant differences in viscosity, elastic properties and macromolecular structure parameters of polysaccharide solutions such as rigidity, effective diameter, zeta potential and molecular mass, which nevertheless appeared to be characteristics of linear polysaccharides that also comprise capsular polysaccharide of C. neoformans. The environmental yeast, however, showed enhanced susceptibility to the antimicrobial activity of the environmental phagocytes, suggesting that the C. liquefaciens capsular components are insufficient in protecting yeast cells against killing by amoeba. These results suggest that capsular

  9. Virulence of Cryptococcus sp. Biofilms In Vitro and In Vivo using Galleria mellonella as an Alternative Model.

    PubMed

    Benaducci, Tatiane; Sardi, Janaina de C O; Lourencetti, Natalia M S; Scorzoni, Liliana; Gullo, Fernanda P; Rossi, Suélen A; Derissi, Jaqueline B; de Azevedo Prata, Márcia C; Fusco-Almeida, Ana M; Mendes-Giannini, Maria J S

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii are fungal pathogens that are most commonly found in infections of the central nervous system, which cause life-threatening meningoencephalitis and can grow as a biofilm. Biofilms are structures conferring protection and resistance of microorganism to the antifungal drugs. This study compared the virulence of planktonic and biofilm cells of C. neoformans and C. gattii in Galleria mellonella model, as well as, the quantification of gene transcripts LAC1, URE1, and CAP59 by real time PCR. All three of the genes showed significantly increased expressions in the biofilm conditions for two species of Cryptococcus, when compared to planktonic cells. C. neoformans and C. gattii cells in the biofilm forms were more virulent than the planktonic cells in G. mellonella. This suggests that the biofilm conditions may contribute to the virulence profile. Our results contribute to a better understanding of the agents of cryptococcosis in the host-yeast aspects of the interaction. PMID:27014214

  10. Virulence of Cryptococcus sp. Biofilms In Vitro and In Vivo using Galleria mellonella as an Alternative Model

    PubMed Central

    Benaducci, Tatiane; Sardi, Janaina de C. O.; Lourencetti, Natalia M. S.; Scorzoni, Liliana; Gullo, Fernanda P.; Rossi, Suélen A.; Derissi, Jaqueline B.; de Azevedo Prata, Márcia C.; Fusco-Almeida, Ana M.; Mendes-Giannini, Maria J. S.

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii are fungal pathogens that are most commonly found in infections of the central nervous system, which cause life-threatening meningoencephalitis and can grow as a biofilm. Biofilms are structures conferring protection and resistance of microorganism to the antifungal drugs. This study compared the virulence of planktonic and biofilm cells of C. neoformans and C. gattii in Galleria mellonella model, as well as, the quantification of gene transcripts LAC1, URE1, and CAP59 by real time PCR. All three of the genes showed significantly increased expressions in the biofilm conditions for two species of Cryptococcus, when compared to planktonic cells. C. neoformans and C. gattii cells in the biofilm forms were more virulent than the planktonic cells in G. mellonella. This suggests that the biofilm conditions may contribute to the virulence profile. Our results contribute to a better understanding of the agents of cryptococcosis in the host-yeast aspects of the interaction. PMID:27014214

  11. Gastroduodenal Cryptococcus in an AIDS Patient Presenting With Melena

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Yang; Patel, Anish A.; Shaw, Janet C.; Fillman, Eric P.; Lamb, Paul B.

    2013-01-01

    Gastrointestinal cryptococcosis is extremely rare with only a few case reports found in the literature and involvement primarily identified post-mortem. This is a case of 54-year-old man with a 20-year history of poorly controlled human immunodeficiency virus presented with constitutional symptoms along with melena. Diagnostic work up with esophagogastroduodenoscopy showed 4 irregular ulcers in the stomach notable for red-pigmented lesions within the ulcers, erythematous mucosa in the antrum and patchy friable mucosa in the duodenum. H&E staining and Mucicarmine staining showed findings consistent with C. neoformans. Blood culture and cerebrospinal fluid studies also revealed C. neoformans. Cryptococcus neoformans is an AIDS defining illness that most commonly presents as meningoencephalitis and pneumonitis. Key management principles includes: induction of antifungal therapy followed by consolidation and maintenance; management of elevated intracranial pressure and immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome. Although the organism can infect nearly all organs, gastrointestinal involvement is rarely described. Our case highlights the fact that gastrointestinal C. neoformans infection can be associated with upper gastrointestinal symptoms and may be the initial presentation of disseminated cryptococcosis.

