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Microevolutionary traits and comparative population genomics of the emerging pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus gattii

Farrer, RA; Voelz, K; Henk, DA; Johnston, SA; Fisher, MC; May, RC; Cuomo, CA; (2016) Microevolutionary traits and comparative population genomics of the emerging pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus gattii. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences , 371 (1709) , Article 20160021. 10.1098/rstb.2016.0021. Green open access

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Abstract

Emerging fungal pathogens cause an expanding burden of disease across the animal kingdom, including a rise in morbidity and mortality in humans. Yet, we currently have only a limited repertoire of available therapeutic interventions. A greater understanding of the mechanisms of fungal virulence and of the emergence of hypervirulence within species is therefore needed for new treatments and mitigation efforts. For example, over the past decade, an unusual lineage of Cryptococcus gattii, which was first detected on Vancouver Island, has spread to the Canadian mainland and the Pacific Northwest infecting otherwise healthy individuals. The molecular changes that led to the development of this hypervirulent cryptococcal lineage remain unclear. To explore this, we traced the history of similar microevolutionary events that can lead to changes in host range and pathogenicity. Here, we detail fine-resolution mapping of genetic differences between two highly related Cryptococcus gattii VGIIc isolates that differ in their virulence traits (phagocytosis, vomocytosis, macrophage death, mitochondrial tubularization and intracellular proliferation).We identified a small number of single site variants within coding regions that potentially contribute to variations in virulence. We then extended our methods across multiple lineages of C. gattii to study how selection is acting on key virulence genes within different lineages.

Type: Article
Title: Microevolutionary traits and comparative population genomics of the emerging pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus gattii
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2016.0021
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2016.0021
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Cryptococcus gattii, microevolution, mitochondrial tubularization, intracellular proliferation
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10038738
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