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Sample records for neoformans var neoformans

  1. Origin of Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans Diploid Strains

    PubMed Central

    Cogliati, Massimo; Esposto, Maria C.; Clarke, David L.; Wickes, Brian L.; Viviani, Maria A.

    2001-01-01

    The basidiomycetous yeast Cryptococcus neoformans is an important human fungal pathogen. Two varieties, C. neoformans var. neoformans and C. neoformans var. gattii, have been identified. Both are heterothallic with two mating types, MATa and MATα. Some rare isolates are self-fertile and are considered occasional diploid or aneuploid strains. In the present study, 133 isolates, mostly from Italian patients, were investigated to detect the presence of diploid strains in the Igiene Università Milano culture collection. All of the diploid isolates were further investigated by different methods to elucidate their origins. Forty-nine diploid strains were identified by flow cytometry. PCR fingerprinting using the (GACA)4 primer showed that the diploid state was associated with two specific genotypes identified as VN3 and VN4. Determination of mating type on V8 juice medium confirmed that the majority of the strains were sterile. PCR and dot blotting using the two pheromone genes (MFa and MFα) as probes identified 36 of the 49 diploid isolates as MATa/α. The results of pheromone gene sequencing showed that two allelic MFα genes exist and are distinct for serotypes A and D. In contrast, the MFa gene sequence was conserved in both serotype alleles. Amplification of serotype-specific STE20 alleles demonstrated that the diploid strains contained one mating locus inherited from a serotype A parent and one inherited from a serotype D parent. The present results suggest that diploid isolates may be common among the C. neoformans population and that in Italy and other European countries serotype A and D populations are not genetically isolated but are able to recombine by sexual reproduction. PMID:11682503

  2. Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii: Separate Varietal Status for Cryptococcus neoformans Serotype A Isolates

    PubMed Central

    Franzot, Sarah P.; Salkin, Ira F.; Casadevall, Arturo

    1999-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans presently includes isolates which have been determined by the immunologic reactivity of their capsular polysaccharides to be serotype A and those which have been determined to be serotype D. However, recent analyses of the URA5 sequences and DNA fingerprinting patterns suggest significant genetic differences between the two serotypes. Therefore, we propose to recognize these genotypic distinctions, as well as previously reported phenotypic differences, by restricting C. neoformans var. neoformans to isolates which are serotype D and describing a new variety, C. neoformans var. grubii, for serotype A isolates. PMID:9986871

  3. Characterization of the antigenicity of Cpl1, a surface protein of Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans.

    PubMed

    Cai, Jian-Piao; Liu, Ling-Li; To, Kelvin K W; Lau, Candy C Y; Woo, Patrick C Y; Lau, Susanna K P; Guo, Yong-Hui; Ngan, Antonio H Y; Che, Xiao-Yan; Yuen, Kwok-Yung

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans is an important fungal pathogen. The capsule is a well established virulence factor and a target site for diagnostic tests. The CPL1 gene is required for capsular formation and virulence. The protein product Cpl1 has been proposed to be a secreted protein, but the characteristics of this protein have not been reported. Here we sought to characterize Cpl1. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the Cpl1 of C. neoformans var. neoformans and the Cpl1 orthologs identified in C. neoformans var. grubii and C. gattii formed a distinct cluster among related fungi; while the putative ortholog found in Trichosporon asahii was distantly related to the Cryptococcus cluster. We expressed Cpl1 abundantly as a secreted His-tagged protein in Pichia pastoris. The protein was used to immunize guinea pigs and rabbits for high titer mono-specific polyclonal antibody that was shown to be highly specific against the cell wall of C. neoformans var. neoformans and did not cross react with C. gattii, T. asahii, Aspergillus spp., Candida spp. and Penicillium spp. Using the anti-Cpl1 antibody, we detected Cpl1 protein in the fresh culture supernatant of C. neoformans var. neoformans and we showed by immunostaining that the Cpl1 protein was located on the surface. The Cpl1 protein is a specific surface protein of C. neoformans var. neoformans.

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-01

    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.

  6. 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

  7. Rapid identification of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii, C. neoformans var. neoformans, and C. gattii by use of rapid biochemical tests, differential media, and DNA sequencing.

    PubMed

    McTaggart, Lisa; Richardson, Susan E; Seah, Christine; Hoang, Linda; Fothergill, Annette; Zhang, Sean X

    2011-07-01

    Rapid identification of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii, Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans, and Cryptococcus gattii is imperative for facilitation of prompt treatment of cryptococcosis and for understanding the epidemiology of the disease. Our purpose was to evaluate a test algorithm incorporating commercial rapid biochemical tests, differential media, and DNA sequence analysis that will allow us to differentiate these taxa rapidly and accurately. We assessed 147 type, reference, and clinical isolates, including 6 other Cryptococcus spp. (10 isolates) and 14 other yeast species (24 isolates), using a 4-hour urea broth test (Remel), a 24-hour urea broth test (Becton Dickinson), a 4-hour caffeic acid disk test (Hardy Diagnostics and Remel), 40- to 44-hour growth assessment on l-canavanine glycine bromothymol blue (CGB) agar, and intergenic spacer (IGS) sequence analysis. All 123 Cryptococcus isolates hydrolyzed urea, along with 7 isolates of Rhodotorula and Trichosporon. Eighty-five of 86 C. neoformans (99%) and 26 of 27 C. gattii (96%) isolates had positive caffeic acid results, unlike the other cryptococci (0/10) and yeast species (0/24). Together, these two tests positively identified virtually all C. neoformans/C. gattii isolates (98%) within 4 h. CGB agar or IGS sequencing further differentiated these isolates within 48 h. On CGB, 25 of 27 (93%) C. gattii strains induced a blue color change, in contrast to 0 of 86 C. neoformans isolates. Neighbor-joining cluster analysis of IGS sequences differentiated C. neoformans var. grubii, C. neoformans var. neoformans, and C. gattii. Based on these results, we describe a rapid identification algorithm for use in a microbiology laboratory to distinguish clinically relevant Cryptococcus spp.

  8. 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).

  9. Isolation of Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii from Eucalyptus camaldulensis in India.

    PubMed Central

    Chakrabarti, A; Jatana, M; Kumar, P; Chatha, L; Kaushal, A; Padhye, A A

    1997-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii has an ecological association with five Eucalyptus species: E. blakelyi, E. camaldulensis, E. gomphocephala, E. rudis, and E. tereticornis. After human infections due to C. neoformans var. gattii were diagnosed in the states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Karnataka, India, a study was undertaken to investigate the association of C. neoformans var. gattii with Indian eucalypts, especially in the state of Punjab. A total of 696 specimens collected from E. camaldulensis, E. citriodora and E. tereticornis (hybrid) trees were examined for the presence of C. neoformans var. gattii. Flowers from two trees of E. camaldulensis in the Chak Sarkar forest and one from the village of Periana near the Ferozepur area yielded five isolates of C. neoformans var. gattii. The origin of the trees could be traced to Australia, thus providing evidence that the distribution of E. camaldulensis correlated with the distribution of human cryptococcosis cases caused by C. neoformans var. gattii in northern India. PMID:9399553

  10. Molecular epidemiology of Italian clinical Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii isolates.

    PubMed

    Cogliati, Massimo; Zamfirova, Ralika R; Tortorano, Anna Maria; Viviani, Maria Anna

    2013-07-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans variety grubii is the major etiological agent of cryptococcal meningitis in both immunocompromised and immunocompetent patients. The current PCR-based molecular methods are not sufficient to discriminate among the different populations of this yeast. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the genotypes of the Italian clinical C. neoformans var. grubii isolates by multilocus sequence typing (MLST). A total of 53 isolates, each representative of a single case, were studied. Genotyping was performed using the ISHAM Cryptococcus MLST consensus scheme and the results were compared to the publically available global C. neoformans var. grubii MLST dataset. A total of 16 genotypes were identified; 14 were new genotypes, one was identical to sequence type (ST) ST81, which had been previously reported from Thailand, and one to ST23 already identified in Uganda, the USA and Korea. Sequence type ST61 was the most numerous, including 16 isolates. Network phylogenetic analysis showed that the Italian isolates could be divided into at least three clusters with similarities with those recovered in Africa, Asia and Americas. Distribution of the STs among the isolates could not be correlated to the hospital in which they were recovered or to the HIV status of the patients. The majority of the isolates belonged to the molecular type VNI; three belonged to the rare molecular type VNII and one to the VNB group, which until now had not been described in Europe. The results reveal that the Italian C. neoformans var. grubii population presents a distinct variability, displaying a high number of new genotypes, and probably recombines sexually.

  11. Hydroxyurea enhances post-fusion hyphal extension during sexual development in C. neoformans var. grubii.

    PubMed

    Zulkifli, M Naim; Kaur, Jan Naseer; Panepinto, John C

    2012-03-01

    Mating and sexual development in C. neoformans var. grubii strains of the H99 background is often less robust than that laboratory generated isogenic C. neoformans var. neoformans strains in the JEC21 background. In Candida albicans and Saccharomyces serevisiae, slowing of DNA synthesis and engagement of the replication stress response, such as that caused by treatment with hydroxyurea (HU), induces filamentation and pseudohyphal growth, respectively. In this study, we investigated the effect of HU treatment on C. neoformans var. grubii morphogenesis. Treatment with HU did not induce filamentation of yeast cells either in liquid culture or on solid YPD or V8 agar. In the presence of the opposite mating partner, we observed early emergence of hyphae in the presence of HU. Semi-quantitative analysis of fusion using marked strains demonstrated that no significant enhancement of fusion in the presence of HU. Transfer of fusion colonies from crosses performed in the absence of HU to V8 + HU revealed enhanced hyphal growth in the presence of HU. Analysis of expression of the target of HU, ribonucleotide reductase, revealed that a phylogenetically divergent catalytic subunit is replication stress responsive in C. neoformans. These results suggest that induction of replication stress promotes post-fusion hyphal growth of C. neoformans var. grubii strains in the H99 background.

  12. Tracing Genetic Exchange and Biogeography of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii at the Global Population Level.

    PubMed

    Rhodes, Johanna; Desjardins, Christopher A; Sykes, Sean M; Beale, Mathew A; Vanhove, Mathieu; Sakthikumar, Sharadha; Chen, Yuan; Gujja, Sharvari; Saif, Sakina; Chowdhary, Anuradha; Lawson, Daniel John; Ponzio, Vinicius; Colombo, Arnaldo Lopes; Meyer, Wieland; Engelthaler, David M; Hagen, Ferry; Illnait-Zaragozi, Maria Teresa; Alanio, Alexandre; Vreulink, Jo-Marie; Heitman, Joseph; Perfect, John R; Litvintseva, Anastasia P; Bicanic, Tihana; Harrison, Thomas S; Fisher, Matthew C; Cuomo, Christina A

    2017-09-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii is the causative agent of cryptococcal meningitis, a significant source of mortality in immunocompromised individuals, typically human immunodeficiency virus/AIDS patients from developing countries. Despite the worldwide emergence of this ubiquitous infection, little is known about the global molecular epidemiology of this fungal pathogen. Here we sequence the genomes of 188 diverse isolates and characterize the major subdivisions, their relative diversity, and the level of genetic exchange between them. While most isolates of C. neoformans var. grubii belong to one of three major lineages (VNI, VNII, and VNB), some haploid isolates show hybrid ancestry including some that appear to have recently interbred, based on the detection of large blocks of each ancestry across each chromosome. Many isolates display evidence of aneuploidy, which was detected for all chromosomes. In diploid isolates of C. neoformans var. grubii (serotype AA) and of hybrids with C. neoformans var. neoformans (serotype AD) such aneuploidies have resulted in loss of heterozygosity, where a chromosomal region is represented by the genotype of only one parental isolate. Phylogenetic and population genomic analyses of isolates from Brazil reveal that the previously "African" VNB lineage occurs naturally in the South American environment. This suggests migration of the VNB lineage between Africa and South America prior to its diversification, supported by finding ancestral recombination events between isolates from different lineages and regions. The results provide evidence of substantial population structure, with all lineages showing multi-continental distributions; demonstrating the highly dispersive nature of this pathogen. Copyright © 2017 Rhodes et al.

  13. Tracing Genetic Exchange and Biogeography of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii at the Global Population Level

    PubMed Central

    Rhodes, Johanna; Desjardins, Christopher A.; Sykes, Sean M.; Beale, Mathew A.; Vanhove, Mathieu; Sakthikumar, Sharadha; Chen, Yuan; Gujja, Sharvari; Saif, Sakina; Chowdhary, Anuradha; Lawson, Daniel John; Ponzio, Vinicius; Colombo, Arnaldo Lopes; Meyer, Wieland; Engelthaler, David M.; Hagen, Ferry; Illnait-Zaragozi, Maria Teresa; Alanio, Alexandre; Vreulink, Jo-Marie; Heitman, Joseph; Perfect, John R.; Litvintseva, Anastasia P.; Bicanic, Tihana; Harrison, Thomas S.; Fisher, Matthew C.; Cuomo, Christina A.

    2017-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii is the causative agent of cryptococcal meningitis, a significant source of mortality in immunocompromised individuals, typically human immunodeficiency virus/AIDS patients from developing countries. Despite the worldwide emergence of this ubiquitous infection, little is known about the global molecular epidemiology of this fungal pathogen. Here we sequence the genomes of 188 diverse isolates and characterize the major subdivisions, their relative diversity, and the level of genetic exchange between them. While most isolates of C. neoformans var. grubii belong to one of three major lineages (VNI, VNII, and VNB), some haploid isolates show hybrid ancestry including some that appear to have recently interbred, based on the detection of large blocks of each ancestry across each chromosome. Many isolates display evidence of aneuploidy, which was detected for all chromosomes. In diploid isolates of C. neoformans var. grubii (serotype AA) and of hybrids with C. neoformans var. neoformans (serotype AD) such aneuploidies have resulted in loss of heterozygosity, where a chromosomal region is represented by the genotype of only one parental isolate. Phylogenetic and population genomic analyses of isolates from Brazil reveal that the previously “African” VNB lineage occurs naturally in the South American environment. This suggests migration of the VNB lineage between Africa and South America prior to its diversification, supported by finding ancestral recombination events between isolates from different lineages and regions. The results provide evidence of substantial population structure, with all lineages showing multi-continental distributions; demonstrating the highly dispersive nature of this pathogen. PMID:28679543

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Identification of novel hybrids between Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii VNI and Cryptococcus gattii VGII.

    PubMed

    Aminnejad, Mojgan; Diaz, Mara; Arabatzis, Michael; Castañeda, Elizabeth; Lazera, Marcia; Velegraki, Aristea; Marriott, Deborah; Sorrell, Tania C; Meyer, Wieland

    2012-06-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii are pathogenic yeasts causing meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised and immunocompetent hosts. The fungus is typically haploid, and sexual reproduction occurs normally between individuals with opposite mating types, α and a. C. neoformans var. grubii (serotype A) is comprised of molecular types VNI, VNII, and VNB, and C. neoformans var. neoformans (serotype D) contains the molecular type VNIV. Additionally, diploid or aneuploid AD hybrids (VNIII) have been reported. C. gattii contains the molecular types VGI, VGII, VGIII, and VGIV, which encompass both serotypes B and C. To identify possible hybrid strains, URA5-RFLP analysis was performed on 350 globally obtained clinical, environmental, and veterinary isolates. Four clinical isolates from cerebrospinal fluid showed combination patterns of C. neoformans var. grubii and C. gattii: Brazil (n = 2), Colombia (n = 1), and India (n = 1). These strains were monokaryotic and diploid or aneuploid. M13 PCR fingerprinting showed that they contained fragments of both proposed parental groups. Luminex IGS genotyping identified these isolates as hybrids with two different molecular type combinations: three VNI/VGII and one VNI/VGI. Blue color development on CGB agar was delayed in three isolates and absent in one. C. gattii-specific PCR confirmed the presence of C. gattii in the hybrids. CAP59 allele-specific PCR revealed that all the hybrids contained both serotype A and B alleles. Determination of mating-type allelic patterns by PCR revealed that the isolates were αA aB. This is the first study discovering novel natural hybrids between C. neoformans molecular type VNI and C. gattii molecular type VGII.

  17. Isolation of Cryptococcus gattii and Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii from the flowers and bark of Eucalyptus trees in India.

    PubMed

    Gugnani, H C; Mitchell, T G; Litvintseva, A P; Lengeler, K B; Heitman, J; Kumar, A; Basu, S; Paliwal-Joshi, A

    2005-09-01

    The association of Cryptococcus gattii with Eucalyptus trees has been well established. Here we report the isolation of both C. gattii and Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii from the flowers and bark of Eucalyptus trees in India. We investigated a total of 233 samples of Eucalyptus trees: 120 flowers, 81 fragments of bark, and 32 leaves. C. gattii was isolated from two samples of flowers of Eucalyptus terreticornis. C. neoformans var. grubii was recovered twice from the bark of Eucalyptus camaldulensis, initially from one of three samples, and again 2 months later, from one of four samples collected beneath the canopy of the tree. The primary isolation medium was Nigerseed agar, and brown colonies were presumptively identified as C. gattii or C. neoformans. The species identification was confirmed by morphological and biochemical characteristics. Using the Crypto-Check kit (Iatron, Tokyo, Japan), the first two isolates were identified as serotype B (C. gattii) and the other two were serotype A (C. neoformans var. grubii). PCR analysis of the isolates of C. neoformans var. grubii revealed that they possessed the MATalpha mating type allele. Molecular typing by amplified fragment length polymorphism markers indicated that both isolates of C. neoformans var. grubii possessed the same genotype. This study demonstrates that C. neoformans var. grubii, as well as C. gattii, may be associated with Eucalyptus trees.

  18. Genetic and pathological characteristics of Cryptococcus gattii and Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans from meningoencephalitis in autochthonous goats and mouflons, Sardinia, Italy.

    PubMed

    Maestrale, Caterina; Masia, Mariangela; Pintus, Davide; Lollai, Stefano; Kozel, Thomas R; Gates-Hollingsworth, Marcellene A; Cancedda, Maria Giovanna; Cabras, Pierangela; Pirino, Salvatore; D'Ascenzo, Vittoria; Ligios, Ciriaco

    2015-06-12

    In this study, we examined in Sardinia the brain of 555 autochthonous sheep, 50 goats, and 4 mouflons which were found affected by neurological signs. We found 6 goats and one mouflon with meningoencephalitis caused by Cryptococcus sp. There was no evidence of cryptococcal infections in any of the examined sheep. MLST genotyping on Cryptococcus sp. isolates identified Cryptococcus gatti genotype AFLP4/VGI and Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans genotype AFLP2/VNIV. Phylogenetically, all Cryptococcus gattii isolates fell within the autochthonous animal, human and environmental Mediterranean isolate cluster, forming a distinct branch along with environmental strains from Alicante, in the southern Mediterranean coast of Spain.

  19. Presence of alpha and a mating types in environmental and clinical collections of Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii strains from Australia.

    PubMed

    Halliday, C L; Bui, T; Krockenberger, M; Malik, R; Ellis, D H; Carter, D A

    1999-09-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii lives in association with certain species of eucalyptus trees and is a causative agent of cryptococcosis. It exists as two mating types, MATalpha and MATa, which is determined by a single-locus, two-allele system. In the closely related C. neoformans var. neoformans, the alpha mating type has been found to outnumber its a counterpart by at least 30:1, but there have been very limited data on the proportions of each mating type in C. neoformans var. gattii. In the present study, specific PCR primers were designed to amplify two separate alpha-mating-type genes from C. neoformans var. gattii strains. These were used to survey for the presence of the two mating types in clinical and environmental collections of C. neoformans var. gattii strains from Australia. Sixty-eight of 69 clinical isolates produced both alpha mating type-specific bands and were assumed to be of the alpha mating type. The majority of environmental isolates were also of the alpha mating type, but the a mating type was located in two separate areas. In one area, the a mating type outnumbered the alpha mating type by 27:2, but in the second area, the ratio of the two mating types was close to the 50:50 ratio expected for sexual recombination.

  20. [Cryptococcus Neoformans Var. Gattii meningoencephalitis with cryptococcoma in an immunocompetent patient successfully treated by surgical resection].

    PubMed

    Inada, Taku; Imamura, Hirotoshi; Kawamoto, Michi; Sekiya, Hiroaki; Imai, Yukihiro; Tani, Shoichi; Adachi, Hidemitsu; Ishikawa, Tatsuya; Mineharu, Yohei; Asai, Katsunori; Ikeda, Hiroyuki; Ogura, Takenori; Shibata, Teishiki; Beppu, Mikiya; Agawa, Yuji; Shimizu, Kanpei; Sakai, Nobuyuki; Kikuchi, Haruhiko

    2014-02-01

    Cryptococcosis is a fungal infection, which mainly invades the lungs and central nervous system. In Japan, most cases of cryptococcosis are caused by Cryptococcus neoformans(C. neoformans). Until now, only three cases which the infectious agent was Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii(C. gattii)have been reported. As compared with cryptococcosis caused by C. neoformans, which is often observed in immunocompromised hosts, cryptococcosis caused by C. gattii occurs predominantly in immunocompetent hosts and is resistant to antifungal drugs. Here, we report a case of refractory cerebral cryptococcoma that was successfully treated by surgical resection of the lesions. A 33-year-old man with no medical history complained of headache, hearing disturbance, and irritability. Pulmonary CT showed a nodular lesion in the left lung. Cerebrospinal fluid examination with Indian ink indicated cryptococcal meningitis, and PCR confirmed infection with C. gattii. C. gattii is usually seen in the tropics and subtropics. Since this patient imported trees and soils from abroad to feed stag beetles, parasite or fungal infection was, as such, suspected. Although he received 2 years of intravenous and intraventricular antifungal treatment, brain cryptococcomas were formed and gradually increased. Because of the refractory clinical course, the patient underwent surgical resection of the cerebral lesions. With continuation of antifungal drugs for 6 months after the surgeries, Cryptococcus could not be cultured from cerebrospinal fluid, and no lesions were seen on MR images. If cerebral cryptococcosis responds poorly to antifungal agents, surgical treatment of the cerebral lesion should be considered.

  1. Experimental infection of almond trees seedlings (Terminalia catappa) with an environmental isolate of Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii, serotype C.

    PubMed

    Huérfano, S; Castañeda, A; Castañeda, E

    2001-09-01

    Recently, our laboratory reported the isolation of Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii, serotype C for the first time from almond trees (Terminalia catappa) detritus. The aim of the present study was to establish the survival of C. neoformans in almond trees seedlings. Thirty seedlings were infected in the stems and samples were taken and processed at different times and by different techniques. No morphological alterations (macro or microscopic) were observed in the infected plants. However, C. neoformans was found to be viable for at least 100 days after infection. These data constitute our first approach towards the understanding of the yeast interactions with a host-plant.

  2. Genomic organization and expression of 23 new genes from MATalpha locus of Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii.

    PubMed

    Ren, Ping; Roncaglia, Paola; Springer, Deborah J; Fan, Jinjiang; Chaturvedi, Vishnu

    2005-01-07

    The pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn) causes cryptococcosis, a life-threatening disease of the brain. Molecular studies of Cn variety gattii have lagged behind other two varieties (var. grubii and var. neoformans) although they have distinct biology and disease patterns. We focused on gene discovery in MATalpha locus because it predominates in clinical strains. A var. gattii cosmid library was screened with DNA probes from other two varieties. Two positive clones were sequenced to identify ORFs based on similarities to known proteins, and to ESTs using bioinformatics, and manually by a curator. Approximately 76kb sequenced DNA revealed 23 genes and ORFs. The existence of predicted genes was verified by RT-PCR analyses designed to amplify spliced sequences. The results confirmed that the transcripts were expressed both at 30 and 37 degrees C. The var. gattii MATalpha locus genes showed rearrangements in order and orientation vis-a-vis other two varieties. Mating-specific genes showed higher nonsynonymous mutation rates, and gene trees showed var. gattii strains in a distinct clade. The identification of the largest number, thus far, of var. gattii structural genes should set the stage for future molecular pathogenesis studies.

  3. Cryptococcus neoformans, Cryptococcus gattii: serotypes in Venezuela.

    PubMed

    Pérez, C; Dolande, M; Moya, M; Roselló, A; de Capriles, Claudia R Hartung; Landaeta, M E; Mata-Essayag, S

    2008-09-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is one of the medically important yeast-like fungi. C. neoformans var. gatti has been made a species: C. gatti. In our country, there are few studies about these two species and their serotypes. The aim of this study was to determine the distribution of C. neoformans and C. gattii, and their serotypes in Venezuelan clinical isolates. One hundred and twenty C. neoformans and 12 C. gattii clinical isolates were identified by L-canavanine, glycine, and bromothymol blue agar media (CGB). These were investigated by agglutination and adsorption studies with anticryptococcal sera, which were produced by rabbit immunization. Of the 132 isolates 59.8% were typed serotype A (C. neoformans), followed by 25.8% serotype D (C. neoformans), 5.3% serotype AD (C. neoformans), and 5.3% were typed serotype C (var. gattii). Additionally 3.8% were serotype B (C. gattii).

  4. [Experimental inoculation of Terminalia catappa seedlings with an environmental isolate of Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii serotype C ].

    PubMed

    Escandón, Patricia; Huérfano, Sandra; Castañeda, Elizabeth

    2002-12-01

    In 1997, our laboratory reported for the first time the isolation of Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii serotype C associated with almond tree (Terminalia catappa) detritus. This finding led to a more detailed follow up of the association between the plant and the yeast. Preliminary data have shown that survival of the yeast in almond trees seedlings goes beyond 100 days. The aim of the present study was to establish if under the conditions previously studied, C. neoformans var. gattii would remain viable for longer periods. A total of 83 almond tree seedings, 20-40 cm high, were inoculated with C. neoformans var. gattii serotype C (INS-755). Assays were carried out inoculating the stem or the soil where the seedlings were planted. Observations were undertaken for a period of up to 12 months. As processing techniques we employed the endophytic fungi procedure (stems), maceration (roots, leaves) and standard suspension method (soils). Additionally, microscopic visualization of the yeast in plant tissues was done with trypan blue plus lactophenol. C. neoformans var. gattii was recovered from the inoculated plants for a period of up to 12 months post-inoculation; additionally, the fungus had the capacity to migrate from the stem to the soil and viceversa, without causing macroscopic or microscopic alterations in the plant tissues. This finding suggests that there appears to be an association between the host plant and C. neoformans var. gattii in the environment.

  5. In vitro antifungal susceptibility profiles and genotypes of 308 clinical and environmental isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii and Cryptococcus gattii serotype B from north-western India.

    PubMed

    Chowdhary, Anuradha; Randhawa, Harbans Singh; Sundar, Gandhi; Kathuria, Shallu; Prakash, Anupam; Khan, Ziauddin; Sun, Sheng; Xu, Jianping

    2011-07-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii are aetiological agents of cryptococcosis, a major opportunistic systemic mycosis of increasing global importance. This study reports the antifungal susceptibility profiles of clinical and environmental isolates of C. neoformans var. grubii, genotype VNI/AFLP1 (n = 246), and C. gattii serotype B, genotype VGI/AFLP4 (n = 62), originating from patients and environmental sources in north-western India. All of the C. neoformans var. grubii and C. gattii isolates were mating type α. Using the broth microdilution method, both species were found to be susceptible to the antifungals tested except for two clinical C. neoformans var. grubii isolates that were resistant to 5-flucytosine (MIC >64 µg ml⁻¹). Data on the geometric mean of MICs revealed that C. gattii was significantly less susceptible than C. neoformans var. grubii to fluconazole, itraconazole and voriconazole (P<0.0001). In addition, the MIC₉₀ of C. gattii was twofold higher than that of C. neoformans var. grubii for fluconazole, itraconazole and voriconazole. However, no statistically significant difference in susceptibility of the two Cryptococcus species was observed against amphotericin B and 5-flucytosine. Furthermore, the environmental C. neoformans var. grubii isolates were significantly less susceptible to fluconazole, itraconazole and 5-flucytosine (P<0.0001) than the clinical isolates. A continued surveillance of antifungal susceptibility of clinical and environmental strains of C. neoformans and C. gattii is desirable to monitor the emergence of any resistant strains in order to ensure more successful therapy of cryptococcosis.

  6. Targeting the Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii cell wall using lectins: study of the carbohydrate-binding domain.

    PubMed

    de Brito Ximenes, Pamella; Beltrão, Eduardo Isidoro Carneiro; Macêdo, Danielle Patrícia Cerqueira; Buonafina, Maria Daniela Silva; de Lima-Neto, Reginaldo Gonçalves; Neves, Rejane Pereira

    2015-02-25

    Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii is considered to be the major cause of cryptococcosis in immunosuppressed patients. Understanding cell wall glycoproteins using lectins is of medical interest and can contribute to specific therapy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the carbohydrates on the cell wall of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii clinical isolates, using a fluorescein isothiocyanate-lectin binding protocol. Thirty yeast strains stocked in the culture collection were cultivated for 2 days at 30 °C with shaking. Cells were obtained by centrifugation, washed in phosphate-buffered saline, and a suspension of 107 cells/mL was obtained. To determine the binding profile of lectins, concanavalin A (Con A), wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), Ulex europaeus agglutinin I (UEA-I), and peanut agglutinin (PNA) conjugated to fluorescein were used. All the tested clinical isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii were intensely stained by WGA, moderately stained by Con A, and weakly stained by PNA and UEA-I. Thus, Cryptococcus can be detected in clinical specimens such as blood and cerebrospinal fluid using the fluorescent lectin WGA, which may be considered as an option for detection in cases of suspected cryptococcosis with low laboratory sensitivity. Future applications may be developed using this basic tool.

  7. Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii in the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus): serological evidence for subclinical cryptococcosis.

    PubMed

    Krockenberger, M B; Canfield, P J; Barnes, J; Vogelnest, L; Connolly, J; Ley, C; Malik, R

    2002-06-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii has been shown to have a strong association with eucalypts frequently used by koalas and, not surprisingly, it has been shown to colonize the nasal cavities of koalas. The progression from nasal colonization to tissue invasion is critical to understanding the pathogenesis of cryptococcosis in this species and provides a model for pathogenesis of cryptococcosis in other species. Cryptococcal antigenaemia was detected in twenty-eight healthy koalas from three different regions. This was interpreted as representing limited subclinical disease. One koala developed cryptococcal pneumonia 6 months after leaving the study, whereas another developed cryptococcal meningoencephalitis during the course of the study. Opportunistic necropsies on ten antigen-positive koalas resulted in discovery of small cryptococcal lesions in two (paranasal sinus and lung, respectively). Our data suggest that cryptococcal antigenaemia occurs commonly in koalas, especially in areas with a high environmental presence of C n. var. gattii. Subclinical disease appears most likely to manifest as a small focal lesion in the respiratory tract. Possible outcomes include elimination by an effective immune response, quiescence with possibility of later re-activation or direct progression to overt disease. Symptomatic and subclinical cases showed differences in levels of antigenaemia. The data presented have significant implications for koalas in captivity.

  8. Detection of Cryptococcus neoformans in bird excreta.

    PubMed

    Soogarun, Suphan; Wiwanitkit, Viroj; Palasuwan, Attakorn; Pradniwat, Paweena; Suwansaksri, Jamsai; Lertlum, Thamaporn; Maungkote, Tusrin

    2006-07-01

    We evaluated 14 samples of bird excreta from pigeons, parrots, open billed storks and crows obtained from thirteen places in Bangkok and nearby areas between April and July 2004. These bird excreta were examined for Cryptococcus neoformans by direct plating method to inspect their ability to grow at 37 degrees C. Capsule production was examined by Indian ink preparation. They were also tested for urease and phenoloxidase enzymes. Cryptococcus neoformans var neoformans was recovered from pigeon excreta in 9.09%. This implies those having impaired immunity may get this fungus from the environment.

  9. [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.

  10. High-resolution melting analysis for identification of the Cryptococcus neoformans-Cryptococcus gattii complex.

    PubMed

    Gago, Sara; Zaragoza, Óscar; Cuesta, Isabel; Rodríguez-Tudela, Juan L; Cuenca-Estrella, Manuel; Buitrago, María J

    2011-10-01

    We have developed a two-step method based on high-resolution melting (HRM) that reliably identifies species from the Cryptococcus species complex (Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii, Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans, and Cryptococcus gattii). Our results indicate that HRM can provide a fast protocol to identify and distinguish among the main Cryptococcus species.

  11. Molecular genetic analyses of mating pheromones reveal intervariety mating or hybridization in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Chaturvedi, Vishnu; Fan, Jinjiang; Stein, Birgit; Behr, Melissa J; Samsonoff, William A; Wickes, Brian L; Chaturvedi, Sudha

    2002-09-01

    The sexual mating of the pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans is important for pathogenesis studies because the fungal virulence is linked to the alpha mating type (MAT(alpha)). We characterized C. neoformans mating pheromones (MF(alpha) 1 and MFa1) from 122 strains to understand intervariety hybridization or mating and intervariety virulence. MF(alpha) 1 in three C. neoformans varieties showed (a) specific nucleotide polymorphisms, (b) different copy numbers and chromosomal localizations, and (c) unique deduced amino acids in two geographic populations of C. neoformans var. gattii. MF(alpha) 1 of different varieties cross-hybridized in Southern hybridizations. Their phylogenetic analyses showed purifying selection (neutral evolution). These observations suggested that MAT(alpha) strains from any of the three C. neoformans varieties could mate or hybridize in nature with MATa strains of C. neoformans var. neoformans. A few serotype A/D diploid strains provided evidence for mating or hybridization, while a majority of A/D strains tested positive for haploid MF(alpha) 1 identical to that of C. neoformans var. grubii. MF(alpha) 1 sequence and copy numbers in diploids were identical to those of C. neoformans var. grubii, while their MFa1 sequences were identical to those of C. neoformans var. neoformans; thus, these strains were hybrids. The mice survival curves and histological lesions revealed A/D diploids to be highly pathogenic, with pathogenicity levels similar to that of the C. neoformans var. grubii type strain and unlike the low pathogenicity levels of C. neoformans var. neoformans strains. In contrast to MF(alpha) 1 in three varieties, MFa1 amplicons and hybridization signals could be obtained only from two C. neoformans var. neoformans reference strains and eight A/D diploids. This suggested that a yet undiscovered MFa pheromone(s) in C. neoformans var. gattii and C. neoformans var. grubii is unrelated to, highly divergent from, or rarer than that in C

  12. The Homeostasis of Iron, Copper, and Zinc in Paracoccidioides Brasiliensis, Cryptococcus Neoformans Var. Grubii, and Cryptococcus Gattii: A Comparative Analysis

    PubMed Central

    Silva, Mirelle Garcia; Schrank, Augusto; Bailão, Elisa Flávia L.C.; Bailão, Alexandre Melo; Borges, Clayton Luiz; Staats, Charley Christian; Parente, Juliana Alves; Pereira, Maristela; Salem-Izacc, Silvia Maria; Mendes-Giannini, Maria José Soares; Oliveira, Rosely Maria Zancopé; Silva, Lívia Kmetzsch Rosa e; Nosanchuk, Joshua D.; Vainstein, Marilene Henning; de Almeida Soares, Célia Maria

    2011-01-01

    Iron, copper, and zinc are essential for all living organisms. Moreover, the homeostasis of these metals is vital to microorganisms during pathogenic interactions with a host. Most pathogens have developed specific mechanisms for the uptake of micronutrients from their hosts in order to counteract the low availability of essential ions in infected tissues. We report here an analysis of genes potentially involved in iron, copper, and zinc uptake and homeostasis in the fungal pathogens Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii, and Cryptococcus gattii. Although prior studies have identified certain aspects of metal regulation in Cryptococcus species, little is known regarding the regulation of these elements in P. brasiliensis. We also present amino acid sequences analyses of deduced proteins in order to examine possible conserved domains. The genomic data reveals, for the first time, genes associated to iron, copper, and zinc assimilation and homeostasis in P. brasiliensis. Furthermore, analyses of the three fungal species identified homologs to genes associated with high-affinity uptake systems, vacuolar and mitochondrial iron storage, copper uptake and reduction, and zinc assimilation. However, homologs to genes involved in siderophore production were only found in P. brasiliensis. Interestingly, in silico analysis of the genomes of P. brasiliensis Pb01, Pb03, and Pb18 revealed significant differences in the presence and/or number of genes involved in metal homeostasis, such as in genes related to iron reduction and oxidation. The broad analyses of the genomes of P. brasiliensis, C. neoformans var. grubii, and C. gattii for genes involved in metal homeostasis provide important groundwork for numerous interesting future areas of investigation that are required in order to validate and explore the function of the identified genes and gene pathways. PMID:21833306

  13. Molecular typing of clinical Cryptococcus neoformans isolates collected in Germany from 2004 to 2010.

    PubMed

    Sanchini, Andrea; Smith, Ilka McCormick; Sedlacek, Ludwig; Schwarz, Roman; Tintelnot, Kathrin; Rickerts, Volker

    2014-10-01

    Cryptococcosis is a fungal infection mostly caused by Cryptococcus neoformans. We identified agents of cryptococcosis diagnosed in Germany from 2004 to 2010. We used multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) to understand the molecular epidemiology of cryptococcosis. Sero- and mating types of individual patient isolates were determined by PCR. MLST was performed using the seven-locus scheme. Allele and nucleotide diversity was calculated for each locus of C. neoformans var. grubii and C. neoformans var. neoformans. Phylogenetic relations were assessed by dendrograms. Clinical data were compared between infections caused by the two variants. We studied 101 isolates. Eight were identified as hybrids (8%). All non-hybrids were of the α mating type. Among 78 C. neoformans var. grubii (77%), 16 sequence types (STs) were identified including three novel STs. They clustered in four groups, previously isolated in Asia, Europe or worldwide. Among 15 C. neoformans var. neoformans (15%), 10 STs were identified, without clustering. These isolates showed higher allele, and nucleotide diversity compared with C. neoformans var. grubii. C. neoformans var. neoformans was more likely to cause soft-tissue infections (3/9, 33 vs. 1/63, 2%, p = 0.005) and to affect non-AIDS patients (7/14, 50 vs. 15/76, 20%, p = 0.036). C. neoformans var. grubii is the predominant agent of cryptococcosis in Germany. MLST suggests that a part of these cases are acquired abroad by immigrants or tourists. C. neoformans var. neoformans isolates represent a greater genetic diversity and are associated with more variable clinical presentations.

  14. A rapid method for detecting extracellular proteinase activity in Cryptococcus neoformans and a survey of 63 isolates.

    PubMed

    Ruma-Haynes, P; Brownlee, A G; Sorrell, T C

    2000-08-01

    A rapid method to detect extracellular proteolytic activity around colonies of Cryptococcus neoformans was developed with tannic acid used to complex with residual protein in a solid medium. A survey was conducted with 32 isolates of C. neoformans var. gattii and 31 isolates of C. neoformans var. neoformans which were cultured on medium containing gelatin as the sole nitrogen source. The annulus of clearing around fungal colonies was > 1.2 mm in 24 (77%) isolates of C. neoformans var. neoformans compared with only 7 (22%) isolates of C. neoformans var. gattii. There was no difference in proteolytic activity between environmental and human clinical isolates of C. neoformans. However, there was a difference between the size of the annulus around animal isolates of C. neoformans var. neoformans and isolates of the same variety from other sources. The annuli around the 14 animal isolates were all >1.2 mm, while 7 (70%) of 10 human clinical isolates and only 3 (43%) of 7 environmental isolates were scored in the high proteinase range. A difference between the genetic types (as characterised by RAPD typing) of C. neoformans var. gattii was also evident with 17 (77%) of 22 VG-I isolates having a small annulus compared with only 1 (17%) of 6 VG-II and VG-III isolates with annuli of similar size. Relatively low proteinase production by C. neoformans var. gattii may reduce local and systemic spread of infection in mammalian hosts.

  15. In vitro susceptibility characteristics of Cryptococcus neoformans varieties from AIDS patients in Goiânia, Brazil.

    PubMed

    de F L Fernandes, Orionalda; Passos, Xisto S; Souza, Lúcia K H; Miranda, André T B; Cerqueira, Carlos Henrique P V; Silva, Maria do Rosário R

    2003-09-01

    Sixty clinical isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans from AIDS from Goiânia, state of Goiás, Brazil, were characterized according to varieties, serotypes and tested for antifungal susceptibility. To differentiate the two varieties was used L-canavanine-glycine-bromothymol blue medium and to separate the serotypes was used slide agglutination test with Crypto Check Iatron. The Minimal Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) of fluconazole, itraconazole, and amphotericin B were determined by the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards macrodilution method. Our results identified 56 isolates as C. neoformans var. neoformans serotype A and 4 isolates as C. neoformans var. gattii serotype B. MIC values for C. neoformans var. gattii were higher than C. neoformans var. neoformans. We verified that none isolate was resistant to itraconazole and to amphotericin B, but one C. neoformans var. neoformans and three C. neoformans var. gattii isolates were resistant to fluconazole. The presence of C. neoformans var. gattii fluconazole resistant indicates the importance of determining not only the variety of C. neoformans infecting the patients but also measuring the MIC of the isolate in order to properly orient treatment.

  16. MLST-Based Population Genetic Analysis in a Global Context Reveals Clonality amongst Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii VNI Isolates from HIV Patients in Southeastern Brazil.

    PubMed

    Ferreira-Paim, Kennio; Andrade-Silva, Leonardo; Fonseca, Fernanda M; Ferreira, Thatiana B; Mora, Delio J; Andrade-Silva, Juliana; Khan, Aziza; Dao, Aiken; Reis, Eduardo C; Almeida, Margarete T G; Maltos, Andre; Junior, Virmondes R; Trilles, Luciana; Rickerts, Volker; Chindamporn, Ariya; Sykes, Jane E; Cogliati, Massimo; Nielsen, Kirsten; Boekhout, Teun; Fisher, Matthew; Kwon-Chung, June; Engelthaler, David M; Lazéra, Marcia; Meyer, Wieland; Silva-Vergara, Mario L

    2017-01-01

    Cryptococcosis is an important fungal infection in immunocompromised individuals, especially those infected with HIV. In Brazil, despite the free availability of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the public health system, the mortality rate due to Cryptococcus neoformans meningitis is still high. To obtain a more detailed picture of the population genetic structure of this species in southeast Brazil, we studied 108 clinical isolates from 101 patients and 35 environmental isolates. Among the patients, 59% had a fatal outcome mainly in HIV-positive male patients. All the isolates were found to be C. neoformans var. grubii major molecular type VNI and mating type locus alpha. Twelve were identified as diploid by flow cytometry, being homozygous (AαAα) for the mating type and by PCR screening of the STE20, GPA1, and PAK1 genes. Using the ISHAM consensus multilocus sequence typing (MLST) scheme, 13 sequence types (ST) were identified, with one being newly described. ST93 was identified from 81 (75%) of the clinical isolates, while ST77 and ST93 were identified from 19 (54%) and 10 (29%) environmental isolates, respectively. The southeastern Brazilian isolates had an overwhelming clonal population structure. When compared with populations from different continents based on data extracted from the ISHAM-MLST database (mlst.mycologylab.org) they showed less genetic variability. Two main clusters within C. neoformans var. grubii VNI were identified that diverged from VNB around 0.58 to 4.8 million years ago.

  17. MLST-Based Population Genetic Analysis in a Global Context Reveals Clonality amongst Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii VNI Isolates from HIV Patients in Southeastern Brazil

    PubMed Central

    Ferreira-Paim, Kennio; Andrade-Silva, Leonardo; Fonseca, Fernanda M.; Ferreira, Thatiana B.; Mora, Delio J.; Andrade-Silva, Juliana; Khan, Aziza; Dao, Aiken; Reis, Eduardo C.; Almeida, Margarete T. G.; Maltos, Andre; Junior, Virmondes R.; Trilles, Luciana; Rickerts, Volker; Chindamporn, Ariya; Sykes, Jane E.; Cogliati, Massimo; Nielsen, Kirsten; Boekhout, Teun; Fisher, Matthew; Kwon-Chung, June; Engelthaler, David M.; Lazéra, Marcia; Meyer, Wieland; Silva-Vergara, Mario L.

    2017-01-01

    Cryptococcosis is an important fungal infection in immunocompromised individuals, especially those infected with HIV. In Brazil, despite the free availability of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the public health system, the mortality rate due to Cryptococcus neoformans meningitis is still high. To obtain a more detailed picture of the population genetic structure of this species in southeast Brazil, we studied 108 clinical isolates from 101 patients and 35 environmental isolates. Among the patients, 59% had a fatal outcome mainly in HIV-positive male patients. All the isolates were found to be C. neoformans var. grubii major molecular type VNI and mating type locus alpha. Twelve were identified as diploid by flow cytometry, being homozygous (AαAα) for the mating type and by PCR screening of the STE20, GPA1, and PAK1 genes. Using the ISHAM consensus multilocus sequence typing (MLST) scheme, 13 sequence types (ST) were identified, with one being newly described. ST93 was identified from 81 (75%) of the clinical isolates, while ST77 and ST93 were identified from 19 (54%) and 10 (29%) environmental isolates, respectively. The southeastern Brazilian isolates had an overwhelming clonal population structure. When compared with populations from different continents based on data extracted from the ISHAM-MLST database (mlst.mycologylab.org) they showed less genetic variability. Two main clusters within C. neoformans var. grubii VNI were identified that diverged from VNB around 0.58 to 4.8 million years ago. PMID:28099434

  18. Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii Infection in HIV-Seronegative Patients from Northeast India: Report of Two Cases with Review of Literature.

    PubMed

    Nath, Reema; Laskar, Basanta; Ahmed, Jishan; Das, Subhalakshmi; Timung, Longminder; Saikia, Lahari

    2016-04-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans infection can occur in a wide range of hosts ranging from those who are severely immunosuppressed to those who are apparently immunocompetent. Two apparently immunocompetent HIV-seronegative patients with cryptococcal meningitis and multiple skin lesions, both due to C. neoformans var. grubii, are reported. Pregnancy was found as an associated factor in cryptococcal meningitis in a 20-year-old female patient from Arunachal Pradesh. Multiple skin lesions were the presenting feature of an 18-year-old male patient from Dibrugarh, eastern Assam. The organism was identified both phenotypically and by sequencing of ITS1 and ITS2 regions of rRNA gene. The cases are reported because of rarity of this infection in non-HIV-infected patients.

  19. Cryptococcus neoformans shows a remarkable genotypic diversity in Brazil.

    PubMed

    Barreto de Oliveira, M T; Boekhout, T; Theelen, B; Hagen, F; Baroni, F A; Lazera, M S; Lengeler, K B; Heitman, J; Rivera, I N G; Paula, C R

    2004-03-01

    The genotypic diversity of Brazilian Cryptococcus neoformans strains was analyzed. The majority of the samples were alphaA (65%), followed by alphaB (17.5%), alphaD (9%), alphaAaD hybrids (5%), and alphaC (3.5%). A considerable genotypic diversity occurred within C. neoformans var. grubii, and a new amplified fragment length polymorphism genotype, 1B, was recognized.

  20. Predominance of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii multilocus sequence type 5 and emergence of isolates with non-wild-type minimum inhibitory concentrations to fluconazole: a multi-centre study in China.

    PubMed

    Fan, X; Xiao, M; Chen, S; Kong, F; Dou, H-T; Wang, H; Xiao, Y-L; Kang, M; Sun, Z-Y; Hu, Z-D; Wan, Z; Chen, S-L; Liao, K; Chu, Y-Z; Hu, T-S; Zou, G-L; Hou, X; Zhang, L; Zhao, Y-P; Xu, Y-C; Liu, Z-Y

    2016-10-01

    There are few data on the molecular epidemiology of cryptococcosis in China. Here we investigated the species distribution, molecular types and antifungal susceptibilities of 312 Cryptococcus neoformans species complex isolates from ten hospitals over 5 years. Isolates were identified by internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequencing and by two matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) systems. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) was used to verify species/variety and to designate molecular types. Susceptibility to six antifungal drugs was determined by the Sensititre YeastOne™ method. Cryptococcus neoformans was the predominant species (305/312 isolates (97.8%), all were ITS type 1, serotype A), of which 89.2% (272/305) were C. neoformans var. grubii MLST sequence type (ST) 5 and 6.2% (19/305) were ST31. Other C. neoformans var. grubii STs were rare but included six novel STs. Only two strains were C. neoformans var. neoformans (both serotype AD). Cryptococcus gattii was uncommon (n = 7, four ITS types) and comprised five MLST STs including one novel ST. For C. neoformans var. grubii, the proportion of isolates with non-wild-type MICs to fluconazole significantly rose in the fourth study year (from 0% (0/56 isolates) in the first year to 23.9% (17/71) in the fourth year), including five isolates with fluconazole MICs of ≥32 mg/L. The study has provided useful data on the species epidemiology and their genetic diversity and antifungal susceptibility. The proportional increase in isolates with non-wild-type MICs to fluconazole is noted.

  1. Seasonal prevalence of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii and Cryptococcus gattii inhabiting Eucalyptus terreticornis and Eucalyptus camaldulensis trees in Jabalpur City of Madhya Pradesh, Central India.

    PubMed

    Bedi, N G; Nawange, S R; Singh, S M; Naidu, J; Kavishwar, A

    2012-12-01

    This study presents a two-year retrospective analysis of the work done during 2003-2005 on the distribution population density and isolation frequency of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii and Cryptococcus gattii recovered from different parts of Eucalyptus tree spp., at Jabalpur Madhya Pradesh, Central India. Of the 1000 samples collected from bark, flowers, fruits, buds and leaves of Eucalyptus trees E. terreticornis and E. camaldulensis, 32 (3.2%) were found to be positive for C.n var. grubii and 28 (2.8%) for C. gattii respectively. While both the pathogens were isolated through all the seasons, no significant difference was found in prevalence of the two species (P>0.05) from different Eucalyptus tree samples. For C. neoformans var. grubii the highest isolation frequency of the pathogen was in spring followed by autumn, summer, winter and rainy season. For C. gattii, highest isolation frequency of the pathogen was in summer, followed by autumn, spring, winter and rainy season. Significant difference was seen in the isolation frequency of C. neoformans var. grubii and C. gattii during autumn and rainy season (P<0.01), spring and rainy season (P<0.001) and summer and rainy season (P<0.001). Population density and isolation frequency of the both pathogens were significantly lower in rainy season. Bark of the Eucalyptus tree yielded the highest frequency of C. neoformans var. grubii followed by flower, fruits, buds and debris. Trees located in the densely populated area of the city yielded highest frequency of the pathogens followed by trees located in sparsely populated area on the outskirt of the city and areas near the river Narmada. Further comprehensive study is suggested to assess the overall impact of seasonal prevalence in the isolation frequency and population density of both the pathogens and their clinical significance across climatically divergent region of India. Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier SAS.

  2. Antifungal Susceptibilities, Varieties, and Electrophoretic Karyotypes of Clinical Isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans from Brazil, Chile, and Venezuela

    PubMed Central

    Calvo, Belinda M.; Colombo, Arnaldo L.; Fischman, Olga; Santiago, A.; Thompson, L.; Lazera, Marcia; Telles, Flavio; Fukushima, Kazutaka; Nishimura, Kazuko; Tanaka, Reiko; Myiajy, Makoto; Moretti-Branchini, M. Luiza

    2001-01-01

    One hundred clinical isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected and non-HIV-infected patients from Brazil, Chile, and Venezuela were separated according to varieties and tested for antifungal susceptibility. A high susceptibility to antifungal agents was observed among all the isolates. The electrophoretic karyotyping of 51 strains revealed good discrimination among Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans strains. PMID:11376089

  3. Antifungal susceptibilities, varieties, and electrophoretic karyotypes of clinical isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans from Brazil, Chile, and Venezuela.

    PubMed

    Calvo, B M; Colombo, A L; Fischman, O; Santiago, A; Thompson, L; Lazera, M; Telles, F; Fukushima, K; Nishimura, K; Tanaka, R; Myiajy, M; Moretti-Branchini, M L

    2001-06-01

    One hundred clinical isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected and non-HIV-infected patients from Brazil, Chile, and Venezuela were separated according to varieties and tested for antifungal susceptibility. A high susceptibility to antifungal agents was observed among all the isolates. The electrophoretic karyotyping of 51 strains revealed good discrimination among Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans strains.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  9. 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

  10. The discovery of creatinine assimilation in Cryptococcus neoformans, and subsequent work on the characterization of the two varieties of C. neoformans.

    PubMed

    Kwon-Chung, K J

    1991-08-01

    The discovery of creatinine assimilation in C. neoformans by Staib served as the foundation for our biochemical, genetical, ecological, epidemiological and taxonomic studies on the two varieties of C. neoformans for the past 15 years. The two varietal concept is now widely accepted and the arrival of AIDS epidemic has promoted the recognition of the differences between the two varieties, especially in their epidemiology and ecology. Since the agent of cryptococcosis in AIDS patients almost always belongs to the var. neoformans even in geographical areas prevalent for var. gattii, it is important to study the possible differences in the pathogenesis of the two varieties.

  11. Cryptococcus neoformans myositis without dissemination.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Mamta; Khatib, Riad; Jones, Bruce A; Fakih, Mohamad G

    2002-01-01

    We report a case of isolated cryptococcal myositis involving the paraspinal muscle without evidence of disseminated disease in a patient with a large B-cell lymphoma diagnosed at the time of presentation. Biopsy of the muscle involved grew a pure culture of Cryptococcus neoformans and periodic acid-Schiff staining showed numerous budding yeast consistent with Cryptococcus spp. The patient responded to systemic antifungal therapy with complete resolution of his infection. We also present a review of 5 previously published cases of cryptococcal myositis.

  12. Pflanzen als Naehrsubstrat fuer Cryptococcus Neoformans (Plants as a Substratum for Growth of Cryptococcus Neoformans),

    DTIC Science & Technology

    The suitability of plants as a possible substratum for growth (in vitro) of C . neoformans has been investigated. A sample of hay collected from...the second left unsterile. The samples were inoculated by flooding them with suspensions prepared from two known strains of C . neoformans . The...month and subsequently at room temperature. Discrete colonies of C . neoformans appeared after five days on samples of hay as well as of dandelion

  13. Iron acquisition by Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Vartivarian, S E; Cowart, R E; Anaissie, E J; Tashiro, T; Sprigg, H A

    1995-01-01

    Iron is an essential element for the growth and metabolism of microbial cells. Most pathogenic microbes elaborate powerful iron chelating agents (siderophores) to mobilize iron from ferric ligands. The pathogenic yeast, Cryptococcus neoformans has not been found to produce siderophores and its mechanism of iron acquisition is unknown. This investigation explored an alternative pathway for iron acquisition by examining the interactions of iron with the cell surface. Iron uptake experiments were conducted utilizing radiolabelled ferrous iron and ferric iron chelates, with evidence for the presence of iron(II) receptors and the generation of ferrous iron by surface reduction. Hyperbolic kinetics were found when 59FeII was presented to the organism and uptake was blocked with bathophenanthroline sulphonate, an Fe2+ chelator. The yeast also acquired iron as [59Fe3+]-citrate and [59Fe3+]-pyrophosphate while bathophenanthroline sulphonate reduced the acquisition of these ferric ligands by 48% and 52% respectively. Pre-incubation with either ferric ligand also reduced iron acquisition by 50%. KCN inhibited uptake of iron(II) by 90% and uptake of [59Fe3+]-pyrophosphate and [59Fe3+]-citrate by 46% and 56% respectively; dinitrophenol had no effect on these processes. The data suggest that C. neoformans can (i) generate ferrous iron at the cell surface via a reduction of ferric chelates, with the subsequent acquisition of the ferrous iron, and (ii) acquire iron through the interaction of ferric chelates with a surface component.