  12. Emestrins: Anti-Cryptococcus Epipolythiodioxopiperazines from Podospora australis.

    PubMed

    Li, Yan; Yue, Qun; Krausert, Nicole M; An, Zhiqiang; Gloer, James B; Bills, Gerald F

    2016-09-23

    Eleven emestrin-type epipolythiodioxopiperazines, including four new compounds, emestrins H-K (1-4), were isolated from the crude extracts of two strains of the coprophilous fungus Podospora australis. The structures of 1-4 were established primarily by analysis of NMR data, and the absolute configuration of C-6 in 1 was independently assigned using the modified Mosher method. Four of the known emestrins obtained (emestrins C-E and MPC1001C) were found to selectively inhibit the growth of Cryptococcus neoformans. These results also represent the first report of chemistry from any strain of P. australis. PMID:27557418

  13. Discovery of a Modified Tetrapolar Sexual Cycle in Cryptococcus amylolentus and the Evolution of MAT in the Cryptococcus Species Complex

    PubMed Central

    Fraser, James A.; Hsueh, Yen-Ping; Averette, Anna Floyd; Li, Wenjun; Dietrich, Fred S.; Heitman, Joseph

    2012-01-01

    Sexual reproduction in fungi is governed by a specialized genomic region called the mating-type locus (MAT). The human fungal pathogenic and basidiomycetous yeast Cryptococcus neoformans has evolved a bipolar mating system (a, α) in which the MAT locus is unusually large (>100 kb) and encodes >20 genes including homeodomain (HD) and pheromone/receptor (P/R) genes. To understand how this unique bipolar mating system evolved, we investigated MAT in the closely related species Tsuchiyaea wingfieldii and Cryptococcus amylolentus and discovered two physically unlinked loci encoding the HD and P/R genes. Interestingly, the HD (B) locus sex-specific region is restricted (∼2 kb) and encodes two linked and divergently oriented homeodomain genes in contrast to the solo HD genes (SXI1α, SXI2a) of C. neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii. The P/R (A) locus contains the pheromone and pheromone receptor genes but has expanded considerably compared to other outgroup species (Cryptococcus heveanensis) and is linked to many of the genes also found in the MAT locus of the pathogenic Cryptococcus species. Our discovery of a heterothallic sexual cycle for C. amylolentus allowed us to establish the biological roles of the sex-determining regions. Matings between two strains of opposite mating-types (A1B1×A2B2) produced dikaryotic hyphae with fused clamp connections, basidia, and basidiospores. Genotyping progeny using markers linked and unlinked to MAT revealed that meiosis and uniparental mitochondrial inheritance occur during the sexual cycle of C. amylolentus. The sexual cycle is tetrapolar and produces fertile progeny of four mating-types (A1B1, A1B2, A2B1, and A2B2), but a high proportion of progeny are infertile, and fertility is biased towards one parental mating-type (A1B1). Our studies reveal insights into the plasticity and transitions in both mechanisms of sex determination (bipolar versus tetrapolar) and sexual reproduction (outcrossing versus inbreeding) with

  14. Refractory and/or Relapsing Cryptococcosis Associated with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome: Clinical Features, Genotype, and Virulence Factors of Cryptococcus spp. Isolates.

    PubMed

    Nascimento, Erika; Vitali, Lucia H; Tonani, Ludmilla; Kress, Marcia R Von Zeska; Takayanagui, Osvaldo M; Martinez, Roberto

    2016-05-01

    Refractory and relapsing crytocococcosis in acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients have a poor prognosis. The risk factors for this complicated infection course were evaluated by comparing refractory and/or relapsing cryptococcosis in human immunodeficiency virus-coinfected patients (cohort 1) with another group of AIDS patients who adequately responded to antifungals (cohort 2). Except for one isolate of Cryptococcus gattii from a cohort 2 case, all other isolates were identified as Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii, sex type α, genotype VNI, including Cryptococcus reisolated from the relapse or in the refractory state. No differences were observed with respect to Cryptococcus capsule size and in the melanin and phospholipase production. The cohort 1 patients presented higher prevalence of cryptococcemia, cerebral dissemination, chronic liver disease, and leucopenia, and have increased death rate. Apparently, the refractory and/or relapsing cryptococcosis in the AIDS patients were more related to the host and the extent of the infection than to the fungal characteristics. PMID:26928832

  15. Role for Chitin and Chitooligomers in the Capsular Architecture of Cryptococcus neoformans▿

    PubMed Central

    Fonseca, Fernanda L.; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Cordero, Radames J. B.; Frases, Susana; Rodrigues, Jessica; Goldman, David L.; Andruszkiewicz, Ryszard; Milewski, Sławomir; Travassos, Luiz R.; Casadevall, Arturo; Rodrigues, Marcio L.

    2009-01-01

    Molecules composed of β-1,4-linked N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) and deacetylated glucosamine units play key roles as surface constituents of the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. GlcNAc is the monomeric unit of chitin and chitooligomers, which participate in the connection of capsular polysaccharides to the cryptococcal cell wall. In the present study, we evaluated the role of GlcNAc-containing structures in the assembly of the cryptococcal capsule. The in vivo expression of chitooligomers in C. neoformans varied depending on the infected tissue, as inferred from the differential reactivity of yeast forms to the wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) in infected brain and lungs of rats. Chromatographic and dynamic light-scattering analyses demonstrated that glucuronoxylomannan (GXM), the major cryptococcal capsular component, interacts with chitin and chitooligomers. When added to C. neoformans cultures, chitooligomers formed soluble complexes with GXM and interfered in capsular assembly, as manifested by aberrant capsules with defective connections with the cell wall and no reactivity with a monoclonal antibody to GXM. Cultivation of C. neoformans in the presence of an inhibitor of glucosamine 6-phosphate synthase resulted in altered expression of cell wall chitin. These cells formed capsules that were loosely connected to the cryptococcal wall and contained fibers with decreased diameters and altered monosaccharide composition. These results contribute to our understanding of the role played by chitin and chitooligosaccharides on the cryptococcal capsular structure, broadening the functional activities attributed to GlcNAc-containing structures in this biological system. PMID:19617395

