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J. Fungi, Volume 4, Issue 1 (March 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Over the past two decades, Candida biofilm research has evolved, driven by classical molecular [...] Read more.
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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Special Issue: Host–Fungus Interactions
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 7; doi:10.3390/jof4010007
Received: 28 December 2017 / Revised: 28 December 2017 / Accepted: 29 December 2017 / Published: 2 January 2018
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Abstract
The clinical presentation of fungal disease is strongly determined by the underlying immune defect present [...]
Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Host–Fungus Interactions)
Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Journal of Fungi in 2017
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 11; doi:10.3390/jof4010011
Received: 10 January 2018 / Revised: 10 January 2018 / Accepted: 11 January 2018 / Published: 11 January 2018
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Abstract
Peer review is an essential part in the publication process, ensuring that Journal of Fungi maintains high quality standards for its published papers.[...] Full article
Open AccessEditorial Special Issue: Genomic Data in Pathogenic Fungi
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 40; doi:10.3390/jof4010040
Received: 8 February 2018 / Revised: 12 March 2018 / Accepted: 15 March 2018 / Published: 20 March 2018
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genomic Data in Pathogenic Fungi)

Research

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Open AccessArticle Role of Hydrophobins in Aspergillus fumigatus
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 2; doi:10.3390/jof4010002
Received: 29 November 2017 / Revised: 20 December 2017 / Accepted: 22 December 2017 / Published: 24 December 2017
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Abstract
Resistance of Aspergillus fumigatus conidia to desiccation and their capacity to reach the alveoli are partly due to the presence of a hydrophobic layer composed of a protein from the hydrophobin family, called RodA, which covers the conidial surface. In A. fumigatus there
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Resistance of Aspergillus fumigatus conidia to desiccation and their capacity to reach the alveoli are partly due to the presence of a hydrophobic layer composed of a protein from the hydrophobin family, called RodA, which covers the conidial surface. In A. fumigatus there are seven hydrophobins (RodA–RodG) belonging to class I and III. Most of them have never been studied. We constructed single and multiple hydrophobin-deletion mutants until the generation of a hydrophobin-free mutant. The phenotype, immunogenicity, and virulence of the mutants were studied. RODA is the most expressed hydrophobin in sporulating cultures, whereas RODB is upregulated in biofilm conditions and in vivo Only RodA, however, is responsible for rodlet formation, sporulation, conidial hydrophobicity, resistance to physical insult or anionic dyes, and immunological inertia of the conidia. None of the hydrophobin plays a role in biofilm formation or its hydrophobicity. RodA is the only needed hydrophobin in A. fumigatus, conditioning the structure, permeability, hydrophobicity, and immune-inertia of the cell wall surface in conidia. Moreover, the defect of rodlets on the conidial cell wall surface impacts on the drug sensitivity of the fungus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Cell Wall)
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Open AccessArticle Diversity of Cell Wall Related Proteins in Human Pathogenic Fungi
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 6; doi:10.3390/jof4010006
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 13 December 2017 / Accepted: 25 December 2017 / Published: 29 December 2017
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Abstract
The cell wall is one of the major keys to fungal identity. Fungi use their cell wall to sense the environment, and localize nutrients and competing microorganism. Pathogenic species additionally modify their cell walls to hide from a host’s immune system. With the
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The cell wall is one of the major keys to fungal identity. Fungi use their cell wall to sense the environment, and localize nutrients and competing microorganism. Pathogenic species additionally modify their cell walls to hide from a host’s immune system. With the growing number of fungal infections and alarming shortage of available drugs, we are in need of new approaches to fight pathogens. The cell wall seems to be a natural target, since animal host cells are devoid of it. The current knowledge about fungal cell wall components is often limited, and there is huge diversity both in structure and composition between species. In order to compare the distribution of diverse proteins involved in cell wall biosynthesis and maintenance, we performed sequence homology searches against 24 fungal proteomes from distinct taxonomic groups, all reported as human pathogens. This approach led to identification of 4014 cell wall proteins (CWPs), and enabled us to speculate about cell wall composition in recently sequenced pathogenic fungi with limited experimental information. We found large expansions of several CWP families, in particular taxa, and a number of new CWPs possibly involved in evading host immune recognition. Here, we present a comprehensive evolutionary history of fungal CWP families in the context of the fungal tree of life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genomic Data in Pathogenic Fungi)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Transposable Elements in Coccidioides Species
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 13; doi:10.3390/jof4010013
Received: 29 November 2017 / Revised: 5 January 2018 / Accepted: 11 January 2018 / Published: 19 January 2018
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Abstract
Coccidioides immitis and C. posadasii are primary pathogenic fungi that cause disease in immunologically-normal animals and people. The organism is found exclusively in arid regions of the Southwestern United States, Mexico, and South America, but not in other parts of the world. This
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Coccidioides immitis and C. posadasii are primary pathogenic fungi that cause disease in immunologically-normal animals and people. The organism is found exclusively in arid regions of the Southwestern United States, Mexico, and South America, but not in other parts of the world. This study is a detailed analysis of the transposable elements (TE) in Coccidioides spp. As is common in most fungi, Class I and Class II transposons were identified and the LTR Gypsy superfamily is the most common. The minority of Coccidioides Gypsy transposons contained regions highly homologous to polyprotein domains. Phylogenetic analysis of the integrase and reverse transcriptase sequences revealed that many, but not all, of the Gypsy reverse transcriptase and integrase domains clustered by species suggesting extensive transposition after speciation of the two Coccidiodies spp. The TEs were clustered and the distribution is enriched for the ends on contigs. Analysis of gene expression data from C. immitis found that protein-coding genes within 1 kB of hAT or Gypsy TEs were poorly expressed. The expression of C. posadasii genes within 1 kB of Gypsy TEs was also significantly lower compared to all genes but the difference in expression was smaller than C. immitis. C. posadasii orthologs of C. immitis Gyspsy-associated genes were also likely to be TE-associated. In both C. immitis and C. posadasii the TEs were preferentially associated with genes annotated with protein kinase gene ontology terms. These observations suggest that TE may play a role in influencing gene expression in Coccidioides spp. Our hope is that these bioinformatic studies of the potential TE influence on expression and evolution of Coccidioides will prompt the development of testable hypotheses to better understand the role of TEs in the biology and gene regulation of Coccidioides spp. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genomic Data in Pathogenic Fungi)
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Open AccessArticle Candidate Genes for Aggressiveness in a Natural Fusarium culmorum Population Greatly Differ between Wheat and Rye Head Blight
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 14; doi:10.3390/jof4010014
Received: 28 November 2017 / Revised: 8 January 2018 / Accepted: 9 January 2018 / Published: 16 January 2018
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Abstract
Fusarium culmorum is one of the species causing Fusarium head blight (FHB) in cereals in Europe. We aimed to investigate the association between the nucleotide diversity of ten F. culmorum candidate genes and field ratings of aggressiveness in winter rye. A total of
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Fusarium culmorum is one of the species causing Fusarium head blight (FHB) in cereals in Europe. We aimed to investigate the association between the nucleotide diversity of ten F. culmorum candidate genes and field ratings of aggressiveness in winter rye. A total of 100 F. culmorum isolates collected from natural infections were phenotyped for FHB at two locations and two years. Variance components for aggressiveness showed significant isolate and isolate-by-environment variance, as expected for quantitative host-pathogen interactions. Further analysis of the isolate-by-environment interaction revealed the dominant role of the isolate-by-year over isolate-by-location interaction. One single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the cutinase (CUT) gene was found to be significantly (p < 0.001) associated with aggressiveness and explained 16.05% of the genotypic variance of this trait in rye. The SNP was located 60 base pairs before the start codon, which suggests a role in transcriptional regulation. Compared to a previous study in winter wheat with the same nucleotide sequences, a larger variation of pathogen aggressiveness on rye was found and a different candidate gene was associated with pathogen aggressiveness. This is the first report on the association of field aggressiveness and a host-specific candidate gene codifying for a protein that belongs to the secretome in F. culmorum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genomic Data in Pathogenic Fungi)
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Open AccessArticle Burden of Serious Fungal Infections in Jordan
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 15; doi:10.3390/jof4010015
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 4 January 2018 / Accepted: 16 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
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Abstract
Objective: To estimate the burden of fungal infections in Jordan for the first time. Material and Methods: Population data was from UN 2011 statistics and TB cases from WHO in 2012. Fewer than 100 patients with HIV were recorded in Jordan in 2013.