  14. Cavernicolous habitats harbouring Cryptococcus neoformans: results of a speleological survey in Apulia, Italy, 1999-2000.

    PubMed

    Montagna, M T; Santacroce, M P; Caggiano, G; Tatò, D; Ajello, L

    2003-10-01

    Twenty-five caves of speleological and palaeontological interest were investigated for the presence of Cryptococcus spp. within the Apulia region of Italy. Five hundred and forty-five specimens of soil, mud, animal faeces, water and decayed animal and plant remains were examined. Faecal specimens from bats, pigeons and foxes in three caves yielded Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans and C. laurentii, C. neoformans var. neoformans and C. albidus were isolated from two soil specimens. Only three caves were positive for the presence of C. neoformans, but the survey documents the finding of a possible natural reservoir in Apulia. It is the first record of occurrence of this yeast in association with cavernicolous habitats, and indicates the potential role of caves in exposing speleologists to life-threatening fungal infections.

  15. Recognition of seven species in the Cryptococcus gattii/Cryptococcus neoformans species complex.

    PubMed

    Hagen, Ferry; Khayhan, Kantarawee; Theelen, Bart; Kolecka, Anna; Polacheck, Itzhack; Sionov, Edward; Falk, Rama; Parnmen, Sittiporn; Lumbsch, H Thorsten; Boekhout, Teun

    2015-05-01

    Phylogenetic analysis of 11 genetic loci and results from many genotyping studies revealed significant genetic diversity with the pathogenic Cryptococcus gattii/Cryptococcus neoformans species complex. Genealogical concordance, coalescence-based, and species tree approaches supported the presence of distinct and concordant lineages within the complex. Consequently, we propose to recognize the current C. neoformans var. grubii and C. neoformans var. neoformans as separate species, and five species within C. gattii. The type strain of C. neoformans CBS132 represents a serotype AD hybrid and is replaced. The newly delimited species differ in aspects of pathogenicity, prevalence for patient groups, as well as biochemical and physiological aspects, such as susceptibility to antifungals. MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry readily distinguishes the newly recognized species.

  16. 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

  17. Concordance of clinical and environmental isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii by random amplification of polymorphic DNA analysis and PCR fingerprinting.

    PubMed Central

    Sorrell, T C; Chen, S C; Ruma, P; Meyer, W; Pfeiffer, T J; Ellis, D H; Brownlee, A G

    1996-01-01

    Sixty-one clinical and forty-nine environmental isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii from Australia and the United States were analyzed by random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD), using 12- to 22-mer primers in pairs, and/or PCR fingerprinting with a single primer derived from the microsatellite core sequence of the wild-type phage M13 (5' GAGGGTGGCGGTTCT 3'). Three major genetic profiles were identified by both typing techniques. A single RAPD profile (VGI) predominated among clinical isolates (44 of 48, 92%) and isolates from host eucalypts (45 of 45, 100%) from Australia. Of the 94 Australian isolates, 4 (3 clinical and 1 environmental) were assigned to profile VGII; 2 of these were recovered from patients and one was recovered from plant debris from Western Australia. Only one Australian clinical isolate was assigned to profile VGIII. A different distribution of RAPD profiles (four VGIII, two VGII, and one VGI) was found among four clinical and three environmental isolates from the United States. RAPD profiles of 8 of the 101 isolates studied revealed minor genetic variants, 4 of profile VGI and 4 of profile VGII. Genetic concordance between the majority of clinical and environmental isolates in Australia is consistent with the hypothesis that human disease is acquired from exposure to host eucalypts. Profiles of clinical isolates were independent of body site of infection, and profiles of all isolates were stable over time. Analysis by PCR fingerprinting confirmed the RAPD results. A second RAPD profile (VGII) was associated with infection in southwest Western Australia, where the two host eucalypts do not occur naturally. This raises the possibility of an alternative and as yet unidentified natural habitat of C. neoformans var. gattii. Our results indicate that RAPD analysis is a sensitive and useful method for investigating environmental sources of human infection with this biotype. PMID:8727912

  18. 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.

  19. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-08

    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.

  1. Intracellular Fate of Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Tacker, J. R.; Farhi, F.; Bulmer, G. S.

    1972-01-01

    Human peripheral leukocytes were found to engulf and kill cells of Cryptococcus neoformans. Fewer encapsulated than nonencapsulated cells met this fate, since cryptococcal capsular polysaccharide inhibited phagocytosis. During 10 to 12 hr of incubation of nonencapsulated cells in human serum, sufficient polysaccharide was produced to inhibit phagocytosis by 50%. The polysaccharide inhibitor was found in the sera of four patients with cryptococcosis, but not on the surfaces of their leukocytes. Additional experiments indicated that serum is not essential for effective phagocytosis. However, normal human serum contains anticryptococcal activity which is not inhibited by capsular material. Preliminary findings indicate that the phagocytic index of a patient with cryptococcosis may be correlated with the severity of his disease. PMID:4569916

  2. Host immunity to Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Rohatgi, Soma; Pirofski, Liise-anne

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcosis is caused by the fungal genus Cryptococcus. Cryptococcosis, predominantly meningoencephalitis, emerged with the HIV pandemic, primarily afflicting HIV-infected patients with profound T-cell deficiency. Where in use, combination antiretroviral therapy has markedly reduced the incidence of and risk for disease, but cryptococcosis continues to afflict those without access to therapy, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. However, cryptococcosis also occurs in solid organ transplant recipients and patients with other immunodeficiencies as well as those with no known immunodeficiency. This article reviews innate and adaptive immune responses to C. neoformans, with an emphasis on recent studies on the role of B cells, natural IgM and Fc gamma receptor polymorphisms in resistance to cryptococcosis. PMID:25865194

  3. Surfactant Protein D Facilitates Cryptococcus neoformans Infection

    PubMed Central

    Geunes-Boyer, Scarlett; Beers, Michael F.; Heitman, Joseph; Wright, Jo Rae

    2012-01-01

    Concurrent with the global escalation of the AIDS pandemic, cryptococcal infections are increasing and are of significant medical importance. Furthermore, Cryptococcus neoformans has become a primary human pathogen, causing infection in seemingly healthy individuals. Although numerous studies have elucidated the virulence properties of C. neoformans, less is understood regarding lung host immune factors during early stages of fungal infection. Based on our previous studies documenting that pulmonary surfactant protein D (SP-D) protects C. neoformans cells against macrophage-mediated defense mechanisms in vitro (S. Geunes-Boyer et al., Infect. Immun. 77:2783–2794, 2009), we postulated that SP-D would facilitate fungal infection in vivo. To test this hypothesis, we examined the role of SP-D in response to C. neoformans using SP-D−/− mice. Here, we demonstrate that mice lacking SP-D were partially protected during C. neoformans infection; they displayed a longer mean time to death and decreased fungal burden at several time points postinfection than wild-type mice. This effect was reversed by the administration of exogenous SP-D. Furthermore, we show that SP-D bound to the surface of the yeast cells and protected the pathogenic microbes against macrophage-mediated defense mechanisms and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced oxidative stress in vitro and in vivo. These findings indicate that C. neoformans is capable of coopting host SP-D to increase host susceptibility to the yeast. This study establishes a new paradigm for the role played by SP-D during host responses to C. neoformans and consequently imparts insight into potential future preventive and/or treatment strategies for cryptococcosis. PMID:22547543

  4. Infective capacity of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii in a human astrocytoma cell line.

    PubMed

    Olave, M C; Vargas-Zambrano, J C; Celis, A M; Castañeda, E; González, J M

    2017-07-01

    Pathogenesis of cryptococcosis in the central nervous system (CNS) is a topic of ongoing research, including the mechanisms by which this fungus invades and infects the brain. Astrocytes, the most common CNS cells, play a fundamental role in the local immune response. Astrocytes might participate in cryptococcosis either as a host or by responding to fungal antigens. To determine the infectivity of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii and Cryptococcus gattii in a human astrocytoma cell line and the induction of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. A glioblastoma cell line was infected with C. neoformans var. grubii and C. gattii blastoconidia labelled with FUN-1 fluorescent stain. The percentage of infection and expression of HLA class I and II molecules were determined by flow cytometry. The interactions between the fungi and cells were observed by fluorescence microscopy. There was no difference between C. neoformans var. grubii and C. gattii in the percentage infection, but C. neoformans var. grubii induced higher expression of HLA class II than C. gattii. More blastoconidia were recovered from C. neoformans-infected cells than from C. gattii infected cells. Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii may have different virulence mechanisms that allow its survival in human glia-derived cells. © 2017 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

  5. Most cases of cryptococcal meningitis in HIV-uninfected patients in Vietnam are due to a distinct amplified fragment length polymorphism-defined cluster of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii VN1.

    PubMed

    Day, Jeremy N; Hoang, Thu N; Duong, Anh V; Hong, Chau T T; Diep, Pham T; Campbell, James I; Sieu, Tran P M; Hien, Tran T; Bui, Tien; Boni, Maciej F; Lalloo, David G; Carter, Dee; Baker, Stephen; Farrar, Jeremy J

    2011-02-01

    Cryptococcal disease most commonly occurs in patients with an underlying immune deficit, most commonly HIV infection, and is due to Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii. Occasionally disease due to this variety occurs in apparently immunocompetent patients. The relationship between strains infecting immunosuppressed and immunocompetent patients is not clear. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis was used to characterize the relationship between strains infecting HIV-infected and uninfected patients. Isolates from 51 HIV-uninfected patients and 100 HIV-infected patients with cryptococcal meningitis were compared. C. neoformans var. grubii VNI was responsible for infections in 73% of HIV-uninfected and 100% of HIV-infected patients. AFLP analysis defined two distinct clusters, VNIγ and VNIδ. The majority (84%) of isolates from HIV-uninfected patients were VNIγ, compared with only 38% of isolates from HIV-infected patients (odds ratio, 8.30; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.04 to 26.6; P < 0.0001). In HIV-uninfected patients, underlying disease was less frequent in those with VNIγ infections. Two clusters of C. neoformans var. grubii VN1 are responsible for the majority of cases of cryptococcal meningitis in Vietnam. The distribution of these clusters differs according to the immune status of the host.

  6. Cryptococcus neoformans meningitis in the rat.

    PubMed

    Goldman, D L; Casadevall, A; Cho, Y; Lee, S C

    1996-12-01

    The primary clinical manifestation of Cryptococcus neoformans infection in humans is meningoencephalitis. To study the defense mechanisms that participate in the host response against C. neoformans infection of the central nervous system (CNS), we have developed a new model of cryptococcal meningitis in rats. Intracisternal inoculation of C. neoformans produced a granulomatous meningitis with minimal brain parenchymal involvement, resembling cryptococcal meningitis in immunocompetent patients. The granulomas were composed of T cells (CD4+ and CD8+) and macrophages (CD11b/c+); a subpopulation of the macrophages expressed inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS2). In this model, C. neoformans disseminated to systemic organs early in the course of infection and provoked granuloma formation and NOS2 expression. The temporal profile of inflammation indicated that the CNS inflammatory response is delayed relative to that in the lung and the spleen, which suggests that the effective inflammatory response within the CNS may follow activation of T cells in the periphery and their subsequent entry into the CNS. Inflammation in the meninges was associated with signs of subpial and subependymal glial activation, including enhanced expression of CD11b/c and CD4 in microglia and glial fibrillary acidic protein in astrocytes. Neither cells, however, expressed NOS2. Although C. neoformans invasion to the brain parenchyma was rare, soluble polysaccharide was commonly associated with reactive glial cells. Necrosis was not a feature of C. neoformans granulomas, but, instead, inflammatory cells underwent apoptosis in inflamed organs. The current rat intrathecal cryptococcosis model has several unique advantages for the study of human cryptococcal meningoencephalitis that include close resemblance of histopathologic changes to those in humans, easy accessibility to the cerebrospinal fluid compartment, and no requirement of immunosuppressive agents for establishment of infection.

  7. Differences in Cryptococcus neoformans capsular polysaccharide structure influence assembly of alternative complement pathway C3 convertase on fungal surfaces.

    PubMed

    Washburn, R G; Bryant-Varela, B J; Julian, N C; Bennett, J E

    1991-01-01

    Binding of complement component C3 and Factor B to Cryptococcus neoformans serotypes A through D via the alternative complement pathway was measured in a system containing fresh nonimmune human serum. Serotypes B and C (C. neoformans var. gattii) bound approximately half as many molecules of both complement components as serotypes A and D (C. neoformans var. neoformans). In contrast, removal of xylosyl and glucuronyl side chains from the mannan main chain of capsular polysaccharide by the Smith degradation procedure resulted in binding of similar quantities of C3 to each of the four serotypes. We conclude that the relatively high degree of side chain substitution of capsular polysaccharide from C. neoformans variety gattii contributes to inefficient surface assembly of the alternative pathway C3 convertase. Inefficient binding of alternative pathway complement components to serotypes B and C may contribute to the relative difficulty in successfully treating infections caused by these organisms.

  8. The Cryptococcus neoformans transcriptome at the site of human meningitis.

    PubMed

    Chen, Yuan; Toffaletti, Dena L; Tenor, Jennifer L; Litvintseva, Anastasia P; Fang, Charles; Mitchell, Thomas G; McDonald, Tami R; Nielsen, Kirsten; Boulware, David R; Bicanic, Tihana; Perfect, John R

    2014-02-04

    Cryptococcus neoformans is the leading cause of fungal meningitis worldwide. Previous studies have characterized the cryptococcal transcriptome under various stress conditions, but a comprehensive profile of the C. neoformans transcriptome in the human host has not been attempted. Here, we extracted RNA from yeast cells taken directly from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of two AIDS patients with cryptococcal meningitis prior to antifungal therapy. The patients were infected with strains of C. neoformans var. grubii of molecular type VNI and VNII. Using RNA-seq, we compared the transcriptional profiles of these strains under three environmental conditions (in vivo CSF, ex vivo CSF, and yeast extract-peptone-dextrose [YPD]). Although we identified a number of differentially expressed genes, single nucleotide variants, and novel genes that were unique to each strain, the overall expression patterns of the two strains were similar under the same environmental conditions. Specifically, yeast cells obtained directly from each patient's CSF were more metabolically active than cells that were incubated ex vivo in CSF. Compared with growth in YPD, some genes were identified as significantly upregulated in both in vivo and ex vivo CSF, and they were associated with genes previously recognized for contributing to pathogenicity. For example, genes with known stress response functions, such as RIM101, ENA1, and CFO1, were regulated similarly in the two clinical strains. Conversely, many genes that were differentially regulated between the two strains appeared to be transporters. These findings establish a platform for further studies of how this yeast survives and produces disease. Cryptococcus neoformans, an environmental, opportunistic yeast, is annually responsible for an estimated million cases of meningitis and over 600,000 deaths, mostly among HIV-infected patients in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Using RNA-seq, we analyzed the gene expression of two strains of C

  9. Transcriptomic and virulence factors analyses of Cryptococcus neoformans hypoxia response.

    PubMed

    Kong, Qingtao; Yang, Rui; Wang, Zhen; Zhou, Wenquan; Du, Xue; Huang, Suyang; Jiang, Yuan; Liu, Weida; Sang, Hong

    2017-03-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an environmental pathogen requiring atmospheric levels of oxygen for optimal growth. Upon inhalation, C. neoformans disseminates to the brain and causes meningoencephalitis. However, the mechanisms by which the pathogen adapts to the low-oxygen environment in the brain have not been investigated. We isolated a C. neoformans strain with a small capsule from a host tissue, although this strain produces large capsules in normoxic conditions. We hypothesize that this difference in capsule size is attributed to hypoxia caused by chronic inflammatory response. This study investigated the effect of hypoxia on virulence factors (including capsule, melanin, urease, and phospholipase) of C. neoformans and conducted transcriptomic analyses of the virulence-associated genes. We found that C. neoformans grew under hypoxic condition, albeit slowly, and that hypoxia may have inhibited the capsule size, melanin production, and phospholipase and urease activities in C. neoformans.

  10. Molecular Typing of IberoAmerican Cryptococcus neoformans Isolates

    PubMed Central

    Castañeda, Alexandra; Jackson, Stuart; Huynh, Matthew; Castañeda, Elizabeth

    2003-01-01

    A network was established to acquire basic knowledge of Cryptococcus neoformans in IberoAmerican countries. To this effect, 340 clinical, veterinary, and environmental isolates from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Guatemala, and Spain were typed by using M13 polymerase chain reaction-fingerprinting and orotidine monophosphate pyrophosphorylase (URA5) gene restriction fragment length polymorphsm analysis with HhaI and Sau96I in a double digest. Both techniques grouped all isolates into eight previously established molecular types. The majority of the isolates, 68.2% (n=232), were VNI (var. grubii, serotype A), which accords with the fact that this variety causes most human cryptococcal infections worldwide. A smaller proportion, 5.6% (n=19), were VNII (var. grubii, serotype A); 4.1% (n=14), VNIII (AD hybrid), with 9 isolates having a polymorphism in the URA5 gene; 1.8% (n=6), VNIV (var. neoformans, serotype D); 3.5% (n=12), VGI; 6.2% (n=21), VGII; 9.1% (n=31), VGIII, and 1.5% (n=5) VGIV, with all four VG types containing var. gattii serotypes B and C isolates. PMID:12603989

  11. 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

  12. Microcomputer system for automatic identification of the Cryptococcus neoformans and its clinical application.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Y C; Xie, J M; Wei, B; Zhu, Z R; Wu, Y Q; Ni, S H; Tan, Z J; Luo, C M; Liu, X; Zhou, Y

    1995-01-01

    In this study, microcomputer image processing and pattern recognition technology, and the knowledge of morphology and optical characteristics of Cryptococcus neoformans were used for identification of Cryptococcus neoformans. Four groups of mice were lethally infected with standard strain, Wuhan strain, American B-2643 strain and Var. Shanghainesis of the Cryptococcus neoformans. The samples collected included mice brain, lung, kidney, liver, small intestine tissue and were observed under a light microscope. More than 600 images of the fungus were input into a microcomputer. A system of computer for automatic identification of the Cryptococcus neoformans was developed. The technique involved image preprocessing, image segmenting, coding of line-length on the edge, curve fitting, extracting of image feature, building of image library and feature data bank etc.. And then, 768 images of the clinical samples and other fungus samples whose morphological features tend to be confused with Cryptococcus neoformans were input into microcomputer and subjected to automatic identification. The Cryptococcus neoformans was accurately identified within 15 min, and the consistency rate with results of routine culture was 98%.

  13. Rapid presumptive identification of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Muchmore, H G; Felton, F G; Scott, E N

    1978-08-01

    Carbohydrate-containing extracts were prepared from mature yeast colonies grown on Sabouraud dextrose agar by mixing a 0.001-ml loopful of yeast cells for 30 s in phenolized saline and removing the cells by centrifugation. Extracts were prepared from 54 Cryptococcus neoformans isolates, 29 isolates of other Cryptococcus species, 16 isolates of Candida species, 2 Rhodotorula, 2 Torulopsis, and 1 Saccharomyces species. Initially the carbohydrate content of each extract was estimated (Molisch method) and adjusted to 1, 5, and 10 microgram/ml. Twofold dilutions of each extract were tested for reactivity with the cryptococcal latex agglutination reagent of Bloomfield et al. (N. Bloomfield, M.A. Gordon, and D.F. Elmendorf, Jr., Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 114:64-67, 1963). All 54 C. neoformans extracts gave strong agglutinations (3+ to 4+) in dilutions of 1:4 or greater. None of the other yeasts produced any agglutination, except for 1 of 15 C. laurentii isolates, which showed a 1+ reaction that disappeared at a dilution of 1:4 and above. Subsequent testing established that a single extract made from 0.001 ml of yeast cells in 6 ml of phenolized saline contained less than 5 microgram of carbohydrate per ml, was suitable for a single rapid screening dilution, and eliminated any cross-reaction from the C. laurentii isolates. In our hands this method has provided a reliable differentiation of C. neoformans from other unknown yeast colonies in less than 20 min exclusive of a Molisch determination.

  14. Molecular characterization and antifungal susceptibility of Cryptococcus neoformans strains collected from a single institution in Lima, Peru.

    PubMed

    Bejar, Vilma; Tello, Mercedes; García, Ruth; Guevara, José M; Gonzales, Sofia; Vergaray, German; Valencia, Esther; Abanto, Enma; Ortega-Loayza, Alex G; Hagen, Ferry; Gutierrez, Ericson L

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcosis is a fungal infection with a worldwide distribution, mainly caused by Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii. To molecularly characterize the mating-types, serotypes, genotypes and antifungal susceptibility profiles of a set of retrospectively isolated C. neoformans strains from Lima, Peru. A set of 32 Cryptococcus spp. strains from the Institute of Tropical Medicine of the National University of San Marcos, Lima, Peru, were included in this retrospective study. Twenty-four strains were isolated from patients, while the remaining 8 were isolated from the environment. Using conventional PCR, 27 (84.4%) of the isolates were identified as C. neoformans var. grubii mating-type alpha and serotype A. Using the AFLP fingerprinting, it was shown that 16 (50%) of the C. neoformans strains were genotype AFLP1, 13 (40.6%) were genotype AFLP1B, 2 (6.3%) were genotype AFLP2, and 1 (3.1%) was found to be a hybrid between both C. neoformans varieties (genotype AFLP3). The antifungal susceptibility profiles for amphotericin B, fluconazole and voriconazole showed that all the 32 C. neoformans are sensitive to these antifungal compounds. In this study we observed that C. neoformans var. grubii (AFLP1 and AFLP1B) and C. neoformans var. neoformans (AFLP2) were the only cryptococcal varieties involved. All strains were found to be sensitive to the antifungals tested, results that are consistent with those found in the international literature. Copyright © 2013 Revista Iberoamericana de Micología. Published by Elsevier Espana. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed

    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

    2015-03-01

    Human infection with Cryptococcus neoformans, a common fungal pathogen, follows deposition of yeast spores in the lung alveoli. The subsequent host-pathogen interaction can result in eradication, latency, or extrapulmonary dissemination. Successful control of C. neoformans infection is dependent on host macrophages, but macrophages display little ability to kill C. neoformans in vitro. Recently, we reported that ingestion of C. neoformans 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 C. neoformans toxicity. Infection of macrophages by C. neoformans was associated with alterations in protein translation rate and activation of several stress pathways, such as hypoxia-inducing factor-1-α, receptor-interacting protein 1, and apoptosis-inducing factor. 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 nonspecific nature of C. neoformans virulence known to infect phylogenetically distant hosts. Our results indicate that C. neoformans 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.

  16. Cryptococcus neoformans hyperfilamentous strain is hypervirulent in a murine model of cryptococcal meningoencephalitis.

    PubMed

    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.

  17. 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

  18. Two Rac paralogs regulate polarized growth in the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Ballou, Elizabeth Ripley; Selvig, Kyla; Narloch, Jessica L.; Nichols, Connie B.; Alspaugh, J. Andrew

    2013-01-01

    A genome wide analysis of the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii has revealed a number of duplications of highly conserved genes involved in morphogenesis. Previously, we reported that duplicate Cdc42 paralogs provide C. neoformans with niche-specific responses to environmental stresses: Cdc42 is required for thermotolerance, while Cdc420 supports the formation of titan cells. The related Rho-GTPase Rac1 has been shown in C. neoformans var. neoformans to play a major role in filamentation and to share Cdc42/Cdc420 binding partners. Here we report the characterization of a second Rac paralog in C. neoformans, Rac2, and describe its overlapping function with the previously described CnRac, Rac1. Further, we demonstrate that the Rac paralogs play a primary role in polarized growth via the organization of reactive oxygen species and play only a minor role in the organization of actin. Finally, we provide preliminary evidence that pharmacological inhibitors of Rac activity and actin stability have synergistic activity. PMID:23748012

  19. Molecular typing of Cryptococcus neoformans by PCR fingerprinting, in comparison with serotyping and Fourier transform infrared-spectroscopy-based phenotyping.

    PubMed

    Lemmer, K; Naumann, D; Raddatz, B; Tintelnot, K

    2004-04-01

    Molecular typing by PCR fingerprinting using the single primer (GACA)4 was performed with 110 isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans. Seventy clinical isolates of C. neoformans var. neoformans from Germany (n = 52) and Africa (n = 18) were included. Of these, serotype A (C. neoformans var. grubii) accounted for 47 isolates, serotype D for 12 and serotype AD for 11. Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy was evaluated for its discriminatory power in phenotyping. Molecular types, defined by different PCR fingerprinting patterns, were compared to serotypes, and both sets of results were compared with the results of analysis by FT-IR spectroscopy. PCR fingerprinting revealed genotypic diversity within each serotype; it showed three different genotypes (designated VNA1-VNA3) within serotype A, two within serotype D (VND1 and VND2), and three within serotype AD (VNAD1-VNAD3). The nomenclature of molecular types within C. n. var. neoformans, as seen in publications to date, is not uniform. In this study, the name assigned to each genotype was based on the 98.6% concordance of genotypes with serotypes, a correspondence that facilitates interlaboratory comparison. This nomenclature is tentatively recommended as a standard. FT-IR spectroscopy combined with hierarchical cluster analysis successfully distinguished C n. var. neoformans from C. n. var. gattii. For C. n. var. neoformans, FT-IR confirmed three distinct genotypes within serotype A and was able to distinguish isolates derived from particular patients as well as isolates differing at the sub-genotype level. Within C. n. var. gattii, the serotypes B and C did not correlate with the four genotypes VGI-VGIV. However, these serotypes could clearly be separated by FT-IR spectroscopy. The molecular profiles were reproducible, and were more stable and more discriminating than serotyping. In connection with a standardized nomenclature, PCR fingerprinting can be a beneficial tool for global epidemiological studies. FT

  20. Multifocal Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoforms: infection, treatment, and monitoring by serial computed tomography in a Schmidt's red-tailed guenon (Cercopithecus ascanius schmidti).

    PubMed

    Nevitt, Benjamin N; Langan, Jennifer N; Adkesson, Michael J; Delaney, Martha A; Rubin, David A; Muhlbauer, Michael C; Colegrove, Kathleen M

    2013-09-01

    A 9-yr-old, female, intact Schmidt's red-tailed guenon (Cercopithecus ascanius schmidti) presented with an acute swelling, consistent with an abscess over the right hip. Cytology, culture, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) results from material within the abscess and serum titers were all indicative of a Cryptococcus neoformans infection. Thoracic radiographs and computed tomography (CT) revealed a consolidated right caudal lung lobe associated with an endobronchial mass. Pulmonary Cryptococcus infection and systemic disease was confirmed with positive brush cytology and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). Culture and sensitivity, minimum inhibitory concentration values, and serum fluconazole level results were used to develop and monitor treatment efficacy for this animal. Sequential thoracic radiographs, CT images, bronchoscopy, BAL, and serology were used to monitor response to therapy. Five months after initial diagnosis, pregnancy was confirmed and the frequency of immobilizations for recheck serology and diagnostic imaging was decreased to lessen radiation exposure and physiologic stress to the dam and fetus. Long-term administration of oral fluconazole was well accepted and effective at treating the multifocal C. neoformans infection. No long-term adverse effects of therapy were observed, and repeated diagnostics were well tolerated. Advanced imaging modalities and serum drug levels were critical to the assessment, monitoring, and treatment of infection in this animal and should be considered for other cases.

  1. Rapid presumptive identification of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed Central

    Muchmore, H G; Felton, F G; Scott, E N

    1978-01-01

    Carbohydrate-containing extracts were prepared from mature yeast colonies grown on Sabouraud dextrose agar by mixing a 0.001-ml loopful of yeast cells for 30 s in phenolized saline and removing the cells by centrifugation. Extracts were prepared from 54 Cryptococcus neoformans isolates, 29 isolates of other Cryptococcus species, 16 isolates of Candida species, 2 Rhodotorula, 2 Torulopsis, and 1 Saccharomyces species. Initially the carbohydrate content of each extract was estimated (Molisch method) and adjusted to 1, 5, and 10 microgram/ml. Twofold dilutions of each extract were tested for reactivity with the cryptococcal latex agglutination reagent of Bloomfield et al. (N. Bloomfield, M.A. Gordon, and D.F. Elmendorf, Jr., Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 114:64-67, 1963). All 54 C. neoformans extracts gave strong agglutinations (3+ to 4+) in dilutions of 1:4 or greater. None of the other yeasts produced any agglutination, except for 1 of 15 C. laurentii isolates, which showed a 1+ reaction that disappeared at a dilution of 1:4 and above. Subsequent testing established that a single extract made from 0.001 ml of yeast cells in 6 ml of phenolized saline contained less than 5 microgram of carbohydrate per ml, was suitable for a single rapid screening dilution, and eliminated any cross-reaction from the C. laurentii isolates. In our hands this method has provided a reliable differentiation of C. neoformans from other unknown yeast colonies in less than 20 min exclusive of a Molisch determination. PMID:359587

  2. The expanding host tree species spectrum of Cryptococcus gattii and Cryptococcus neoformans and their isolations from surrounding soil in India.

    PubMed

    Randhawa, H S; Kowshik, T; Chowdhary, Anuradha; Preeti Sinha, K; Khan, Z U; Sun, Sheng; Xu, Jianping

    2008-12-01

    This study reports the widespread prevalence of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii in decayed wood inside trunk hollows of 14 species representing 12 families of trees and from soil near the base of various host trees from Delhi and several places in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Chandigarh Union Territory. Of the 311 trees from which samples were obtained, 64 (20.5%) were found to contain strains of the C. neoformans species complex. The number of trees positive for C. neoformans var grubii (serotypeA) was 51 (16.3%), for C. gattii (serotype B) 24 (7.7%) and for both C. neoformans and C. gattii 11 (3.5%). The overall prevalence of C. neoformans species complex in decayed wood samples was 19.9% (111/556). There was no obvious correlation between the prevalence of these two yeast species and the species of host trees. The data on prevalence of C. gattii (24%) and C. neoformans (26%) in soil around the base of some host trees indicated that soil is another important ecologic niche for these two Cryptococcus species in India. Among our sampled tree species, eight and six were recorded for the first time as hosts for C. neoformans var grubii and C. gattii, respectively. A longitudinal surveillance of 8 host tree species over 0.7 to 2.5 years indicated long term colonization of Polyalthia longifolia, Mimusops elengi and Manilkara hexandra trees by C. gattii and/or C. neoformans. The mating type was determined for 153 of the isolates, including 98 strains of serotype A and 55 of serotype B and all proved to be mating type alpha (MAT alpha). Our observations document the rapidly expanding spectrum of host tree species for C. gattii and C. neoformans and indicate that decayed woods of many tree species are potentially suitable ecological niches for both pathogens.

  3. 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

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

    PubMed

    Vélez, Norida; Escandón, Patricia

    2016-10-01

    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.

  5. Cryptococcus neoformans isolation from swallow (Hirundo rustica) excreta in Iran.

    PubMed

    Hedayati, Mohammad T; Mayahi, Sabah; Fakhar, Mahdi; Shokohi, Tahereh; Majidi, Mohammad

    2011-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an encapsulated yeast that can cause cryptococcosis, a life-threatening infection that mainly occurs in immunocompromised patients. The major environmental sources of C. neoformans have been shown to be soil contaminated with avian droppings. In the present study, we evaluated the isolation of C. neoformans from swallow (Hirundo rustica) excreta in two northern cities of Iran. Ninety-seven swallow droppings were evaluated and 498 yeast-like colonies were isolated and identified as Rhodotorula spp. (62.8%), Candida spp. (28.5%)and C. neoformans (8.7%). Cryptococcus neoformans was isolated from 5/97 (5.2%) of collected samples. Min-Max colony forming units (CFU) per one gram for the positive samples were 3-10 C. neoformans colonies. The total mean CFU per one gram for the positive samples was 4.8. The results of this study demonstrate that excreta of swallow may harbor different species of potentially pathogenic yeasts, mainly C. neoformans, and may be capable of disseminating these fungi in the environment.

  6. Environmental prevalence of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii in India: an update.

    PubMed

    Chowdhary, Anuradha; Rhandhawa, Harbans S; Prakash, Anupam; Meis, Jacques F

    2012-02-01

    An overview of work done to-date in India on environmental prevalence, population structure, seasonal variations and antifungal susceptibility of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii is presented. The primary ecologic niche of both pathogens is decayed wood in trunk hollows of a wide spectrum of host trees, representing 18 species. Overall, C. neoformans showed a higher environmental prevalence than that of C. gattii which was not found in the avian habitats. Apart from their arboreal habitat, both species were demonstrated in soil and air in close vicinity of their tree hosts. In addition, C. neoformans showed a strong association with desiccated avian excreta. An overwhelming number of C. neoformans strains belonged to genotype AFLP1/VNI, var. grubii (serotype A), whereas C. gattii strains were genotype AFLP4/VGI, serotype B. All of the environmental strains of C. neoformans and C. gattii were mating type α (MATα). Contrary to the Australian experience, Eucalyptus trees were among the epidemiologically least important and, therefore, the hypothesis of global spread of C. gattii through Australian export of infected Eucalyptus seeds is rebutted. Reference is made to long-term colonization of an abandoned, old timber beam of sal wood (Shorea robusta) by a melanin positive (Mel(+)) variant of Cryptococcus laurentii that was pathogenic to laboratory mice.

  7. 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

  8. The 5S rRNA and the rRNA intergenic spacer of the two varieties of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Fan, M; Chen, L C; Ragan, M A; Gutell, R R; Warner, J R; Currie, B P; Casadevall, A

    1995-01-01

    The intergenic spacers (IGS) separating the 23S-like and 16S-like rDNAs of the two varieties of the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans were amplified, cloned and sequenced. The C. neoformans var. neoformans IGS was 2421 nt with 5S rRNA at positions 1228-1345 3' of the 23S-like rRNA. The C. neoformans var. gattii IGS was 2480 nt with 5S rRNA at positions 1268-1385 3' of the 23S-like rRNA. For both varieties the 5S rDNA genes were in the same orientation as the 16S-5.8-23S genes and encode a 118 nt molecule of identical sequence. Phylogenetic comparison of C. neoformans 5S rDNA with that of other fungi placed this fungus in close relationship with other basidiomycetes including Tremella mesenterica, Bullera alba, and Cryptococcus laurentii. A secondary structure model for the deduced 5S rRNA was constructed by comparative sequence analysis. Polymerase chain reaction-amplified IGS of 12 C. neoformans var. neoformans strains revealed extensive size variation ranging from 100 to 300 nt. Size variation between strains in the length of the IGS may be useful for distinguishing strains. Structurally, the IGS were characterized by the presence of occasional short direct GC-rich 19-nt repeats. Overall IGS sequence identity between the C. neoformans varieties was only 78.5%, in sharp contrast to the identical or nearly identical sequences for the rDNA genes, and suggests rapid evolution for IGS sequences.

  9. Cryptococcus neoformans meningoencephalitis in a patient with polyarteritis nodosa.

    PubMed

    Buchta, Vladimír; Prášil, Petr; Vejsová, Marcela; Mottl, Roman; Kutová, Radka; Drahošová, Marcela; Plíšek, Stanislav

    2014-11-01

    Case of 59-year-old male with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and a number of comorbidities, who has developed meningoencephalitis caused by Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii with polyarteritis nodosa diagnosed during hospitalization, was presented. Before evidence of meningoencephalitis, the patient was being treated with ketoconazole and low doses of fluconazole (200 mg/day) for alleged candidiasis. The dosage was increased (800 mg/day) following laboratory diagnosis of C. neoformans based on positive latex agglutination test and biochemical identification of encapsulated yeast isolated from the blood and CSF. Later, the yeast identification was confirmed by sequencing analysis. Owing to inadequate clinical response, fluconazole therapy was switched to voriconazole (400 mg/day) and later to intravenous amphotericin B (1.0 mg/kg per day). Despite of a temporary stabilization and improvement, which correlated with decline of cryptococcal antigen titers (from 1:1024 to 1:8), after 6 weeks, the patient's underlying condition deteriorated due to severe pancolitis and serious nosocomial bacterial infections. The patient died of multiorgan failure several days later. Our case demonstrates a possible connection between the development of life-threatening cryptococcosis and an autoimmune vasculitis disease and emphasizes that the outcome of the management of cryptococcal meningoencephalitis is highly dependent on early diagnosis, adequate treatment, including dosage, and last but not least control of underlying disease and risk factors.

  10. Enzymatic characterisation of clinical isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans, Cryptococcus gattii and other environmental Cryptococcus spp.

    PubMed

    Chan, M Y; Tay, S T

    2010-01-01

    This study compared the enzymatic activity of clinical isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans, Cryptococcus gattii, environmental isolates of C. neoformans and non-neoformans Cryptococcus. Most of the cryptococcal isolates investigated in this study exhibited proteinase and phospholipase activities. Laccase activity was detected from all the C. neoformans and C. gattii isolates, but not from the non-neoformans Cryptococcus isolates. There was no significant difference in the proteinase, phospholipase and laccase activities of C. neoformans and C. gattii. However, significant difference in the enzymatic activities of beta-glucuronidase, alpha-glucosidase, beta-glucosidase and N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminidase between C. neoformans and C. gattii isolates was observed in this study. Environmental isolates of C. neoformans exhibited similar enzymatic profiles as the clinical isolates of C. neoformans, except for lower proteinase and laccase activities.

  11. The perfect state of Cryptococcus neoformans, Filobasidiella neoformans, on pigeon manure filtrate agar.

    PubMed

    Staib, F

    1981-02-01

    To enable studies of the dependence of Cryptococcus neoformans and its perfect and imperfect states upon bird manure as a habitat of this pathogen, a nutrient medium closely resembling natural conditions was prepared. As sole nutrient, the water soluble ingredients of manure from pigeons (Columbia livia) were used. There was no heat sterilization of the manure filtrate. Using a standard pair of C. neoformans strains for mating, it could be demonstrated that the perfect state of the fungus developed on this so called pigeon manure filtrate agar within 48 h at 26 degrees C. This medium is supposed to help in the elucidation of the epidemiological significance of the perfect and imperfect states of this pathogen.

  12. [Genotyping of Cryptococcus neoformans/Cryptococcus gattii complex clinical isolates from Hospital "Dr. Julio C. Perrando", Resistencia city (Chaco, Argentina)].

    PubMed

    Cattana, Maria E; Tracogna, Maria F; Fernández, Mariana S; Carol Rey, Mariana C; Sosa, Maria A; Giusiano, Gustavo E

    2013-01-01

    Cryptococcosis is a fungal infection caused by yeast species of Cryptococcus genus, particularly Cryptococcus neoformans/Cryptococcus gattii species complex. The knowledge of the cryptococcosis casuistic in northeastern Argentina is scarce and there is no information about the molecular types circulating in this area. The aim of this study was to genotyping C. neoformans/C. gattii complex clinical isolates obtained at Hospital "Dr. Julio C. Perrando", Resistencia city (Chaco, Argentina), in order to determine species, variety and molecular type. During two years and one month 26 clinical isolates were studied. Using conventional and molecular methods one isolate was identified as C. gattii VGI type, and 25 isolates as C. neoformans var. grubii; 23 of these belonged to VNI type and two belonged to VNII type. This data is a contribution to the knowledge of cryptococcosis epidemiology in Argentina and the first report about C. neoformans/ C. gattii complex molecular types from clinical isolates in northeastern Argentina.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Acapsular Cryptococcus neoformans activates the NLRP3 inflammasome.

    PubMed

    Guo, Caiqin; Chen, Mingkuan; Fa, Zhenzong; Lu, Ailing; Fang, Wei; Sun, Bing; Chen, Changbin; Liao, Wanqing; Meng, Guangxun

    2014-10-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans (C. neoformans) is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that mainly infects immunocompromised individuals such as AIDS patients. Although cell surface receptors for recognition of C. neoformans have been studies intensively, cytoplasmic recognition of this pathogen remains unclear. As an important detector of pathogen infection, inflammasome can sense and get activated by infection of various pathogens, including pathogenic fungi such as Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus. Our present study showed that acapsular C. neoformans (cap59Δ) activated the NLRP3-, but not AIM2-nor NLRC4- inflammasome. During this process, viability of the fungus was required. Moreover, our in vivo results showed that during the pulmonary infection of cap59Δ, immune cell infiltration into the lung and effective clearance of the fungus were both dependent on the presence of NLRP3 inflammasome. In summary, our data suggest that the capsule of C. neoformans prevents recognition of the fungus by host NLRP3 inflammasome and indicate that manipulation of inflammasome activity maybe a novel approach to control C. neoformans infection.

  16. Comparison of primers for RAPD-PCR from environmental isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans, Cryptococcus albidus and Cryptococcus laurentii complex

    PubMed Central

    dos Santos Pedroso, Reginaldo; Ferreira, Joseane Cristina; da Costa, Karen Regina Carim; Candido, Regina Celia

    2012-01-01

    Various organisms have been characterized by molecular methods, including fungi of the genus Cryptococcus. The purposes of this study were: to determine the discriminatory potential of the RAPD (Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA) primers, the pattern of similarity of the Cryptococcus species, and discuss their useful application in epidemiological studies. We analyzed 10 isolates of each specie/group: C. albidus, C. laurentii complex, C. neoformans var. grubii, all from environmental source, and two ATCC strains, C. neoformans var. grubii ATCC 90112, and C. neoformans var. neoformans ATCC 28957 by RAPD-PCR using the primers CAV1, CAV2, ZAP19, ZAP20, OPB11 and SEQ6. The primers showed a good discriminatory power, revealing important differences between them and between species; the SEQ6 primer discriminated a larger number of isolates of three species. Isolates of C. laurentii showed greater genetic diversity than other species revealed by all six primers. Isolates of C. neoformans were more homogeneous. Only the primer CAV2 showed no amplification of DNA bands for C. albidus. It was concluded that the use of limited number of carefully selected primers allowed the discrimination of different isolates, and some primers (e.g., CAV2 for C. albidus) may not to be applied to some species. PMID:24031912

  17. Evidence for genetic incompatibilities associated with post-zygotic reproductive isolation in the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Vogan, Aaron A; Xu, Jianping

    2014-06-01

    Hybridization is a potent mechanism for generating unique strains with broad host ranges and increased virulence in fungal pathogens. In the opportunistic basidiomycete pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, intervarietal hybrids are commonly found infecting patients. The two parental varieties C. neoformans var. grubii and C. neoformans var. neoformans mate readily under laboratory conditions, but the hybrid basidiospores have germination rates about four times lower than those from intravarietal crosses. Here, we used microdissection to collect basidiospores from a hybrid cross and analysed the genotypes of germinated basidiospores to identify potentially antagonistic allelic combinations between loci that impact basidiospore germination. Our analyses showed clear evidence for Bateson-Dobzhansky-Muller (BDM) incompatibility affecting basidiospore viability. Antagonistic combinations of alleles from both two loci and three loci were found. Interestingly, most of the hybrid progeny showed segregation distortion in favour of the alleles from var. neoformans, consistent with large-scale epistatic interactions among loci affecting basidiospore viability. Our study presents the first evidence of BDM incompatibility between nuclear genes affecting post-zygotic reproductive isolation in this model basidiomycete yeast.

  18. Comparison of primers for RAPD-PCR from environmental isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans, Cryptococcus albidus and Cryptococcus laurentii complex.

    PubMed

    Dos Santos Pedroso, Reginaldo; Ferreira, Joseane Cristina; da Costa, Karen Regina Carim; Candido, Regina Celia

    2012-07-01

    Various organisms have been characterized by molecular methods, including fungi of the genus Cryptococcus. The purposes of this study were: to determine the discriminatory potential of the RAPD (Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA) primers, the pattern of similarity of the Cryptococcus species, and discuss their useful application in epidemiological studies. We analyzed 10 isolates of each specie/group: C. albidus, C. laurentii complex, C. neoformans var. grubii, all from environmental source, and two ATCC strains, C. neoformans var. grubii ATCC 90112, and C. neoformans var. neoformans ATCC 28957 by RAPD-PCR using the primers CAV1, CAV2, ZAP19, ZAP20, OPB11 and SEQ6. The primers showed a good discriminatory power, revealing important differences between them and between species; the SEQ6 primer discriminated a larger number of isolates of three species. Isolates of C. laurentii showed greater genetic diversity than other species revealed by all six primers. Isolates of C. neoformans were more homogeneous. Only the primer CAV2 showed no amplification of DNA bands for C. albidus. It was concluded that the use of limited number of carefully selected primers allowed the discrimination of different isolates, and some primers (e.g., CAV2 for C. albidus) may not to be applied to some species.

  19. Analyses of Pediatric Isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans from South Africa ▿ †

    PubMed Central

    Miglia, Kathleen J.; Govender, Nelesh P.; Rossouw, Jenny; Meiring, Susan; Mitchell, Thomas G.

    2011-01-01

    Compared to the incidence in adults, cryptococcosis is inexplicably rare among children, even in sub-Saharan Africa, which has the highest prevalence of coinfection with HIV and Cryptococcus neoformans. To explore any mycological basis for this age-related difference in the incidence of cryptococcosis, we investigated isolates of C. neoformans recovered from pediatric and adult patients during a 2-year period in South Africa. From reports to the Group for Enteric, Respiratory, and Meningeal Disease Surveillance in South Africa (GERMS-SA), we reviewed all cases of cryptococcosis in 2005 and 2006. We analyzed one isolate of C. neoformans from each of 82 pediatric patients (<15 years of age) and determined the multilocus sequence type (ST), mating type, ploidy, and allelic profile. This sample included isolates of all three molecular types of serotype A or C. neoformans var. grubii (molecular types VNI, VNII, and VNB) and one AD hybrid. Seventy-seven (94%) of the strains possessed the MATα mating type allele, and five were MATa. Seventy-five (91%) were haploid, and seven were diploid. A total of 24 different STs were identified. The ratios of each mating type and the proportion of haploids were comparable to those for the isolates that were obtained from 86 adult patients during the same period. Notably, the most prevalent pediatric ST was significantly associated with male patients. Overall, these pediatric isolates exhibited high genotypic diversity. They included a relatively large percentage of diploids and the rarely reported MATa mating type. PMID:20980574

  20. Eosinophil-Cryptococcus neoformans interactions in vivo and in vitro.

    PubMed Central

    Feldmesser, M; Casadevall, A; Kress, Y; Spira, G; Orlofsky, A

    1997-01-01

    Eosinophils are components of inflammatory responses to a variety of pathogens. Although a variety of beneficial and harmful functions have been ascribed to these cells, their role in protection against infectious agents remains uncertain. Previous studies have reported eosinophilic pneumonia in mice infected intratracheally with Cryptococcus neoformans. We confirmed this observation and studied the inflammatory response in the lung at day 14 by light and electron microscopy. Immunostaining for glucuronoxylomannan showed isolated cryptococci inside the eosinophilic cuffs. Eosinophils were found to be in close association with C. neoformans in vivo. Cryptococci were associated with eosinophils within eosinophilic perivascular cuffs, within granulomas, and lining the alveolar space. To further investigate this phenomenon in vitro, we isolated rat peritoneal eosinophils and studied cryptococcus-eosinophil interactions in the presence and absence of anti-capsular immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) and IgE monoclonal antibody (MAb). Eosinophils phagocytosed C. neoformans only in the presence of specific antibody. Phagocytosis was rapid, and dense rings that appeared to consist of granule contents were formed around the organisms. Mast cells were observed to occasionally phagocytose C. neoformans in vitro in the presence of IgE MAb. Our observations suggest that eosinophils may be effector cells against C. neoformans. PMID:9125578

  1. DAP12 Inhibits Pulmonary Immune Responses to Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Heung, Lena J.

    2016-01-01

    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

  2. Isolation and characterization of the Cryptococcus neoformans MATa pheromone gene.

    PubMed Central

    McClelland, Carol M; Fu, Jianmin; Woodlee, Gay L; Seymour, Tara S; Wickes, Brian L

    2002-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a heterothallic basidiomycete with two mating types, MATa and MATalpha. The mating pathway of this fungus has a number of conserved genes, including a MATalpha-specific pheromone (MFalpha1). A modified differential display strategy was used to identify a gene encoding the MATa pheromone. The gene, designated MFa1, is 42 amino acids in length and contains a conserved farnesylation motif. MFa1 is present in three linked copies that span a 20-kb fragment of MATa-specific DNA and maps to the MAT-containing chromosome. Transformation studies showed that MFa1 induced filament formation only in MATalpha cells, demonstrating that MFa1 is functionally conserved. Sequence analysis of the predicted Mfa1 and Mfalpha1 proteins revealed that, in contrast to other fungi such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the C. neoformans pheromone genes are structurally and functionally conserved. However, unlike the MFalpha1 gene, which is found in MATalpha strains of both varieties of C. neoformans, MFa1 is specific for the neoformans variety of C. neoformans. PMID:11901112

  3. Threonine biosynthetic genes are essential in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Kingsbury, Joanne M.; McCusker, John H.

    2009-01-01

    Summary We identified and attempted to disrupt the Cryptococcus neoformans homoserine and/or threonine biosynthetic genes encoding aspartate kinase (HOM3), homoserine kinase (THR1), and threonine synthase (THR4), however, each gene proved recalcitrant to disruption. By replacing the endogenous promoters of HOM3 and THR1 with the copper-repressible CTR4-1 promoter, we showed that HOM3 and THR1 were essential for the growth of C. neoformans in rich media, when ammonium was the nitrogen source, or when threonine was supplied as an amino acid instead of a dipeptide. Moreover, the severity of the growth defect associated with HOM3- or THR1-repression increased with increasing incubation temperature. This study comprises the first demonstration of threonine biosynthetic genes being essential in a fungus. The necessity of these genes for C. neoformans growth, particularly at physiologically relevant temperatures, makes threonine biosynthetic genes ideal anti-cryptococcal drug targets. PMID:18757810

  4. Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii, the etiologic agents of cryptococcosis.

    PubMed

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

    2014-07-01

    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.

  5. 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

  6. Experimental murine cryptococcal infection results in contamination of bedding with Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Nosanchuk, Joshua D; Mednick, Aron; Shi, Li; Casadevall, Arturo

    2003-07-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungal pathogen that survives in diverse environments. To determine whether cages of mice infected with C. neoformans posed an infection risk to animal caregivers, we investigated whether the fungus could be isolated from the bedding or stool of mice infected by intratracheal (i.t.), intravenous (i.v.), or intraperitoneal (i.p.) routes. The bedding of mice infected i.t. was contaminated with C. neoformans. In contrast, no contamination of bedding with C. neoformans was detected in cages of mice infected i.v. or i.p. C. neoformans was not isolated from murine feces. The C. neoformans strain recovered from bedding material was indistinguishable from the infecting strain by biochemical and molecular techniques. This result suggests that precautions may be warranted when disposing bedding from cages that housed mice with pulmonary C. neoformans infection.

  7. Molecular characterization of the early B cell response to pulmonary Cryptococcus neoformans infection.

    PubMed

    Rohatgi, Soma; Pirofski, Liise-anne

    2012-12-15

    The role of B cells in host defense against fungi has been difficult to establish. We quantified and determined the molecular derivation of B-1a, B-1b, and B-2 B cell populations in C57BL/6 mice after pulmonary infection with Cryptococcus neoformans. Total B-1 and B-2 cell numbers increased in lungs and peritoneal cavity as early as day 1 postinfection, but lacked signs of clonal expansion. Labeled capsular (24067) and acapsular (Cap67) C. neoformans strains were used to identify C. neoformans-binding B cell subsets by flow cytometry. Peritoneal cavity B-1a B cells exhibited the most acapsular and capsular C. neoformans binding in C. neoformans-infected mice, and C. neoformans-selected B-1 B cells secreted laminarin- and C. neoformans-binding IgM. Single-cell PCR-based sequence analysis of B-1a, B-1b, and B-2 cell IgH V region H chain (V(H)) genes revealed increased usage of V(H)11 and V(H)12, respectively, in acapsular and capsular C. neoformans-selected B-1a cells. Germline V(H) segments were used, with capsular C. neoformans-selected cells having less junctional diversity than acapsular C. neoformans-selected cells. Further studies in B-1 B cell-depleted mice showed that these mice had higher brain and lung fungal burdens and less alveolar macrophage phagocytosis of C. neoformans than did control and B-1a B cell-reconstituted mice. Taken together, these results establish a mechanistic role for B-1 B cells in the innate B cell response to pulmonary infection with C. neoformans and reveal that IgM-producing B-1a cells, which express germline V(H) genes, bind C. neoformans and contribute to early fungal clearance. Thus, B-1a B cells provide a first line of defense during pulmonary C. neoformans infection in mice.

