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J. Fungi, Volume 2, Issue 4 (December 2016)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Special Issue “Aspergillus fumigatus: From Diagnosis to Therapy”
J. Fungi 2016, 2(4), 31; doi:10.3390/jof2040031
Received: 5 December 2016 / Accepted: 5 December 2016 / Published: 8 December 2016
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Abstract Aspergillus fumigatus is an enigmatic pathogen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aspergillus fumigatus: From Diagnosis to Therapy)
Open AccessEditorial Special Issue: Novel Antifungal Drug Discovery
J. Fungi 2016, 2(4), 33; doi:10.3390/jof2040033
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 8 December 2016 / Accepted: 9 December 2016 / Published: 14 December 2016
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Abstract
This Special Issue is designed to highlight the latest research and development on new antifungal compounds with mechanisms of action different from the ones of polyenes, azoles, and echinocandins. The papers presented here highlight new pathways and targets that could be exploited for
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This Special Issue is designed to highlight the latest research and development on new antifungal compounds with mechanisms of action different from the ones of polyenes, azoles, and echinocandins. The papers presented here highlight new pathways and targets that could be exploited for the future development of new antifungal agents to be used alone or in combination with existing antifungals. A computational model for better predicting antifungal drug resistance is also presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Antifungal Drug Discovery)

