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      Label-free Chemical Imaging of Fungal Spore Walls by Raman Microscopy and Multivariate Curve Resolution Analysis

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          Abstract

          Fungal cell walls are medically important since they represent a drug target site for antifungal medication. So far there is no method to directly visualize structurally similar cell wall components such as α-glucan, β-glucan and mannan with high specificity, especially in a label-free manner. In this study, we have developed a Raman spectroscopy based molecular imaging method and combined multivariate curve resolution analysis to enable detection and visualization of multiple polysaccharide components simultaneously at the single cell level. Our results show that vegetative cell and ascus walls are made up of both α- and β-glucans while spore wall is exclusively made of α-glucan. Co-localization studies reveal the absence of mannans in ascus wall but are distributed primarily in spores. Such detailed picture is believed to further enhance our understanding of the dynamic spore wall architecture, eventually leading to advancements in drug discovery and development in the near future.

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          Most cited references27

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          The cell wall: a carbohydrate armour for the fungal cell.

          The cell wall is composed of a polysaccharide-based three-dimensional network. Considered for a long time as an inert exoskeleton, the cell wall is now seen as a dynamic structure that is continuously changing as a result of the modification of culture conditions and environmental stresses. Although the cell wall composition varies among fungal species, chemogenomic comparative analysis have led to a better understanding of the genes and mechanisms involved in the construction of the common central core composed of branched beta1,3 glucan-chitin. Because of its essential biological role, unique biochemistry and structural organization and the absence in mammalian cells of most of its constitutive components, the cell wall is an attractive target for the development of new antifungal agents. Genomic as well as drug studies have shown that the death of the fungus can result from inhibition of cell wall polysaccharide synthases. To date, only beta1,3 glucan synthase inhibitors have been launched clinically and many more targets remain to be explored.
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            Spores as infectious propagules of Cryptococcus neoformans.

            Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii are closely related pathogenic fungi that cause pneumonia and meningitis in both immunocompromised and immunocompetent hosts and are a significant global infectious disease risk. Both species are found in the environment and are acquired via inhalation, leading to an initial pulmonary infection. The infectious propagule is unknown but is hypothesized to be small desiccated yeast cells or spores produced by sexual reproduction (opposite- or same-sex mating). Here we characterize the morphology, germination properties, and virulence of spores. A comparative morphological analysis of hyphae and spores produced by opposite-sex mating, same-sex mating, and self-fertile diploid strains was conducted by scanning electron microscopy, yielding insight into hyphal/basidial morphology and spore size, structure, and surface properties. Spores isolated by microdissection were found to readily germinate even on water agarose medium. Thus, nutritional signals do not appear to be required to stimulate spore germination, and as-yet-unknown environmental factors may normally constrain germination in nature. As few as 500 CFU of a spore-enriched infectious inoculum (approximately 95% spores) of serotype A C. neoformans var. grubii were fully virulent (100% lethal infection) in both a murine inhalation virulence model and the invertebrate model host Galleria mellonella. In contrast to a previous report on C. neoformans var. neoformans, spores of C. neoformans var. grubii were not more infectious than yeast cells. Molecular analysis of isolates recovered from tissues of infected mice (lung, spleen, and brain) provides evidence for infection and dissemination by recombinant spore products. These studies provide a detailed morphological and physiological analysis of the spore and document that spores can serve as infectious propagules.
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              High diversity of fungi in air particulate matter.

              Fungal spores can account for large proportions of air particulate matter, and they may potentially influence the hydrological cycle and climate as nuclei for water droplets and ice crystals in clouds, fog, and precipitation. Moreover, some fungi are major pathogens and allergens. The diversity of airborne fungi is, however, not well-known. By DNA analysis we found pronounced differences in the relative abundance and seasonal cycles of various groups of fungi in coarse and fine particulate matter, with more plant pathogens in the coarse fraction and more human pathogens and allergens in the respirable fine particle fraction (<3 microm). Moreover, the ratio of Basidiomycota to Ascomycota was found to be much higher than previously assumed, which might also apply to the biosphere.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group
                2045-2322
                09 June 2016
                2016
                : 6
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Raman Center for Medical and Biological Applications, Shimane University , Matsue 690-8504, Japan
                [2 ]Faculty of Life and Environmental Science, Shimane University , Matsue 690-8504, Japan
                [3 ]Consolidated Research Institute for Advanced Science and Medical Care, Waseda University , Tokyo 162-0041, Japan
                [4 ]Institute of Molecular Science and Department of Applied Chemistry, National Chiao Tung University , Hsinchu 30010, Taiwan
                Author notes
                Article
                srep27789
                10.1038/srep27789
                4899791
                27278218
                71ef01b8-ff5c-4a68-b61d-f6b6e0965cd1
                Copyright © 2016, Macmillan Publishers Limited

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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