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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
Black Molds and Melanized Yeasts Pathogenic to Humans.
Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med
PUBLISHED: 11-12-2014
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A review is given of melanized fungi involved in human infection, including species forming budding cells and strictly filamentous representatives. Classically, they are known as "phaeoid" or "dematiaceous" fungi, and, today, agents are recognized to belong to seven orders of fungi, of which the Chaetothyriales and Pleosporales are the most important. Infections range from cutaneous or pulmonary colonization to systemic or disseminated invasion. Subcutaneous involvement, either primary or after dissemination, may lead to host tissue proliferation of dermis or epidermis. Particularly in the Chaetothyriales, subcutaneous and systemic infections may occur in otherwise apparently healthy individuals. Infections are mostly chronic and require extended antifungal therapy and/or surgery.
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The Spectrum of Fungi That Infects Humans.
Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med
PUBLISHED: 11-05-2014
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Few among the millions of fungal species fulfill four basic conditions necessary to infect humans: high temperature tolerance, ability to invade the human host, lysis and absorption of human tissue, and resistance to the human immune system. In previously healthy individuals, invasive fungal disease is rare because animals' sophisticated immune systems evolved in constant response to fungal challenges. In contrast, fungal diseases occur frequently in immunocompromised patients. Paradoxically, successes of modern medicine have put increasing numbers of patients at risk for invasive fungal infections. Uncontrolled HIV infection additionally makes millions vulnerable to lethal fungal diseases. A concerted scientific and social effort is needed to meet these challenges.
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Update on epidemiology of and preventive strategies for invasive fungal infections in cancer patients.
Clin. Infect. Dis.
PUBLISHED: 10-30-2014
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Changes in antineoplastic treatments and transplant practices are driving shifts in the epidemiology of invasive fungal diseases (IFDs). Patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and those undergoing bone marrow transplant (BMT) are at greatest risk for contracting IFDs. Unfortunately, there are few large population studies that can be used to track trends and help us to better understand why certain individuals within recognized high-risk groups are at greater risks than others for contracting IFDs. The growing use of antifungals in prophylaxis and treatment influences which species will cause an IFD as well as the resistance patterns of these fungi. On the one hand, antifungal prophylaxis has mitigated, but not eliminated, the threat of candidiasis. Furthermore, prophylaxis trials have shown trends of reduced aspergillosis in BMT patients; however, no survival benefits were seen, and 1 trial indicated a lower rate of aspergillosis and survival benefits in patients with AML. Future prophylaxis trials should reduce the heterogeneity of risk in study participants in order to better assess benefit; these trials should also incorporate fungal biomarkers into their design. The threat of emerging fungal resistance in prophylaxis strategies is real and must be monitored.
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Cryptococcosis Diagnosis and Treatment: What Do We Know Now.
Fungal Genet. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 08-11-2014
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Cryptococcosis has evolved into a major invasive fungal disease over the last century. Its primary epidemiology has been focused on three major outbreaks of disease that reflects both changing environmental exposures and growth of host risk factors. The molecular understandings of yeast pathobiology have been bolstered by identification of the yeast's dynamic genomic structures and functions. It is during these new insights into epidemiology and pathobiology that we have also improved our diagnosis of this infection with a new point-of-care, simple, cheap test which utilizes a lateral flow assay for antigen detection. With methods for effective identification of Cryptococcus in the host, the principles for management of this deadly infection include both use of old drugs and new insights into treatment strategies to improve outcome. In this review there are a series of recent insights, opinions, and facts which attempt to summarize our present knowledge base for this deadly fungal central nervous system infection with a particular emphasis on its diagnosis and management.
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Molecular Umbrella-Amphotericin B Conjugates.
Bioconjug. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 07-29-2014
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A tetrawalled and an octawalled molecular umbrella conjugate of amphotericin B (AmB) have been synthesized. Both conjugates exhibit high water solubility, a low tendency to aggregate, negligible hemolytic activity at 100 ?M, and an ability to release a derivative of AmB under reducing conditions that exhibits high antifungal activity. Whereas the larger, octawalled conjugate shows slight adsorption to liposomal membranes and an ability to cross them by passive transport, the tetrawalled analogue shows significant adsorption and much lower bilayer transport activity. The potential of molecular umbrella-AmB conjugates as therapeutic agents is briefly discussed.
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Phase 1b study of new posaconazole tablet for prevention of invasive fungal infections in high-risk patients with neutropenia.
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.
PUBLISHED: 07-21-2014
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Posaconazole tablets, a new oral formulation of posaconazole, can be effective when given as antifungal prophylaxis to neutropenic patients at high risk for invasive fungal infection (e.g., those with acute myelogenous leukemia or myelodysplastic syndrome). Such effectiveness might be specifically important to patients with poor oral intake because of nausea, vomiting, or chemotherapy-associated mucositis. This was a prospective, global study in high-risk patients to characterize the pharmacokinetics and safety profile of posaconazole tablets and to identify the dose of posaconazole tablets that would provide exposure within a predefined range of exposures (steady-state average concentration [area under the concentration-time curve/24 h] of ?500 ng/ml and ?2,500 ng/ml in >90% of patients). The study evaluated two sequential dosing cohorts: 200 mg posaconazole once daily (n = 20) and 300 mg posaconazole once daily (n = 34) (both cohorts had a twice-daily loading dose on day 1) taken without regard to food intake during the neutropenic period for ?28 days. The exposure target was reached (day 8) in 15 of 19 (79%) pharmacokinetic-evaluable patients taking 200 mg posaconazole once daily and in 31 of 32 (97%) patients taking 300 mg posaconazole once daily; 300 mg posaconazole once daily achieved the desired exposure target. Posaconazole tablets were generally well tolerated in high-risk neutropenic patients. (This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT01777763.).
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Mucormycosis Rhinosinusitis at Diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Diagnostics and Management Challenges in a Low-Middle-Income Country.
J. Pediatr. Hematol. Oncol.
PUBLISHED: 06-20-2014
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We present the case of an adolescent with mucor rhinosinusitis diagnosed concomitantly with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at a hospital in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. We also discuss the challenges faced in the dual management of hematologic malignancies and invasive fungal disease in a low-middle-income country, such as access to diagnostics, immunosuppressants, imaging, and antifungals. Despite these shortcomings, the patient was successfully treated for both the diseases. Low-middle-income country hospitals can effectively treat invasive fungal diseases by providing adequate diagnostic and support services, which can improve the outcomes of pediatric cancer patients.
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Very low levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D are not associated with immunologic changes or clinical outcome in South African patients with HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis.
Clin. Infect. Dis.
PUBLISHED: 05-13-2014
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Vitamin D deficiency is associated with impaired immune responses and increased susceptibility to a number of intracellular pathogens in individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It is not known whether such an association exists with Cryptococcus neoformans.
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Cryptococcosis: a model for the understanding of infectious diseases.
J. Clin. Invest.
PUBLISHED: 04-17-2014
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The increase in immunosuppressed patient populations has correlated with a rise in clinical fungal infections, including cryptococcosis. Patient outcome following Cryptococcus infection is linked to initial fungal burden in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and fungal clearance following treatment; however, the role of the pathogen in disease prognosis is poorly defined. In this issue of the JCI, Sabiiti and colleagues have directly correlated phenotypic traits of Cryptococcus neoformans with clinical outcome of infected patients. A better understanding of both the host and pathogen contributions to disease etiology will provide more options for targeted treatment strategies.
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Role of autophagy genetic variants for the risk of Candida infections.
Med. Mycol.