  16. Environmental isolation and characterisation of Cryptococcus species from living trees in Havana city, Cuba.

    PubMed

    Illnait-Zaragozí, M T; Martínez-Machín, G F; Fernández-Andreu, C M; Perurena-Lancha, M R; Theelen, B; Boekhout, T; Meis, J F; Klaassen, C H

    2012-05-01

    Cryptococcus isolates from Cuban patients were identified as C. neoformans var. grubii. Although this species has since long been associated with bird droppings, a recent genotyping study provided strong evidence for additional origins of exposure. We sampled different species of trees in Havana, Cuba to identify other potential sources of exposure to this fungus. A total of 662 samples were collected from 331 trees and cacti from Havana, Cuba. Initial selection of the isolates was carried out by conventional techniques. Isolates were further characterised using a combination of AFLP analysis and DNA sequence analysis. Identification by conventional methods yielded 121 C. neoformans and 61 C. gattii isolates. Molecular analyses showed that none of these isolates was C. gattii and only one isolate proved to be C. neoformans var. grubii. A total of 27 different other species were identified. The most prevalent species was C. heveanensis (33%). Sixty-five unidentifiable isolates segregated into ten potentially novel species. Conventional cultivation methods have a low specificity for C. neoformans complex and molecular analyses need to be applied to confirm identification of isolates from environmental sources. Environmental niches responsible for most of human cryptococcal infections in Cuba remain to be identified.

  17. Competitive binding inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay that uses the secreted aspartyl proteinase of Candida albicans as an antigenic marker for diagnosis of disseminated candidiasis.

    PubMed

    Morrison, Christine J; Hurst, Steven F; Reiss, Errol

    2003-09-01

    The secreted aspartyl proteinases (Saps) of Candida albicans have been implicated as virulence factors associated with adherence and tissue invasion. The potential use of proteinases as markers of invasive candidiasis led us to develop a competitive binding inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect Sap in clinical specimens. Daily serum and urine specimens were collected from rabbits that had been immunosuppressed with cyclophosphamide and cortisone acetate and infected intravenously with 10(7) C. albicans blastoconidia. Disseminated infection was confirmed by organ culture and histopathology. Although ELISA inhibition was observed when serum specimens from these rabbits were used, more significant inhibition, which correlated with disease progression, occurred when urine specimens were used. Urine collected as early as 1 day after infection resulted in significant ELISA inhibition (mean inhibition +/- standard error [SE] compared with preinfection control urine, 15.7% +/- 2.7% [P < 0.01]), and inhibition increased on days 2 through 5 (29.4% +/- 4.8% to 44.5% +/- 3.5% [P < 0.001]). Urine specimens from immunosuppressed rabbits infected intravenously with Candida tropicalis, Candida parapsilosis, Candida krusei, Cryptococcus neoformans, Aspergillus fumigatus, or Staphylococcus aureus were negative in the assay despite culture-proven dissemination. Nonimmunosuppressed rabbits receiving oral tetracycline and gentamicin treatment were given 2 x 10(8) C. albicans blastoconidia orally or intraurethrally to establish colonization of the gastrointestinal tract or bladder, respectively, without systemic dissemination; urine specimens from these rabbits also gave negative ELISA results. Dissemination to the kidney and spleen occurred in one rabbit challenged by intragastric inoculation, and urine from this rabbit demonstrated significant inhibition in the ELISA (mean inhibition +/- SE by day 3 after infection, 32.9% +/- 2.7% [P < 0.001]). The overall

  18. Expanding fungal pathogenesis: Cryptococcus species break out of the opportunistic box

    PubMed Central

    Kronstad, James W.; Attarian, Rodgoun; Cadieux, Brigitte; Choi, Jaehyuk; D’Souza, Cletus A.; Griffiths, Emma J.; Geddes, Jennifer M.H.; Hu, Guanggan; Jung, Won Hee; Kretschmer, Matthias; Saikia, Sanjay; Wang, Joyce

    2015-01-01

    Preface Cryptococcus neoformans is generally considered an opportunistic fungal pathogen because of its tendency to infect immunocompromised individuals, particularly those infected with HIV. However, this view has been challenged by recent discoveries of specialized interactions between the fungus and its mammalian hosts, and by the emergence of the related species Cryptococcus gattii as a primary pathogen of immunocompetent populations. In this Review, we highlight features of cryptococcal pathogens that reveal their adaptation to the mammalian environment. These features include remarkably sophisticated interactions with phagocytic cells to promote intracellular survival, dissemination to the central nervous system and escape, as well as surprising morphological and genomic adaptations such as the formation of polyploid giant cells in the lung. PMID:21326274

