Editor’s Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to readers, or important in the respective research area. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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11 pages, 744 KiB  
Article
Short Tandem Repeat Genotyping and Antifungal Susceptibility Testing of Latin American Candida tropicalis Isolates
by Bram Spruijtenburg, Cynthea C. S. Z. Baqueiro, Arnaldo L. Colombo, Eelco F. J. Meijer, João N. de Almeida, Jr., Indira Berrio, Norma B. Fernández, Guilherme M. Chaves, Jacques F. Meis, Theun de Groot and on behalf of the Latin American Group for Investigating Candida Tropicalis Resistance
J. Fungi 2023, 9(2), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9020207 - 05 Feb 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1759
Abstract
Candida tropicalis is emerging as one of the most common Candida species causing opportunistic infections in Latin America. Outbreak events caused by C. tropicalis were reported, and antifungal resistant isolates are on the rise. In order to investigate population genomics and look into [...] Read more.
Candida tropicalis is emerging as one of the most common Candida species causing opportunistic infections in Latin America. Outbreak events caused by C. tropicalis were reported, and antifungal resistant isolates are on the rise. In order to investigate population genomics and look into antifungal resistance, we applied a short tandem repeat (STR) genotyping scheme and antifungal susceptibility testing (AFST) to 230 clinical and environmental C. tropicalis isolates from Latin American countries. STR genotyping identified 164 genotypes, including 11 clusters comprised of three to seven isolates, indicating outbreak events. AFST identified one isolate as anidulafungin-resistant and harboring a FKS1 S659P substitution. Moreover, we identified 24 clinical and environmental isolates with intermediate susceptibility or resistance to one or more azoles. ERG11 sequencing revealed each of these isolates harboring a Y132F and/or Y257H/N substitution. All of these isolates, except one, were clustered together in two groups of closely related STR genotypes, with each group harboring distinct ERG11 substitutions. The ancestral C. tropicalis strain of these isolates likely acquired the azole resistance-associated substitutions and subsequently spread across vast distances within Brazil. Altogether, this STR genotyping scheme for C. tropicalis proved to be useful for identifying unrecognized outbreak events and better understanding population genomics, including the spread of antifungal-resistant isolates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogenicity and Molecular Biology of Human Pathogenic Fungi)
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16 pages, 1786 KiB  
Article
Functional Expression of Recombinant Candida auris Proteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae Enables Azole Susceptibility Evaluation and Drug Discovery
by Stephanie Toepfer, Michaela Lackner, Mikhail V. Keniya and Brian C. Monk
J. Fungi 2023, 9(2), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9020168 - 27 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1914
Abstract
Candida auris infections are difficult to treat due to acquired drug resistance against one or multiple antifungal drug classes. The most prominent resistance mechanisms in C. auris are overexpression and point mutations in Erg11, and the overexpression of efflux pump genes CDR1 and [...] Read more.
Candida auris infections are difficult to treat due to acquired drug resistance against one or multiple antifungal drug classes. The most prominent resistance mechanisms in C. auris are overexpression and point mutations in Erg11, and the overexpression of efflux pump genes CDR1 and MDR1. We report the establishment of a novel platform for molecular analysis and drug screening based on acquired azole-resistance mechanisms found in C. auris. Constitutive functional overexpression of wild-type C. auris Erg11, Erg11 with amino acid substitutions Y132F or K143R and the recombinant efflux pumps Cdr1 and Mdr1 has been achieved in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Phenotypes were evaluated for standard azoles and the tetrazole VT-1161. Overexpression of CauErg11 Y132F, CauErg11 K143R, and CauMdr1 conferred resistance exclusively to the short-tailed azoles Fluconazole and Voriconazole. Strains overexpressing the Cdr1 protein were pan-azole resistant. While CauErg11 Y132F increased VT-1161 resistance, K143R had no impact. Type II binding spectra showed tight azole binding to the affinity-purified recombinant CauErg11 protein. The Nile Red assay confirmed the efflux functions of CauMdr1 and CauCdr1, which were specifically inhibited by MCC1189 and Beauvericin, respectively. CauCdr1 exhibited ATPase activity that was inhibited by Oligomycin. The S. cerevisiae overexpression platform enables evaluation of the interaction of existing and novel azole drugs with their primary target CauErg11 and their susceptibility to drug efflux. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Engineering of Yeast)
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16 pages, 2315 KiB  
Article
Volatile Metabolites in Lavage Fluid Are Correlated with Cytokine Production in a Valley Fever Murine Model
by Emily A. Higgins Keppler, Marley C. Caballero Van Dyke, Heather L. Mead, Douglas F. Lake, D. Mitchell Magee, Bridget M. Barker and Heather D. Bean
J. Fungi 2023, 9(1), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9010115 - 14 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1705
Abstract
Coccidioides immitis and Coccidioides posadasii are soil-dwelling fungi of arid regions in North and South America that are responsible for Valley fever (coccidioidomycosis). Forty percent of patients with Valley fever exhibit symptoms ranging from mild, self-limiting respiratory infections to severe, life-threatening pneumonia that [...] Read more.
Coccidioides immitis and Coccidioides posadasii are soil-dwelling fungi of arid regions in North and South America that are responsible for Valley fever (coccidioidomycosis). Forty percent of patients with Valley fever exhibit symptoms ranging from mild, self-limiting respiratory infections to severe, life-threatening pneumonia that requires treatment. Misdiagnosis as bacterial pneumonia commonly occurs in symptomatic Valley fever cases, resulting in inappropriate treatment with antibiotics, increased medical costs, and delay in diagnosis. In this proof-of-concept study, we explored the feasibility of developing breath-based diagnostics for Valley fever using a murine lung infection model. To investigate potential volatile biomarkers of Valley fever that arise from host–pathogen interactions, we infected C57BL/6J mice with C. immitis RS (n = 6), C. posadasii Silveira (n = 6), or phosphate-buffered saline (n = 4) via intranasal inoculation. We measured fungal dissemination and collected bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) for cytokine profiling and for untargeted volatile metabolomics via solid-phase microextraction (SPME) and two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC×GC-TOFMS). We identified 36 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that were significantly correlated (p < 0.05) with cytokine abundance. These 36 VOCs clustered mice by their cytokine production and were also able to separate mice with moderate-to-high cytokine production by infection strain. The data presented here show that Coccidioides and/or the host produce volatile metabolites that may yield biomarkers for a Valley fever breath test that can detect coccidioidal infection and provide clinically relevant information on primary pulmonary disease severity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Basic and Clinical Research on Coccidioides)
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18 pages, 4522 KiB  
Article
Inhibition of Aflatoxin Production by Citrinin and Non-Enzymatic Formation of a Novel Citrinin-Kojic Acid Adduct
by Masayuki Ichinomiya, Emi Fukushima-Sakuno, Ayaka Kawamoto, Hiroyuki Nakagawa, Hidemi Hatabayashi, Hiromitsu Nakajima and Kimiko Yabe
J. Fungi 2023, 9(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof9010029 - 23 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2658
Abstract
Screening for microorganisms that inhibit aflatoxin production from environments showed that Penicillium citrinum inhibited aflatoxin production by Aspergillus parasiticus. The inhibitory substance in the culture medium of P. citrinum was confirmed to be citrinin (CTN). RT-PCR analyses showed that CTN did not [...] Read more.
Screening for microorganisms that inhibit aflatoxin production from environments showed that Penicillium citrinum inhibited aflatoxin production by Aspergillus parasiticus. The inhibitory substance in the culture medium of P. citrinum was confirmed to be citrinin (CTN). RT-PCR analyses showed that CTN did not inhibit expressions of aflatoxin biosynthetic genes (aflR, pksL1, and fas-1) of A. parasiticus, whereas feeding experiments using A. parasiticus showed that CTN inhibited the in vivo conversion of dihydrosterigmatocystin to AFB2·AFG2. These results suggest that CTN inhibits a certain post-transcriptional step in aflatoxin biosynthesis. CTN in the culture medium of A. parasiticus was found to be decreased or lost with time, suggesting that a certain metabolite produced by A. parasiticus is the cause of the CTN decrease; we then purified, characterized, and then analyzed the substance. Physico-chemical analyses confirmed that the metabolite causing a decrease in CTN fluorescence was kojic acid (KA) and the resulting product was identified as a novel substance: (1R,3S,4R)-3,4-dihydro-6,8-dihydroxy-1-(3-hydroxy-6-(hydroxymethyl)-4-oxo-4H-pyran-2-yl)-3,4,5-trimethyl-1H-isochromene-7-carboxylic acid, which was named “CTN-KA adduct”. Our examination of the metabolites’ toxicities revealed that unlike CTN, the CTN-KA adduct did not inhibit aflatoxin production by A. parasiticus. These results indicate that CTN’s toxicity was alleviated with KA by converting CTN to the CTN-KA adduct. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycotoxins and Toxigenic Fungi)
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21 pages, 1370 KiB  
Article
Antiproliferative Fatty Acids Isolated from the Polypore Fungus Onnia tomentosa
by Hooi Xian Lee, Wai Ming Li, Jatinder Khatra, Zhicheng Xia, Oleg Sannikov, Yun Ling, Haoxuan Zhu and Chow H. Lee
J. Fungi 2022, 8(11), 1163; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8111163 - 03 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1565
Abstract
Onnia tomentosa is a widespread root rot pathogen frequently found in coniferous forests in North America. In this study, the potential medicinal properties of this wild polypore mushroom collected from north–central British Columbia, Canada, were investigated. The ethanol extract from O. tomentosa was [...] Read more.