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Objective: To estimate the burden of fungal infections in Jordan for the first time. Material and Methods: Population data was from UN 2011 statistics and TB cases from WHO in 2012. Fewer than 100 patients with HIV were recorded in Jordan in 2013. Approximately 100 renal transplants and eight liver transplants are performed annually. There were 12,233 major surgical procedures in Jordan in 2013, of which 5.3% were major abdominal surgeries; candidemia was estimated in 5% of the population based on other countries, with 33% occurring in the ICU. Candida peritonitis/intra-abdominal candidiasis was estimated to affect 50% of the number of ICU candidemia cases. No adult asthma rates have been recorded for Jordan, so the rate from the Holy Land (8.54% clinical asthma) from To et al. has been used. There are an estimated 49,607 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients in Jordan, with 64% symptomatic, 25% Gold stage 3% or 4%, and 7% (3472) are assumed to be admitted to hospital each year. No cystic fibrosis cases have been recorded. Literature searches on fungal infections revealed few data and no prevalence data on fungal keratitis or tinea capitis, even though tinea capitis comprised 34% of patients with dermatophytoses in Jordan. Results: Jordan has 6.3 million inhabitants (65% adults, 6% are >60 years old). The current burden of serious fungal infections in Jordan was estimated to affect ~119,000 patients (1.9%), not including any cutaneous fungal infections. Candidemia was estimated at 316 cases and invasive aspergillosis in leukemia, transplant, and COPD patients at 84 cases. Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis prevalence was estimated to affect 36 post-TB patients, and 175 in total. Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) and severe asthma with fungal sensitization (SAFS) prevalence in adults with asthma were estimated at 8900 and 11,748 patients. Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis was estimated to affect 97,804 patients, using a 6% rate among women 15–50 years of age. Conclusion: Based on local data and literature estimates of the frequency of mycoses in susceptible populations, at least 1.9% of Jordanians have some form of serious fungal disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Burden in Different Countries)
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Open AccessArticle Biofilm Formation and Resistance to Fungicides in Clinically Relevant Members of the Fungal Genus Fusarium
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 16; doi:10.3390/jof4010016
Received: 11 November 2017 / Revised: 10 January 2018 / Accepted: 16 January 2018 / Published: 23 January 2018
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Abstract
Clinically relevant members of the fungal genus, Fusarium, exhibit an extraordinary genetic diversity and cause a wide spectrum of infections in both healthy individuals and immunocompromised patients. Generally, Fusarium species are intrinsically resistant to all systemic antifungals. We investigated whether the presence
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Clinically relevant members of the fungal genus, Fusarium, exhibit an extraordinary genetic diversity and cause a wide spectrum of infections in both healthy individuals and immunocompromised patients. Generally, Fusarium species are intrinsically resistant to all systemic antifungals. We investigated whether the presence or absence of the ability to produce biofilms across and within Fusarium species complexes is linked to higher resistance against antifungals. A collection of 41 Fusarium strains, obtained from 38 patients with superficial and systemic infections, and three infected crops, were tested, including 25 species within the Fusarium fujikuroi species complex, 14 from the Fusarium solani species complex (FSSC), one Fusarium dimerum species complex, and one Fusarium oxysporum species complex isolate. Of all isolates tested, only seven strains from two species of FSSC, five F. petroliphilum and two F. keratoplasticum strains, recovered from blood, nail scrapings, and nasal biopsy samples, could produce biofilms under the tested conditions. In the liquid culture tested, sessile biofilm-forming Fusarium strains exhibited elevated minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) for amphotericin B, voriconazole, and posaconazole, compared to their planktonic counterparts, indicating that the ability to form biofilm may significantly increase resistance. Collectively, this suggests that once a surface adherent biofilm has been established, therapies designed to kill planktonic cells of Fusarium are ineffective. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Fungi as Endophytes in Artemisia thuscula: Juxtaposed Elements of Diversity and Phylogeny
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 17; doi:10.3390/jof4010017
Received: 25 October 2017 / Revised: 20 January 2018 / Accepted: 23 January 2018 / Published: 27 January 2018
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Abstract
Artemisia is a plant genus highly studied for its medicinal applications. The studies on the associated fungal endophytes are scarce. Ten plants specimens of Artemisia thuscula from Tenerife and La Palma were sampled to isolate the endophytic fungi. Identification of the endophytic fungi
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Artemisia is a plant genus highly studied for its medicinal applications. The studies on the associated fungal endophytes are scarce. Ten plants specimens of Artemisia thuscula from Tenerife and La Palma were sampled to isolate the endophytic fungi. Identification of the endophytic fungi was based on morphology, Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) and Large Subunit (LSU) regions sequencing and indicates 37 fungal species affiliated to 25 fungal genera. Colonization rate varied among plants (CR = 25% to 92.11%). The most dominant colonizers found were Alternaria alternata (CF = 18.71%), Neofusicoccum sp. (CF = 8.39%) and Preussia sp. (CF = 3.23). Tendency for host specificity of most endophytic fungal species was observed. Sorensen–Dice index revealed that of 45 cases in the matrix, 27 of them were of zero similarity. Further, only one case was found to have 57% similarity (TF2 and TF7) and one case with 50% similarity (TF1 and TF4). The rest of the cases had values ranging between 11% and 40% similarity. Diversity indices like Brillouin, Margalef species richness, Simpson index of diversity and Fisher’s alpha, revealed plants from La Palma with higher values than plants from Tenerife. Three nutrient media (i.e., potato dextrose agar―PDA, lignocellulose agar―LCA, and tomato juice agar―V8) were used in a case study and revealed no differences in terms of colonization rate when data was averaged. Colonization frequency showed several species with preference for nutrient medium (63% of the species were isolated from only one nutrient medium). For the phylogenetic reconstruction using the Bayesian method, 54 endophytic fungal ITS sequences and associated GenBank sequences were analyzed. Ten orders (Diaporthales, Dothideales, Botryosphaeriales, Hypocreales, Trichosphaeriales, Amphisphaeriales, Xylariales, Capnodiales, Pleosporales and Eurotiales) were recognized. Several arrangements of genera draw the attention, like Aureobasidium (Dothideales) and Aplosporella (Botryosphaeriales) which are clustered with a recent ancestor (BS = 0.97). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Endophytes in Plants)
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Open AccessArticle Members of Glycosyl-Hydrolase Family 17 of A. fumigatus Differentially Affect Morphogenesis
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 18; doi:10.3390/jof4010018
Received: 11 December 2017 / Revised: 24 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 30 January 2018
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Abstract
Cell wall biosynthesis and remodeling are essential for fungal growth and development. In the fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus, the β(1,3)glucan is the major cell wall polysaccharide. This polymer is synthesized at the plasma membrane by a transmembrane complex, then released into the
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Cell wall biosynthesis and remodeling are essential for fungal growth and development. In the fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus, the β(1,3)glucan is the major cell wall polysaccharide. This polymer is synthesized at the plasma membrane by a transmembrane complex, then released into the parietal space to be remodeled by enzymes, and finally incorporated into the pre-existing cell wall. In the Glycosyl-Hydrolases family 17 (GH17) of A. fumigatus, two β(1,3)glucanosyltransferases, Bgt1p and Bgt2p, have been previously characterized. Disruption of BGT1 and BGT2 did not result in a phenotype, but sequence comparison and hydrophobic cluster analysis showed that three other genes in A. fumigatus belong to the GH17 family, SCW4, SCW11, and BGT3. In constrast to Δbgt1bgt2 mutants, single and multiple deletion of SCW4, SCW11, and BGT3 showed a decrease in conidiation associated with a higher conidial mortality and an abnormal conidial shape. Moreover, mycelium was also affected with a slower growth, stronger sensitivity to cell wall disturbing agents, and altered cell wall composition. Finally, the synthetic interactions between Bgt1p, Bgt2p, and the three other members, which support a functional cooperation in cell-wall assembly, were analyzed. Our data suggest that Scw4p, Scw11p, and Bgt3p are essential for cell wall integrity and might have antagonistic and distinct functions to Bgt1p and Bgt2p. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Cell Wall)