  19. Cryptococcus gattii in the Age of Whole-Genome Sequencing.

    PubMed

    Meyer, Wieland

    2015-11-17

    Cryptococcus gattii, the sister species of Cryptococcus neoformans, is an emerging pathogen which gained importance in connection with the ongoing cryptococcosis outbreak on Vancouver Island. Many molecular studies have divided this species into for major lineages: VGI, VGII, VGIII, and VGIV. This commentary summarizes the whole-genome sequencing (WGS) studies that have been carried out with this species, re-emphasizing the phylogenetic relationships, showing chromosomal rearrangements between those four groups, and identifying VGII as ancestral population within C. gattii. In addition, WGS specific to VGII, containing the Vancouver Island outbreak genotypes and those from the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, has placed the origin of this lineage within South America and identified specific genes responsible for either brain or lung infection. It also showed, that many genotypes are spread across a number of different continents, as has been previously shown by multilocus sequence typing (MLST). In addition, it showed that recombination occurs more frequently between mitochondrial than nuclear genomes.

  20. Cryptococcus gattii in the Age of Whole-Genome Sequencing.

    PubMed

    Meyer, Wieland

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcus gattii, the sister species of Cryptococcus neoformans, is an emerging pathogen which gained importance in connection with the ongoing cryptococcosis outbreak on Vancouver Island. Many molecular studies have divided this species into for major lineages: VGI, VGII, VGIII, and VGIV. This commentary summarizes the whole-genome sequencing (WGS) studies that have been carried out with this species, re-emphasizing the phylogenetic relationships, showing chromosomal rearrangements between those four groups, and identifying VGII as ancestral population within C. gattii. In addition, WGS specific to VGII, containing the Vancouver Island outbreak genotypes and those from the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, has placed the origin of this lineage within South America and identified specific genes responsible for either brain or lung infection. It also showed, that many genotypes are spread across a number of different continents, as has been previously shown by multilocus sequence typing (MLST). In addition, it showed that recombination occurs more frequently between mitochondrial than nuclear genomes. PMID:26578680

  1. Rising to the challenge of multiple Cryptococcus species and the diseases they cause

    PubMed Central

    Idnurm, Alexander; Lin, Xiaorong

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii are well-studied basidiomyceteous yeasts that are capable of causing disease in healthy and immunocompromised people. The Conference on Cryptococcus and Cryptococcosis (ICCC) is held every three years: the accompanying Special Issue stems from the 9th ICCC and covers a subset of the topics related to these fungi in detail. This conference started with a revised and reduced estimate of disease burden globally, in part due to improved treatment for HIV+ people. However, mortality from cryptococcosis remains consistently high for those unfortunate to have limited access to therapies or without underlying immunodefiencies. As such, there are yet still great distances to be covered to address antifungal drug availability, the need for new antifungal agents and the timing and doses of these agents in conjunction with antiviral therapy, underscoring the importance of continued research. A notable point from the 9th ICCC was the research addressing the variation in the pathogen and host populations. Analysis of cryptococcal strain variability, particularly at the molecular level, has resolved distinct lineages with the consequence of a taxonomic revision that divides C. neoformans and C. gattii into seven Cryptococcus species. Similarly, analysis of host factors in so called “immune-competent” individuals revealed previously unrecognized risk factors. Research on these species has established them as important model organisms to understand gene evolution and function in other fungi and eukaryotes. The stage is set for the refinement of research directions, leading ultimately to better treatment of this pathogenic monophyletic clade in the genus Cryptococcus.  PMID:25983191

  2. Characteristics and specificities of Cryptococcus infections in French Guiana, 1998-2008.

    PubMed

    Debourgogne, Anne; Iriart, Xavier; Blanchet, Denis; Veron, Vincent; Boukhari, Rachida; Nacher, Mathieu; Carme, Bernard; Aznar, Christine

    2011-11-01

    Cryptococcosis is a common opportunistic systemic mycosis caused by members of the encapsulated yeast genus Cryptococcus. The aetiological agents of the disease are classified into two species, i.e., Cryptococcus neoformans (serotypes A, D, and AD) affecting mainly immunocompromised patients and Cryptococcus gattii (serotypes B and C) usually found in immunocompetent individuals. Limited data exist on Cryptococcus infections in French Guiana, the department with the highest HIV incidence in the French territories. A retrospective study between January 1998 and December 2008 was performed on all patients with cryptococcosis, admitted to hospitals in French Guiana. Epidemiological data, clinical forms and diagnosis methods were studied. Of the 43 patients with cryptococcosis, 29 (67.4%) had HIV infections. Among the HIV-negative patients, two (4.7%) presented identified risk factors for cryptococcosis. This study has shown a high frequency of patients with HTLV-1 positive serology (12.1%). C. neoformans var. grubii was recovered with a frequency of 77.3% and was mainly isolated from patients with AIDS (13/17), whereas C. gattii (22.7%) was strictly isolated from HIV-negative patients with no apparent risk factors. Despite a socio-economic environment closer to western countries, the overall epidemiology of cryptococcosis in French Guiana is more similar to that found in South America, particularly with reference to the serotypes of the causative yeasts. Indeed, French Guiana presents an especially high proportion of cases caused by C. gattii, which may explain the significant incidence of this disease, particularly in HIV-negative and immunocompetent patients.