PUBLISHED: 04-08-2014
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Candida albicans can cause candidemia in neutropenic and critically ill patients and oropharyngeal candidiasis in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive patients with low CD4(+) counts. Because all patients at risk do not develop Candida infections, it is possible that a patient's genetic background might play a role in his or her susceptibility to infection. Autophagy mediates pathogen clearance and modulation of inflammation. Our aim was to assess the effect of genetic variations in the ATG16L1 and IRGM autophagy genes on the susceptibility of patients with candidemia and oropharyngeal candidiasis. We assessed genetic variations in the ATG16L1 and IRGM genes in a cohort of candidemia patients of both African and European origin. In addition, we evaluated the effect of these polymorphisms on the susceptibility to oropharyngeal candidiasis of an HIV-positive cohort from Tanzania. Functional studies have been performed to assess the effect of the ATG16L1 and IRGM genetic variants on both in vitro and in vivo cytokine production. The results indicate that ATG16L1 variants modulate production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, but not other cytokines, while no effects were seen in the presence of IRGM polymorphisms. In addition, no significant associations between the single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the ATG16L1 and IRGM genetic variants and the incidence of candidemia or oropharyngeal candidiasis were identified. Despite moderate effects on the modulation of proinflammatory cytokine production, genetic variation in the autophagy genes ATG16L1 and IRGM has a minor impact on the susceptibility to both mucosal and systemic Candida infections.
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Analysis of the genome and transcriptome of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii reveals complex RNA expression and microevolution leading to virulence attenuation.
PLoS Genet.
PUBLISHED: 04-01-2014
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Cryptococcus neoformans is a pathogenic basidiomycetous yeast responsible for more than 600,000 deaths each year. It occurs as two serotypes (A and D) representing two varieties (i.e. grubii and neoformans, respectively). Here, we sequenced the genome and performed an RNA-Seq-based analysis of the C. neoformans var. grubii transcriptome structure. We determined the chromosomal locations, analyzed the sequence/structural features of the centromeres, and identified origins of replication. The genome was annotated based on automated and manual curation. More than 40,000 introns populating more than 99% of the expressed genes were identified. Although most of these introns are located in the coding DNA sequences (CDS), over 2,000 introns in the untranslated regions (UTRs) were also identified. Poly(A)-containing reads were employed to locate the polyadenylation sites of more than 80% of the genes. Examination of the sequences around these sites revealed a new poly(A)-site-associated motif (AUGHAH). In addition, 1,197 miscRNAs were identified. These miscRNAs can be spliced and/or polyadenylated, but do not appear to have obvious coding capacities. Finally, this genome sequence enabled a comparative analysis of strain H99 variants obtained after laboratory passage. The spectrum of mutations identified provides insights into the genetics underlying the micro-evolution of a laboratory strain, and identifies mutations involved in stress responses, mating efficiency, and virulence.
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T cells down-regulate macrophage TNF production by IRAK1-mediated IL-10 expression and control innate hyperinflammation.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 03-21-2014
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Endotoxemia is caused by excessive inflammation, but the immune system has various mechanisms to avoid collateral organ damage in endotoxemia. A handful of reports have shown that innate immune responses are suppressed by the adaptive immune system. However, the molecular mechanism by which adaptive immune cells suppress innate inflammatory responses is not clear. Here, we report that T cells are shown to interact with macrophages at the early stage of enodotoxemia and to prolong survival of mice through controlling TNF and IL-10 levels by macrophage CD40 stimulation. The cross-talk between CD40 and toll-like receptor (TLR4) signaling first mediates IL-1 receptor-associated kinase 1 (IRAK1) nuclear translocation and its binding to the IL-10 gene promoter in macrophages, without interfering with the NF?B pathway. IL-10 is then detected by macrophages in an autocrine fashion to destabilize Tnfa mRNA. To induce IRAK1-mediated IL-10 expression, signals from both CD40 and TLR4 are essential. CD40 signaling induces IRAK1 sumoylation in the presence of TNF receptor-associated factor 2 (TRAF2) and intracellular isoform of osteopontin (iOPN) whereas TLR4 signaling provides IFN regulatory factor 5 (IRF5) as a chaperone for sumoylated IRAK1 nuclear translocation. Interaction of T cells with macrophages was observed in the spleen in vivo after endotoxemia induction with LPS injection. Our study demonstrates a mechanistic basis for the immunosuppressive role of macrophage CD40 in LPS endotoxemia.
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AIDS-related mycoses: the way forward.
Trends Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 03-04-2014
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The contribution of fungal infections to the morbidity and mortality of HIV-infected individuals is largely unrecognized. A recent meeting highlighted several priorities that need to be urgently addressed, including improved epidemiological surveillance, increased availability of existing diagnostics and drugs, more training in the field of medical mycology, and better funding for research and provision of treatment, particularly in developing countries.
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The Cryptococcus neoformans transcriptome at the site of human meningitis.
MBio
PUBLISHED: 02-06-2014
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Cryptococcus neoformans is the leading cause of fungal meningitis worldwide. Previous studies have characterized the cryptococcal transcriptome under various stress conditions, but a comprehensive profile of the C. neoformans transcriptome in the human host has not been attempted. Here, we extracted RNA from yeast cells taken directly from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of two AIDS patients with cryptococcal meningitis prior to antifungal therapy. The patients were infected with strains of C. neoformans var. grubii of molecular type VNI and VNII. Using RNA-seq, we compared the transcriptional profiles of these strains under three environmental conditions (in vivo CSF, ex vivo CSF, and yeast extract-peptone-dextrose [YPD]). Although we identified a number of differentially expressed genes, single nucleotide variants, and novel genes that were unique to each strain, the overall expression patterns of the two strains were similar under the same environmental conditions. Specifically, yeast cells obtained directly from each patient's CSF were more metabolically active than cells that were incubated ex vivo in CSF. Compared with growth in YPD, some genes were identified as significantly upregulated in both in vivo and ex vivo CSF, and they were associated with genes previously recognized for contributing to pathogenicity. For example, genes with known stress response functions, such as RIM101, ENA1, and CFO1, were regulated similarly in the two clinical strains. Conversely, many genes that were differentially regulated between the two strains appeared to be transporters. These findings establish a platform for further studies of how this yeast survives and produces disease.
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Clinical effectiveness of posaconazole versus fluconazole as antifungal prophylaxis in hematology-oncology patients: a retrospective cohort study.
Cancer Med
PUBLISHED: 02-04-2014
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In preventing invasive fungal disease (IFD) in patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) or myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), clinical trials demonstrated efficacy of posaconazole over fluconazole and itraconazole. However, effectiveness of posaconazole has not been investigated in the United States in real-world setting outside the environment of controlled clinical trial. We performed a single-center, retrospective cohort study of 130 evaluable patients ?18 years of age admitted to Duke University Hospital between 2004 and 2010 who received either posaconazole or fluconazole as prophylaxis during first induction or first reinduction chemotherapy for AML or MDS. The primary endpoint was possible, probable, or definite breakthrough IFD. Baseline characteristics were well balanced between groups, except that posaconazole recipients received reinduction chemotherapy and cytarabine more frequently. IFD occurred in 17/65 (27.0%) in the fluconazole group and in 6/65 (9.2%) in the posaconazole group (P = 0.012). Definite/probable IFDs occurred in 7 (10.8%) and 0 patients (0%), respectively (P = 0.0013). In multivariate analysis, fluconazole prophylaxis and duration of neutropenia were predictors of IFD. Mortality was similar between groups. This study demonstrates superior effectiveness of posaconazole over fluconazole as prophylaxis of IFD in AML and MDS patients. Such superiority did not translate to reductions in 100-day all-cause mortality.
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Impact of surfactant protein D, interleukin-5, and eosinophilia on Cryptococcosis.
Infect. Immun.