Onnia tomentosa is a widespread root rot pathogen frequently found in coniferous forests in North America. In this study, the potential medicinal properties of this wild polypore mushroom collected from north–central British Columbia, Canada, were investigated. The ethanol extract from O. tomentosa was found to exhibit strong antiproliferative activity. Liquid–liquid extraction and bioactivity-guided fractionation, together with HPLC-MS/MS and 1D/2D NMR analyses of the ethanol extract of O. tomentosa, led to the identification of eight known linoleic oxygenated fatty acids (1.11.4 and 25), together with linoleic (6) and oleic acids (7). The autoxidation of linoleic acid upon isolation from a natural source and compound 5 as an autoxidation product of linoleic acid are reported here for the first time. GC-FID analysis of O. tomentosa, Fomitopsis officinalis, Echinodontium tinctorium, and Albatrellus flettii revealed linoleic, oleic, palmitic, and stearic acids as the major fatty acids. This study further showed that fatty acids were the major antiproliferative constituents in the ethanol extract from O. tomentosa. Linoleic acid and oleic acid had IC50 values of 50.3 and 90.4 µM against human cervical cancer cells (HeLa), respectively. The results from this study have implications regarding the future exploration of O. tomentosa as a possible edible and/or medicinal mushroom. It is also recommended that necessary caution be taken when isolating unstable fatty acids from natural sources and in interpreting the results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives on Bioactive Compounds in Mushrooms)
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29 pages, 6682 KiB  
Article
The Epichloë festucae Antifungal Protein Efe-AfpA Protects Creeping Bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) from the Plant Pathogen Clarireedia jacksonii, the Causal Agent of Dollar Spot Disease
by Patrick A. Fardella, Zipeng Tian, Bruce B. Clarke and Faith C. Belanger
J. Fungi 2022, 8(10), 1097; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8101097 - 18 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1658
Abstract
Dollar spot disease, caused by the fungal pathogen Clarireedia jacksonii, is a major problem in many turfgrass species, particularly creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera). It is well-established that strong creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra subsp. rubra) exhibits good dollar [...] Read more.
Dollar spot disease, caused by the fungal pathogen Clarireedia jacksonii, is a major problem in many turfgrass species, particularly creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera). It is well-established that strong creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra subsp. rubra) exhibits good dollar spot resistance when infected by the fungal endophyte Epichloë festucae. This endophyte-mediated disease resistance is unique to the fine fescues and has not been observed in other grass species infected with other Epichloë spp. The mechanism underlying the unique endophyte-mediated disease resistance in strong creeping red fescue has not yet been established. We pursued the possibility that it may be due to the presence of an abundant secreted antifungal protein produced by E. festucae. Here, we compare the activity of the antifungal protein expressed in Escherichia coli, Pichia pastoris, and Penicillium chrysogenum. Active protein was recovered from all systems, with the best activity being from Pe. chrysogenum. In greenhouse assays, topical application of the purified antifungal protein to creeping bentgrass and endophyte-free strong creeping red fescue protected the plants from developing severe symptoms caused by C. jacksonii. These results support the hypothesis that Efe-AfpA is a major contributor to the dollar spot resistance observed with E. festucae-infected strong creeping red fescue in the field, and that this protein could be developed as an alternative or complement to fungicides for the management of this disease on turfgrasses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Endophytes of Grasses)
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23 pages, 11957 KiB  
Article
Whole Genome Sequencing Analysis of Effects of CRISPR/Cas9 in Komagataella phaffii: A Budding Yeast in Distress
by Veronika Schusterbauer, Jasmin E. Fischer, Sarah Gangl, Lisa Schenzle, Claudia Rinnofner, Martina Geier, Christian Sailer, Anton Glieder and Gerhard G. Thallinger
J. Fungi 2022, 8(10), 992; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8100992 - 21 Sep 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2330
Abstract
The industrially important non-conventional yeast Komagataella phaffii suffers from low rates of homologous recombination, making site specific genetic engineering tedious. Therefore, genome editing using CRISPR/Cas represents a simple and efficient alternative. To characterize on- and off-target mutations caused by CRISPR/Cas9 followed by non-homologous [...] Read more.
The industrially important non-conventional yeast Komagataella phaffii suffers from low rates of homologous recombination, making site specific genetic engineering tedious. Therefore, genome editing using CRISPR/Cas represents a simple and efficient alternative. To characterize on- and off-target mutations caused by CRISPR/Cas9 followed by non-homologous end joining repair, we chose a diverse set of CRISPR/Cas targets and conducted whole genome sequencing on 146 CRISPR/Cas9 engineered single colonies. We compared the outcomes of single target CRISPR transformations to double target experiments. Furthermore, we examined the extent of possible large deletions by targeting a large genomic region, which is likely to be non-essential. The analysis of on-target mutations showed an unexpectedly high number of large deletions and chromosomal rearrangements at the CRISPR target loci. We also observed an increase of on-target structural variants in double target experiments as compared to single target experiments. Targeting of two loci within a putatively non-essential region led to a truncation of chromosome 3 at the target locus in multiple cases, causing the deletion of 20 genes and several ribosomal DNA repeats. The identified de novo off-target mutations were rare and randomly distributed, with no apparent connection to unspecific CRISPR/Cas9 off-target binding sites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Yeast Genetics 2022)
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18 pages, 2517 KiB  
Article
Root Colonization by Fungal Entomopathogen Systemically Primes Belowground Plant Defense against Cabbage Root Fly
by Catalina Posada-Vergara, Katharina Lohaus, Mohammad Alhussein, Stefan Vidal and Michael Rostás
J. Fungi 2022, 8(9), 969; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8090969 - 16 Sep 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2299
Abstract
Entomopathogenic fungi infect insects via spores but also live inside plant tissues as endophytes. Frequently, colonization by entomopathogens provides plants with increased resistance against insects, but the mechanisms are little understood. This study investigated direct, local, and systemic root-mediated interactions between isolates of [...] Read more.
Entomopathogenic fungi infect insects via spores but also live inside plant tissues as endophytes. Frequently, colonization by entomopathogens provides plants with increased resistance against insects, but the mechanisms are little understood. This study investigated direct, local, and systemic root-mediated interactions between isolates of the fungus Metarhizium brunneum and larvae of the cabbage root fly (CRF) Delia radicum attacking Brassica napus plants. All fungal isolates infected CRF when conidia were present in the soil, leading to 43–93% mortality. Locally, root-associated M. brunneum isolates reduced herbivore damage by 10–20% and in three out of five isolates caused significant insect mortality due to plant-mediated and/or direct effects. A split-root experiment with isolate Gd12 also demonstrated systemic plant resistance with significantly reduced root collar damage by CRF. LC-MS analyses showed that fungal root colonization did not induce changes in phytohormones, while herbivory increased jasmonic acid (JA) and glucosinolate concentrations. Proteinase inhibitor gene expression was also increased. Fungal colonization, however, primed herbivore-induced JA and the expression of the JA-responsive plant defensin 1.2 (PDF1.2) gene. We conclude that root-associated M. brunneum benefits plant health through multiple mechanisms, such as the direct infection of insects, as well as the local and systemic priming of the JA pathway. Full article
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25 pages, 16080 KiB  
Article
Occurrence, Diversity and Anti-Fungal Resistance of Fungi in Sand of an Urban Beach in Slovenia—Environmental Monitoring with Possible Health Risk Implications
by Monika Novak Babič, Nina Gunde-Cimerman, Martin Breskvar, Sašo Džeroski and João Brandão
J. Fungi 2022, 8(8), 860; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8080860 - 16 Aug 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2723
Abstract
Beach safety regulation is based on faecal indicators in water, leaving out sand and fungi, whose presence in both matrices has often been reported. To study the abundance, diversity and possible fluctuations of mycobiota, fungi from sand and seawater were isolated from the [...] Read more.
Beach safety regulation is based on faecal indicators in water, leaving out sand and fungi, whose presence in both matrices has often been reported. To study the abundance, diversity and possible fluctuations of mycobiota, fungi from sand and seawater were isolated from the Portorož beach (Slovenia) during a 1-year period. Sand analyses yielded 64 species of 43 genera, whereas seawater samples yielded 29 species of 18 genera. Environmental and taxonomical data of fungal communities were analysed using machine learning approaches. Changes in the air and water temperature, sunshine hours, humidity and precipitation, air pressure and wind speed appeared to affect mycobiota. The core genera Aphanoascus, Aspergillus, Fusarium, Bisifusarium, Penicillium, Talaromyces, and Rhizopus were found to compose a stable community within sand, although their presence and abundance fluctuated along with weather changes. Aspergillus spp. were the most abundant and thus tested against nine antimycotics using Sensititre Yeast One kit. Aspergillus niger and A. welwitschiae isolates were found to be resistant to amphotericin B. Additionally, four possible human pollution indicators were isolated during the bathing season, including Meyerozyma, which can be used in beach microbial regulation. Our findings provide the foundations for additional research on sand and seawater mycobiota and show the potential effect of global warming and extreme weather events on fungi in sand and sea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Diversity in Europe)
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20 pages, 2642 KiB  
Article
The Dicarboxylate Transporters from the AceTr Family and Dct-02 Oppositely Affect Succinic Acid Production in S. cerevisiae
by Toni Rendulić, Frederico Mendonça Bahia, Isabel Soares-Silva, Elke Nevoigt and Margarida Casal
J. Fungi 2022, 8(8), 822; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8080822 - 06 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2448
Abstract
Membrane transporters are important targets in metabolic engineering to establish and improve the production of chemicals such as succinic acid from renewable resources by microbial cell factories. We recently provided a Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain able to strongly overproduce succinic acid from glycerol and [...] Read more.
Membrane transporters are important targets in metabolic engineering to establish and improve the production of chemicals such as succinic acid from renewable resources by microbial cell factories. We recently provided a Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain able to strongly overproduce succinic acid from glycerol and CO2 in which the Dct-02 transporter from Aspergillus niger, assumed to be an anion channel, was used to export succinic acid from the cells. In a different study, we reported a new group of succinic acid transporters from the AceTr family, which were also described as anion channels. Here, we expressed these transporters in a succinic acid overproducing strain and compared their impact on extracellular succinic acid accumulation with that of the Dct-02 transporter. The results show that the tested transporters of the AceTr family hinder succinic acid accumulation in the extracellular medium at low pH, which is in strong contrast to Dct-02. Data suggests that the AceTr transporters prefer monovalent succinate, whereas Dct-02 prefers divalent succinate anions. In addition, the results provided deeper insights into the characteristics of Dct-02, showing its ability to act as a succinic acid importer (thus being bidirectional) and verifying its capability of exporting malate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungi Nutrient Transportation)
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17 pages, 4741 KiB  
Article
Microbiomic Analysis of Bacteria Associated with Rock Tripe Lichens in Continental and Maritime Antarctic Regions
by Zichen He, Takeshi Naganuma, Ryosuke Nakai, Satoshi Imura, Megumu Tsujimoto and Peter Convey
J. Fungi 2022, 8(8), 817; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8080817 - 03 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3520
Abstract
Increased research attention is being given to bacterial diversity associated with lichens. Rock tripe lichens (Umbilicariaceae) were collected from two distinct Antarctic biological regions, the continental region near the Japanese Antarctic station (Syowa Station) and the maritime Antarctic South Orkney Islands [...] Read more.