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Open AccessArticle Glycosylphosphatidylinositol Anchors from Galactomannan and GPI-Anchored Protein Are Synthesized by Distinct Pathways in Aspergillus fumigatus
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 19; doi:10.3390/jof4010019
Received: 8 December 2017 / Revised: 12 January 2018 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
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Abstract
Glycosylphosphatidylinositols (GPIs) are lipid anchors allowing the exposure of proteins at the outer layer of the plasma membrane. In fungi, a number of GPI-anchored proteins (GPI-APs) are involved in the remodeling of the cell wall polymers. GPIs follow a specific biosynthetic pathway in
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Glycosylphosphatidylinositols (GPIs) are lipid anchors allowing the exposure of proteins at the outer layer of the plasma membrane. In fungi, a number of GPI-anchored proteins (GPI-APs) are involved in the remodeling of the cell wall polymers. GPIs follow a specific biosynthetic pathway in the endoplasmic reticulum. After the transfer of the protein onto the GPI-anchor, a lipid remodeling occurs to substitute the diacylglycerol moiety by a ceramide. In addition to GPI-APs, A. fumigatus produces a GPI-anchored polysaccharide, the galactomannan (GM), that remains unique in the fungal kingdom. To investigate the role of the GPI pathway in the biosynthesis of the GM and cell wall organization, the deletion of PER1—coding for a phospholipase required for the first step of the GPI lipid remodeling—was undertaken. Biochemical characterization of the GPI-anchor isolated from GPI-APs showed that the PER1 deficient mutant produced a lipid anchor with a diacylglycerol. The absence of a ceramide on GPI-anchors in the Δper1 mutant led to a mislocation of GPI-APs and to an alteration of the composition of the cell wall alkali-insoluble fraction. On the other hand, the GM isolated from the Δper1 mutant membranes possesses a ceramide moiety as the parental strain, showing that GPI anchor of the GM follow a distinct unknown biosynthetic pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Cell Wall)
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Open AccessArticle The Plant Defensin NaD1 Enters the Cytoplasm of Candida albicans via Endocytosis
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 20; doi:10.3390/jof4010020
Received: 30 December 2017 / Revised: 1 February 2018 / Accepted: 3 February 2018 / Published: 6 February 2018
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Abstract
Antimicrobial peptides are widespread in nature and are produced by many organisms as a first line of defence against pathogens. These peptides have a broad range of biological activities, such as antibacterial or antifungal activities and act with varied mechanisms of action. A
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Antimicrobial peptides are widespread in nature and are produced by many organisms as a first line of defence against pathogens. These peptides have a broad range of biological activities, such as antibacterial or antifungal activities and act with varied mechanisms of action. A large number of the peptides are amphipathic α-helices which act by disrupting plasma membranes and allowing leakage of intracellular contents. However, some peptides have more complex mechanisms of action that require internalisation into the target organisms’ cytoplasm. The method by which these peptides enter the cytoplasm varies, with some requiring the energy dependent processes of endocytosis or polyamine transport and others entering via passive transport. Here we describe the mechanism that the antimicrobial peptide, the plant defensin NaD1, uses to transverse the fungal membrane and gain access to the fungal cytoplasm. By inhibiting ATP synthesis and using an inhibitor of actin polymerisation, we show that NaD1 is internalised into C. albicans yeast cells by the energy-dependent process of endocytosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antifungal Peptides)
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Open AccessArticle Inner Leaf Gel of Aloe striata Induces Adhesion-Reducing Morphological Hyphal Aberrations
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 23; doi:10.3390/jof4010023
Received: 12 January 2018 / Revised: 3 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 8 February 2018
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Abstract
Fungi, particularly molds that are cosmopolitan in soils, are frequent etiologic agents of opportunistic mycoses. Members of the Fusarium solani and Fusarium oxysporum species complexes are the most commonly implicated etiologic agents of opportunistic fusarial infections in mammals, while Paecilomyces variotii is one
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Fungi, particularly molds that are cosmopolitan in soils, are frequent etiologic agents of opportunistic mycoses. Members of the Fusarium solani and Fusarium oxysporum species complexes are the most commonly implicated etiologic agents of opportunistic fusarial infections in mammals, while Paecilomyces variotii is one of the most frequently encountered Paecilomyces species in human infections. Prevention and treatment of these mycoses are problematic because available antimycotics are limited and often have toxic side effects. Popular folk medicines, such as the inner leaf gel from Aloe spp., offer potential sources for novel antimycotic compounds. To screen for antifungal properties of Aloe striata, we treated conidia of three strains each of F. solani, F. oxysporum, and P. variotii with homogenized and filtered inner leaf gel. Exposure to gel homogenates caused minimal inhibition of conidial germination in tested strains. However, it significantly increased the frequency of hyphal aberrations characterized by increased hyphal diameters that resulted in intervals of non-parallel cell walls. Non-parallel cell walls ostensibly reduce total hyphal surface area available for adhesion. We found a significant decrease in the ability of aberrated P. variotii hyphae to remain adhered to microscope slides after repeated washing with reverse osmosis water. Our results suggest that treatment with A. striata contributes to a decrease in the adhesion frequency of tested P. variotii strains. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Differences in Sirtuin Regulation in Response to Calorie Restriction in Cryptococcus neoformans
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 26; doi:10.3390/jof4010026
Received: 26 January 2018 / Revised: 15 February 2018 / Accepted: 16 February 2018 / Published: 18 February 2018
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Abstract
Cryptococcus neoformans successfully replicates in low glucose in infected patients. In the serotype A strain, H99, growth in this condition prolongs lifespan regulated by SIR2, and can be modulated with SIR2-specific drugs. Previous studies show that lifespan modulation of a cryptococcal population affects
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Cryptococcus neoformans successfully replicates in low glucose in infected patients. In the serotype A strain, H99, growth in this condition prolongs lifespan regulated by SIR2, and can be modulated with SIR2-specific drugs. Previous studies show that lifespan modulation of a cryptococcal population affects its sensitivity to antifungals, and survival in an infection model. Sirtuins and their role in longevity are conserved among fungi; however, the effect of glucose starvation is not confirmed even in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Lifespan analysis of C. neoformans strains in low glucose showed that 37.5% exhibited pro-longevity, and lifespan of a serotype D strain, RC2, was shortened. Transcriptome comparison of H99 and RC2 under calorie restriction demonstrated differences, confirmed by real-time PCR showing that SIR2, TOR1, SCH9, and PKA1 expression correlated with lifespan response to calorie restriction. As expected, RC2-sir2Δ cells exhibited a shortened lifespan, which was reconstituted. However, shortened lifespan from calorie restriction was independent of SIR2. In contrast to H99 but consistent with altered SIR2 regulation, SIR2-specific drugs did not affect outcome of RC2 infection. These data suggest that SIR2 regulation and response to calorie restriction varies in C. neoformans, which should be considered when Sirtuins are investigated as potential therapy targets for fungal infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryptococcus and Cryptococcosis)
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Open AccessArticle An Estimate of the Burden of Fungal Disease in Norway
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 29; doi:10.3390/jof4010029
Received: 22 January 2018 / Revised: 18 February 2018 / Accepted: 19 February 2018 / Published: 21 February 2018
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to examine the burden of fungal disease in Norway, contributing to a worldwide effort to improve awareness of the needs for better diagnosis and treatment of such infections. We used national registers and actual data from the