PUBLISHED: 01-31-2014
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Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that initiates infection following inhalation. As a result, the pulmonary immune response provides a first line of defense against C. neoformans. Surfactant protein D (SP-D) is an important regulator of pulmonary immune responses and is typically host protective against bacterial and viral respiratory infections. However, SP-D is not protective against C. neoformans. This is evidenced by previous work from our laboratory demonstrating that SP-D-deficient mice infected with C. neoformans have a lower fungal burden and live longer than wild-type (WT) control animals. We hypothesized that SP-D alters susceptibility to C. neoformans by dysregulating the innate pulmonary immune response following infection. Thus, inflammatory cells and cytokines were compared in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from WT and SP-D(-/-) mice after C. neoformans infection. Postinfection, mice lacking SP-D have reduced eosinophil infiltration and interleukin-5 (IL-5) in lung lavage fluid. To further explore the interplay of SP-D, eosinophils, and IL-5, mice expressing altered levels of eosinophils and/or IL-5 were infected with C. neoformans to assess the role of these innate immune mediators. IL-5-overexpressing mice have increased pulmonary eosinophilia and are more susceptible to C. neoformans infection than WT mice. Furthermore, susceptibility of SP-D(-/-) mice to C. neoformans infection could be restored to the level of WT mice by increasing IL-5 and eosinophils by crossing the IL-5-overexpressing mice with SP-D(-/-) mice. Together, these studies support the conclusion that SP-D increases susceptibility to C. neoformans infection by promoting C. neoformans-driven pulmonary IL-5 and eosinophil infiltration.
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Efficacy of an abbreviated induction regimen of amphotericin B deoxycholate for cryptococcal meningoencephalitis: 3 days of therapy is equivalent to 14 days.
MBio
PUBLISHED: 01-30-2014
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Cryptococcal meningoencephalitis is an urgent global health problem. Induction regimens using 14 days of amphotericin B deoxycholate (dAmB) are considered the standard of care but may not be suitable for resource-poor settings. We investigated the efficacy of conventional and abbreviated regimens of dAmB for cryptococcal meningoencephalitis in both murine and rabbit models of cryptococcal meningoencephalitis. We examined the extent to which immunological effectors contribute to the antifungal effect. We bridged the results to humans as a first critical step to define regimens suitable for further study in clinical trials. There were significant differences in the murine plasma-versus-cerebrum dAmB concentration-time profiles. dAmB was detectable in the cerebrum throughout the experimental period, even following the administration of only three doses of 3 mg/kg. dAmB induced a fungistatic effect in the cerebrum with a 2- to 3-log10 CFU/g reduction compared with controls. The effect of 3 days of therapy was the same as that of daily therapy for 14 days. There was no evidence of increased numbers of CD3(+) CD4(+) or CD3(+) CD8(+) cells in treated mice to account for the persistent antifungal effect of an abbreviated regimen. The administration of dAmB at 1 mg/kg/day for 3 days was the same as daily therapy in rabbits. The bridging studies suggested that a human regimen of 0.7 mg/kg/day for 3 days resulted in nearly maximal antifungal activity in both the cerebrum and cerebrospinal fluid. An abbreviated regimen (3 days of therapy) of dAmB appears to be just as effective as conventional induction therapy for cryptococcal meningoencephalitis.
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Predictors and outcomes of Candida bloodstream infection: eight-year surveillance, western Saudi Arabia.
Int. J. Infect. Dis.
PUBLISHED: 01-25-2014
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To assess the epidemiological pattern of Candida bloodstream infection (BSI) over an 8-year period (2002-2009) in King Abdulaziz Medical City, western Saudi Arabia.
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Immunochip SNP array identifies novel genetic variants conferring susceptibility to candidaemia.
Nat Commun
PUBLISHED: 01-07-2014
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Candidaemia is the fourth most common cause of bloodstream infection, with a high mortality rate of up to 40%. Identification of host genetic factors that confer susceptibility to candidaemia may aid in designing adjunctive immunotherapeutic strategies. Here we hypothesize that variation in immune genes may predispose to candidaemia. We analyse 118,989 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across 186 loci known to be associated with immune-mediated diseases in the largest candidaemia cohort to date of 217 patients of European ancestry and a group of 11,920 controls. We validate the significant associations by comparison with a disease-matched control group. We observe significant association between candidaemia and SNPs in the CD58 (P = 1.97 × 10(-11); odds ratio (OR) = 4.68), LCE4A-C1orf68 (P = 1.98 × 10(-10); OR = 4.25) and TAGAP (P = 1.84 × 10(-8); OR = 2.96) loci. Individuals carrying two or more risk alleles have an increased risk for candidaemia of 19.4-fold compared with individuals carrying no risk allele. We identify three novel genetic risk factors for candidaemia, which we subsequently validate for their role in antifungal host defence.
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Recent advances in the treatment of life-threatening, invasive fungal infections.
Expert Opin Pharmacother
PUBLISHED: 09-19-2013
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Invasive fungal infections (IFIs) pose significant morbidity and are often life-threatening to many high-risk patients. Timely diagnosis and treatment of these infections with optimal therapy is imperative.
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Nitrogen source-dependent capsule induction in human-pathogenic cryptococcus species.
Eukaryotic Cell
PUBLISHED: 08-23-2013
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Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii cause meningoencephalitis and are an increasing human health threat. These pathogenic Cryptococcus species are neurotropic and persist in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of the mammalian host during infection. In order to survive in the host, pathogenic fungi must procure nutrients, such as carbon and nitrogen, from the CSF. To enhance our understanding of nutrient acquisition during central nervous system infection by Cryptococcus species, we examined the utilization of nitrogen sources available in CSF. We screened for the growth and capsule production of 817 global environmental and clinical isolates on various sources of nitrogen. Both environmental and clinical strains grew robustly on uric acid, Casamino Acids, creatinine, and asparagine as sole nitrogen sources. Urea induced the greatest magnitude of capsule induction. This induction was greater in Cryptococcus gattii than in C. neoformans. We confirmed the ability of nonpreferred nitrogen sources to increase capsule production in pathogenic species of Cryptococcus. Since urea is metabolized to ammonia and CO(2) (a known signal for capsule induction), we examined urea metabolism mutants for their transcriptional response to urea regarding capsule production. The transcriptional profile of C. neoformans under urea-supplemented conditions revealed both similar and unique responses to other capsule-inducing conditions, including both intra- and extracellular urea utilization. As one of the most abundant nitrogen sources in the CSF, the ability of Cryptococcus to import urea and induce capsule production may substantially aid this yeasts survival and propagation in the host.
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Dematiaceous fungi mimicking a conjunctival melanoma.
Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg
PUBLISHED: 08-22-2013
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An 85-year-old, immunocompetent man was referred to the authors due to the presence of an enlarging, pigmented mass of the conjunctiva concerning for a conjunctival melanoma. Wide excision of the mass revealed a pigmented or "dematiaceous" fungus. He was treated with topical natamycin, and the lesion healed well without any evidence of recurrence. Dematiaceous fungi should be considered in the differential for pigmented conjunctival lesions.
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CX3CR1-dependent renal macrophage survival promotes Candida control and host survival.
J. Clin. Invest.
PUBLISHED: 05-29-2013
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Systemic Candida albicans infection causes high morbidity and mortality and is associated with neutropenia; however, the roles of other innate immune cells in pathogenesis are poorly defined. Here, using a mouse model of systemic candidiasis, we found that resident macrophages accumulated in the kidney, the main target organ of infection, and formed direct contacts with the fungus in vivo mainly within the first few hours after infection. Macrophage accumulation and contact with Candida were both markedly reduced in mice lacking chemokine receptor CX3CR1, which was found almost exclusively on resident macrophages in uninfected kidneys. Infected Cx3cr1-/- mice uniformly succumbed to Candida-induced renal failure, but exhibited clearance of the fungus in all other organs tested. Renal macrophage deficiency in infected Cx3cr1-/- mice was due to reduced macrophage survival, not impaired proliferation, trafficking, or differentiation. In humans, the dysfunctional CX3CR1 allele CX3CR1-M280 was associated with increased risk of systemic candidiasis. Together, these data indicate that CX3CR1-mediated renal resident macrophage survival is a critical innate mechanism of early fungal control that influences host survival in systemic candidiasis.