Increased research attention is being given to bacterial diversity associated with lichens. Rock tripe lichens (Umbilicariaceae) were collected from two distinct Antarctic biological regions, the continental region near the Japanese Antarctic station (Syowa Station) and the maritime Antarctic South Orkney Islands (Signy Island), in order to compare their bacterial floras and potential metabolism. Bulk DNA extracted from the lichen samples was used to amplify the 18S rRNA gene and the V3-V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene, whose amplicons were Sanger- and MiSeq-sequenced, respectively. The fungal and algal partners represented members of the ascomycete genus Umbilicaria and the green algal genus Trebouxia, based on 18S rRNA gene sequences. The V3-V4 sequences were grouped into operational taxonomic units (OTUs), which were assigned to eight bacterial phyla, Acidobacteriota, Actinomyceota, Armatimonadota, Bacteroidota, Cyanobacteria, Deinococcota, Pseudomonadota and the candidate phylum Saccharibacteria (also known as TM7), commonly present in all samples. The OTU floras of the two biological regions were clearly distinct, with regional biomarker genera, such as Mucilaginibacter and Gluconacetobacter, respectively. The OTU-based metabolism analysis predicted higher membrane transport activities in the maritime Antarctic OTUs, probably influenced by the sampling area’s warmer maritime climatic setting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology and Evolution of Lichens and Associated Microorganisms)
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16 pages, 4245 KiB  
Article
The Fungal Protein Mes1 Is Required for Morphogenesis and Virulence in the Dimorphic Phytopathogen Ustilago maydis
by David Cánovas
J. Fungi 2022, 8(8), 759; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8080759 - 22 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1827
Abstract
Polarized growth is a defining property of filamentous fungi, which plays an important role in different aspects of their biology, including virulence. However, little information is available about the determinants of cell surface organization and their role in polarized growth. The fungal protein [...] Read more.
Polarized growth is a defining property of filamentous fungi, which plays an important role in different aspects of their biology, including virulence. However, little information is available about the determinants of cell surface organization and their role in polarized growth. The fungal protein MesA was identified in a genetic screen in Aspergillus nidulans and is involved in the stabilization of the polarity axes, but it has no evident role in budding yeast. In this work, I present evidence that in the dimorphic fungal phytopathogen Ustilago maydis MesA/Mes1 is involved in cell wall stability and polarized growth. mes1 mutants were more sensitive to drugs provoking cell wall stress, and they displayed a temperature-sensitive phenotype. Actin cytoskeleton was disorganized in a mes1 mutant, suggesting that there is a connection between Mes1, the actin cytoskeleton and polarized morphogenesis. The septin ring was also absent from the bud tip, but not the bud neck. Deletion of mes1 provoked defects in endocytosis and vacuolar organization in the cells. Mes1 was essential for strong polarized growth in the hyphal form, but it was dispensable during low or moderate polarized growth in the yeast form in U. maydis at a permissive temperature. Consistently, mes1 mutants showed delayed mating and they were avirulent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions between Filamentous Fungal Pathogens and Hosts)
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21 pages, 1409 KiB  
Article
Fungal Community Composition as Affected by Litter Chemistry and Weather during Four Years of Litter Decomposition in Rainshadow Coastal Douglas-Fir Forests
by Philip-Edouard Shay, Richard S. Winder, C. Peter Constabel and J. A. (Tony) Trofymow
J. Fungi 2022, 8(7), 735; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8070735 - 16 Jul 2022
Viewed by 1575
Abstract
Climate and litter chemistry are major factors influencing litter decay, a process mediated by microbes, such as fungi, nitrogen-fixing bacteria and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria. Increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations can decrease nitrogen (N) and increase condensed tannin (CT) content in foliar litter, reducing litter [...] Read more.
Climate and litter chemistry are major factors influencing litter decay, a process mediated by microbes, such as fungi, nitrogen-fixing bacteria and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria. Increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations can decrease nitrogen (N) and increase condensed tannin (CT) content in foliar litter, reducing litter quality and slowing decomposition. We hypothesized that reduced litter quality inhibits microbes and is the mechanism causing decomposition to slow. Litterbags of Douglas-fir needles and poplar leaves with a range of N (0.61–1.57%) and CT (2.1–29.1%) treatment and natural acid unhydrolyzable residue (35.3–41.5%) concentrations were placed along climatic gradients in mature Douglas-fir stands of coastal British Columbia rainshadow forests. The structure (diversity, richness and evenness) and composition of microbial communities were analyzed using DGGE profiles of 18S, NifH-universal and AmoA PCR amplicons in foliar litter after 7, 12, 24 and 43 months of decay. High CT and low N concentrations in leaf litter were associated with changes in microbial community composition, especially fungi. Contrary to our hypothesis, high CT and low N treatments did not inhibit microbial colonization or diversity. The joint effects of air temperature and soil moisture on microbial community composition at our sites were more important than the effects of initial litter chemistry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungi in Decomposition Processes)
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25 pages, 4014 KiB  
Article
Nitric Oxide Metabolism Affects Germination in Botrytis cinerea and Is Connected to Nitrate Assimilation
by Francisco Anta-Fernández, Daniela Santander-Gordón, Sioly Becerra, Rodrigo Santamaría, José María Díaz-Mínguez and Ernesto Pérez Benito
J. Fungi 2022, 8(7), 699; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8070699 - 01 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2155
Abstract
Nitric oxide regulates numerous physiological processes in species from all taxonomic groups. Here, its role in the early developmental stages of the fungal necrotroph Botrytis cinerea was investigated. Pharmacological analysis demonstrated that NO modulated germination, germ tube elongation and nuclear division rate. Experimental [...] Read more.
Nitric oxide regulates numerous physiological processes in species from all taxonomic groups. Here, its role in the early developmental stages of the fungal necrotroph Botrytis cinerea was investigated. Pharmacological analysis demonstrated that NO modulated germination, germ tube elongation and nuclear division rate. Experimental evidence indicates that exogenous NO exerts an immediate but transitory negative effect, slowing down germination-associated processes, and that this effect is largely dependent on the flavohemoglobin BCFHG1. The fungus exhibited a “biphasic response” to NO, being more sensitive to low and high concentrations than to intermediate levels of the NO donor. Global gene expression analysis in the wild-type and ΔBcfhg1 strains indicated a situation of strong nitrosative and oxidative stress determined by exogenous NO, which was much more intense in the mutant strain, that the cells tried to alleviate by upregulating several defense mechanisms, including the simultaneous upregulation of the genes encoding the flavohemoglobin BCFHG1, a nitronate monooxygenase (NMO) and a cyanide hydratase. Genetic evidence suggests the coordinated expression of Bcfhg1 and the NMO coding gene, both adjacent and divergently arranged, in response to NO. Nitrate assimilation genes were upregulated upon exposure to NO, and BCFHG1 appeared to be the main enzymatic system involved in the generation of the signal triggering their induction. Comparative expression analysis also showed the influence of NO on other cellular processes, such as mitochondrial respiration or primary and secondary metabolism, whose response could have been mediated by NmrA-like domain proteins. Full article
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10 pages, 1992 KiB  
Article
pH Distribution along Growing Fungal Hyphae at Microscale
by Bi-Jing Xiong, Claire E. Stanley, Christian Dusny, Dietmar Schlosser, Hauke Harms and Lukas Y. Wick
J. Fungi 2022, 8(6), 599; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8060599 - 03 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2375
Abstract
Creating unique microenvironments, hyphal surfaces and their surroundings allow for spatially distinct microbial interactions and functions at the microscale. Using a microfluidic system and pH-sensitive whole-cell bioreporters (Synechocystis sp. PCC6803) attached to hyphae, we spatially resolved the pH along surfaces of growing [...] Read more.
Creating unique microenvironments, hyphal surfaces and their surroundings allow for spatially distinct microbial interactions and functions at the microscale. Using a microfluidic system and pH-sensitive whole-cell bioreporters (Synechocystis sp. PCC6803) attached to hyphae, we spatially resolved the pH along surfaces of growing hyphae of the basidiomycete Coprinopsis cinerea. Time-lapse microscopy analysis of ratiometric fluorescence signals of >2400 individual bioreporters revealed an overall pH drop from 6.3 ± 0.4 (n = 2441) to 5.0 ± 0.3 (n = 2497) within 7 h after pH bioreporter loading to hyphal surfaces. The pH along hyphal surfaces varied significantly (p < 0.05), with pH at hyphal tips being on average ~0.8 pH units lower than at more mature hyphal parts near the entrance of the microfluidic observation chamber. Our data represent the first dynamic in vitro analysis of surface pH along growing hyphae at the micrometre scale. Such knowledge may improve our understanding of spatial, pH-dependent hyphal processes, such as the degradation of organic matter or mineral weathering. Full article
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14 pages, 5875 KiB  
Article
Identification and Functional Characterization of a Putative Alternative Oxidase (Aox) in Sporisorium reilianum f. sp. zeae
by Hector Mendoza, Caroline D. Culver, Emma A. Lamb, Luke A. Schroeder, Sunita Khanal, Christian Müller, Jan Schirawski and Michael H. Perlin
J. Fungi 2022, 8(2), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8020148 - 31 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3137
Abstract
The mitochondrial electron transport chain consists of the classical protein complexes (I–IV) that facilitate the flow of electrons and coupled oxidative phosphorylation to produce metabolic energy. The canonical route of electron transport may diverge by the presence of alternative components to the electron [...] Read more.
The mitochondrial electron transport chain consists of the classical protein complexes (I–IV) that facilitate the flow of electrons and coupled oxidative phosphorylation to produce metabolic energy. The canonical route of electron transport may diverge by the presence of alternative components to the electron transport chain. The following study comprises the bioinformatic identification and functional characterization of a putative alternative oxidase in the smut fungus Sporisorium reilianum f. sp. zeae. This alternative respiratory component has been previously identified in other eukaryotes and is essential for alternative respiration as a response to environmental and chemical stressors, as well as for developmental transitionaoxs during the life cycle of an organism. A growth inhibition assay, using specific mitochondrial inhibitors, functionally confirmed the presence of an antimycin-resistant/salicylhydroxamic acid (SHAM)-sensitive alternative oxidase in the respirasome of S. reilianum. Gene disruption experiments revealed that this enzyme is involved in the pathogenic stage of the fungus, with its absence effectively reducing overall disease incidence in infected maize plants. Furthermore, gene expression analysis revealed that alternative oxidase plays a prominent role in the teliospore developmental stage, in agreement with favoring alternative respiration during quiescent stages of an organism’s life cycle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smut Fungi 2.0)
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33 pages, 6209 KiB  
Article
Reappraisal of the Genus Exsudoporus (Boletaceae) Worldwide Based on Multi-Gene Phylogeny, Morphology and Biogeography, and Insights on Amoenoboletus
by Alona Yu. Biketova, Matteo Gelardi, Matthew E. Smith, Giampaolo Simonini, Rosanne A. Healy, Yuichi Taneyama, Gianrico Vasquez, Ádám Kovács, László G. Nagy, Solomon P. Wasser, Ursula Peintner, Eviatar Nevo, Britt A. Bunyard and Alfredo Vizzini
J. Fungi 2022, 8(2), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8020101 - 21 Jan 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 5932
Abstract
The boletoid genera Butyriboletus and Exsudoporus have recently been suggested by some researchers to constitute a single genus, and Exsudoporus was merged into Butyriboletus as a later synonym. However, no convincing arguments have yet provided significant evidence for this congeneric placement. In this [...] Read more.