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The aim of this study was to examine the burden of fungal disease in Norway, contributing to a worldwide effort to improve awareness of the needs for better diagnosis and treatment of such infections. We used national registers and actual data from the Departments of Microbiology from 2015 and estimated the incidence and/or prevalence of superficial, allergic and invasive fungal disease using published reports on specific populations at risk. One in 6 Norwegians suffered from fungal disease: Superficial skin infections (14.3%: 745,600) and recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis in fertile women (6%: 43,123) were estimated to be the most frequent infections. Allergic fungal lung disease was estimated in 17,755 patients (341/100,000). Pneumocystis jirovecii was diagnosed in 262 patients (5/100,000), invasive candidiasis in 400 patients (7.7/100,000), invasive aspergillosis in 278 patients (5.3/100,000) and mucormycosis in 7 patients (0.1/100,000). Particular fungal infections from certain geographic areas were not observed. Overall, 1.79% of the population was estimated to be affected by serious fungal infections in Norway in 2015. Even though estimates for invasive infections are small, the gravity of such infections combined with expected demographic changes in the future emphasizes the need for better epidemiological data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Burden in Different Countries)
Open AccessArticle Antifungal Potential of Host Defense Peptide Mimetics in a Mouse Model of Disseminated Candidiasis
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 30; doi:10.3390/jof4010030
Received: 6 February 2018 / Revised: 21 February 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
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Abstract
Invasive candidiasis caused by Candida albicans and non-albicans Candida (NAC) present a serious disease threat. Although the echinocandins are recommended as the first line of antifungal drug class, resistance to these agents is beginning to emerge, demonstrating the need for new antifungal
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Invasive candidiasis caused by Candida albicans and non-albicans Candida (NAC) present a serious disease threat. Although the echinocandins are recommended as the first line of antifungal drug class, resistance to these agents is beginning to emerge, demonstrating the need for new antifungal agents. Host defense peptides (HDP) exhibit potent antifungal activity, but as drugs they are difficult to manufacture efficiently, and they are often inactivated by serum proteins. HDP mimetics are low molecular weight non-peptide compounds that can alleviate these problems and were shown to be membrane-active against C. albicans and NAC. Here, we expand upon our previous works to describe the in vitro and in vivo activity of 11 new HDP mimetics that are active against C. albicans and NAC that are both sensitive and resistant to standard antifungal drugs. These compounds exhibit minimum inhibitory/fungicidal concentration (MIC/MFC) in the µg/mL range in the presence of serum and are inhibited by divalent cations. Rapid propidium iodide influx into the yeast cells following in vitro exposure suggested that these HDP mimetics were also membrane active. The lead compounds were able to kill C. albicans in an invasive candidiasis CD-1 mouse model with some mimetic candidates decreasing kidney burden by 3–4 logs after 24 h in a dose-dependent manner. The data encouraged further development of this new anti-fungal drug class for invasive candidiasis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antifungal Peptides)
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Open AccessArticle The Burden of Fungal Diseases in Romania
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 31; doi:10.3390/jof4010031
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 20 February 2018 / Accepted: 28 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
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Abstract
Objective: To estimate for the first time the burden of fungal infections in Romania. Methods: Data derived from the World Health Organization (WHO), National Institute of Statistics, Romanian public health agencies and non-profit health organizations, and published annual reports on local epidemiology were
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Objective: To estimate for the first time the burden of fungal infections in Romania. Methods: Data derived from the World Health Organization (WHO), National Institute of Statistics, Romanian public health agencies and non-profit health organizations, and published annual reports on local epidemiology were used in the present study. When no data were available, specific at-risk populations were used to calculate frequencies of serious fungal diseases, using previously published epidemiological parameters. All data refer to the year 2016. Results: The estimated number of serious fungal infections in Romanian population was 436,230 in 2016. Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis accounted for up to 80% of total cases (more than 350,000 women annually). Concerning HIV-related infections, among 14,349 infected persons, Pneumocystis pneumonia occurred in about 10% of late presenters (30 cases in 2016), while cryptococcal meningitis was rarely diagnosed (less than 20 cases). Annually, the total number of oesophageal candidiasis and oral thrush cases in HIV-positive patients may have been as high as 1229 and 3066, respectively. In immunocompromised and cancer patient populations, the annual incidence of candidaemia was 295, and at least 458 invasive aspergillosis cases and 4 mucormycosis cases occurred yearly. With 4966 critical care beds and approximately 200,000 abdominal surgeries performed, the estimated annual incidence of candidaemia and Candida peritonitis was 689 and 344, respectively. The annual incidence of pulmonary tuberculosis is still high in Romania (12,747 cases). Thus, the prevalence of post-TB chronic pulmonary aspergillosis is estimated to be 8.98/100,000 (1768 cases). The prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma in adults is 6% and 6.5%, respectively. Therefore, allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis prevalence is estimated at 29,387 and severe asthma with fungal sensitisation at 38,731 cases annually. Conclusions: Not being on the list of reportable diseases, the number of patients presenting with severe mycoses in Romania can only be roughly estimated. Based on local reports and prevalence estimation, we consider that at least 2.23% of Romanians suffer from a serious form of fungal disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Burden in Different Countries)
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Open AccessArticle Cryptococcosis in Colombia: Compilation and Analysis of Data from Laboratory-Based Surveillance
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 32; doi:10.3390/jof4010032
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 16 February 2018 / Accepted: 27 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
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Abstract
The passive and voluntary surveillance of cryptococcosis in Colombia since 1997 has seen an increasing participating rate, revealing its importance to both in immunosuppressed and immunocompetent people. The present work details the national data gathered in 1997–2016, through a retrospective analysis of the
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The passive and voluntary surveillance of cryptococcosis in Colombia since 1997 has seen an increasing participating rate, revealing its importance to both in immunosuppressed and immunocompetent people. The present work details the national data gathered in 1997–2016, through a retrospective analysis of the information collected in the survey. From a total of 1974 cases reported, an overall incidence of 0.23 cases per 100,000 people was found. This incidence rose to 1.1 cases per 1000 people in the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) population. Cryptococcosis was most common in male young adults (26–40 years), with a male:female ratio of 3.9:1 in the general population and 5.4:1 in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) patients. Culture was the most common form of diagnosis in 96.3% of cases, recovering C. neoformans species in 87.5% and C. gattii in 3.1% of samples. VNI was the most prevalent (96.1%) molecular type, while VGII predominated in C. gattii isolates (54.3%). Early mortality was reported as the outcome in 47.5% of patients. Cryptococcosis remains an important opportunistic disease in Colombia and is gaining status as a primary pathogen in apparently immunocompetent patients. Our findings show the importance of including cryptococcosis as a notifiable disease, which will allow for improving opportune diagnosis and treatment, resulting in better patient outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryptococcus and Cryptococcosis)
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Open AccessArticle An Estimate of Severe and Chronic Fungal Diseases in the Republic of Kazakhstan
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 34; doi:10.3390/jof4010034
Received: 13 February 2018 / Revised: 2 March 2018 / Accepted: 3 March 2018 / Published: 8 March 2018
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Abstract
Our work aimed to generate a preliminary estimation of severe and chronic fungal diseases in the Republic of Kazakhstan with a model proposed by LIFE (Leading International Fungal Education). Calculations were carried out on data from 2015. Published results of studies of mycoses