  3. Genotypic characterization of environmental isolates of Cryptococcus gattii from Puerto Rico.

    PubMed

    Loperena-Alvarez, Yaliz; Ren, Ping; Li, Xiaojiang; Schoonmaker-Bopp, Dianna J; Bopp, D J; Ruiz, Alejandro; Chaturvedi, Vishnu; Rios-Velazquez, Carlos

    2010-10-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii are found in distinct environments with some overlap around different parts of the world. However, no systematic surveys of these two pathogens have been reported from Puerto Rico, a tropical island uniquely situated between mainland USA and countries in South America. We carried out an exhaustive environmental survey in southwestern Puerto Rico for pathogenic Cryptococcus species. Twenty-two presumptive isolates of C. gattii from cacti and tree detritus were characterized in detail by physiological and molecular methods and seventeen strains were confirmed as C. gattii. Cryptococcus gattii isolates were haploid and majority of them were MATa [corrected] strains. Sixteen out of seventeen C. gattii isolates belonged to VGII/AFLP6 genotype while one isolate was a VGIV/AFLP7 genotype. The results are significant as Puerto Rico strains are distinct from VGIII/AFLP5 strains reported from Southern California, but similar to C. gattii VGII/AFLP6 molecular type implicated in recent outbreaks of cryptococcosis in Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, Canada, but different in its M13 fingerprinting, and a common genotype in South America. PMID:20306144

  4. Cryptococcus Strains with Different Pathogenic Potentials Have Diverse Protein Secretomes

    PubMed Central

    Campbell, Leona T.; Simonin, Anna R.; Chen, Cuilan; Ferdous, Jannatul; Padula, Matthew P.; Harry, Elizabeth; Hofer, Markus; Campbell, Iain L.

    2015-01-01

    Secreted proteins are the frontline between the host and pathogen. In mammalian hosts, secreted proteins enable invasive infection and can modulate the host immune response. Cryptococcosis, caused by pathogenic Cryptococcus species, begins when inhaled infectious propagules establish to produce pulmonary infection, which, if not resolved, can disseminate to the central nervous system to cause meningoencephalitis. Strains of Cryptococcus species differ in their capacity to cause disease, and the mechanisms underlying this are not well understood. To investigate the role of secreted proteins in disease, we determined the secretome for three genome strains of Cryptococcus species, including a hypovirulent and a hypervirulent strain of C. gattii and a virulent strain of C. neoformans. Sixty-seven unique proteins were identified, with different numbers and types of proteins secreted by each strain. The secretomes of the virulent strains were largely limited to proteolytic and hydrolytic enzymes, while the hypovirulent strain had a diverse secretome, including non-conventionally secreted canonical cytosolic and immunogenic proteins that have been implicated in virulence. The hypovirulent strain cannot establish pulmonary infection in a mouse model, but strains of this genotype have caused human meningitis. To directly test brain infection, we used intracranial inoculation and found that the hypovirulent strain was substantially more invasive than its hypervirulent counterpart. We suggest that immunogenic proteins secreted by this strain invoke a host response that limits pulmonary infection but that there can be invasive growth and damage if infection reaches the brain. Given their known role in virulence, it is possible that non-conventionally secreted proteins mediate this process. PMID:25841021

  5. Cryptococcus spp isolated from dust microhabitat in Brazilian libraries

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background The Cryptococcus spp is currently composed of encapsulated yeasts of cosmopolitan distribution, including the etiological agents of cryptococcosis. The fungus are found mainly in substrates of animal and plant origin. Human infection occurs through inhalation of spores present in the environment. Methods Eighty-four swab collections were performed on dust found on books in three libraries in the city of Cuiabá, state of Mato Grosso, Brazil. The material was seeded in Sabouraud agar and then observed for characteristics compatible with colonies with a creamy to mucous aspect; the material was then isolated in birdseed (Niger) agar and cultivated at a temperature of 37°C for 5 to 7 days. Identification of isolated colonies was performed by microscopic observation in fresh preparations dyed with India ink, additional tests performed on CGB (L-canavanine glycine bromothymol blue), urea broth, and carbohydrate assimilation tests (auxanogram). Results Of the 84 samples collected from book dust, 18 (21.4%) were positive for Cryptococcus spp totalizing 41 UFC’s. The most frequently isolated species was C. gattii 15 (36.6%); followed by C. terreus, 12 (29.3%); C. luteolus 4 (9.8%); C. neoformans, and C. uniguttulatus 3 (7.3%), and C. albidus and C. humiculus with 2 (4.6%) of the isolates. Conclusion The high biodiversity of the yeasts of the Cryptococcus genus, isolated from different environmental sources in urban areas of Brazil suggests the possibility of individuals whose immune systems have been compromised or even healthy individuals coming into sources of fungal propagules on a daily bases throughout their lives. This study demonstrates the acquisition possible of cryptococcosis infection from dust in libraries. PMID:22682392