The boletoid genera Butyriboletus and Exsudoporus have recently been suggested by some researchers to constitute a single genus, and Exsudoporus was merged into Butyriboletus as a later synonym. However, no convincing arguments have yet provided significant evidence for this congeneric placement. In this study, we analyze material from Exsudoporus species and closely related taxa to assess taxonomic and phylogenetic boundaries between these genera and to clarify species delimitation within Exsudoporus. Outcomes from a multilocus phylogenetic analysis (ITS, nrLSU, tef1-α and rpb2) clearly resolve Exsudoporus as a monophyletic, homogenous and independent genus that is sister to Butyriboletus. An accurate morphological description, comprehensive sampling, type studies, line drawings and a historical overview on the nomenclatural issues of the type species E. permagnificus are provided. Furthermore, this species is documented for the first time from Israel in association with Quercus calliprinos. The previously described North American species Exsudoporus frostii and E. floridanus are molecularly confirmed as representatives of Exsudoporus, and E. floridanus is epitypified. The eastern Asian species Leccinum rubrum is assigned here to Exsudoporus based on molecular evidence, and a new combination is proposed. Sequence data from the original material of the Japanese Boletus kermesinus were generated, and its conspecificity with L. rubrum is inferred as formerly presumed based on morphology. Four additional cryptic species from North and Central America previously misdetermined as either B. frostii or B. floridanus are phylogenetically placed but remain undescribed due to the paucity of available material. Boletus weberi (syn. B. pseudofrostii) and Xerocomus cf. mcrobbii cluster outside of Exsudoporus and are herein assigned to the recently described genus Amoenoboletus. Biogeographic distribution patterns are elucidated, and a dichotomous key to all known species of Exsudoporus worldwide is presented. Full article
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20 pages, 4411 KiB  
Article
Characterisation of Candida parapsilosis CYP51 as a Drug Target Using Saccharomyces cerevisiae as Host
by Yasmeen N. Ruma, Mikhail V. Keniya, Joel D. A. Tyndall and Brian C. Monk
J. Fungi 2022, 8(1), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8010069 - 10 Jan 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2481
Abstract
The fungal cytochrome P450 lanosterol 14α-demethylase (CYP51) is required for the biosynthesis of fungal-specific ergosterol and is the target of azole antifungal drugs. Despite proven success as a clinical target for azole antifungals, there is an urgent need to develop next-generation antifungals that [...] Read more.
The fungal cytochrome P450 lanosterol 14α-demethylase (CYP51) is required for the biosynthesis of fungal-specific ergosterol and is the target of azole antifungal drugs. Despite proven success as a clinical target for azole antifungals, there is an urgent need to develop next-generation antifungals that target CYP51 to overcome the resistance of pathogenic fungi to existing azole drugs, toxic adverse reactions and drug interactions due to human drug-metabolizing CYPs. Candida parapsilosis is a readily transmitted opportunistic fungal pathogen that causes candidiasis in health care environments. In this study, we have characterised wild type C. parapsilosis CYP51 and its clinically significant, resistance-causing point mutation Y132F by expressing these enzymes in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae host system. In some cases, the enzymes were co-expressed with their cognate NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase (CPR). Constitutive expression of CpCYP51 Y132F conferred a 10- to 12-fold resistance to fluconazole and voriconazole, reduced to ~6-fold resistance for the tetrazoles VT-1161 and VT-1129, but did not confer resistance to the long-tailed triazoles. Susceptibilities were unchanged in the case of CpCPR co-expression. Type II binding spectra showed tight triazole and tetrazole binding by affinity-purified recombinant CpCYP51. We report the X-ray crystal structure of ScCYP51 in complex with VT-1129 obtained at a resolution of 2.1 Å. Structural analysis of azole—enzyme interactions and functional studies of recombinant CYP51 from C. parapsilosis have improved understanding of their susceptibility to azole drugs and will help advance structure-directed antifungal discovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Manipulation of Fungal Model Organisms)
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23 pages, 6108 KiB  
Article
Uncovering Novel Plasma Membrane Carboxylate Transporters in the Yeast Cyberlindnera jadinii
by Maria Sousa-Silva, Pedro Soares, João Alves, Daniel Vieira, Margarida Casal and Isabel Soares-Silva
J. Fungi 2022, 8(1), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof8010051 - 05 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2596
Abstract
The yeast Cyberlindnera jadinii has great potential in the biotechnology industry due to its ability to produce a variety of compounds of interest, including carboxylic acids. In this work, we identified genes encoding carboxylate transporters from this yeast species. The functional characterization of [...] Read more.
The yeast Cyberlindnera jadinii has great potential in the biotechnology industry due to its ability to produce a variety of compounds of interest, including carboxylic acids. In this work, we identified genes encoding carboxylate transporters from this yeast species. The functional characterization of sixteen plasma membrane carboxylate transporters belonging to the AceTr, SHS, TDT, MCT, SSS, and DASS families was performed by heterologous expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The newly identified C. jadinii transporters present specificity for mono-, di-, and tricarboxylates. The transporters CjAto5, CjJen6, CjSlc5, and CjSlc13-1 display the broadest substrate specificity; CjAto2 accepts mono- and dicarboxylates; and CjAto1,3,4, CjJen1-5, CjSlc16, and CjSlc13-2 are specific for monocarboxylic acids. A detailed characterization of these transporters, including phylogenetic reconstruction, 3D structure prediction, and molecular docking analysis is presented here. The properties presented by these transporters make them interesting targets to be explored as organic acid exporters in microbial cell factories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungi Nutrient Transportation)
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18 pages, 2943 KiB  
Article
Engineering Aspergillus oryzae for the Heterologous Expression of a Bacterial Modular Polyketide Synthase
by Jin Feng, Maurice Hauser, Russell J. Cox and Elizabeth Skellam
J. Fungi 2021, 7(12), 1085; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7121085 - 17 Dec 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3934
Abstract
Microbial natural products have had phenomenal success in drug discovery and development yet form distinct classes based on the origin of their native producer. Methods that enable metabolic engineers to combine the most useful features of the different classes of natural products may [...] Read more.
Microbial natural products have had phenomenal success in drug discovery and development yet form distinct classes based on the origin of their native producer. Methods that enable metabolic engineers to combine the most useful features of the different classes of natural products may lead to molecules with enhanced biological activities. In this study, we modified the metabolism of the fungus Aspergillus oryzae to enable the synthesis of triketide lactone (TKL), the product of the modular polyketide synthase DEBS1-TE engineered from bacteria. We established (2S)-methylmalonyl-CoA biosynthesis via introducing a propionyl-CoA carboxylase complex (PCC); reassembled the 11.2 kb DEBS1-TE coding region from synthetic codon-optimized gene fragments using yeast recombination; introduced bacterial phosphopantetheinyltransferase SePptII; investigated propionyl-CoA synthesis and degradation pathways; and developed improved delivery of exogenous propionate. Depending on the conditions used titers of TKL ranged from <0.01–7.4 mg/L. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that A. oryzae can be used as an alternative host for the synthesis of polyketides from bacteria, even those that require toxic or non-native substrates. Our metabolically engineered A. oryzae may offer advantages over current heterologous platforms for producing valuable and complex natural products. Full article
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17 pages, 2492 KiB  
Article
Bile Acid Regulates the Colonization and Dissemination of Candida albicans from the Gastrointestinal Tract by Controlling Host Defense System and Microbiota
by Shankar Thangamani, Ross Monasky, Jung Keun Lee, Vijay Antharam, Harm HogenEsch, Tony R. Hazbun, Yan Jin, Haiwei Gu and Grace L. Guo
J. Fungi 2021, 7(12), 1030; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7121030 - 30 Nov 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3363
Abstract
Candida albicans (CA), a commensal and opportunistic eukaryotic organism, frequently inhabits the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and causes life-threatening infections. Antibiotic-induced gut dysbiosis is a major risk factor for increased CA colonization and dissemination from the GI tract. We identified a significant increase of [...] Read more.
Candida albicans (CA), a commensal and opportunistic eukaryotic organism, frequently inhabits the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and causes life-threatening infections. Antibiotic-induced gut dysbiosis is a major risk factor for increased CA colonization and dissemination from the GI tract. We identified a significant increase of taurocholic acid (TCA), a major bile acid in antibiotic-treated mice susceptible to CA infection. In vivo findings indicate that administration of TCA through drinking water is sufficient to induce colonization and dissemination of CA in wild-type and immunosuppressed mice. Treatment with TCA significantly reduced mRNA expression of immune genes ang4 and Cxcr3 in the colon. In addition, TCA significantly decreased the relative abundance of three culturable species of commensal bacteria, Turicibacter sanguinis, Lactobacillus johnsonii, and Clostridium celatum, in both cecal contents and mucosal scrapings from the colon. Taken together, our results indicate that TCA promotes fungal colonization and dissemination of CA from the GI tract by controlling the host defense system and intestinal microbiota that play a critical role in regulating CA in the intestine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Biology in Fungal Research)
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13 pages, 3145 KiB  
Article
Novel Pathogenic Mucorales Identified Using the Silkworm Infection Model
by Suresh Panthee, Hiroshi Hamamoto, Yayoi Nishiyama, Atmika Paudel and Kazuhisa Sekimizu
J. Fungi 2021, 7(11), 995; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7110995 - 22 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3430
Abstract
Mucormycosis, a rare but highly fatal infection, is caused by fungi of the order Mucorales. Due to their ubiquitous nature, reduced susceptibility to antifungals, acid tolerance, and ability to infect immunocompromised patients through rapid dissemination, these fungi have been frequently reported to infect [...] Read more.