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Our work aimed to generate a preliminary estimation of severe and chronic fungal diseases in the Republic of Kazakhstan with a model proposed by LIFE (Leading International Fungal Education). Calculations were carried out on data from 2015. Published results of studies of mycoses in Kazakhstan were identified; in the absence of national data from the scientific literature, the frequency of life-threatening and serious mycoses in defined groups of patients at risk from other countries were taken into account. We also used analogous estimations of mycoses in the Russian Federation. We estimate that 300,824 patients (1.7% of the population) were affected by severe and chronic mycotic diseases. There were an estimated 15,172 cases of acute mycoses, notably tinea capitis in children (11,847), Pneumocystis pneumonia and invasive candidiasis, and 285,652 of chronic fungal diseases. The most frequent were chronic recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (273,258 cases) and chronic pulmonary aspergillosis (6231). There is uncertainty about the prevalence of asthma in adults; the official number is 12,478 patients, but a prevalence estimate of 1.47% from a WHO consortium yields a prevalence of ~170,000 affected. We have used the official figures to generate the prevalence of fungal asthma, but it is likely to be a significant underestimate. Conclusion: Results of investigation indicate significant prevalence of severe and chronic mycoses in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Burden in Different Countries)
Open AccessArticle Burden of Severe Fungal Infections in Burkina Faso
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 35; doi:10.3390/jof4010035
Received: 24 January 2018 / Revised: 6 March 2018 / Accepted: 9 March 2018 / Published: 11 March 2018
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Abstract
Because of the limited access to more powerful diagnostic tools, there is a paucity of data regarding the burden of fungal infections in Burkina Faso. The aim of this study was to estimate the incidence and prevalence of serious fungal infections in this
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Because of the limited access to more powerful diagnostic tools, there is a paucity of data regarding the burden of fungal infections in Burkina Faso. The aim of this study was to estimate the incidence and prevalence of serious fungal infections in this sub-Saharan country. We primarily used the national demographic data and performed a PubMed search to retrieve all published papers on fungal infections from Burkina Faso and its surrounding West African countries. Considering the prevalence of HIV infection (0.8% of the population) and a 3.4% incidence of cryptococcosis in hospitals, it is estimated that 459 patients per year develop cryptococcosis. For pneumocystosis, it is suggested that 1013 new cases occur every year. Taking into account the local TB frequency (population prevalence at 0.052%), we estimate the prevalence of chronic pulmonary aspergillosis at 1120 cases. Severe forms of asthma with fungal sensitization and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis are estimated to affect 7429 and 5628 cases, respectively. Vulvovaginal candidiasis may affect 179,000 women, and almost 1,000,000 children may suffer from tinea capitis. Globally, we estimate that roughly 1.4 million people in Burkina Faso (7.51% of the population) suffer from a serious fungal infection. These data should be used to drive future epidemiological studies, diagnostic approaches, and therapeutic strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Burden in Different Countries)
Open AccessArticle Estimating the Burden of Serious Fungal Infections in Uruguay
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 37; doi:10.3390/jof4010037
Received: 2 February 2018 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 16 March 2018 / Published: 18 March 2018
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Abstract
We aimed to estimate for the first time the burden of fungal infections in Uruguay. Data on population characteristics and underlying conditions were extracted from the National Statistics Institute, the World Bank, national registries, and published articles. When no data existed, risk populations
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We aimed to estimate for the first time the burden of fungal infections in Uruguay. Data on population characteristics and underlying conditions were extracted from the National Statistics Institute, the World Bank, national registries, and published articles. When no data existed, risk populations were used to estimate frequencies extrapolating from the literature. Population structure (inhabitants): total 3,444,006; 73% adults; 35% women younger than 50 years. Size of populations at risk (total cases per year): HIV infected 12,000; acute myeloid leukemia 126; hematopoietic stem cell transplantation 30; solid organ transplants 134; COPD 272,006; asthma in adults 223,431; cystic fibrosis in adults 48; tuberculosis 613; lung cancer 1400. Annual incidence estimations per 100,000: invasive aspergillosis, 22.4; candidemia, 16.4; Candida peritonitis, 3.7; Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia, 1.62; cryptococcosis, 0.75; severe asthma with fungal sensitization, 217; allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, 165; recurrent Candida vaginitis, 6323; oral candidiasis, 74.5; and esophageal candidiasis, 25.7. Although some under and overestimations could have been made, we expect that at least 127,525 people suffer from serious fungal infections each year. Sporothrichosis, histoplasmosis, paracoccidioidomycosis, and dermatophytosis are known to be frequent but no data are available to make accurate estimations. Given the magnitude of the burden of fungal infections in Uruguay, efforts should be made to improve surveillance, strengthen laboratory diagnosis, and warrant access to first line antifungals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Burden in Different Countries)
Open AccessArticle Estimation of the Burden of Serious Human Fungal Infections in Malaysia
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 38; doi:10.3390/jof4010038
Received: 11 December 2017 / Revised: 7 February 2018 / Accepted: 14 February 2018 / Published: 19 March 2018
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Abstract
Fungal infections (mycoses) are likely to occur more frequently as ever-increasingly sophisticated healthcare systems create greater risk factors. There is a paucity of systematic data on the incidence and prevalence of human fungal infections in Malaysia. We conducted a comprehensive study to estimate
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Fungal infections (mycoses) are likely to occur more frequently as ever-increasingly sophisticated healthcare systems create greater risk factors. There is a paucity of systematic data on the incidence and prevalence of human fungal infections in Malaysia. We conducted a comprehensive study to estimate the burden of serious fungal infections in Malaysia. Our study showed that recurrent vaginal candidiasis (>4 episodes/year) was the most common of all cases with a diagnosis of candidiasis (n = 501,138). Oesophageal candidiasis (n = 5850) was most predominant among individuals with HIV infection. Candidemia incidence (n = 1533) was estimated in hospitalized individuals, some receiving treatment for cancer (n = 1073), and was detected also in individuals admitted to intensive care units (ICU) (n = 460). In adults with asthma, allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) was the second most common respiratory mycoses noticed (n = 30,062) along with severe asthma with fungal sensitization (n = 39,628). Invasive aspergillosis was estimated in 184 cases undergoing anti-cancer treatment and 834 ICU cases. Cryptococcal meningitis was diagnosed in 700 subjects with HIV/AIDS and Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonitis (PCP) in 1286 subjects with underlying HIV disease. The present study indicates that at least 590,214 of the Malaysian population (1.93%) is affected by a serious fungal infection annually. This problem is serious enough to warrant the further epidemiological studies to estimate the burden of human fungal infections in Malaysia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Burden in Different Countries)

Review

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Open AccessReview The CWI Pathway: Regulation of the Transcriptional Adaptive Response to Cell Wall Stress in Yeast
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 1; doi:10.3390/jof4010001
Received: 8 November 2017 / Revised: 11 December 2017 / Accepted: 19 December 2017 / Published: 21 December 2017
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Abstract
Fungi are surrounded by an essential structure, the cell wall, which not only confers cell shape but also protects cells from environmental stress. As a consequence, yeast cells growing under cell wall damage conditions elicit rescue mechanisms to provide maintenance of cellular integrity
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Fungi are surrounded by an essential structure, the cell wall, which not only confers cell shape but also protects cells from environmental stress. As a consequence, yeast cells growing under cell wall damage conditions elicit rescue mechanisms to provide maintenance of cellular integrity and fungal survival. Through transcriptional reprogramming, yeast modulate the expression of genes important for cell wall biogenesis and remodeling, metabolism and energy generation, morphogenesis, signal transduction and stress. The yeast cell wall integrity (CWI) pathway, which is very well conserved in other fungi, is the key pathway for the regulation of this adaptive response. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of the yeast transcriptional program elicited to counterbalance cell wall stress situations, the role of the CWI pathway in the regulation of this program and the importance of the transcriptional input received by other pathways. Modulation of this adaptive response through the CWI pathway by positive and negative transcriptional feedbacks is also discussed. Since all these regulatory mechanisms are well conserved in pathogenic fungi, improving our knowledge about them will have an impact in the developing of new antifungal therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Cell Wall)