  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. Pheromone independent unisexual development in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Gyawali, Rachana; Zhao, Youbao; Lin, Jianfeng; Fan, Yumeng; Xu, Xinping; Upadhyay, Srijana; Lin, Xiaorong

    2017-05-01

    The fungus Cryptococcus neoformans can undergo a-α bisexual and unisexual reproduction. Completion of both sexual reproduction modes requires similar cellular differentiation processes and meiosis. Although bisexual reproduction generates equal number of a and α progeny and is far more efficient than unisexual reproduction under mating-inducing laboratory conditions, the α mating type dominates in nature. Population genetic studies suggest that unisexual reproduction by α isolates might have contributed to this sharply skewed distribution of the mating types. However, the predominance of the α mating type and the seemingly inefficient unisexual reproduction observed under laboratory conditions present a conundrum. Here, we discovered a previously unrecognized condition that promotes unisexual reproduction while suppressing bisexual reproduction. Pheromone is the principal stimulus for bisexual development in Cryptococcus. Interestingly, pheromone and other components of the pheromone pathway, including the key transcription factor Mat2, are not necessary but rather inhibitory for Cryptococcus to complete its unisexual cycle under this condition. The inactivation of the pheromone pathway promotes unisexual reproduction despite the essential role of this pathway in non-self-recognition during bisexual reproduction. Nonetheless, the requirement for the known filamentation regulator Znf2 and the expression of hyphal or basidium specific proteins remain the same for pheromone-dependent or independent sexual reproduction. Transcriptome analyses and an insertional mutagenesis screen in mat2Δ identified calcineurin being essential for this process. We further found that Znf2 and calcineurin work cooperatively in controlling unisexual development in this fungus. These findings indicate that Mat2 acts as a repressor of pheromone-independent unisexual development while serving as an activator for a-α bisexual development. The bi-functionality of Mat2 might have allowed

  10. Pheromone independent unisexual development in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Gyawali, Rachana; Zhao, Youbao; Fan, Yumeng; Xu, Xinping; Lin, Xiaorong

    2017-01-01

    The fungus Cryptococcus neoformans can undergo a-α bisexual and unisexual reproduction. Completion of both sexual reproduction modes requires similar cellular differentiation processes and meiosis. Although bisexual reproduction generates equal number of a and α progeny and is far more efficient than unisexual reproduction under mating-inducing laboratory conditions, the α mating type dominates in nature. Population genetic studies suggest that unisexual reproduction by α isolates might have contributed to this sharply skewed distribution of the mating types. However, the predominance of the α mating type and the seemingly inefficient unisexual reproduction observed under laboratory conditions present a conundrum. Here, we discovered a previously unrecognized condition that promotes unisexual reproduction while suppressing bisexual reproduction. Pheromone is the principal stimulus for bisexual development in Cryptococcus. Interestingly, pheromone and other components of the pheromone pathway, including the key transcription factor Mat2, are not necessary but rather inhibitory for Cryptococcus to complete its unisexual cycle under this condition. The inactivation of the pheromone pathway promotes unisexual reproduction despite the essential role of this pathway in non-self-recognition during bisexual reproduction. Nonetheless, the requirement for the known filamentation regulator Znf2 and the expression of hyphal or basidium specific proteins remain the same for pheromone-dependent or independent sexual reproduction. Transcriptome analyses and an insertional mutagenesis screen in mat2Δ identified calcineurin being essential for this process. We further found that Znf2 and calcineurin work cooperatively in controlling unisexual development in this fungus. These findings indicate that Mat2 acts as a repressor of pheromone-independent unisexual development while serving as an activator for a-α bisexual development. The bi-functionality of Mat2 might have allowed

  11. Ferrous iron uptake in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Jacobson, E S; Goodner, A P; Nyhus, K J

    1998-09-01

    Previous studies have implicated ferric reduction in the iron uptake pathway of the opportunistic pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. Here we studied iron uptake directly, using 55Fe in the presence of reductants. Uptake was linear with respect to time and number of yeast cells. The plot of uptake versus concentration exhibited a steep rise up to about 1 microM, a plateau between 1 and 25 microM, and a second steep rise above 25 microM, consistent with high- and low-affinity uptake systems. A Km for high-affinity uptake was estimated to be 0.6 microM Fe(II); 1 microM was used for standardized uptake assays. At this concentration, the uptake rate was 110 +/- 3 pmol/10(6) cells/h. Iron repletion (15 microM) and copper starvation drastically decreased high-affinity iron uptake. Incubation at 0 degreesC or in the presence of 2 mM KCN abolished high-affinity iron uptake, suggesting that uptake requires metabolic energy. When exogenous reducing agents were not supplied and the culture was washed free of secreted reductants, uptake was reduced by 46%; the remaining uptake activity presumably was dependent upon the cell membrane ferric reductase. Further decreases in free Fe(II) levels achieved by trapping with bathophenanthroline disulfonate or reoxidizing with potassium nitrosodisulfonate reduced iron uptake very drastically, suggesting that it is the Fe(II) species which is transported by the high-affinity transporter. The uptake of Fe was stimulated two- to threefold by deferoxamine, but this increment could be abolished by copper starvation or inhibition of the ferric reductase by Pt, indicating that Fe solubilized by this molecule also entered the reductive iron uptake pathway.

  12. Characterization of Cryptococcus neoformans isolated from urban environmental sources in Goiânia, Goiás State, Brazil.

    PubMed

    Kobayashi, Cláudia Castelo Branco Artiaga; Souza, Lúcia Kioko Hasimoto e; Fernandes, Orionalda de Fátima Lisboa; Brito, Sula Cristina Assis de; Silva, Ana Cláudia; Sousa, Efigênia Dantas de; Silva, Maria do Rosário Rodrigues

    2005-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that causes meningoencephalitis as the most frequent clinical presentation in immunocompromised patients, mainly in people infected by HIV. This fungus is an environmental encapsulated yeast, commonly found in soil enriched with avian droppings and plant material. A total of 290 samples of pigeon and the other avian droppings, soil, ornamental trees and vegetable material associated with Eucalyptus trees were collected to study environmental sources of Cryptococcus species in Goiânia, Goiás State. The determination of varieties, serotypes and the susceptibility in vitro to fluconazole, itraconazole and amphotericin B of C. neoformans isolates were performed. C. neoformans var. grubii (serotype A) was found in 20.3% (36/177) of pigeon dropping samples and in 14.3% (5/35) of samples of Eucalyptus. None of the environmental isolates of C. neoformans showed in vitro resistance to three antifungal agents. The knowledge of major route for human cryptococcal infection (inhalation of infectious particles from saprophytic sources) and a total of 60 C. neoformans isolates obtained from AIDS patients with cryptococcal meningitis between October 2001 and April 2002 justify the study of the habitats of these yeasts as probable sources of cryptococcosis in this city.

  13. 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.... Cryptococcosis infections are found most often as chronic meningitis (inflammation of brain membranes) and, if...

  14. 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.... Cryptococcosis infections are found most often as chronic meningitis (inflammation of brain membranes) and, if...

  15. 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.... Cryptococcosis infections are found most often as chronic meningitis (inflammation of brain membranes) and, if...

  16. 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.... Cryptococcosis infections are found most often as chronic meningitis (inflammation of brain membranes) and, if...

  17. 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.... Cryptococcosis infections are found most often as chronic meningitis (inflammation of brain membranes) and, if...

  18. Primary Larynx Cryptococcus neoformans Infection: A Distinctive Clinical Entity

    PubMed Central

    Bergeron, Mathieu; Gagné, Andrée-Anne; Côté, Mathieu; Chênevert, Jacinthe; Dubé, Robert; Pelletier, René

    2015-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans can directly infect the vocal cords. Endoscopic findings were undistinctive from most infiltrative diseases. Tissue biopsy was essential for the diagnosis. Inhaled corticosteroids can predispose to the infection, and fluconazole 400 mg daily for at least 6 weeks appeared to be minimal to achieve a permanent cure. PMID:26753169

  19. 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.

  20. Laccase Expression in Murine Pulmonary Cryptococcus neoformans Infection

    PubMed Central

    Garcia-Rivera, Javier; Tucker, Stephanie C.; Feldmesser, Marta; Williamson, Peter R.; Casadevall, Arturo

    2005-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans laccase expression during murine infection was investigated in lung tissue by immunohistochemistry and immunogold electron microscopy. Laccase was detected in the fungal cell cytoplasm, cell wall, and capsule in vivo. The amount of laccase found in different sites varied as a function of the time of infection. PMID:15845520

  1. Genotypic diversity of environmental Cryptococcus neoformans isolates from Northern Portugal.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, Ana Sofia; Sampaio, Ana; Maduro, Ana Paula; Silva, Inês; Teles, Fernando; Martins, Maria da Luz; Inácio, João

    2014-02-01

    The Cryptococcus neoformans/C. gattii species complex members are the main agents of systemic cryptococcosis. This disease is believed to be acquired from the environment via fungal cell inhalation. Often, isolates recovered from environmental and clinical sources have proven to be genotypically similar. We assessed the occurrence of C. neoformans and C. gattii in environmental substrates collected in a Portuguese region. Twenty-eight isolates were identified as C. neoformans - five from decaying Eucalyptus leaves and 23 from domestic pigeon droppings. The isolates were genotyped using a URA5-RFLP approach. The C. neoformans VNIV (53.6%, n = 15) and VNI (32.1%, n = 9) genotypes were abundantly present among environmental isolates. The hybrid VNIII (14.3%, n = 4) genotype was underrepresented and the VNII was not found. Cryptococcus gattii was also not found although some isolates yielded a positive canavanine-glycine-bromothymol blue test.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Characterizing the role of RNA silencing components in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Janbon, Guilhem; Maeng, Shinae; Yang, Dong-Hoon; Ko, Young-Joon; Jung, Kwang-Woo; Moyrand, Frédérique; Floyd, Anna; Heitman, Joseph; Bahn, Yong-Sun

    2010-01-01

    Summary The RNA interference (RNAi) mediated by homology-dependent degradation of the target mRNA with small RNA molecules plays a key role in controlling transcription and translation processes in a number of eukaryotic organisms. The RNAi machinery is also evolutionarily conserved in a wide variety of fungal species, including pathogenic fungi. To elucidate the physiological functions of the RNAi pathway in Cryptococcus neoformans that causes fungal meningitis, here we performed genetic analyses for genes encoding Argonaute (AGO1 and AGO2), RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RDP1), and Dicers (DCR1 and DCR2) in both serotype A and D C. neoformans. The present study shows that Ago1, Rdp1, and Dcr2 are the major components of the RNAi process occurring in C. neoformans. However, the RNAi machinery is not involved in regulation of production of two virulence factors (capsule and melanin), sexual differentiation, and diverse stress response. Comparative transcriptome analysis of the serotype A and D RNAi mutants revealed that only modest changes occur in the genome-wide transcriptome profiles when the RNAi process was perturbed. Notably, the serotype D rdp1Δ mutants showed an increase in transcript abundance of active retrotransposons and transposons, such as T2 and T3, the latter of which is a novel serotype D-specific transposon of C. neoformans. In a wild type background both T2 and T3 were found to be weakly active mobile elements, although we found no evidence of Cnl1 retrotransposon mobility. In contrast, all three transposable elements exhibited enhanced mobility in the rdp1Δ mutant strain. In conclusion, the RNAi pathway plays an important role in controlling transposon activity and genome integrity of C. neoformans. PMID:21067947

  5. Cryptococcus neoformans Typing by PCR Fingerprinting Using (GACA)4 Primers Based on C. neoformans Genome Project Data▿

    PubMed Central

    Cogliati, Massimo; Esposto, Maria Carmela; Liberi, Giordano; Tortorano, Anna Maria; Viviani, Maria Anna

    2007-01-01

    Four (GACA)4 PCR fingerprinting sequences, used as markers to identify serotypes A and D and AD hybrids, were retrieved in four Cryptococcus neoformans genome databases. Their locations, both in serotype A and D genomes, were confirmed by chromosomal hybridization with specific probes. Two sequences were recognized to code for hypothetical functional proteins. PMID:17670921

  6. Gene arrangement and sequence of the 5S rRNA in Filobasidiella neoformans (Cryptococcus neoformans) as a phylogenetic indicator.

    PubMed

    Kwon-Chung, K J; Chang, Y C

    1994-04-01

    We cloned the 5S rRNA gene and determined its organization in the four genes encoding rRNAs in a ribosomal DNA repeat unit of Filobasidiella neoformans, the teleomorph of Cryptococcus neoformans. The 5S rRNA gene contained 118 nucleotides and was located 1 kb upstream from the 18S rRNA gene within the 8.6-kb fragment of the ribosomal DNA repeat unit. The sequence of the 5S rRNA gene from F. neoformans was more similar to the sequence of the 5S rRNA gene from Tremella mesenterica than to the sequences of the 5S rRNA genes from Filobasidium species. The arrangement of the rRNA genes in F. neoformans closely resembles the arrangement of the rRNA genes in mushrooms such as Schizophyllum commune, Agaricus bisporus, and Coprinus cinereus in that the 5S rRNA-coding region not only is located within the repeat unit that encodes the other rRNAs but also is transcribed in the same direction as the other rRNA genes. This is the first description of the arrangement of rRNA genes in a species belonging to the Heterobasidiomycetes.

  7. Hybridization probes for conventional DNA fingerprinting used as single primers in the polymerase chain reaction to distinguish strains of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed Central

    Meyer, W; Mitchell, T G; Freedman, E Z; Vilgalys, R

    1993-01-01

    In conventional DNA fingerprinting, hypervariable and repetitive sequences (minisatellite or microsatellite DNA) are detected with hybridization probes. As demonstrated here, these probes can be used as single primers in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to generate individual fingerprints. Several conventional DNA fingerprinting probes were used to prime the PCR, yielding distinctive, hypervariable multifragment profiles for different strains of Cryptococcus neoformans. PCR fingerprinting with the oligonucleotide primers (GTG)5, (GACA)4, and the phage M13 core sequence (GAGGGTGGXGGXTCT), but not with (CA)8 or (CT)8, generated DNA polymorphisms with all 42 strains of C. neoformans investigated. PCR fingerprints produced by priming with (GTG)5, (GACA)4, or the M13 core sequence differentiated the two varieties of C. neoformans, C. neoformans var. neoformans (serotypes A and D) and C. neoformans var. gattii (serotypes B and C). Furthermore, strains of serotypes A, D, and B or C could be distinguished from each other by specific PCR fingerprint patterns. These primers, which also successfully amplified hypervariable DNA segments from other species, provide a convenient method of identification at the species or individual level. Amplification of polymorphic DNA patterns by PCR with these primers offers several advantages over classical DNA fingerprinting techniques, appears to be more reliable than other PCR-based methods for detecting polymorphic DNA, such as analysis of random-amplified polymorphic DNA, and should be applicable to many other organisms. Images PMID:8408543

  8. First environmental isolations of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii in Tunisia and review of published studies on environmental isolations in Africa.

    PubMed

    Mseddi, F; Sellami, A; Jarboui, M A; Sellami, H; Makni, F; Ayadi, A

    2011-05-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii are pathogenic yeasts that cause cryptococcosis. These fungi were commonly associated with pigeon droppings and plant materials. The habitat of these pathogens has not been yet studied in Tunisia, although the ecology of these yeasts must be elucidated in order to establish surveillance programs and to prevent infections. The aim of this survey was to recover C. neoformans and C. gattii environmental isolates from pigeon droppings and plant materials in different areas of Sfax region, Tunisia. Nine hundred and fifty samples from leaves, wood, flowers, fruits and soil around trunk bases of 40 almond (Prunus dulcis) and 60 eucalyptus trees were collected as well as 250 pigeon droppings samples from different sites: buildings (n = 150), houses (n = 50) and zoo (n = 50). The identification of Cryptococcus neoformans complex was confirmed using the ID32C auxanogram panel (BioMérieux, Marcy l'Etoile, France); species were determined by multiplex PCR using the CN70 and CN49 primers, and mating type was determined by PCR. C. neoformans was recovered from 26 specimens of pigeon droppings (10.4%). This yeast was obtained more frequently from dry droppings (9.2%) than from moist droppings (1.2%). The mating type was determined. All the 31 environmental strains of C. neoformans and C. gattii were MATα. Out of 700 samples tested from 100 trees, only 5 isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans species complex were recovered (0.6%), two isolates of C. gattii and one isolate of C. neoformans were recovered from the wood of E. camaldulensis trees, and only two isolates of C. gattii were recovered from the wood of almond trees (Prunus dulcis Mill. var. zaaf and var. achek). These two Tunisian almond tree varieties were recorded for the first time in Africa as hosts for C. gattii. These results add new information to the ecology and epidemiology of C. neoformans species complex in Tunisia.

  9. The epidemiology of cryptococcosis and the characterization of Cryptococcus neoformans isolated in a Brazilian University Hospital.

    PubMed

    Aguiar, Paula Augusta Dias Fogaça de; Pedroso, Reginaldo Dos Santos; Borges, Aércio Sebastião; Moreira, Tomaz de Aquino; Araújo, Lúcio Borges de; Röder, Denise Von Dolinger de Brito

    2017-04-13

    Cryptococcosis, a systemic disease caused by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans/ Cryptococcus gattii is more severe in immunocompromised individuals. This study aimed to analyze the epidemiology of the disease, the molecular characteristics and the antifungal susceptibility of C. neoformans isolated from patients treated in a Brazilian university hospital. This retrospective study was conducted in the Clinical Hospital, Federal University of Uberlândia, and evaluated cases of cryptococcosis and strains of C. neoformans isolated from 2004 to 2013. We evaluated 41 patients, 85% of whom were diagnosed with AIDS. The fungus was isolated from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 21 patients (51%); 19.5% had fungemia and in 24% the agent was isolated from the CSF and blood, concurrently. Meningoencephalitis was the most frequent (75%) manifestation of infection. Despite adequate treatment, the mortality of the disease was 58.5%. Most isolates (97.5%) presented the VNI genotype (serotype A, var. grubii) and one isolate was genotyped as C. gattii (VGI); all the isolates were determined as mating type MATa and showed susceptibility to the tested antifungals (fluconazole, voriconazole, amphotericin B and 5-flucytosine). Although AIDS detection rates remain stable, opportunistic infections such as cryptococcosis remain as major causes of morbidity and mortality in these patients.

  10. Amino Acid Permeases and Virulence in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Martho, Kevin Felipe Cruz; de Melo, Amanda Teixeira; 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; Pascon, Renata C

    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

  11. Modulation of Replicative Lifespan in Cryptococcus neoformans: Implications for Virulence.

    PubMed

    Bouklas, Tejas; Jain, Neena; Fries, Bettina C

    2017-01-01

    The fungal pathogen, Cryptococcus neoformans, has been shown to undergo replicative aging. Old cells are characterized by advanced generational age and phenotypic changes that appear to mediate enhanced resistance to host and antifungal-based killing. As a consequence of this age-associated resilience, old cells accumulate during chronic infection. Based on these findings, we hypothesized that shifting the generational age of a pathogenic yeast population would alter its vulnerability to the host and affect its virulence. SIR2 is a well-conserved histone deacetylase, and a pivotal target for the development of anti-aging drugs. We tested its effect on C. neoformans' replicative lifespan (RLS). First, a mutant C. neoformans strain (sir2Δ) was generated, and confirmed a predicted shortened RLS in sir2Δ cells consistent with its known role in aging. Next, RLS analysis showed that treatment of C. neoformans with Sir2p-agonists resulted in a significantly prolonged RLS, whereas treatment with a Sir2p-antagonist shortened RLS. RLS modulating effects were dependent on SIR2 and not observed in sir2Δ cells. Because SIR2 loss resulted in a slightly impaired fitness, effects of genetic RLS modulation on virulence could not be compared with wild type cells. Instead we chose to chemically modulate RLS, and investigated the effect of Sir2p modulating drugs on C. neoformans cells in a Galleria mellonella infection model. Consistent with our hypothesis that shifts in the generational age of the infecting yeast population alters its vulnerability to host cells, we observed decreased virulence of C. neoformans in the Galleria host when RLS was prolonged by treatment with Sir2p agonists. In contrast, treatment with a Sir2p antagonist, which shortens RLS enhanced virulence in Galleria. In addition, combination of Sir2p agonists with antifungal therapy enhanced the antifungal's effect. Importantly, no difference in virulence was observed with drug treatment when sir2Δ cells were

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. The isolation, characterization and antifungal susceptibilities of Cryptococcus neoformans from bird excreta in Klang Valley, Malaysia.

    PubMed

    Tay, S T; Chai, H C; Na, S L; Hamimah, H; Rohani, M Y; Soo-Hoo, T S

    2005-06-01

    The occurrence of Cryptococcus neoformans in bird excreta in Klang valley, Malaysia was determined in this study. Of 544 samples of bird excreta collected from a local zoo, pet shops and public areas, 20 strains of C. neoformans were isolated. All C. neoformans strains were serotype A and thus identified as C. neoformans variety grubii. All did not produce color changes on canavanine-glycine-bromothymol blue agar. All were of alpha-mating types, as determined by a pheromone-specific PCR assay. The antifungal susceptibility testing using agar diffusion method Neo-sensitabs showed that all were susceptible to amphotericin B, fluconazole and itraconazole.

  15. Differentiation of Cryptococcus neoformans serotypes A and D using creatinine dextrose bromothymol blue thymine medium.

    PubMed

    Irokanulo, E A; Akueshi, C O; Makinde, A A

    1994-06-01

    A serotype differentiation of the encapsulated yeast Cryptococcus neoformans is described using creatinine dextrose bromothymol blue thymine (CDBT) medium. On CDBT medium C. neoformans serotype D grew as bright red colonies, turning the medium a bright orange after five days incubation at 28 degrees C. C. neoformans serotype A grew as pale colonies with no apparent colour effect on the medium. Serotypes B and C caused a slight greening of the medium. The reaction of the four serotypes of C. neoformans on CDBT medium is considered useful in the differentiation of the closely related serotype A and D.

  16. Cryptococcus neoformans-induced macrophage lysosome damage crucially contributes to fungal virulence.

    PubMed

    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

    2015-03-01

    Upon ingestion by macrophages, Cryptococcus neoformans can survive and replicate intracellularly unless the macrophages become classically activated. The mechanism enabling intracellular replication is not fully understood; neither are the mechanisms that allow classical activation to counteract replication. C. neoformans-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 C. neoformans-containing lung cells compared with C. neoformans-free cells. Among C. neoformans-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 C. neoformans replication. Experimental induction of lysosome damage increased C. neoformans replication. Activation of macrophages with IFN-γ abolished macrophage lysosome damage and enabled increased killing of C. neoformans. We conclude that induction of lysosome damage is an important C. neoformans survival strategy and that classical activation of host macrophages counters replication by preventing damage. Thus, therapeutic strategies that decrease lysosomal damage, or increase resistance to such damage, could be valuable in treating cryptococcal infections.

  17. Titan cells in Cryptococcus neoformans: cells with a giant impact.

    PubMed

    Zaragoza, Oscar; Nielsen, Kirsten

    2013-08-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a pathogenic yeast that commonly infects immunocompromised individuals, yet has developed multiple adaptation mechanisms to the host. Several virulence factors (capsule and melanin) have been known for many years. However, this yeast also possesses a morphogenetic program that is still not well characterized. C. neoformans has the ability to dramatically enlarge its size during infection to form 'titan cells' that can reach up to 100μm in cell body diameter, in contrast to typical size cells of 5-7μm. These titan cells pose a problem for the host because they contribute to fungal survival, dissemination to the central nervous system, and possibly even latency. In this review, we will provide an overview of these cells, covering current knowledge about their phenotypic features, mechanism of formation, and their significance during infection.

  18. Reduced virulence of melanized Cryptococcus neoformans in Galleria mellonella.

    PubMed

    Eisenman, Helene C; Duong, Raymond; Chan, Hsi; Tsue, Ryan; McClelland, Erin E

    2014-07-01

    Fungal melanins are important in the virulence of many pathogenic fungi. In this study, we examined the role of melanin in the interaction between Cryptococcus neoformans and the invertebrate host, Galleria mellonella. C. neoformans was able to melanize in the presence of G. mellonella homogenate, indicating the presence of melanin substrates. Melanization was confirmed by the recovery of acid-resistant particles that were recognized by anti-melanin antibodies. In addition, we tested the effect of fungal melanization on virulence. Surprisingly, G. mellonella larvae infected with melanized fungal cells lived longer than those infected with non-melanized fungi. When the cellular immune response of G. mellonella to melanized and non-melanized cells was compared, inflammatory nodules were observed in both groups. However the response was stronger in larvae infected with melanized cells. These results suggest that fungal melanin activates the immune response of G. mellonella, thereby resulting in the decreased virulence observed with melanized cells.

  19. 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.

  20. Iron and fungal pathogenesis: a case study with Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Jung, Won Hee; Kronstad, James W

    2008-02-01

    The acquisition of iron from mammalian hosts is an important aspect of infection because microbes must compete with the host for this nutrient and iron perception often regulates virulence factor expression. For example, iron levels are known to influence the elaboration of two major virulence factors, the polysaccharide capsule and melanin, in the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. This pathogen, which causes meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised people, acquires iron through the use of secreted reductants, cell surface reductases, a permease/ferroxidase uptake system and siderophore transporters. In addition, a master regulator, Cir1, integrates iron sensing with the expression of virulence factors, with growth at 37 degrees C and with signalling pathways that also influence virulence. The challenge ahead is to develop mechanistic views of the iron acquisition functions and regulatory schemes that operate when C. neoformans is in host tissue. Achieving these goals may contribute to an understanding of the notable predilection of the fungus for the mammalian central nervous system.

  1. A copper hyperaccumulation phenotype correlates with pathogenesis in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Raja, Meera R; Waterman, Scott R; Qiu, Jin; Bleher, Reiner; Williamson, Peter R; O'Halloran, Thomas V

    2013-04-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a major human pathogen and a cause of meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised patients. Many factors contribute to the extraordinary survivability and pathogenicity of this fungus in humans, including copper homeostasis pathways. Previous work has shown that deletion of the copper-dependent regulator Cuf1 results in decreased virulence and dissemination in brain infection, suggesting that copper acquisition is important to the persistence of this pathogen. Here, we show that the minimal copper quota of C. neoformans is maintained at a high level even when grown under conditions of stringent copper limitation. Intriguingly, when this fungal pathogen is grown in standard and copper-enriched media, it sequesters even higher levels of this essential metal, achieving levels that are far higher than non-pathogenic S. cerevisiae. The hypothesis that copper acquisition plays an essential role in virulence is further corroborated by the findings that a hypovirulent CUF1-deletant strain of C. neoformans retrieved from infected mice contains almost a 6-fold lower concentration of intracellular copper than the pathogenic wild-type strain. The concentration difference arises in part from larger-sized cuf1Δ cell. Under in vitro growth conditions, the size of the cuf1Δ cells is normal and the hypertrophy phenotype is readily induced in vitro under conditions of copper starvation. Taken together, these data suggest that acquisition of extraordinary levels of copper is an important factor in the survivability of the pathogen in the copper-deplete environment of infection, and effective copper concentration may play an important role in the pathogenesis of C. neoformans.

  2. Characterization of glycoinositolphosphoryl ceramide structure mutant strains of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Gutierrez, Ana L S; Farage, Layla; Melo, Manuel N; Mohana-Borges, Ronaldo S; Guerardel, Yann; Coddeville, Bernadete; Wieruszeski, Jean-Michel; Mendonça-Previato, Lucia; Previato, Jose O

    2007-06-01

    In fungi, glycoinositolphosphoryl ceramide (GIPC) biosynthetic pathway produces essential molecules for growth, viability, and virulence. In previous studies, we demonstrated that the opportunistic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans synthesizes a complex family of xylose-(Xyl) branched GIPCs, all of which have not been previously reported in fungi. As an effort to understand the biosynthesis of these sphingolipids, we have now characterized the structures of GIPCs from C. neoformans wild-type (KN99alpha) and mutant strains that lack UDP-Xyl, by disruption of either UDP-glucose dehydrogenase (NE321) or UDP-glucuronic acid decarboxylase (NE178). The structures of GIPCs were determined by a combination of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, tandem mass spectrometry (MS), and gas chromatography-MS. The main and largest GIPC from wild-type strain was identified as an alpha-Manp(1 --> 6)alpha-Manp(1 --> 3)alpha-Manp[beta-Xylp(1 --> 2)]alpha-Manp(1 --> 4)beta-Galp(1 --> 6)alpha-Manp(1 --> 2) Ins-1-P-Ceramide, whereas the most abundant GIPC from both mutant strains was found to be an alpha-Manp(1 --> 3)alpha-Manp(1 --> 4)beta-Galp(1 --> 6)alpha-Manp(1 --> 2)Ins-1-P-Ceramide. The ceramide moieties of C. neoformans wild-type and mutant strains were composed of a C(18) phytosphingosine, which was N-acylated with 2-hydroxy tetra-, or hexacosanoic acid, and 2,3-dihydroxy-tetracosanoic acid. Our structural analysis results indicate that the C. neoformans mutant strains are unable to complete the assembly of the GIPC-oligosaccharide moiety due the absence of Xyl side chain.

  3. Effects of murine natural killer cells on Cryptococcus neoformans

    SciTech Connect

    Nabavi Nouri, N.

    1985-01-01

    Previous data generated by Murphy and McDaniel indicate that normal murine nylon wool nonadherent splenic cells, with the characteristics of natural killer (NK) cells, effectively inhibit the in vitro growth of Cryptococcus neoformans, a yeast-like pathogen. Nylon wood nonadherent cells from spleens of 7-8 week old mice were further fractionated on discontinuous Percoll gradients. The enrichment of NK cells in Percoll fractions 1 and 2 was confirmed by morphological examination, immunofluorescent staining, and by assessing the cytolytic activity of each Percoll cell fraction against YAC-1 targets in the 4 h /sup 51/Cr release assay. Cells isolated from each Percoll fraction were tested for growth inhibitory activity against C neoformans, using an in vitro 18 h growth inhibition assay. The results showed that NK cell enrichment was concomitant with the enrichment of anti-cryptococcal activity the Percoll fractions 1 and 2. An immunolabeling method combined with scanning electron microscopy was used to demonstrate that the effector cells attached to C. neoformans were asialo GM/sub 1/ positive and, therefore, had NK cell characteristics. NK cells have Fc receptors on their surfaces , and are capable of antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) against IgG-coated target cells. The author examined the effects of the IgG fraction of rabbit anti-cryptococcal antibody on the NK cell-mediated growth inhibition of C. neoformans. The data indicated that the effector cells involved in antibody-dependent growth inhibition of cryptococci are either NK cells or copurify and coexist in the same population with NK cells.

  4. 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

  5. Differential gene expression in auristatin PHE-treated Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Woyke, Tanja; Berens, Michael E; Hoelzinger, Dominique B; Pettit, George R; Winkelmann, Günther; Pettit, Robin K

    2004-02-01

    The antifungal pentapeptide auristatin PHE was recently shown to interfere with microtubule dynamics and nuclear and cellular division in the opportunistic pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. To gain a broader understanding of the cellular response of C. neoformans to auristatin PHE, mRNA differential display (DD) and reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) were applied. Examination of approximately 60% of the cell transcriptome from cells treated with 1.5 times the MIC (7.89 micro M) of auristatin PHE for 90 min revealed 29 transcript expression differences between control and drug-treated populations. Differential expression of seven of the transcripts was confirmed by RT-PCR, as was drug-dependent modulation of an additional seven transcripts by RT-PCR only. Among genes found to be differentially expressed were those encoding proteins involved in transport, cell cycle regulation, signal transduction, cell stress, DNA repair, nucleotide metabolism, and capsule production. For example, RHO1 and an open reading frame (ORF) encoding a protein with 91% similarity to the Schizophyllum commune 14-3-3 protein, both involved in cell cycle regulation, were down-regulated, as was the gene encoding the multidrug efflux pump Afr1p. An ORF encoding a protein with 57% identity to the heat shock protein HSP104 in Pleurotus sajor-caju was up-regulated. Also, three transcripts of unknown function were responsive to auristatin PHE, which may eventually contribute to the elucidation of the function of their gene products. Further study of these differentially expressed genes and expression of their corresponding proteins are warranted to evaluate how they may be involved in the mechanism of action of auristatin PHE. This information may also contribute to an explanation of the selectivity of auristatin PHE for C. neoformans. This is the first report of drug action using DD in C. neoformans.

  6. Differential Gene Expression in Auristatin PHE-Treated Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Woyke, Tanja; Berens, Michael E.; Hoelzinger, Dominique B.; Pettit, George R.; Winkelmann, Günther; Pettit, Robin K.

    2004-01-01

    The antifungal pentapeptide auristatin PHE was recently shown to interfere with microtubule dynamics and nuclear and cellular division in the opportunistic pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. To gain a broader understanding of the cellular response of C. neoformans to auristatin PHE, mRNA differential display (DD) and reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) were applied. Examination of approximately 60% of the cell transcriptome from cells treated with 1.5 times the MIC (7.89 μM) of auristatin PHE for 90 min revealed 29 transcript expression differences between control and drug-treated populations. Differential expression of seven of the transcripts was confirmed by RT-PCR, as was drug-dependent modulation of an additional seven transcripts by RT-PCR only. Among genes found to be differentially expressed were those encoding proteins involved in transport, cell cycle regulation, signal transduction, cell stress, DNA repair, nucleotide metabolism, and capsule production. For example, RHO1 and an open reading frame (ORF) encoding a protein with 91% similarity to the Schizophyllum commune 14-3-3 protein, both involved in cell cycle regulation, were down-regulated, as was the gene encoding the multidrug efflux pump Afr1p. An ORF encoding a protein with 57% identity to the heat shock protein HSP104 in Pleurotus sajor-caju was up-regulated. Also, three transcripts of unknown function were responsive to auristatin PHE, which may eventually contribute to the elucidation of the function of their gene products. Further study of these differentially expressed genes and expression of their corresponding proteins are warranted to evaluate how they may be involved in the mechanism of action of auristatin PHE. This information may also contribute to an explanation of the selectivity of auristatin PHE for C. neoformans. This is the first report of drug action using DD in C. neoformans. PMID:14742210

  7. 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

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

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed Central

    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

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25849373

  10. Extracellular proteins of Cryptococcus neoformans and host antibody response.

    PubMed Central

    Chen, L C; Pirofski, L A; Casadevall, A

    1997-01-01

    Proteins secreted by the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans may be involved in invasion and could be useful in vaccine design. Despite the medical importance of this fungus, little is known about its extracellular proteins or the immune response to these antigens. To study C. neoformans extracellular proteins, 12 strains were metabolically radiolabeled and protein supernatants were analyzed. Both strain- and growth condition-dependent differences were observed. Enzymatic assays of filtered culture supernatants revealed butyrate esterase and caprylate esterase lipase activity for 11 of 12 strains, as well as acid phosphatase, naphthol-AS-BI-phosphohydrolase, and beta-glucosidase activities in some strains. Serum from infected rodents immunoprecipitated several secreted proteins, consistent with in vivo expression and development of an antibody response. For strain 24067, two immunodominant species, of approximately 75 and 30 kDa, were recognized. The relative intensity of the autoradiographic bands depended on the route of infection for both rats and mice. In summary, our results indicate that (i) there are multiple proteins in C. neoformans culture supernatants, (ii) there are strain differences in supernatant protein profiles, (iii) there are differences in supernatant protein profile depending on the growth conditions, (iv) there are several new extracellular and/or cell-associated enzymatic activities, and (v) antibodies to several supernatant proteins are made in the course of infection. PMID:9199426

  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. 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

  13. Role of Cln1 during melanization of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  15. Modulation of Replicative Lifespan in Cryptococcus neoformans: Implications for Virulence

    PubMed Central

    Bouklas, Tejas; Jain, Neena; Fries, Bettina C.

    2017-01-01

    The fungal pathogen, Cryptococcus neoformans, has been shown to undergo replicative aging. Old cells are characterized by advanced generational age and phenotypic changes that appear to mediate enhanced resistance to host and antifungal-based killing. As a consequence of this age-associated resilience, old cells accumulate during chronic infection. Based on these findings, we hypothesized that shifting the generational age of a pathogenic yeast population would alter its vulnerability to the host and affect its virulence. SIR2 is a well-conserved histone deacetylase, and a pivotal target for the development of anti-aging drugs. We tested its effect on C. neoformans’ replicative lifespan (RLS). First, a mutant C. neoformans strain (sir2Δ) was generated, and confirmed a predicted shortened RLS in sir2Δ cells consistent with its known role in aging. Next, RLS analysis showed that treatment of C. neoformans with Sir2p-agonists resulted in a significantly prolonged RLS, whereas treatment with a Sir2p-antagonist shortened RLS. RLS modulating effects were dependent on SIR2 and not observed in sir2Δ cells. Because SIR2 loss resulted in a slightly impaired fitness, effects of genetic RLS modulation on virulence could not be compared with wild type cells. Instead we chose to chemically modulate RLS, and investigated the effect of Sir2p modulating drugs on C. neoformans cells in a Galleria mellonella infection model. Consistent with our hypothesis that shifts in the generational age of the infecting yeast population alters its vulnerability to host cells, we observed decreased virulence of C. neoformans in the Galleria host when RLS was prolonged by treatment with Sir2p agonists. In contrast, treatment with a Sir2p antagonist, which shortens RLS enhanced virulence in Galleria. In addition, combination of Sir2p agonists with antifungal therapy enhanced the antifungal’s effect. Importantly, no difference in virulence was observed with drug treatment when sir2Δ cells

  16. Molecular typing and antifungal susceptibility of clinical and environmental Cryptococcus neoformans species complex isolates in Goiania, Brazil.

    PubMed

    Souza, L K H; Souza Junior, A H; Costa, C R; Faganello, J; Vainstein, M H; Chagas, A L B; Souza, A C M; Silva, M R R

    2010-01-01

    A total of 124 Cryptococcus isolates, including 84 clinical strains obtained from cerebrospinal fluid from AIDS patients and 40 environmental isolates from pigeon excreta and from Eucalyptus trees, were studied. The varieties, serotypes, phospholipase activity and molecular profile of these isolates were determined. Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii serotype A was identified in 120 isolates and Cryptococcus gattii serotype B in four isolates. The clinical isolates showed higher phospholipase activity than environmental isolates. Similar patterns of in vitro susceptibility to amphotericin B, fluconazole, itraconazole and voriconazole and no resistance were found for all isolates. Molecular type VNI (C. neoformans var. grubii) was recovered in 80 clinical and 40 environmental isolates while the type VGIII (C. gattii) was found in four clinical isolates. This study demonstrated for the first time the molecular types of clinical and environmental Cryptococcus isolates in the midwest Brazil region.

  17. First report of two cases of cryptococcosis in Tripoli, Libya, infected with Cryptococcus neoformans isolates present in the urban area.

    PubMed

    Ellabib, M S; Krema, Z A; Allafi, A A; Cogliati, M

    2017-09-01

    Cryptococcosis is a potentially fatal fungal disease caused by the basidiomycetes yeasts Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii with high predilection to invade the central nervous system mainly in immunocompromised hosts. Skin can be secondarily involved in disseminated infection or be exceptionally involved as primary cutaneous infection by inoculation with contaminated materials. We report the first two Libyan cases of cryptococcal meningitis in HIV patients, in which one of them presented a secondary cutaneous involvement due to systemic dissemination. The first patient was a 17-year-old female, had fever, cough, headache and intractable vomiting as well as itchy water bumps on her skin and upper limbs. The cutaneous eruption prompted the accurate diagnosis. Cultures were positive for C. neoformans in both cerebrospinal fluid and skin specimens, as well as cryptococcal antigen was detected in serum. The isolate was identified, by molecular analysis, as C. neoformans AD-hybrid belonging to molecular type VNIII and mating type αAAα, the same genotype found for some environmental isolates recovered from olive trees in Tripoli. The second patient was a 36-years-old male with a long history of HIV on irregular treatment. Cryptococcal antigen in serum was positive and cultures yielded the growth of C. neoformans var. grubii, molecular type VNI and mating type αA. Both patients did not respond adequately to treatment and died of impaired central nervous system function and respiratory failure, respectively. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-09

    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. Cryptococcus neoformans is an environmental fungus causing severe disease, estimated to be responsible for 600,000 deaths per year worldwide. This species is divided into serotypes A and D and an AD hybrid, and these could be considered two

  19. Diagnosis and successful treatment of Cryptococcus neoformans variety grubii in a domestic ferret

    PubMed Central

    Hanley, Christopher S.; MacWilliams, Peter; Giles, Steve; Paré, Jean

    2006-01-01

    A domestic ferret was presented for episodic regurgitation. Cytologic examination and culture of an enlarged submandibular lymph node revealed Cryptococcus neoformans variety grubii (serotype A). The ferret was successfully treated with itraconazole. This is the first documented case of Cryptococcus neoformans variety grubii in a ferret in the United States. PMID:17078253

  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. First Isolation of Azole-Resistant Cryptococcus neoformans from Feline Cryptococcosis.

    PubMed

    Kano, Rui; Okubo, Miki; Yanai, Tokuma; Hasegawa, Atsuhiko; Kamata, Hiroshi

    2015-12-01

    We report here, to the best of our knowledge, the first description of an in vitro fluconazole (FLZ)-resistant Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii from a case of feline cryptococcosis. In vitro testing demonstrated that this isolate was resistant to FLZ (minimum inhibitory concentration, MIC, of 128 μg/ml) but remained susceptible to amphotericin B (0.064 µg/ml), itraconazole (0.38 µg/ml), voriconazole (0.023 µg/ml), and posaconazole (0.125 µg/ml). The predicted amino acid sequence of the lanosterol 14-α demethylase (ERG11) protein in the isolate was identical to that of the C. neoformans var. grubii reference strain, indicating that resistance was not mediated by mutation of the target gene's open reading frame. The RT-qPCR analysis for ERG11 and ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter-encoding gene (AFR1) indicated that the isolate increased transcription factor function of ERG11 and AFR1 than that of FLZ-susceptive strains. This observation, in combination with the lack of resistance to other azoles (that is, lack of crossresistance), suggests that resistance in our isolate was the result of overexpression of the endogenous ERG11 and ABC transporter.

  3. 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.

  4. Natural cellular resistance of beige mice against Cryptococcus neoformans

    SciTech Connect

    Hidore, M.R.; Murphy, J.W.

    1986-12-01

    Previous reports have demonstrated that natural killer (NK) cells are capable of inhibiting the growth of Cryptococcus neoformans in vitro, and recent studies indicate that adoptively transferred NK cell-enriched spleen cell populations enhance clearance of cryptococci from the tissues of cyclophosphamide-pretreated recipients. The primary objective of these studies was to confirm that NK cells participate in early clearance of C. neoformans in vivo. Secondarily, the anti-cryptococcal activities of polymorphonuclear leukocytes and macrophages were examined. Seven-week-old C57BL/6 bg/+ mice, which have normal levels of NK cell activity, were compared with their bg/bg littermates, which have impaired NK cell function. One and 3 days after injecting both groups of mice i.v. with 2 x 10/sup 4/ cryptococci, the authors assessed the NK cell activities in spleens, lungs, and livers and clearance of the organism from corresponding tissues as determined by the mean log/sub 1//sup 0/ numbers of cryptococcal colony-forming units (CFU) per organ. Although the data indicated a correlation between early clearance of cryptococci from tissues and levels of NK cell activities in the corresponding tissues, it was also possible that differences in phagocytic cell function between the bg/+ and bg/bg animals could account for the observed differences in clearance of cryptococci from the tissues. These data indicate that NK cells were the effector cells responsible for enhanced early clearance of cryptococci from the tissues of bg/+ animals when compared with clearance from the tissues of the bg/bg littermates. Furthermore, they confirm the hypothesis that NK cells can affect C. neoformans under in vivo conditions.

  5. 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

  6. Human Neutrophil-Mediated Nonoxidative Antifungal Activity against Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Mambula, Salamatu S.; Simons, Elizabeth R.; Hastey, Ryan; Selsted, Michael E.; Levitz, Stuart M.

    2000-01-01

    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 percents 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 C4 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

  7. Endophytic fungal compounds active against Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii.

    PubMed

    Pereira, Cristiane B; de Oliveira, Djalma M; Hughes, Alice Fs; Kohlhoff, Markus; LA Vieira, Mariana; Martins Vaz, Aline B; Ferreira, Mariana C; Carvalho, Camila R; Rosa, Luiz H; Rosa, Carlos A; Alves, Tânia Ma; Zani, Carlos L; Johann, Susana; Cota, Betania B

    2015-07-01

    Infections with Cryptococcus are invasive mycoses associated with significant morbidity and mortality, mainly in immunosuppressed patients. Several drugs have been introduced to combat these opportunistic infections. However, resistance of this organism to antifungal drugs has increased, causing difficulties in the treatment. The goal of this work was to evaluate the antifungal activity of ethanol extracts from endophytic fungi isolated from plants collected from different Brazilian ecosystems and to perform the fractionation of the most promising extract. Four-hundred fungal extracts were investigated by microdilution broth assays against Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii at a concentration of 500 μg ml(-1). Among them, the extract of Mycosphaerella sp. UFMGCB 2032, an endophytic fungus isolated from the plant Eugenia bimarginata DC. (Myrtaceae) exhibited outstanding antifungal activity against C. neoformans and C. gattii, with MIC values of 31.2 μg ml(-1) and 7.8 μg ml(-1), respectively. The fractionation of this extract using liquid-liquid partitioning and semi-preparative HPLC afforded two eicosanoic acids with antifungal activity, compound 1, (2S,3R,4R)-(E)-2-amino-3,4-dihydroxy-2-(hydroxymethyl)-14-oxoeicos-6,12-dienoic acid with MIC values ranging from 1.3-2.50 μg ml(-1), and compound 2, known as myriocin, with MIC values of 0.5 μg ml(-1) against C. neoformans and C. gattii. These compounds are reported for the first time in the Mycosphaerella genus.

  8. Biotinylation and characterization of Cryptococcus neoformans cell surface proteins.

    PubMed

    Foster, A J; Bird, R A; Smith, S N

    2007-08-01

    To develop a novel procedure for isolating and characterizing cryptococcal cell-surface proteins using biotinylation, fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-streptavidin, flow cytometry and associated ligand-receptor analysis, confocal microscopy and electrophoretic separation. Cell proteins of both acapsulate and encapsulated Cryptococcus neoformans cells were labelled using sulfo-NHS-biotin which, in turn, was complexed with FITC-streptavidin. Resulting cell population fluorescence supported visualization of cell-surface protein distribution by confocal microscopy, as well as evaluation of protein exposure by flow cytometry and the calculation of the ligand-binding determinants EC(50), F(max) and H(n). Biotinylation of cell-surface proteins also supported their isolation by affinity chromatography and characterization by SDS/PAGE. Ligand-binding determinants, such as EC(50) values, indicated that acapsulate and stationary phase cells have greatest affinity for biotin. F(max) values demonstrated greatest protein exposure among stationary phase cells; in turn, encapsulated cells expose more protein than acapsulate counterparts. H(n) values of below unity potentially confirm the complex multi-receptor nature of biotin binding to cryptococcal cell surfaces under investigation. Fluorescence visualization showed marked but localized fluorescence indicative of protein exposure around sites of cell division. In turn, biotinylation of cell-surface proteins and their release under reducing conditions demonstrated at least two noncovalently linked proteinaceous entities, of 43 and 57 kDa, exposed on acapsulate cryptococcal cell walls. A novel method for identifying, in situ, cell-surface proteins exposed by C. neoformans was established. This novel technique was successfully implemented using both acapsulate and encapsulated C. neoformans cells, both were found to have dynamic and markedly localized protein distribution around sites of cell division and associated cell wall

  9. An encapsulation of iron homeostasis and virulence in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Kronstad, James W; Hu, Guanggan; Jung, Won Hee

    2013-09-01

    Vertebrate hosts actively sequester iron, and fungal and other pathogens must therefore adapt to a severe limitation in iron availability to cause disease. Recent studies reveal that the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans overcomes iron limitation by multiple mechanisms that target transferrin and heme. The regulation of iron uptake is mediated by an interconnected set of transcription factors that include the master iron regulator Cir1 and the pH-responsive factor Rim101. These factors integrate iron homeostasis with a myriad of other functions including pH sensing, nutrient and stress signaling pathways, virulence factor elaboration, and cell wall biogenesis.

  10. Multicenter Comparison of Three Different Analytical Systems for Evaluation of DNA Banding Patterns from Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Cardinali, Gianluigi; Martini, Alessandro; Preziosi, Roberta; Bistoni, Francesco; Baldelli, Franco

    2002-01-01

    The enormous improvement of molecular typing techniques for epidemiological and clinical studies has not always been matched by an equivalent effort in applying optimal criteria for the analysis of both phenotypic and molecular data. In spite of the availability of a large collection of statistical and phylogenetic methods, the vast majority of commercial packages are limited by using only the unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean algorithm to construct trees and by considering electrophoretic pattern only as migration distances. The latter method has serious drawbacks when different runs (separate gels) of the same molecular analysis are to be compared. This work presents a multicenter comparison of three different systems of banding pattern analysis on random amplified polymorphic DNA, (GACA)4, and contour-clamped homogeneous electric field patterns from strains of Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans isolated in different clinical and geographical situations and a standard Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain employed as an outgroup. The systems considered were evaluated for their actual ability to(i) recognize identities, (ii) define complete differences (i.e., the ability to place S. cerevisiae out of the C. neoformans cluster), and (iii) estimate the extent of similarity among different strains. The ability to cluster strains according to the patient from which they were isolated was also evaluated. The results indicate that different algorithms do indeed produce divergent trees, both in overall topology and in clustering of individual strains, thus suggesting that care must be taken by individual investigators to use the most appropriate procedure and by the scientific community in defining a consensus system. PMID:12037071

  11. Killing of Caenorhabditis elegans by Cryptococcus neoformans as a model of yeast pathogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Mylonakis, Eleftherios; Ausubel, Frederick M.; Perfect, John R.; Heitman, Joseph; Calderwood, Stephen B.

    2002-01-01

    We found that the well-studied nematode Caenorhabditis elegans can use various yeasts, including Cryptococcus laurentii and Cryptococcus kuetzingii, as a sole source of food, producing similar brood sizes compared with growth on its usual laboratory food source Escherichia coli OP50. C. elegans grown on these yeasts had a life span similar to (C. laurentii) or longer than (C. kuetzingii) those fed on E. coli. However, the human pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans killed C. elegans, and the C. neoformans polysaccharide capsule as well as several C. neoformans genes previously shown to be involved in mammalian virulence were also shown to play a role in C. elegans killing. These included genes associated with signal transduction pathways (GPA1, PKA1, PKR1, and RAS1), laccase production (LAC1), and the α mating type. C. neoformans adenine auxotrophs, which are less virulent in mammals, were also less virulent in C. elegans. These results support the model that mammalian pathogenesis of C. neoformans may be a consequence of adaptations that have evolved during the interaction of C. neoformans with environmental predators such as free-living nematodes and amoebae and suggest that C. elegans can be used as a simple model host in which C. neoformans pathogenesis can be readily studied. PMID:12438649

  12. STAT1 signaling within macrophages is required for antifungal activity against Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

    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.

  13. Phospholipids Trigger Cryptococcus neoformans Capsular Enlargement during Interactions with Amoebae and Macrophages

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    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. PMID:21637814

  14. Cryptococcus neoformans/Cryptococcus gattii species complex in southern Italy: an overview on the environmental diffusion of serotypes, genotypes and mating-types.

    PubMed

    Romeo, Orazio; Scordino, Fabio; Chillemi, Valeria; Criseo, Giuseppe

    2012-10-01

    Given the lack of comprehensive molecular epidemiology studies in Reggio Calabria and Messina, Italy, we decided to perform an extensive environmental sampling to describe the current molecular epidemiology of C. neoformans/C. gattii species complex in southern Italy. In this study, we report the occurrence of serotypes, genotypes and mating-types of isolates of the C. neoformans/C. gattii species complex recovered from environmental sources. In addition, a number of environmental C. neoformans var. grubii strains, isolated in 1997 by our laboratory, were also retrospectively examined in order to compare their genotypes with those recently found and to infer the possible epidemiological changes in our country. One hundred and twenty-two isolates were identified as being C. neoformans, whereas only one was found to belong to C. gattii serotype B, genotype VGI and mating-type alpha. Our data revealed that all environmental isolates of C. neoformans recovered here as well as those previously isolated in 1997 belong to serotype A and genotype VNI and posses a mating-type alpha allele.

  15. Antifungal susceptibilities of clinical and environmental isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans in Goiânia city, Goiás, Brazil.

    PubMed

    Souza, Lúcia Kioko Hasimoto; Fernandes, Orionalda de Fátima Lisboa; Kobayashi, Cláudia Castelo Branco Artiaga; Passos, Xisto Sena; Costa, Carolina Rodrigues; Lemos, Janine Aquino; Souza-Júnior, Ary Henrique; Silva, Maria do Rosário Rodrigues

    2005-01-01

    We evaluated the antifungal activities of amphotericin B, fluconazole, itraconazole and voriconazole in 70 Cryptococcus neoformans strains obtained from cerebrospinal fluid from AIDS patients and 40 C. neoformans strains isolated from the environment. Four clinical isolates were identified as C. neoformans var. gattii. The susceptibility test was done using a broth microdilution method according to NCCLS M27-A2. Range minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) for C. neoformans clinical isolates were 0.06-1.0 microg/mL for amphotericin B, 0.125-8 microg/mL for fluconazole, 0.03-0.5 microg/mL for itraconazole and 0.03-0.25 microg/mL for voriconazole. C. neoformans environmental isolates showed range MICs 0.015-0.125 microg/mL, 0.25-2.0 microg/mL, 0.007-0.125 microg/mL and 0.03-0.25 microg/mL for amphotericin B, fluconazole, itraconazole and voriconazole respectively. The MICs results obtained from clinical and environmental isolates showed similar pattern of susceptibility and no resistance has been found in our isolates.

  16. 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.

  17. Transcriptional control of sexual development in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Mead, Matthew E.; Hull, Christina M.

    2017-01-01

    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

  18. Mannoproteins from Cryptococcus neoformans promote dendritic cell maturation and activation.

    PubMed

    Pietrella, Donatella; Corbucci, Cristina; Perito, Stefano; Bistoni, Giovanni; Vecchiarelli, Anna

    2005-02-01

    Our previous data show that mannoproteins (MPs) from Cryptococcus neoformans are able to induce protective responses against both C. neoformans and Candida albicans. Here we provide evidence that MPs foster maturation and activation of human dendritic cells (DCs). Maturation was evaluated by the ability of MPs to facilitate expression of costimulatory molecules such as CD40, CD86, CD83, and major histocompatibility complex classes I and II and to inhibit receptors such as CD14, CD16, and CD32. Activation of DCs was measured by the capacity of MPs to promote interleukin-12 and tumor necrosis factor alpha secretion. DC-induced maturation and interleukin-12 induction are largely mediated by engagement of mannose receptors and presume MP internalization and degradation. DC activation leads to IkappaBalpha phosphorylation, which is necessary for nuclear factor kappaB transmigration into the nucleus. MP-loaded DCs are efficient stimulators of T cells and show a remarkable capacity to promote CD4 and CD8 proliferation. In conclusion, we have evidenced a novel regulatory role of MPs that promotes their candidacy as a vaccine against fungi.

  19. Mannoproteins from Cryptococcus neoformans Promote Dendritic Cell Maturation and Activation

    PubMed Central

    Pietrella, Donatella; Corbucci, Cristina; Perito, Stefano; Bistoni, Giovanni; Vecchiarelli, Anna

    2005-01-01

    Our previous data show that mannoproteins (MPs) from Cryptococcus neoformans are able to induce protective responses against both C. neoformans and Candida albicans. Here we provide evidence that MPs foster maturation and activation of human dendritic cells (DCs). Maturation was evaluated by the ability of MPs to facilitate expression of costimulatory molecules such as CD40, CD86, CD83, and major histocompatibility complex classes I and II and to inhibit receptors such as CD14, CD16, and CD32. Activation of DCs was measured by the capacity of MPs to promote interleukin-12 and tumor necrosis factor alpha secretion. DC-induced maturation and interleukin-12 induction are largely mediated by engagement of mannose receptors and presume MP internalization and degradation. DC activation leads to IκBα phosphorylation, which is necessary for nuclear factor κB transmigration into the nucleus. MP-loaded DCs are efficient stimulators of T cells and show a remarkable capacity to promote CD4 and CD8 proliferation. In conclusion, we have evidenced a novel regulatory role of MPs that promotes their candidacy as a vaccine against fungi. PMID:15664921

  20. 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

  1. Inositol phosphosphingolipid phospholipase C1 regulates plasma membrane ATPase (Pma1) stability in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Farnoud, Amir M; Mor, Visesato; Singh, Ashutosh; Del Poeta, Maurizio

    2014-11-03

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a facultative intracellular pathogen, which can replicate in the acidic environment inside phagolysosomes. Deletion of the enzyme inositol-phosphosphingolipid-phospholipase-C (Isc1) makes C. neoformans hypersensitive to acidic pH likely by inhibiting the function of the proton pump, plasma membrane ATPase (Pma1). In this work, we examined the role of Isc1 on Pma1 transport and oligomerization. Our studies showed that Isc1 deletion did not affect Pma1 synthesis or transport, but significantly inhibited Pma1 oligomerization. Interestingly, Pma1 oligomerization could be restored by supplementing the medium with phytoceramide. These results offer insight into the mechanism of intracellular survival of C. neoformans.