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Fungal diagnosis: how do we do it and can we do better?
Curr Med Res Opin
PUBLISHED: 04-30-2013
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Morbidity and mortality remain high for patients with invasive fungal infections (IFIs) despite an increasing number of antifungals and other treatments. Many studies indicate that delayed or inaccurate diagnosis and treatment are major causes of poor outcomes in patients with IFIs.
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Pharmacodynamics of liposomal amphotericin B and flucytosine for cryptococcal meningoencephalitis: safe and effective regimens for immunocompromised patients.
J. Infect. Dis.
PUBLISHED: 04-18-2013
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Cryptococcal meningoencephalitis is a lethal infection with relatively few therapeutic options. The optimal dosage of liposomal amphotericin B (LAmB) alone or in combination with flucytosine is not known.
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Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of fluconazole for cryptococcal meningoencephalitis: implications for antifungal therapy and in vitro susceptibility breakpoints.
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.
PUBLISHED: 04-09-2013
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Fluconazole is frequently the only antifungal agent that is available for induction therapy for cryptococcal meningitis. There is relatively little understanding of the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics (PK-PD) of fluconazole in this setting. PK-PD relationships were estimated with 4 clinical isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans. MICs were determined using Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) methodology. A nonimmunosuppressed murine model of cryptococcal meningitis was used. Mice received two different doses of fluconazole (125 mg/kg of body weight/day and 250 mg/kg of body weight/day) orally for 9 days; a control group of mice was not given fluconazole. Fluconazole concentrations in plasma and in the cerebrum were determined using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The cryptococcal density in the brain was estimated using quantitative cultures. A mathematical model was fitted to the PK-PD data. The experimental results were extrapolated to humans (bridging study). The PK were linear. A dose-dependent decline in fungal burden was observed, with near-maximal activity evident with dosages of 250 mg/kg/day. The MIC was important for understanding the exposure-response relationships. The mean AUC/MIC ratio associated with stasis was 389. The results of the bridging study suggested that only 66.7% of patients receiving 1,200 mg/kg would achieve or exceed an AUC/MIC ratio of 389. The potential breakpoints for fluconazole against Cryptococcus neoformans follow: susceptible, ? 2 mg/liter; resistant, >2 mg/liter. Fluconazole may be an inferior agent for induction therapy because many patients cannot achieve the pharmacodynamic target. Clinical breakpoints are likely to be significantly lower than epidemiological cutoff values. The MIC may guide the appropriate use of fluconazole. If fluconazole is the only option for induction therapy, then the highest possible dose should be used.
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Brain inositol is a novel stimulator for promoting cryptococcus penetration of the blood-brain barrier.
PLoS Pathog.
PUBLISHED: 04-01-2013
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Cryptococcus neoformans is the most common cause of fungal meningitis, with high mortality and morbidity. The reason for the frequent occurrence of Cryptococcus infection in the central nervous system (CNS) is poorly understood. The facts that human and animal brains contain abundant inositol and that Cryptococcus has a sophisticated system for the acquisition of inositol from the environment suggests that host inositol utilization may contribute to the development of cryptococcal meningitis. In this study, we found that inositol plays an important role in Cryptococcus traversal across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) both in an in vitro human BBB model and in in vivo animal models. The capacity of inositol to stimulate BBB crossing was dependent upon fungal inositol transporters, indicated by a 70% reduction in transmigration efficiency in mutant strains lacking two major inositol transporters, Itr1a and Itr3c. Upregulation of genes involved in the inositol catabolic pathway was evident in a microarray analysis following inositol treatment. In addition, inositol increased the production of hyaluronic acid in Cryptococcus cells, which is a ligand known to binding host CD44 receptor for their invasion. These studies suggest an inositol-dependent Cryptococcus traversal of the BBB, and support our hypothesis that utilization of host-derived inositol by Cryptococcus contributes to CNS infection.
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Approaches to antifungal therapies and their effectiveness among patients with cryptococcosis.
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.
PUBLISHED: 03-11-2013
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The goal of this study was to determine the degree to which the persistence of cryptococcosis, overall 1-year mortality, and 1-year mortality due to cryptococcosis were influenced by initial antifungal treatment regimen in a cohort of adults with cryptococcosis treated at a tertiary care medical center. Risk factors, underlying conditions, treatment, and mortality information were obtained for 204 adults with cryptococcosis from Duke University Medical Center (DUMC) from 1996 to 2009. Adjusted risk ratios (RR) for persistence and hazard ratios (HR) for mortality were estimated for each exposure. The all-cause mortality rate among patients with nonsevere disease (20%) was similar to that in the group with disease (26%). However, the rate of cryptococcosis-attributable mortality with nonsevere disease (5%) was much lower than with severe disease (20%). Flucytosine exposure was associated with a lower overall mortality rate (HR, 0.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.2 to 0.9) and attributable mortality rate (HR, 0.5; 95% CI, 0.2 to 1.2). Receiving a nonrecommended antifungal regimen was associated with a higher relative risk of persistent infection at 4 weeks (RR, 1.9; 95% CI, 0.9 to 4.3), and the rate of attributable mortality among those not receiving the recommended dose of initial therapy was higher than that of those receiving recommended dosing (HR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.0 to 5.0). Thus, the 2010 Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) guidelines are supported by this retrospective review as a best-practice protocol for cryptococcal management. Future investigations should consider highlighting the distinction between all-cause mortality and attributable mortality so as not to overestimate the true effect of cryptococcosis on patient death.
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Posaconazole exhibits in vitro and in vivo synergistic antifungal activity with caspofungin or FK506 against Candida albicans.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-23-2013
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The object of this study was to test whether posaconazole, a broad-spectrum antifungal agent inhibiting ergosterol biosynthesis, exhibits synergy with the ?-1,3 glucan synthase inhibitor caspofungin or the calcineurin inhibitor FK506 against the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans. Although current drug treatments for Candida infection are often efficacious, the available antifungal armamentarium may not be keeping pace with the increasing incidence of drug resistant strains. The development of drug combinations or novel antifungal drugs to address emerging drug resistance is therefore of general importance. Combination drug therapies are employed to treat patients with HIV, cancer, or tuberculosis, and has considerable promise in the treatment of fungal infections like cryptococcal meningitis and C. albicans infections. Our studies reported here demonstrate that posaconazole exhibits in vitro synergy with caspofungin or FK506 against drug susceptible or resistant C. albicans strains. Furthermore, these combinations also show in vivo synergy against C. albicans strain SC5314 and its derived echinocandin-resistant mutants, which harbor an S645Y mutation in the CaFks1 ?-1,3 glucan synthase drug target, suggesting potential therapeutic applicability for these combinations in the future.
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Functional genomics identifies type I interferon pathway as central for host defense against Candida albicans.
Nat Commun
PUBLISHED: 01-10-2013
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Candida albicans is the most common human fungal pathogen causing mucosal and systemic infections. However, human antifungal immunity remains poorly defined. Here by integrating transcriptional analysis and functional genomics, we identified Candida-specific host defence mechanisms in humans. Candida induced significant expression of genes from the type I interferon pathway in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. This unexpectedly prominent role of type I interferon pathway in anti-Candida host defence was supported by additional evidence. Polymorphisms in type I interferon genes modulated Candida-induced cytokine production and were correlated with susceptibility to systemic candidiasis. In in vitro experiments, type I interferons skewed Candida-induced inflammation from a Th17 response towards a Th1 response. Patients with chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis displayed defective expression of genes in the type I interferon pathway. These findings indicate that the type I interferon pathway is a main signature of Candida-induced inflammation and has a crucial role in anti-Candida host defence in humans.