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Open AccessReview Host Soluble Mediators: Defying the Immunological Inertness of Aspergillus fumigatus Conidia
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 3; doi:10.3390/jof4010003
Received: 22 November 2017 / Revised: 13 December 2017 / Accepted: 22 December 2017 / Published: 24 December 2017
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Abstract
Aspergillus fumigatus produce airborne spores (conidia), which are inhaled in abundant quantity. In an immunocompromised population, the host immune system fails to clear the inhaled conidia, which then germinate and invade, leading to pulmonary aspergillosis. In an immunocompetent population, the inhaled conidia are
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Aspergillus fumigatus produce airborne spores (conidia), which are inhaled in abundant quantity. In an immunocompromised population, the host immune system fails to clear the inhaled conidia, which then germinate and invade, leading to pulmonary aspergillosis. In an immunocompetent population, the inhaled conidia are efficiently cleared by the host immune system. Soluble mediators of the innate immunity, that involve the complement system, acute-phase proteins, antimicrobial peptides and cytokines, are often considered to play a complementary role in the defense of the fungal pathogen. In fact, the soluble mediators are essential in achieving an efficient clearance of the dormant conidia, which is the morphotype of the fungus upon inhalation by the host. Importantly, harnessing the host soluble mediators challenges the immunological inertness of the dormant conidia due to the presence of the rodlet and melanin layers. In the review, we summarized the major soluble mediators in the lung that are involved in the recognition of the dormant conidia. This knowledge is essential in the complete understanding of the immune defense against A. fumigatus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Cell Wall)
Open AccessReview Neuro-Immune Mechanisms of Anti-Cryptococcal Protection
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 4; doi:10.3390/jof4010004
Received: 14 November 2017 / Revised: 10 December 2017 / Accepted: 23 December 2017 / Published: 25 December 2017
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Abstract
Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) is a life-threatening fungal disease affecting both immunosuppressed and immunocompetent people. The main causative agent of CM is Cryptococcus neoformans, a basidiomycete fungus prevalent in the environment. Our understanding of the immune mechanisms controlling C. neoformans growth within the
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Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) is a life-threatening fungal disease affecting both immunosuppressed and immunocompetent people. The main causative agent of CM is Cryptococcus neoformans, a basidiomycete fungus prevalent in the environment. Our understanding of the immune mechanisms controlling C. neoformans growth within the central nervous system (CNS) is poor. However, there have been several recent advances in the field of neuroimmunology regarding how cells resident within the CNS, such as microglia and neurons, can participate in immune surveillance and control of infection. In this mini-review, the cells of the CNS are discussed with reference to what is currently known about how they control C. neoformans infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryptococcus and Cryptococcosis)
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Open AccessReview Recent Insights into the Paradoxical Effect of Echinocandins
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 5; doi:10.3390/jof4010005
Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 21 December 2017 / Accepted: 22 December 2017 / Published: 28 December 2017
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Abstract
Echinocandin antifungals represent one of the most important drug classes for the treatment of invasive fungal infections. The mode of action of the echinocandins relies on inhibition of the β-1,3-glucan synthase, an enzyme essentially required for the synthesis of the major fungal cell
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Echinocandin antifungals represent one of the most important drug classes for the treatment of invasive fungal infections. The mode of action of the echinocandins relies on inhibition of the β-1,3-glucan synthase, an enzyme essentially required for the synthesis of the major fungal cell wall carbohydrate β-1,3-glucan. Depending on the species, echinocandins may exert fungicidal or fungistatic activity. Apparently independent of this differential activity, a surprising in vitro phenomenon called the “paradoxical effect” can be observed. The paradoxical effect is characterized by the ability of certain fungal isolates to reconstitute growth in the presence of higher echinocandin concentrations, while being fully susceptible at lower concentrations. The nature of the paradoxical effect is not fully understood and has been the focus of multiple studies in the last two decades. Here we concisely review the current literature and propose an updated model for the paradoxical effect, taking into account recent advances in the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Cell Wall)
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Open AccessReview Anti-Aspergillus Activities of the Respiratory Epithelium in Health and Disease
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 8; doi:10.3390/jof4010008
Received: 18 December 2017 / Revised: 3 January 2018 / Accepted: 5 January 2018 / Published: 8 January 2018
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Abstract
Respiratory epithelia fulfil multiple roles beyond that of gaseous exchange, also acting as primary custodians of lung sterility and inflammatory homeostasis. Inhaled fungal spores pose a continual antigenic, and potentially pathogenic, challenge to lung integrity against which the human respiratory mucosa has developed
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Respiratory epithelia fulfil multiple roles beyond that of gaseous exchange, also acting as primary custodians of lung sterility and inflammatory homeostasis. Inhaled fungal spores pose a continual antigenic, and potentially pathogenic, challenge to lung integrity against which the human respiratory mucosa has developed various tolerance and defence strategies. However, respiratory disease and immune dysfunction frequently render the human lung susceptible to fungal diseases, the most common of which are the aspergilloses, a group of syndromes caused by inhaled spores of Aspergillus fumigatus. Inhaled Aspergillus spores enter into a multiplicity of interactions with respiratory epithelia, the mechanistic bases of which are only just becoming recognized as important drivers of disease, as well as possible therapeutic targets. In this mini-review we examine current understanding of Aspergillus-epithelial interactions and, based upon the very latest developments in the field, we explore two apparently opposing schools of thought which view epithelial uptake of Aspergillus spores as either a curative or disease-exacerbating event. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mucosal Fungal Infections)
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Open AccessReview Patient Susceptibility to Candidiasis—A Potential for Adjunctive Immunotherapy
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 9; doi:10.3390/jof4010009
Received: 27 October 2017 / Revised: 15 December 2017 / Accepted: 30 December 2017 / Published: 9 January 2018
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Abstract
Candida spp. are colonizing fungi of human skin and mucosae of the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tract, present in 30–50% of healthy individuals in a population at any given moment. The host defense mechanisms prevent this commensal fungus from invading and causing disease. Loss
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Candida spp. are colonizing fungi of human skin and mucosae of the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tract, present in 30–50% of healthy individuals in a population at any given moment. The host defense mechanisms prevent this commensal fungus from invading and causing disease. Loss of skin or mucosal barrier function, microbiome imbalances, or defects of immune defense mechanisms can lead to an increased susceptibility to severe mucocutaneous or invasive candidiasis. A comprehensive understanding of the immune defense against Candida is essential for developing adjunctive immunotherapy. The important role of underlying genetic susceptibility to Candida infections has become apparent over the years. In most patients, the cause of increased susceptibility to fungal infections is complex, based on a combination of immune regulation gene polymorphisms together with other non-genetic predisposing factors. Identification of patients with an underlying genetic predisposition could help determine which patients could benefit from prophylactic antifungal treatment or adjunctive immunotherapy. This review will provide an overview of patient susceptibility to mucocutaneous and invasive candidiasis and the potential for adjunctive immunotherapy. Full article
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Open AccessReview Candida albicans Hyphae: From Growth Initiation to Invasion
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 10; doi:10.3390/jof4010010
Received: 13 December 2017 / Revised: 28 December 2017 / Accepted: 10 January 2018 / Published: 11 January 2018
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Abstract