Mucormycosis, a rare but highly fatal infection, is caused by fungi of the order Mucorales. Due to their ubiquitous nature, reduced susceptibility to antifungals, acid tolerance, and ability to infect immunocompromised patients through rapid dissemination, these fungi have been frequently reported to infect the COVID-19 patients. In order to develop strategies to overcome mucormycosis, it is essential to understand and identify novel Mucorales present in the environment. In this study, we report the identification of four novel pathogenic Mucorales using the silkworm (Bombyx mori) model. The strains’ phylogeny was analyzed using the genome sequence of the large subunit ribosomal ribonucleic acid (LSU rRNA) and the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region, where strains 1-3, 5-3, and S286-1101 claded with Mucor orantomantidis, and strain 827-14 claded with Backusella lamprospora. All the strains had a cold-sensitive phenotype with their inability to grow prominently at 4 °C. Mucor sp. 1-3 and 5-3 were characterized by their filamentous and yeast-like growth under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, respectively. The yeast colonies of Mucor sp. 5-3 had multipolar budding cells often observed with cleaved cell surfaces under a scanning electron microscope. We further found that these strains were able to kill immunocompromised mice suggesting their pathogenicity to mammals. Our study established an invertebrate model-based screening system to identify novel pathogenic Mucorales from the natural environment and provided a clue towards the rapid increase in COVID-19 related mucormycosis. Full article
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22 pages, 5289 KiB  
Article
Phylogenetic and Functional Diversity of Saprolegniales and Fungi Isolated from Temperate Lakes in Northeast Germany
by Hossein Masigol, Jason Nicholas Woodhouse, Pieter van West, Reza Mostowfizadeh-Ghalamfarsa, Keilor Rojas-Jimenez, Tobias Goldhammer, Seyed Akbar Khodaparast and Hans-Peter Grossart
J. Fungi 2021, 7(11), 968; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7110968 - 13 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2659
Abstract
The contribution of fungi to the degradation of plant litter and transformation of dissolved organic matter (humic substances, in particular) in freshwater ecosystems has received increasing attention recently. However, the role of Saprolegniales as one of the most common eukaryotic organisms is rarely [...] Read more.
The contribution of fungi to the degradation of plant litter and transformation of dissolved organic matter (humic substances, in particular) in freshwater ecosystems has received increasing attention recently. However, the role of Saprolegniales as one of the most common eukaryotic organisms is rarely studied. In this study, we isolated and phylogenetically placed 51 fungal and 62 Saprolegniales strains from 12 German lakes. We studied the cellulo-, lignino-, and chitinolytic activity of the strains using plate assays. Furthermore, we determined the capacity of 10 selected strains to utilize 95 different labile compounds, using Biolog FF MicroPlates™. Finally, the ability of three selected strains to utilize maltose and degrade/produce humic substances was measured. Cladosporium and Penicillium were amongst the most prevalent fungal strains, while Saprolegnia, Achlya, and Leptolegnia were the most frequent Saprolegniales strains. Although the isolated strains assigned to genera were phylogenetically similar, their enzymatic activity and physiological profiling were quite diverse. Our results indicate that Saprolegniales, in contrast to fungi, lack ligninolytic activity and are not involved in the production/transformation of humic substances. We hypothesize that Saprolegniales and fungi might have complementary roles in interacting with dissolved organic matter, which has ecological implications for carbon cycling in freshwater ecosystems. Full article
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16 pages, 2998 KiB  
Article
P-Type ATPase Apt1 of the Fungal Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans Is a Lipid Flippase of Broad Substrate Specificity
by Lyubomir Dimitrov Stanchev, Juliana Rizzo, Rebecca Peschel, Lilli A. Pazurek, Lasse Bredegaard, Sarina Veit, Sabine Laerbusch, Marcio L. Rodrigues, Rosa L. López-Marqués and Thomas Günther Pomorski
J. Fungi 2021, 7(10), 843; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7100843 - 08 Oct 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3327
Abstract
Lipid flippases of the P4-ATPase family are ATP-driven transporters that translocate lipids from the exoplasmic to the cytosolic leaflet of biological membranes. In the encapsulated fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, the P4-ATPase Apt1p is an important regulator of polysaccharide secretion and pathogenesis, but [...] Read more.
Lipid flippases of the P4-ATPase family are ATP-driven transporters that translocate lipids from the exoplasmic to the cytosolic leaflet of biological membranes. In the encapsulated fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, the P4-ATPase Apt1p is an important regulator of polysaccharide secretion and pathogenesis, but its biochemical characterization is lacking. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that Apt1p belongs to the subclade of P4A-ATPases characterized by the common requirement for a β-subunit. Using heterologous expression in S. cerevisiae, we demonstrate that Apt1p forms a heterodimeric complex with the C. neoformans Cdc50 protein. This association is required for both localization and activity of the transporter complex. Lipid flippase activity of the heterodimeric complex was assessed by complementation tests and uptake assays employing fluorescent lipids and revealed a broad substrate specificity, including several phospholipids, the alkylphospholipid miltefosine, and the glycolipids glucosyl- and galactosylceramide. Our results suggest that transbilayer lipid transport in C. neoformans is finely regulated to promote fungal virulence, which reinforces the potential of Apt1p as a target for antifungal drug development. Full article
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13 pages, 2330 KiB  
Article
Unveiling the Role Displayed by Penicillium digitatum PdMut3 Transcription Factor in Pathogen–Fruit Interaction
by Marta de Ramón-Carbonell and Paloma Sánchez-Torres
J. Fungi 2021, 7(10), 828; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7100828 - 03 Oct 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2008
Abstract
Zn2Cys6 transcription factors are unique to fungi and are involved in different regulatory functions. In this study, we have identified the Penicillium digitatumPdMut3 gene, which encodes a putative Zn (II) 2Cys6 DNA-binding protein. Elimination of PdMut3 in Pd1 strain [...] Read more.
Zn2Cys6 transcription factors are unique to fungi and are involved in different regulatory functions. In this study, we have identified the Penicillium digitatumPdMut3 gene, which encodes a putative Zn (II) 2Cys6 DNA-binding protein. Elimination of PdMut3 in Pd1 strain caused increased virulence during citrus infection. The transcription of the PdMut3 gene showed a higher expression rate during fungal growth and less transcription during fruit infection. Furthermore, the deletion of the gene in the wild-type isolate of P. digitatum did not produce any modification of the sensitivity to different fungicides, indicating that the gene is not associated with resistance to fungicides. In contrast, PdMut3 null mutants showed a reduction in growth in minimal media, which was associated with severe alterations in conidiophore development and morphological alterations of the hyphae. Mutants showed greater sensitivity to compounds that interfere with the cell wall and an invasive growth block. Thus, PdMut3 might have an indirect role in fungi virulence through metabolism and peroxisomes development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Control of Postharvest Pathogenic Penicillium)
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13 pages, 1834 KiB  
Case Report
Noninvasive Combined Diagnosis and Monitoring of Aspergillus and Pseudomonas Infections: Proof of Concept
by Radim Dobiáš, Anton Škríba, Tomáš Pluháček, Miloš Petřík, Andrea Palyzová, Marcela Káňová, Eva Čubová, Jiří Houšť, Jiří Novák, David A. Stevens, Goran Mitulovič, Eva Krejčí, Petr Hubáček and Vladimír Havlíček
J. Fungi 2021, 7(9), 730; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7090730 - 06 Sep 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2418
Abstract
In acutely ill patients, particularly in intensive care units or in mixed infections, time to a microbe-specific diagnosis is critical to a successful outcome of therapy. We report the application of evolving technologies involving mass spectrometry to diagnose and monitor a patient’s course. [...] Read more.
In acutely ill patients, particularly in intensive care units or in mixed infections, time to a microbe-specific diagnosis is critical to a successful outcome of therapy. We report the application of evolving technologies involving mass spectrometry to diagnose and monitor a patient’s course. As proof of this concept, we studied five patients and used two rat models of mono-infection and coinfection. We report the noninvasive combined monitoring of Aspergillus fumigatus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. The invasive coinfection was detected by monitoring the fungal triacetylfusarinine C and ferricrocin siderophore levels and the bacterial metabolites pyoverdin E, pyochelin, and 2-heptyl-4-quinolone, studied in the urine, endotracheal aspirate, or breath condensate. The coinfection was monitored by mass spectrometry followed by isotopic data filtering. In the rat infection model, detection indicated 100-fold more siderophores in urine compared to sera, indicating the diagnostic potential of urine sampling. The tools utilized in our studies can now be examined in large clinical series, where we could expect the accuracy and speed of diagnosis to be competitive with conventional methods and provide advantages in unraveling the complexities of mixed infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metallophores in Diagnosing Infectious Diseases)
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21 pages, 5135 KiB  
Article
Internally Symmetrical Stwintrons and Related Canonical Introns in Hypoxylaceae Species
by Erzsébet Fekete, Fruzsina Pénzes, Norbert Ág, Claudio Scazzocchio, Michel Flipphi and Levente Karaffa
J. Fungi 2021, 7(9), 710; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7090710 - 29 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1961
Abstract
Spliceosomal introns are pervasive in eukaryotes. Intron gains and losses have occurred throughout evolution, but the origin of new introns is unclear. Stwintrons are complex intervening sequences where one of the sequence elements (5′-donor, lariat branch point element or 3′-acceptor) necessary for excision [...] Read more.
Spliceosomal introns are pervasive in eukaryotes. Intron gains and losses have occurred throughout evolution, but the origin of new introns is unclear. Stwintrons are complex intervening sequences where one of the sequence elements (5′-donor, lariat branch point element or 3′-acceptor) necessary for excision of a U2 intron (external intron) is itself interrupted by a second (internal) U2 intron. In Hypoxylaceae, a family of endophytic fungi, we uncovered scores of donor-disrupted stwintrons with striking sequence similarity among themselves and also with canonical introns. Intron–exon structure comparisons suggest that these stwintrons have proliferated within diverging taxa but also give rise to proliferating canonical introns in some genomes. The proliferated (stw)introns have integrated seamlessly at novel gene positions. The recently proliferated (stw)introns appear to originate from a conserved ancestral stwintron characterised by terminal inverted repeats (45–55 nucleotides), a highly symmetrical structure that may allow the formation of a double-stranded intron RNA molecule. No short tandem duplications flank the putatively inserted intervening sequences, which excludes a DNA transposition-based mechanism of proliferation. It is tempting to suggest that this highly symmetrical structure may have a role in intron proliferation by (an)other mechanism(s). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Fungal Genomics, Genetics and Molecular Biology)
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16 pages, 8556 KiB  
Article
Development of Carbazole Derivatives Compounds against Candida albicans: Candidates to Prevent Hyphal Formation via the Ras1-MAPK Pathway
by Young-Kwang Park, Jisoo Shin, Hee-Yoon Lee, Hag-Dong Kim and Joon Kim
J. Fungi 2021, 7(9), 688; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7090688 - 25 Aug 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2361
Abstract
Morphogenesis contributes to the virulence of the opportunistic human fungal pathogen Candida albicans. Ras1-MAPK pathways play a critical role in the virulence of C. albicans by regulating cell growth, morphogenesis, and biofilm formation. Ume6 acts as a transcription factor, and Nrg1 is [...] Read more.
