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      Biodiversity of the genus Cladophialophora


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          Cladophialophora is a genus of black yeast-like fungi comprising a number of clinically highly significant species in addition to environmental taxa. The genus has previously been characterized by branched chains of ellipsoidal to fusiform conidia. However, this character was shown to have evolved several times independently in the order Chaetothyriales. On the basis of a multigene phylogeny (nucLSU, nucSSU, RPB1), most of the species of Cladophialophora (including its generic type C. carrionii ) belong to a monophyletic group comprising two main clades ( carrionii- and bantiana-clades). The genus includes species causing chromoblastomycosis and other skin infections, as well as disseminated and cerebral infections, often in immunocompetent individuals. In the present study, multilocus phylogenetic analyses were combined to a morphological study to characterize phenetically similar Cladophialophora strains. Sequences of the ITS region, partial Translation Elongation Factor 1-α and β-Tubulin genes were analysed for a set of 48 strains. Four novel species were discovered, originating from soft drinks, alkylbenzene-polluted soil, and infected patients. Membership of the both carrionii and bantiana clades might be indicative of potential virulence to humans.

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          Phylogenetic species recognition and species concepts in fungi.

          The operational species concept, i.e., the one used to recognize species, is contrasted to the theoretical species concept. A phylogenetic approach to recognize fungal species based on concordance of multiple gene genealogies is compared to those based on morphology and reproductive behavior. Examples where Phylogenetic Species Recognition has been applied to fungi are reviewed and concerns regarding Phylogenetic Species Recognition are discussed.
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            Pathogenic roles for fungal melanins.

            Melanins represent virulence factors for several pathogenic fungi; the number of examples is growing. Thus, albino mutants of several genera (in one case, mutated precisely in the melanizing enzyme) exhibit decreased virulence in mice. We consider the phenomenon in relation to known chemical properties of melanin, beginning with biosynthesis from ortho-hydroquinone precursors which, when oxidized enzymatically to quinones, polymerize spontaneously to melanin. It follows that melanizing intermediates are cross-linking reagents; melanization stabilizes the external cell wall against hydrolysis and is thought to determine semipermeability in the osmotic ram (the appressorium) of certain plant pathogens. Polymeric melanins undergo reversible oxidation-reduction reactions between cell wall-penetrating quinone and hydroquinone oxidation states and thus represent polymeric redox buffers; using strong oxidants, it is possible to titrate the melanin on living cells and thereby demonstrate protection conferred by melanin in several species. The amount of buffering per cell approximately neutralizes the amount of oxidant generated by a single macrophage. Moreover, the intermediate oxidation state, the semiquinone, is a very stable free radical and is thought to trap unpaired electrons. We have suggested that the oxidation state of external melanin may be regulated by external Fe(II). An independent hypothesis holds that in Cryptococcus neoformans, an important function of the melanizing enzyme (apart from melanization) is the oxidation of Fe(II) to Fe(III), thereby forestalling generation of the harmful hydroxyl radical from H(2)O(2). Thus, problems in fungal pathogenesis have led to evolving hypotheses regarding melanin functioning.
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              Fungi growing on aromatic hydrocarbons: biotechnology's unexpected encounter with biohazard?

              The biodegradation of aromatic hydrocarbons by fungi has traditionally been considered to be of a cometabolic nature. Recently, however, an increasing number of fungi isolated from air biofilters exposed to hydrocarbon-polluted gas streams have been shown to assimilate volatile aromatic hydrocarbons as the sole source of carbon and energy. The biosystematics, ecology, and metabolism of such fungi are reviewed here, based in part on re-evaluation of a collection of published hydrocarbon-degrading isolates obtained from authors around the world. Incorrect or outdated identifications in original publications are corrected by ribosomal DNA sequence analysis. The data show that many volatile-hydrocarbon-degrading strains are closely related to, or in some cases clearly conspecific with, the very restricted number of human-pathogenic fungal species causing severe mycoses, especially neurological infections, in immunocompetent individuals. Neurochemistry features a distinctive array of phenolic and aliphatic compounds that are related to molecules involved in the metabolism of aromatic hydrocarbons. Hence, there may be physiological connections between hydrocarbon assimilation and certain patterns of mammalian infection.

                Author and article information

                Stud Mycol
                Studies in Mycology
                CBS Fungal Biodiversity Centre
                : 61
                : Black fungal extremes
                : 175-191
                [1 ] CBS Fungal Biodiversity Centre, P.O. Box 85167, NL-3508 AD Utrecht, The Netherlands
                [2 ] Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
                [3 ] Department of Medical Mycology and Parasitology, School of Medicine, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran
                [4 ] Department of Mycology & Dermatology Service, Hospital General de México, Narvarte, Mexico
                Author notes

                Correspondence: G.S. de Hoog, de.hoog@ 123456cbs.knaw.nl

                Copyright © Copyright 2008 CBS Fungal Biodiversity Centre

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                Plant science & Botany
                chromoblastomycosis,bioremediation,biodiversity,disseminated infection,mycetoma,mlst,cladophialophora


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