Candida albicans is a commensal resident of the human gastrointestinal and genital tracts. Under conditions such as dysbiosis, host immune perturbances, or the presence of catheters/implanted medical devices, the fungus may cause debilitating mucosal or fatal systemic infections. The ability of C. albicans
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Candida albicans is a commensal resident of the human gastrointestinal and genital tracts. Under conditions such as dysbiosis, host immune perturbances, or the presence of catheters/implanted medical devices, the fungus may cause debilitating mucosal or fatal systemic infections. The ability of C. albicans to grow as long filamentous hyphae is critical for its pathogenic potential as it allows the fungus to invade the underlying substratum. In this brief review, I will outline the current understanding regarding the mechanistic regulation of hyphal growth and invasion in C. albicans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Candida and Candidiasis)
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Open AccessReview Gaining Insights from Candida Biofilm Heterogeneity: One Size Does Not Fit All
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 12; doi:10.3390/jof4010012
Received: 1 December 2017 / Revised: 3 January 2018 / Accepted: 9 January 2018 / Published: 15 January 2018
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Abstract
Despite their clinical significance and substantial human health burden, fungal infections remain relatively under-appreciated. The widespread overuse of antibiotics and the increasing requirement for indwelling medical devices provides an opportunistic potential for the overgrowth and colonization of pathogenic Candida species on both biological
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Despite their clinical significance and substantial human health burden, fungal infections remain relatively under-appreciated. The widespread overuse of antibiotics and the increasing requirement for indwelling medical devices provides an opportunistic potential for the overgrowth and colonization of pathogenic Candida species on both biological and inert substrates. Indeed, it is now widely recognized that biofilms are a highly important part of their virulence repertoire. Candida albicans is regarded as the primary fungal biofilm forming species, yet there is also increasing interest and growing body of evidence for non-Candida albicans species (NCAS) biofilms, and interkingdom biofilm interactions. C. albicans biofilms are heterogeneous structures by definition, existing as three-dimensional populations of yeast, pseudo-hyphae, and hyphae, embedded within a self-produced extracellular matrix. Classical molecular approaches, driven by extensive studies of laboratory strains and mutants, have enhanced our knowledge and understanding of how these complex communities develop, thrive, and cause host-mediated damage. Yet our clinical observations tell a different story, with differential patient responses potentially due to inherent biological heterogeneity from specific clinical isolates associated with their infections. This review explores some of the recent advances made in an attempt to explore the importance of working with clinical isolates, and what this has taught us. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Candida and Candidiasis)
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Open AccessReview Experimental In Vivo Models of Candidiasis
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 21; doi:10.3390/jof4010021
Received: 29 December 2017 / Revised: 24 January 2018 / Accepted: 3 February 2018 / Published: 6 February 2018
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Abstract
Candidiasis is a multifaceted fungal disease including mucosal-cutaneous, visceral, and disseminated infections caused by yeast species of the genus Candida. Candida infections are among the most common human mycoses. Candida species are the third to fourth most common isolates from bloodstream infections
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Candidiasis is a multifaceted fungal disease including mucosal-cutaneous, visceral, and disseminated infections caused by yeast species of the genus Candida. Candida infections are among the most common human mycoses. Candida species are the third to fourth most common isolates from bloodstream infections in neutropenic or immunocompromised hospitalized patients. The mucosal-cutaneous forms—particularly vaginal infections—have a high prevalence. Vaginitis caused by Candida species is the second most common vaginal infection. Hence, candidiasis is a major subject for research, including experimental in vivo models to study pathogenesis, prevention, or therapy of the disease. The following review article will focus on various experimental in vivo models in different laboratory animals, such as mammals (mice, rats, rabbits), the fruit fly–Drosophila melanogaster, the larvae of the moth Galleria mellonella, or the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. The review will describe the induction of the different clinical forms of candidiasis in the various models and the validity of such models in mimicking the human clinical situations. The use of such models for the assessment of antifungal drugs, evaluation of potential vaccines to protect before candidiasis, exploration of Candida virulence factors, and comparison of pathogenicity of different Candida species will be included in the review. All of the above will be reported as based on published studies of numerous investigators as well as on the research of the author and his group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Candida and Candidiasis)
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Open AccessReview Candida–Epithelial Interactions
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 22; doi:10.3390/jof4010022
Received: 8 December 2017 / Revised: 4 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 8 February 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (632 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A plethora of intricate and dynamic molecular interactions occur between microbes and the epithelial cells that form the mucosal surfaces of the human body. Fungi, particularly species of Candida, are commensal members of our microbiota, continuously interacting with epithelial cells. Transient and
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A plethora of intricate and dynamic molecular interactions occur between microbes and the epithelial cells that form the mucosal surfaces of the human body. Fungi, particularly species of Candida, are commensal members of our microbiota, continuously interacting with epithelial cells. Transient and localised perturbations to the mucosal environment can facilitate the overgrowth of fungi, causing infection. This minireview will examine the direct and indirect mechanisms by which Candida species and epithelial cells interact with each other, and explore the factors involved in the central processes of adhesion, invasion, and destruction of host mucosal surfaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mucosal Fungal Infections)
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Open AccessReview From Concept to Commerce: Developing a Successful Fungal Endophyte Inoculant for Agricultural Crops
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 24; doi:10.3390/jof4010024
Received: 10 January 2018 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 9 February 2018 / Published: 11 February 2018
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Abstract
The development of endophyte inoculants for agricultural crops has been bedevilled by the twin problems of a lack of reliability and consistency, with a consequent lack of belief among end users in the efficacy of such treatments. We have developed a successful research
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The development of endophyte inoculants for agricultural crops has been bedevilled by the twin problems of a lack of reliability and consistency, with a consequent lack of belief among end users in the efficacy of such treatments. We have developed a successful research pipeline for the production of a reliable, consistent and environmentally targeted fungal endophyte seed-delivered inoculant for barley cultivars. Our approach was developed de novo from an initial concept to source candidate endophyte inoculants from a wild relative of barley, Hordeum murinum (wall barley). A careful screening and selection procedure and extensive controlled environment testing of fungal endophyte strains, followed by multi-year field trials has resulted in the validation of an endophyte consortium suitable for barley crops grown on relatively dry sites. Our approach can be adapted for any crop or environment, provided that the set of first principles we have developed is followed. Here, we report how we developed the successful pipeline for the production of an economically viable fungal endophyte inoculant for barley cultivars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Endophytes in Plants)
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Open AccessReview Mechanisms of Pulmonary Escape and Dissemination by Cryptococcus neoformans
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 25; doi:10.3390/jof4010025
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 16 February 2018 / Published: 17 February 2018
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Abstract
Cryptococcus neoformans is a common environmental saprophyte and human fungal pathogen that primarily causes disease in immunocompromised individuals. Similar to many environmentally acquired human fungal pathogens, C. neoformans initiates infection in the lungs. However, the main driver of mortality is invasive cryptococcosis leading
[...] Read more.