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Cytokine gene polymorphisms and the outcome of invasive candidiasis: a prospective cohort study.
Clin. Infect. Dis.
PUBLISHED: 12-05-2011
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?Candida bloodstream infections cause significant morbidity and mortality among hospitalized patients. Although clinical and microbiological factors affecting prognosis have been identified, the impact of genetic variation in the innate immune responses mediated by cytokines on outcomes of infection remains to be studied.
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Host defenses against cryptococcosis.
Immunol. Invest.
PUBLISHED: 10-12-2011
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The interaction of pathogenic Cryptococcus species with their various hosts is somewhat unique compared to other fungal pathogens such as Aspergillus fumigatus and Candida albicans. Cryptococcus shares an intimate association with host immune cells, leading to enhanced intracellular growth. Furthermore, unlike most other fungal pathogens, the signs and symptoms of cryptococcal disease are typically self-inflicted by the host during the hosts attempt to clear this invader from sensitive organ systems such as the central nervous system. In this review, we will summarize the story of host-Cryptococcus interactions to date and explore strategies to exploit the current knowledge for treatment of cryptococcal infections.
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The Deferasirox-AmBisome Therapy for Mucormycosis (DEFEAT Mucor) study: a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial.
J. Antimicrob. Chemother.
PUBLISHED: 09-20-2011
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Host iron availability is fundamental to mucormycosis pathogenesis. The combination of liposomal amphotericin B (LAmB) and deferasirox iron chelation therapy synergistically improved survival in diabetic mice with mucormycosis. To determine the safety of combination deferasirox plus LAmB therapy for mucormycosis, a multicentred, placebo-controlled, double-blinded clinical trial was conducted.
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Variation in chromosome copy number influences the virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans and occurs in isolates from AIDS patients.
BMC Genomics
PUBLISHED: 09-05-2011
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The adaptation of pathogenic fungi to the host environment via large-scale genomic changes is a poorly characterized phenomenon. Cryptococcus neoformans is the leading cause of fungal meningoencephalitis in HIV/AIDS patients, and we recently discovered clinical strains of the fungus that are disomic for chromosome 13. Here, we examined the genome plasticity and phenotypes of monosomic and disomic strains, and compared their virulence in a mouse model of cryptococcosis
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Genetic variation in the dectin-1/CARD9 recognition pathway and susceptibility to candidemia.
J. Infect. Dis.
PUBLISHED: 09-02-2011
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Candidemia is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients or patients undergoing invasive treatments. Dectin-1 is the main ?-glucan receptor, and patients with a complete deficiency of either dectin-1 or its adaptor molecule CARD9 display persistent mucosal infections with Candida albicans. The role of genetic variation of DECTIN-1 and CARD9 genes on the susceptibility to candidemia is unknown.
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No evidence of age-related increases in unconscious plagiarism during free recall.
Memory
PUBLISHED: 08-26-2011
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In three experiments younger and older participants took part in a group generation task prior to a delayed recall task. In each, participants were required to recall the items that they had generated, avoiding plagiarism errors. All studies showed the same pattern: older adults did not plagiarise their partners any more than younger adults did. However, older adults were more likely than younger adults to intrude with entirely novel items not previously generated by anyone. These findings stand in opposition to the single previous demonstration of age-related increases in plagiarism during recall.
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Addressing current medical needs in invasive fungal infection prevention and treatment with new antifungal agents, strategies and formulations.
Expert Opin Emerg Drugs
PUBLISHED: 08-18-2011
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Introduction: Morbidity and mortality associated with invasive fungal infections (IFIs) remains unacceptably high. Such diseases represent a substantial burden to the healthcare system. New options are needed to address antifungal resistance in existing and emerging pathogens and improve treatment outcomes while minimizing drug-related toxicities and interactions. Awareness of new and potential future options is of great value for those healthcare professionals who care for patients with IFIs. Areas covered: A search of PubMed, infectious diseases conference abstracts and reference lists from relevant publications was conducted and relevant information abstracted. This review describes the limitations of existing systemic antifungal therapies (e.g., resistance, drug-drug interactions, drug-related toxicities) and summarizes data regarding several emerging antifungal compounds including (but not limited to) new triazoles (e.g. isavuconazole, ravuconazole), echinocandins (e.g., aminocandin) and nikkomycin Z. Agents in clinical trials such as (but not limited to) new triazoles (e.g., isavuconazole, ravuconazole), echinocandins (e.g., aminocandin) and nikkomycin are included. New formulations of existing drugs including reformulations of miconazole, posaconazole and amphotericin B are also reviewed. Finally, new or novel administration strategies for existing drugs such as combination antifungal therapy, antifungal dose escalation, adjunctive use of iron chelators and preemptive therapy are discussed. Expert opinion: All present antifungal agents have some deficiencies in antifungal spectra, toxicity, pharmacokinetics and/or drug-drug interactions, making them less than ideal for some fungal infections. Therefore, there remains an urgent need to find safe, effective, rapidly fungicidal, broad-spectrum antifungal agents with excellent pharmacodynamics to effectively eliminate the fungus from the body with short antifungal courses.
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Cryptococcus gattii genotype VGI infection in New England.
Pediatr. Infect. Dis. J.
PUBLISHED: 08-05-2011
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Cryptococcus gattii is a known, emerging infectious disease pathogen predominantly in the Pacific Northwest, the United States, and British Columbia, Canada. We report a case of an immunocompetent adolescent from New England who had severe pulmonary and central nervous system infection caused by the VGI genotype of C. gattii.
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A chronological history of the International Conference on Cryptococcus and Cryptococcosis (ICCC), an invaluable forum for growth of the cryptococcal research field and clinical practice.
Mycopathologia
PUBLISHED: 07-19-2011
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Cryptococcologists meet every 3 years to present their new research data and discuss the current state of cryptococcosis therapy at the International Conference on Cryptococcus and Cryptococcosis (ICCC). The ICCC has served as a unique forum where mycologists could interact and share their research data in a setting exclusively devoted to the study of Cryptococcus and cryptococcosis. This article presents an historical perspective on the ICCC meetings, beginning with the first ICCC that was held in Jerusalem, Israel in 1989. Subsequent ICCC meetings have grown, in terms of attendance and submitted abstracts. The history of the ICCC serves as a testimony to the remarkable progress that has been made in our basic understanding of the molecular biology, biochemistry, ecology, and taxonomy of Cryptococcus as well as the epidemiology, immunology, clinical manifestations, and treatment for cryptococcosis.
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Quantitation of Candida CFU in initial positive blood cultures.
J. Clin. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 06-15-2011
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One potential limitation of DNA-based molecular diagnostic tests for Candida bloodstream infection (BSI) is organism burden, which is not sufficiently characterized. We hypothesized that the number of CFU per milliliter (CFU/ml) present in an episode of Candida BSI is too low for reliable DNA-based diagnostics. In this study, we determined Candida burden in the first positive blood culture and explored factors that affect organism numbers and patient outcomes. We reviewed records of consecutive patients with a positive blood culture for Candida in the lysis-centrifugation blood culture system (Isolator, Wampole Laboratories, Cranbury, NJ) from 1987 to 1991. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression analyses were performed. One hundred fifty-two episodes of Candida BSI were analyzed. Patient characteristics included adult age (72%), indwelling central venous catheters (83%), recent surgery (29%), neutropenia (24%), transplant (14%), and other immune suppression (21%). Rates of treatment success and 30-day mortality for candidemia were each 51%. The median CFU/ml was 1 (mode 0.1, range 0.1 to >1,000). In the multivariate analysis, pediatric patients were more likely than adults to have high organism burdens (odds ratio [OR], 10.7; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 4.3 to 26.5). Initial organism density did not affect patient outcome. Candida CFU/ml in the first positive blood culture of a BSI episode varies greatly; >50% of cultures had ?1 CFU/ml, a concentration below the experimental yeast cell threshold for reliable DNA-based diagnostics. DNA-based diagnostics for Candida BSI will be challenged by low organism density and the need for sufficient specimen volume; future research on alternate targets is warranted.