  6. Protection against Experimental Cryptococcosis following Vaccination with Glucan Particles Containing Cryptococcus Alkaline Extracts

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Chrono K.; Huang, Haibin; Shen, Zu T.; Lodge, Jennifer K.; Leszyk, John; Ostroff, Gary R.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT A vaccine capable of protecting at-risk persons against infections due to Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii could reduce the substantial global burden of human cryptococcosis. Vaccine development has been hampered though, by lack of knowledge as to which antigens are immunoprotective and the need for an effective vaccine delivery system. We made alkaline extracts from mutant cryptococcal strains that lacked capsule or chitosan. The extracts were then packaged into glucan particles (GPs), which are purified Saccharomyces cerevisiae cell walls composed primarily of β-1,3-glucans. Subcutaneous vaccination with the GP-based vaccines provided significant protection against subsequent pulmonary infection with highly virulent strains of C. neoformans and C. gattii. The alkaline extract derived from the acapsular strain was analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), and the most abundant proteins were identified. Separation of the alkaline extract by size exclusion chromatography revealed fractions that conferred protection when loaded in GP-based vaccines. Robust Th1- and Th17-biased CD4+ T cell recall responses were observed in the lungs of vaccinated and infected mice. Thus, our preclinical studies have indicated promising cryptococcal vaccine candidates in alkaline extracts delivered in GPs. Ongoing studies are directed at identifying the individual components of the extracts that confer protection and thus would be promising candidates for a human vaccine. PMID:26695631

  7. CHARACTERIZATION ADN BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITY OF SECONDARY METABOLITES FROM ARMILLARIA TABESCENS

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ethyl acetate extracts from liquid cultures of Armillaria tabescens showed good antimicrobial activity against Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans, Escherichia coli and Mycobacterium intracellulare. Chemical analyses of extract constituents led to the isolation and identification of two new co...

  8. New secondary metabolites from bioactive extracts of the fungus Armillaria tabescens

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ethyl acetate extracts of Armillaria tabescens (strain JNB-OZ344) mycelium showed significant fungistatic and bacteristatic activities against several major human pathogens including Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans, Escherichia coli and Mycobacterium intracellulare. Chemical analysis of th...

  9. Deubiquitinase Ubp5 Is Required for the Growth and Pathogenicity of Cryptococcus gattii.

    PubMed

    Meng, Yunfang; Zhang, Chao; Yi, Jiu; Zhou, Zhaojing; Fa, Zhenzong; Zhao, Jingyu; Yang, Yali; Fang, Wei; Wang, Yan; Liao, Wan-Qing

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus gattii is a resurgent fungal pathogen that primarily infects immunocompetent hosts. Thus, it poses an increasingly significant impact on global public health; however, the mechanisms underlying its pathogenesis remain largely unknown. We conducted a detailed characterization of the deubiquitinase Ubp5 in the biology and virulence of C. gattii using the hypervirulent strain R265, and defined its properties as either distinctive or shared with C. neoformans. Deletion of the C. gattii Ubp5 protein by site-directed disruption resulted in a severe growth defect under both normal and stressful conditions (such as high temperature, high salt, cell wall damaging agents, and antifungal agents), similar to the effects observed in C. neoformans. However, unlike C. neoformans, the C. gattii ubp5Δ mutant displayed a slight enhancement of capsule and melanin production, indicating the evolutionary convergence and divergence of Ubp5 between these two sibling species. Attenuated virulence of the Cg-ubp5Δ mutant was not solely due to its reduced thermotolerance at 37°C, as shown in both worm and mouse survival assays. In addition, the assessment of fungal burden in mammalian organs further indicated that Ubp5 was required for C. gattii pulmonary survival and, consequently, extrapulmonary dissemination. Taken together, our work highlights the importance of deubiquitinase Ubp5 in the virulence composite of both pathogenic cryptococcal species, and it facilitates a better understanding of C. gattii virulence mechanisms. PMID:27049762

  10. Multiple Disguises for the Same Party: The Concepts of Morphogenesis and Phenotypic Variations in Cryptococcus neoformans†

    PubMed Central

    Zaragoza, Oscar

    2011-01-01

    Although morphological transitions (such as hyphae and pseudohyphae formation) are a common feature among fungi, the encapsulated pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans is found during infection as blastoconidia. However, this fungus exhibits striking variations in cellular structure and size, which have important consequences during infection. This review will summarize the main aspects related with phenotypic and morphological variations in C. neoformans, which can be divided in three classes. Two of them are related to changes in the capsule, while the third one involves changes in the whole cell. The three morphological and phenotypic variations in C. neoformans can be classified as: (1) changes in capsule structure, (2) changes in capsule size, and (3) changes in the total size of the cell, which can be achieved by the formation of cryptococcal giant/titan cells or microforms. These changes have profound consequences on the interaction with the host, involving survival, phagocytosis escape and immune evasion and dissemination. This article will summarize the main features of these changes, and highlight their importance during the interaction with the host and how they contribute to the development of the disease. PMID:21922016