Cryptococcus neoformans is a common environmental saprophyte and human fungal pathogen that primarily causes disease in immunocompromised individuals. Similar to many environmentally acquired human fungal pathogens, C. neoformans initiates infection in the lungs. However, the main driver of mortality is invasive cryptococcosis leading to fungal meningitis. After C. neoformans gains a foothold in the lungs, a critical early step in invasion is transversal of the respiratory epithelium. In this review, we summarize current knowledge relating to pulmonary escape. We focus on fungal factors that allow C. neoformans to disseminate from the lungs via intracellular and extracellular routes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryptococcus and Cryptococcosis)
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Open AccessReview Non-Culture Diagnostics for Invasive Candidiasis: Promise and Unintended Consequences
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 27; doi:10.3390/jof4010027
Received: 11 January 2018 / Revised: 15 February 2018 / Accepted: 18 February 2018 / Published: 19 February 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (218 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Blood cultures are positive for Candida species in < 50% and < 20% of hematogenously disseminated and intra-abdominal candidiasis, respectively. Non-culture tests such as mannan, anti-mannan antibody, Candida albicans germ tube antibody (CAGTA), 1,3-β-d-glucan (BDG), the T2Candida nanodiagnostic panel, and polymerase
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Blood cultures are positive for Candida species in < 50% and < 20% of hematogenously disseminated and intra-abdominal candidiasis, respectively. Non-culture tests such as mannan, anti-mannan antibody, Candida albicans germ tube antibody (CAGTA), 1,3-β-d-glucan (BDG), the T2Candida nanodiagnostic panel, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are available for clinical use, but their roles in patient care are uncertain. Sensitivity/specificity of combined mannan/anti-mannan, BDG, T2Candida and PCR for candidemia are ~80%/80%, ~80%/80%, ~90%/98%, and ~90%/90%, respectively. Limited data for intra-abdominal candidiasis suggest CAGTA, BDG sensitivity/specificity of ~65%/75% and PCR sensitivity of ~85–90%. PCR specificity has varied widely for intra-abdominal candidiasis (33–97%), and T2Candida data are lacking. Tests will be useful if restricted to cases in which positive and negative predictive values (PPVs, NPVs) differ in a clinically meaningful way from the pre-test likelihood of invasive candidiasis. In some patients, PPVs are sufficient to justify antifungal treatment, even if blood cultures are negative. In most patients, NPVs of each test are excellent, which may support decisions to withhold antifungal therapy. If test results are not interpreted judiciously, non-culture diagnostics may have unintended consequences for stewardship and infection prevention programs. In particular, discrepant non-culture test-positive/culture-negative results may promote inappropriate antifungal treatment of patients who are unlikely to have candidiasis, and lead to spurious reporting of hospital-acquired infections. In conclusion, non-culture Candida diagnostics have potential to advance patient care, but this promise will be realized only if users understand tests’ strengths and limitations, and plan proactively for how best to employ them at their hospitals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Candida and Candidiasis)
Open AccessReview PS, It’s Complicated: The Roles of Phosphatidylserine and Phosphatidylethanolamine in the Pathogenesis of Candida albicans and Other Microbial Pathogens
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 28; doi:10.3390/jof4010028
Received: 19 January 2018 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 13 February 2018 / Published: 20 February 2018
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Abstract
The phospholipids phosphatidylserine (PS) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) play important roles in the virulence of Candida albicans and loss of PS synthesis or synthesis of PE from PS (PS decarboxylase) severely compromises virulence in C. albicans in a mouse model of systemic candidiasis. This
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The phospholipids phosphatidylserine (PS) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) play important roles in the virulence of Candida albicans and loss of PS synthesis or synthesis of PE from PS (PS decarboxylase) severely compromises virulence in C. albicans in a mouse model of systemic candidiasis. This review discusses synthesis of PE and PS in C. albicans and mechanisms by which these lipids impact virulence in this fungus. This is further compared to how PS and PE synthesis impact virulence in other fungi, parasites and bacteria. Furthermore, the impact of PS asymmetry on virulence and extracellular vesicle formation in several microbes is reviewed. Finally, the potential for PS and PE synthases as drug targets in these various kingdoms is also examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Candida and Candidiasis)
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Open AccessReview Innate Immunity against Cryptococcus, from Recognition to Elimination
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 33; doi:10.3390/jof4010033
Received: 20 February 2018 / Revised: 2 March 2018 / Accepted: 4 March 2018 / Published: 7 March 2018
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Abstract
Cryptococcus species, the etiological agents of cryptococcosis, are encapsulated fungal yeasts that predominantly cause disease in immunocompromised individuals, and are responsible for 15% of AIDS-related deaths worldwide. Exposure follows the inhalation of the yeast into the lung alveoli, making it incumbent upon the
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Cryptococcus species, the etiological agents of cryptococcosis, are encapsulated fungal yeasts that predominantly cause disease in immunocompromised individuals, and are responsible for 15% of AIDS-related deaths worldwide. Exposure follows the inhalation of the yeast into the lung alveoli, making it incumbent upon the pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) of pulmonary phagocytes to recognize highly conserved pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPS) of fungi. The main challenges impeding the ability of pulmonary phagocytes to effectively recognize Cryptococcus include the presence of the yeast’s large polysaccharide capsule, as well as other cryptococcal virulence factors that mask fungal PAMPs and help Cryptococcus evade detection and subsequent activation of the immune system. This review will highlight key phagocyte cell populations and the arsenal of PRRs present on these cells, such as the Toll-like receptors (TLRs), C-type lectin receptors, NOD-like receptors (NLRs), and soluble receptors. Additionally, we will highlight critical cryptococcal PAMPs involved in the recognition of Cryptococcus. The question remains as to which PRR–ligand interaction is necessary for the recognition, phagocytosis, and subsequent killing of Cryptococcus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryptococcus and Cryptococcosis)
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Open AccessReview Interactions of Cryptococcus with Dendritic Cells
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 36; doi:10.3390/jof4010036
Received: 22 February 2018 / Revised: 12 March 2018 / Accepted: 14 March 2018 / Published: 15 March 2018
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Abstract
The fungal pathogens Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii can cause life-threatening infections in immune compromised and immune competent hosts. These pathogens enter the host via inhalation, and respiratory tract innate immune cells such as dendritic cells (DCs) are one of the first host
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The fungal pathogens Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii can cause life-threatening infections in immune compromised and immune competent hosts. These pathogens enter the host via inhalation, and respiratory tract innate immune cells such as dendritic cells (DCs) are one of the first host cells they encounter. The interactions between Cryptococcus and innate immune cells play a critical role in the progression of disease in the host. This review will focus specifically on the interactions between Cryptococcus and dendritic cells (DCs), including recognition/processing by DCs, effects of immune mediators on DC recruitment and activity, and the potential for DC vaccination against cryptococcosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryptococcus and Cryptococcosis)

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Open AccessTutorial FungiDB: An Integrated Bioinformatic Resource for Fungi and Oomycetes
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 39; doi:10.3390/jof4010039
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 7 March 2018 / Accepted: 15 March 2018 / Published: 20 March 2018
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Abstract
FungiDB (fungidb.org) is a free online resource for data mining and functional genomics analysis for fungal and oomycete species. FungiDB is part of the Eukaryotic Pathogen Genomics Database Resource (EuPathDB, eupathdb.org) platform that integrates genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and phenotypic datasets, and other types
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FungiDB (fungidb.org) is a free online resource for data mining and functional genomics analysis for fungal and oomycete species. FungiDB is part of the Eukaryotic Pathogen Genomics Database Resource (EuPathDB, eupathdb.org) platform that integrates genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and phenotypic datasets, and other types of data for pathogenic and nonpathogenic, free-living and parasitic organisms. FungiDB is one of the largest EuPathDB databases containing nearly 100 genomes obtained from GenBank, Aspergillus Genome Database (AspGD), The Broad Institute, Joint Genome Institute (JGI), Ensembl, and other sources. FungiDB offers a user-friendly web interface with embedded bioinformatics tools that support custom in silico experiments that leverage FungiDB-integrated data. In addition, a Galaxy-based workspace enables users to generate custom pipelines for large-scale data analysis (e.g., RNA-Seq, variant calling, etc.). This review provides an introduction to the FungiDB resources and focuses on available features, tools, and queries and how they can be used to mine data across a diverse range of integrated FungiDB datasets and records. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genomic Data in Pathogenic Fungi)
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