  2. 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.

  3. Role of birds of prey as carriers and spreaders of Cryptococcus neoformans and other zoonotic yeasts.

    PubMed

    Cafarchia, C; Romito, D; Iatta, R; Camarda, A; Montagna, M T; Otranto, D

    2006-09-01

    In the last 20 years, cases of human cryptococcosis, have increased in immunocompromised patients. In several instances, the cases have been associated with the exposure of the patients to bird droppings. In order to investigate birds of prey as potential carriers and spreaders of Cryptococcus neoformans and other yeasts of importance in human infections, 182 swab samples were collected from the cloacae of several species of birds of prey (Group I) and 32 faecal samples from aviaries in which the birds were housed (Group II). Samples were also taken from digestive tract of 60 dead birds (Group III). A total of 454 samples were cultured from which 215 colonies of yeastlike fungi were recovered and identified. Cryptococcusneoformans var. grubii was isolated from three cloacae samples (4.8%) collected from Falco tinnunculus and from one sample (3.1%) obtained from Buteo buteo, as well as from samples collected at the aviaries in which these birds were kept. Overall, 18 samples (9.9%) from Group I, 13 (40.6%) from Group II, 12 crops (20%), three proventriculi (5%) and 12 cloacae (20%) from Group III yielded positive cultures for yeasts. The results indicate that birds of prey and in particular, F. tinnunculus and B. buteo, may act as carriers and spreaders of C. neoformans and other zoonotic yeasts.

  4. 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

  5. Genotypes of Clinical and Environmental Isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii in Korea

    PubMed Central

    Park, So Hae; Choi, Seok Cheol; Lee, Kyung Won; Kim, Mi-Na

    2015-01-01

    Multilocus sequence typing analysis was applied to determine the genotypes of 147 (137 clinical and 10 environmental) Cryptococcus neoformans and three clinical Cryptococcus gattii isolates from 1993 to 2014 in Korea. Among the 137 clinical isolates of C. neoformans, the most prevalent genotype was ST5 (n = 131), followed by ST31 (n = 5) and ST127 (n = 1). Three C. gattii strains were identified as ST57, ST7, and ST113. All environmental isolates were identified as C. neoformans with two genotypes, ST5 (n = 7) and ST31 (n = 3). Our results show that C. neoformans isolates in Korea are genetically homogeneous, and represent a close genetic relationship between clinical and environmental isolates. PMID:26539057

  6. Aging: an emergent phenotypic trait that contributes to the virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Bouklas, Tejas; Fries, Bettina C

    2015-01-01

    The pathogenic fungus, Cryptococcus neoformans, is known to undergo phenotypic variation, which affects its virulence in the host. Recent investigations on C. neoformans cells in humans have validated the concept that phenotypic variation is present and relevant for the outcome of chronic cryptococcosis. The C. neoformans capsule is not the only trait that varies among strains. An emerging variant is the "old cell phenotype" generated when C. neoformans undergoes replicative aging. This phenotype, which other than larger size also exhibits a thickened cell wall, inhibits phagocytosis and killing by antifungals in vitro. In concert with the finding that old cells accumulate in vivo, this emergent trait could have significant impact on cryptococcal virulence and infection, and contribute to treatment failure.

  7. Aging as an emergent factor that contributes to phenotypic variation in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Bouklas, Tejas; Fries, Bettina C

    2015-05-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans, similar to other eukaryotes, undergoes replicative aging. Replicative life spans have been determined for clinical C. neoformans strains, and although they are a reproducible trait, life spans vary considerably among strains. C. neoformans has been proposed as an ideal model organism to investigate the contribution of replicative aging in a fungal pathogen population to emerging phenotypic variation during chronic cryptococcal infections. C. neoformans cells of advanced generational age manifest a distinct phenotype; specifically, a larger cell size, a thicker cell wall, drug resistance, as well as resistance to hydrogen peroxide-mediated killing. Consequently, old cells are selected in the host environment during chronic infection and aging could be an unanticipated mechanism of pathogen adaptation that contributes to persistent disease. Aging as a natural process of phenotypic variation should be further studied as it likely is also relevant for other eukaryotic pathogen populations that undergo asymmetric replicative aging.

  8. 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

  9. The Cell Wall and Membrane of Cryptococcus neoformans Possess a Mitogen for Human T Lymphocytes

    PubMed Central

    Mody, Christopher H.; Wood, Cynthia J.; Syme, Rachel M.; Spurrell, Jason C. L.

    1999-01-01

    The mechanism of human T-lymphocyte activation by the pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans has not been established. Previous investigations have suggested that C. neoformans contains a mitogen for T lymphocytes, while other investigators have attributed lymphocyte proliferation in vitro to a recall antigen. Because of the potential importance of the mechanism of T-cell activation for our understanding of the immune response to C. neoformans, the present studies were performed to determine whether C. neoformans contains a mitogen for T lymphocytes. C. neoformans stimulates fetal blood lymphocytes to proliferate and stimulates proliferation of CD45RA+ cells from adults, indicating that it stimulates naive T cells. The T-cell response to C. neoformans was dependent upon the presence of accessory cells. However, allogeneic cells were sufficient for accessory cell function, indicating that the response was not major histocompatibility complex restricted. The percentage of T cells in the cell cycle was higher than that with the recall antigen tetanus toxoid but lower than that with the mitogenic lectin phytohemagglutinin A or the superantigen Staphylococcus enterotoxin B. Precursor frequency analysis established that 1 in 7,750 ± 2,270 T cells proliferated in response to the cryptococcal cell wall and membrane. Compared to the case for most mitogens or superantigens, the proliferative response is late and the number of T cells that enter the cell cycle and the precursor frequency are low, indicating that the mitogenic effect is modest. However, the mitogenic effect of C. neoformans should be considered when interpreting the immune response to C. neoformans, since even weak mitogens can have profound effects on host defense. PMID:9916111

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Geographically structured populations of Cryptococcus neoformans Variety grubii in Asia correlate with HIV status and show a clonal population structure.

    PubMed

    Khayhan, Kantarawee; Hagen, Ferry; Pan, Weihua; Simwami, Sitali; Fisher, Matthew C; Wahyuningsih, Retno; Chakrabarti, Arunaloke; Chowdhary, Anuradha; Ikeda, Reiko; Taj-Aldeen, Saad J; Khan, Ziauddin; Ip, Margaret; Imran, Darma; Sjam, Ridhawati; Sriburee, Pojana; Liao, Wanqing; Chaicumpar, Kunyaluk; Vuddhakul, Varaporn; Meyer, Wieland; Trilles, Luciana; van Iersel, Leo J J; Meis, Jacques F; Klaassen, Corné H W; Boekhout, Teun

    2013-01-01

    Cryptococcosis is an important fungal disease in Asia with an estimated 140,000 new infections annually the majority of which occurs in patients suffering from HIV/AIDS. Cryptococcus neoformans variety grubii (serotype A) is the major causative agent of this disease. In the present study, multilocus sequence typing (MLST) using the ISHAM MLST consensus scheme for the C. neoformans/C. gattii species complex was used to analyse nucleotide polymorphisms among 476 isolates of this pathogen obtained from 8 Asian countries. Population genetic analysis showed that the Asian C. neoformans var. grubii population shows limited genetic diversity and demonstrates a largely clonal mode of reproduction when compared with the global MLST dataset. HIV-status, sequence types and geography were found to be confounded. However, a correlation between sequence types and isolates from HIV-negative patients was observed among the Asian isolates. Observations of high gene flow between the Middle Eastern and the Southeastern Asian populations suggest that immigrant workers in the Middle East were originally infected in Southeastern Asia.

  13. Fitness distribution and transgressive segregation across 40 environments in a hybrid progeny population of the human-pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Shahid, Morvarid; Han, Susan; Yoell, Heather; Xu, Jianping

    2008-04-01

    The opportunistic human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans includes two varieties, C. neoformans var. grubii and C. neoformans var. neoformans, which correspond to serotypes A and D, respectively. Recent population genetic studies revealed that multiple natural hybridizations have occurred recently between these two divergent lineages. However, the biological effects of such hybridizations are little understood. In this study, we used colony size as a proxy for vegetative fitness to examine the phenotypic effects of hybridization between these two lineages in a laboratory cross. Two genetically diverged parental strains that differed in their growth at different temperatures and on different media as well as in their susceptibility to the common antifungal drug fluconazole were chosen. A total of 269 progeny were obtained and their vegetative growth was determined in 40 environments that differed in nutrients, temperature, and fluconazole concentration. Our analyses indicated little evidence for outbreeding depression or heterosis in the average vegetative fitness of the hybrid progeny population. The progeny, each of the three environmental variables, and their two-way, three-way, and four-way interactions all contributed significantly to the overall vegetative fitness variation. Interestingly, a variable number of progeny displayed evidence of transgressive segregation in vegetative fitness among the tested environments. Our study suggests that hybridization could play a significant role in the phenotypic evolution of this important human-pathogenic fungus.

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

    PubMed

    Guazzelli, Lorenzo; McCabe, Orla; Oscarson, Stefan

    2016-10-04

    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.

  15. CSN1201, a subunit of the COP9 signalosome, regulates the virulence in Cryptococcus neoformans infection.

    PubMed

    Fan, Yibin; Tao, Xiaohua; Pan, Weili; Fang, Wei; Huang, Youming; Jia, Mingyan

    2016-11-30

    The COP9 signalosome (CSN) is a multisubunit protein complex, and it now has been found to participate in diverse cellular and developmental processes in various eukaryotic organisms. Cryptococcus neoformans (C. neoformans) is an important basidiomycete pathogen that causes life-threatening meningoencephalitis primarily in the immune compromised population. Here, we generated CSN deletion mutants to investigate the role in Cryptococcus infection. Compared to other CSN mutants, we identified a CSN1201 mutant exhibited severely attenuated virulence. Deletion of CSN1201 made cryptococcal cells more susceptible to nearly all in vitro stresses. Furthermore, deletion of CSN1201 obviously impaired survival of C. neoformans. At the same time, in vivo virulence assay of mouse infection models demonstrated that CSN1201 significantly enhanced the virulence of C. neoformans compared with the other CSN subunit strains, while ELISA analysis of C. neoformans infection in innate or adaptive immune response showed that deletion of CSN1201 significantly impaired cytokines and interferon expression. In vitro model of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) analysis indicated that deletion of CSN1201 reduced the invasion efficacy of Cryptococcusto cross BBB. Taken together, our findings reveal a novel mechanism of CSN1201, which plays a critical role for the virulence composite of C. neoformans, and also provides an additional yeast survival and propagation advantage in the host.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Dancing cheek to cheek: Cryptococcus neoformans and phagocytes.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Mingshun; Sun, Donglei; Shi, Meiqing

    2015-01-01

    Meningoencephalitis caused by Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn) has become one of the leading causes of mortality in AIDS patients. Understanding the interactions between Cn and phagocytes is fundamental in exploring the pathogenicity of cryptococcal meningoencephalitis. Cn may be extracellular or contained in the monocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, dendritic cells and even endothelial cells. The internalized Cn may proliferate inside the host cells, or cause the lysis of host cells, or leave the host cells via non-lytic exocytosis, or even hijack the host cells (Trojan horse) for the brain dissemination, which are regulated by microbe factors and also immune molecules. Coexistence of protective and deleterious roles of phagocytes in the progression of cryptococcosis warrant further investigation.

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

    PubMed

    Gibson, Josie F; Johnston, Simon A

    2015-05-01

    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.

  1. Cryptococcus neoformans as a Model for Radioimmunotherapy of Infections

    PubMed Central

    Dadachova, Ekaterina; Casadevall, Arturo

    2011-01-01

    There is an obvious and urgent need for novel approaches to treat infectious diseases. The use of monoclonal antibodies in therapy of infectious diseases is now experiencing renewed interest. During the last 5 years radioimmunotherapy (RIT), a modality previously developed only for cancer treatment, has been successfully adapted for the treatment of experimental fungal, bacterial, and viral infections. As our model organism for studying the efficacy, mechanisms, potential toxicity, and radioresistance to RIT, as well as for comparison of RIT with the existing antimicrobial therapies we have chosen the encapsulated yeast Cryptococcus neoformans (CN). The success of RIT approach in laboratory studies provides encouragement for feasibility of therapeutically targeting microbes with labeled antibodies. In addition, the creation of “panantibodies” for RIT which would recognize antigens shared by the whole class of pathogens such as fungi, for example, would facilitate the introduction of RIT into the clinic. PMID:21747848

  2. 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

  3. Interactions between Triazoles and Amphotericin B against Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Barchiesi, Francesco; Schimizzi, Anna M.; Caselli, Francesca; Novelli, Andrea; Fallani, Stefania; Giannini, Daniele; Arzeni, Daniela; Di Cesare, Simona; Di Francesco, Luigi Falconi; Fortuna, Moira; Giacometti, Andrea; Carle, Flavia; Mazzei, Teresita; Scalise, Giorgio

    2000-01-01

    The interaction of amphotericin B (AmB) and azole antifungal agents in the treatment of fungal infections is still a controversial issue. A checkerboard titration broth microdilution-based method that adhered to the recommendations of the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards was applied to study the in vitro interactions of AmB with fluconazole (FLC), itraconazole (ITC), and the new investigational triazole SCH 56592 (SCH) against 15 clinical isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans. Synergy, defined as a fractional inhibitory concentration (FIC) index of ≤0.50, was observed for 7% of the isolates in studies of the interactions of both FLC-AmB and ITC-AmB and for 33% of the isolates in studies of the SCH-AmB interactions; additivism (FICs, >0.50 to 1.0) was observed for 67, 73, and 53% of the isolates in studies of the FLC-AmB, ITC-AmB, and SCH-AmB interactions, respectively; indifference (FICs, >1.0 to ≤2.0) was observed for 26, 20, and 14% of the isolates in studies of the FLC-AmB, ITC-AmB, and SCH-AmB interactions, respectively. Antagonism (FIC >2.0) was not observed. When synergy was not achieved, there was still a decrease, although not as dramatic, in the MIC of one or both drugs when they were used in combination. To investigate the effects of FLC-AmB combination therapy in vivo, we established an experimental model of systemic cryptococcosis in BALB/c mice by intravenous injection of cells of C. neoformans 2337, a clinical isolate belonging to serotype D against which the combination of FLC and AmB yielded an additive interaction in vitro. Both survival and tissue burden studies showed that combination therapy was more effective than FLC alone and that combination therapy was at least as effective as AmB given as a single drug. On the other hand, when cells of C. neoformans 2337 were grown in FLC-containing medium, a pronounced increase in resistance to subsequent exposures to AmB was observed. In particular, killing experiments conducted

  4. Toward an Integrated Model of Capsule Regulation in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Haynes, Brian C.; Skowyra, Michael L.; Spencer, Sarah J.; Gish, Stacey R.; Williams, Matthew; Held, Elizabeth P.; Brent, Michael R.; Doering, Tamara L.

    2011-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that causes serious human disease in immunocompromised populations. Its polysaccharide capsule is a key virulence factor which is regulated in response to growth conditions, becoming enlarged in the context of infection. We used microarray analysis of cells stimulated to form capsule over a range of growth conditions to identify a transcriptional signature associated with capsule enlargement. The signature contains 880 genes, is enriched for genes encoding known capsule regulators, and includes many uncharacterized sequences. One uncharacterized sequence encodes a novel regulator of capsule and of fungal virulence. This factor is a homolog of the yeast protein Ada2, a member of the Spt-Ada-Gcn5 Acetyltransferase (SAGA) complex that regulates transcription of stress response genes via histone acetylation. Consistent with this homology, the C. neoformans null mutant exhibits reduced histone H3 lysine 9 acetylation. It is also defective in response to a variety of stress conditions, demonstrating phenotypes that overlap with, but are not identical to, those of other fungi with altered SAGA complexes. The mutant also exhibits significant defects in sexual development and virulence. To establish the role of Ada2 in the broader network of capsule regulation we performed RNA-Seq on strains lacking either Ada2 or one of two other capsule regulators: Cir1 and Nrg1. Analysis of the results suggested that Ada2 functions downstream of both Cir1 and Nrg1 via components of the high osmolarity glycerol (HOG) pathway. To identify direct targets of Ada2, we performed ChIP-Seq analysis of histone acetylation in the Ada2 null mutant. These studies supported the role of Ada2 in the direct regulation of capsule and mating responses and suggested that it may also play a direct role in regulating capsule-independent antiphagocytic virulence factors. These results validate our experimental approach to dissecting capsule

  5. The role of host microfilaments and microtubules during opsonin-independent interactions of Cryptococcus neoformans with mammalian lung cells.

    PubMed

    Choo, K K; Chong, P P; Ho, A S H; Yong, P V C

    2015-12-01

    The purpose of this investigation was to characterise the interactions of Cryptococcus neoformans with mammalian host alveolar epithelial cells and alveolar macrophages, with emphasis on the roles of the cryptococcal capsule and the host cell cytoskeletons. The adherence and internalisation of C. neoformans into mammalian lung cells and the roles of host cell cytoskeletons in host-pathogen interactions were studied using in vitro models coupled with a differential fluorescence assay, fluorescence staining, immunofluorescence and drug inhibition of actin and microtubule polymerisation. Under conditions devoid of opsonin and macrophage activation, C. neoformans has a high affinity towards MH-S alveolar macrophages, yet associated poorly to A549 alveolar epithelial cells. Acapsular C. neoformans adhered to and internalised into the mammalian cells more effectively compared to encapsulated cryptococci. Acapsular C. neoformans induced prominent actin reorganisation at the host-pathogen interface in MH-S alveolar macrophages, but minimally affected actin reorganisation in A549 alveolar epithelial cells. Acapsular C. neoformans also induced localisation of microtubules to internalised cryptococci in MH-S cells. Drug inhibition of actin and microtubule polymerisation both reduced the association of acapsular C. neoformans to alveolar macrophages. The current study visualises and confirms the interactions of C. neoformans with mammalian alveolar cells during the establishment of infection in the lungs. The acapsular form of C. neoformans effectively adhered to and internalised into alveolar macrophages by inducing localised actin reorganisation, relying on the host's actin and microtubule activities.

  6. Prevalence, serotypes and mating patterns of Cryptococcus neoformans in the pellets of different avifauna in Madras, India.

    PubMed

    Gokulshankar, S; Ranganathan, S; Ranjith, M S; Ranjithsingh, A J A

    2004-08-01

    A total of 887 pellets of different avifauna were screened for the presence of Cryptococcus neoformans. One hundred and six of 887 samples (12%) yielded Cr. neoformans in culture. The report on the isolation of Cr. neoformans from the pellets of the crow appears to be new and of greater significance because of the ubiquitous prevalence of this bird in India. The prevalence of both MAT a and MAT alpha mating types were recorded. The serotype D was predominant over serotype A. The findings of the present study reveal the growing diverse ecological niche of Cr. neoformans in a the pellets of various avifauna in India.

  7. Gene Conversion Occurs within the Mating-Type Locus of Cryptococcus neoformans during Sexual Reproduction

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Sheng; Hsueh, Yen-Ping; Heitman, Joseph

    2012-01-01

    Meiotic recombination of sex chromosomes is thought to be repressed in organisms with heterogametic sex determination (e.g. mammalian X/Y chromosomes), due to extensive divergence and chromosomal rearrangements between the two chromosomes. However, proper segregation of sex chromosomes during meiosis requires crossing-over occurring within the pseudoautosomal regions (PAR). Recent studies reveal that recombination, in the form of gene conversion, is widely distributed within and may have played important roles in the evolution of some chromosomal regions within which recombination was thought to be repressed, such as the centromere cores of maize. Cryptococcus neoformans, a major human pathogenic fungus, has an unusually large mating-type locus (MAT, >100 kb), and the MAT alleles from the two opposite mating-types show extensive nucleotide sequence divergence and chromosomal rearrangements, mirroring characteristics of sex chromosomes. Meiotic recombination was assumed to be repressed within the C. neoformans MAT locus. A previous study identified recombination hot spots flanking the C. neoformans MAT, and these hot spots are associated with high GC content. Here, we investigated a GC-rich intergenic region located within the MAT locus of C. neoformans to establish if this region also exhibits unique recombination behavior during meiosis. Population genetics analysis of natural C. neoformans isolates revealed signals of homogenization spanning this GC-rich intergenic region within different C. neoformans lineages, consistent with a model in which gene conversion of this region during meiosis prevents it from diversifying within each lineage. By analyzing meiotic progeny from laboratory crosses, we found that meiotic recombination (gene conversion) occurs around the GC-rich intergenic region at a frequency equal to or greater than the meiotic recombination frequency observed in other genomic regions. We discuss the implications of these findings with regards to the

  8. Internalized Cryptococcus neoformans Activates the Canonical Caspase-1 and the Noncanonical Caspase-8 Inflammasomes.

    PubMed

    Chen, Mingkuan; Xing, Yue; Lu, Ailing; Fang, Wei; Sun, Bing; Chen, Changbin; Liao, Wanqing; Meng, Guangxun

    2015-11-15

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that causes cryptococcosis in immunocompromised patients as well as immunocompetent individuals. Host cell surface receptors that recognize C. neoformans have been widely studied. However, intracellular sensing of this pathogen is still poorly understood. Our previous studies have demonstrated that both biofilm and acapsular mutant of C. neoformans are able to activate the NOD-like receptor family, pyrin domain-containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome. In the current study, it was found that opsonization-mediated internalization of encapsulated C. neoformans also activated the canonical NLRP3-apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD (ASC)-caspase-1 inflammasome. In addition, the internalized C. neoformans activated the noncanonical NLRP3-ASC-caspase-8 inflammasome as well, which resulted in robust IL-1β secretion and cell death from caspase-1-deficient primary dendritic cells. Interestingly, we found that caspase-1 was inhibitory for the activation of caspase-8 in dendritic cells upon C. neorformans challenge. Further mechanistic studies showed that both phagolysosome membrane permeabilization and potassium efflux were responsible for C. neoformans-induced activation of either the canonical NLRP3-ASC-caspase-1 inflammasome or the noncanonical NLRP3-ASC-caspase-8 inflammasome. Moreover, challenge with zymosan also led to the activation of the noncanonical NLRP3-ASC-caspase-8 inflammasome in cells absent for caspase-1. Collectively, these findings uncover a number of novel signaling pathways for the innate immune response of host cells to C. neoformans infection and suggest that manipulating NLRP3 signaling may help to control fungal challenge.

  9. Cryptococcus neoformans phospholipase B1 activates host cell Rac1 for traversal across the blood-brain barrier.

    PubMed

    Maruvada, Ravi; Zhu, Longkun; Pearce, Donna; Zheng, Yi; Perfect, John; Kwon-Chung, Kyung J; Kim, Kwang Sik

    2012-10-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans penetration into the central nervous system (CNS) requires traversal of the blood-brain barrier that is composed of a single layer of human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMEC), but the underlying mechanisms of C. neoformans traversal remain incompletely understood. C. neoformans transcytosis of HBMEC monolayer involves rearrangements of the host cell actin cytoskeleton and small GTP-binding Rho family proteins such as Rac1 are shown to regulate host cell actin cytoskeleton. We, therefore, examined whether C. neoformans traversal of the blood-brain barrier involves host Rac1. While the levels of activated Rac1 (GTP-Rac1) in HBMEC increased significantly upon incubation with C. neoformans strains, pharmacological inhibition and down-modulation of Rac1 significantly decreased C. neoformans transcytosis of HBMEC monolayer. Also, Rac1 inhibition was efficient in preventing C. neoformans penetration into the brain. In addition, C. neoformans phospholipase B1 (Plb1) was shown to contribute to activating host cell Rac1, andSTAT3 was observed to associate with GTP-Rac1 in HBMEC that were incubated with C. neoformans strain but not with its Δplb1 mutant. These findings demonstrate for the first time that C. neoformans Plb1 aids fungal traversal across the blood-brain barrier by activating host cell Rac1 and its association with STAT3, and suggest that pharmacological intervention of host-microbial interaction contributing to traversal of the blood-brain barrier may prevent C. neoformans penetration into the brain.

  10. E-NTPDase and E-ADA activities in rats experimental infected by Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    de Azevedo, Maria Isabel; Ferreiro, Laerte; Da Silva, Aleksandro S; Tonin, Alexandre A; Ruchel, Jader B; Rezer, João F P; França, Raqueli T; Zimmermann, Carine E P; Leal, Daniela B R; Duarte, Marta M M F; Lopes, Sonia T A; Flores, Mariana M; Fighera, Rafael; Santurio, Janio M

    2014-11-07

    Cryptococcus neoformans, the etiological agent of cryptococcosis, is an opportunistic fungal pathogen of immunocompromised individuals. The aim of this study was to evaluate the activities of E-NTPDase and E-ADA in rats experimentally infected by C. neoformans var. grubii. Adult rats (35) were divided in two groups: 18 for the control group (uninfected) (A), and 17 for the infected group (B). Each group was separated into three sub-groups (A1, A2, A3-B1, B2, B3), and samples were collected on 10, 20, and 30 days post-infection (PI). Leukocyte counts, IFN-γ, TNF-α, IgM, IgG levels, and E-NTPDase and E-ADA activities were analyzed. It was possible to observe that IgG and IgM seric levels of infected rats were significantly elevated (P<0.01) on days 10, 20 and 30 PI, as well as the levels of TNF-α and INF-γ when compared to uninfected rodents. Regarding E-NTPDase activity in lymphocytes, it was possible to observe that the ATP hydrolysis was significantly decreased on days 20 (P<0.01) and 30 PI (P<0.05), while ADP hydrolysis was significantly reduced only on day 20 PI (P<0.01) when compared with uninfected group. Seric E-ADA activity had a significant reduction (P<0.01) during all three evaluated periods when compared to the control group, while E-ADA activity in lymphocytes increased significantly (P<0.01) when compared to the group A on day 10 PI; however on days 20 and 30 PI, its activity was considerable reduced in lymphocytes of infected animals (P<0.01). Therefore, it is possible to conclude that the infection caused by C. neoformans in immunocompetent rats leads to changes in the purinergic signaling (NTPDase and E-ADA), concomitantly with an inflammatory response (increased levels of cytokines and immunoglobulins) associated with inflammatory infiltrates and histological lesions in the lung.

  11. Cryptococcal transmigration across a model brain blood-barrier: evidence of the Trojan horse mechanism and differences between Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii strain H99 and Cryptococcus gattii strain R265.

    PubMed

    Sorrell, Tania C; Juillard, Pierre-Georges; Djordjevic, Julianne T; Kaufman-Francis, Keren; Dietmann, Anelia; Milonig, Alban; Combes, Valery; Grau, Georges E R

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn) and Cryptococcus gattii (Cg) cause neurological disease and cross the BBB as free cells or in mononuclear phagocytes via the Trojan horse mechanism, although evidence for the latter is indirect. There is emerging evidence that Cn and the North American outbreak Cg strain (R265) more commonly cause neurological and lung disease, respectively. We have employed a widely validated in vitro model of the BBB, which utilizes the hCMEC/D3 cell line derived from human brain endothelial cells (HBEC) and the human macrophage-like cell line, THP-1, to investigate whether transport of dual fluorescence-labelled Cn and Cg across the BBB occurs within macrophages. We showed that phagocytosis of Cn by non-interferon (IFN)-γ stimulated THP-1 cells was higher than that of Cg. Although Cn and Cg-loaded THP-1 bound similarly to TNF-activated HBECs under shear stress, more Cn-loaded macrophages were transported across an intact HBEC monolayer, consistent with the predilection of Cn for CNS infection. Furthermore, Cn exhibited a higher rate of expulsion from transmigrated THP-1 compared with Cg. Our results therefore provide further evidence for transmigration of both Cn and Cg via the Trojan horse mechanism and a potential explanation for the predilection of Cn to cause CNS infection.

  12. Cholinesterase of rats experimentally infected by Cryptococcus neoformans: Relationship between inflammatory response and pathological findings.

    PubMed

    de Azevedo, Maria Isabel; Ferreiro, Laerte; Da Silva, Aleksandro S; Tonin, Alexandre A; Thorstenberg, Maria Luiza; Catilhos, Livia Gelain; França, Raqueli T; Leal, Daniela B R; Duarte, Marta M M F; Lopes, Sonia T A; Sangoi, Manuela B; Moresco, Rafael N; Fighera, Rafael; Santurio, Janio M

    2015-11-01

    The aim of this study was to assess the role of the acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) as biomarkers of inflammation and tissue injury on rats experimentally infected by Cryptococcus neoformans. For this purpose, 20 male rats were divided into two groups: 10 animals representing the uninfected control group (Group A) and 10 C. neoformans var. grubii infected animals (Group B). Blood and brain samples were collected on days 10 (A10 and B10), and 30 (A30 and B30) post-infection (PI) for hematological analyses; AChE (in lymphocytes and brain) and seric BChE activity; interleukins (IL-1, IL-6, and IL-10); nitrite/nitrate (NOx) levels; and markers of protein oxidation (AOPP) and lipid peroxidation (TBARS). As a result, when animals of Group A were compared to animals of Group B, it was observed leukocytosis (P<0.05) on day 10 PI; AChE activity increase (P<0.05) in lymphocytes (day 30 PI) and in brain (days 10 and 30 PI); BChE activity decrease (P<0.05) on day 10 PI; IL-1 and IL-6 increase (P<0.01) in both periods, while IL-10 had reduced levels (P<0.01) in the same periods; NOx levels increased (P<0.05) significantly on days 10 and 30 PI, while AOPP and TBARS levels increased significantly on day 30 PI; as well as pneumonia on infected rats. Therefore, based on the results obtained, it was possible to conclude that AChE and BChE behavior lead to a proinflammatory reaction evidenced by the enhancement of IL-1, IL-6, and NOx throughout the experiment associated with reduction on IL-10 levels, and cellular damage.

  13. Molecular characterization of environmental Cryptococcus neoformans VNII isolates in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria.

    PubMed

    Nnadi, N E; Enweani, I B; Cogliati, M; Ayanbimpe, G M; Okolo, M O; Kim, E; Sabitu, M Z; Criseo, G; Romeo, O; Scordino, F

    2016-12-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii are encapsulated yeasts able to cause fatal neurological infections in both human and other mammals. Cryptococcosis is the most common fungal infection of the central nervous system and has a huge burden in sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia. Bird excreta are considered an environmental reservoir for C. neoformans in urban areas, therefore a study aimed at isolating and characterizing this yeast is important in disease management. In this study, one hundred samples of pigeon droppings were collected in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. C. neoformans was isolated from three samples and initially identified using standard phenotypic and biochemical tests. Molecular analysis revealed that all three isolates belonged to C. neoformans genotype VNII, mating type α and were assigned to the sequence type ST43 by multilocus sequence typing analysis. This study reports, for the first time, the molecular characterization of C. neoformans in Nigeria, where little is still known about the environmental distribution of the genotypes, serotypes and mating types of this important human pathogen.

  14. The Anti-helminthic Compound Mebendazole Has Multiple Antifungal Effects against Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Joffe, Luna S.; Schneider, Rafael; Lopes, William; Azevedo, Renata; Staats, Charley C.; Kmetzsch, Lívia; Schrank, Augusto; Del Poeta, Maurizio; Vainstein, Marilene H.; Rodrigues, Marcio L.

    2017-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is the most lethal pathogen of the central nervous system. The gold standard treatment of cryptococcosis, a combination of amphotericin B with 5-fluorocytosine, involves broad toxicity, high costs, low efficacy, and limited worldwide availability. Although the need for new antifungals is clear, drug research and development (R&D) is costly and time-consuming. Thus, drug repurposing is an alternative to R&D and to the currently available tools for treating fungal diseases. Here we screened a collection of compounds approved for use in humans seeking for those with anti-cryptococcal activity. We found that benzimidazoles consist of a broad class of chemicals inhibiting C. neoformans growth. Mebendazole and fenbendazole were the most efficient antifungals showing in vitro fungicidal activity. Since previous studies showed that mebendazole reaches the brain in biologically active concentrations, this compound was selected for further studies. Mebendazole showed antifungal activity against phagocytized C. neoformans, affected cryptococcal biofilms profoundly and caused marked morphological alterations in C. neoformans, including reduction of capsular dimensions. Amphotericin B and mebendazole had additive anti-cryptococcal effects. Mebendazole was also active against the C. neoformans sibling species, C. gattii. To further characterize the effects of the drug a random C. gattii mutant library was screened and indicated that the antifungal activity of mebendazole requires previously unknown cryptococcal targets. Our results indicate that mebendazole is as a promising prototype for the future development of anti-cryptococcal drugs. PMID:28400768

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Analysis of multiple components involved in the interaction between Cryptococcus neoformans and Acanthamoeba castellanii.

    PubMed

    Rizzo, Juliana; Albuquerque, Priscila C; Wolf, Julie M; Nascimento, Renata; Pereira, Marcos D; Nosanchuk, Joshua D; Rodrigues, Marcio L

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an environmental fungus that can cause lethal meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised individuals. The mechanisms by which environmental microbes become pathogenic to mammals are still obscure, but different studies suggest that fungal virulence evolved from selection imposed by environmental predators. The soil-living Acanthamoeba castellanii is a well-known predator of C. neoformans. In this work, we evaluated the participation of C. neoformans virulence-associated structures in the interaction of fungal cells with A. castellanii. Fungal extracellular vesicles (EVs) and the polysaccharide glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) were internalized by A. castellanii with no impact on the viability of amoebal cells. EVs, but not free GXM, modulated antifungal properties of A. castellanii by inducing enhanced yeast survival. Phagocytosis of C. neoformans by amoebal cells and the pathogenic potential in a Galleria mellonella model were not affected by EVs, but previous interactions with A. castellanii rendered fungal cells more efficient in killing this invertebrate host. This observation was apparently associated with marked amoeba-induced changes in surface architecture and increased resistance to both oxygen- and nitrogen-derived molecular species. Our results indicate that multiple components with the potential to impact pathogenesis are involved in C. neoformans environmental interactions. Copyright © 2017 British Mycological Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Quorum Sensing-Mediated, Cell Density-Dependent Regulation of Growth and Virulence in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Albuquerque, Patrícia; Nicola, André M.; Nieves, Edward; Paes, Hugo Costa; Williamson, Peter R.; Silva-Pereira, Ildinete; Casadevall, Arturo

    2013-01-01

    ABSTRACT Quorum sensing (QS) is a cell density-dependent mechanism of communication between microorganisms, characterized by the release of signaling molecules that affect microbial metabolism and gene expression in a synchronized way. In this study, we investigated cell density-dependent behaviors mediated by conditioned medium (CM) in the pathogenic encapsulated fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. CM produced dose-dependent increases in the growth of planktonic and biofilm cells, glucuronoxylomannan release, and melanin synthesis, important virulence attributes of this organism. Mass spectrometry revealed the presence of pantothenic acid (PA) in our samples, and commercial PA was able to increase growth and melanization, although not to the same extent as CM. Additionally, we found four mutants that were either unable to produce active CM or failed to respond with increased growth in the presence of wild-type CM, providing genetic evidence for the existence of intercellular communication in C. neoformans. C. neoformans CM also increased the growth of Cryptococcus albidus, Candida albicans, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Conversely, CM from Cryptococcus albidus, C. albicans, S. cerevisiae, and Sporothrix schenckii increased C. neoformans growth. In summary, we report the existence of a new QS system regulating the growth and virulence factor expression of C. neoformans in vitro and, possibly, also able to regulate growth in other fungi. PMID:24381301

  20. Structures of Cryptococcus neoformans protein farnesyltransferase reveal strategies for developing inhibitors that target fungal pathogens.

    PubMed

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

    2011-10-07

    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.

  1. Connecting virulence pathways to cell-cycle progression in the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Kelliher, Christina M; Haase, Steven B

    2017-03-06

    Proliferation and host evasion are critical processes to understand at a basic biological level for improving infectious disease treatment options. The human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans causes fungal meningitis in immunocompromised individuals by proliferating in cerebrospinal fluid. Current antifungal drugs target "virulence factors" for disease, such as components of the cell wall and polysaccharide capsule in C. neoformans. However, mechanistic links between virulence pathways and the cell cycle are not as well studied. Recently, cell-cycle synchronized C. neoformans cells were profiled over time to identify gene expression dynamics (Kelliher et al., PLoS Genet 12(12):e1006453, 2016). Almost 20% of all genes in the C. neoformans genome were periodically activated during the cell cycle in rich media, including 40 genes that have previously been implicated in virulence pathways. Here, we review important findings about cell-cycle-regulated genes in C. neoformans and provide two examples of virulence pathways-chitin synthesis and G-protein coupled receptor signaling-with their putative connections to cell division. We propose that a "comparative functional genomics" approach, leveraging gene expression timing during the cell cycle, orthology to genes in other fungal species, and previous experimental findings, can lead to mechanistic hypotheses connecting the cell cycle to fungal virulence.

  2. Role of Glucose in the Expression of Cryptococcus neoformans Antiphagocytic Protein 1, App1▿

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Virginia; Del Poeta, Maurizio

    2011-01-01

    The cryptococcus-specific protein antiphagocytic protein 1 (App1) regulates Cryptococcus neoformans virulence by controlling macrophage-driven fungal phagocytosis. This is accomplished through complement receptors (CR), specifically CR3. When inhaled, C. neoformans can cause a life-threatening meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised patients. Because glucose starvation can significantly change the gene expression and virulence of C. neoformans and because App1 is critical for phagocytosis in the lung—a low-glucose environment—we investigated the role of glucose in App1 expression. We found that App1 was upregulated dramatically under low-glucose conditions, and it was upregulated when C. neoformans cells were incubated in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid, serum, and cerebrospinal fluid, which are low-glucose environments. Characterization of App1's regulation based on mammalian lung physiology revealed that App1 is upregulated via both increases in transcription and increases in mRNA stability. Our data provide new insights regarding C. neoformans adaptations to low-glucose environments. PMID:21239626

  3. 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.

  4. Rewiring of Signaling Networks Modulating Thermotolerance in the Human Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Yang, Dong-Hoon; Jung, Kwang-Woo; Bang, Soohyun; Lee, Jang-Won; Song, Min-Hee; Floyd-Averette, Anna; Festa, Richard A; Ianiri, Giuseppe; Idnurm, Alexander; Thiele, Dennis J; Heitman, Joseph; Bahn, Yong-Sun

    2017-01-01

    Thermotolerance is a crucial virulence attribute for human pathogens, including the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans that causes fatal meningitis in humans. Loss of the protein kinase Sch9 increases C. neoformans thermotolerance, but its regulatory mechanism has remained unknown. Here, we studied the Sch9-dependent and Sch9-independent signaling networks modulating C. neoformans thermotolerance by using genome-wide transcriptome analysis and reverse genetic approaches. During temperature upshift, genes encoding for molecular chaperones and heat shock proteins were upregulated, whereas those for translation, transcription, and sterol biosynthesis were highly suppressed. In this process, Sch9 regulated basal expression levels or induced/repressed expression levels of some temperature-responsive genes, including heat shock transcription factor (HSF1) and heat shock proteins (HSP104 and SSA1). Notably, we found that the HSF1 transcript abundance decreased but the Hsf1 protein became transiently phosphorylated during temperature upshift. Nevertheless, Hsf1 is essential for growth and its overexpression promoted C. neoformans thermotolerance. Transcriptome analysis using an HSF1 overexpressing strain revealed a dual role of Hsf1 in the oxidative stress response and thermotolerance. Chromatin immunoprecipitation demonstrated that Hsf1 binds to the step-type like heat shock element (HSE) of its target genes more efficiently than to the perfect- or gap-type HSE. This study provides insight into the thermotolerance of C. neoformans by elucidating the regulatory mechanisms of Sch9 and Hsf1 through the genome-scale identification of temperature-dependent genes.

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Sun, Donglei; Shi, Meiqing

    2016-09-02

    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.

  7. Two CDC42 paralogs modulate C. neoformans thermotolerance and morphogenesis under host physiological conditions

    PubMed Central

    Ballou, Elizabeth R.; Nichols, Connie B.; Miglia, Kathleen J; Kozubowski, Lukasz; Alspaugh, J. Andrew

    2013-01-01

    The precise regulation of morphogenesis is a key mechanism by which cells respond to a variety of stresses, including those encountered by microbial pathogens in the host. The polarity protein Cdc42 regulates cellular morphogenesis throughout eukaryotes, and we explore the role of Cdc42 proteins in the host survival of the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. Uniquely, C. neoformans has two functional Cdc42 paralogs, Cdc42 and Cdc420. Here we investigate the contribution of each paralog to resistance to host stress. In contrast to non-pathogenic model organisms, C. neoformans Cdc42 proteins are not required for viability under non-stress conditions. In the presence of cell stress, strains deleted for either paralog show defects in thermotolerance and morphogenesis, likely as a result of their roles in the organization of actin and septin structures during bud growth and cytokinesis. These proteins act downstream of C. neoformans Ras1 to regulate its morphogenesis subpathway, but not its effects on mating. Cdc42, and not Cdc420, is required for virulence in a murine model of cryptococcosis. The C. neoformans Cdc42 proteins likely perform complementary functions with other Rho-like GTPases to control cell polarity, septin organization, and hyphal transitions that allow survival in the environment and in the host. PMID:20025659

  8. Killing of cryptococcus neoformans by Staphylococcus aureus: the role of cryptococcal capsular polysaccharide in the fungal-bacteria interaction.

    PubMed

    Saito, Fumito; Ikeda, Reiko

    2005-11-01

    Microbes compete for the environmental niche which is their host. To investigate the effects of a pathogenic bacterium on invasion and colonization by a pathogenic yeast, Cryptococcus neoformans was co-cultured with Staphylococcus aureus. We found that the number of colony forming units of C. neoformans was decreased by Staphylococcus aureus. In contrast, the viability of Candida albicans was not affected. Under the microscope, wild-type C. neoformans cells were shown to be surrounded by S. aureus, while cells of a capsuleless mutant of C. neoformans were not. C. neoformans was not killed when a membrane separated it from S. aureus in co-culture. Killing was confirmed by staining with cyanoditolyl tetrazolium chloride: S. aureus stained red, indicating viability, while C. neojormans did not stain, indicating lethality. The in situ terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTR nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay indicated cell death with fragmentation of DNA of C. neoformans. Capsular polysaccharide from C. neoformans inhibited the killing. Treatment of the crude polysaccharide with protease increased the inhibition. The protective activity resided in the glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) fraction, although the concentration required for the inhibition was high. These results suggest that S. aureus kills C. neoformans by a process that involves attachment to the cryptococcal capsule.

  9. Characterization of inositol phospho-sphingolipid-phospholipase C 1 (Isc1) in Cryptococcus neoformans reveals unique biochemical features.

    PubMed

    Henry, Jennifer; Guillotte, Aimee; Luberto, Chiara; Del Poeta, Maurizio

    2011-02-18

    In this work, we biochemically characterized inositol phosphosphingolipid-phospholipase C (Isc1) from the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. Unlike Isc1 from other fungi and parasites which hydrolyze both fungal complex sphingolipids (IPC-PLC) and mammalian sphingomyelin (SM-PLC), C. neoformans Isc1 only exerts IPC-PLC activity. Genetic mutations thought to regulate substrate recognition in other Isc1 proteins do not restore SM-PLC activity of the cryptococcal enzyme. C. neoformans Isc1 regulates the level of complex sphingolipids and certain species of phytoceramide, especially when fungal cells are exposed to acidic stress. Since growth in acidic environments is required for C. neoformans to cause disease, this study has important implications for understanding of C. neoformans pathogenicity.

  10. Prevalence and antifungal susceptibility of Cryptococcus neoformans isolated from pigeon excreta in Chon Buri Province, Eastern Thailand.

    PubMed

    Tangwattanachuleeporn, Marut; Somparn, Poorichaya; Poolpol, Kulwara; Gross, Uwe; Weig, Michael; Bader, Oliver

    2013-01-01

     The prevalence of cerebral meningitis caused by Cryptococcus neoformans in HIV-infected patients in Eastern Thailand is high. However, little is known about the occurrence of this pathogenic yeast in the environment of this region.  The aim of our study was to characterize the prevalence of C. neoformans, its serotypes and antifungal drug susceptibilities in environmental isolates from Chon Buri, Eastern Thailand.  C. neoformans was isolated from 10% of fifty pigeon excreta examined from this province. All C. neoformans isolates were of serotype A and although the isolates displayed slightly decreased susceptibility towards fluconazole, all tested sensitive to amphotericin B, fluconazole and itraconazole. This study is the first report of the occurrence of C. neoformans in pigeon excreta in eastern Thailand.

  11. 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.

  12. GWT1 encoding an inositol acyltransferase homolog is required for laccase repression and stress resistance in the basidiomycete Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Qiang; Wei, Dongsheng; Li, Zhongming; Wang, Yu; Zhu, Xiangyang; Zhu, Xudong

    2015-12-01

    The transcriptional expression of laccase, which has been confirmed to contribute to the virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans, is often repressed by a high concentration of glucose in many fungi, including C. neoformans. The underlying mechanism of the repression remains largely unknown. In this study, we found that a GWT1 gene that encodes a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor biosynthesis-related protein is required for laccase repression by glucose in the basidiomycete C. neoformans. Disruption of GWT1 with the Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated T-DNA random insertional mutagenesis (ATMT) method resulted in constitutive expression of the laccase gene LAC1 and constant melanin formation. The loss of GWT1 also dramatically affected the cell membrane integrity and stress resistance. Our results revealed a GPI-dependent glucose repression mechanism in C. neoformans, and it may be helpful for understanding the virulence of C. neoformans.

  13. Mechanisms of Uniparental Mitochondrial DNA Inheritance in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Gyawali, Rachana; Lin, Xiaorong

    2011-12-01

    In contrast to the nuclear genome, the mitochondrial genome does not follow Mendelian laws of inheritance. The nuclear genome of meiotic progeny comes from the recombination of both parental genomes, whereas the meiotic progeny could inherit mitochondria from one, the other, or both parents. In fact, one fascinating phenomenon is that mitochondrial DNA in the majority of eukaryotes is inherited from only one particular parent. Typically, such unidirectional and uniparental inheritance of mitochondrial DNA can be explained by the size of the gametes involved in mating, with the larger gamete contributing towards mitochondrial DNA inheritance. However, in the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, bisexual mating involves the fusion of two isogamous cells of mating type (MAT) a and MATα, yet the mitochondrial DNA is inherited predominantly from the MATa parent. Although the exact mechanism underlying such uniparental mitochondrial inheritance in this fungus is still unclear, various hypotheses have been proposed. Elucidating the mechanism of mitochondrial inheritance in this clinically important and genetically amenable eukaryotic microbe will yield insights into general mechanisms that are likely conserved in higher eukaryotes. In this review, we highlight studies on Cryptococcus mitochondrial inheritance and point out some important questions that need to be addressed in the future.

  14. Pulmonary coinfection by Pneumocystis jiroveci and Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Javier, Bava; Susana, Lloveras; Santiago, Garro; Alcides, Troncoso

    2012-01-01

    We communicate the diagnosis by microscopy of a pulmonary coinfection produced by Cryptococcus neoformans and Pneumocystis jiroveci, from a respiratory secretion obtained by bronchoalveolar lavage of an AIDS patient. Our review of literature identified this coinfection as unusual presentation. Opportunistic infections associated with HIV infection are increasingly recognized. It may occur at an early stage of HIV-infection. Whereas concurrent opportunistic infections may occur, coexisting Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP) and disseminated cryptococcosis with cryptococcal pneumonia is uncommon. The lungs of individuals infected with HIV are often affected by opportunistic infections and tumours and over two-thirds of patients have at least one respiratory episode during the course of their disease. Pneumonia is the leading HIV-associated infection. We present the case of a man who presented dual Pneumocystis jiroveci and cryptococcal pneumonia in a patient with HIV. Definitive diagnosis of PCP and Cryptococcus requires demonstration of these organisms in pulmonary tissues or fluid. In patients with < 200/microliter CD4-lymphocytes, a bronchoalveolar lavage should be performed. This patient was successfully treated with amphotericin B and trimethoprim sulfamethoxazole. After 1 week the patient showed clinical and radiologic improvement and was discharged 3 weeks later.

  15. Opsonization of encapsulated Cryptococcus neoformans by specific anticapsular antibody.

    PubMed Central

    Kozel, T R; Follette, J L

    1981-01-01

    Antisera prepared in rabbits against either whole encapsulated cells of Cryptococcus neoformans or purified cryptococcal polysaccharide were opsonic for the encapsulated yeast. The opsonic activity was removed by absorption with whole cryptococci and was inhibited by free polysaccharide. As little as 0.13 microgram of cryptococcal polysaccharide produced a 50% inhibition of opsonization. Various degrees of neutralization by polysaccharides from the four cryptococcal serotypes suggested that the opsonins were type specific. Fractionation of antiserum on Bio-Gel A-5m (Bio-Rad Laboratories) and diethylaminoethyl cellulose showed that the opsonins were antibodies of the immunoglobulin G class. These opsonizing antibodies did not require heat-labile serum components for optimal phagocytosis of the yeast. Inhibition studies using 2-deoxy-D-glucose demonstrated that ingestion of encapsulated cryptococci opsonized with anticapsular antibody was a 2-deoxy-D-glucose-inhibitable process. This result differed from similar studies with non-encapsulated cryptococci which showed that ingestion of non-encapsulated cryptococci opsonized with normal serum was not inhibited by 2-deoxy-D-glucose. PMID:7014468

  16. 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

  17. The Link between Morphotype Transition and Virulence in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Linqi; Zhai, Bing; Lin, Xiaorong

    2012-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a ubiquitous human fungal pathogen. This pathogen can undergo morphotype transition between the yeast and the filamentous form and such morphological transition has been implicated in virulence for decades. Morphotype transition is typically observed during mating, which is governed by pheromone signaling. Paradoxically, components specific to the pheromone signaling pathways play no or minimal direct roles in virulence. Thus, the link between morphotype transition and virulence and the underlying molecular mechanism remain elusive. Here, we demonstrate that filamentation can occur independent of pheromone signaling and mating, and both mating-dependent and mating-independent morphotype transition require the transcription factor Znf2. High expression of Znf2 is necessary and sufficient to initiate and maintain sex-independent filamentous growth under host-relevant conditions in vitro and during infection. Importantly, ZNF2 overexpression abolishes fungal virulence in murine models of cryptococcosis. Thus, Znf2 bridges the sex-independent morphotype transition and fungal pathogenicity. The impacts of Znf2 on morphological switch and pathogenicity are at least partly mediated through its effects on cell adhesion property. Cfl1, a Znf2 downstream factor, regulates morphogenesis, cell adhesion, biofilm formation, and virulence. Cfl1 is the first adhesin discovered in the phylum Basidiomycota of the Kingdom Fungi. Together with previous findings in other eukaryotic pathogens, our findings support a convergent evolution of plasticity in morphology and its impact on cell adhesion as a critical adaptive trait for pathogenesis. PMID:22737071

  18. In vitro susceptibility testing of amphotericin B for Cryptococcus neoformans variety grubii AFLP1/VNI and Cryptococcus gattii AFLP6/VGII by CLSI and flow cytometry.

    PubMed

    Morales, Bernardina Penarrieta; Trilles, Luciana; Bertho, Álvaro Luiz; Junior, Ivan Neves; de Oliveira, Raquel de Vasconcellos Carvalhaes; Wanke, Bodo; Lazéra, Márcia dos Santos

    2015-05-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii AFLP1/VNI is the main causative agent of cryptococcosis associated with AIDS in the world. Cryptococcus gattii AFLP6/VGII causes mainly endemic primary infection in immunocompetent hosts. To determine the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of C. neoformans var. grubii AFLP1/VNI and C. gattii AFLP6/VGII against amphotericin B (AMB) in a short period of time, flow cytometry (FCM) with FUN-1 fluorochrome was used to compare with broth microdilution method (CLSI M27-A3). The minimum incubation period was evaluated by minimum fungicidal concentration procedure. Seventeen clinical isolates of C. neoformans var. grubii AFLP1/VNI and 18 of C. gattii AFLP6/VGII were analysed. The time for the determination of MICs by FCM was 2 h against 72 h by CLSI M27-A3 and the comparison of MIC showed a positive significant correlation (P = 0.048). It is important to highlight the role of the FCM as an alternative method to determine the MICs for AMB in within a day, with positive cost-benefit.

  19. 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.

  20. Prevalence of serotype D in Cryptococcus neoformans isolates from HIV positive and HIV negative patients in Italy.

    PubMed

    Tortorano, A M; Viviani, M A; Rigoni, A L; Cogliati, M; Roverselli, A; Pagano, A

    1997-11-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans strains isolated from 207 HIV positive and HIV negative patients hospitalized in Northern Italy were serotyped by slide agglutination. One Brazilian HIV negative woman was infected by var. gattii serotype B and all the other patients by var. neoformans, serotype D in 71%, serotype A in 24.6% and serotype AD in 3.4%. No difference was observed between subjects with serotypes A and D in HIV coinfection, exposure categories for AIDS, age, sex, and CD4 count of HIV positive patients. Meningeal and respiratory tract involvements and prostatic reservoir occurred with comparable frequency in AIDS patients infected by serotypes A and D. Skin lesions were observed only in serotype D infections, occurring in 12.6% of HIV positive and 58.3% of HIV negative patients infected by this serotype. Serotype A was found less susceptible to fluconazole than serotype D: 53.7% of serotype A strains had a MIC > or = 25 micrograms ml-1 compared to 17.7% of the serotype D isolates. On the other hand, both serotypes were highly susceptible to itraconazole.

  1. 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.

  2. Isolation of Cryptococcus neoformans in dry droppings of captive birds in Santiago, Chile.

    PubMed

    González-Hein, Gisela; González-Hein, Jaime; Díaz Jarabrán, Maria C

    2010-09-01

    To investigate the prevalence of Cryptococcus in droppings from captive birds in Chile, dry droppings from 113 captive birds of various species were cultured for Cryptococcus neoformans. The yeast was recovered from 17 of the 113 samples (15% [95% confidence intervals, 8.4%-21.6%]). Other yeast organisms recovered from psittacine bird droppings were Cryptococcus albidus and Cryptococcus uniguttulatus. Secreted phospholipase has been proposed as a virulence determinant in C neoformans. Phospholipase production by the egg yolk plate method, and in vitro susceptibility to fluconazole by using the disk diffusion test were performed on 17 C neoformans isolates. Two of the 17 strains (11.7%) did not produce phospholipase. Two (11.7%) were resistant to fluconazole, and 5 of 17 (29.4%) were susceptible dose-dependent. The Cryptococcus species isolated from droppings from captive birds could be potential pathogens in humans.

  3. Characterizing the role of the microtubule binding protein Bim1 in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Staudt, Mark W.; Kruzel, Emilia K.; Shimizu, Kiminori; Hull, Christina M.