  11. Deubiquitinase Ubp5 Is Required for the Growth and Pathogenicity of Cryptococcus gattii

    PubMed Central

    Yi, Jiu; Zhou, Zhaojing; Fa, Zhenzong; Zhao, Jingyu; Yang, Yali; Fang, Wei; Wang, Yan; Liao, Wan-qing

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus gattii is a resurgent fungal pathogen that primarily infects immunocompetent hosts. Thus, it poses an increasingly significant impact on global public health; however, the mechanisms underlying its pathogenesis remain largely unknown. We conducted a detailed characterization of the deubiquitinase Ubp5 in the biology and virulence of C. gattii using the hypervirulent strain R265, and defined its properties as either distinctive or shared with C. neoformans. Deletion of the C. gattii Ubp5 protein by site-directed disruption resulted in a severe growth defect under both normal and stressful conditions (such as high temperature, high salt, cell wall damaging agents, and antifungal agents), similar to the effects observed in C. neoformans. However, unlike C. neoformans, the C. gattii ubp5Δ mutant displayed a slight enhancement of capsule and melanin production, indicating the evolutionary convergence and divergence of Ubp5 between these two sibling species. Attenuated virulence of the Cg-ubp5Δ mutant was not solely due to its reduced thermotolerance at 37°C, as shown in both worm and mouse survival assays. In addition, the assessment of fungal burden in mammalian organs further indicated that Ubp5 was required for C. gattii pulmonary survival and, consequently, extrapulmonary dissemination. Taken together, our work highlights the importance of deubiquitinase Ubp5 in the virulence composite of both pathogenic cryptococcal species, and it facilitates a better understanding of C. gattii virulence mechanisms. PMID:27049762

  12. Case Report of Cryptococcus Albidus Peritonitis in a Peritoneal Dialysis Patient and a Review of the Literature.

    PubMed

    Ragupathi, Loheetha; Reyna, Maria

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcus albidus is a saprophytic yeast linked to just 26 reports of human infection in the world literature. Here, we report the first case of C. albidus peritonitis, in a patient with end-stage renal disease and hepatitis C-associated cirrhosis who is on peritoneal dialysis. The patient was treated successfully with a week-long course of amphotericin B. Non-neoformans cryptococcal infections present a clinical challenge, because they are difficult to diagnose and lack established guidelines for treatment. We present a review of the literature on C. albidus infections and their treatment.

  13. Repurposing of Aspirin and Ibuprofen as Candidate Anti-Cryptococcus Drugs.

    PubMed

    Ogundeji, Adepemi O; Pohl, Carolina H; Sebolai, Olihile M

    2016-08-01

    The usage of fluconazole and amphotericin B in clinical settings is often limited by, among other things, drug resistance development and undesired side effects. Thus, there is a constant need to find new drugs to better manage fungal infections. Toward this end, the study described in this paper considered the repurposing of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) and ibuprofen as alternative drugs to control the growth of cryptococcal cells. In vitro susceptibility tests, including a checkerboard assay, were performed to assess the response of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii to the above-mentioned anti-inflammatory drugs. Next, the capacity of these two drugs to induce stress as well as their mode of action in the killing of cryptococcal cells was determined. The studied fungal strains revealed a response to both aspirin and ibuprofen that was dose dependent, with ibuprofen exerting greater antimicrobial action. More importantly, the MICs of these drugs did not negatively (i) affect growth or (ii) impair the functioning of macrophages; rather, they enhanced the ability of these immune cells to phagocytose cryptococcal cells. Ibuprofen was also shown to act in synergy with fluconazole and amphotericin B. The treatment of cryptococcal cells with aspirin or ibuprofen led to stress induction via activation of the high-osmolarity glycerol (HOG) pathway, and cell death was eventually achieved through reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated membrane damage. The presented data highlight the potential clinical application of aspirin and ibuprofen as candidate anti-Cryptococcus drugs. PMID:27246782

  14. Synergy and antagonism between iron chelators and antifungal drugs in Cryptococcus.

    PubMed

    Lai, Yu-Wen; Campbell, Leona T; Wilkins, Marc R; Pang, Chi Nam Ignatius; Chen, Sharon; Carter, Dee A