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Deletion of Cryptococcus neoformans AIF ortholog promotes chromosome aneuploidy and fluconazole-resistance in a metacaspase-independent manner.
PLoS Pathog.
PUBLISHED: 04-13-2011
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Apoptosis is a form of programmed cell death critical for development and homeostasis in multicellular organisms. Apoptosis-like cell death (ALCD) has been described in several fungi, including the opportunistic human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. In addition, capsular polysaccharides of C. neoformans are known to induce apoptosis in host immune cells, thereby contributing to its virulence. Our goals were to characterize the apoptotic signaling cascade in C. neoformans as well as its unique features compared to the host machinery to exploit the endogenous fungal apoptotic pathways as a novel antifungal strategy in the future. The dissection of apoptotic pathways revealed that apoptosis-inducing factor (Aif1) and metacaspases (Mca1 and Mca2) are independently required for ALCD in C. neoformans. We show that the apoptotic pathways are required for cell fusion and sporulation during mating, indicating that apoptosis may occur during sexual development. Previous studies showed that antifungal drugs induce ALCD in fungi and that C. neoformans adapts to high concentrations of the antifungal fluconazole (FLC) by acquisition of aneuploidy, especially duplication of chromosome 1 (Chr1). Disruption of aif1, but not the metacaspases, stimulates the emergence of aneuploid subpopulations with Chr1 disomy that are resistant to fluconazole (FLC(R)) in vitro and in vivo. FLC(R) isolates in the aif1 background are stable in the absence of the drug, while those in the wild-type background readily revert to FLC sensitivity. We propose that apoptosis orchestrated by Aif1 might eliminate aneuploid cells from the population and defects in this pathway contribute to the selection of aneuploid FLC(R) subpopulations during treatment. Aneuploid clinical isolates with disomies for chromosomes other than Chr1 exhibit reduced AIF1 expression, suggesting that inactivation of Aif1 might be a novel aneuploidy-tolerating mechanism in fungi that facilitates the selection of antifungal drug resistance.
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Cryptococcus gattii: an emerging fungal pathogen infecting humans and animals.
Microbes Infect.
PUBLISHED: 03-23-2011
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Infectious fungi are among a broad group of microbial pathogens that has and continues to emerge concomitantly due to the global AIDS pandemic as well as an overall increase of patients with compromised immune systems. In addition, many pathogens have been emerging and re-emerging, causing disease in both individuals who have an identifiable immune defect and those who do not. The fungal pathogen Cryptococcus gattii can infect individuals with and without an identifiable immune defect, with a broad geographic range including both endemic areas and emerging outbreak regions. Infections in patients and animals can be severe and often fatal if untreated. We review the molecular epidemiology, population structure, clinical manifestations, and ecological niche of this emerging pathogen.
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Strategies to manage antifungal drug resistance.
Expert Opin Pharmacother
PUBLISHED: 01-14-2011
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Invasive fungal infections continue to cause significant morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised hosts. From more than half a million deaths from cryptococcosis in sub-Saharan Africa to an unchanging death rate from invasive candidiasis, despite three antifungal classes of drugs, insights into better strategies to reduce therapeutic failures or resistance are needed.
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Cryptococcus gattii virulence composite: candidate genes revealed by microarray analysis of high and less virulent Vancouver island outbreak strains.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-13-2011
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Human and animal cryptococcosis due to an unusual molecular type of Cryptococcus gattii (VGII) emerged recently on Vancouver Island, Canada. Unlike C. neoformans, C. gattii causes disease mainly in immunocompetent hosts, despite producing a similar suite of virulence determinants. To investigate a potential relationship between the regulation of expression of a virulence gene composite and virulence, we took advantage of two subtypes of VGII (a and b), one highly virulent (R265) and one less virulent (R272), that were identified from the Vancouver outbreak. By expression microarray analysis, 202 genes showed at least a 2-fold difference in expression with 108 being up- and 94 being down-regulated in strain R265 compared with strain R272. Specifically, expression levels of genes encoding putative virulence factors (e.g. LAC1, LAC2, CAS3 and MPK1) and genes encoding proteins involved in cell wall assembly, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism were increased in strain R265, whereas genes involved in the regulation of mitosis and ergosterol biosynthesis were suppressed. In vitro phenotypic studies and transcription analysis confirmed the microarray results. Gene disruption of LAC1 and MPK1 revealed defects in melanin synthesis and cell wall integrity, respectively, where CAS3 was not essential for capsule production. Moreover, MPK1 also controls melanin and capsule production and causes a severe attenuation of the virulence in a murine inhalational model. Overall, this study provides the basis for further genetic studies to characterize the differences in the virulence composite of strains with minor evolutionary divergences in gene expression in the primary pathogen C. gattii, that have led to a major invasive fungal infection outbreak.
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An official American Thoracic Society statement: Treatment of fungal infections in adult pulmonary and critical care patients.
Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med.
PUBLISHED: 01-04-2011
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With increasing numbers of immune-compromised patients with malignancy, hematologic disease, and HIV, as well as those receiving immunosupressive drug regimens for the management of organ transplantation or autoimmune inflammatory conditions, the incidence of fungal infections has dramatically increased over recent years. Definitive diagnosis of pulmonary fungal infections has also been substantially assisted by the development of newer diagnostic methods and techniques, including the use of antigen detection, polymerase chain reaction, serologies, computed tomography and positron emission tomography scans, bronchoscopy, mediastinoscopy, and video-assisted thorascopic biopsy. At the same time, the introduction of new treatment modalities has significantly broadened options available to physicians who treat these conditions. While traditionally antifungal therapy was limited to the use of amphotericin B, flucytosine, and a handful of clinically available azole agents, current pharmacologic treatment options include potent new azole compounds with extended antifungal activity, lipid forms of amphotericin B, and newer antifungal drugs, including the echinocandins. In view of the changing treatment of pulmonary fungal infections, the American Thoracic Society convened a working group of experts in fungal infections to develop a concise clinical statement of current therapeutic options for those fungal infections of particular relevance to pulmonary and critical care practice. This document focuses on three primary areas of concern: the endemic mycoses, including histoplasmosis, sporotrichosis, blastomycosis, and coccidioidomycosis; fungal infections of special concern for immune-compromised and critically ill patients, including cryptococcosis, aspergillosis, candidiasis, and Pneumocystis pneumonia; and rare and emerging fungal infections.
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Polyhexamethylene biguanide and calcineurin inhibitors as novel antifungal treatments for Aspergillus keratitis.
Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci.
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2011
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To establish polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB) as an effective treatment for Aspergillus keratitis in a novel murine model. To determine the ability of the calcineurin inhibitors tacrolimus (FK506) and cyclosporine A (CSA) to enhance the activity of PHMB, amphotericin B (AMB), and voriconazole (VCZ) against Aspergillus keratitis.
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Cryptococcus neoformans requires a functional glycolytic pathway for disease but not persistence in the host.