    2010-01-01

    During sexual development the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans undergoes a developmental transition from yeast-form growth to filamentous growth. This transition requires cellular restructuring to form a filamentous dikaryon. Dikaryotic growth also requires tightly controlled nuclear migration to ensure faithful replication and dissemination of genetic material to spore progeny. Although the gross morphological changes that take place during dikaryotic growth are largely known, the molecular underpinnings that control this process are uncharacterized. Here we identify and characterize a C. neoformans homolog of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae BIM1 gene, and establish the importance of BIM1 for proper filamentous growth of C. neoformans. Deletion of BIM1 leads to truncated sexual development filaments, a severe defect in diploid formation, and a block in monokaryotic fruiting. Our findings lead to a model consistent with a critical role for BIM1 in both filament integrity and nuclear congression that is mediated through the microtubule cytoskeleton. PMID:20044015

  4. 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.

  5. Surface-associated plasminogen binding of Cryptococcus neoformans promotes extracellular matrix invasion.

    PubMed

    Stie, Jamal; Bruni, Gillian; Fox, Deborah

    2009-06-03

    The fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans is a leading cause of illness and death in persons with predisposing factors, including: malignancies, solid organ transplants, and corticosteroid use. C. neoformans is ubiquitous in the environment and enters into the lungs via inhalation, where it can disseminate through the bloodstream and penetrate the central nervous system (CNS), resulting in a difficult to treat and often-fatal infection of the brain, called meningoencephalitis. Plasminogen is a highly abundant protein found in the plasma component of blood and is necessary for the degradation of fibrin, collagen, and other structural components of tissues. This fibrinolytic system is utilized by cancer cells during metastasis and several pathogenic species of bacteria have been found to manipulate the host plasminogen system to facilitate invasion of tissues during infection by modifying the activation of this process through the binding of plasminogen at their surface. The invasion of the brain and the central nervous system by penetration of the protective blood-brain barrier is a prerequisite to the establishment of meningoencephalitis by the opportunistic fungal pathogen C. neoformans. In this study, we examined the ability of C. neoformans to subvert the host plasminogen system to facilitate tissue barrier invasion. Through a combination of biochemical, cell biology, and proteomic approaches, we have shown that C. neoformans utilizes the host plasminogen system to cross tissue barriers, providing support for the hypothesis that plasminogen-binding may contribute to the invasion of the blood-brain barrier by penetration of the brain endothelial cells and underlying matrix. In addition, we have identified the cell wall-associated proteins that serve as plasminogen receptors and characterized both the plasminogen-binding and plasmin-activation potential for this significant human pathogen. The results of this study provide evidence for the cooperative role of

  6. Blood–brain barrier invasion by Cryptococcus neoformans is enhanced by functional interactions with plasmin

    PubMed Central

    Stie, Jamal

    2012-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans can invade the central nervous system through diverse mechanisms. We examined a possible role for host plasma proteases in the neurotropic behaviour of this blood-borne fungal pathogen. Plasminogen is a plasma-enriched zymogen that can passively coat the surface of blood-borne pathogens and, upon conversion to the serine protease plasmin, facilitate pathogen dissemination by degrading vascular barriers. In this study, plasminogen-to-plasmin conversion on killed and viable hypoencapsulated strains of C. neoformans required the addition of plasminogen activator (PA), but this conversion occurred in the absence of supplemented PA when viable strains were cultured with brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMEC). Plasmin-coated C. neoformans showed an enhanced invasive ability in Matrigel invasion assays that was significantly augmented in the presence of BMEC. The invasive effect of plasmin required viable pathogen and correlated with rapid declines in BMEC barrier function. Plasmin-enhanced invasion was inhibited by aprotinin, carboxypeptidase B, the lysine analogue epsilon-aminocaproic acid, and by capsule development. C. neoformans caused plasminogen-independent declines in BMEC barrier function that were associated with pathogen-induced host damage; however, such declines were significantly delayed and less extensive than those observed with plasmin-coated pathogen. BMEC adhesion and damage by hypoencapsulated C. neoformans were diminished by capsule induction but unaltered by plasminogen and/or PA. We conclude that hypoencapsulated C. neoformans can invade BMEC by a plasmin-dependent mechanism, in vitro, and that small, or minimal, surface capsule expression during the blood-borne phase of cryptococcosis may promote virulence by means of plasmin(ogen) acquisition. PMID:21998162

  7. Naïve B cells reduce fungal dissemination in Cryptococcus neoformans infected Rag1(-/-) mice.

    PubMed

    Dufaud, Chad; Rivera, Johanna; Rohatgi, Soma; Pirofski, Liise-Anne

    2017-08-24

    IgM and B-1 cell deficient mice exhibit early C. neoformans dissemination from lungs to brain, but a definitive role for B cells in conferring resistance to C. neoformans dissemination has not been established. To address this question, we developed an intranasal (i.n.) C. neoformans infection model in B and T cell deficient Rag1(-/-) mice and found they also exhibit earlier fungal dissemination and higher brain CFU than wild-type C57Bl/6 (wild-type) mice. To probe the effect of B cells on fungal dissemination, Rag1(-/-) mice were given splenic (intravenously) or peritoneal (intraperitoneally) B cells from wild-type mice and infected i.n. with C. neoformans 7 d later. Mice that received B cells had lung histopathology resembling wild type mice 14 d post-infection, and B-1, not B-2 or T cells in their lungs, and serum and lung IgM and IgG 21 d post-infection. Lung CFU were comparable in wild-type, Rag1(-/-,) and Rag1(-/-) mice that received B cells 21 d post-infection, but brain CFU were significantly lower in mice that received B cells than Rag1(-/-) mice that did not. To determine if natural antibody can promote immunity in our model, we measured alveolar macrophage phagocytosis of C. neoformans in Rag1(-/-) mice treated with naive wild-type IgM-sufficient or sIgM(-/-) IgM-deficient sera before infection. Compared to IgM-deficient sera, IgM-sufficient sera significantly increased phagocytosis. Our data establish B cells are able to reduce early C. neoformans dissemination in mice and suggest natural IgM may be a key mediator of early antifungal immunity in the lungs.

  8. 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

  9. Cryptococcus neoformans Directly Stimulates Perforin Production and Rearms NK Cells for Enhanced Anticryptococcal Microbicidal Activity▿

    PubMed Central

    Marr, Kaleb J.; Jones, Gareth J.; Zheng, Chunfu; Huston, Shaunna M.; Timm-McCann, Martina; Islam, Anowara; Berenger, Byron M.; Ma, Ling Ling; Wiseman, Jeremy C. D.; Mody, Christopher H.

    2009-01-01

    NK cells, in addition to possessing antitumor and antiviral activity, exhibit perforin-dependent microbicidal activity against the opportunistic pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. However, the factors controlling this response, particularly whether the pathogen itself provides an activation or rearming signal, are largely unknown. The current studies were performed to determine whether exposure to this fungus alters subsequent NK cell anticryptococcal activity. NK cells lost perforin and mobilized lysosome-associated membrane protein 1 to the cell surface following incubation with the fungus, indicating that degranulation had occurred. Despite a reduced perforin content during killing, NK cells acquired an enhanced ability to kill C. neoformans, as demonstrated using auxotrophs that allowed independent assessment of the killing of two strains. De novo protein synthesis was required for optimal killing; however, there was no evidence that a soluble factor contributed to the enhanced anticryptococcal activity. Exposure of NK cells to C. neoformans caused the cells to rearm, as demonstrated by increased perforin mRNA levels and enhanced loss of perforin when transcription was blocked. Degranulation alone was insufficient to provide the activation signal as NK cells lost anticryptococcal activity following treatment with strontium chloride. However, NK cells regained the activity upon prolonged exposure to C. neoformans, which is consistent with activation by the microbe. The enhanced cytotoxicity did not extend to tumor killing since NK cells exposed to C. neoformans failed to kill NK-sensitive tumor targets (K562 cells). These studies demonstrate that there is contact-mediated microbe-specific rearming and activation of microbicidal activity that are necessary for optimal killing of C. neoformans. PMID:19307209

  10. Surface-Associated Plasminogen Binding of Cryptococcus neoformans Promotes Extracellular Matrix Invasion

    PubMed Central

    Fox, Deborah

    2009-01-01

    Background The fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans is a leading cause of illness and death in persons with predisposing factors, including: malignancies, solid organ transplants, and corticosteroid use. C. neoformans is ubiquitous in the environment and enters into the lungs via inhalation, where it can disseminate through the bloodstream and penetrate the central nervous system (CNS), resulting in a difficult to treat and often-fatal infection of the brain, called meningoencephalitis. Plasminogen is a highly abundant protein found in the plasma component of blood and is necessary for the degradation of fibrin, collagen, and other structural components of tissues. This fibrinolytic system is utilized by cancer cells during metastasis and several pathogenic species of bacteria have been found to manipulate the host plasminogen system to facilitate invasion of tissues during infection by modifying the activation of this process through the binding of plasminogen at their surface. Methodology The invasion of the brain and the central nervous system by penetration of the protective blood-brain barrier is a prerequisite to the establishment of meningoencephalitis by the opportunistic fungal pathogen C. neoformans. In this study, we examined the ability of C. neoformans to subvert the host plasminogen system to facilitate tissue barrier invasion. Through a combination of biochemical, cell biology, and proteomic approaches, we have shown that C. neoformans utilizes the host plasminogen system to cross tissue barriers, providing support for the hypothesis that plasminogen-binding may contribute to the invasion of the blood-brain barrier by penetration of the brain endothelial cells and underlying matrix. In addition, we have identified the cell wall-associated proteins that serve as plasminogen receptors and characterized both the plasminogen-binding and plasmin-activation potential for this significant human pathogen. Conclusions The results of this study provide

  11. STAT1 signaling is essential for protection against Cryptococcus neoformans infection in mice.

    PubMed

    Leopold Wager, Chrissy M; Hole, Camaron R; Wozniak, Karen L; Olszewski, Michal A; Wormley, Floyd L

    2014-10-15

    Nonprotective immune responses to highly virulent Cryptococcus neoformans strains, such as H99, are associated with Th2-type cytokine production, alternatively activated macrophages, and inability of the host to clear the fungus. In contrast, experimental studies show that protective immune responses against cryptococcosis are associated with Th1-type cytokine production and classical macrophage activation. The protective response induced during C. neoformans strain H99γ (C. neoformans strain H99 engineered to produce murine IFN-γ) infection correlates with enhanced phosphorylation of the transcription factor STAT1 in macrophages; however, the role of STAT1 in protective immunity to C. neoformans is unknown. The current studies examined the effect of STAT1 deletion in murine models of protective immunity to C. neoformans. Survival and fungal burden were evaluated in wild-type and STAT1 knockout (KO) mice infected with either strain H99γ or C. neoformans strain 52D (unmodified clinical isolate). Both strains H99γ and 52D were rapidly cleared from the lungs, did not disseminate to the CNS, or cause mortality in the wild-type mice. Conversely, STAT1 KO mice infected with H99γ or 52D had significantly increased pulmonary fungal burden, CNS dissemination, and 90-100% mortality. STAT1 deletion resulted in a shift from Th1 to Th2 cytokine bias, pronounced lung inflammation, and defective classical macrophage activation. Pulmonary macrophages from STAT1 KO mice exhibited defects in NO production correlating with inefficient inhibition of fungal proliferation. These studies demonstrate that STAT1 signaling is essential not only for regulation of immune polarization but also for the classical activation of macrophages that occurs during protective anticryptococcal immune responses.

  12. Topoisomerase I is essential in Cryptococcus neoformans: role In pathobiology and as an antifungal target.

    PubMed Central

    Del Poeta, M; Toffaletti, D L; Rude, T H; Dykstra, C C; Heitman, J; Perfect, J R

    1999-01-01

    Topisomerase I is the target of several toxins and chemotherapy agents, and the enzyme is essential for viability in some organisms, including mice and drosophila. We have cloned the TOP1 gene encoding topoisomerase I from the opportunistic fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. The C. neoformans topoisomerase I contains a fungal insert also found in topoisomerase I from Candida albicans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae that is not present in the mammalian enzyme. We were unable to disrupt the topoisomerase I gene in this haploid organism by homologous recombination in over 8000 transformants analyzed. When a second functional copy of the TOP1 gene was introduced into the genome, the topoisomerase I gene could be readily disrupted by homologous recombination (at 7% efficiency). Thus, topoisomerase I is essential in C. neoformans. This new molecular strategy with C. neoformans may also be useful in identifying essential genes in other pathogenic fungi. To address the physiological and pathobiological functions of the enzyme, the TOP1 gene was fused to the GAL7 gene promoter. The resulting GAL7::TOP1 fusion gene was modestly regulated by carbon source in a serotype A strain of C. neoformans. Modest overexpression of topoisomerase I conferred sensitivity to heat shock, gamma-rays, and camptothecin. In contrast, alterations in topoisomerase I levels had no effect on the toxicity of a novel class of antifungal agents, the dicationic aromatic compounds (DACs), indicating that topoisomerase I is not the target of DACs. In an animal model of cryptococcal meningitis, topoisomerase I regulation was not critically important to established infection, but may impact on the initial stress response to infection. In summary, our studies reveal that topoisomerase I is essential in the human pathogen C. neoformans and represents a novel target for antifungal agents. PMID:10224251

  13. X-linked immunodeficient mice exhibit enhanced susceptibility to Cryptococcus neoformans Infection.

    PubMed

    Szymczak, Wendy A; Davis, Michael J; Lundy, Steven K; Dufaud, Chad; Olszewski, Michal; Pirofski, Liise-anne

    2013-07-02

    ABSTRACT Bruton's tyrosine kinase (Btk) is a signaling molecule that plays important roles in B-1 B cell development and innate myeloid cell functions and has recently been identified as a target for therapy of B cell lymphomas. We examined the contribution of B-1 B cells to resistance to Cryptococcus neoformans infection by utilizing X-linked immunodeficient (XID) mice (CBA-CaHN-XID), which possess a mutation in Btk. XID mice had significantly higher brain fungal burdens than the controls 6 weeks after infection with C. neoformans strain 52D (CN52D); however, consistent with the propensity for greater virulence of C. neoformans strain H99 (CNH99), CNH99-infected XID mice had higher lung and brain fungal burdens than the controls 3 weeks after infection. Further studies in a chronic CN52D model revealed markedly lower levels of total and C. neoformans-specific serum IgM in XID mice than in the control mice 1 and 6 weeks after infection. Alveolar macrophage phagocytosis was markedly impaired in CN52D-infected XID mice compared to the controls, with XID mice exhibiting a disorganized lung inflammatory pattern in which Gomori silver staining revealed significantly more enlarged, extracellular C. neoformans cells than the controls. Adoptive transfer of B-1 B cells to XID mice restored peritoneal B-1 B cells but did not restore IgM levels to those of the controls and had no effect on the brain fungal burden at 6 weeks. Taken together, our data support the hypothesis that IgM promotes fungal containment in the lungs by enhancing C. neoformans phagocytosis and restricting C. neoformans enlargement. However, peritoneal B-1 B cells are insufficient to reconstitute a protective effect in the lungs. IMPORTANCE Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungal pathogen that causes an estimated 600,000 deaths per year. Most infections occur in individuals who are immunocompromised, with the majority of cases occurring in those with HIV/AIDS, but healthy individuals also develop disease

  14. The genome of the basidiomycetous yeast and human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Loftus, Brendan J; Fung, Eula; Roncaglia, Paola; Rowley, Don; Amedeo, Paolo; Bruno, Dan; Vamathevan, Jessica; Miranda, Molly; Anderson, Iain J; Fraser, James A; Allen, Jonathan E; Bosdet, Ian E; Brent, Michael R; Chiu, Readman; Doering, Tamara L; Donlin, Maureen J; D'Souza, Cletus A; Fox, Deborah S; Grinberg, Viktoriya; Fu, Jianmin; Fukushima, Marilyn; Haas, Brian J; Huang, James C; Janbon, Guilhem; Jones, Steven J M; Koo, Hean L; Krzywinski, Martin I; Kwon-Chung, June K; Lengeler, Klaus B; Maiti, Rama; Marra, Marco A; Marra, Robert E; Mathewson, Carrie A; Mitchell, Thomas G; Pertea, Mihaela; Riggs, Florenta R; Salzberg, Steven L; Schein, Jacqueline E; Shvartsbeyn, Alla; Shin, Heesun; Shumway, Martin; Specht, Charles A; Suh, Bernard B; Tenney, Aaron; Utterback, Terry R; Wickes, Brian L; Wortman, Jennifer R; Wye, Natasja H; Kronstad, James W; Lodge, Jennifer K; Heitman, Joseph; Davis, Ronald W; Fraser, Claire M; Hyman, Richard W

    2005-02-25

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a basidiomycetous yeast ubiquitous in the environment, a model for fungal pathogenesis, and an opportunistic human pathogen of global importance. We have sequenced its approximately 20-megabase genome, which contains approximately 6500 intron-rich gene structures and encodes a transcriptome abundant in alternatively spliced and antisense messages. The genome is rich in transposons, many of which cluster at candidate centromeric regions. The presence of these transposons may drive karyotype instability and phenotypic variation. C. neoformans encodes unique genes that may contribute to its unusual virulence properties, and comparison of two phenotypically distinct strains reveals variation in gene content in addition to sequence polymorphisms between the genomes.

  15. 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

  16. The Genome of the Basidiomycetous Yeast and Human Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Loftus, Brendan J.; Fung, Eula; Roncaglia, Paola; Rowley, Don; Amedeo, Paolo; Bruno, Dan; Vamathevan, Jessica; Miranda, Molly; Anderson, Iain J.; Fraser, James A.; Allen, Jonathan E.; Bosdet, Ian E.; Brent, Michael R.; Chiu, Readman; Doering, Tamara L.; Donlin, Maureen J.; D’Souza, Cletus A.; Fox, Deborah S.; Grinberg, Viktoriya; Fu, Jianmin; Fukushima, Marilyn; Haas, Brian J.; Huang, James C.; Janbon, Guilhem; Jones, Steven J. M.; Koo, Hean L.; Krzywinski, Martin I.; Kwon-Chung, June K.; Lengeler, Klaus B.; Maiti, Rama; Marra, Marco A.; Marra, Robert E.; Mathewson, Carrie A.; Mitchell, Thomas G.; Pertea, Mihaela; Riggs, Florenta R.; Salzberg, Steven L.; Schein, Jacqueline E.; Shvartsbeyn, Alla; Shin, Heesun; Shumway, Martin; Specht, Charles A.; Suh, Bernard B.; Tenney, Aaron; Utterback, Terry R.; Wickes, Brian L.; Wortman, Jennifer R.; Wye, Natasja H.; Kronstad, James W.; Lodge, Jennifer K.; Heitman, Joseph; Davis, Ronald W.; Fraser, Claire M.; Hyman, Richard W.

    2012-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a basidiomycetous yeast ubiquitous in the environment, a model for fungal pathogenesis, and an opportunistic human pathogen of global importance. We have sequenced its ~20-megabase genome, which contains ~6500 intron-rich gene structures and encodes a transcriptome abundant in alternatively spliced and antisense messages. The genome is rich in transposons, many of which cluster at candidate centromeric regions. The presence of these transposons may drive karyotype instability and phenotypic variation. C. neoformans encodes unique genes that may contribute to its unusual virulence properties, and comparison of two phenotypically distinct strains reveals variation in gene content in addition to sequence polymorphisms between the genomes. PMID:15653466

  17. 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

  18. Increasing trend of fluconazole-non-susceptible Cryptococcus neoformans in patients with invasive cryptococcosis: a 12-year longitudinal study.

    PubMed

    Chen, Yi-Chun; Chang, Tzu-Yao; Liu, Jien-Wei; Chen, Fang-Ju; Chien, Chun-Chih; Lee, Chen-Hsiang; Lu, Cheng-Hsien

    2015-07-22

    This study aimed to investigate the rate of fluconazole-non-susceptible Cryptococcus neoformans in Southern Taiwan for the period 2001-2012 and analyze the risk factors for acquiring it among patients with invasive cryptococcosis. All enrolled strains were isolated from blood or cerebrospinal fluid samples of the included patients. If a patient had multiple positive results for C. neoformans, only the first instance was enrolled. Susceptibility testing was performed using the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institutes M27-A3 broth micro-dilution method. The MIC interpretative criteria for susceptibility to fluconazole were ≤ 8 μg/ml. A total of 89 patients were included. Patients (n = 59) infected by fluconazole-susceptible strains were compared with those (n = 30) infected by non-susceptible strains. The patients' demographic and clinical characteristics were analyzed. The rate of fluconazole-non-susceptible C. neoformans in the study period significantly increased over time (p < 0.001). The C. neoformans isolated in 2011-2012 (odds ratio: 10.68; 95 % confidence interval: 2.87-39.74; p < 0.001) was an independent predictive factor for the acquisition of fluconazole-non-susceptible C. neoformans. The rate of fluconazole-non-susceptible C. neoformans has significantly increased recently. Continuous and large-scale anti-fungal susceptibility tests for C. neoformans are warranted to confirm this trend.

  19. 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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  1. Molecular identification, antifungal resistance and virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus deneoformans isolated in Seville, Spain.

    PubMed

    Gago, Sara; Serrano, Carmen; Alastruey-Izquierdo, Ana; Cuesta, Isabel; Martín-Mazuelos, Estrella; Aller, Ana Isabel; Gómez-López, Alicia; Mellado, Emilia

    2017-01-01

    Cryptococcal meningitis is one of the leading causes of death in HIV/AIDS patients. Our aim was to in order to characterise the epidemiology, antifungal susceptibility pattern and virulence of 28 Cyptococcus sp. strains recovered from 12 AIDS patients during two years in a Spanish single institution. Antifungal susceptibility testing was performed according to the CLSI protocols. Clinical strains were molecularly characterised by serotyping, mating type, PCR fingerprinting (M13 and GACA4 microsatellites) and analysis of two rDNA regions (IGS1 and ITS). Sequencing of the ERG11 gene was used to explore mechanisms of fluconazole resistance. Differences in virulence between species were studied in a Galleria mellonella infection model. Cryptococcus deneoformans and C. deneoformans x Cryptococcus neoformans hybrids were the most frequent variety (65%) followed by C. neoformans (35%). Strains were categorised according to 13 microsatellite genotypes and mixed infections could be detected in three patients. Twenty-nine per cent of the strains were fluconazole resistant. In one of the patients, the fluconazole resistance phenotype was associated with a point mutation in the ERG11 gene responsible for the amino acid substitution G470R. C. neoformans strains were able to kill G. mellonella larvae more efficiently than C. deneoformans and hybrids between both species. Precisely molecular characterisation of C. neoformans species is important for an accurate patient's management.

  2. Occurrence and significance of Cryptococcus neoformans in the respiratory tract of patients with bronchopulmonary disorders.

    PubMed Central

    Randhawa, H S; Pal, M

    1977-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans was cultured from 13 (3%) of 469 clinical specimens examined from the respiratory tract of patients with bronchopulmonary diseases. These isolations came from 5 (2%) of 207 patients; 11 isolates were from sputum and 1 each were from bronchoscopic aspirate and empyema pus. The fungus was not cultured from the oropharyngeal washings of 101 apparently healthy volunteers. Of the 5 patients, 3 had pulmonary tuberculosis, including one with pyopneumothorax and 2 with allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis as the underlying disease. In the tuberculosis patient with pyopneumothorax and C. neoformans in empyema pus, the fungus was presumably a tissue invader, whereas its role could not be unequivocally ascertained in the remaining 4 patients from whom it was isolated from sputum or bronchial aspirate on at least two consecutive occasions. The question of C. neoformans being a transient resident, commensal, or incitant of benign minimal lesions in the tracheobronchial tree is discussed. A comprehensive laboratory and clinical follow-up is warranted in patients from whose sputum or bronchial aspirate C. neoformans may be cultured even though definitive signs of cryptococcosis may be lacking. PMID:319109

  3. ISOLATION OF Cryptococcus neoformans FROM ENVIRONMENTAL SAMPLES COLLECTED IN SOUTHEASTERN NIGERIA

    PubMed Central

    NWEZE, Emeka I.; KECHIA, Fred A.; DIBUA, Uju E.; EZE, Charles; ONOJA, Uwakwe S.

    2015-01-01

    SUMMARY Cryptococcosis caused by Cryptococcus neoformans is the second most common fungal opportunistic pathogen and a lifethreatening infection with serious clinical manifestations especially in HIV/AIDS and other immunocompromised patients. In Nigeria, HIV/AIDS infection has reached an alarming level. Despite this, information on the presence of this fungus in clinical and environmental samples is very scanty in Nigeria and many other parts of Africa. We set out to evaluate the presence of Cryptococcus neoformans or C. gattii in pigeon droppings obtained from Southeastern Nigeria. One hundred and seventy-seven samples of pigeon droppings from six sample types were collected. The area covered comprised of ten cities and other locations spanning across five States in Nigeria. Using established techniques, Cryptococcus neoformans was isolated from 39 of the 177 (22.0%) samples overall. No C. gattiiwas isolated. Most of the isolates (32.4%) were recovered from dovecotes (11 of 34) followed closely by samples taken from markets (31.8%; seven of 22) and least from the church (4.0%; one of 25). The highest isolation rate (38.9%) was found in samples from Enugu-Ezike(seven of 23) while the least came from Afikpoand the other locations each with 9.1% isolation rate. This is the first large-scale screening of Cryptococcus neoformans from pigeon droppings in Nigeria. The ecological and epidemiological significance of these findings are discussed. PMID:26422152

  4. Cryptococcus neoformans Overcomes Stress of Azole Drugs by Formation of Disomy in Specific Multiple Chromosomes

    PubMed Central

    Kwon-Chung, Kyung J.

    2010-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a haploid environmental organism and the major cause of fungal meningoencephalitis in AIDS patients. Fluconazole (FLC), a triazole, is widely used for the maintenance therapy of cryptococcosis. Heteroresistance to FLC, an adaptive mode of azole resistance, was associated with FLC therapy failure cases but the mechanism underlying the resistance was unknown. We used comparative genome hybridization and quantitative real-time PCR in order to show that C. neoformans adapts to high concentrations of FLC by duplication of multiple chromosomes. Formation of disomic chromosomes in response to FLC stress was observed in both serotype A and D strains. Strains that adapted to FLC concentrations higher than their minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) contained disomies of chromosome 1 and stepwise exposure to even higher drug concentrations induced additional duplications of several other specific chromosomes. The number of disomic chromosomes in each resistant strain directly correlated with the concentration of FLC tolerated by each strain. Upon removal of the drug pressure, strains that had adapted to high concentrations of FLC returned to their original level of susceptibility by initially losing the extra copy of chromosome 1 followed by loss of the extra copies of the remaining disomic chromosomes. The duplication of chromosome 1 was closely associated with two of its resident genes: ERG11, the target of FLC and AFR1, the major transporter of azoles in C. neoformans. This adaptive mechanism in C. neoformans may play an important role in FLC therapy failure of cryptococcosis leading to relapse during azole maintenance therapy. PMID:20368972

  5. Dectin-3 Is Not Required for Protection against Cryptococcus neoformans Infection

    PubMed Central

    Campuzano, Althea; Castro-Lopez, Natalia; Wozniak, Karen L.; Leopold Wager, Chrissy M.; Wormley, Floyd L.

    2017-01-01

    C-type lectin receptors (CLRs) are diverse, trans-membrane proteins that function as pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) which are necessary for orchestrating immune responses against pathogens. CLRs have been shown to play a major role in recognition and protection against fungal pathogens. Dectin-3 (also known as MCL, Clecsf8, or Clec4d) is a myeloid cell-specific CLR that recognizes mycobacterial trehalose 6,6’-dimycolate (TDM) as well as α-mannans present in the cell wall of fungal pathogens. To date, a potential role for Dectin-3 in the mediation of protective immune responses against C. neoformans has yet to be determined. Consequently, we evaluated the impact of Dectin-3 deficiency on the development of protective immune responses against C. neoformans using an experimental murine model of pulmonary cryptococcosis. Dectin-3 deficiency did not lead to increased susceptibility of mice to experimental pulmonary C. neoformans infection. Also, no significant differences in pulmonary leukocyte recruitment and cytokine production were observed in Dectin-3 deficient mice compared to wild type infected mice. In addition, we observed no differences in uptake and anti-cryptococcal activity of Dectin-3 deficient dendritic cells and macrophages. Altogether, our studies show that Dectin-3 is dispensable for mediating protective immune responses against pulmonary C. neoformans infection. PMID:28107361

  6. Cryptococcus neoformans meningitis with negative cryptococcal antigen: Evaluation of a new immunochromatographic detection assay.

    PubMed

    Opota, O; Desgraz, B; Kenfak, A; Jaton, K; Cavassini, M; Greub, G; Prod'hom, G; Giulieri, S

    2015-03-01

    Detection of cryptococcal antigen in serum or cerebrospinal fluid allows cryptococcal meningitis diagnosis within few hours with >90% sensitivity. In an HIV-positive patient with Cryptococcus neoformans meningitis, initial antigen detection by immunoagglutination was negative. We thus evaluated a new immunochromatographic detection assay that exhibited a higher sensitivity.

  7. Efficient implementation of RNA interference in the pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Bose, Indrani; Doering, Tamara L.

    2011-01-01

    An improved method has been developed for RNA interference in Cryptococcus neoformans, using opposing promoters to facilitate cloning and RNA interference targeting URA5 to allow selection of cells in which silencing is most effective. These advances significantly reduce the variability of silencing and the effort required for interference plasmid construction. PMID:21554906

  8. Cryptococcus neoformans Mediator Protein Ssn8 Negatively Regulates Diverse Physiological Processes and Is Required for Virulence

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Lin-Ing; Lin, Yu-Sheng; Liu, Kung-Hung; Jong, Ambrose Y.; Shen, Wei-Chiang

    2011-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a ubiquitously distributed human pathogen. It is also a model system for studying fungal virulence, physiology and differentiation. Light is known to inhibit sexual development via the evolutionarily conserved white collar proteins in C. neoformans. To dissect molecular mechanisms regulating this process, we have identified the SSN8 gene whose mutation suppresses the light-dependent CWC1 overexpression phenotype. Characterization of sex-related phenotypes revealed that Ssn8 functions as a negative regulator in both heterothallic a-α mating and same-sex mating processes. In addition, Ssn8 is involved in the suppression of other physiological processes including invasive growth, and production of capsule and melanin. Interestingly, Ssn8 is also required for the maintenance of cell wall integrity and virulence. Our gene expression studies confirmed that deletion of SSN8 results in de-repression of genes involved in sexual development and melanization. Epistatic and yeast two hybrid studies suggest that C. neoformans Ssn8 plays critical roles downstream of the Cpk1 MAPK cascade and Ste12 and possibly resides at one of the major branches downstream of the Cwc complex in the light-mediated sexual development pathway. Taken together, our studies demonstrate that the conserved Mediator protein Ssn8 functions as a global regulator which negatively regulates diverse physiological and developmental processes and is required for virulence in C. neoformans. PMID:21559476

  9. Fisetin as a promising antifungal agent against Cryptocococcus neoformans species complex.

    PubMed

    Reis, M P C; Carvalho, C R C; Andrade, F A; Fernandes, O F L; Arruda, W; Silva, M R R

    2016-08-01

    The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanisms of action of fisetin, a flavonol with antifungal activity previously evaluated against the Cryptococcus neoformans species complex. Ergosterol content and flow cytometry analysis were determined for the C. neoformans species complex in the presence of fisetin and ultrastructural analysis of morphology was performed on Cryptococcus gattii and C. neoformans. Decrease in the total cellular ergosterol content after exposure to fisetin ranged from 25·4% after exposure to 128 μg ml(-1) to 21·6% after exposure to 64 μg ml(-1) of fisetin compared with the control (without fisetin). The fisetin effects obtained with flow cytometry showed metabolic impairment, and alterations in its normal morphology caused by fisetin in C. neoformans cells were verified using scanning electron microscopy. Fisetin is a compound that acts in the biosynthesis of ergosterol. Flow cytometry showed that fisetin reduced viability of the metabolically active cells of C. gattii, while morphological changes explain the action of fisetin in inhibiting growth of these fungi. This study supports the idea that fisetin may represent a good starting point for the development of future therapeutic substances for cryptococcosis. © 2016 The Society for Applied Microbiology.

  10. The Cryptococcus neoformans catalase gene family and its role in antioxidant defense.

    PubMed

    Giles, Steven S; Stajich, Jason E; Nichols, Connie; Gerrald, Quincy D; Alspaugh, J Andrew; Dietrich, Fred; Perfect, John R

    2006-09-01

    In the present study, we sought to elucidate the contribution of the Cryptococcus neoformans catalase gene family to antioxidant defense. We employed bioinformatics techniques to identify four members of the C. neoformans catalase gene family and created mutants lacking single or multiple catalase genes. Based on a phylogenetic analysis, CAT1 and CAT3 encode putative spore-specific catalases, CAT2 encodes a putative peroxisomal catalase, and CAT4 encodes a putative cytosolic catalase. Only Cat1 exhibited detectable biochemical activity in vitro, and Cat1 activity was constitutive in the yeast form of this organism. Although they were predicted to be important in spores, neither CAT1 nor CAT3 was essential for mating or spore viability. Consistent with previous studies of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the single (cat1, cat2, cat3, and cat4) and quadruple (cat1 cat2 cat3 cat4) catalase mutant strains exhibited no oxidative-stress phenotypes under conditions in which either exogenous or endogenous levels of reactive oxygen species were elevated. In addition, there were no significant differences in the mean times to mortality between groups of mice infected with C. neoformans catalase mutant strains (the cat1 and cat1 cat2 cat3 cat4 mutants) and those infected with wild-type strain H99. We conclude from the results of this study that C. neoformans possesses a robust antioxidant system, composed of functionally overlapping and compensatory components that provide protection against endogenous and exogenous oxidative stresses.

  11. Quantitation of cellular components in Cryptococcus neoformans for system biology analysis.

    PubMed

    Singh, Arpita; Qureshi, Asfia; Del Poeta, Maurizio

    2011-01-01

    Methods and procedures in molecular biology used to study fungal pathogenesis have significantly improved during the last decade. In this chapter, we provide step-by-step procedures for performing genetics and biochemical studies in the human pathogenic fungal microorganism Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn). These methods are employed for studying the pathobiology of Cn and for experimental validation of theoretical models of fungal pathogenicity.

  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. [Molecular characterization of Cryptococcus neoformans isolates from HIV patients, Guayaquil, Ecuador].

    PubMed

    Sánchez, Sunny; Zambrano, Dolores; García, Maylen; Bedoya, César; Fernández, Carlos; Illnait-Zaragozí, María Teresa

    2017-09-01

    Neurocryptococcosis is an opportunistic fungal infection that represents a high cost in human lives and for the economy of countries. Its causative agent, the Cryptococcus neoformans/Cryptococcus gattii species complex, has a sexual and an asexual phase, four major serotypes and seven molecular varieties with phenotypic, clinical-epidemiological and antifungal susceptibility differences. To characterize by molecular methods clinical isolates of C. neoformans from Guayaquil, Ecuador. We determined mating types, serotypes and molecular varieties by PCR and RFLP in 27 yeast isolates previously identified as C. neoformans by conventional methods. The isolates were recovered from cerebrospinal fluid of HIV seropositive patients with neurological syndrome admitted at "Dr. José Daniel Rodríguez Maridueña" Hospital from December, 2013, to January, 2015. We established a wide prevalence of C. neoformans serotype A, MATα and genotype VNI among the studied isolates. These data are similar to those obtained in other countries and the first identified by molecular characterization in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Therefore, they constitute an important contribution to the knowledge on cryptococcosis in this country.

  14. 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

  15. Role of IL-17A on resolution of pulmonary C. neoformans infection.

    PubMed

    Wozniak, Karen L; Hardison, Sarah E; Kolls, Jay K; Wormley, Floyd L

    2011-02-17

    The current studies evaluated the role of interleukin (IL)-17A in the induction of protective immunity against pulmonary cryptococcosis in mice. Protection against pulmonary infection with C. neoformans strain H99γ was associated with increased IL-17A production. Signaling through the IFN-γ receptor (R) was required for increased IL-17A production, however, a Th17-type cytokine profile was not observed. Neutrophils were found to be the predominant leukocytic source of IL-17A, rather than T cells, suggesting that the IL-17A produced was not part of a T cell-mediated Th17-type immune response. Depletion of IL-17A in mice during pulmonary infection with C. neoformans strain H99γ resulted in an initial increase in pulmonary fungal burden, but had no effect on cryptococcal burden at later time points. Also, depletion of IL-17A did not affect the local production of other cytokines. IL-17RA⁻/⁻ mice infected with C. neoformans strain H99γ survived the primary infection as well as a secondary challenge with wild-type cryptococci. However, dissemination of the wild-type strain to the brain was noted in the surviving IL-17RA⁻/⁻ mice. Altogether, our results suggested that IL-17A may be important for optimal protective immune responsiveness during pulmonary C. neoformans infection, but protective Th1-type immune responses are sufficient for protection against cryptococcal infection.

  16. Molecular characterisation of clinical Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii isolates from Sichuan province, China.

    PubMed

    Wu, Si-Ying; Lei, Yao; Kang, Mei; Xiao, Yu-Ling; Chen, Zhi-Xing

    2015-05-01

    Previous reports on the molecular characteristics of clinical isolates of Cryptococcus species in China have focused on isolates from southeast China. To obtain a more detailed molecular epidemiology, a total of 92 cryptococcal isolates were collected from Sichuan province. A total of 24 isolates from 12 other provinces were collected for comparative study. Genotypes and mating types of 116 Cryptococcus isolates were determined. Among the 116 isolates, 43 isolates (19 isolates from Sichuan and 24 isolates outside of Sichuan) were analysed by multi-locus sequence typing (MLST). All 116 clinical isolates were mating type α. Most isolates (114/116) were molecular type VNI and the remaining two isolates were VGI and VGII respectively. MLST results revealed five sequence types (STs) of C. neoformans including two novel STs, with most isolates identified as ST5. The two C. gattii isolates identified in our study were ST44 and ST159. Based on our report and previous studies, there are 15 C. neoformans STs in China which can be divided into three subgroups. The C. gattii isolate from Sichuan could be a scattered subtype of VGII (ST44). Our findings demonstrated that C. neoformans isolates in Sichuan are genetically homogeneous, and ST5 is the epidemic clone of C. neoformans in China.

  17. 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.

  18. A multi-host approach for the systematic analysis of virulence factors in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Desalermos, Athanasios; Tan, Xiaojiang; Rajamuthiah, Rajmohan; Arvanitis, Marios; Wang, Yan; Li, Dedong; Kourkoumpetis, Themistoklis K; Fuchs, Beth Burgwyn; Mylonakis, Eleftherios

    2015-01-15

    A multi-host approach was followed to screen a library of 1201 signature-tagged deletion strains of Cryptococcus neoformans mutants to identify previously unknown virulence factors. The primary screen was performed using a Caenorhabditis elegans-C. neoformans infection assay. The hits among these strains were reconfirmed as less virulent than the wild type in the insect Galleria mellonella-C. neoformans infection assay. After this 2-stage screen, and to prioritize hits, we performed serial evaluations of the selected strains, using the C. elegans model. All hit strains identified through these studies were validated in a murine model of systemic cryptococcosis. Twelve strains were identified through a stepwise screening assay. Among them, 4 (CSN1201, SRE1, RDI1, and YLR243W) were previously discovered, providing proof of principle for this approach, while the role of the remaining 8 genes (CKS101, CNC5600, YOL003C, CND1850, MLH3, HAP502, MSL5, and CNA2580) were not previously described in cryptococcal virulence. The multi-host approach is an efficient method of studying the pathogenesis of C. neoformans. We used diverse model hosts, C. elegans, G. mellonella, and mice, with physiological differences and identified 12 genes associated with mammalian infection. Our approach may be suitable for large pathogenesis screens.

  19. Defects in phosphate acquisition and storage influence virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Kretschmer, Matthias; Reiner, Ethan; Hu, Guanggan; Tam, Nicola; Oliveira, Debora L; Caza, Melissa; Yeon, Ju Hun; Kim, Jeongmi; Kastrup, Christian J; Jung, Won Hee; Kronstad, James W

    2014-07-01

    Nutrient acquisition and sensing are critical aspects of microbial pathogenesis. Previous transcriptional profiling indicated that the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, which causes meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised individuals, encounters phosphate limitation during proliferation in phagocytic cells. We therefore tested the hypothesis that phosphate acquisition and polyphosphate metabolism are important for cryptococcal virulence. Deletion of the high-affinity uptake system interfered with growth on low-phosphate medium, perturbed the formation of virulence factors (capsule and melanin), reduced survival in macrophages, and attenuated virulence in a mouse model of cryptococcosis. Additionally, analysis of nutrient sensing functions for C. neoformans revealed regulatory connections between phosphate acquisition and storage and the iron regulator Cir1, cyclic AMP (cAMP)-dependent protein kinase A (PKA), and the calcium-calmodulin-activated protein phosphatase calcineurin. Deletion of the VTC4 gene encoding a polyphosphate polymerase blocked the ability of C. neoformans to produce polyphosphate. The vtc4 mutant behaved like the wild-type strain in interactions with macrophages and in the mouse infection model. However, the fungal load in the lungs was significantly increased in mice infected with vtc4 deletion mutants. In addition, the mutant was impaired in the ability to trigger blood coagulation in vitro, a trait associated with polyphosphate. Overall, this study reveals that phosphate uptake in C. neoformans is critical for virulence and that its regulation is integrated with key signaling pathways for nutrient sensing.

  20. Chitosan, the deacetylated form of chitin, is necessary for cell wall integrity in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Baker, Lorina G; Specht, Charles A; Donlin, Maureen J; Lodge, Jennifer K

    2007-05-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that causes cryptococcal meningoencephalitis, particularly in immunocompromised patients. The fungal cell wall is an excellent target for antifungal therapies as it is an essential organelle that provides cell structure and integrity, it is needed for the localization or attachment of known virulence factors, including the polysaccharide capsule, melanin, and phospholipase, and it is critical for host-pathogen interactions. In C. neoformans, chitosan produced by the enzymatic removal of acetyl groups from nascent chitin polymers has been implicated as an important component of the vegetative cell wall. In this study, we identify four putative chitin/polysaccharide deacetylases in C. neoformans. We have demonstrated that three of these deacetylases, Cda1, Cda2, and Cda3, can account for all of the chitosan produced during vegetative growth in culture, but the function for one, Fpd1, remains undetermined. The data suggest a model for chitosan production in vegetatively growing C. neoformans where the three chitin deacetylases convert chitin generated by the chitin synthase Chs3 into chitosan. Utilizing a collection of chitin/polysaccharide deacetylase deletion strains, we determined that during vegetative growth, chitosan helps to maintain cell integrity and aids in bud separation. Additionally, chitosan is necessary for maintaining normal capsule width and the lack of chitosan results in a "leaky melanin" phenotype. Our analysis indicates that chitin deacetylases and the chitosan made by them may prove to be excellent antifungal targets.

  1. Development and validation of benomyl birdseed agar for the isolation of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii from environmental samples.

    PubMed

    Pham, Cau D; Ahn, Stacey; Turner, Lance A; Wohrle, Ron; Lockhart, Shawn R

    2014-05-01

    One of the difficulties of isolating Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii from environmental samples is the abundant overgrowth of other yeast and mold species that occurs on the plates. Here we report the application of benomyl to Guizotia abyssinica seed extract growth medium to improve the isolation of C. neoformans and C. gattii from environmental samples. We validated this medium by recovering C. neoformans and C. gattii from convenience soils and swabs from a region of the United States where these yeasts are endemic.

  2. Cryptococcus neoformans Differential Gene Expression Detected In Vitro and In Vivo with Green Fluorescent Protein

    PubMed Central

    del Poeta, Maurizio; Toffaletti, Dena L.; Rude, Thomas H.; Sparks, Sara D.; Heitman, Joseph; Perfect, John R.

    1999-01-01

    Synthetic green fluorescent protein (GFP) was used as a reporter to detect differential gene expression in the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. Promoters from the C. neoformans actin, GAL7, or mating-type alpha pheromone (MFα1) genes were fused to GFP, and the resulting reporter genes were used to assess gene expression in serotype A C. neoformans. Yeast cells containing an integrated pACT::GFP construct demonstrated that the actin promoter was expressed during vegetative growth on yeast extract-peptone-dextrose medium. In contrast, yeast cells containing the inducible GAL7::GFP or MFα1::GFP reporter genes expressed significant GFP activity only during growth on galactose medium or V-8 agar, respectively. These findings demonstrated that the GAL7 and MFα1 promoters from a serotype D C. neoformans strain function when introduced into a serotype A strain. Because the MFα1 promoter is induced by nutrient deprivation and the MATα locus containing the MFα1 gene has been linked with virulence, yeast cells containing the pMFα1::GFP reporter gene were analyzed for GFP expression in the central nervous system (CNS) of immunosuppressed rabbits. In fact, significant GFP expression from the MFα1::GFP reporter gene was detected after the first week of a CNS infection. These findings suggest that there are temporal, host-specific cues that regulate gene expression during infection and that the MFα1 gene is induced during the proliferative stage of a CNS infection. In conclusion, GFP can be used as an effective and sensitive reporter to monitor specific C. neoformans gene expression in vitro, and GFP reporter constructs can be used as an approach to identify a novel gene(s) or to characterize known genes whose expression is regulated during infection. PMID:10085022

  3. Characterization of IL-22 and antimicrobial peptide production in mice protected against pulmonary Cryptococcus neoformans infection.

    PubMed

    Wozniak, Karen L; Hole, Camaron R; Yano, Junko; Fidel, Paul L; Wormley, Floyd L

    2014-07-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a significant cause of fungal meningitis in patients with impaired T cell-mediated immunity (CMI). Experimental pulmonary infection with a C. neoformans strain engineered to produce IFN-γ, H99γ, results in the induction of Th1-type CMI, resolution of the acute infection, and protection against challenge with WT Cryptococcus. Given that individuals with suppressed CMI are highly susceptible to pulmonary C. neoformans infection, we sought to determine whether antimicrobial peptides were produced in mice inoculated with H99γ. Thus, we measured levels of antimicrobial peptides lipocalin-2, S100A8, S100A9, calprotectin (S100A8/A9 heterodimer), serum amyloid A-3 (SAA3), and their putative receptors Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) in mice during primary and recall responses against C. neoformans infection. Results showed increased levels of IL-17A and IL-22, cytokines known to modulate antimicrobial peptide production. We also observed increased levels of lipocalin-2, S100A8, S100A9 and SAA3 as well as TLR4(+) and RAGE(+) macrophages and dendritic cells in mice inoculated with H99γ compared with WT H99. Similar results were observed in the lungs of H99γ-immunized, compared with heat-killed C. neoformans-immunized, mice following challenge with WT yeast. However, IL-22-deficient mice inoculated with H99γ demonstrated antimicrobial peptide production and no change in survival rates compared with WT mice. These studies demonstrate that protection against cryptococcosis is associated with increased production of antimicrobial peptides in the lungs of protected mice that are not solely in response to IL-17A and IL-22 production and may be coincidental rather than functional.

  4. 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.

  5. Temperature affects the susceptibility of Cryptococcus neoformans biofilms to antifungal agents.

    PubMed

    Pettit, Robin K; Repp, Kimberly K; Hazen, Kevin C

    2010-03-01

    The fungal opportunist Cryptococcus neoformans forms biofilms in vitro and in vivo. C. neoformans has an unusual ability to grow over a wide range of temperatures, and is one of only two species in the genus able to grow at 37 degrees C. The optimum growth temperature in the laboratory is 30 degrees C, but Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) planktonic susceptibility testing is performed at 35 degrees C. We investigated whether these growth temperatures affected C. neoformans biofilm formation and drug resistance. Biofilms of 30 strains of C. neoformans were grown at 30 degrees C or 35 degrees C, and antifungal susceptibilities evaluated at 30 degrees C or 35 degrees C using minimum biofilm eradication endpoints. At 35 degrees C, biofilms from 40% of the strains were more susceptible to flucytosine, 30% were more susceptible to nystatin, 27% were more susceptible to amphotericin, and 20% were more susceptible to fluconazole, as compared to 30 degrees C. The reverse, that is an increased susceptibility at 30 degrees C, only occurred with a single strain using nystatin or fluconazole. For the remaining strains, biofilm susceptibility was equivalent at the two temperatures. Biofilm colony forming units (CFU)s, as measured indirectly by 2,3-bis(2-methoxy-4-nitro-5-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium-5-carboxanilide (XTT) reduction, were greater at 35 degrees C than at 30 degrees C for the majority of the strains. Thus, growth temperature does affect C. neoformans biofilm properties, but factors other than relative biofilm CFUs/ml must be involved in the increased drug susceptibility at 35 degrees C.

  6. The Role of Amino Acid Permeases and Tryptophan Biosynthesis in Cryptococcus neoformans Survival

    PubMed Central

    Fernandes, João Daniel Santos; Martho, Kevin; Tofik, Veridiana; Vallim, Marcelo A.; Pascon, Renata C.

    2015-01-01

    Metabolic diversity is an important factor during microbial adaptation to different environments. Among metabolic processes, amino acid biosynthesis has been demonstrated to be relevant for survival for many microbial pathogens, whereas the association between pathogenesis and amino acid uptake and recycling are less well-established. Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen with many habitats. As a result, it faces frequent metabolic shifts and challenges during its life cycle. Here we studied the C. neoformans tryptophan biosynthetic pathway and found that the pathway is essential. RNAi indicated that interruptions in the biosynthetic pathway render strains inviable. However, auxotroph complementation can be partially achieved by tryptophan uptake when a non preferred nitrogen source and lower growth temperature are applied, suggesting that amino acid permeases may be the target of nitrogen catabolism repression (NCR). We used bioinformatics to search for amino acid permeases in the C. neoformans and found eight potential global permeases (AAP1 to AAP8). The transcriptional profile of them revealed that they are subjected to regulatory mechanisms which are known to respond to nutritional status in other fungi, such as (i) quality of nitrogen (Nitrogen Catabolism Repression, NCR) and carbon sources (Carbon Catabolism Repression, CCR), (ii) amino acid availability in the extracellular environment (SPS-sensing) and (iii) nutritional deprivation (Global Amino Acid Control, GAAC). This study shows that C. neoformans has fewer amino acid permeases than other model yeasts, and that these proteins may be subjected to complex regulatory mechanisms. Our data suggest that the C. neoformans tryptophan biosynthetic pathway is an excellent pharmacological target. Furthermore, inhibitors of this pathway cause Cryptococcus growth arrest in vitro. PMID:26162077

  7. 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.

  8. Identification of genes involved in the phosphate metabolism in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Toh-e, Akio; Ohkusu, Misako; Li, Hao-Man; Shimizu, Kiminori; Takahashi-Nakaguchi, Azusa; Gonoi, Toru; Kawamoto, Susumu; Kanesaki, Yu; Yoshikawa, Hirofumi; Nishizawa, Masafumi

    2015-07-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a pathogenic basidiomycetous yeast that can cause life-threatening meningoencephalitis in immuno-compromized patients. To propagate in the human body, this organism has to acquire phosphate that functions in cellular signaling pathways and is also an essential component of nucleic acids and phospholipids. Thus it is reasonable to assume that C. neoformans (Cn) possesses a phosphate regulatory system (PHO system) analogous to that of other fungi. By BLAST searches using the amino acid sequences of the components of the PHO system of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Sc), we found potential counterparts to ScPHO genes in C. neoformans, namely, acid phosphatase (CnPHO2), the cyclin-dependent protein kinase (CDK) inhibitor (CnPHO81), Pho85-cyclin (CnPHO80), and CDK (CnPHO85). Disruption of each candidate gene, except CnPHO85, followed by phenotypic analysis, identified most of the basic components of the CnPHO system. We found that CnPHO85 was essential for the growth of C. neoformans, having regulatory function in the CnPHO system. Genetic screening and ChIP analysis, showed that CnPHO4 encodes a transcription factor that binds to the CnPHO genes in a Pi-dependent manner. By RNA-seq analysis of the wild-type and the regulatory mutants of the CnPHO system, we found C. neoformans genes whose expression is controlled by the regulators of the CnPHO system. Thus the CnPHO system shares many properties with the ScPHO system, but expression of those CnPHO genes that encode regulators is controlled by phosphate starvation, which is not the case in the ScPHO system (except ScPHO81). We also could identify some genes involved in the stress response of the pathogenic yeast, but CnPho4 appeared to be responsible only for phosphate starvation.

  9. The Role of Amino Acid Permeases and Tryptophan Biosynthesis in Cryptococcus neoformans Survival.

    PubMed

    Fernandes, João Daniel Santos; Martho, Kevin; Tofik, Veridiana; Vallim, Marcelo A; Pascon, Renata C

    2015-01-01

    Metabolic diversity is an important factor during microbial adaptation to different environments. Among metabolic processes, amino acid biosynthesis has been demonstrated to be relevant for survival for many microbial pathogens, whereas the association between pathogenesis and amino acid uptake and recycling are less well-established. Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen with many habitats. As a result, it faces frequent metabolic shifts and challenges during its life cycle. Here we studied the C. neoformans tryptophan biosynthetic pathway and found that the pathway is essential. RNAi indicated that interruptions in the biosynthetic pathway render strains inviable. However, auxotroph complementation can be partially achieved by tryptophan uptake when a non preferred nitrogen source and lower growth temperature are applied, suggesting that amino acid permeases may be the target of nitrogen catabolism repression (NCR). We used bioinformatics to search for amino acid permeases in the C. neoformans and found eight potential global permeases (AAP1 to AAP8). The transcriptional profile of them revealed that they are subjected to regulatory mechanisms which are known to respond to nutritional status in other fungi, such as (i) quality of nitrogen (Nitrogen Catabolism Repression, NCR) and carbon sources (Carbon Catabolism Repression, CCR), (ii) amino acid availability in the extracellular environment (SPS-sensing) and (iii) nutritional deprivation (Global Amino Acid Control, GAAC). This study shows that C. neoformans has fewer amino acid permeases than other model yeasts, and that these proteins may be subjected to complex regulatory mechanisms. Our data suggest that the C. neoformans tryptophan biosynthetic pathway is an excellent pharmacological target. Furthermore, inhibitors of this pathway cause Cryptococcus growth arrest in vitro.

  10. Differences in nitrogen metabolism between Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii, the two etiologic agents of cryptococcosis.