Morphogenesis contributes to the virulence of the opportunistic human fungal pathogen Candida albicans. Ras1-MAPK pathways play a critical role in the virulence of C. albicans by regulating cell growth, morphogenesis, and biofilm formation. Ume6 acts as a transcription factor, and Nrg1 is a transcriptional repressor for the expression of hyphal-specific genes in morphogenesis. Azoles or echinocandin drugs have been extensively prescribed for C. albicans infections, which has led to the development of drug-resistant strains. Therefore, it is necessary to develop new molecules to effectively treat fungal infections. Here, we showed that Molecule B and Molecule C, which contained a carbazole structure, attenuated the pathogenicity of C. albicans through inhibition of the Ras1/MAPK pathway. We found that Molecule B and Molecule C inhibit morphogenesis through repressing protein and RNA levels of Ras/MAPK-related genes, including UME6 and NRG1. Furthermore, we determined the antifungal effects of Molecule B and Molecule C in vivo using a candidiasis murine model. We anticipate our findings are that Molecule B and Molecule C, which inhibits the Ras1/MAPK pathway, are promising compounds for the development of new antifungal agents for the treatment of systemic candidiasis and possibly for other fungal diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives for Candidiasis)
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22 pages, 10857 KiB  
Article
Drought Influences Fungal Community Dynamics in the Grapevine Rhizosphere and Root Microbiome
by María Julia Carbone, Sandra Alaniz, Pedro Mondino, Matías Gelabert, Ales Eichmeier, Dorota Tekielska, Rebeca Bujanda and David Gramaje
J. Fungi 2021, 7(9), 686; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7090686 - 25 Aug 2021
Cited by 33 | Viewed by 4743
Abstract
Plant roots support complex microbial communities that can influence nutrition, plant growth, and health. In grapevine, little is known about the impact of abiotic stresses on the belowground microbiome. In this study, we examined the drought-induced shifts in fungal composition in the root [...] Read more.
Plant roots support complex microbial communities that can influence nutrition, plant growth, and health. In grapevine, little is known about the impact of abiotic stresses on the belowground microbiome. In this study, we examined the drought-induced shifts in fungal composition in the root endosphere, the rhizosphere and bulk soil by internal transcribed spacer (ITS) high-throughput amplicon sequencing (HTAS). We imposed three irrigation regimes (100%, 50%, and 25% of the field capacity) to one-year old grapevine rootstock plants cv. SO4 when plants had developed 2–3 roots. Root endosphere, rhizosphere, and bulk soil samples were collected 6- and 12-months post-plantation. Drought significantly modified the overall fungal composition of all three compartments, with the root endosphere compartment showing the greatest divergence from well-watered control (100%). The overall response of the fungal microbiota associated with black-foot disease (Dactylonectria and “Cylindrocarpon” genera) and the potential biocontrol agent Trichoderma to drought stress was consistent across compartments, namely that their relative abundances were significantly higher at 50–100% than at 25% irrigation regime. We identified a significant enrichment in several fungal genera such as the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Funneliformis during drought at 25% watering regime within the roots. Our results reveal that drought stress, in addition to its well-characterized effects on plant physiology, also results in the restructuring of grapevine root microbial communities, and suggest the possibility that members of the altered grapevine microbiota might contribute to plant survival under extreme environmental conditions. Full article
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21 pages, 3529 KiB  
Article
mRNA Inventory of Extracellular Vesicles from Ustilago maydis
by Seomun Kwon, Oliver Rupp, Andreas Brachmann, Christopher Frederik Blum, Anton Kraege, Alexander Goesmann and Michael Feldbrügge
J. Fungi 2021, 7(7), 562; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7070562 - 14 Jul 2021
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 4296
Abstract
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) can transfer diverse RNA cargo for intercellular communication. EV-associated RNAs have been found in diverse fungi and were proposed to be relevant for pathogenesis in animal hosts. In plant-pathogen interactions, small RNAs are exchanged in a cross-kingdom RNAi warfare and [...] Read more.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) can transfer diverse RNA cargo for intercellular communication. EV-associated RNAs have been found in diverse fungi and were proposed to be relevant for pathogenesis in animal hosts. In plant-pathogen interactions, small RNAs are exchanged in a cross-kingdom RNAi warfare and EVs were considered to be a delivery mechanism. To extend the search for EV-associated molecules involved in plant-pathogen communication, we have characterised the repertoire of EV-associated mRNAs secreted by the maize smut pathogen, Ustilago maydis. For this initial survey, we examined EV-enriched fractions from axenic filamentous cultures that mimic infectious hyphae. EV-associated RNAs were resistant to degradation by RNases and the presence of intact mRNAs was evident. The set of mRNAs enriched inside EVs relative to the fungal cells are functionally distinct from those that are depleted from EVs. mRNAs encoding metabolic enzymes are particularly enriched. Intriguingly, mRNAs of some known effectors and other proteins linked to virulence were also found in EVs. Furthermore, several mRNAs enriched in EVs are also upregulated during infection, suggesting that EV-associated mRNAs may participate in plant-pathogen interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Signal Transductions in Fungi)
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17 pages, 8503 KiB  
Article
Development of a Simple and Robust Whole Blood Assay with Dual Co-Stimulation to Quantify the Release of T-Cellular Signature Cytokines in Response to Aspergillus fumigatus Antigens
by Chris D. Lauruschkat, Lukas Page, P. Lewis White, Sonja Etter, Helen E. Davies, Jamie Duckers, Frank Ebel, Elisabeth Schnack, Matthijs Backx, Mariola Dragan, Nicolas Schlegel, Olaf Kniemeyer, Axel A. Brakhage, Hermann Einsele, Juergen Loeffler and Sebastian Wurster
J. Fungi 2021, 7(6), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7060462 - 08 Jun 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3318
Abstract
Deeper understanding of mold-induced cytokine signatures could promote advances in the diagnosis and treatment of invasive mycoses and mold-associated hypersensitivity syndromes. Currently, most T-cellular immunoassays in medical mycology require the isolation of mononuclear cells and have limited robustness and practicability, hampering their broader [...] Read more.
Deeper understanding of mold-induced cytokine signatures could promote advances in the diagnosis and treatment of invasive mycoses and mold-associated hypersensitivity syndromes. Currently, most T-cellular immunoassays in medical mycology require the isolation of mononuclear cells and have limited robustness and practicability, hampering their broader applicability in clinical practice. Therefore, we developed a simple, cost-efficient whole blood (WB) assay with dual α-CD28 and α-CD49d co-stimulation to quantify cytokine secretion in response to Aspergillus fumigatus antigens. Dual co-stimulation strongly enhanced A. fumigatus-induced release of T-cellular signature cytokines detectable by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or a multiplex cytokine assay. Furthermore, T-cell-dependent activation and cytokine response of innate immune cells was captured by the assay. The protocol consistently showed little technical variation and high robustness to pre-analytic delays of up to 8 h. Stimulation with an A. fumigatus lysate elicited at least 7-fold greater median concentrations of key T-helper cell signature cytokines, including IL-17 and the type 2 T-helper cell cytokines IL-4 and IL-5 in WB samples from patients with Aspergillus-associated lung pathologies versus patients with non-mold-related lung diseases, suggesting high discriminatory power of the assay. These results position WB-ELISA with dual co-stimulation as a simple, accurate, and robust immunoassay for translational applications, encouraging further evaluation as a platform to monitor host immunity to opportunistic pathogens. Full article
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31 pages, 6423 KiB  
Article
A Multiomic Approach to Understand How Pleurotus eryngii Transforms Non-Woody Lignocellulosic Material
by Ander Peña, Rashid Babiker, Delphine Chaduli, Anna Lipzen, Mei Wang, Mansi Chovatia, Jorge Rencoret, Gisela Marques, María Isabel Sánchez-Ruiz, Teeratas Kijpornyongpan, Davinia Salvachúa, Susana Camarero, Vivian Ng, Ana Gutiérrez, Igor V. Grigoriev, Marie-Noëlle Rosso, Angel T. Martínez and Francisco J. Ruiz-Dueñas
J. Fungi 2021, 7(6), 426; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7060426 - 28 May 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4369
Abstract
Pleurotus eryngii is a grassland-inhabiting fungus of biotechnological interest due to its ability to colonize non-woody lignocellulosic material. Genomic, transcriptomic, exoproteomic, and metabolomic analyses were combined to explain the enzymatic aspects underlaying wheat–straw transformation. Up-regulated and constitutive glycoside–hydrolases, polysaccharide–lyases, and carbohydrate–esterases active on [...] Read more.