MBio
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2011
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Cryptococcus neoformans is an important fungal pathogen of immunocompromised individuals, with a close relative, Cryptococcus gattii, emerging as a serious threat for the immunocompetent. During initial infection, C. neoformans colonizes the airspaces of the lungs, resulting in pneumonia, and subsequently migrates to the central nervous system (CNS). We sought to understand fungal carbon utilization during colonization of these fundamentally different niches within the host, in particular the roles of gluconeogenesis and glycolysis. We created mutants at key points in the gluconeogenesis/glycolysis metabolic pathways that are restricted for growth on lactate and glucose, respectively. A phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase mutant (the pck1? mutant), blocked for entry of 2- and 3-carbon substrates into gluconeogenesis and attenuated for virulence in a murine inhalation model, showed wild-type (WT) persistence in a rabbit cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) model of cryptococcosis. Conversely, both the pyruvate kinase (pyk1?) and the hexose kinase I and II (hxk1?/hxk2?) mutants, which show impaired glucose utilization, exhibited severely attenuated virulence in the murine inhalation model of cryptococcosis and decreased persistence in the CNS in both the rabbit CSF and the murine inhalation models while displaying adequate persistence in the lungs of mice. These data suggest that glucose utilization is critical for virulence of C. neoformans and persistence of the yeast in the CNS.
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Early treatment of candidemia in adults: a review.
Med. Mycol.
PUBLISHED: 09-06-2010
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Invasive candidiasis is associated with high mortality, particularly in adults. Retrospective studies show that shorter times to treatment are correlated with a lower risk of death. A number of factors can be used to predict which patients would benefit from antifungal prophylaxis or early (pre-emptive or empirical) therapy. Detection of the fungal cell wall component (1?3)-?-D-glucan (BDG) shows promise as an early biomarker of invasive fungal infection and may be useful in identifying patients who would benefit from early antifungal treatment. To date, no consistent early treatment strategy has evolved. Proof-of-concept studies are needed to assess the role of pre-emptive and empirical therapy in ICU patients and the relevance of BDG as an early marker of infection.
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The (1,3){beta}-D-glucan test as an aid to early diagnosis of invasive fungal infections following lung transplantation.
J. Clin. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 08-18-2010
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The Fungitell assay for (1,3)?-D-glucan (BG) detection in serum has been evaluated in patients with invasive fungal infections (IFIs) and healthy controls and for the early diagnosis of IFI in cancer patients. We evaluated the BG assay for the detection of IFI in lung transplant recipients. Serial serum samples were prospectively collected from patients undergoing lung transplants at Duke Hospital. Fungal infections were classified according to revised European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer/Mycoses Study Group criteria. A receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curve was generated; possible causes for false-positive and false-negative tests were investigated by linear regression analysis. Seven hundred fifty-six serum specimens from 59 subjects without IFI and 41 specimens from 14 patients with proven or probable IFI were tested. The area under the ROC curve was 0.69. Based on a 60-pg/ml positive cutoff, per-patient sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) were 64%, 9%, 14%, and 50%, respectively; per-test estimates were 71%, 59%, 9%, and 97%, respectively. The majority (92%) of patients not diagnosed with an IFI had at least one BG level of ?60 pg/ml, and 90% had at least one BG level of ?80 pg/ml. Respiratory colonization with mold and hemodialysis significantly affected mean BG levels. In conclusion, the accuracy of the BG test is marginal and its utility as a tool for the early diagnosis of IFI is questionable in the lung transplant population. Although the NPV of the BG test is high, the low PPV limits its utility as a screening tool for early diagnosis of IFI.
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Survival defects of Cryptococcus neoformans mutants exposed to human cerebrospinal fluid result in attenuated virulence in an experimental model of meningitis.
Infect. Immun.
PUBLISHED: 08-09-2010
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Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungal pathogen that encounters various microenvironments during growth in the mammalian host, including intracellular vacuoles, blood, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Because the CSF is isolated by the blood-brain barrier, we hypothesize that CSF presents unique stresses that C. neoformans must overcome to establish an infection. We assayed 1,201 mutants for survival defects in growth media, saline, and human CSF. We assessed CSF-specific mutants for (i) mutant survival in both human bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and fetal bovine serum (FBS), (ii) survival in macrophages, and (iii) virulence using both Caenorhabditis elegans and rabbit models of cryptococcosis. Thirteen mutants exhibited significant survival defects unique to CSF. The mutations of three of these mutants were recreated in the clinical serotype A strain H99: deletions of the genes for a cation ATPase transporter (ena1?), a putative NEDD8 ubiquitin-like protein (rub1?), and a phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase (pik1?). Mutant survival rates in yeast media, saline, and BAL fluid were similar to those of the wild type; however, survival in FBS was reduced but not to the levels in CSF. These mutant strains also exhibited decreased intracellular survival in macrophages, various degrees of virulence in nematodes, and severe attenuation of survival in a rabbit meningitis model. We analyzed the CSF by mass spectrometry for candidate compounds responsible for the survival defect. Our findings indicate that the genes required for C. neoformans survival in CSF ex vivo are necessary for survival and infection in this unique host environment.
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Use of Antifungal Combination Therapy: Agents, Order, and Timing.
Curr Fungal Infect Rep
PUBLISHED: 06-25-2010
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Given the substantial morbidity and mortality related to invasive fungal infections, treatment with a combination of antifungal agents is often considered. A growing body of literature from in vitro studies, animal models, and clinical experience provides data evaluating this approach. This review describes combination antifungal strategies for the management of cryptococcal meningitis, invasive candidiasis, invasive aspergillosis, and rare mold infections. The potential effects that sequencing and timing have on the efficacy of such approaches are discussed, with a focus on recent clinical data in this arena.
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Trehalose 6-phosphate phosphatase is required for cell wall integrity and fungal virulence but not trehalose biosynthesis in the human fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus.
Mol. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 06-16-2010
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Summary The trehalose biosynthesis pathway is critical for virulence in human and plant fungal pathogens. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that trehalose 6-phosphate phosphatase (T6PP) is required for Aspergillus fumigatus virulence. A mutant of the A. fumigatus T6PP, OrlA, displayed severe morphological defects related to asexual reproduction when grown on glucose (1%) minimal media. These defects could be rescued by addition of osmotic stabilizers, reduction in incubation temperature or increase in glucose levels (> 4%). Subsequent examination of the mutant with cell wall perturbing agents revealed a link between cell wall biosynthesis and trehalose 6-phosphate (T6P) levels. As expected, high levels of T6P accumulated in the absence of OrlA resulting in depletion of free inorganic phosphate and inhibition of hexokinase activity. Surprisingly, trehalose production persisted in the absence of OrlA. Further analyses revealed that A. fumigatus contains two trehalose phosphorylases that may be responsible for trehalose production in the absence of OrlA. Despite a normal growth rate under in vitro growth conditions, the orlA mutant was virtually avirulent in two distinct murine models of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis. Our results suggest that further study of this pathway will lead to new insights into regulation of fungal cell wall biosynthesis and virulence.
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The economic costs to United States hospitals of invasive fungal infections in transplant patients.
Am J Infect Control
PUBLISHED: 06-15-2010
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Patients with a solid organ transplant (SOTs) and hematopoietic stem cell or bone marrow transplants (HSC/BMTs) are at risk of contracting invasive fungal infections (IFIs). Data on the economic burden of IFIs in the United States are sparse.
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Breakthrough invasive candidiasis in patients on micafungin.