    PubMed

    Ngamskulrungroj, Popchai; Chang, Yun; Roh, Jamin; Kwon-Chung, Kyung J

    2012-01-01

    Two members of the Cryptococcus neoformans-gattii species complex, the etiologic agents of cryptococcosis, can be differentiated by biological, biochemical, serological and molecular typing techniques. Based on their differences in carbon and nitrogen utilization patterns, cost effective and very specific diagnostic tests using D-proline and canvanine-glycine-bromthymol blue (CGB) media have been formulated and are widely used for identification of the two species. However, these methods have yet to be tested for strains with confirmed molecular types to assess the degree of specificity for each molecular type in the two species. We collected global isolates of every major molecular type available and tested their patterns of nitrogen utilization. We confirmed specificity of the CGB test to be 100% regardless of molecular type while the D-proline test yielded 8-38% false negative results in three of the four C. gattii molecular types, VGI-VGIII. The utilization pattern of a new set of amino acids: D-alanine, L-tryptophan and L-phenylalanine, showed species specificity comparable to that of D-proline. We discovered that the transcription factor Gat1 (Are1) regulates the utilization of nitrogen differently between C. neoformans and C. gattii strains. Unlike in C. neoformans, expression of the genes encoding glycine decarboxylase complex in C. gatti was only partially suppressed by nitrogen catabolite repression in the presence of ammonium. GAT1 in C. neoformans controlled the induction of three of the four genes encoding the glycine decarboxylase complex when glycine was used as the sole nitrogen source while in C. gattii its regulation of these genes was less stringent. Moreover, while virulence of C. neoformans strains in mice was not affected by Gat1, the transcription factor positively influenced the virulence of C. gattii strain.

  11. A cryptococcal capsular polysaccharide mimotope prolongs the survival of mice with Cryptococcus neoformans infection.

    PubMed

    Fleuridor, R; Lees, A; Pirofski, L

    2001-01-15

    Defined Abs to the Cryptococcus neoformans capsular polysaccharide glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) have been shown to be protective against experimental cryptococcosis. This suggests that if a vaccine could induce similar Abs it might protect against infection. However, the potential use of a GXM-based vaccine has been limited by evidence that GXM is a poor immunogen that can induce nonprotective and deleterious, as well as protective, Abs, and that the nature of GXM oligosaccharide epitopes that can elicit a protective response is unknown. In this study, we investigated whether a peptide surrogate for a GXM epitope could induce an Ab response to GXM in mice. The immunogenicity of peptide-protein conjugates produced by linking a peptide mimetic of GXM, P13, to either BSA, P13-BSA, or tetanus toxoid, P13-tetanus toxoid, was examined in BALB/c and CBA/n mice that received four s.c. injections of the conjugates at 14- to 30-day intervals. All mice immunized with conjugate produced IgM and IgG to P13 and GXM. Challenge of conjugate-immunized mice with C. neoformans revealed longer survival and lower serum GXM levels than control mice. These results indicate that 1) P13 is a GXM mimotope and 2) that it induced a protective response against C. neoformans in mice. P13 is the first reported mimotope of a C. neoformans Ag. Therefore, the P13 conjugates are vaccine candidates for C. neoformans and their efficacy in this study suggests that peptide mimotopes selected by protective Abs deserve further consideration as vaccine candidates for encapsulated pathogens.

  12. Methamphetamine enhances Cryptococcus neoformans pulmonary infection and dissemination to the brain.

    PubMed

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

    2013-07-30

    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. Methamphetamine (METH) is a major health threat to our society, as it adversely changes people's behavior, as well as increases the risk for the acquisition of diverse infectious diseases, particularly those that enter through the respiratory tract or skin. This report investigates the effects of METH use on pulmonary infection by the AIDS-related fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. This drug of abuse stimulates colonization and biofilm formation in the lungs, followed by dissemination of the fungus to the central nervous system. Notably, C. neoformans modifies its capsular polysaccharide after METH exposure, highlighting the fungus's ability to adapt to environmental stimuli, a possible explanation for its pathogenesis. The findings may translate into new knowledge and development of therapeutic and public health

  13. Cryptococcus neoformans Virulence Gene Discovery through Insertional Mutagenesis

    PubMed Central

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

    2004-01-01

    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°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°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 analyze their

  14. The Investigational Fungal Cyp51 Inhibitor VT-1129 Demonstrates Potent In Vitro Activity against Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii

    PubMed Central

    Lockhart, Shawn R.; Fothergill, Annette W.; Iqbal, Naureen; Bolden, Carol B.; Grossman, Nina T.; Garvey, Edward P.; Brand, Stephen R.; Hoekstra, William J.; Schotzinger, Robert J.; Ottinger, Elizabeth; Patterson, Thomas F.

    2016-01-01

    The in vitro activities of the novel fungal Cyp51 inhibitor VT-1129 were evaluated against a large panel of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii isolates. VT-1129 demonstrated potent activities against both Cryptococcus species as demonstrated by low MIC50 and MIC90 values. For C. gattii, the in vitro potency was maintained against all genotypes. In addition, significantly lower geometric mean MICs were observed for VT-1129 than for fluconazole against C. neoformans, including isolates with reduced fluconazole susceptibility. PMID:26787697

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. Induction of Brain Microvascular Endothelial Cell Urokinase Expression by Cryptococcus neoformans Facilitates Blood-Brain Barrier Invasion

    PubMed Central

    Stie, Jamal; Fox, Deborah

    2012-01-01

    The invasive ability of the blood-borne fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans can be enhanced through interactions with host plasma components, such as plasminogen. Previously we showed by in vitro studies that plasminogen coats the surface of C. neoformans and is converted to the active serine protease, plasmin, by host plasminogen activators. Viable, but not formaldehyde- or sodium azide-killed, cryptococcal strains undergo brain microvascular endothelial cell-dependent plasminogen-to-plasmin activation, which results in enhanced, plasmin-dependent cryptococcal invasion of primary bovine brain microvascular endothelial cells and fungal ability to degrade plasmin substrates. In the present work, brain microvascular endothelial cells cultured with viable, but not killed, cryptococcal strains led to significant increases in both urokinase mRNA transcription and cell-associated urokinase protein expression. Soluble urokinase was also detected in conditioned medium from brain microvascular endothelial cells cultured with viable, but not killed, C. neoformans. Exposure of plasminogen pre-coated viable C. neoformans to conditioned medium from strain-matched brain microvascular endothelial cell-fungal co-cultures resulted in plasminogen-to-plasmin activation and plasmin-dependent cryptococcal invasion. siRNA-mediated silencing of urokinase gene expression or the use of specific inhibitors of urokinase activity abrogated both plasminogen-to-plasmin activation on C. neoformans and cryptococcal-brain microvascular endothelial cell invasion. Our results suggest that pathogen exploitation of the host urokinase-plasmin(ogen) system may contribute to C. neoformans virulence during invasive cryptococcosis. PMID:23145170

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. A Rare Case of Primary Supraclavicular Lymphadenitis due to Cryptococcus Neoformans in an HIV Infected Patient

    PubMed Central

    Sood, Anuradha; Chandel, Lata R; Chauhan, Smriti; Thakur, Kamlesh; Jaryal, S.C

    2014-01-01

    Cryptococcosis caused by encapsulated yeast Cryptococcus neoformans most commonly presents as disease of the central nervous system. Cryptococcus is a non–mycelial budding yeast found in soil, pigeon droppings and their nesting places. The three ‘classic’ virulence factors of cryptococci are: polysaccharide capsule, melanin production and growth at 37°C. Here, we present a rare case of cryptococcosis affecting left supraclavicular lymph node in a Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected individual. Culture of fine needle aspirate of the lymph node yielded Cryptococcus neoformans which was identified by standard microbiological techniques. Meyer’s mucicarmine stain imparted a typical rose burgundy colour to the capsule. Unusual characteristics of the isolate included poorly developed capsule and the presence of yeast in chains resembling pseudo-hyphae. This case highlights the importance of microbiological techniques for diagnosis and prompt treatment of cryptococcosis. PMID:24701506

  1. The "in vitro" antifungal activity evaluation of propolis G12 ethanol extract on Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Fernandes, Fabrício Freitas; Dias, Amanda Latercia Tranches; Ramos, Cíntia Lacerda; Ikegaki, Masaharu; de Siqueira, Antonio Martins; Franco, Marília Caixeta

    2007-01-01

    Cryptococcosis is a worldwide disease caused by the etiological agent Cryptococcus neoformans. It affects mainly immunocompromised humans. It is relatively rare in animals only affecting those that have received prolonged antibiotic therapy. The propolis is a resin that can present several biological properties, including antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activities. The standard strain C. neoformans ATTC 90112 was used to the antifungal evaluation. The tests were realized with propolis ethanol extract (PEE) G12 in concentrations from 0.1 to 1.6 mg mL-1. The evaluation of MIC and MFC were done according to DUARTE (2002)5. The inhibitory effect of PEE G12 on the fungal growing was seen at the concentration of 0.2 mg mL-1 and 1.6 mg mL-1 was considered a fungicidal one.

  2. 3-Bromopyruvate: a novel antifungal agent against the human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Dyląg, Mariusz; Lis, Paweł; Niedźwiecka, Katarzyna; Ko, Young H; Pedersen, Peter L; Goffeau, Andre; Ułaszewski, Stanisław

    2013-05-03

    We have investigated the antifungal activity of the pyruvic acid analogue: 3-bromopyruvate (3-BP). Growth inhibition by 3-BP of 110 strains of yeast-like and filamentous fungi was tested by standard spot tests or microdilution method. The human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans exhibited a low Minimal Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) of 0.12-0.15 mM 3-BP. The high toxicity of 3-BP toward C. neoformans correlated with high intracellular accumulation of 3-BP and also with low levels of intracellular ATP and glutathione. Weak cytotoxicity towards mammalian cells and lack of resistance conferred by the PDR (Pleiotropic Drug Resistance) network in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, are other properties of 3-BP that makes it a novel promising anticryptococcal drug.

  3. 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.

  4. Insights on the genotype distribution among Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii Portuguese clinical isolates.

    PubMed

    Maduro, A P; Mansinho, K; Teles, F; Silva, I; Meyer, W; Martins, M L; Inácio, J

    2014-02-01

    This study provides a comprehensive picture of the C. neoformans/C. gattii molecular types most often associated with human cryptococcosis in Portugal and assesses the impact of C. gattii in these infections. One hundred and twenty-two clinical isolates, from distinct patients, were identified as C. neoformans and genotyped by URA5-RFLP, with the molecular types VNI (45.5 %) and VNIII (30.9 %) being the most commonly found ones. The molecular types VNII (11.4 %) and VNIV (11.4 %) were less abundant. One patient was found to be infected with a VGII isolate. This patient exhibited unusual clinical symptoms of cryptococcosis, reinforcing the suspicion for the presence of a different genotypic pattern, as determined afterwards. This case was detected in 2007 and is the first report of a potential autochthonous C. gattii infection case in Portugal, as the patient revealed no historical record of travelling outside the country.

  5. 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

  6. Consensus multi-locus sequence typing scheme for Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii

    PubMed Central

    Meyer, Wieland; Aanensen, David M.; Boekhout, Teun; Cogliati, Massimo; Diaz, Mara R.; Esposto, Maria Carmela; Fisher, Matthew; Gilgado, Felix; Hagen, Ferry; Kaocharoen, Sirada; Litvintseva, Anastasia P.; Mitchell, Thomas G.; Simwami, Sitali P.; Trilles, Luciana; Viviani, Maria Anna; Kwon-Chung, June

    2010-01-01

    This communication describes the consensus multi-locus typing scheme established by the Cryptococcal Working Group I (Genotyping of Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii) of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology (ISHAM) using seven unlinked genetic loci for global strain genotyping. These genetic loci include the housekeeping genes CAP59, GPD1, LAC1, PLB1, SOD1, URA5 and the IGS1 region. Allele and sequence type information are accessible at http://www.mlst.net/. PMID:19462334

  7. Mannoprotein MP84 mediates the adhesion of Cryptococcus neoformans to epithelial lung cells

    PubMed Central

    Teixeira, Pedro A. C.; Penha, Luciana L.; Mendonça-Previato, Lucia; Previato, Jose O.

    2014-01-01

    The capsule is the most important virulence factor of the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. This structure consists of highly hydrated polysaccharides, including glucuronoxylomannan (GXM), and galactoxylomannan (GalXM). It is also composed of mannoproteins (MPs) which corresponds to less than 1% of the capsular weight. Despite MPs being the minority and least studied components, four of these molecules with molecular masses of 115, 98, 88, and 84 kDa were identified and characterized as C. neoformans immunoreactive antigens involved in the pathogenesis, and are potential cryptococcosis vaccine candidates. With the aim to describe the adhesive property of MPs, we cloned and expressed the MP84, a mannoprotein with molecular weight of 84 kDa, on Pichia pastoris yeast, and performed interaction assays of C. neoformans with epithelial lung cells, in the presence or absence of capsule components. Two fungal strains, the wild type, NE-241, and a mutant, CAP67, deficient in GXM production, were used throughout this study. The adhesion assays were completed using epithelial lung cells, A549, and human prostate cancer cells, PC3, as a control. We observed that capsulated wild type (NE-241), and acapsular (CAP67) strains adhered significantly to A549 cells, compared with PC3 cells (p < 0.05). GXM inhibits the NE-241 adhesion, but not the CAP67. In contrast, CAP67 adhesion was only inhibited in the presence of MP84. These results demonstrate the involvement of MP in the adhesion of C. neoformans to epithelial lung cells. We conclude that this interaction possibly involves an adhesion-like interaction between MP on the fungal surface and the complementary receptor molecules on the epithelial cells. PMID:25191644

  8. Quantitation of Cellular Components in Cryptococcus neoformans for System Biology Analysis

    PubMed Central

    Singh, Arpita; Qureshi, Asfia; Del Poeta, Maurizio

    2016-01-01

    Methods and procedures in molecular biology used to study fungal pathogenesis have significantly improved during the last decade. In this chapter, we provide step-by-step procedures for performing genetics and biochemical studies in the human pathogenic fungal microorganism Cryptococcus neoformans (Cn). These methods are employed for studying the pathobiology of Cn and for experimental validation of theoretical models of fungal pathogenicity. PMID:21468997

  9. 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

  10. Activity of tannins from Stryphnodendron adstringens on Cryptococcus neoformans: effects on growth, capsule size and pigmentation

    PubMed Central

    Ishida, Kelly; Rozental, Sonia; de Mello, João Carlos Palazzo; Nakamura, Celso Vataru

    2009-01-01

    Background Stryphnodendron adstringens (Mart.) Coville, Leguminosae, also known in Brazil as barbatimão, is rich in tannins and many flavan-3-ols and proanthocyanidins such as prodelphinidins and prorobinetinidins. Previous studies have demonstrated several pharmacological properties of tannins from barbatimão, including anti-candidal activity. Methods The antifungal activity of proanthocyanidin polymeric tannins from Stryphnodendron adstringens (subfraction F2.4) was evaluated against three strains of Cryptococcus neoformans with different capsule expressions, using the broth microdilution technique, light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. The effect of subfraction F2.4 on C. neoformans and melanoma mammalian cells pigmentation was also evaluated. Results Although susceptibility assays revealed MIC values quite similar (between 2.5 and 5.0 μg/ml), analyses of MFC values revealing that the acapsular mutant Cap 67 was more susceptible to be killed by the subfraction F2.4 (MFC = 20 μg/ml) than the two tested capsular strains (T1-444 and ATCC 28957) (MFC > 160 μg/ml). Optical and electron microscopy experiments revealed relevant alterations in cell shape and size in all strains treated with 1 and 2.5 μg/ml of subfraction F2.4. Capsule size of the capsular strains decreased drastically after subfraction F2.4 treatment. In addition, ultrastructural alterations such as cell wall disruption, cytoplasm extraction, mitochondria swelling, increase in the number of cytoplasmic vacuoles and formation of membranous structures in the cytoplasm were also observed in treated yeasts. Incubation with subfraction F2.4 also decreased C. neoformans pigmentation, however, did not interfere in melanization of B16F10 mammalian cells. Conclusion Our data indicate that tannins extracted from S. adstringens interfered with growth, capsule size and pigmentation, all important virulence factors of C. neoformans, and may be considered as a putative candidate for the

  11. Interleukin-6 production by human monocytes stimulated with Cryptococcus neoformans components.

    PubMed

    Delfino, D; Cianci, L; Lupis, E; Celeste, A; Petrelli, M L; Curró, F; Cusumano, V; Teti, G

    1997-06-01

    In order to ascertain if Cryptococcus neoformans components can induce interleukin-6 (IL-6) production, we stimulated human whole blood with purified capsular products. Their potencies in stimulating IL-6 release were mannoproteins > galactoxylomannan = glucuronoxylomannan > alpha(1-3)glucan. IL-6 production was tumor necrosis factor alpha independent and required the presence of monocytes and plasma. Since IL-6 can stimulate replication of the human immunodeficiency virus in monocytic cells, these findings may be clinically relevant.

  12. Interleukin-6 production by human monocytes stimulated with Cryptococcus neoformans components.

    PubMed Central

    Delfino, D; Cianci, L; Lupis, E; Celeste, A; Petrelli, M L; Curró, F; Cusumano, V; Teti, G

    1997-01-01

    In order to ascertain if Cryptococcus neoformans components can induce interleukin-6 (IL-6) production, we stimulated human whole blood with purified capsular products. Their potencies in stimulating IL-6 release were mannoproteins > galactoxylomannan = glucuronoxylomannan > alpha(1-3)glucan. IL-6 production was tumor necrosis factor alpha independent and required the presence of monocytes and plasma. Since IL-6 can stimulate replication of the human immunodeficiency virus in monocytic cells, these findings may be clinically relevant. PMID:9169790

  13. Investigating Conservation of the Cell-Cycle-Regulated Transcriptional Program in the Fungal Pathogen, Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Sierra, Crystal S.; Haase, Steven B.

    2016-01-01

    The pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans causes fungal meningitis in immune-compromised patients. Cell proliferation in the budding yeast form is required for C. neoformans to infect human hosts, and virulence factors such as capsule formation and melanin production are affected by cell-cycle perturbation. Thus, understanding cell-cycle regulation is critical for a full understanding of virulence factors for disease. Our group and others have demonstrated that a large fraction of genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is expressed periodically during the cell cycle, and that proper regulation of this transcriptional program is important for proper cell division. Despite the evolutionary divergence of the two budding yeasts, we found that a similar percentage of all genes (~20%) is periodically expressed during the cell cycle in both yeasts. However, the temporal ordering of periodic expression has diverged for some orthologous cell-cycle genes, especially those related to bud emergence and bud growth. Genes regulating DNA replication and mitosis exhibited a conserved ordering in both yeasts, suggesting that essential cell-cycle processes are conserved in periodicity and in timing of expression (i.e. duplication before division). In S. cerevisiae cells, we have proposed that an interconnected network of periodic transcription factors (TFs) controls the bulk of the cell-cycle transcriptional program. We found that temporal ordering of orthologous network TFs was not always maintained; however, the TF network topology at cell-cycle commitment appears to be conserved in C. neoformans. During the C. neoformans cell cycle, DNA replication genes, mitosis genes, and 40 genes involved in virulence are periodically expressed. Future work toward understanding the gene regulatory network that controls cell-cycle genes is critical for developing novel antifungals to inhibit pathogen proliferation. PMID:27918582

  14. Invasion of the Central Nervous System by Cryptococcus neoformans Requires a Secreted Fungal Metalloprotease

    PubMed Central

    Vu, Kiem; Tham, Rick; Uhrig, John P.; Thompson, George R.; Na Pombejra, Sarisa; Jamklang, Mantana; Bautos, Jennifer M.

    2014-01-01

    ABSTRACT Cryptococcus spp. cause life-threatening fungal infection of the central nervous system (CNS), predominantly in patients with a compromised immune system. Why Cryptococcus neoformans has this remarkable tropism for the CNS is not clear. Recent research on cerebral pathogenesis of C. neoformans revealed a predominantly transcellular migration of cryptococci across the brain endothelium; however, the identities of key fungal virulence factors that function specifically to invade the CNS remain unresolved. Here we found that a novel, secreted metalloprotease (Mpr1) that we identified in the extracellular proteome of C. neoformans (CnMpr1) is required for establishing fungal disease in the CNS. Mpr1 belongs to a poorly characterized M36 class of fungalysins that are expressed in only some fungal species. A strain of C. neoformans lacking the gene encoding Mpr1 (mpr1Δ) failed to breach the endothelium in an in vitro model of the human blood-brain barrier (BBB). A mammalian host infected with the mpr1Δ null strain demonstrated significant improvement in survival due to a reduced brain fungal burden and lacked the brain pathology commonly associated with cryptococcal disease. The in vivo studies further indicate that Mpr1 is not required for fungal dissemination and Mpr1 likely targets the brain endothelium specifically. Remarkably, the sole expression of CnMPR1 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae resulted in a robust migration of yeast cells across the brain endothelium, demonstrating Mpr1’s specific activity in breaching the BBB and suggesting that Mpr1 may function independently of the hyaluronic acid-CD44 pathway. This distinct role for Mpr1 may develop into innovative treatment options and facilitate a brain-specific drug delivery platform. PMID:24895304

  15. Receptor-mediated clearance of Cryptococcus neoformans capsular polysaccharide in vivo.

    PubMed

    Yauch, Lauren E; Mansour, Michael K; Levitz, Stuart M

    2005-12-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans capsular glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) is shed during cryptococcosis and taken up by macrophages. The roles of the putative GXM receptors CD14, CD18, Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), and TLR4 in GXM clearance from serum and deposition in the liver and spleen in receptor-deficient mice were studied. While alterations in the kinetics of GXM redistribution were seen in the mutant mice, none of the receptors was absolutely required for serum clearance or hepatosplenic accumulation.

  16. Genetic Diversity and Genomic Plasticity of Cryptococcus neoformans AD Hybrid Strains

    PubMed Central

    Li, Wenjun; Averette, Anna Floyd; Desnos-Ollivier, Marie; Ni, Min; Dromer, Françoise; Heitman, Joseph

    2012-01-01

    Natural hybridization between two strains, varieties, or species is a common phenomenon in both plants and animals. Although hybridization may skew established gene pools, it generates population diversity efficiently and sometimes results in the emergence of newly adapted genotypes. Cryptococcus neoformans, which causes the most frequent opportunistic fungal infection in immunocompromised hosts, has three serotypes: A, D, and AD. Serotype-specific multilocus sequence typing and serotype-specific comparative genome hybridization were applied to investigate the genetic variability and genomic organization of C. neoformans serotype AD isolates. We confirm that C. neoformans serotype AD isolates are hybrids of serotype A and D strains. Compared with haploid strains, most AD hybrid isolates exhibit unique multilocus sequence typing genotypes, suggesting that multiple independent hybridization events punctuated the origin and evolutionary trajectory of AD hybrids. The MATa alleles from both haploid and AD hybrid isolates group closely to form a cluster or subcluster in both the serotype A and D populations. The rare and unique distribution of MATa alleles may restrict sexual reproduction between isolates of opposite mating types. The genetic diversity of the serotype D population, including haploid strains and serotype D genomes of the AD hybrid, is significantly greater than that of serotype A, and there are signatures of recombination within the serotype D population. Given that MATa isolates are relatively rare, both opposite-sex and same-sex mating may contribute to genetic recombination of serotype D in nature. Extensive chromosome loss was observed in AD hybrid isolates, which results in loss of heterozygosity in the otherwise-heterozygous AD hybrid genome. Most AD hybrid isolates exhibit hybrid vigor and are resistant to the antifungal drug FK506. In addition, the C. neoformans AD hybrid genome is highly dynamic, with continuous chromosome loss, which may be a

  17. HapX Positively and Negatively Regulates the Transcriptional Response to Iron Deprivation in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Jung, Won Hee; Saikia, Sanjay; Hu, Guanggan; Wang, Joyce; Fung, Carlen Ka-Yin; D'Souza, Cletus; White, Rick; Kronstad, James W.

    2010-01-01

    The fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans is a major cause of illness in immunocompromised individuals such as AIDS patients. The ability of the fungus to acquire nutrients during proliferation in host tissue and the ability to elaborate a polysaccharide capsule are critical determinants of disease outcome. We previously showed that the GATA factor, Cir1, is a major regulator both of the iron uptake functions needed for growth in host tissue and the key virulence factors such as capsule, melanin and growth at 37°C. We are interested in further defining the mechanisms of iron acquisition from inorganic and host-derived iron sources with the goal of understanding the nutritional adaptation of C. neoformans to the host environment. In this study, we investigated the roles of the HAP3 and HAPX genes in iron utilization and virulence. As in other fungi, the C. neoformans Hap proteins negatively influence the expression of genes encoding respiratory and TCA cycle functions under low-iron conditions. However, we also found that HapX plays both positive and negative roles in the regulation of gene expression, including a positive regulatory role in siderophore transporter expression. In addition, HapX also positively regulated the expression of the CIR1 transcript. This situation is in contrast to the negative regulation by HapX of genes encoding GATA iron regulatory factors in Aspergillus nidulans and Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Although both hapX and hap3 mutants were defective in heme utilization in culture, only HapX made a contribution to virulence, and loss of HapX in a strain lacking the high-affinity iron uptake system did not cause further attenuation of disease. Therefore, HapX appears to have a minimal role during infection of mammalian hosts and instead may be an important regulator of environmental iron uptake functions. Overall, these results indicated that C. neoformans employs multiple strategies for iron acquisition during infection. PMID:21124817

  18. 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.

  19. A Sensitive High-Throughput Assay for Evaluating Host-Pathogen Interactions in Cryptococcus neoformans Infection

    PubMed Central

    Srikanta, Deepa; Yang, Meng; Williams, Matthew; Doering, Tamara L.

    2011-01-01

    Background Cryptococcus neoformans causes serious disease in immunocompromised individuals, leading to over 600,000 deaths per year worldwide. Part of this impact is due to the organism's ability to thwart what should be the mammalian hosts' first line of defense against cryptococcal infection: internalization by macrophages. Even when C. neoformans is engulfed by host phagocytes, it can survive and replicate within them rather than being destroyed; this ability is central in cryptococcal virulence. It is therefore critical to elucidate the interactions of this facultative intracellular pathogen with phagocytic cells of its mammalian host. Methodology/Principal Findings To accurately assess initial interactions between human phagocytic cells and fungi, we have developed a method using high-throughput microscopy to efficiently distinguish adherent and engulfed cryptococci and quantitate each population. This method offers significant advantages over currently available means of assaying host-fungal cell interactions, and remains statistically robust when implemented in an automated fashion appropriate for screening. It was used to demonstrate the sensitivity of human phagocytes to subtle changes in the cryptococcal capsule, a major virulence factor of this pathogen. Conclusions/Significance Our high-throughput method for characterizing interactions between C. neoformans and mammalian phagocytic cells offers a powerful tool for elucidating the relationship between these cell types during pathogenesis. This approach will be useful for screens of this organism and has potentially broad applications for investigating host-pathogen interactions. PMID:21829509

  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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. Developmental cell fate and virulence are linked to trehalose homeostasis in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Botts, Michael R; Huang, Mingwei; Borchardt, Regen K; Hull, Christina M

    2014-09-01

    Among pathogenic environmental fungi, spores are thought to be infectious particles that germinate in the host to cause disease. The meningoencephalitis-causing yeast Cryptococcus neoformans is found ubiquitously in the environment and sporulates in response to nutrient limitation. While the yeast form has been studied extensively, relatively little is known about spore biogenesis, and spore germination has never been evaluated at the molecular level. Using genome transcript analysis of spores and molecular genetic approaches, we discovered that trehalose homeostasis plays a key role in regulating sporulation of C. neoformans, is required for full spore viability, and influences virulence. Specifically, we found that genes involved in trehalose metabolism, including a previously uncharacterized secreted trehalase (NTH2), are highly overrepresented in dormant spores. Deletion of the two predicted trehalases in the C. neoformans genome, NTH1 and NTH2, resulted in severe defects in spore production, a decrease in spore germination, and an increase in the production of alternative developmental structures. This shift in cell types suggests that trehalose levels modulate cell fate decisions during sexual development. We also discovered that deletion of the NTH2 trehalase results in hypervirulence in a murine model of infection. Taken together, these data show that the metabolic adaptations that allow this fungus to proliferate ubiquitously in the environment play unexpected roles in virulence in the mammalian host and highlight the complex interplay among the processes of metabolism, development, and pathogenesis. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  2. A Vanillin Derivative Causes Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Triggers Oxidative Stress in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:24586538

  3. 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.

  4. Genome-Wide Transcription Study of Cryptococcus neoformans H99 Clinical Strain versus Environmental Strains

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    The infection of Cryptococcus neoformans is acquired through the inhalation of desiccated yeast cells and basidiospores originated from the environment, particularly from bird’s droppings and decaying wood. Three environmental strains of C. neoformans originated from bird droppings (H4, S48B and S68B) and C. neoformans reference clinical strain (H99) were used for intranasal infection in C57BL/6 mice. We showed that the H99 strain demonstrated higher virulence compared to H4, S48B and S68B strains. To examine if gene expression contributed to the different degree of virulence among these strains, a genome-wide microarray study was performed to inspect the transcriptomic profiles of all four strains. Our results revealed that out of 7,419 genes (22,257 probes) examined, 65 genes were significantly up-or down-regulated in H99 versus H4, S48B and S68B strains. The up-regulated genes in H99 strain include Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA synthase (MVA1), Mitochondrial matrix factor 1 (MMF1), Bud-site-selection protein 8 (BUD8), High affinity glucose transporter 3 (SNF3) and Rho GTPase-activating protein 2 (RGA2). Pathway annotation using DAVID bioinformatics resource showed that metal ion binding and sugar transmembrane transporter activity pathways were highly expressed in the H99 strain. We suggest that the genes and pathways identified may possibly play crucial roles in the fungal pathogenesis. PMID:26360021

  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. Effects of Microtubule and Actin Inhibitors on Cryptococcus neoformans Examined by Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopy.

    PubMed

    Kopecká, Marie

    2014-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is one of the most important human fungal pathogens. Its cells contain rich microtubules required for nuclear division and rich F-actin cytoskeletons for cell division. Disruption of microtubules by a microtubule inhibitor should block nuclear division, and disruption of F-actin by an actin inhibitor should block cell division. We investigated the effects of microtubule and actin inhibitors to find out whether the cytoskeletons of C. neoformans can become a new anti-fungal target for the inhibition of cell division, when examined at the ultrastructural level. Cells treated with the microtubule inhibitors vincristine (VIN) and methyl benzimidazole-2-ylcarbamate (BCM) and the actin inhibitor latrunculin A (LA), in yeast extract peptone dextrose medium, were examined by scanning (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and the cell number was counted using a Bürker chamber. After 2 days of inhibition with VIN, BCM or LA, the cells did not divide, but later, resistant, proliferating cells appeared in all samples. With combined microtubule and actin inhibitors (VIN + LA or BCM + LA), cells did not divide during 6 or even 14 days, and no resistant cells originated. TEM showed that the inhibited cells were without cytoplasm and were dead; only empty cell walls persisted with reduced capsules, shown on SEM. Combined microtubule and actin inhibitors (VIN + LA or BCM + LA), have lethal effects on C. neoformans cells and no resistant cells originate. © 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel

  7. 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.

  8. Unusual galactofuranose modification of a capsule polysaccharide in the pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Heiss, Christian; Skowyra, Michael L; Liu, Hong; Klutts, J Stacey; Wang, Zhirui; Williams, Matthew; Srikanta, Deepa; Beverley, Stephen M; Azadi, Parastoo; Doering, Tamara L

    2013-04-19

    Galactofuranose (Galf) is the five-membered ring form of galactose. Although it is absent from mammalian glycans, it occurs as a structural and antigenic component of important cell surface molecules in a variety of microbes, ranging from bacteria to parasites and fungi. One such organism is Cryptococcus neoformans, a pathogenic yeast that causes lethal meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised individuals, particularly AIDS patients. C. neoformans is unique among fungal pathogens in bearing a complex polysaccharide capsule, a critical virulence factor reported to include Galf. Notably, how Galf modification contributes to the structure and function of the cryptococcal capsule is not known. We have determined that Galf is β1,2-linked to an unusual tetrasubstituted galactopyranose of the glucuronoxylomannogalactan (GXMGal) capsule polysaccharide. This discovery fills a longstanding gap in our understanding of a major polymer of the cryptococcal capsule. We also engineered a C. neoformans strain that lacks UDP-galactopyranose mutase; this enzyme forms UDP-Galf, the nucleotide sugar donor required for Galf addition. Mutase activity was required for the incorporation of Galf into glucuronoxylomannogalactan but was dispensable for vegetative growth, cell integrity, and virulence in a mouse model.

  9. Histopathological study of murine pulmonary cryptococcosis induced by Cryptococcus gattii and Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Okubo, Yoichiro; Wakayama, Megumi; Ohno, Hideaki; Yamamoto, Shuhei; Tochigi, Naobumi; Tanabe, Koichi; Kaneko, Yukihiro; Yamagoe, Satoshi; Umeyama, Takashi; Shinozaki, Minoru; Nemoto, Tetsuo; Nakayama, Haruo; Sasai, Daisuke; Ishiwatari, Takao; Shimodaira, Kayoko; Yamamoto, Yoshiro; Kamei, Katsuhiko; Miyazaki, Yoshitsugu; Shibuya, Kazutoshi

    2013-01-01

    Although Cryptococcus gattii can cause life-threatening complications, putative virulence factors of C. gattii remain controversial. Therefore, we conducted the present study to elucidate the virulence factors of the yeast and found that the mortality rate of mice infected with C. gattii R265 was significantly higher than that of those infected with C. gattii 5815; however, no difference was found in the mortality rates between mice infected with C. gattii R265 and Cryptococcus neoformans H99. In contrast, we found a significant difference in histopathological findings of the lungs between mice infected with C. gattii R265 and C. neoformans H99. The former showed alveolar expansion due to yeast proliferation with much lesser macrophage response, whereas the latter showed numerous nodules in the alveolar space consisting of macrophages and multinucleated giant cells. Furthermore, alveolar expansion was more enhanced in mice infected with C. gattii R265 than in those infected with C. gattii 5815. Our study confirmed that there is a different pathophysiology leading to death during C. gattii and C. neoformans infections. The result can provide two characteristics of C. gattii: one includes some mechanisms to escape from host recognition via macrophage and another includes a high performance of pulmonary structural alteration. These characteristics may be associated with the high virulence of C. gattii.

  10. Multiple Disguises for the Same Party: The Concepts of Morphogenesis and Phenotypic Variations in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    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.

  11. Biolistic transformation of a fluorescent tagged gene into the opportunistic fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Taylor, Tonya; Bose, Indrani; Luckie, Taylor; Smith, Kerry

    2015-03-19

    The basidiomycete Cryptococcus neoformans, an invasive opportunistic pathogen of the central nervous system, is the most frequent cause of fungal meningitis worldwide resulting in more than 625,000 deaths per year worldwide. Although electroporation has been developed for the transformation of plasmids in Cryptococcus, only biolistic delivery provides an effective means to transform linear DNA that can be integrated into the genome by homologous recombination.  Acetate has been shown to be a major fermentation product during cryptococcal infection, but the significance of this is not yet known. A bacterial pathway composed of the enzymes xylulose-5-phosphate/fructose-6-phosphate phosphoketolase (Xfp) and acetate kinase (Ack) is one of three potential pathways for acetate production in C. neoformans. Here, we demonstrate the biolistic transformation of a construct, which has the gene encoding Ack fused to the fluorescent tag mCherry, into C. neoformans. We then confirm integration of the ACK-mCherry fusion into the ACK locus.

  12. Genome-Wide Transcription Study of Cryptococcus neoformans H99 Clinical Strain versus Environmental Strains.

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

    The infection of Cryptococcus neoformans is acquired through the inhalation of desiccated yeast cells and basidiospores originated from the environment, particularly from bird's droppings and decaying wood. Three environmental strains of C. neoformans originated from bird droppings (H4, S48B and S68B) and C. neoformans reference clinical strain (H99) were used for intranasal infection in C57BL/6 mice. We showed that the H99 strain demonstrated higher virulence compared to H4, S48B and S68B strains. To examine if gene expression contributed to the different degree of virulence among these strains, a genome-wide microarray study was performed to inspect the transcriptomic profiles of all four strains. Our results revealed that out of 7,419 genes (22,257 probes) examined, 65 genes were significantly up-or down-regulated in H99 versus H4, S48B and S68B strains. The up-regulated genes in H99 strain include Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA synthase (MVA1), Mitochondrial matrix factor 1 (MMF1), Bud-site-selection protein 8 (BUD8), High affinity glucose transporter 3 (SNF3) and Rho GTPase-activating protein 2 (RGA2). Pathway annotation using DAVID bioinformatics resource showed that metal ion binding and sugar transmembrane transporter activity pathways were highly expressed in the H99 strain. We suggest that the genes and pathways identified may possibly play crucial roles in the fungal pathogenesis.

  13. Participation of purines in the modulation of inflammatory response in rats experimentally infected by Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    de Azevedo, Maria Isabel; Ferreiro, Laerte; Da Silva, Aleksandro S; Tonin, Alexandre A; Monteiro, Danieli Urach; Casali, Emerson A; Moritz, Cesar E J; Schirmbeck, Gabriel H; Cardoso, Valesca V; Flores, Mariana M; Fighera, Rafael; Stefani, Lenita M; Santurio, Janio M

    2016-10-01

    The present study was carried out to assess the participation of purines in the activation and modulation of inflammatory response of rats experimentally infected by Cryptococcus neoformans. Twenty four Wistar rats were divided into two groups of 12 animals each: Group A - uninfected control group and Group B - infected by C. neoformans. Blood was collected 20 and 50 days post-infection (PI) from six animals of each group in order to verify purine levels (adenosine triphosphate (ATP), adenosine diphosphate (ADP), adenosine monophosphate (AMP), adenosine (ADO), inosine (INO), hypoxanthine (HYPO), xanthine (XAN) and uric acid (URIC)). ATP levels were significantly increased (P < 0.05) in serum from infected animals on days 20 and 50 PI, as well as adenosine levels after 20 days PI on rats. On day 50 PI, levels of adenosine and uric acid were also reduced, but the levels of inosine and xanthine increased in animals infected by the fungus (P < 0.05). Therefore, it was possible to conclude that the purine levels in serum were altered and that these changes may be able to influence the pathogenesis of the disease caused by C. neoformans due the participation of purines (ATP and adenosine main) in the activation and modulation of inflammatory response.

  14. Cryptococcus neoformans infection in organ transplant recipients: variables influencing clinical characteristics and outcome.

    PubMed Central

    Husain, S.; Wagener, M. M.; Singh, N.

    2001-01-01

    Unique clinical characteristics and other variables influencing the outcome of Cryptococcus neoformans infection in organ transplant recipients have not been well defined. From a review of published reports, we found that C. neoformans infection was documented in 2.8% of organ transplant recipients (overall death rate 42%). The type of primary immunosuppressive agent used in transplantation influenced the predominant clinical manifestation of cryptococcosis. Patients receiving tacrolimus were significantly less likely to have central nervous system involvement (78% versus 11%, p =0.001) and more likely to have skin, soft-tissue, and osteoarticular involvement (66% versus 21%, p = 0.006) than patients receiving nontacrolimus- based immunosuppression. Renal failure at admission was the only independently significant predictor of death in these patients (odds ratio 16.4, 95% CI 1.9-143, p = 0.004). Hypotheses based on these data may elucidate the pathogenesis and may ultimately guide the management of C. neoformans infection in organ transplant recipients. PMID:11384512

  15. Role of ferroxidases in iron uptake and virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Jung, Won Hee; Hu, Guanggan; Kuo, Wayne; Kronstad, James W

    2009-10-01

    Iron acquisition is a critical aspect of the virulence of many pathogenic microbes, and iron limitation is an important defense mechanism for mammalian hosts. We are examining mechanisms of iron regulation and acquisition in the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, and here, we characterize the roles of the ferroxidases Cfo1 and Cfo2. Cfo1 is required for the reductive iron uptake system that mediates the utilization of transferrin, an important iron source for C. neoformans during infection. The virulence of a cfo1 mutant was attenuated in a mouse model of cryptococcosis, and the mutant also displayed increased sensitivities to the antifungal drugs fluconazole and amphotericin B. Wild-type levels of drug sensitivity were restored by the addition of exogenous heme, which suggested that reduced levels of intracellular iron may curtail heme levels and interfere with ergosterol biosynthesis. We constructed green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion proteins and found elevated expression of Cfo1-GFP upon iron limitation, as well as localization of the fusion to the plasma membrane. Trafficking to this location was disrupted by a defect in the catalytic subunit of cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase. This result is consistent with findings from studies indicating an influence of the kinase on the expression of protein-trafficking functions in C. neoformans.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-01

    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.

  17. Iron source preference and regulation of iron uptake in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Jung, Won Hee; Sham, Anita; Lian, Tianshun; Singh, Arvinder; Kosman, Daniel J; Kronstad, James W

    2008-02-08

    The level of available iron in the mammalian host is extremely low, and pathogenic microbes must compete with host proteins such as transferrin for iron. Iron regulation of gene expression, including genes encoding iron uptake functions and virulence factors, is critical for the pathogenesis of the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. In this study, we characterized the roles of the CFT1 and CFT2 genes that encode C. neoformans orthologs of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae high-affinity iron permease FTR1. Deletion of CFT1 reduced growth and iron uptake with ferric chloride and holo-transferrin as the in vitro iron sources, and the cft1 mutant was attenuated for virulence in a mouse model of infection. A reduction in the fungal burden in the brains of mice infected with the cft1 mutant was observed, thus suggesting a requirement for reductive iron acquisition during cryptococcal meningitis. CFT2 played no apparent role in iron acquisition but did influence virulence. The expression of both CFT1 and CFT2 was influenced by cAMP-dependent protein kinase, and the iron-regulatory transcription factor Cir1 positively regulated CFT1 and negatively regulated CFT2. Overall, these results indicate that C. neoformans utilizes iron sources within the host (e.g., holo-transferrin) that require Cft1 and a reductive iron uptake system.

  18. Cryptococcus neoformans STE12α Regulates Virulence but Is Not Essential for Mating

    PubMed Central

    Chang, Y.C.; Wickes, B.L.; Miller, G.F.; Penoyer, L.A.; Kwon-Chung, K.J.

    2000-01-01

    The Cryptococcus neoformans STE12α gene, a homologue of Saccharomyces cerevisiae STE12, exists only in mating type (MAT)α cells. In S. cerevisiae, STE12 was required for mating and filament formation. In C. neoformans, haploid fruiting on filament agar required STE12α. The ability to form hyphae, however, was not affected by deletion of STE12α when convergently growing MATa strains were present. Furthermore, ste12α disruptants were fertile when mated with MATa strains, albeit with reduced mating frequency. Most importantly, the virulence of a ste12α disruptant of serotype D strain was significantly reduced in a mouse model. When the ste12α locus was reconstituted with the wild-type allele by cotransformation, virulence was restored. Histopathological analysis demonstrated a reduction in capsular size of yeast cells, less severe cystic lesions, and stronger immune responses in meninges of mice infected with ste12α cells than those of mice infected with STE12α cells. Using reporter gene constructs, we found that STE12α controls the expression of several phenotypes known to be involved in virulence, such as capsule and melanin production. These results demonstrate a clear molecular link between mating type and virulence in C. neoformans. PMID:10704467

  19. 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

  20. 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

    2016-02-18

    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.

  1. 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

  2. Blepharitis due to Cryptococcus neoformans in a cat from northern Portugal.

    PubMed

    Pimenta, Paulo; Alves-Pimenta, Sofia; Barros, João; Pereira, Maria J; Maltez, Luís; Maduro, A Paula; Cardoso, Luís; Coelho, Ana C

    2015-01-01

    Case summary We report a clinical case of blepharitis due to Cryptococcus neoformans yeasts in a 2-year-old stray cat from northern Portugal (Vila Real) without concurrent naso-ocular signs. Ophthalmological examination revealed mucopurulent discharge from an open wound in the right upper and lower lids. Slit-lamp biomicroscopy showed a normal anterior segment, and intraocular pressure was within the normal reference interval. No fundoscopic alterations were detected in either eye by direct and indirect ophthalmoscopic examination. Cytological examination of an appositional smear showed numerous polymorphic neutrophils and macrophages, together with spherical yeast cells compatible with Cryptococcus species. Molecular analysis by means of PCR and restriction fragment length polymorphism identified C neoformans genotype VNI. The cat was treated with itraconazole, and amoxicillin and clavulanic acid, combined with a commercial ear ointment and an imidacloprid/moxidectin spot-on application for bilateral parasitic otitis caused by Otodectes cynotis. One month after treatment, the clinical signs were completely resolved. Localised cutaneous lesions, as in the present case, probably result from contamination of cat-scratch injuries with viable encapsulated yeasts. Relevance and novel information This is, to the best of our knowledge, the first clinical report of feline blepharitis due to C neoformans without concurrent naso-ocular signs. The current findings, together with those from recent reports of the infection in domestic animals, should alert the veterinary community both in Portugal and in Europe to this underdiagnosed disease.

  3. Environment factors can influence mitochondrial inheritance in the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Yan, Zhun; Sun, Sheng; Shahid, Mori; Xu, Jianping

    2007-05-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a model basidiomycete yeast. Strains of this species belong to one of two mating types: mating type a (MATa) or mating type alpha (MATalpha). In typical crosses between MATa and MATalpha strains, the progeny inherit mitochondria from the MATa parent. However, the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. To help elucidate the molecular mechanisms, we examined the effects of four environmental factors on the patterns of mtDNA inheritance. These factors are temperature, UV irradiation, and the addition of either the methylation inhibitor 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-adc) or the ubiquitination inhibitor ammonium chloride. Except temperature, the other three factors have been shown to influence organelle inheritance during sexual mating in other eukaryotes. Our results indicate that while the application of 5-adc or ammonium chloride did not influence mtDNA inheritance in C. neoformans, both UV irradiation and high temperature treatments did. Progeny from a cross involving a high temperature-sensitive mutant with the calcineurin subunit A gene deleted showed biparental mtDNA inheritance in all examined temperatures, consistent with a role of calcineurin and temperature in mtDNA inheritance. Furthermore, the zygote progeny population from a cross performed at a high-temperature environment had a greater variability in their vegetative fitness than that from the same cross conducted at a low temperature. Our results indicate a potentially adaptive role of biparental mtDNA inheritance and mtDNA recombination in certain environments in C. neoformans.

  4. Cryptococcus neoformans ADS lyase is an enzyme essential for virulence whose crystal structure reveals features exploitable in antifungal drug design.

    PubMed

    Chitty, Jessica L; Blake, Kirsten L; Blundell, Ross D; Koh, Y Q Andre E; Thompson, Merinda; Robertson, Avril A B; Butler, Mark S; Cooper, Matthew A; Kappler, Ulrike; Williams, Simon J; Kobe, Bostjan; Fraser, James A

    2017-07-14

    There is significant clinical need for new antifungal agents to manage infections with pathogenic species such as Cryptococcus neoformans Because the purine biosynthesis pathway is essential for many metabolic processes, such as synthesis of DNA and RNA and energy generation, it may represent a potential target for developing new antifungals. Within this pathway, the bifunctional enzyme adenylosuccinate (ADS) lyase plays a role in the formation of the key intermediates inosine monophosphate and AMP involved in the synthesis of ATP and GTP, prompting us to investigate ADS lyase in C. neoformans. Here, we report that ADE13 encodes ADS lyase in C. neoformans. We found that an ade13Δ mutant is an adenine auxotroph and is unable to successfully cause infections in a murine model of virulence. Plate assays revealed that production of a number of virulence factors essential for dissemination and survival of C. neoformans in a host environment was compromised even with the addition of exogenous adenine. Purified recombinant C. neoformans ADS lyase shows catalytic activity similar to its human counterpart, and its crystal structure, the first fungal ADS lyase structure determined, shows a high degree of structural similarity to that of human ADS lyase. Two potentially important amino acid differences are identified in the C. neoformans crystal structure, in particular a threonine residue that may serve as an additional point of binding for a fungal enzyme-specific inhibitor. Besides serving as an antimicrobial target, C. neoformans ADS lyase inhibitors may also serve as potential therapeutics for metabolic disease; rather than disrupt ADS lyase, compounds that improve the stability the enzyme may be used to treat ADS lyase deficiency disease. © 2017 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

  5. Interleukin-17 is not required for classical macrophage activation in a pulmonary mouse model of Cryptococcus neoformans infection.

    PubMed

    Hardison, Sarah E; Wozniak, Karen L; Kolls, Jay K; Wormley, Floyd L

    2010-12-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that causes disease in individuals with suppressed cell-mediated immunity. Recent studies in our laboratory have shown that increases in pulmonary Th1-type and interleukin-17A (IL-17A) cytokine production, classical macrophage activation, and sterilizing immunity are elicited in response to infection with a gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-producing C. neoformans strain, H99γ. IL-17A-treated macrophages, compared to IL-4-treated macrophages, have been demonstrated to exhibit increased microbicidal activity in vitro, a characteristic consistent with classical macrophage activation. The purpose of these studies is to determine the role of IL-17A in the induction of classically activated macrophages following infection with C. neoformans. Immunohistochemistry and real-time PCR were used to characterize the macrophage activation phenotype in lung tissues of mice treated with isotype control or anti-IL-17A antibodies and given an experimental pulmonary infection with C. neoformans strain H99γ. The pulmonary fungal burden was resolved, albeit more slowly, in mice depleted of IL-17A compared to the fungal burden in isotype control-treated mice. Nonetheless, no difference in classical macrophage activation was observed in IL-17A-depleted mice. Similarly, classical macrophage activation was evident in mice deficient in IL-17A or the IL-17 receptor A, which mediates IL-17A signaling, following pulmonary infection with wild-type C. neoformans strain H99 or H99γ. These studies suggest that IL-17A may play a role in the early immune response to C. neoformans but is not required for classical macrophage activation in mice experimentally infected with C. neoformans.

  6. 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

  7. Peroxisome function regulates growth on glucose in the basidiomycete fungus Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Idnurm, Alexander; Giles, Steven S; Perfect, John R; Heitman, Joseph

    2007-01-01

    The function of the peroxisomes was examined in the pathogenic basidiomycete Cryptococcus neoformans. Recent studies reveal the glyoxylate pathway is required for virulence of diverse microbial pathogens of plants and animals. One exception is C. neoformans, in which isocitrate lyase (encoded by ICL1) was previously shown not to be required for virulence, and here this was extended to exclude also a role for malate synthase (encoded by MLS1). The role of peroxisomes, in which the glyoxylate pathway enzymes are localized in many organisms, was examined by mutation of two genes (PEX1 and PEX6) encoding AAA (ATPases associated with various cellular activities)-type proteins required for peroxisome formation. The pex1 and pex6 deletion mutants were unable to localize the fluorescent DsRED-SKL protein to peroxisomal punctate structures, in contrast to wild-type cells. pex1 and pex6 single mutants and a pex1 pex6 double mutant exhibit identical phenotypes, including abolished growth on fatty acids but no growth difference on acetate. Because both icl1 and mls1 mutants are unable to grow on acetate as the sole carbon source, these findings demonstrate that the glyoxylate pathway can function efficiently outside the peroxisome in C. neoformans. The pex1 mutant exhibits wild-type virulence in a murine inhalation model and in an insect host, demonstrating that peroxisomes are not required for virulence under these conditions. An unusual phenotype of the pex1 and pex6 mutants was that they grew poorly with glucose as the carbon source, but nearly wild type with galactose, which suggested impaired hexokinase function and that C. neoformans peroxisomes might function analogously to the glycosomes of the trypanosomid parasites. Deletion of the hexokinase HXK2 gene reduced growth in the presence of glucose and suppressed the growth defect of the pex1 mutant on glucose. The hexokinase 2 protein of C. neoformans contains a predicted peroxisome targeting signal (type 2) motif

  8. Variability in UVB tolerances of melanized and nonmelanized cells of Cryptococcus neoformans and C. laurentii.

    PubMed

    Schiave, Letícia A; Pedroso, Reginaldo S; Candido, Regina C; Roberts, Donald W; Braga, Gilberto U L

    2009-01-01

    Solar radiation is one of the major factors responsible for the control of fungus populations in the environment. Inactivation by UVA and UVB radiation is especially important for the control of fungi that disperse infective units through the air, including fungi such as Cryptococcus spp. that infect their vertebrate hosts by inhalation. Cryptococcus neoformans produces melanin in the presence of certain exogenous substrates such as l-3,4 dihydroxyphenylalanine and melanization may protect the fungus against biotic and abiotic environmental factors. In the present study, we investigated the effect of exposure to an UVB irradiance of 1000 mW m(-2) (biologically effective weighted irradiance) on the survival of melanized and nonmelanized cells of four strains of C. neoformans and four strains of C. laurentii. The relative survival (survival of cells exposed to radiation in relation to cells not exposed) of cells grown 2, 4, 6 or 8 days on medium with or without L-dopa was determined after exposure to UVB doses of 1.8 and 3.6 kJ m(-2). Both the irradiance spectrum and the intensities of those doses are environmentally realistic, and, in fact, occur routinely during summer months in temperate regions. Differences in tolerance to UVB radiation were observed between the C. neoformans and C. laurentii strains. The C. neoformans strains were more susceptible to UVB radiation than the C. laurentii strains. In C. neoformans, differences in tolerance to radiation were observed during development of both melanized and nonmelanized cells. For most treatments (strain, time of growth and UVB dose), there were virtually no differences in tolerances between melanized and nonmelanized cells, but when differences occurred they were smaller than those previously observed with UVC. In tests with two strains of C. laurentii, there was no difference in tolerance to UVB radiation between melanized and nonmelanized cells during 8 days of culture; and in tests with four strains for less

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. Distribution of Cryptococcus gattii and Cryptococcus neoformans in decayed trunk wood of Syzygium cumini trees in north-western India.

    PubMed

    Randhawa, H S; Kowshik, T; Preeti Sinha, K; Chowdhary, Anuradha; Khan, Z U; Yan, Zhun; Xu, Jianping; Kumar, Amit

    2006-11-01

    The aim of this study is to report the regional distribution of Cryptococcus. gattii and Cryptococcus. neoformans in decayed wood inside trunk hollows of Syzygium cumini trees (Java plum, Indian black berry) investigated in Amritsar (Panjab), Meerut Cantt. and Bulandshahr (Uttar Pradesh) and Delhi, in north-western India. Two hundred and seventeen wood samples collected from 74 S. cumini trees were investigated. This includes 7 known positive S. cumini trees in Delhi subjected to a mycological surveillance for perennial colonization by C. gattii and C. neoformans. Cryptococcus gattii showed the highest prevalence (89%) in S. cumini trees in Delhi, followed by 27%, 12.5% and 9% prevalence in Bulandshahr, Amritsar City and Meerut Cantt., respectively. In contrast, C. neoformans had the highest prevalence (54%) in Amritsar, followed by 44% in Delhi, 9% in Bulandshahr and 0% in Meerut Cantt. Furthermore, 44% of the S. cumini trees in Delhi, 9% in Bulandshahr and 8% in Amritsar were concomitantly colonized by both C. gattii and C. neoformans. A mycological surveillance over 4.8-5.2 years of 7 selected S. cumini trees in Delhi revealed perennial colonization by both the Cryptococcus species. In addition, air samples taken close to the decayed trunk hollows of 4 of the perennially colonized S. cumini trees contained strains of the C. neoformans species complex. Of a random sample of 48 isolates serotyped, 26 (54%) were C. neoformans, serotype A, and 22 (46%) C. gattii, serotype B. Determination of mating type alleles was done in 44 of the isolates, comprising 31 of C. neoformans, serotype A and 13 of C.gattii, serotype B. All of them proved to be mating type alpha (MATalpha). The data on high prevalence, fungal population density, perennial colonization and aerial isolations indicate that decayed wood in trunk hollows of S. cumini trees is to-date the main well documented primary environmental niche of C. gattii and C. neoformans in north-western India. Attention is drawn

  12. Real-time in vivo imaging reveals the ability of neutrophils to remove Cryptococcus neoformans directly from the brain vasculature.