    2016-10-01

    Fungal infections remain very difficult to treat, and developing new antifungal drugs is difficult and expensive. Recent approaches therefore seek to augment existing antifungals with synergistic agents that can lower the therapeutic dose, increase efficacy and prevent resistance from developing. Iron limitation can inhibit microbial growth, and iron chelators have been employed to treat fungal infections. In this study, chequerboard testing was used to explore combinations of iron chelators with antifungal agents against pathogenic Cryptococcus spp. with the aim of determining how disruption to iron homeostasis affects antifungal susceptibility. The iron chelators ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), deferoxamine (DFO), deferiprone (DFP), deferasirox (DSX), ciclopirox olamine and lactoferrin (LF) were paired with the antifungal agents amphotericin B (AmB), fluconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole and caspofungin. All chelators except for DFO increased the efficacy of AmB, and significant synergy was seen between AmB and LF for all Cryptococcus strains. Addition of exogenous iron rescued cells from the antifungal effect of LF alone but could not prevent inhibition by AmB + LF, indicating that synergy was not due primarily to iron chelation but to other properties of LF that were potentiated in the presence of AmB. Significant synergy was not seen consistently for other antifungal-chelator combinations, and EDTA, DSX and DFP antagonised the activity of azole drugs in strains of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii. This study highlights the range of interactions that can be induced by chelators and indicates that most antifungal drugs are not enhanced by iron limitation in Cryptococcus. PMID:27474467

  15. Immunomodulatory Effects of Serotype B Glucuronoxylomannan from Cryptococcus gattii Correlate with Polysaccharide Diameter▿

    PubMed Central

    Fonseca, Fernanda L.; Nohara, Lilian L.; Cordero, Radames J. B.; Frases, Susana; Casadevall, Arturo; Almeida, Igor C.; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Rodrigues, Marcio L.

    2010-01-01

    Glucuronoxylomannan (GXM), the major capsular component in the Cryptococcus complex, interacts with the immune system in multiple ways, which include the activation of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and the modulation of nitric oxide (NO) production by phagocytes. In this study, we analyzed several structural parameters of GXM samples from Cryptococcus neoformans (serotypes A and D) and Cryptococcus gattii (serotypes B and C) and correlated them with the production of NO by phagocytes and the activation of TLRs. GXM fractions were differentially recognized by TLR2/TLR1 (TLR2/1) and TLR2/6 heterodimers expressed on TLR-transfected HEK293A cells. Higher NF-κB luciferase reporter activity induced by GXM was observed in cells expressing TLR2/1 than in cells transfected with TLR2/6 constructs. A serotype B GXM from C. gattii was the most effective polysaccharide fraction activating the TLR-mediated response. This serotype B polysaccharide, which was also highly efficient at eliciting the production of NO by macrophages, was similar to the other GXM samples in monosaccharide composition, zeta potential, and electrophoretic mobility. However, immunofluorescence with four different monoclonal antibodies and dynamic light-scattering analysis revealed that the serotype B GXM showed particularities in serological reactivity and had the smallest effective diameter among the GXM samples analyzed in this study. Fractionation of additional serotype B GXMs, followed by exposure of these fractions to macrophages, revealed a correlation between NO production and reduced effective diameters. Our results demonstrate a great functional diversity in GXM samples from different isolates and establish their abilities to differentially activate cellular responses. We propose that serological properties as well as physical chemical parameters, such as the diameter of polysaccharide molecules, may potentially influence the inflammatory response against Cryptococcus spp. and may contribute to the

  16. Immunomodulatory effects of serotype B glucuronoxylomannan from Cryptococcus gattii correlate with polysaccharide diameter.

    PubMed

    Fonseca, Fernanda L; Nohara, Lilian L; Cordero, Radames J B; Frases, Susana; Casadevall, Arturo; Almeida, Igor C; Nimrichter, Leonardo; Rodrigues, Marcio L

    2010-09-01

    Glucuronoxylomannan (GXM), the major capsular component in the Cryptococcus complex, interacts with the immune system in multiple ways, which include the activation of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and the modulation of nitric oxide (NO) production by phagocytes. In this study, we analyzed several structural parameters of GXM samples from Cryptococcus neoformans (serotypes A and D) and Cryptococcus gattii (serotypes B and C) and correlated them with the production of NO by phagocytes and the activation of TLRs. GXM fractions were differentially recognized by TLR2/TLR1 (TLR2/1) and TLR2/6 heterodimers expressed on TLR-transfected HEK293A cells. Higher NF-kappaB luciferase reporter activity induced by GXM was observed in cells expressing TLR2/1 than in cells transfected with TLR2/6 constructs. A serotype B GXM from C. gattii was the most effective polysaccharide fraction activating the TLR-mediated response. This serotype B polysaccharide, which was also highly efficient at eliciting the production of NO by macrophages, was similar to the other GXM samples in monosaccharide composition, zeta potential, and electrophoretic mobility. However, immunofluorescence with four different monoclonal antibodies and dynamic light-scattering analysis revealed that the serotype B GXM showed particularities in serological reactivity and had the smallest effective diameter among the GXM samples analyzed in this study. Fractionation of additional serotype B GXMs, followed by exposure of these fractions to macrophages, revealed a correlation between NO production and reduced effective diameters. Our results demonstrate a great functional diversity in GXM samples from different isolates and establish their abilities to differentially activate cellular responses. We propose that serological properties as well as physical chemical parameters, such as the diameter of polysaccharide molecules, may potentially influence the inflammatory response against Cryptococcus spp. and may contribute to