Research

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Open AccessArticle A Quantitative Model to Estimate Drug Resistance in Pathogens
J. Fungi 2016, 2(4), 30; doi:10.3390/jof2040030
Received: 13 October 2016 / Revised: 30 November 2016 / Accepted: 1 December 2016 / Published: 5 December 2016
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Abstract
Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is an opportunistic infection that occurs in humans and other mammals with debilitated immune systems. These infections are caused by fungi in the genus Pneumocystis, which are not susceptible to standard antifungal agents. Despite decades of research and drug development,
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Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is an opportunistic infection that occurs in humans and other mammals with debilitated immune systems. These infections are caused by fungi in the genus Pneumocystis, which are not susceptible to standard antifungal agents. Despite decades of research and drug development, the primary treatment and prophylaxis for PCP remains a combination of trimethoprim (TMP) and sulfamethoxazole (SMX) that targets two enzymes in folic acid biosynthesis, dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) and dihydropteroate synthase (DHPS), respectively. There is growing evidence of emerging resistance by Pneumocystis jirovecii (the species that infects humans) to TMP-SMX associated with mutations in the targeted enzymes. In the present study, we report the development of an accurate quantitative model to predict changes in the binding affinity of inhibitors (Ki, IC50) to the mutated proteins. The model is based on evolutionary information and amino acid covariance analysis. Predicted changes in binding affinity upon mutations highly correlate with the experimentally measured data. While trained on Pneumocystis jirovecii DHFR/TMP data, the model shows similar or better performance when evaluated on the resistance data for a different inhibitor of PjDFHR, another drug/target pair (PjDHPS/SMX) and another organism (Staphylococcus aureus DHFR/TMP). Therefore, we anticipate that the developed prediction model will be useful in the evaluation of possible resistance of the newly sequenced variants of the pathogen and can be extended to other drug targets and organisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Antifungal Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle Phylogenetic Analysis of the Synnema-Producing Genus Synnemapestaloides
J. Fungi 2016, 2(4), 28; doi:10.3390/jof2040028
Received: 1 September 2016 / Revised: 1 November 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 7 November 2016
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Abstract
Synnemapestaloides rhododendri, the type species of the genus Synnemapestaloides, is a pathogen of Rhododendron brachycarpum. This fungus produces six-celled conidia with appendages at both end cells, and are generated by annellidic conidiogenous cells on the synnema. These conidial structures are
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Synnemapestaloides rhododendri, the type species of the genus Synnemapestaloides, is a pathogen of Rhododendron brachycarpum. This fungus produces six-celled conidia with appendages at both end cells, and are generated by annellidic conidiogenous cells on the synnema. These conidial structures are similar to those of the genus Pestalotia. The monotypic genus Synnemapestaloides is currently classified in the family Amphisphaeriaceae solely based on conidial morphology. Here we demonstrate that Synnemapestaloides represents a distinct genus in the family Sporocadaceae (Amphisphaeriales) based on differences in the nucleotide sequences of the partial large subunit rDNA gene, the rDNA internal transcribed spacer, and the partial β-tubulin. The genus most closely related to Synnemapestaloides is Seimatosporium and the species most similar to Synnemapestaloides rhododendri is Seim. foliicola which produces short synnema-like conidiomata (sporodochia). These results demonstrate that Seim. foliicola should be transferred to Synnemapestaloides, and also demonstrate that Sporocadaceae can have synnematal in addition to pycnidial and acervular conidiomata. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview Allergic Aspergillus Rhinosinusitis
J. Fungi 2016, 2(4), 32; doi:10.3390/jof2040032
Received: 30 August 2016 / Revised: 29 November 2016 / Accepted: 1 December 2016 / Published: 8 December 2016
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Abstract
Allergic fungal rhinosinusitis (AFRS) is a unique variety of chronic polypoid rhinosinusitis usually in atopic individuals, characterized by presence of eosinophilic mucin and fungal hyphae in paranasal sinuses without invasion into surrounding mucosa. It has emerged as an important disease involving a large
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Allergic fungal rhinosinusitis (AFRS) is a unique variety of chronic polypoid rhinosinusitis usually in atopic individuals, characterized by presence of eosinophilic mucin and fungal hyphae in paranasal sinuses without invasion into surrounding mucosa. It has emerged as an important disease involving a large population across the world with geographic variation in incidence and epidemiology. The disease is surrounded by controversies regarding its definition and etiopathogenesis. A working group on “Fungal Sinusitis” under the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology (ISHAM) addressed some of those issues, but many questions remain unanswered. The descriptions of “eosinophilic fungal rhinosinusitis” (EFRS), “eosinophilic mucin rhinosinusitis” (EMRS) and mucosal invasion by hyphae in few patients have increased the problem to delineate the disease. Various hypotheses exist for etiopathogenesis of AFRS with considerable overlap, though recent extensive studies have made certain in depth understanding. The diagnosis of AFRS is a multi-disciplinary approach including the imaging, histopathology, mycology and immunological investigations. Though there is no uniform management protocol for AFRS, surgical clearing of the sinuses with steroid therapy are commonly practiced. The role of antifungal agents, leukotriene antagonists and immunomodulators is still questionable. The present review covers the controversies, recent advances in pathogenesis, diagnosis, and management of AFRS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aspergillus fumigatus: From Diagnosis to Therapy)
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Open AccessReview The Quest for a Vaccine Against Coccidioidomycosis: A Neglected Disease of the Americas
J. Fungi 2016, 2(4), 34; doi:10.3390/jof2040034
Received: 24 October 2016 / Revised: 2 December 2016 / Accepted: 14 December 2016 / Published: 16 December 2016
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Abstract
Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever) is a disease caused by inhalation of Coccidioides spp. This neglected disease has substantial public health impact despite its geographic restriction to desert areas of the southwestern U.S., Mexico, Central and South America. The incidence of this infection in California
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Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever) is a disease caused by inhalation of Coccidioides spp. This neglected disease has substantial public health impact despite its geographic restriction to desert areas of the southwestern U.S., Mexico, Central and South America. The incidence of this infection in California and Arizona has been increasing over the past fifteen years. Several large cities are within the endemic region in the U.S. Coccidioidomycosis accounts for 25,000 hospital admissions per year in California. While most cases of coccidioidomycosis resolve spontaneously, up to 40% are severe enough to require anti-fungal treatment, and a significant number disseminate beyond the lungs. Disseminated infection involving the meninges is fatal without appropriate treatment. Infection with Coccidioides spp. is protective against a second infection, so vaccination seems biologically plausible. This review of efforts to develop a vaccine against coccidioidomycosis focuses on vaccine approaches and the difficulties in identifying protein antigen/adjuvant combinations that protect in experimental mouse models. Although the quest for a vaccine is still in the early stage, scientific efforts for vaccine development may pave the way for future success. Full article
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Open AccessReview New Horizons in Antifungal Therapy
J. Fungi 2016, 2(4), 26; doi:10.3390/jof2040026
Received: 18 July 2016 / Revised: 19 September 2016 / Accepted: 20 September 2016 / Published: 2 October 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (736 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recent investigations have yielded both profound insights into the mechanisms required by pathogenic fungi for virulence within the human host, as well as novel potential targets for antifungal therapeutics. Some of these studies have resulted in the identification of novel compounds that act
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Recent investigations have yielded both profound insights into the mechanisms required by pathogenic fungi for virulence within the human host, as well as novel potential targets for antifungal therapeutics. Some of these studies have resulted in the identification of novel compounds that act against these pathways and also demonstrate potent antifungal activity. However, considerable effort is required to move from pre-clinical compound testing to true clinical trials, a necessary step toward ultimately bringing new drugs to market. The rising incidence of invasive fungal infections mandates continued efforts to identify new strategies for antifungal therapy. Moreover, these life-threatening infections often occur in our most vulnerable patient populations. In addition to finding completely novel antifungal compounds, there is also a renewed effort to redirect existing drugs for use as antifungal agents. Several recent screens have identified potent antifungal activity in compounds previously indicated for other uses in humans. Together, the combined efforts of academic investigators and the pharmaceutical industry is resulting in exciting new possibilities for the treatment of invasive fungal infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Antifungal Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessReview Virulence Factors as Targets for Anticryptococcal Therapy
J. Fungi 2016, 2(4), 29; doi:10.3390/jof2040029
Received: 14 October 2016 / Revised: 18 November 2016 / Accepted: 25 November 2016 / Published: 30 November 2016
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Abstract
The global mortality due to cryptococcosis caused by Cryptococcus neoformans or C. gattii is unacceptably high. Currently available therapies are decades old and may be impacted by drug resistance. Therefore, the need for more effective antifungal drugs for cryptococcosis is evident. A number
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The global mortality due to cryptococcosis caused by Cryptococcus neoformans or C. gattii is unacceptably high. Currently available therapies are decades old and may be impacted by drug resistance. Therefore, the need for more effective antifungal drugs for cryptococcosis is evident. A number of Cryptococcus virulence factors have been studied in detail, providing crucial information about the fungal biology and putative molecular targets for antifungals. This review focuses on the use of well-described virulence factors of Cryptococcus as potential anticryptococcal agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Antifungal Drug Discovery)
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Other

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Open AccessCorrection Correction: Stewart, E.R.; Thompson, G.R. Treatment of Primary Pulmonary Aspergillosis: An Assessment of the Evidence. J. Fungi 2016, 2, 25.
J. Fungi 2016, 2(4), 27; doi:10.3390/jof2040027
Received: 3 November 2016 / Revised: 4 November 2016 / Accepted: 4 November 2016 / Published: 4 November 2016
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Abstract The authors of the published paper [1] would like to correct Table 1.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aspergillus fumigatus: From Diagnosis to Therapy)

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