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

    Although neutrophils are typically the first immune cells attracted to an infection site, little is known about how neutrophils dynamically interact with invading pathogens in vivo. Here, with the use of intravital microscopy, we demonstrate that neutrophils migrate to the arrested Cryptococcus neoformans, a leading agent to cause meningoencephalitis, in the brain microvasculature. Following interactions with C. neoformans, neutrophils were seen to internalize the organism and then circulate back into the bloodstream, resulting in a direct removal of the organism from the endothelial surface before its transmigration into the brain parenchyma. C. neoformans infection led to enhanced expression of adhesion molecules macrophage 1 antigen on neutrophils and ICAM-1 on brain endothelial cells. Depletion of neutrophils enhanced the brain fungal burden. Complement C3 was critically involved in the recognition of C. neoformans by neutrophils and subsequent clearance of the organism from the brain. Together, our finding of the direct removal of C. neoformans by neutrophils from its arrested site may represent a novel mechanism of host defense in the brain, in addition to the known, direct killing of microorganisms at the infection sites. These data are the first to characterize directly the dynamic interactions of leukocytes with a microbe in the brain of a living animal.

  13. A high-throughput screening assay for assessing the viability of Cryptococcus neoformans under nutrient starvation conditions.

    PubMed

    Dehdashti, Seameen J; Abbott, Jennifer; Nguyen, Dac-Trung; McKew, John C; Williamson, Peter R; Zheng, Wei

    2013-08-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans causes an estimated 600,000 AIDS-related deaths annually that occur primarily in resource-limited countries. Fluconazole and amphotericin B are currently available for the treatment of cryptococcal-related infections. However, fluconazole has limited clinical efficacy and amphotericin B requires intravenous infusion and is associated with high renal toxicity. Therefore, there is an unmet need for a new orally administrable anti-cryptococcal drug. We have developed a high-throughput screening assay for the measurement of C. neoformans viability in 1,536-well plate format. The signal-to-basal ratio of the ATP content assay was 21.9 fold with a coefficient of variation and Z' factor of 7.1% and 0.76, respectively. A pilot screen of 1,280 known compounds against the wild-type C. neoformans (strain H99) led to the identification of four active compounds including niclosamide, malonoben, 6-bromoindirubin-3'-oxime, and 5-[(4-ethylphenyl)methylene]-2-thioxo-4-thiazolidinone. These compounds were further tested against nine clinical isolates of C. neoformans, and their fungicidal activities were confirmed. The results demonstrate that this miniaturized C. neoformans assay is advantageous for the high-throughput screening of large compound collections to identify lead compounds for new anti-cryptococcal drug development.

  14. Real-time imaging of trapping and urease-dependent transmigration of Cryptococcus neoformans in mouse brain

    PubMed Central

    Shi, Meiqing; Li, Shu Shun; Zheng, Chunfu; Jones, Gareth J.; Kim, Kwang Sik; Zhou, Hong; Kubes, Paul; Mody, Christopher H.

    2010-01-01

    Infectious meningitis and encephalitis is caused by invasion of circulating pathogens into the brain. It is unknown how the circulating pathogens dynamically interact with brain endothelium under shear stress, leading to invasion into the brain. Here, using intravital microscopy, we have shown that Cryptococcus neoformans, a yeast pathogen that causes meningoencephalitis, stops suddenly in mouse brain capillaries of a similar or smaller diameter than the organism, in the same manner and with the same kinetics as polystyrene microspheres, without rolling and tethering to the endothelial surface. Trapping of the yeast pathogen in the mouse brain was not affected by viability or known virulence factors. After stopping in the brain, C. neoformans was seen to cross the capillary wall in real time. In contrast to trapping, viability, but not replication, was essential for the organism to cross the brain microvasculature. Using a knockout strain of C. neoformans, we demonstrated that transmigration into the mouse brain is urease dependent. To determine whether this could be amenable to therapy, we used the urease inhibitor flurofamide. Flurofamide ameliorated infection of the mouse brain by reducing transmigration into the brain. Together, these results suggest that C. neoformans is mechanically trapped in the brain capillary, which may not be amenable to pharmacotherapy, but actively transmigrates to the brain parenchyma with contributions from urease, suggesting that a therapeutic strategy aimed at inhibiting this enzyme could help prevent meningitis and encephalitis caused by C. neoformans infection. PMID:20424328

  15. 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

    2015-03-05

    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.

  16. First isolation of Cryptococcus neoformans genotype VNI MAT-alpha from wood inside hollow trunks of Hymenaea courbaril.

    PubMed

    Castro e Silva, D M; Santos, D C S; Martins, M A; Oliveira, L; Szeszs, M W; Melhem, M S C

    2016-01-01

    Cryptococcal infection is transmitted by the inhalation of Cryptococcus spp. propagules. Information about the Cryptococcus species inhabiting plants might be clinically relevant due to the epidemiological role of these habitats as possible sources of human infection. The aim of this study was to increase the knowledge about the environmental occurrence of cryptococcosis agents. Hollow tree vegetal debris of nine plant species was sampled quarterly over a 12-month period. Melanized colonies were screened for Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii by biochemical tests, followed by URA5-RFLP molecular analysis, M13 fingerprinting assays, and mating-typing with the specific a and α primers. The susceptibility to fluconazole of all of the confirmed species colonies was determined using the AFST-EUCAST broth dilution method. We found that the typical Brazilian flora tree Hymenaea courbaril yielded a high cryptococcal burden (median, 10(2) CFU/g) during the summer, autumn and winter seasons. C. neoformans VNI molecular type MAT alpha was identified in all of the samples. The fingerprinting analyses showed great molecular variability with no correlation with the susceptibility profile to fluconazole (MIC range 4 to ≥64 mg/l). To our knowledge, this study is the first describing the association between C. neoformans and Hymenaea courbaril. These observations extend the known geographic distribution of and substantiate a new urban environmental niche for C. neoformans and also emphasize the genetic diversity of the environmental C. neoformans VNI molecular type isolates.

  17. Ste50 adaptor protein governs sexual differentiation of Cryptococcus neoformans via the pheromone response MAPK signaling pathway

    PubMed Central

    Jung, Kwang-Woo; Kim, Seo-Young; Okagaki, Laura H.; Nielsen, Kirsten; Bahn, Yong-Sun

    2010-01-01

    The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways control diverse cellular functions in pathogenic fungi, including sexual differentiation, stress-response, and maintenance of cell wall integrity. Here we characterized a C. neoformans gene, which is homologous to the yeast Ste50 that is known to play an important role in mating pheromone response and stress response as an adaptor protein to the Ste11 MAPK kinase kinase in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The C. neoformans Ste50 was not involved in any of the stress responses or virulence factor production (capsule and melanin) that are controlled by the HOG and Ras/cAMP signaling pathways. However, Ste50 was required for mating in both serotype A and serotype D C. neoformans strains. The ste50Δ mutant was completely defective in cell-cell fusion and mating pheromone production. Double mutation of the STE50 gene blocked increased production of pheromone and the hyper-filamentation phenotype of cells deleted of the CRG1 gene, which encodes the RGS protein that negatively regulates pheromone responsive G-protein signaling via the MAPK pathway. Regardless of the presence of the basidiomycota-specific SH3 domains of Ste50 that are known to be required for full virulence of Ustilago maydis, Ste50 was dispensable for virulence of C. neoformans in a murine model of cryptococcosis. In conclusion, the Ste50 adaptor protein controls sexual differentiation of C. neoformans via the pheromone-responsive MAPK pathway but is not required for virulence. PMID:20971202

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Molecular types of Cryptococcus gattii/Cryptococcus neoformans species complex from clinical and environmental sources in Nairobi, Kenya.

    PubMed

    Kangogo, Mourine; Bader, Oliver; Boga, Hamadi; Wanyoike, Wanjiru; Folba, Claudia; Worasilchai, Navaporn; Weig, Michael; Groß, Uwe; Bii, Christine C

    2015-11-01

    Cryptococcal meningitis infections cause high mortality rates among HIV-infected patients in Sub-Saharan Africa. The high incidences of cryptococcal infections may be attributed to common environmental sources which, if identified, could lead to institution of appropriate control strategies. To determine the genotypes of Cryptococcus gattii/C. neoformans- species complex from Nairobi, Kenya, 123 clinical and environmental isolates were characterised. Typing was done using orotidine monophosphate pyrophosphorylase (URA5) gene restriction fragment length polymorphism (URA5-RFLP). The majority of the isolates [105/123; 85.4%] were C. neoformans genotype (AFLPI/VNI) and 1.6% AFLP1A/VNB/VNII, whereas (13%) were C. gattii (AFLP4/VGI). This is the first report on the genotypes of C. gattii/C. neoformans species complex from clinical and environmental sources in Nairobi, Kenya and the isolation of C. gattii genotype AFLP4/VGI from the environment in Kenya.

  1. Molecular Epidemiology Reveals Genetic Diversity amongst Isolates of the Cryptococcus neoformans/C. gattii Species Complex in Thailand

    PubMed Central

    Kaocharoen, Sirada; Ngamskulrungroj, Popchai; Firacative, Carolina; Trilles, Luciana; Piyabongkarn, Dumrongdej; Banlunara, Wijit; Poonwan, Natteewan; Chaiprasert, Angkana; Meyer, Wieland; Chindamporn, Ariya

    2013-01-01

    To gain a more detailed picture of cryptococcosis in Thailand, a retrospective study of 498 C. neoformans and C. gattii isolates has been conducted. Among these, 386, 83 and 29 strains were from clinical, environmental and veterinary sources, respectively. A total of 485 C. neoformans and 13 C. gattii strains were studied. The majority of the strains (68.9%) were isolated from males (mean age of 37.97 years), 88.5% of C. neoformans and only 37.5% of C. gattii strains were from HIV patients. URA5-RFLP and/or M13 PCR-fingerprinting analysis revealed that the majority of the isolates were C. neoformans molecular type VNI regardless of their sources (94.8%; 94.6% of the clinical, 98.8% of the environmental and 86.2% of the veterinary isolates). In addition, the molecular types VNII (2.4%; 66.7% of the clinical and 33.3% of the veterinary isolates), VNIV (0.2%; 100% environmental isolate), VGI (0.2%; 100% clinical isolate) and VGII (2.4%; 100% clinical isolates) were found less frequently. Multilocus Sequence Type (MLST) analysis using the ISHAM consensus MLST scheme for the C. neoformans/C. gattii species complex identified a total of 20 sequence types (ST) in Thailand combining current and previous data. The Thai isolates are an integrated part of the global cryptococcal population genetic structure, with ST30 for C. gattii and ST82, ST83, ST137, ST141, ST172 and ST173 for C. neoformans being unique to Thailand. Most of the C. gattii isolates were ST7 = VGIIb, which is identical to the less virulent minor Vancouver island outbreak genotype, indicating Thailand as a stepping stone in the global spread of this outbreak strain. The current study revealed a greater genetic diversity and a wider range of major molecular types being present amongst Thai cryptococcal isolates than previously reported. PMID:23861989

  2. Quantification and assessment of viability of Cryptococcus neoformans by LightCycler amplification of capsule gene mRNA.

    PubMed

    Amjad, Muhammad; Kfoury, Najla; Cha, Raymond; Mobarak, Reem

    2004-12-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen. It infects the central nervous system causing meningitis, which is fatal if untreated, especially in AIDS and immunosuppressed patients. In this study a method of quantification and assessment of viability of C. neoformans by LightCycler RT-PCR amplification of the capsule gene mRNA is established. The sequence of primers and probes were derived from C. neoformans capsular CAP10 gene mRNA (GenBank accession number AF144574), and were species specific. Agarose gel electrophoresis analysis of LightCycler RT-PCR product showed a single band of 223 bp in length. In order to develop an internal control a 223 bp exon fragment of capsule mRNA was cloned in the pCR2.1 plasmid vector and RNA was generated by in vitro transcription. To determine the sensitivity of the assay, serial dilutions of in vitro-transcribed RNA with known concentrations and copy numbers, and serially diluted cultures of viable and nonviable C. neoformans were used. Under optimal conditions as little as 0.472 fg of capsule mRNA could be detected, corresponding to 1-10 c.f.u. ml(-1) of the sample. No amplification was observed from up to 10(5) heat/UV radiation-killed yeast cells and RNA of other bacterial and fungal pathogens and human genomic DNA or RNA. The amplification of capsule mRNA represents a sensitive, specific and quantitative means of detection of viable C. neoformans in clinical specimens and can be useful in the evaluation of the therapeutic efficacy of antifungal drugs in the treatment of C. neoformans meningitis.

  3. Molecular epidemiology reveals genetic diversity amongst isolates of the Cryptococcus neoformans/C. gattii species complex in Thailand.

    PubMed

    Kaocharoen, Sirada; Ngamskulrungroj, Popchai; Firacative, Carolina; Trilles, Luciana; Piyabongkarn, Dumrongdej; Banlunara, Wijit; Poonwan, Natteewan; Chaiprasert, Angkana; Meyer, Wieland; Chindamporn, Ariya

    2013-01-01

    To gain a more detailed picture of cryptococcosis in Thailand, a retrospective study of 498 C. neoformans and C. gattii isolates has been conducted. Among these, 386, 83 and 29 strains were from clinical, environmental and veterinary sources, respectively. A total of 485 C. neoformans and 13 C. gattii strains were studied. The majority of the strains (68.9%) were isolated from males (mean age of 37.97 years), 88.5% of C. neoformans and only 37.5% of C. gattii strains were from HIV patients. URA5-RFLP and/or M13 PCR-fingerprinting analysis revealed that the majority of the isolates were C. neoformans molecular type VNI regardless of their sources (94.8%; 94.6% of the clinical, 98.8% of the environmental and 86.2% of the veterinary isolates). In addition, the molecular types VNII (2.4%; 66.7% of the clinical and 33.3% of the veterinary isolates), VNIV (0.2%; 100% environmental isolate), VGI (0.2%; 100% clinical isolate) and VGII (2.4%; 100% clinical isolates) were found less frequently. Multilocus Sequence Type (MLST) analysis using the ISHAM consensus MLST scheme for the C. neoformans/C. gattii species complex identified a total of 20 sequence types (ST) in Thailand combining current and previous data. The Thai isolates are an integrated part of the global cryptococcal population genetic structure, with ST30 for C. gattii and ST82, ST83, ST137, ST141, ST172 and ST173 for C. neoformans being unique to Thailand. Most of the C. gattii isolates were ST7 = VGIIb, which is identical to the less virulent minor Vancouver island outbreak genotype, indicating Thailand as a stepping stone in the global spread of this outbreak strain. The current study revealed a greater genetic diversity and a wider range of major molecular types being present amongst Thai cryptococcal isolates than previously reported.

  4. Unraveling Fungal Radiation Resistance Regulatory Networks through the Genome-Wide Transcriptome and Genetic Analyses of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Jung, Kwang-Woo; Yang, Dong-Hoon; Kim, Min-Kyu; Seo, Ho Seong; Lim, Sangyong; Bahn, Yong-Sun

    2016-11-29

    The basidiomycetous fungus Cryptococcus neoformans has been known to be highly radiation resistant and has been found in fatal radioactive environments such as the damaged nuclear reactor at Chernobyl. To elucidate the mechanisms underlying the radiation resistance phenotype of C. neoformans, we identified genes affected by gamma radiation through genome-wide transcriptome analysis and characterized their functions. We found that genes involved in DNA damage repair systems were upregulated in response to gamma radiation. Particularly, deletion of recombinase RAD51 and two DNA-dependent ATPase genes, RAD54 and RDH54, increased cellular susceptibility to both gamma radiation and DNA-damaging agents. A variety of oxidative stress response genes were also upregulated. Among them, sulfiredoxin contributed to gamma radiation resistance in a peroxiredoxin/thioredoxin-independent manner. Furthermore, we found that genes involved in molecular chaperone expression, ubiquitination systems, and autophagy were induced, whereas genes involved in the biosynthesis of proteins and fatty acids/sterols were downregulated. Most importantly, we discovered a number of novel C. neoformans genes, the expression of which was modulated by gamma radiation exposure, and their deletion rendered cells susceptible to gamma radiation exposure, as well as DNA damage insults. Among these genes, we found that a unique transcription factor containing the basic leucine zipper domain, named Bdr1, served as a regulator of the gamma radiation resistance of C. neoformans by controlling expression of DNA repair genes, and its expression was regulated by the evolutionarily conserved DNA damage response protein kinase Rad53. Taken together, the current transcriptome and functional analyses contribute to the understanding of the unique molecular mechanism of the radiation-resistant fungus C. neoformans IMPORTANCE: Although there are no natural environments under intense radiation, some living organisms

  5. Insights into the Mechanisms of Protective Immunity against Cryptococcus neoformans Infection Using a Mouse Model of Pulmonary Cryptococcosis

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    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-γ-producing C. neoformans strain, H99γ, 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 H99γ compared to mice immunized with heat-killed C. neoformans (HKC.n.). Mice immunized with C. neoformans strain H99γ 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-γ, T cell and B cell deficient mice with C. neoformans strain H99γ demonstrated a requirement for Th1-type T cell-mediated immunity, but not B cell-mediated immunity, for the induction of H99γ-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-γ or TNF-α in lungs of protected mice. In conclusion, immunization with C. neoformans strain H99γ results in the

  6. Effects of radiation type and delivery mode on a radioresistant eukaryote Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Shuryak, Igor; Bryan, Ruth A.; Broitman, Jack; Marino, Stephen A.; Morgenstern, Alfred; Apostolidis, Christos; Dadachova, Ekaterina

    2015-01-01

    Introduction Most research on radioresistant fungi, particularly on human pathogens such as Cryptococcus neoformans, involves sparsely-ionizing radiation. Consequently, fungal responses to densely-ionizing radiation, which can be harnessed to treat life-threatening fungal infections, remain incompletely understood. Methods We addressed this issue by quantifying and comparing the effects of densely-ionizing α-particles (delivered either by external beam or by 213Bi-labeled monoclonal antibodies), and sparsely-ionizing 137Cs γ-rays, on Cryptococus neoformans. Results The best-fit linear-quadratic parameters for clonogenic survival were the following: α=0.24×10−2 Gy−1 for γ-rays and 1.07×10−2 Gy−1 for external-beam α-particles, and β=1.44×10−5 Gy−2 for both radiation types. Fungal cell killing by radiolabeled antibodies was consistent with predictions based on the α-particle dose to the cell nucleus and the linear-quadratic parameters for external-beam α-particles. The estimated RBE (for α-particles vs γ-rays) at low doses was 4.47 for the initial portion of the α-particle track, and 7.66 for the Bragg peak. Non-radiological antibody effects accounted for up to 23% of cell death. Conclusions These results quantify the degree of C. neoformans resistance to densely-ionizing radiations, and show how this resistance can be overcome with fungus-specific radiolabeled antibodies. PMID:25800676

  7. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-09-01

    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.

  9. Human Antibodies against a Purified Glucosylceramide from Cryptococcus neoformans Inhibit Cell Budding and Fungal Growth

    PubMed Central

    Rodrigues, Marcio L.; Travassos, Luiz R.; Miranda, Kildare R.; Franzen, Anderson J.; Rozental, Sonia; de Souza, Wanderley; Alviano, Celuta S.; Barreto-Bergter, Eliana

    2000-01-01

    A major ceramide monohexoside (CMH) was purified from lipidic extracts of Cryptococcus neoformans. This molecule was analyzed by high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC), gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, and fast atom bombardment-mass spectrometry. The cryptococcal CMH is a β-glucosylceramide, with the carbohydrate residue attached to 9-methyl-4,8-sphingadienine in amidic linkage to 2-hydroxyoctadecanoic acid. Sera from patients with cryptococcosis and a few other mycoses reacted with the cryptococcal CMH. Specific antibodies were purified from patients' sera by immunoadsorption on the purified glycolipid followed by protein G affinity chromatography. The purified antibodies to CMH (mainly immunoglobulin G1) bound to different strains and serological types of C. neoformans, as shown by flow cytofluorimetry and immunofluorescence labeling. Transmission electron microscopy of yeasts labeled with immunogold-antibodies to CMH and immunostaining of isolated cell wall lipid extracts separated by HPTLC showed that the cryptococcal CMH predominantly localizes to the fungal cell wall. Confocal microscopy revealed that the β-glucosylceramide accumulates mostly at the budding sites of dividing cells with a more disperse distribution at the cell surface of nondividing cells. The increased density of sphingolipid molecules seems to correlate with thickening of the cell wall, hence with its biosynthesis. The addition of human antibodies to CMH to cryptococcal cultures of both acapsular and encapsulated strains of C. neoformans inhibited cell budding and cell growth. This process was complement-independent and reversible upon removal of the antibodies. The present data suggest that the cryptococcal β-glucosylceramide is a fungal antigen that plays a role on the cell wall synthesis and yeast budding and that antibodies raised against this component are inhibitory in vitro. PMID:11083830

  10. 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.

  11. Nitrogen Metabolite Repression of Metabolism and Virulence in the Human Fungal Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Lee, I. Russel; Chow, Eve W. L.; Morrow, Carl A.; Djordjevic, Julianne T.; Fraser, James A.

    2011-01-01

    Proper regulation of metabolism is essential to maximizing fitness of organisms in their chosen environmental niche. Nitrogen metabolite repression is an example of a regulatory mechanism in fungi that enables preferential utilization of easily assimilated nitrogen sources, such as ammonium, to conserve resources. Here we provide genetic, transcriptional, and phenotypic evidence of nitrogen metabolite repression in the human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. In addition to loss of transcriptional activation of catabolic enzyme-encoding genes of the uric acid and proline assimilation pathways in the presence of ammonium, nitrogen metabolite repression also regulates the production of the virulence determinants capsule and melanin. Since GATA transcription factors are known to play a key role in nitrogen metabolite repression, bioinformatic analyses of the C. neoformans genome were undertaken and seven predicted GATA-type genes were identified. A screen of these deletion mutants revealed GAT1, encoding the only global transcription factor essential for utilization of a wide range of nitrogen sources, including uric acid, urea, and creatinine—three predominant nitrogen constituents found in the C. neoformans ecological niche. In addition to its evolutionarily conserved role in mediating nitrogen metabolite repression and controlling the expression of catabolic enzyme and permease-encoding genes, Gat1 also negatively regulates virulence traits, including infectious basidiospore production, melanin formation, and growth at high body temperature (39°–40°). Conversely, Gat1 positively regulates capsule production. A murine inhalation model of cryptococcosis revealed that the gat1Δ mutant is slightly more virulent than wild type, indicating that Gat1 plays a complex regulatory role during infection. PMID:21441208

  12. Role of an Expanded Inositol Transporter Repertoire in Cryptococcus neoformans Sexual Reproduction and Virulence

    PubMed Central

    Xue, Chaoyang; Liu, Tongbao; Chen, Lydia; Li, Wenjun; Liu, Iris; Kronstad, James W.; Seyfang, Andreas; Heitman, Joseph

    2010-01-01

    ABSTRACT Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii are globally distributed human fungal pathogens and the leading causes of fungal meningitis. Recent studies reveal that myo-inositol is an important factor for fungal sexual reproduction. That C. neoformans can utilize myo-inositol as a sole carbon source and the existence of abundant inositol in the human central nervous system suggest that inositol is important for Cryptococcus development and virulence. In accord with this central importance of inositol, an expanded myo-inositol transporter (ITR) gene family has been identified in Cryptococcus. This gene family contains two phylogenetically distinct groups, with a total of 10 or more members in C. neoformans and at least six members in the sibling species C. gattii. These inositol transporter genes are differentially expressed under inositol-inducing conditions based on quantitative real-time PCR analyses. Expression of ITR genes in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae itr1 itr2 mutant lacking inositol transport can complement the slow-growth phenotype of this strain, confirming that ITR genes are bona fide inositol transporters. Gene mutagenesis studies reveal that the Itr1 and Itr1A transporters are important for myo-inositol stimulation of mating and that functional redundancies among the myo-inositol transporters likely exist. Deletion of the inositol 1-phosphate synthase gene INO1 in an itr1 or itr1a mutant background compromised virulence in a murine inhalation model, indicating the importance of inositol sensing and acquisition for fungal infectivity. Our study provides a platform for further understanding the roles of inositol in fungal physiology and virulence. PMID:20689743

  13. Allelic Exchange of Pheromones and Their Receptors Reprograms Sexual Identity in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Staudt, Mark W.; Kruzel, Emilia K.; Hull, Christina M.

    2010-01-01

    Cell type specification is a fundamental process that all cells must carry out to ensure appropriate behaviors in response to environmental stimuli. In fungi, cell identity is critical for defining “sexes” known as mating types and is controlled by components of mating type (MAT) loci. MAT–encoded genes function to define sexes via two distinct paradigms: 1) by controlling transcription of components common to both sexes, or 2) by expressing specially encoded factors (pheromones and their receptors) that differ between mating types. The human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans has two mating types (a and α) that are specified by an extremely unusual MAT locus. The complex architecture of this locus makes it impossible to predict which paradigm governs mating type. To identify the mechanism by which the C. neoformans sexes are determined, we created strains in which the pheromone and pheromone receptor from one mating type (a) replaced the pheromone and pheromone receptor of the other (α). We discovered that these “αa” cells effectively adopt a new mating type (that of a cells); they sense and respond to α factor, they elicit a mating response from α cells, and they fuse with α cells. In addition, αa cells lose the α cell type-specific response to pheromone and do not form germ tubes, instead remaining spherical like a cells. Finally, we discovered that exogenous expression of the diploid/dikaryon-specific transcription factor Sxi2a could then promote complete sexual development in crosses between α and αa strains. These data reveal that cell identity in C. neoformans is controlled fully by three kinds of MAT–encoded proteins: pheromones, pheromone receptors, and homeodomain proteins. Our findings establish the mechanisms for maintenance of distinct cell types and subsequent developmental behaviors in this unusual human fungal pathogen. PMID:20195516

  14. Allelic exchange of pheromones and their receptors reprograms sexual identity in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Stanton, Brynne C; Giles, Steven S; Staudt, Mark W; Kruzel, Emilia K; Hull, Christina M

    2010-02-26

    Cell type specification is a fundamental process that all cells must carry out to ensure appropriate behaviors in response to environmental stimuli. In fungi, cell identity is critical for defining "sexes" known as mating types and is controlled by components of mating type (MAT) loci. MAT-encoded genes function to define sexes via two distinct paradigms: 1) by controlling transcription of components common to both sexes, or 2) by expressing specially encoded factors (pheromones and their receptors) that differ between mating types. The human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans has two mating types (a and alpha) that are specified by an extremely unusual MAT locus. The complex architecture of this locus makes it impossible to predict which paradigm governs mating type. To identify the mechanism by which the C. neoformans sexes are determined, we created strains in which the pheromone and pheromone receptor from one mating type (a) replaced the pheromone and pheromone receptor of the other (alpha). We discovered that these "alpha(a)" cells effectively adopt a new mating type (that of a cells); they sense and respond to alpha factor, they elicit a mating response from alpha cells, and they fuse with alpha cells. In addition, alpha(a) cells lose the alpha cell type-specific response to pheromone and do not form germ tubes, instead remaining spherical like a cells. Finally, we discovered that exogenous expression of the diploid/dikaryon-specific transcription factor Sxi2a could then promote complete sexual development in crosses between alpha and alpha(a) strains. These data reveal that cell identity in C. neoformans is controlled fully by three kinds of MAT-encoded proteins: pheromones, pheromone receptors, and homeodomain proteins. Our findings establish the mechanisms for maintenance of distinct cell types and subsequent developmental behaviors in this unusual human fungal pathogen.

  15. Nonencapsulated Variant of Cryptococcus neoformans I. Virulence Studies and Characterization of Soluble Polysaccharide

    PubMed Central

    Kozel, Thomas R.; Cazin, John

    1971-01-01

    A weakly virulent nonencapsulated variant of Cryptococcus neoformans is described. The chemical structure and antigenicity of the soluble polysaccharides produced by the variant strain and a typical virulent strain were compared. The soluble polysaccharides produced by both strains were composed of the same constituent monosaccharides; however, the virulent strain produced a polysaccharide having a greater uronic acid content and a larger molecular size than that of the variant strain. Soluble polysaccharides from the two strains are not closely related immunologically. Soluble polysaccharide obtained from the virulent strain did not affect persistence of the variant strain in mice. PMID:16557967

  16. Synthesis of oligosaccharides corresponding to structures found in capsular polysaccharides of Cryptococcus neoformans--II.

    PubMed

    Garegg, P J; Olsson, L; Oscarson, S

    1996-11-01

    Formula 1 depicts a generalized structure of the capsular polysaccharides of four serotypes of the opportunistic microorganism Cryptococcus neoformans, which appears as one of the major infections in the late stages of development of AIDS. Syntheses are now described of two tetrasaccharides with corresponding structures. These are methyl O-alpha-D-mannopyranosyl-(1-->3)-[O-beta-D-xylopyranosyl-(1-->2)] -O-alpha-D-mannopyranosyl-(1-->3)-alpha-D-mannopyranoside and methyl O-alpha-D-mannopyranosyl-(1-->3)-[O-beta-D-glucopyranosyluronic acid-(1-->2)]-O-alpha-D-mannopyranosyl-(1-->3)-alpha-D-mannopyranoside.

  17. Molecular analysis of a novel family of complex glycoinositolphosphoryl ceramides from Cryptococcus neoformans: structural differences between encapsulated and acapsular yeast forms.

    PubMed

    Heise, Norton; Gutierrez, Ana L S; Mattos, Katherine A; Jones, Christopher; Wait, Robin; Previato, José O; Mendonça-Previato, Lucia

    2002-07-01

    Complex glycoinositolphosphoryl ceramides (GIPCs) have been purified from a pathogenic encapsulated wild-type (WT) strain of Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans and from an acapsular mutant (Cap67). The structures of the GIPCs were determined by a combination of tandem mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, methylation analysis, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and chemical degradation. The main GIPC from the WT strain had the structure Manp(alpha1-3)[Xylp(beta1-2)] Manp(alpha1-4)Galp(beta1-6)Manp(alpha1-2)Ins-1-phosphoryl ceramide (GIPC A), whereas the compounds from the acapsular mutant were more heterogeneous in their glycan chains, and variants with Manp(alpha1-6) (GIPC B), Manp(alpha1-6) Manp(alpha1-6) (GIPC C), and Manp(alpha1-2)Manp(alpha1-6)Manp(alpha1-6) (GIPC D) substituents linked to the nonreducing terminal mannose residue found in the WT GIPC A were abundant. The ceramide moieties of C. neoformans GIPCs were composed of a C(18) phytosphingosine long-chain base mainly N-acylated with 2-hydroxy-tetracosanoic acid in the WT GIPC while in the acapsular Cap67 mutant GIPCs, as well as 2-hydroxy-tetracosanoic acid, the unusual 2,3-dihydroxy-tetracosanoic acid was characterized. In addition, structural analysis revealed that the amount of GIPC in the WT cells was fourfold less of that in the acapsular mutant.

  18. Pseudohyphal growth of Cryptococcus neoformans is a reversible dimorphic transition in response to ammonium that requires Amt1 and Amt2 ammonium permeases.

    PubMed

    Lee, Soo Chan; Phadke, Sujal; Sun, Sheng; Heitman, Joseph

    2012-11-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is a human-pathogenic basidiomycete that commonly infects HIV/AIDS patients to cause meningoencephalitis (7, 19). C. neoformans grows as a budding yeast during vegetative growth or as hyphae during sexual reproduction. Pseudohyphal growth of C. neoformans has been observed rarely during murine and human infections but frequently during coculture with amoeba; however, the genetics underlying pseudohyphal growth are largely unknown. Our studies found that C. neoformans displays pseudohyphal growth under nitrogen-limiting conditions, especially when a small amount of ammonium is available as a sole nitrogen source. Pseudohyphal growth was observed with Cryptococcus neoformans serotypes A and D and Cryptococcus gattii. C. neoformans pseudohyphae bud to produce yeast cells and normal smooth hemispherical colonies when transferred to complete media, indicating that pseudohyphal growth is a conditional developmental stage. Subsequent analysis revealed that two ammonium permeases encoded by the AMT1 and AMT2 genes are required for pseudohyphal growth. Both amt1 and amt2 mutants are capable of forming pseudohyphae; however, amt1 amt2 double mutants do not form pseudohyphae. Interestingly, C. gattii pseudohypha formation is irreversible and involves a RAM pathway mutation that drives pseudohyphal development. We also found that pseudohyphal growth is related to the invasive growth into the medium. These results demonstrate that pseudohyphal growth is a common reversible growth pattern in C. neoformans but a mutational genetic event in C. gattii and provide new insights into understanding pseudohyphal growth of Cryptococcus.

  19. Real-Time Imaging of Interactions of Neutrophils with Cryptococcus neoformans Demonstrates a Crucial Role of Complement C5a-C5aR Signaling

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Donglei; Zhang, Mingshun; Liu, Gongguan; Wu, Hui; Zhu, Xiaoping; Zhou, Hong

    2015-01-01

    Neutrophils have been shown to efficiently kill Cryptococcus neoformans, a causative agent of meningoencephalitis. Here, using live-cell imaging, we characterize the dynamic interactions of neutrophils with C. neoformans and the underlying mechanisms in real time. Neutrophils were directly seen to chase C. neoformans cells and then rapidly internalize them. Complement C5a-C5aR signaling guided neutrophils to migrate to the yeast cells, resulting in optimal phagocytosis and subsequent killing of the organisms. The addition of recombinant complement C5a enhanced neutrophil movement but did not induce chemotaxis, suggesting that the C5a gradient is crucial. Incubation with C. neoformans resulted in enhanced activation of Erk and p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases (MAPKs) in neutrophils. Inhibition of the p38 MAPK pathway, but not the Erk pathway, significantly impaired neutrophil migration and its subsequent killing of C. neoformans. Deficiency of CD11b or blocking of CD11b did not affect the migration of neutrophils toward C. neoformans but almost completely abolished phagocytosis and killing of the organisms by neutrophils. C5a-C5aR signaling induced enhanced surface expression of CD11b. Interestingly, the original surface expression of CD11b was essential and sufficient for neutrophils to attach to C. neoformans but was unable to mediate phagocytosis. In contrast, the enhanced surface expression of CD11b induced by C5a-C5aR signaling was essential for neutrophil phagocytosis and subsequent killing of yeast cells. Collectively, this is the first report of the dynamic interactions of neutrophils with C. neoformans, demonstrating a crucial role of C5a-C5aR signaling in neutrophil killing of C. neoformans in real time. PMID:26502909

  20. Real-Time Imaging of Interactions of Neutrophils with Cryptococcus neoformans Demonstrates a Crucial Role of Complement C5a-C5aR Signaling.

    PubMed

    Sun, Donglei; Zhang, Mingshun; Liu, Gongguan; Wu, Hui; Zhu, Xiaoping; Zhou, Hong; Shi, Meiqing

    2015-10-26

    Neutrophils have been shown to efficiently kill Cryptococcus neoformans, a causative agent of meningoencephalitis. Here, using live-cell imaging, we characterize the dynamic interactions of neutrophils with C. neoformans and the underlying mechanisms in real time. Neutrophils were directly seen to chase C. neoformans cells and then rapidly internalize them. Complement C5a-C5aR signaling guided neutrophils to migrate to the yeast cells, resulting in optimal phagocytosis and subsequent killing of the organisms. The addition of recombinant complement C5a enhanced neutrophil movement but did not induce chemotaxis, suggesting that the C5a gradient is crucial. Incubation with C. neoformans resulted in enhanced activation of Erk and p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases (MAPKs) in neutrophils. Inhibition of the p38 MAPK pathway, but not the Erk pathway, significantly impaired neutrophil migration and its subsequent killing of C. neoformans. Deficiency of CD11b or blocking of CD11b did not affect the migration of neutrophils toward C. neoformans but almost completely abolished phagocytosis and killing of the organisms by neutrophils. C5a-C5aR signaling induced enhanced surface expression of CD11b. Interestingly, the original surface expression of CD11b was essential and sufficient for neutrophils to attach to C. neoformans but was unable to mediate phagocytosis. In contrast, the enhanced surface expression of CD11b induced by C5a-C5aR signaling was essential for neutrophil phagocytosis and subsequent killing of yeast cells. Collectively, this is the first report of the dynamic interactions of neutrophils with C. neoformans, demonstrating a crucial role of C5a-C5aR signaling in neutrophil killing of C. neoformans in real time.

  1. Effect of virulence factors on the photodynamic inactivation of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Prates, Renato A; Fuchs, Beth Burgwyn; Mizuno, Kazue; Naqvi, Qurat; Kato, Ilka T; Ribeiro, Martha S; Mylonakis, Eleftherios; Tegos, George P; Hamblin, Michael R

    2013-01-01

    Opportunistic fungal pathogens may cause an array of superficial infections or serious invasive infections, especially in immunocompromised patients. Cryptococcus neoformans is a pathogen causing cryptococcosis in HIV/AIDS patients, but treatment is limited due to the relative lack of potent antifungal agents. Photodynamic inactivation (PDI) uses the combination of non-toxic dyes called photosensitizers and harmless visible light, which produces singlet oxygen and other reactive oxygen species that produce cell inactivation and death. We report the use of five structurally unrelated photosensitizers (methylene blue, Rose Bengal, selenium derivative of a Nile blue dye, a cationic fullerene and a conjugate between poly-L-lysine and chlorin(e6)) combined with appropriate wavelengths of light to inactivate C. neoformans. Mutants lacking capsule and laccase, and culture conditions that favoured melanin production were used to probe the mechanisms of PDI and the effect of virulence factors. The presence of cell wall, laccase and melanin tended to protect against PDI, but the choice of the appropriate photosensitizers and dosimetry was able to overcome this resistance.

  2. 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.

  3. Identification of the galactosyltransferase of Cryptococcus neoformans involved in the biosynthesis of basidiomycete-type glycosylinositolphosphoceramide

    PubMed Central

    Wohlschlager, Therese; Buser, Reto; Skowyra, Michael L; Haynes, Brian C; Henrissat, Bernard; Doering, Tamara L; Künzler, Markus; Aebi, Markus

    2013-01-01

    The pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans synthesizes a complex family of glycosylinositolphosphoceramide (GIPC) structures. These glycosphingolipids (GSLs) consist of mannosylinositolphosphoceramide (MIPC) extended by β1-6-linked galactose, a unique structure that has to date only been identified in basidiomycetes. Further extension by up to five mannose residues and a branching xylose has been described. In this study, we identified and determined the gene structure of the enzyme Ggt1, which catalyzes the transfer of a galactose residue to MIPC. Deletion of the gene in C. neoformans resulted in complete loss of GIPCs containing galactose, a phenotype that could be restored by the episomal expression of Ggt1 in the deletion mutant. The entire annotated open reading frame, encoding a C-terminal GT31 galactosyltransferase domain and a large N-terminal domain of unknown function, was required for complementation. Notably, this gene does not encode a predicted signal sequence or transmembrane domain. The demonstration that Ggt1 is responsible for the transfer of a galactose residue to a GSL thus raises questions regarding the topology of this biosynthetic pathway and the function of the N-terminal domain. Phylogenetic analysis of the GGT1 gene shows conservation in hetero- and homobasidiomycetes but no homologs in ascomycetes or outside of the fungal kingdom. PMID:23926231

  4. Identification of the galactosyltransferase of Cryptococcus neoformans involved in the biosynthesis of basidiomycete-type glycosylinositolphosphoceramide.

    PubMed

    Wohlschlager, Therese; Buser, Reto; Skowyra, Michael L; Haynes, Brian C; Henrissat, Bernard; Doering, Tamara L; Künzler, Markus; Aebi, Markus

    2013-11-01

    The pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans synthesizes a complex family of glycosylinositolphosphoceramide (GIPC) structures. These glycosphingolipids (GSLs) consist of mannosylinositolphosphoceramide (MIPC) extended by β1-6-linked galactose, a unique structure that has to date only been identified in basidiomycetes. Further extension by up to five mannose residues and a branching xylose has been described. In this study, we identified and determined the gene structure of the enzyme Ggt1, which catalyzes the transfer of a galactose residue to MIPC. Deletion of the gene in C. neoformans resulted in complete loss of GIPCs containing galactose, a phenotype that could be restored by the episomal expression of Ggt1 in the deletion mutant. The entire annotated open reading frame, encoding a C-terminal GT31 galactosyltransferase domain and a large N-terminal domain of unknown function, was required for complementation. Notably, this gene does not encode a predicted signal sequence or transmembrane domain. The demonstration that Ggt1 is responsible for the transfer of a galactose residue to a GSL thus raises questions regarding the topology of this biosynthetic pathway and the function of the N-terminal domain. Phylogenetic analysis of the GGT1 gene shows conservation in hetero- and homobasidiomycetes but no homologs in ascomycetes or outside of the fungal kingdom.

  5. Activity of sertraline against Cryptococcus neoformans: in vitro and in vivo assays.

    PubMed

    Treviño-Rangel, Rogelio de J; Villanueva-Lozano, Hiram; Hernández-Rodríguez, Pedro; Martínez-Reséndez, Michel F; García-Juárez, Jaime; Rodríguez-Rocha, Humberto; González, Gloria M

    2016-03-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans infection is an important cause of meningitis in HIV/AIDS endemic regions. Antifungals for its management include amphotericin B, flucytosine, and fluconazole. Recently, treatment of this mycosis with sertraline has been studied with variable clinical outcomes. The aim of the study was to assess the in vitro antifungal effect of sertraline against clinical isolates of Cryptococcus spp. as well as its in vivo activity in a murine model of cryptococcal meningoencephalitis. The in vitro susceptibility to fluconazole, amphotericin B, voriconazole and sertraline of 153 Cryptococcus spp. strains were evaluated according to CLSI procedures. Fungal tissue burden, serum antigenaemia and histopathology, together with the therapeutic efficacy of amphotericin B (3 mg/kg), fluconazole (15 mg/kg), and sertraline (3, 10, and 15 mg/kg) were evaluated in mice intracranially inoculated with one isolate of Cryptococcus neoformans. All strains were susceptible to the antifungals studied and exhibited growth inhibition with sertraline at clinically relevant concentrations. Sertraline at a dose of 15 mg/kg reduced the fungal burden in the brain and spleen with an efficacy comparable to that of fluconazole. In conclusion, sertraline exhibited an excellent in vitro-in vivo anti-cryptococcal activity, representing a possible new alternative for the clinical management of meningeal cryptococcosis. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The International Society for Human and Animal Mycology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  6. Thiazole compounds with activity against Cryptococcus gattii and Cryptococcus neoformans in vitro.

    PubMed

    Pereira de Sá, Nívea; Lino, Cleudiomar Inácio; Fonseca, Nayara Cristina; Borelli, Beatriz Martins; Ramos, Jonas Pereira; Souza-Fagundes, Elaine Maria; Rosa, Carlos Augusto; Santos, Daniel Assis; Barbosa de Oliveira, Renata; Johann, Susana

    2015-09-18

    Human cryptococcosis can occur as a primary or opportunistic infection and develop as an acute, subacute, or chronic, systemic infection involving different host organs. We evaluated the antifungal activity of thirteen compounds against Cryptococcus gattii and Cryptococcus neoformans in vitro, by assessing the toxicity of the compounds showing the greatest antifungal activity in VERO cells and murine macrophages. From these results, four compounds were considered promising for further studies because they displayed low cytotoxicity and significant antifungal activity. The heterocyclic compounds 1b, 1c, 1d, and 1m have antifungal activity levels between that of amphotericin B and fluconazole in vitro. The death curve of Cryptococcus spp. treated with these four compounds was similar to the curve obtained for amphotericin B, in that we observed a significant reduction in cell viability within the first 24 h of treatment. Additionally, we found that there was no effect when these compounds were combined with amphotericin and fluconazole, except for 1c, which antagonized the effect of amphotericin B against C. gattii, also reflected in the reduction of the post-antifungal effect (PAFE); however, this interaction did not alter the ergosterol content. The results shown in this paper reveal the discovery of novel thiazole compounds, which are easy to synthesize, and with potentially exhibit antifungal activity, and display low cytotoxicity in normal mammalian cells. These compounds can be used as prototypes for the design of new antifungal drugs against C. gattii and C. neoformans.

  7. Efficacy of NS-718, a novel lipid nanosphere-encapsulated amphotericin B, against Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Hossain, M A; Maesaki, S; Kakeya, H; Noda, T; Yanagihara, K; Sasaki, E; Hirakata, Y; Tomono, K; Tashiro, T; Kohno, S

    1998-07-01

    In vitro and in vivo efficacies of NS-718, a lipid nanosphere-encapsulated amphotericin B (AMPH-B), have been studied. Of the tested AMPH-B formulations, NS-718 had the lowest MIC for Cryptococcus neoformans. In a murine model, low-dose therapy (0.8 mg/kg of body weight) with NS-718 showed higher efficacy than that with AmBisome. High-dose therapy (2.0 mg/kg) with NS-718 was much more effective than those with Fungizone and AmBisome. In mice treated with a high dose of NS-718, only a few yeast cells had grown in lung by 7 days after inoculation. A pharmacokinetic study showed higher concentrations of AMPH-B in lung following administration of NS-718 than after administration of AmBisome. Our results indicated that NS-718, a new AMPH-B formulation, is a promising antifungal agent for treatment of pulmonary cryptococcosis and could be the most effective antifungal agent against C. neoformans infections.

  8. Fine structure of Cryptococcus neoformans grown in vivo as observed by freeze-etching.

    PubMed

    Takeo, K; Uesaka, I; Uehira, K; Nishiura, M

    1973-03-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans grown in the parasitic state was observed by the freeze-etching technique and was compared with that grown on culture media. Unlike other yeasts, this organism grown in vivo is very often devoid of the "ordinary" invaginations. The membrane of the cell grown in vivo was almost free from concavity and convexity except for many round depressions which represent the surface view of paramural bodies. Some of the paramural bodies were found to be multivesicular systems. Most were spherical invaginations containing a single vesicle or its ghost remaining after secretion of the vesicles. In clear contrast to the cell grown in vitro, the in vivo cell contained a great number of vesicles in the cytoplasm. These seemed to show high-secretion activity in C. neoformans grown in the parasitic state. On transfer from in vitro to in vivo, this organism enlarged the cell wall, capsule, and cell body. The appearance of a large vacuole, accumulation of storage organelles, and the existence of rodlike structures, seemingly lipid deposits, were also noted in the cytoplasm of the cell grown in vivo. the meaning of these results as well as the mode of capsular production are discussed.

  9. Continental Drift and Speciation of the Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii Species Complexes

    PubMed Central

    Freij, Joudeh B.; Hann-Soden, Christopher; Taylor, John

    2017-01-01

    ABSTRACT Genomic analysis has placed the origins of two human-pathogenic fungi, the Cryptococcus gattii species complex and the Cryptococcus neoformans species complex, in South America and Africa, respectively. Molecular clock calculations suggest that the two species separated ~80 to 100 million years ago. This time closely approximates the breakup of the supercontinent Pangea, which gave rise to South America and Africa. On the basis of the geographic distribution of these two species complexes and the coincidence of the evolutionary divergence and Pangea breakup times, we propose that a spatial separation caused by continental drift resulted in the emergence of the C. gattii and C. neoformans species complexes from a Pangean ancestor. We note that, despite the spatial and temporal separation that occurred approximately 100 million years ago, these two species complexes are morphologically similar, share virulence factors, and cause very similar diseases. Continuation of these phenotypic characteristics despite ancient separation suggests the maintenance of similar selection pressures throughout geologic ages. PMID:28435888

  10. Continental Drift and Speciation of the Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii Species Complexes.

    PubMed

    Casadevall, Arturo; Freij, Joudeh B; Hann-Soden, Christopher; Taylor, John

    2017-01-01

    Genomic analysis has placed the origins of two human-pathogenic fungi, the Cryptococcus gattii species complex and the Cryptococcus neoformans species complex, in South America and Africa, respectively. Molecular clock calculations suggest that the two species separated ~80 to 100 million years ago. This time closely approximates the breakup of the supercontinent Pangea, which gave rise to South America and Africa. On the basis of the geographic distribution of these two species complexes and the coincidence of the evolutionary divergence and Pangea breakup times, we propose that a spatial separation caused by continental drift resulted in the emergence of the C. gattii and C. neoformans species complexes from a Pangean ancestor. We note that, despite the spatial and temporal separation that occurred approximately 100 million years ago, these two species complexes are morphologically similar, share virulence factors, and cause very similar diseases. Continuation of these phenotypic characteristics despite ancient separation suggests the maintenance of similar selection pressures throughout geologic ages.

  11. 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

  12. Biochemical and molecular characterization of the diphenol oxidase of Cryptococcus neoformans: identification as a laccase.

    PubMed Central

    Williamson, P R

    1994-01-01

    Melanin production is a major virulence factor for Cryptococcus neoformans, an organism causing life-threatening infections in an estimated 10% of AIDS patients. In order to characterize the events involved in melanin synthesis, an enzyme having diphenol oxidase activity was purified and its gene was cloned. The enzyme was purified as a glycosylated 75-kDa protein which migrated at 66 kDa on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis after deglycosylation by endoglycosidase F. Substrate specificity resembled that of a laccase in that it oxidized multiple diphenolic and diamino compounds. Dopamine was shown by mass spectroscopy to be oxidized to decarboxy dopachrome, an intermediate of melanin synthesis. The enzyme contained 4.1 +/- 0.1 mol of copper per mol. It resembled a laccase in its absorbance spectrum, containing a peak of 610 nm and the shoulder at 320 nm, corresponding to the absorbance of a type I and type III copper, respectively. The cloned gene of C. neoformans laccase (CNLAC1) contained a single open reading frame encoding a polypeptide 624 amino acids in length. The encoded polypeptide contained a presumptive leader sequence, on the basis of its relative hydrophobicity and by comparison of the sequence to that of the N-terminal sequence of the purified enzyme. CNLAC1 also contained 14 introns ranging from 52 to 340 bases long. Transcriptional activity of CNLAC1 was found to be derepressed in the absence of glucose and to correspond to an increase in enzymatic activity. Images PMID:8300520

  13. Molecular Characterization of the Plasma Membrane H+-ATPase, an Antifungal Target in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Soteropoulos, Patricia; Vaz, Tanya; Santangelo, Rosaria; Paderu, Padmaja; Huang, David Y.; Tamás, Markus J.; Perlin, David S.

    2000-01-01

    The Cryptococcus neoformans PMA1 gene, encoding a plasma membrane H+-ATPase, was isolated from a genomic DNA library of serotype A strain ATCC 6352. An open reading frame of 3,380 nucleotides contains six introns and encodes a predicted protein consisting of 998 amino acids with a molecular mass of approximately 108 kDa. Plasma membranes were isolated, and the H+-ATPase was shown by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis to be slightly larger than the S. cerevisiae H+-ATPase, consistent with its predicted molecular mass. The plasma membrane-bound enzyme exhibited a pH 6.5 optimum for ATP hydrolysis, Km and Vmax values of 0.5 mM and 3.1 μmol mg−1 min−1, respectively, and an apparent Ki for vanadate inhibition of 1.6 μM. ATP hydrolysis in plasma membranes and medium acidification by whole cells were inhibited by ebselen, a nonspecific H+-ATPase antagonist which was also fungicidal. The predicted C. neoformans protein is 35% identical to proton pumps of both pathogenic and nonpathogenic fungi but exhibits more than 50% identity to PMA1 genes from plants. Collectively, this study provides the basis for establishing the Cryptococcus H+-ATPase as a viable target for antifungal drug discovery. PMID:10952578

  14. Disruption of de Novo Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) Biosynthesis Abolishes Virulence in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Blundell, Ross D; Williams, Simon J; Arras, Samantha D M; Chitty, Jessica L; Blake, Kirsten L; Ericsson, Daniel J; Tibrewal, Nidhi; Rohr, Jurgen; Koh, Y Q Andre E; Kappler, Ulrike; Robertson, Avril A B; Butler, Mark S; Cooper, Matthew A; Kobe, Bostjan; Fraser, James A

    2016-09-09

    Opportunistic fungal pathogens such as Cryptococcus neoformans are a growing cause of morbidity and mortality among immunocompromised populations worldwide. To address the current paucity of antifungal therapeutic agents, further research into fungal-specific drug targets is required. Adenylosuccinate synthetase (AdSS) is a crucial enzyme in the adeosine triphosphate (ATP) biosynthetic pathway, catalyzing the formation of adenylosuccinate from inosine monophosphate and aspartate. We have investigated the potential of this enzyme as an antifungal drug target, finding that loss of function results in adenine auxotrophy in C. neoformans, as well as complete loss of virulence in a murine model. Cryptococcal AdSS was expressed and purified in Escherichia coli and the enzyme's crystal structure determined, the first example of a structure of this enzyme from fungi. Together with enzyme kinetic studies, this structural information enabled comparison of the fungal enzyme with the human orthologue and revealed species-specific differences potentially exploitable via rational drug design. These results validate AdSS as a promising antifungal drug target and lay a foundation for future in silico and in vitro screens for novel antifungal compounds.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. Global Molecular Epidemiology of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii: An Atlas of the Molecular Types.

    PubMed

    Cogliati, Massimo

    2013-01-01

    Cryptococcosis is a fungal disease affecting more than one million people per year worldwide. The main etiological agents of cryptococcosis are the two sibling species Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii that present numerous differences in geographical distribution, ecological niches, epidemiology, pathobiology, clinical presentation and molecular characters. Genotyping of the two Cryptococcus species at subspecies level supplies relevant information to understand how this fungus has spread worldwide, the nature of its population structure, and how it evolved to be a deadly pathogen. At present, nine major molecular types have been recognized: VNI, VNII, VNB, VNIII, and VNIV among C. neoformans isolates, and VGI, VGII, VGIII, and VGIV among C. gattii isolates. In this paper all the information available in the literature concerning the isolation of the two Cryptococcus species has been collected and analyzed on the basis of their geographical origin, source of isolation, level of identification, species, and molecular type. A detailed analysis of the geographical distribution of the major molecular types in each continent has been described and represented on thematic maps. This study represents a useful tool to start new epidemiological surveys on the basis of the present knowledge.