Pleurotus eryngii is a grassland-inhabiting fungus of biotechnological interest due to its ability to colonize non-woody lignocellulosic material. Genomic, transcriptomic, exoproteomic, and metabolomic analyses were combined to explain the enzymatic aspects underlaying wheat–straw transformation. Up-regulated and constitutive glycoside–hydrolases, polysaccharide–lyases, and carbohydrate–esterases active on polysaccharides, laccases active on lignin, and a surprisingly high amount of constitutive/inducible aryl–alcohol oxidases (AAOs) constituted the suite of extracellular enzymes at early fungal growth. Higher enzyme diversity and abundance characterized the longer-term growth, with an array of oxidoreductases involved in depolymerization of both cellulose and lignin, which were often up-regulated since initial growth. These oxidative enzymes included lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs) acting on crystalline polysaccharides, cellobiose dehydrogenase involved in LPMO activation, and ligninolytic peroxidases (mainly manganese-oxidizing peroxidases), together with highly abundant H2O2-producing AAOs. Interestingly, some of the most relevant enzymes acting on polysaccharides were appended to a cellulose-binding module. This is potentially related to the non-woody habitat of P. eryngii (in contrast to the wood habitat of many basidiomycetes). Additionally, insights into the intracellular catabolism of aromatic compounds, which is a neglected area of study in lignin degradation by basidiomycetes, were also provided. The multiomic approach reveals that although non-woody decay does not result in dramatic modifications, as revealed by detailed 2D-NMR and other analyses, it implies activation of the complete set of hydrolytic and oxidative enzymes characterizing lignocellulose-decaying basidiomycetes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploiting Fungal Solutions for Today's Challenges)
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24 pages, 9895 KiB  
Article
Stress-Activated Protein Kinase Signalling Regulates Mycoparasitic Hyphal-Hyphal Interactions in Trichoderma atroviride
by Dubraska Moreno-Ruiz, Linda Salzmann, Mark D. Fricker, Susanne Zeilinger and Alexander Lichius
J. Fungi 2021, 7(5), 365; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7050365 - 06 May 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3927
Abstract
Trichoderma atroviride is a mycoparasitic fungus used as biological control agent against fungal plant pathogens. The recognition and appropriate morphogenetic responses to prey-derived signals are essential for successful mycoparasitism. We established microcolony confrontation assays using T. atroviride strains expressing cell division cycle 42 [...] Read more.
Trichoderma atroviride is a mycoparasitic fungus used as biological control agent against fungal plant pathogens. The recognition and appropriate morphogenetic responses to prey-derived signals are essential for successful mycoparasitism. We established microcolony confrontation assays using T. atroviride strains expressing cell division cycle 42 (Cdc42) and Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate 1 (Rac1) interactive binding (CRIB) reporters to analyse morphogenetic changes and the dynamic displacement of localized GTPase activity during polarized tip growth. Microscopic analyses showed that Trichoderma experiences significant polarity stress when approaching its fungal preys. The perception of prey-derived signals is integrated via the guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling network, and deletion of the MAP kinases Trichoderma MAPK 1 (Tmk1) and Tmk3 affected T. atroviride tip polarization, chemotropic growth, and contact-induced morphogenesis so severely that the establishment of mycoparasitism was highly inefficient to impossible. The responses varied depending on the prey species and the interaction stage, reflecting the high selectivity of the signalling process. Our data suggest that Tmk3 affects the polarity-stress adaptation process especially during the pre-contact phase, whereas Tmk1 regulates contact-induced morphogenesis at the early-contact phase. Neither Tmk1 nor Tmk3 loss-of-function could be fully compensated within the GTPase/MAPK signalling network underscoring the crucial importance of a sensitive polarized tip growth apparatus for successful mycoparasitism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Signal Transductions in Fungi)
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23 pages, 2831 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Diversity of Fungal DyPs in Mangrove Soils to Produce and Characterize Novel Biocatalysts
by Amal Ben Ayed, Geoffroy Saint-Genis, Laurent Vallon, Dolores Linde, Annick Turbé-Doan, Mireille Haon, Marianne Daou, Emmanuel Bertrand, Craig B. Faulds, Giuliano Sciara, Martino Adamo, Roland Marmeisse, Sophie Comtet-Marre, Pierre Peyret, Danis Abrouk, Francisco J. Ruiz-Dueñas, Cyril Marchand, Mylène Hugoni, Patricia Luis, Tahar Mechichi and Eric Recordadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
J. Fungi 2021, 7(5), 321; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7050321 - 21 Apr 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3531
Abstract
The functional diversity of the New Caledonian mangrove sediments was examined, observing the distribution of fungal dye-decolorizing peroxidases (DyPs), together with the complete biochemical characterization of the main DyP. Using a functional metabarcoding approach, the diversity of expressed genes encoding fungal DyPs was [...] Read more.
The functional diversity of the New Caledonian mangrove sediments was examined, observing the distribution of fungal dye-decolorizing peroxidases (DyPs), together with the complete biochemical characterization of the main DyP. Using a functional metabarcoding approach, the diversity of expressed genes encoding fungal DyPs was investigated in surface and deeper sediments, collected beneath either Avicennia marina or Rhizophora stylosa trees, during either the wet or the dry seasons. The highest DyP diversity was observed in surface sediments beneath the R. stylosa area during the wet season, and one particular operational functional unit (OFU1) was detected as the most abundant DyP isoform. This OFU was found in all sediment samples, representing 51–100% of the total DyP-encoding sequences in 70% of the samples. The complete cDNA sequence corresponding to this abundant DyP (OFU 1) was retrieved by gene capture, cloned, and heterologously expressed in Pichia pastoris. The recombinant enzyme, called DyP1, was purified and characterized, leading to the description of its physical–chemical properties, its ability to oxidize diverse phenolic substrates, and its potential to decolorize textile dyes; DyP1 was more active at low pH, though moderately stable over a wide pH range. The enzyme was very stable at temperatures up to 50 °C, retaining 60% activity after 180 min incubation. Its ability to decolorize industrial dyes was also tested on Reactive Blue 19, Acid Black, Disperse Blue 79, and Reactive Black 5. The effect of hydrogen peroxide and sea salt on DyP1 activity was studied and compared to what is reported for previously characterized enzymes from terrestrial and marine-derived fungi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploiting Fungal Solutions for Today's Challenges)
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18 pages, 3439 KiB  
Article
Terpenoid Biosynthesis Dominates among Secondary Metabolite Clusters in Mucoromycotina Genomes
by Grzegorz Koczyk, Julia Pawłowska and Anna Muszewska
J. Fungi 2021, 7(4), 285; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7040285 - 09 Apr 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3289
Abstract
Early-diverging fungi harbour unprecedented diversity in terms of living forms, biological traits and genome architecture. Before the sequencing era, non-Dikarya fungi were considered unable to produce secondary metabolites (SM); however, this perspective is changing. The main classes of secondary metabolites in fungi include [...] Read more.
Early-diverging fungi harbour unprecedented diversity in terms of living forms, biological traits and genome architecture. Before the sequencing era, non-Dikarya fungi were considered unable to produce secondary metabolites (SM); however, this perspective is changing. The main classes of secondary metabolites in fungi include polyketides, nonribosomal peptides, terpenoids and siderophores that serve different biological roles, including iron chelation and plant growth promotion. The same classes of SM are reported for representatives of early-diverging fungal lineages. Encouraged by the advancement in the field, we carried out a systematic survey of SM in Mucoromycotina and corroborated the presence of various SM clusters (SMCs) within the phylum. Among the core findings, considerable representation of terpene and nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS)-like candidate SMCs was found. Terpene clusters with diverse domain composition and potentially highly variable products dominated the landscape of candidate SMCs. A uniform low-copy distribution of siderophore clusters was observed among most assemblies. Mortierellomycotina are highlighted as the most potent SMC producers among the Mucoromycota and as a source of novel peptide products. SMC identification is dependent on gene model quality and can be successfully performed on a batch scale with genomes of different quality and completeness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Fungal Genomics, Genetics and Molecular Biology)
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9 pages, 862 KiB  
Article
Validation of the SavvyCheckVaginal Yeast Test for Screening Pregnant Women for Vulvovaginal Candidosis: A Prospective, Cross-Sectional Study
by Philipp Foessleitner, Herbert Kiss, Julia Deinsberger, Julia Ott, Lorenz Zierhut and Alex Farr
J. Fungi 2021, 7(3), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7030233 - 20 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2689
Abstract
Pregnant women have an increased risk of vulvovaginal candidosis. Recurrent candidosis is under debate as a contributor to preterm birth, and vertical transmission may cause diaper dermatitis and oral thrush in the newborn. Apart from cultural methods, the gold standard for diagnosing candidosis [...] Read more.
Pregnant women have an increased risk of vulvovaginal candidosis. Recurrent candidosis is under debate as a contributor to preterm birth, and vertical transmission may cause diaper dermatitis and oral thrush in the newborn. Apart from cultural methods, the gold standard for diagnosing candidosis is Gram staining, which is time-consuming and requires laboratory facilities. The objective of this prospective study was to validate a point-of-care vaginal yeast detection assay (SavvyCheckVaginal Yeast Test) and to evaluate it in asymptomatic pregnant women. We enrolled 200 participants, 100 of whom had vulvovaginal candidosis according to Gram stain (study group) and 100 were healthy pregnant controls (control group). Of these, 22 participants (11%) had invalid test results. The point-of-care test of the remaining 85 and 93 study participants in the study and control groups, respectively, showed a sensitivity of 94.1%, specificity of 98.9%, positive predictive value of 90.3%, and negative predictive value of 99.4% when compared with Gram stain. In conclusion, we found a high correlation between the SavvyCheckVaginal Yeast Test and Gram-stained smears during pregnancy. This suggests a potential role of this point-of-care test as a screening tool for asymptomatic pregnant women in early gestation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology, Diagnosis of Fungal Infections)
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12 pages, 7023 KiB  
Article
Epidemiological Correlation of Pulmonary Aspergillus Infections with Ambient Pollutions and Influenza A (H1N1) in Southern Taiwan
by Jien-Wei Liu, Yee-Huang Ku, Chien-Ming Chao, Hsuan-Fu Ou, Chung-Han Ho, Khee-Siang Chan and Wen-Liang Yu
J. Fungi 2021, 7(3), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7030227 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2493
Abstract
An increase in fungal spores in ambient air is reported during a spike in particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) aerosols generated during dust or smog events. However, little is known about the impact of ambient bioaerosols on fungal infections in [...] Read more.
An increase in fungal spores in ambient air is reported during a spike in particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) aerosols generated during dust or smog events. However, little is known about the impact of ambient bioaerosols on fungal infections in humans. To identify the correlation between the incidence of pulmonary aspergillosis and PM-associated bioaerosols (PM2.5 and PM10), we retrospectively analyzed data between 2015 and 2018 (first stage) and prospectively analyzed data in 2019 (second stage). Patient data were collected from patients in three medical institutions in Tainan, a city with a population of 1.88 million, located in southern Taiwan. PM data were obtained from the Taiwan Air Quality Monitoring Network. Overall, 544 non-repeated aspergillosis patients (first stage, n = 340; second stage, n = 204) were identified and enrolled for analysis. The trend of aspergillosis significantly increased from 2015 to 2019. Influenza A (H1N1) and ambient PMs (PM2.5 and PM10) levels had significant effects on aspergillosis from 2015 to 2018. However, ambient PMs and influenza A (H1N1) in Tainan were correlated with the occurrence of aspergillosis in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Overall (2015–2019), aspergillosis was significantly correlated with influenza (p = 0.002), influenza A (H1N1) (p < 0.001), and PM2.5 (p = 0.040) in Tainan City. Using a stepwise regression model, influenza A (H1N1) (p < 0.0001) and Tainan PM10 (p = 0.016) could significantly predict the occurrence of aspergillosis in Tainan. PM-related bioaerosols and influenza A (H1N1) contribute to the incidence of pulmonary aspergillosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental and Ecological Interactions of Fungi)
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12 pages, 884 KiB  
Article
Inocybe brijunica sp. nov., a New Ectomycorrhizal Fungus from Mediterranean Croatia Revealed by Morphology and Multilocus Phylogenetic Analysis
by Armin Mešić, Danny Haelewaters, Zdenko Tkalčec, Jingyu Liu, Ivana Kušan, M. Catherine Aime and Ana Pošta
J. Fungi 2021, 7(3), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7030199 - 10 Mar 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3488
Abstract
A new ectomycorrhizal species was discovered during the first survey of fungal diversity at Brijuni National Park (Croatia), which consists of 14 islands and islets. The National Park is located in the Mediterranean Biogeographical Region, a prominent climate change hot-spot. Inocybe brijunica sp. [...] Read more.
A new ectomycorrhizal species was discovered during the first survey of fungal diversity at Brijuni National Park (Croatia), which consists of 14 islands and islets. The National Park is located in the Mediterranean Biogeographical Region, a prominent climate change hot-spot. Inocybe brijunica sp. nov., from sect. Hysterices (Agaricales, Inocybaceae), is described based on morphology and multilocus phylogenetic data. The holotype collection was found at the edge between grassland and Quercus ilex forest with a few planted Pinus pinea trees, on Veli Brijun Island, the largest island of the archipelago. It is easily recognized by a conspicuous orange to orange–red–brown membranaceous surface layer located at or just above the basal part of the stipe. Other distinctive features of I. brijunica are the medium brown, radially fibrillose to rimose pileus; pale to medium brown stipe with fugacious cortina; relatively small, amygdaliform to phaseoliform, and smooth basidiospores, measuring ca. 6.5–9 × 4–5.5 µm; thick-walled, utriform, lageniform or fusiform pleurocystidia (lamprocystidia) with crystals and mostly not yellowing in alkaline solutions; cheilocystidia of two types (lamprocystidia and leptocystidia); and the presence of abundant caulocystidia only in the upper 2–3 mm of the stipe. Phylogenetic reconstruction of a concatenated dataset of the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS), the nuclear 28S rRNA gene (nrLSU), and the second largest subunit of RNA polymerase II (rpb2) resolved I. brijunica and I. glabripes as sister species. Full article
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19 pages, 6469 KiB  
Article
In Vitro and In Vivo Anti-Candida Activity and Structural Analysis of Killer Peptide (KP)-Derivatives
by Tecla Ciociola, Thelma A. Pertinhez, Tiziano De Simone, Walter Magliani, Elena Ferrari, Silvana Belletti, Tiziana D’Adda, Stefania Conti and Laura Giovati
J. Fungi 2021, 7(2), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7020129 - 10 Feb 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2878
Abstract
The previously described decapeptide AKVTMTCSAS (killer peptide, KP), derived from the variable region of a recombinant yeast killer toxin-like anti-idiotypic antibody, proved to exert a variety of antimicrobial, antiviral, and immunomodulatory activities. It also showed a peculiar self-assembly ability, likely responsible for the [...] Read more.
The previously described decapeptide AKVTMTCSAS (killer peptide, KP), derived from the variable region of a recombinant yeast killer toxin-like anti-idiotypic antibody, proved to exert a variety of antimicrobial, antiviral, and immunomodulatory activities. It also showed a peculiar self-assembly ability, likely responsible for the therapeutic effect in animal models of systemic and mucosal candidiasis. The present study analyzed the biological and structural properties of peptides derived from KP by substitution or deletion of the first residue, leaving unchanged the remaining amino acids. The investigated peptides proved to exert differential in vitro and/or in vivo anti-Candida activity without showing toxic effects on mammalian cells. The change of the first residue in KP amino acidic sequence affected the conformation of the resulting peptides in solution, as assessed by circular dichroism spectroscopy. KP-derivatives, except one, were able to induce apoptosis in yeast cells, like KP itself. ROS production and changes in mitochondrial transmembrane potential were also observed. Confocal and transmission electron microscopy studies allowed to establish that selected peptides could penetrate within C. albicans cells and cause gross morphological alterations. Overall, the physical and chemical properties of the first residue were found to be important for peptide conformation, candidacidal activity and possible mechanism of action. Small antimicrobial peptides could be exploited for the development of a new generation of antifungal drugs, given their relative low cost and ease of production as well as the possibility of devising novel delivery systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antifungal Peptides 2020)
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15 pages, 3300 KiB  
Article
In Vitro Characterization of Twenty-One Antifungal Combinations against Echinocandin-Resistant and -Susceptible Candida glabrata
by Hazim O. Khalifa, Hidetaka Majima, Akira Watanabe and Katsuhiko Kamei
J. Fungi 2021, 7(2), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7020108 - 02 Feb 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3263
Abstract
This study was designed to analyze the interaction of 21 antifungal combinations consisting of seven major antifungal agents against 11 echinocandin- susceptible and six-resistant C. glabrata isolates. The combinations were divided into five major groups and were evaluated by checkerboard, disc diffusion, and [...] Read more.
This study was designed to analyze the interaction of 21 antifungal combinations consisting of seven major antifungal agents against 11 echinocandin- susceptible and six-resistant C. glabrata isolates. The combinations were divided into five major groups and were evaluated by checkerboard, disc diffusion, and time-killing assays. Synergy based on the fractional inhibitory concentration index of ≤0.50 was observed in 17.65–29.41% of the cases for caspofungin combinations with azoles or amphotericin B. Amphotericin B combination with azoles induced synergistic interaction in a range of 11.76–29.41%. Azole combinations and 5-flucytosine combinations with azoles or amphotericin B did not show synergistic interactions. None of the 21 combinations showed antagonistic interactions. Interestingly, 90% of the detected synergism was among the echinocandin-resistant isolates. Disk diffusion assays showed that the inhibition zones produced by antifungal combinations were equal to or greater than those produced by single drugs. The time-killing assay showed the synergistic action of caspofungin combination with fluconazole, voriconazole, and posaconazole, and the amphotericin B-5-flucytosine combination. Furthermore, for the first time, this assay confirmed the fungicidal activity of caspofungin-voriconazole and amphotericin B-5-flucytosine combinations. The combination interactions ranged from synergism to indifference and, most importantly, no antagonism was reported and most of the synergistic action was among echinocandin-resistant isolates. Full article
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25 pages, 5933 KiB  
Article
The Identification of Genetic Determinants of Methanol Tolerance in Yeast Suggests Differences in Methanol and Ethanol Toxicity Mechanisms and Candidates for Improved Methanol Tolerance Engineering
by Marta N. Mota, Luís C. Martins and Isabel Sá-Correia
J. Fungi 2021, 7(2), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7020090 - 27 Jan 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3729
Abstract
Methanol is a promising feedstock for metabolically competent yeast strains-based biorefineries. However, methanol toxicity can limit the productivity of these bioprocesses. Therefore, the identification of genes whose expression is required for maximum methanol tolerance is important for mechanistic insights and rational genomic manipulation [...] Read more.
Methanol is a promising feedstock for metabolically competent yeast strains-based biorefineries. However, methanol toxicity can limit the productivity of these bioprocesses. Therefore, the identification of genes whose expression is required for maximum methanol tolerance is important for mechanistic insights and rational genomic manipulation to obtain more robust methylotrophic yeast strains. The present chemogenomic analysis was performed with this objective based on the screening of the Euroscarf Saccharomyces cerevisiae haploid deletion mutant collection to search for susceptibility phenotypes in YPD medium supplemented with 8% (v/v) methanol, at 35 °C, compared with an equivalent ethanol concentration (5.5% (v/v)). Around 400 methanol tolerance determinants were identified, 81 showing a marked phenotype. The clustering of the identified tolerance genes indicates an enrichment of functional categories in the methanol dataset not enriched in the ethanol dataset, such as chromatin remodeling, DNA repair and fatty acid biosynthesis. Several genes involved in DNA repair (eight RAD genes), identified as specific for methanol toxicity, were previously reported as tolerance determinants for formaldehyde, a methanol detoxification pathway intermediate. This study provides new valuable information on genes and potential regulatory networks involved in overcoming methanol toxicity. This knowledge is an important starting point for the improvement of methanol tolerance in yeasts capable of catabolizing and copying with methanol concentrations present in promising bioeconomy feedstocks, including industrial residues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Yeast Biorefineries)
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16 pages, 2533 KiB  
Article
Preterm Infants Harbour a Rapidly Changing Mycobiota That Includes Candida Pathobionts
by Stephen A. James, Sarah Phillips, Andrea Telatin, David Baker, Rebecca Ansorge, Paul Clarke, Lindsay J. Hall and Simon R. Carding
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 273; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040273 - 09 Nov 2020
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 3995
Abstract
Fungi and the mycobiome are a fundamental part of the human microbiome that contributes to human health and development. Despite this, relatively little is known about the mycobiome of the preterm infant gut. Here, we have characterised faecal fungal communities present in 11 [...] Read more.
Fungi and the mycobiome are a fundamental part of the human microbiome that contributes to human health and development. Despite this, relatively little is known about the mycobiome of the preterm infant gut. Here, we have characterised faecal fungal communities present in 11 premature infants born with differing degrees of prematurity and mapped how the mycobiome develops during early infancy. Using an ITS1 sequencing-based approach, the preterm infant gut mycobiome was found to be often dominated by a single species, typically a yeast. Candida was the most abundant genus, with the pathobionts C.albicans and C.parapsilosis highly prevalent and persistent in these infants. Gestational maturity at birth affected the distribution and abundance of these Candida, with hospital-associated C.parapsilosis more prevalent and abundant in infants born at less than 31 weeks. Fungal diversity was lowest at 6 months, but increased with age and change of diet, with food-associated Saccharomycescerevisiae most abundant in infants post weaning. This study provides a first insight into the fungal communities present within the preterm infant gut, identifying distinctive features including the prominence of pathobiont species, and the influence age and environmental factors play in shaping the development of the mycobiome. Full article
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