  19. Global Molecular Epidemiology of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii: An Atlas of the Molecular Types

    PubMed Central

    Cogliati, Massimo

    2013-01-01

    Cryptococcosis is a fungal disease affecting more than one million people per year worldwide. The main etiological agents of cryptococcosis are the two sibling species Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii that present numerous differences in geographical distribution, ecological niches, epidemiology, pathobiology, clinical presentation and molecular characters. Genotyping of the two Cryptococcus species at subspecies level supplies relevant information to understand how this fungus has spread worldwide, the nature of its population structure, and how it evolved to be a deadly pathogen. At present, nine major molecular types have been recognized: VNI, VNII, VNB, VNIII, and VNIV among C. neoformans isolates, and VGI, VGII, VGIII, and VGIV among C. gattii isolates. In this paper all the information available in the literature concerning the isolation of the two Cryptococcus species has been collected and analyzed on the basis of their geographical origin, source of isolation, level of identification, species, and molecular type. A detailed analysis of the geographical distribution of the major molecular types in each continent has been described and represented on thematic maps. This study represents a useful tool to start new epidemiological surveys on the basis of the present knowledge. PMID:24278784

  20. Iron regulation of the major virulence factors in the AIDS-associated pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Jung, Won Hee; Sham, Anita; White, Rick; Kronstad, James W

    2006-11-01

    Iron overload is known to exacerbate many infectious diseases, and conversely, iron withholding is an important defense strategy for mammalian hosts. Iron is a critical cue for Cryptococcus neoformans because the fungus senses iron to regulate elaboration of the polysaccharide capsule that is the major virulence factor during infection. Excess iron exacerbates experimental cryptococcosis and the prevalence of this disease in Sub-Saharan Africa has been associated with nutritional and genetic aspects of iron loading in the background of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We demonstrate that the iron-responsive transcription factor Cir1 in Cr. neoformans controls the regulon of genes for iron acquisition such that cir1 mutants are "blind" to changes in external iron levels. Cir1 also controls the known major virulence factors of the pathogen including the capsule, the formation of the anti-oxidant melanin in the cell wall, and the ability to grow at host body temperature. Thus, the fungus is remarkably tuned to perceive iron as part of the disease process, as confirmed by the avirulence of the cir1 mutant; this characteristic of the pathogen may provide opportunities for antifungal treatment.

  1. Adaptation of Cryptococcus neoformans to mammalian hosts: integrated regulation of metabolism and virulence.

    PubMed

    Kronstad, Jim; Saikia, Sanjay; Nielson, Erik David; Kretschmer, Matthias; Jung, Wonhee; Hu, Guanggan; Geddes, Jennifer M H; Griffiths, Emma J; Choi, Jaehyuk; Cadieux, Brigitte; Caza, Mélissa; Attarian, Rodgoun

    2012-02-01

    The basidiomycete fungus Cryptococcus neoformans infects humans via inhalation of desiccated yeast cells or spores from the environment. In the absence of effective immune containment, the initial pulmonary infection often spreads to the central nervous system to result in meningoencephalitis. The fungus must therefore make the transition from the environment to different mammalian niches that include the intracellular locale of phagocytic cells and extracellular sites in the lung, bloodstream, and central nervous system. Recent studies provide insights into mechanisms of adaptation during this transition that include the expression of antiphagocytic functions, the remodeling of central carbon metabolism, the expression of specific nutrient acquisition systems, and the response to hypoxia. Specific transcription factors regulate these functions as well as the expression of one or more of the major known virulence factors of C. neoformans. Therefore, virulence factor expression is to a large extent embedded in the regulation of a variety of functions needed for growth in mammalian hosts. In this regard, the complex integration of these processes is reminiscent of the master regulators of virulence in bacterial pathogens.

  2. Regional pattern of the molecular types of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii in Brazil.

    PubMed

    Trilles, Luciana; Lazéra, Márcia dos Santos; Wanke, Bodo; Oliveira, Raquel Vasconcelos; Barbosa, Gláucia Gonçalves; Nishikawa, Marília Martins; Morales, Bernardina Penarrieta; Meyer, Wieland

    2008-08-01

    The molecular types of 443 Brazilian isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii were analyzed to determine their geographic distribution within Brazil and their underlying host conditions. The following data, imported from previous epidemiological studies as well as two culture collections, were analyzed for: place of isolation, source (clinical or environmental), host risk factors, species, serotype, mating type, and molecular type. Molecular typing by PCR-fingerprinting using primers for the minisatellite-specific core sequence of the wild-type phage M13 or microsatellites [(GACA)4, (GTG)5], restriction fragment length polymorphism of URA5 gene analysis, and/or amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) identified eight major genotypes: VNI/AFLP1, VNII/AFLP1A, VNIII/AFLP2, and VNIV/AFLP3 for C. neoformans, and VGI/AFLP4, VGII/AFLP6, VGIII/AFLP5, and VGIV/AFLP7 for C. gattii. The most common molecular type found in Brazil was VNI (64%), followed by VGII (21%), VNII (5%), VGIII (4%), VGI and VNIV (3% each), and VNIII (< 1%). Primary cryptococcosis caused by the molecular type VGII (serotype B, MAT alpha) prevails in immunocompetent hosts in the North and Northeast regions, disclosing an endemic regional pattern for this specific molecular type in the Northern Brazil.

  3. Effect of Virulence Factors on the Photodynamic Inactivation of Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Prates, Renato A.; Fuchs, Beth Burgwyn; Mizuno, Kazue; Naqvi, Qurat; Kato, Ilka T.; Ribeiro, Martha S.; Mylonakis, Eleftherios; Tegos, George P.; Hamblin, Michael R.

    2013-01-01

    Opportunistic fungal pathogens may cause an array of superficial infections or serious invasive infections, especially in immunocompromised patients. Cryptococcus neoformans is a pathogen causing cryptococcosis in HIV/AIDS patients, but treatment is limited due to the relative lack of potent antifungal agents. Photodynamic inactivation (PDI) uses the combination of non-toxic dyes called photosensitizers and harmless visible light, which produces singlet oxygen and other reactive oxygen species that produce cell inactivation and death. We report the use of five structurally unrelated photosensitizers (methylene blue, Rose Bengal, selenium derivative of a Nile blue dye, a cationic fullerene and a conjugate between poly-L-lysine and chlorin(e6)) combined with appropriate wavelengths of light to inactivate C. neoformans. Mutants lacking capsule and laccase, and culture conditions that favoured melanin production were used to probe the mechanisms of PDI and the effect of virulence factors. The presence of cell wall, laccase and melanin tended to protect against PDI, but the choice of the appropriate photosensitizers and dosimetry was able to overcome this resistance. PMID:23349872

  4. Phenotypic switching of Cryptococcus neoformans occurs in vivo and influences the outcome of infection

    PubMed Central

    Fries, Bettina C.; Taborda, Carlos P.; Serfass, Evan; Casadevall, Arturo

    2001-01-01

    Phenotypic switching has been linked to the virulence of many pathogens, including fungi. However, it has not been conclusively shown to occur in vivo or to influence the outcome of infection. Cryptococcus neoformans undergoes phenotypic switching in vitro to colony types that differ in their virulence in mice. In this study, we asked whether C. neoformans undergoes phenotypic switching in vivo and whether this phenomenon contributes to virulence. By using a small inoculum to preclude the introduction of variants that had already switched during in vitro propagation, we demonstrated that in vivo switching to a mucoid phenotype occurred in two mice strains and was associated with a lethal outcome. Phenotypic switching resulted in changes of the capsular polysaccharide that inhibited phagocytosis by alveolar macrophages. This promoted a more vigorous inflammatory response and rapid demise. These data document in vivo switching in a fungus and associate this phenomenon with enhanced virulence and a lethal outcome. The importance of this finding is underscored by the increased likelihood of phenotypic switching in chronic cryptococcosis; thus this mechanism may account for the inability to eradicate the organism in immunocompromised hosts. PMID:11733559

  5. Mitochondrial inheritance in haploid x non-haploid crosses in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Skosireva, Irina; James, Timothy Y; Sun, Sheng; Xu, Jianping

    2010-04-01

    In the basidiomycetous yeast Cryptococcus neoformans, fusants and meiotic progeny from haploid-haploid (HH) crosses between strains of mating type a (MAT a) and mating type alpha (MATalpha) typically inherit mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from the MAT a parent. In this study, we investigated the mtDNA inheritance pattern in haploid x non-haploid crosses. A total of 420 meiotic progeny and 173 fusants were obtained from five crosses and analyzed for two polymorphic mitochondrial markers. The percentage of meiotic progeny and fusants inheriting mtDNA from MATalpha or MATalpha/alpha parents ranged from 8 to 50%. The leakage was significantly greater than those observed in HH crosses, indicating that mtDNA inheritance is not uniparental in haploid x non-haploid crosses in C. neoformans. In addition, mtDNA leakage in the fusants, but not the meiotic progeny, of the MATalpha/alpha x MAT a cross was significantly higher than that in the MAT a/a x MATalpha cross, suggesting that the diploid parents with different mating types contribute differently in determining fusant mtDNA genotype in these crosses. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that meiotic progeny population of each cross was of mixed ploidy while the ploidy level of the selected fusants ranged from diploid to triploid.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Distribution of the O-acetyl groups and β-galactofuranose units in galactoxylomannans of the opportunistic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Previato, Jose O; Vinogradov, Evgeny; Maes, Emmanuel; Fonseca, Leonardo M; Guerardel, Yann; Oliveira, Priscila A V; Mendonça-Previato, Lucia

    2016-12-16

    Galactoxylomannans (GalXMs) are a mixture of neutral and acidic capsular polysaccharides produced by the opportunistic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans that exhibit potent suppressive effects on the host immune system. Previous studies describing the chemical structure of C. neoformans GalXMs have reported species without O-acetyl substituents. Herein we describe that C. neoformans grown in capsule-inducing medium produces highly O-acetylated GalXMs. The location of the O-acetyl groups was determined by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. In the neutral GalXM (NGalXM), 80% of 3-linked mannose (α-Manp) residues present in side chains are acetylated at the O-2 position. In the acidic GalXM also termed glucuronoxylomannogalactan (GXMGal), 85% of the 3-linked α-Manp residues are acetylated either in the O-2 (75%) or in the O-6 (25%) position, but O-acetyl groups are not present at both positions simultaneously. In addition, NMR spectroscopy and methylation analysis showed that β-galactofuranose (β-Galf) units are linked to O-2 and O-3 positions of nonbranched α-galactopyranose (α-Galp) units present in the GalXMs backbone chain. These findings highlight new structural features of C. neoformans GalXMs. Among these features, the high degree of O-acetylation is of particular interest, since O-acetyl group-containing polysaccharides are known to possess a range of immunobiological activities.

  10. EDTA Inhibits Biofilm Formation, Extracellular Vesicular Secretion, and Shedding of the Capsular Polysaccharide Glucuronoxylomannan by Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Robertson, Emma J.; Wolf, Julie M.

    2012-01-01

    The fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans can grow as a biofilm on a range of synthetic and prosthetic materials. Cryptococcal biofilm formation can complicate the placement of shunts used to relieve increased intracranial pressure in cryptococcal meningitis and can serve as a nidus for chronic infection. Biofilms are generally advantageous to pathogens in vivo, as they can confer resistance to antimicrobial compounds, including fluconazole and voriconazole in the case of C. neoformans. EDTA can inhibit biofilm formation by several microbes and enhances the susceptibility of biofilms to antifungal drugs. In this study, we evaluated the effect of sublethal concentrations of EDTA on the growth of cryptococcal biofilms. EDTA inhibited biofilm growth by C. neoformans, and the inhibition could be reversed by the addition of magnesium or calcium, implying that the inhibitory effect was by divalent cation starvation. EDTA also reduced the amount of the capsular polysaccharide glucuronoxylomannan shed into the biofilm matrix and decreased vesicular secretion from the cell, thus providing a potential mechanism for the inhibitory effect of this cation-chelating compound. Our data imply that the growth of C. neoformans biofilms requires the presence of divalent metals in the growth medium and suggest that cations are required for the export of materials needed for biofilm formation, possibly including extracellular vesicles. PMID:22941091

  11. First report of urease activity in the novel systemic fungal pathogen Emergomyces africanus: a comparison with the neurotrope Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Lerm, Barbra; Kenyon, Chris; Schwartz, Ilan S; Kroukamp, Heinrich; de Witt, Riaan; Govender, Nelesh P; de Hoog, G Sybren; Botha, Alfred

    2017-11-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic pathogen responsible for the AIDS-defining illness, cryptococcal meningitis. During the disease process, entry of cryptococcal cells into the brain is facilitated by virulence factors that include urease enzyme activity. A novel species of an Emmonsia-like fungus, recently named Emergomyces africanus, was identified as a cause of disseminated mycosis in HIV-infected persons in South Africa. However, in contrast to C. neoformans, the enzymes produced by this fungus, some of which may be involved in pathogenesis, have not been described. Using a clinical isolate of C. neoformans as a reference, the study aim was to confirm, characterise and quantify urease activity in E. africanus clinical isolates. Urease activity was tested using Christensen's urea agar, after which the presence of a urease gene in the genome of E. africanus was confirmed using gene sequence analysis. Subsequent evaluation of colorimetric enzyme assay data, using Michaelis-Menten enzyme kinetics, revealed similarities between the substrate affinity of the urease enzyme produced by E. africanus (Km ca. 26.0 mM) and that of C. neoformans (Km ca. 20.6 mM). However, the addition of 2.5 g/l urea to the culture medium stimulated urease activity of E. africanus, whereas nutrient limitation notably increased cryptococcal urease activity. © FEMS 2017. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  12. [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

  13. Unraveling Fungal Radiation Resistance Regulatory Networks through the Genome-Wide Transcriptome and Genetic Analyses of Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Jung, Kwang-Woo; Yang, Dong-Hoon; Kim, Min-Kyu; Seo, Ho Seong

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT The basidiomycetous fungus Cryptococcus neoformans has been known to be highly radiation resistant and has been found in fatal radioactive environments such as the damaged nuclear reactor at Chernobyl. To elucidate the mechanisms underlying the radiation resistance phenotype of C. neoformans, we identified genes affected by gamma radiation through genome-wide transcriptome analysis and characterized their functions. We found that genes involved in DNA damage repair systems were upregulated in response to gamma radiation. Particularly, deletion of recombinase RAD51 and two DNA-dependent ATPase genes, RAD54 and RDH54, increased cellular susceptibility to both gamma radiation and DNA-damaging agents. A variety of oxidative stress response genes were also upregulated. Among them, sulfiredoxin contributed to gamma radiation resistance in a peroxiredoxin/thioredoxin-independent manner. Furthermore, we found that genes involved in molecular chaperone expression, ubiquitination systems, and autophagy were induced, whereas genes involved in the biosynthesis of proteins and fatty acids/sterols were downregulated. Most importantly, we discovered a number of novel C. neoformans genes, the expression of which was modulated by gamma radiation exposure, and their deletion rendered cells susceptible to gamma radiation exposure, as well as DNA damage insults. Among these genes, we found that a unique transcription factor containing the basic leucine zipper domain, named Bdr1, served as a regulator of the gamma radiation resistance of C. neoformans by controlling expression of DNA repair genes, and its expression was regulated by the evolutionarily conserved DNA damage response protein kinase Rad53. Taken together, the current transcriptome and functional analyses contribute to the understanding of the unique molecular mechanism of the radiation-resistant fungus C. neoformans. PMID:27899501

  14. Deletion of Cryptococcus neoformans AIF ortholog promotes chromosome aneuploidy and fluconazole-resistance in a metacaspase-independent manner.

    PubMed

    Semighini, Camile P; Averette, Anna F; Perfect, John R; Heitman, Joseph

    2011-11-01

    Apoptosis is a form of programmed cell death critical for development and homeostasis in multicellular organisms. Apoptosis-like cell death (ALCD) has been described in several fungi, including the opportunistic human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. In addition, capsular polysaccharides of C. neoformans are known to induce apoptosis in host immune cells, thereby contributing to its virulence. Our goals were to characterize the apoptotic signaling cascade in C. neoformans as well as its unique features compared to the host machinery to exploit the endogenous fungal apoptotic pathways as a novel antifungal strategy in the future. The dissection of apoptotic pathways revealed that apoptosis-inducing factor (Aif1) and metacaspases (Mca1 and Mca2) are independently required for ALCD in C. neoformans. We show that the apoptotic pathways are required for cell fusion and sporulation during mating, indicating that apoptosis may occur during sexual development. Previous studies showed that antifungal drugs induce ALCD in fungi and that C. neoformans adapts to high concentrations of the antifungal fluconazole (FLC) by acquisition of aneuploidy, especially duplication of chromosome 1 (Chr1). Disruption of aif1, but not the metacaspases, stimulates the emergence of aneuploid subpopulations with Chr1 disomy that are resistant to fluconazole (FLC(R)) in vitro and in vivo. FLC(R) isolates in the aif1 background are stable in the absence of the drug, while those in the wild-type background readily revert to FLC sensitivity. We propose that apoptosis orchestrated by Aif1 might eliminate aneuploid cells from the population and defects in this pathway contribute to the selection of aneuploid FLC(R) subpopulations during treatment. Aneuploid clinical isolates with disomies for chromosomes other than Chr1 exhibit reduced AIF1 expression, suggesting that inactivation of Aif1 might be a novel aneuploidy-tolerating mechanism in fungi that facilitates the selection of antifungal drug

  15. 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

  16. The Crz1/Sp1 Transcription Factor of Cryptococcus neoformans Is Activated by Calcineurin and Regulates Cell Wall Integrity

    PubMed Central

    Lev, Sophie; Desmarini, Desmarini; Chayakulkeeree, Methee; Sorrell, Tania C.; Djordjevic, Julianne T.

    2012-01-01

    Cryptococcus neoformans survives host temperature and regulates cell wall integrity via a calcium-dependent phosphatase, calcineurin. However, downstream effectors of C. neoformans calcineurin are largely unknown. In S. cerevisiae and other fungal species, a calcineurin-dependent transcription factor Crz1, translocates to nuclei upon activation and triggers expression of target genes. We now show that the C. neoformans Crz1 ortholog (Crz1/Sp1), previously identified as a protein kinase C target during starvation, is a bona fide target of calcineurin under non-starvation conditions, during cell wall stress and growth at high temperature. Both the calcineurin-defective mutant, Δcna1, and a CRZ1/SP1 mutant (Δcrz1) were susceptible to cell wall perturbing agents. Furthermore, expression of the chitin synthase encoding gene, CHS6, was reduced in both mutants. We tracked the subcellular localization of Crz1-GFP in WT C. neoformans and Δcna1 in response to different stimuli, in the presence and absence of the calcineurin inhibitor, FK506. Exposure to elevated temperature (30–37°C vs 25°C) and extracellular calcium caused calcineurin-dependent nuclear accumulation of Crz1-GFP. Unexpectedly, 1M salt and heat shock triggered calcineurin-independent Crz1-GFP sequestration within cytosolic and nuclear puncta. To our knowledge, punctate cytosolic distribution, as opposed to nuclear targeting, is a unique feature of C. neoformans Crz1. We conclude that Crz1 is selectively activated by calcium/calcineurin-dependent and independent signals depending on the environmental conditions. PMID:23251520

  17. De Novo Pyrimidine Biosynthesis Connects Cell Integrity to Amphotericin B Susceptibility in Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Banerjee, Dithi; Umland, Timothy C; Panepinto, John C

    2016-01-01

    The use of amphotericin B (AmB) in conjunction with 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) is known to be the optimal therapy for treating cryptococcosis, but the mechanism by which 5-FC synergizes with AmB is unknown. In this study, we generated a Cryptococcus neoformans ura1Δ mutant lacking dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH), which demonstrated temperature-sensitive growth due to a defect in cell integrity and sensitivity to cell wall-damaging agents. In addition, sensitivity to AmB was greatly increased. Inclusion of uracil or uridine in the medium did not suppress the cell wall or AmB phenotype, whereas complementation with the wild-type URA1 gene complemented the mutant phenotype. As a measure of membrane accessibility, we assayed the rate of association of the lipid-binding dye 3,3'-dihexyloxacarbocyanine iodide (DiOC6) and saw more rapid association in the ura1Δ mutant. We likewise saw an increased rate of DiOC6 association in other AmB-sensitive mutants, including a ura(-) spontaneous URA5 mutant made by 5-fluoroorotic acid (5-FOA) selection and a bck1Δ mutant defective in cell integrity signaling. Similar results were also obtained by using a specific plasma membrane-binding CellMask live stain, with cell integrity mutants that exhibited increased and faster association of the dye with the membrane. Chitin synthase mutants (chs5Δ and chs6Δ) that lack any reported cell wall defects, in turn, demonstrate neither any increased susceptibility to AmB nor a greater accessibility to either of the dyes. Finally, perturbation of the cell wall of the wild type by treatment with the β-1,6-glucan synthase inhibitor caspofungin was synergistic with AmB in vitro. IMPORTANCE Synergy between AmB and nucleotide biosynthetic pathways has been documented, but the mechanism of this interaction has not been delineated. Results from this study suggest a correlation between uridine nucleotide biosynthesis and cell integrity likely mediated through the pool of nucleotide

  18. De Novo Pyrimidine Biosynthesis Connects Cell Integrity to Amphotericin B Susceptibility in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Banerjee, Dithi; Umland, Timothy C.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT The use of amphotericin B (AmB) in conjunction with 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) is known to be the optimal therapy for treating cryptococcosis, but the mechanism by which 5-FC synergizes with AmB is unknown. In this study, we generated a Cryptococcus neoformans ura1Δ mutant lacking dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH), which demonstrated temperature-sensitive growth due to a defect in cell integrity and sensitivity to cell wall-damaging agents. In addition, sensitivity to AmB was greatly increased. Inclusion of uracil or uridine in the medium did not suppress the cell wall or AmB phenotype, whereas complementation with the wild-type URA1 gene complemented the mutant phenotype. As a measure of membrane accessibility, we assayed the rate of association of the lipid-binding dye 3,3′-dihexyloxacarbocyanine iodide (DiOC6) and saw more rapid association in the ura1Δ mutant. We likewise saw an increased rate of DiOC6 association in other AmB-sensitive mutants, including a ura− spontaneous URA5 mutant made by 5-fluoroorotic acid (5-FOA) selection and a bck1Δ mutant defective in cell integrity signaling. Similar results were also obtained by using a specific plasma membrane-binding CellMask live stain, with cell integrity mutants that exhibited increased and faster association of the dye with the membrane. Chitin synthase mutants (chs5Δ and chs6Δ) that lack any reported cell wall defects, in turn, demonstrate neither any increased susceptibility to AmB nor a greater accessibility to either of the dyes. Finally, perturbation of the cell wall of the wild type by treatment with the β-1,6-glucan synthase inhibitor caspofungin was synergistic with AmB in vitro. IMPORTANCE Synergy between AmB and nucleotide biosynthetic pathways has been documented, but the mechanism of this interaction has not been delineated. Results from this study suggest a correlation between uridine nucleotide biosynthesis and cell integrity likely mediated through the pool of nucleotide

  19. Unraveling the novel structure and biosynthetic pathway of O-linked glycans in the Golgi apparatus of the human pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Lee, Dong-Jik; Bahn, Yong-Sun; Kim, Hong-Jin; Chung, Seung-Yeon; Kang, Hyun Ah

    2015-01-16

    Cryptococcus neoformans is an encapsulated basidiomycete causing cryptococcosis in immunocompromised humans. The cell surface mannoproteins of C. neoformans were reported to stimulate the host T-cell response and to be involved in fungal pathogenicity; however, their O-glycan structure is uncharacterized. In this study, we performed a detailed structural analysis of the O-glycans attached to cryptococcal mannoproteins using HPLC combined with exoglycosidase treatment and showed that the major C. neoformans O-glycans were short manno-oligosaccharides that were connected mostly by α1,2-linkages but connected by an α1,6-linkage at the third mannose residue. Comparison of the O-glycan profiles from wild-type and uxs1Δ mutant strains strongly supports the presence of minor O-glycans carrying a xylose residue. Further analyses of C. neoformans mutant strains identified three mannosyltransferase genes involved in O-glycan extensions in the Golgi. C. neoformans KTR3, the only homolog of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae KRE2/MNT1 family genes, was shown to encode an α1,2-mannosyltransferase responsible for the addition of the second mannose residue via an α1,2-linkage to the major O-glycans. C. neoformans HOC1 and HOC3, homologs of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae OCH1 family genes, were shown to encode α1,6-mannosyltransferases that can transfer the third mannose residue, via an α1,6-linkage, to minor O-glycans containing xylose and to major O-glycans without xylose, respectively. Moreover, the C. neoformans ktr3Δ mutant strain, which displayed increased sensitivity to SDS, high salt, and high temperature, showed attenuated virulence in a mouse model of cryptococcosis, suggesting that the extended structure of O-glycans is required for cell integrity and full pathogenicity of C. neoformans.

  20. Comparative analysis of the Vitek 2 antifungal susceptibility system and E-test with the CLSI M27-A3 broth microdilution method for susceptibility testing of Indian clinical isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Tewari, Aarti; Behera, Bijayani; Mathur, Purva; Xess, Immaculata

    2012-06-01

    The emergence of antifungal resistance among Cryptococcus neoformans isolates is a matter of great concern. The Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) broth microdilution reference method (BMD) for antifungal susceptibility testing of C. neoformans is tedious and time-consuming. Consequently, there is a greater need for a reproducible in vitro susceptibility testing method for use in clinical microbiology laboratories. By random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis, the 62 Indian clinical isolates were characterized as Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii. We evaluated the susceptibilities of these isolates for amphotericin B (AMB) and fluconazole (FLC) by two commercial techniques, i.e., Vitek 2 and E-test against the CLSI M27-A3 BMD. The essential agreement (EA) between the Vitek 2 and E-test with the reference procedure for FLC was similar (82.2%). For AMB, EA of 92 and 76% was obtained with E-test and Vitek 2. Excellent categorical agreement (CA) (98.3% and 100% by Vitek 2 and E-test, respectively) was obtained for AMB. The CA for FLC was 81 and 77.4% by Vitek 2 and E-test. We conclude that both E-test and Vitek 2 system have acceptable levels of accuracy for susceptibility testing of both the drugs. Both of them could identify fluconazole-resistant strains. Vitek 2 could be used for testing susceptibility of voriconazole and 5-flucytosine also at the same time.

  1. Long-term surveillance and treatment of subclinical cryptococcosis and nasal colonization by Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii species complex in captive koalas (Phascolarctes cinereus).

    PubMed

    Kido, Nobuhide; Makimura, Koichi; Kamegaya, Chihiro; Shindo, Izumi; Shibata, Eri; Omiya, Tomoko; Yamamoto, Yasuhiko

    2012-04-01

    Cryptococcosis is an important systemic mycosis caused by members of the Cryptococcus neoformans species complex. This disease is potentially fatal in various animals, including koalas. We describe the long-term surveillance and treatment of subclinical cryptococcosis and nasal colonization of koalas by Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii. Of the 15 animals investigated through the use of samples obtained by nasal swabs, antigen titer measurements, and pathologic examination, C. neoformans was found associated with nine koalas and C. gattii with one animal. Nine koalas showed subclinical disease and one clinical infections and antigenemia. Treatment with fluconazole, itraconazole and amphotericin B upon detection of C. neoformans or C. gattii was not effective. The results of the present study showed that C. neoformans was the predominant species isolated from the nasal swab samples and the fungus might have naturally become associated with the koalas' nasal cavities at Kanazawa Zoological Gardens. The unclear treatment effectiveness might have been caused by a shorter treatment period that is routinely used and unstable itraconazole absorption. This investigation also underscores the need for identifying effective treatment regimens for subclinical cryptococcosis and efficient measures for eradicating C. neoformans and C. gattii in koalas.

  2. Analysis of cell cycle and replication of mouse macrophages after in vivo and in vitro Cryptococcus neoformans infection using laser scanning cytometry.

    PubMed

    Coelho, Carolina; Tesfa, Lydia; Zhang, Jinghang; Rivera, Johanna; Gonçalves, Teresa; Casadevall, Arturo

    2012-04-01

    We investigated the outcome of the interaction of Cryptococcus neoformans with murine macrophages using laser scanning cytometry (LSC). Previous results in our lab had shown that phagocytosis of C. neoformans promoted cell cycle progression. LSC allowed us to simultaneously measure the phagocytic index, macrophage DNA content, and 5-ethynyl-2'-deoxyuridine (EdU) incorporation such that it was possible to study host cell division as a function of phagocytosis. LSC proved to be a robust, reliable, and high-throughput method for quantifying phagocytosis. Phagocytosis of C. neoformans promoted cell cycle progression, but infected macrophages were significantly less likely to complete mitosis. Hence, we report a new cytotoxic effect associated with intracellular C. neoformans residence that manifested itself in impaired cell cycle completion as a consequence of a block in the G(2)/M stage of the mitotic cell cycle. Cell cycle arrest was not due to increased cell membrane permeability or DNA damage. We investigated alveolar macrophage replication in vivo and demonstrated that these cells are capable of low levels of cell division in the presence or absence of C. neoformans infection. In summary, we simultaneously studied phagocytosis, the cell cycle state of the host cell and pathogen-mediated cytotoxicity, and our results demonstrate a new cytotoxic effect of C. neoformans infection on murine macrophages: fungus-induced cell cycle arrest. Finally, we provide evidence for alveolar macrophage proliferation in vivo.

  3. Latex agglutination: diagnose the early cryptococcus neoformans test of capsular polysaccharide antigen.

    PubMed

    Wang, Huanrong; Yuan, Xueqian; Zhang, Lifeng

    2015-01-01

    This paper aims to discuss the early diagnosis value of latex agglutination test in Cryptococcal meningitis. The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 112 patients with definite Cryptococcal meningitis and 26 patients with tubercular meningitis and virus meningitis were collected, latex agglutination test is adopted to detect Cryptococcal capsular polysaccharide antigen. Then it was compared with fungal culture and direct microscopy method for evaluating the sensitivity and specificity of the diagnosis. The sensitivity of three methods including latex agglutination test, fungal culture and direct microscopy was 91.1%,69.6% and 73.2% respectively. The specificity of latex agglutination test was 96.0%, 100% and 100% respectively. That latex agglutination test to detect Cryptococcal capsular polysaccharide antigen could be taken as the early diagnostic method of Cryptococcus neoformans meningitis.

  4. Prostatic sequestration of Cryptococcus neoformans in immunocompromised persons treated for cryptococcal meningoencephalitis.

    PubMed

    Ndimbie, O K; Dekker, A; Martinez, A J; Dixon, B

    1994-10-01

    We report a case of a patient with acquired immune deficiency syndrome who was successfully treated for cryptococcal meningoencephalitis with amphotericin B and 5-flucytosine. He died from other sequelae of acquired immune deficiency syndrome two years later. An autopsy revealed prominent cryptococcal prostatitis. Cryptococci were neither found in the central nervous system nor in other anatomic sites. The autopsy files yielded seven other cases of men with a history of cryptococcal meningoencephalitis. The possibility that the prostate sequesters Cryptococcus neoformans thereby contributing to systemic relapse is explored. The qualify as a sequestration, cyptococci must be cultured from the prostate, or from a midstream voided specimen after prostatic massage, and the prostate must be the only focus of infection.

  5. Applying genetics and molecular biology to the study of the human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Chun, Cheryl D; Madhani, Hiten D

    2010-01-01

    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.

  6. Genetic Multilocus Studies of Different Strains of Cryptococcus neoformans: Taxonomy and Genetic Structure

    PubMed Central

    Bertout, S.; Renaud, F.; Swinne, D.; Mallié, M.; Bastide, J.-M.

    1999-01-01

    The genotypes of 107 strains of Cryptococcus isolated from the environment or from patients from various geographical areas were determined by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MLEE). We analyzed the relationships between genotype structure and serotype and between genotype structure and strain origin. Twelve of the 14 enzyme-encoding loci studied were polymorphic, giving rise to 48 electrophoretic types. The genotypes of C. neoformans and C. laurentii were very similar. MLEE could not distinguish between these two pathogenic species. A correlation between the genetic multilocus structure and the origin of the sample (from the environment or patients) existed. A second analysis detected a correlation between genotype distribution and serotype. The second analysis considered three serotype groups (B, C, and A plus D plus A/D), proving that serotypes A, D, and A/D are closely related. MLEE is a useful epidemiological tool for improving our understanding of the biology of this fungus. PMID:9986838

  7. Systematic genetic analysis of virulence in the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Oliver W.; Chun, Cheryl D.; Chow, Eric D.; Chen, Changbin; Madhani, Hiten D.; Noble, Suzanne M.

    2008-01-01

    SUMMARY The fungus Cryptococcus neoformans is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity among HIV-infected individuals. We utilized the completed genome sequence and optimized methods for homologous DNA replacement using high-velocity particle bombardment to engineer 1,201 gene knockout mutants. We screened this resource in vivo for proliferation in murine lung tissue and in vitro for three well-recognized virulence attributes — polysaccharide capsule formation, melanization, and growth at body temperature. We identified dozens of previously uncharacterized genes that affect these known attributes as well as 40 infectivity mutants without obvious defects in these traits. The latter mutants affect predicted regulatory factors, secreted proteins, and immune-related factors, and represent powerful tools for elucidating novel virulence mechanisms. In particular, we describe a GATA family transcription factor that inhibits phagocytosis by murine macrophages independently of the capsule, indicating a previously unknown mechanism of innate immune modulation. PMID:18854164

  8. Systematic genetic analysis of virulence in the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans.

    PubMed

    Liu, Oliver W; Chun, Cheryl D; Chow, Eric D; Chen, Changbin; Madhani, Hiten D; Noble, Suzanne M

    2008-10-03

    The fungus Cryptococcus neoformans is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity among HIV-infected individuals. We utilized the completed genome sequence and optimized methods for homologous DNA replacement using high-velocity particle bombardment to engineer 1201 gene knockout mutants. We screened this resource in vivo for proliferation in murine lung tissue and in vitro for three well-recognized virulence attributes-polysaccharide capsule formation, melanization, and growth at body temperature. We identified dozens of previously uncharacterized genes that affect these known attributes as well as 40 infectivity mutants without obvious defects in these traits. The latter mutants affect predicted regulatory factors, secreted proteins, and immune-related factors, and represent powerful tools for elucidating novel virulence mechanisms. In particular, we describe a GATA family transcription factor that inhibits phagocytosis by murine macrophages independently of the capsule, indicating a previously unknown mechanism of innate immune modulation.

  9. Reciprocal functions of Cryptococcus neoformans copper homeostasis machinery during pulmonary infection and meningoencephalitis.

    PubMed

    Sun, Tian-Shu; Ju, Xiao; Gao, Hui-Ling; Wang, Tao; Thiele, Dennis J; Li, Jia-Yi; Wang, Zhan-You; Ding, Chen

    2014-11-24

    Copper homeostasis is important for virulence of the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, which can cause lethal meningoencephalitis in humans. Cryptococcus cells encounter high copper levels in the lung, where infection is initiated, and low copper levels in the brain. Here we demonstrate that two Cryptococcus copper transporters, Ctr1 and Ctr4, differentially influence fungal survival during pulmonary infection and the onset of meningoencephalitis. Protein Ctr1 is rapidly degraded under the high-copper conditions found in infected lungs, and its loss has no effect in fungal virulence in mice. By contrast, deleting CTR4 results in a hypervirulent phenotype. Overexpressing either Ctr1 or Ctr4 leads to profound reductions in fungal burden in the lung. However, during the onset of meningoencephalitis, expression of the copper transporters is induced and is critical for Cryptococcus virulence. Our work demonstrates that the fungal cells switch between copper detoxification and acquisition to address different copper stresses in the host.

  10. [In vitro activity of a liposomal nystatin formulation (Nyotran) against Cryptococcus neoformans].

    PubMed

    Alonso-Vargas, R; González-Alvarez, L; Ruesga, M T; Carrillo-Muñoz, A J; Martín-Mazuelos, E; Wallace, T L; Cossum, P A; Pontón, J; Quindós, G

    2000-09-01

    The in vitro antifungal activity of a new liposomal nystatin formulation (NISTL, Nyotran, Aronex Ltd., EE.UU.) was evaluated by a microdilution method with RPMI based on the M27A document of the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards (NCCLS) against 22 isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans. This antifungal activity was compared with those of other seven antifungal agents, such as nystatin (NIST), amphotericin B deoxycholate, liposomal amphotericin B, amphotericin B lipid complex, amphotericin B colloidal dispersion, fluconazole, and itraconazole. NISTL was more active in vitrothan NIST, showing MIC values 2-3 fold smaller in 90% of the isolates. The results obtained suggest that this new formulation would be very helpful for the treatment of cryptococcosis.

  11. 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

  12. Structure of a fungal form of aspartate semialdehyde dehydrogenase from Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Dahal, Gopal; Viola, Ronald E.

    2015-01-01

    Aspartate semialdehyde dehydrogenase (ASADH) functions at a critical junction in the aspartate-biosynthetic pathway and represents a valid target for antimicrobial drug design. This enzyme catalyzes the NADPH-dependent reductive dephosphorylation of β-aspartyl phosphate to produce the key intermediate aspartate semialdehyde. Production of this intermediate represents the first committed step in the biosynthesis of the essential amino acids methionine, isoleucine and threonine in fungi, and also the amino acid lysine in bacteria. The structure of a new fungal form of ASADH from Cryptococcus neoformans has been determined to 2.6 Å resolution. The overall structure of CnASADH is similar to those of its bacterial orthologs, but with some critical differences both in biological assembly and in secondary-structural features that can potentially be exploited for the development of species-selective drugs. PMID:26527262

  13. A defect in iron uptake enhances the susceptibility of Cryptococcus neoformans to azole antifungal drugs

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Jeongmi; Cho, Yong-Joon; Do, Eunsoo; Choi, Jaehyuk; Hu, Guanggan; Cadieux, Brigitte; Chun, Jongsik; Lee, Younghoon; Kronstad, James W.; Jung, Won Hee

    2015-01-01

    The high-affinity reductive iron uptake system that includes a ferroxidase (Cfo1) and an iron permease (Cft1) is critical for the pathogenesis of Cryptococcus neoformans. In addition, a mutant lacking CFO1 or CFT1 not only has reduced iron uptake but also displays a markedly increased susceptibility to azole antifungal drugs. Altered antifungal susceptibility of the mutants was of particular interest because the iron uptake system has been proposed as an alternative target for antifungal treatment. In this study, we used transcriptome analysis to begin exploring the molecular mechanisms of altered antifungal susceptibility in a cfo1 mutant. The wild-type strain and the cfo1 mutant were cultured with or without the azole antifungal drug fluconazole and their transcriptomes were compared following sequencing with Illumina Genome Analyzer IIx (GAIIx) technology. As expected, treatment of both strains with fluconazole caused elevated expression of genes in the ergosterol biosynthetic pathway that includes the target enzyme Erg11. Additionally, genes differentially expressed in the cfo1 mutant were involved in iron uptake and homeostasis, mitochondrial functions and respiration. The cfo1 mutant also displayed phenotypes consistent with these changes including a reduced ratio of NAD+/NADH and down-regulation of Fe-S cluster synthesis. Moreover, combination treatment of the wild-type strain with fluconazole and the respiration inhibitor diphenyleneiodonium dramatically increased susceptibility to fluconazole. This result supports the hypothesis that down-regulation of genes required for respiration contributed to the altered fluconazole susceptibility of the cfo1 mutant. Overall, our data suggest that iron uptake and homeostasis play a key role in antifungal susceptibility and could be used as novel targets for combination treatment of cryptococcosis. Indeed, we found that iron chelation in combination with fluconazole treatment synergistically inhibited the growth of C

  14. IL-23 dampens the allergic response to Cryptococcus neoformans through IL-17-independent and -dependent mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Szymczak, Wendy A; Sellers, Rani S; Pirofski, Liise-anne

    2012-04-01

    The cytokines IL-23 and IL-17 have been implicated in resistance to cryptococcal disease, but it is not clear whether IL-23-mediated production of IL-17 promotes fungal containment following pulmonary challenge with Cryptococcus neoformans. We used mice lacking IL-23 (IL-23p19(-/-)) or IL-17RA (IL-17RA(-/-)), and wild type (WT) C57BL/6 mice to examine the IL-23/IL-17 axis after intranasal infection with the C. neoformans strain 52D. The absence of IL-23 or IL-17RA had no effect on pulmonary or brain fungal burden at 1 or 6 weeks after infection. However, survival of IL-23p19(-/-) mice was reduced compared to IL-17RA(-/-) mice. IL-I7 production by CD4 T cells and natural killer T (NKT) cells was impaired in IL-23p19(-/-) lungs, but was not completely abolished. Both IL-23p19(-/-) and IL-17RA(-/-) mice exhibited impaired neutrophil recruitment, increased serum levels of IgE and IgG2b, and increased deposition of YM1/YM2 crystals in the lung, but only IL-23p19(-/-) mice developed persistent lung eosinophilia. Although survival of IL-17RA(-/-) and WT mice was similar after 17 weeks of infection, only surviving IL-17RA(-/-) mice exhibited cryptococcal dissemination to the blood. These data demonstrate that IL-23 dampens the allergic response to cryptococcal infection through IL-17-independent suppression of eosinophil recruitment and IL-17-dependent regulation of antibody production and crystal deposition. Furthermore, IL-23, and to a lesser extent IL-17, contribute to disease resistance. Copyright © 2012 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  15. 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

  16. Cryptococcus neoformans population diversity and clinical outcomes of HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis patients in Zimbabwe.

    PubMed

    Nyazika, Tinashe K; Hagen, Ferry; Machiridza, Tendai; Kutepa, Melody; Masanganise, Faith; Hendrickx, Marijke; Boekhout, Teun; Magombei-Majinjiwa, Tricia; Siziba, Nonthokozo; Chin'ombe, Nyasha; Mateveke, Kudzanai; Meis, Jacques F; Robertson, Valerie J

    2016-11-01

    HIV and cryptococcal meningitis co-infection is a major public health problem in most developing countries. Cryptococcus neoformans sensu stricto is responsible for the majority of HIV-associated cryptococcosis cases in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite the available information, little is known about cryptococcal population diversity and its association with clinical outcomes in patients with HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis in sub-Saharan Africa. In a prospective cohort, we investigated the prevalence and clinical outcome of Cryptococcusneoformans sensu stricto meningitis among HIV-infected patients in Harare, Zimbabwe, and compared the genotypic diversity of the isolates with those collected from other parts of Africa. Molecular typing was done using amplified fragment length polymorphism genotyping and microsatellite typing. The majority of patients with HIV-associated Cryptococcusneoformans sensu stricto meningitis in this cohort were males (n=33/55; 60.0 %). The predominant Cryptococcus neoformans sensu stricto genotype among the Zimbabwean isolates was genotype AFLP1/VNI (n=40; 72.7 %), followed by AFLP1A/VNB/VNII (n=8; 14.6 %), and AFLP1B/VNII was the least isolated (n=7; 12.7 %). Most of the isolates were mating-type α (n=51; 92.7 %), and only four (7.3 %) were mating-type a. Overall in-hospital mortality was 55.6 % (n=30), and no difference between infecting genotype and clinical outcome of patient (P=0.73) or CD4+ counts (P=0.79) was observed. Zimbabwean Cryptococcusneoformans sensu stricto genotypes demonstrated a high level of genetic diversity by microsatellite typing, and 51 genotypes within the main molecular types AFLP1/VNI, AFLP1A/VNB/VNII and AFLP1B/VNII were identified. This study demonstrates that Cryptococcusneoformans sensu stricto in Zimbabwe has a high level of genetic diversity when compared to other regional isolates.

  17. Factors Required for Activation of Urease as a Virulence Determinant in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Singh, Arpita; Panting, Robert J.; Varma, Ashok; Saijo, Tomomi; Waldron, Kevin J.; Jong, Ambrose; Ngamskulrungroj, Popchai; Chang, Yun C.; Rutherford, Julian C.; Kwon-Chung, Kyung J.

    2013-01-01

    ABSTRACT Urease in Cryptococcus neoformans plays an important role in fungal dissemination to the brain and causing meningoencephalitis. Although urea is not required for synthesis of apourease encoded by URE1, the available nitrogen source affected the expression of URE1 as well as the level of the enzyme activity. Activation of the apoenzyme requires three accessory proteins, Ure4, Ure6, and Ure7, which are homologs of the bacterial urease accessory proteins UreD, UreF, and UreG, respectively. A yeast two-hybrid assay showed positive interaction of Ure1 with the three accessory proteins encoded by URE4, URE6, and URE7. Metalloproteomic analysis of cryptococcal lysates using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and a biochemical assay of urease activity showed that, as in many other organisms, urease is a metallocentric enzyme that requires nickel transported by Nic1 for its catalytic activity. The Ure7 accessory protein (bacterial UreG homolog) binds nickel likely via its conserved histidine-rich domain and appears to be responsible for the incorporation of Ni2+ into the apourease. Although the cryptococcal genome lacks the bacterial UreE homolog, Ure7 appears to combine the functions of bacterial UreE and UreG, thus making this pathogen more similar to that seen with the plant system. Brain invasion by the ure1, ure7, and nic1 mutant strains that lack urease activity was significantly less effective in a mouse model. This indicated that an activated urease and not the Ure1 protein was responsible for enhancement of brain invasion and that the factors required for urease activation in C. neoformans resemble those of plants more than those of bacteria. PMID:23653445

  18. Glucosamine stimulates pheromone-independent dimorphic transition in Cryptococcus neoformans by promoting Crz1 nuclear translocation

    PubMed Central

    Zhao, Youbao; Kirkman, Elyssa; So, Yee-Seul; Bahn, Yong-Sun

    2017-01-01

    Morphotype switch is a cellular response to external and internal cues. The Cryptococcus neoformans species complex can undergo morphological transitions between the yeast and the hypha form, and such morphological changes profoundly affect cryptococcal interaction with various hosts. Filamentation in Cryptococcus was historically considered a mating response towards pheromone. Recent studies indicate the existence of pheromone-independent signaling pathways but their identity or the effectors remain unknown. Here, we demonstrated that glucosamine stimulated the C. neoformans species complex to undergo self-filamentation. Glucosamine-stimulated filamentation was independent of the key components of the pheromone pathway, which is distinct from pheromone-elicited filamentation. Glucosamine stimulated self-filamentation in H99, a highly virulent serotype A clinical isolate and a widely used reference strain. Through a genetic screen of the deletion sets made in the H99 background, we found that Crz1, a transcription factor downstream of calcineurin, was essential for glucosamine-stimulated filamentation despite its dispensability for pheromone-mediated filamentation. Glucosamine promoted Crz1 translocation from the cytoplasm to the nucleus. Interestingly, multiple components of the high osmolality glycerol response (HOG) pathway, consisting of the phosphorelay system and some of the Hog1 MAPK module, acted as repressors of glucosamine-elicited filamentation through their calcineurin-opposing effect on Crz1’s nuclear translocation. Surprisingly, glucosamine-stimulated filamentation did not require Hog1 itself and was distinct from the conventional general stress response. The results demonstrate that Cryptococcus can resort to multiple genetic pathways for morphological transition in response to different stimuli. Given that the filamentous form attenuates cryptococcal virulence and is immune-stimulatory in mammalian models, the findings suggest that morphogenesis

  19. The Cryptococcus neoformans Alkaline Response Pathway: Identification of a Novel Rim Pathway Activator

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25859664

  20. Sex-induced silencing defends the genome of Cryptococcus neoformans via RNAi

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Xuying; Hsueh, Yen-Ping; Li, Wenjun; Floyd, Anna; Skalsky, Rebecca; Heitman, Joseph

    2010-01-01

    Cosuppression is a silencing phenomenon triggered by the introduction of homologous DNA sequences into the genomes of organisms as diverse as plants, fungi, flies, and nematodes. Here we report sex-induced silencing (SIS), which is triggered by tandem integration of a transgene array in the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. A SXI2a-URA5 transgene array was found to be post-transcriptionally silenced during sexual reproduction. More than half of the progeny that inherited the SXI2a-URA5 transgene became uracil-auxotrophic due to silencing of the URA5 gene. In vegetative mitotic growth, silencing of this transgene array occurred at an ∼250-fold lower frequency, indicating that silencing is induced during the sexual cycle. Central components of the RNAi pathway—including genes encoding Argonaute, Dicer, and an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase—are all required for both meiotic and mitotic transgene silencing. URA5-derived ∼22-nucleotide (nt) small RNAs accumulated in the silenced isolates, suggesting that SIS is mediated by RNAi via sequence-specific small RNAs. Through deep sequencing of the small RNA population in C. neoformans, we also identified abundant small RNAs mapping to repetitive transposable elements, and these small RNAs were absent in rdp1 mutant strains. Furthermore, a group of retrotransposons was highly expressed during mating of rdp1 mutant strains, and an increased transposition/mutation rate was detected in their progeny, indicating that the RNAi pathway squelches transposon activity during the sexual cycle. Interestingly, Ago1, Dcr1, Dcr2, and Rdp1 are translationally induced in mating cells, and Ago1, Dcr1, and Dcr2 localize to processing bodies (P bodies), whereas Rdp1 appears to be nuclear, providing mechanistic insights into the elevated silencing efficiency during sexual reproduction. We hypothesize that the SIS RNAi pathway operates to defend the genome during sexual development. PMID:21078820

  1. 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

  2. Identification of Aph1, a Phosphate-Regulated, Secreted, and Vacuolar Acid Phosphatase in Cryptococcus neoformans

    PubMed Central

    Lev, Sophie; Crossett, Ben; Cha, So Young; Desmarini, Desmarini; Li, Cecilia; Chayakulkeeree, Methee; Wilson, Christabel F.; Williamson, P. R.; Sorrell, Tania C.

    2014-01-01

    ABSTRACT Cryptococcus neoformans strains isolated from patients with AIDS secrete acid phosphatase, but the identity and role of the enzyme(s) responsible have not been elucidated. By combining a one-dimensional electrophoresis step with mass spectrometry, a canonically secreted acid phosphatase, CNAG_02944 (Aph1), was identified in the secretome of the highly virulent serotype A strain H99. We created an APH1 deletion mutant (Δaph1) and showed that Δaph1-infected Galleria mellonella and mice survived longer than those infected with the wild type (WT), demonstrating that Aph1 contributes to cryptococcal virulence. Phosphate starvation induced APH1 expression and secretion of catalytically active acid phosphatase in the WT, but not in the Δaph1 mutant, indicating that Aph1 is the major extracellular acid phosphatase in C. neoformans and that it is phosphate repressible. DsRed-tagged Aph1 was transported to the fungal cell periphery and vacuoles via endosome-like structures and was enriched in bud necks. A similar pattern of Aph1 localization was observed in cryptococci cocultured with THP-1 monocytes, suggesting that Aph1 is produced during host infection. In contrast to Aph1, but consistent with our previous biochemical data, green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged phospholipase B1 (Plb1) was predominantly localized at the cell periphery, with no evidence of endosome-mediated export. Despite use of different intracellular transport routes by Plb1 and Aph1, secretion of both proteins was compromised in a Δsec14-1 mutant. Secretions from the WT, but not from Δaph1, hydrolyzed a range of physiological substrates, including phosphotyrosine, glucose-1-phosphate, β-glycerol phosphate, AMP, and mannose-6-phosphate, suggesting that the role of Aph1 is to recycle phosphate from macromolecules in cryptococcal vacuoles and to scavenge phosphate from the extracellular environment. PMID:25227465

  3. Production of an antimicrobial substance against Cryptococcus neoformans by Paenibacillus brasilensis Sa3 isolated from the rhizosphere of Kalanchoe brasiliensis.

    PubMed

    Fortes, Tiago Oliveira; Alviano, Daniela Sales; Tupinambá, Gleiser; Padrón, Thaís Souto; Antoniolli, Angelo Roberto; Alviano, Celuta Sales; Seldin, Lucy

    2008-01-01

    An antifungal substance produced by Paenibacillus brasilensis strain Sa3 was preliminary characterized and showed to be stable after treatment with different enzymes and organic solvents and at a wide range of pH, and presented a molecular weight between 3 and 10 kDa. In vitro antagonism of this strain towards Cryptococcus neoformans was investigated by optical and electronic microscopic analyses and a fungicidal effect on C. neoformans was observed. Ultrastructural analysis showed intense changes on the fungus when it was paired cultured with strain Sa3, mainly the detachment of the capsule from the cell wall and the presence of altered organelles in the cytoplasm. This novel antifungal substance produced by P. brasilensis Sa3 may represent a new insight in antifungal therapy mainly against emergent fungi. Also, prospective studies on rhizobacteria of plants as Kalanchoe brasiliensis may offer a potential source for the discovery of bioactive compounds with medical value.

  4. Severe meningoencephalitis co-infection due to Cryptococcus neoformans and Mycobacterium tuberculosis in a child with systemic lupus erythematosus.

    PubMed

    Martinez-Longoria, Cesar Adrián; Rubio-Perez, Nadina Eugenia; Rios-Solis, Josue Emmanuel; Garcia-Rodriguez, Fernando

    2015-04-01

    The incidences of infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Cryptococcus neoformans in immunocompromised patients have increased, but there are few documented cases of their coexistence. We present the case of a 9-year-old female with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), treated with prednisone and cyclophosphamide, who was admitted to the emergency department with a 2-week history of fever, headache, malaise, fatigue, and diplopia 3 years after diagnosis. Physical examination showed limitation of abduction of the right eye, Kernig and Brudzinski signs, and hyporeflexia. Magnetic resonance imaging showed hyperdense lesions located in the caudate nucleus, and lumbar puncture showed pleocytosis, a low glucose level, and increased protein level. Cerebrospinal fluid culture identified C. neoformans and PCR detect M. tuberculosis. Treatment was started with isoniazid, rifampin, pyrazinamide, ethambutol, and amphotericin B. We found two similar reports in adults, but no data were found for either pediatric or SLE patients.

  5. 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

  6. Resistance to Cryptococcus neoformans is associated with an inflammatory response to Toxoplasma gondii in the central nervous system of mice.

    PubMed Central

    Aguirre, K M; Sayles, P C; Gibson, G W; Johnson, L L

    1996-01-01

    We have studied the resistance of Toxoplasma gondii-infected mice to subsequent infection with Cryptococcus neoformans. Mice infected with the moderately virulent ME49 strain of T. gondii are resistant to proliferation of yeast cells in their brains after intravenous inoculation of the serotype A C. neoformans strain 184. The resistance serves to limit proliferation of yeast cells that colonize the brain. Maximal levels of resistance correlate not with maximal systemic specific anti-Toxoplasma resistance but rather with high levels of inflammatory response, presumably to parasites released from cysts in the brain. Resistance is localized, as mice infected with ME49 show only limited resistance in their lungs after intratracheal instillation of yeast cells, but there is substantial protection against development of cerebral cryptococcosis. PMID:8557377

  7. Report on novel environmental niches for Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii in Colombia: Tabebuia guayacan and Roystonea regia.

    PubMed

    Vélez, Norida; Escandón, Patricia

    2017-01-23

    Knowledge of the environmental distribution of C. neoformans/C. gattii is important in the epidemiology and ecology of the etiological agent, which causes cryptococcosis, a deadly disease worldwide. The aim of this report is to describe the presence of C. neoformans/C. gattii in new environmental niches in Colombia. A total of 837 environmental samples were collected from six different species of trees across four cities; molecular type was determined by PCR fingerprinting and RFLP. Molecular type VNI and VGIII were isolated from different species of trees, resulting in two novel niches for this pathogen: Tabebuia guayacan and Roystonea regia. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The International Society for Human and Animal Mycology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

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

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:25732347

  9. 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.

  10. 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

    2015-03-03

    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 t