J. Clin. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 04-26-2010
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For Candida species, a bimodal wild-type MIC distribution for echinocandins exists, but resistance to echinocandins is rare. We characterized isolates from patients with invasive candidiasis (IC) breaking through >or=3 doses of micafungin therapy during the first 28 months of its use at our center: MICs were determined and hot-spot regions within FKS genes were sequenced. Eleven of 12 breakthrough IC cases identified were in transplant recipients. The median duration of micafungin exposure prior to breakthrough was 33 days (range, 5 to 165). Seventeen breakthrough isolates were recovered: FKS hot-spot mutations were found in 5 C. glabrata and 2 C. tropicalis isolates; of these, 5 (including all C. glabrata isolates) had micafungin MICs of >2 microg/ml, but all demonstrated caspofungin MICs of >2 microg/ml. Five C. parapsilosis isolates had wild-type FKS sequences and caspofungin MICs of 0.5 to 1 microg/ml, but 4/5 had micafungin MICs of >2 microg/ml. The remaining isolates retained echinocandin MICs of 2 microg/ml and clinical breakthrough or an alternative mechanism contributes to the nonsusceptible echinocandin MICs in C. parapsilosis requires further study.
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PKC signaling regulates drug resistance of the fungal pathogen Candida albicans via circuitry comprised of Mkc1, calcineurin, and Hsp90.
PLoS Pathog.
PUBLISHED: 04-16-2010
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Fungal pathogens exploit diverse mechanisms to survive exposure to antifungal drugs. This poses concern given the limited number of clinically useful antifungals and the growing population of immunocompromised individuals vulnerable to life-threatening fungal infection. To identify molecules that abrogate resistance to the most widely deployed class of antifungals, the azoles, we conducted a screen of 1,280 pharmacologically active compounds. Three out of seven hits that abolished azole resistance of a resistant mutant of the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and a clinical isolate of the leading human fungal pathogen Candida albicans were inhibitors of protein kinase C (PKC), which regulates cell wall integrity during growth, morphogenesis, and response to cell wall stress. Pharmacological or genetic impairment of Pkc1 conferred hypersensitivity to multiple drugs that target synthesis of the key cell membrane sterol ergosterol, including azoles, allylamines, and morpholines. Pkc1 enabled survival of cell membrane stress at least in part via the mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade in both species, though through distinct downstream effectors. Strikingly, inhibition of Pkc1 phenocopied inhibition of the molecular chaperone Hsp90 or its client protein calcineurin. PKC signaling was required for calcineurin activation in response to drug exposure in S. cerevisiae. In contrast, Pkc1 and calcineurin independently regulate drug resistance via a common target in C. albicans. We identified an additional level of regulatory control in the C. albicans circuitry linking PKC signaling, Hsp90, and calcineurin as genetic reduction of Hsp90 led to depletion of the terminal MAPK, Mkc1. Deletion of C. albicans PKC1 rendered fungistatic ergosterol biosynthesis inhibitors fungicidal and attenuated virulence in a murine model of systemic candidiasis. This work establishes a new role for PKC signaling in drug resistance, novel circuitry through which Hsp90 regulates drug resistance, and that targeting stress response signaling provides a promising strategy for treating life-threatening fungal infections.
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Blood gene expression signatures predict invasive candidiasis.
Sci Transl Med
PUBLISHED: 04-09-2010
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Candidemia is the fourth most common bloodstream infection, with Candida albicans being the most common causative species. Success in reducing the associated morbidity and mortality has been limited by the inadequacy and time delay of currently available diagnostic modalities. Focusing on host response to infection, we used a murine model to develop a blood gene expression signature that accurately classified mice with candidemia and distinguished candidemia from Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia. Validation of the signature was achieved in an independent cohort of mice. Genes represented in the signature have known associations with host defense against Candida and other microorganisms. Our results demonstrate a temporal pattern of host molecular responses that distinguish candidemia from S. aureus-induced bacteremia and establish a novel paradigm for infectious disease diagnosis.
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Microfluidic platform versus conventional real-time polymerase chain reaction for the detection of Mycoplasma pneumoniae in respiratory specimens.
Diagn. Microbiol. Infect. Dis.
PUBLISHED: 03-12-2010
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Rapid, accurate diagnosis of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) due to Mycoplasma pneumoniae is compromised by low sensitivity of culture and serology. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has emerged as a sensitive method to detect M. pneumoniae DNA in clinical specimens. However, conventional real-time PCR is not cost-effective for routine or outpatient implementation. Here, we evaluate a novel microfluidic real-time PCR platform (Advanced Liquid Logic, Research Triangle Park, NC) that is rapid, portable, and fully automated. We enrolled patients with CAP and extracted DNA from nasopharyngeal wash (NPW) specimens using a biotinylated capture probe and streptavidin-coupled magnetic beads. Each extract was tested for M. pneumoniae-specific DNA by real-time PCR on both conventional and microfluidic platforms using Taqman probe and primers. Three of 59 (5.0%) NPWs were positive, and agreement between the methods was 98%. The microfluidic platform was equally sensitive but 3 times faster and offers an inexpensive and convenient diagnostic test for microbial DNA.
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Transcriptional regulation of chitin synthases by calcineurin controls paradoxical growth of Aspergillus fumigatus in response to caspofungin.
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.
PUBLISHED: 02-01-2010
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Attenuated activity of echinocandin antifungals at high concentrations, known as the "paradoxical effect," is a well-established phenomenon in Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus. In the yeast C. albicans, upregulation of chitin biosynthesis via the protein kinase C (PKC), high-osmolarity glycerol response (HOG), and Ca(2+)/calcineurin signaling pathways is an important cell wall stress response that permits growth in the presence of high concentrations of echinocandins. However, nothing is known of the molecular mechanisms regulating the mold A. fumigatus and its paradoxical response to echinocandins. Here, we show that the laboratory strain of A. fumigatus and five of seven clinical A. fumigatus isolates tested display various magnitudes of paradoxical growth in response to caspofungin. Interestingly, none of the eight strains showed paradoxical growth in the presence of micafungin or anidulafungin. Treatment of the DeltacnaA and DeltacrzA strains, harboring gene deletions of the calcineurin A subunit and the calcineurin-dependent transcription factor, respectively, with high concentrations of caspofungin revealed that the A. fumigatus paradoxical effect is calcineurin pathway dependent. Exploring a molecular role for CnaA in the compensatory chitin biosynthetic response, we found that caspofungin treatment resulted in increased chitin synthase gene expression, leading to a calcineurin-dependent increase in chitin synthase activity. Taken together, our data suggest a mechanistic role for A. fumigatus calcineurin signaling in the chitin biosynthetic response observed during paradoxical growth in the presence of high-dose caspofungin treatment.
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Clinical practice guidelines for the management of cryptococcal disease: 2010 update by the infectious diseases society of america.
Clin. Infect. Dis.
PUBLISHED: 01-06-2010
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Cryptococcosis is a global invasive mycosis associated with significant morbidity and mortality. These guidelines for its management have been built on the previous Infectious Diseases Society of America guidelines from 2000 and include new sections. There is a discussion of the management of cryptococcal meningoencephalitis in 3 risk groups: (1) human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals, (2) organ transplant recipients, and (3) non-HIV-infected and nontransplant hosts. There are specific recommendations for other unique risk populations, such as children, pregnant women, persons in resource-limited environments, and those with Cryptococcus gattii infection. Recommendations for management also include other sites of infection, including strategies for pulmonary cryptococcosis. Emphasis has been placed on potential complications in management of cryptococcal infection, including increased intracranial pressure, immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), drug resistance, and cryptococcomas. Three key management principles have been articulated: (1) induction therapy for meningoencephalitis using fungicidal regimens, such as a polyene and flucytosine, followed by suppressive regimens using fluconazole; (2) importance of early recognition and treatment of increased intracranial pressure and/or IRIS; and (3) the use of lipid formulations of amphotericin B regimens in patients with renal impairment. Cryptococcosis remains a challenging management issue, with little new drug development or recent definitive studies. However, if the diagnosis is made early, if clinicians adhere to the basic principles of these guidelines, and if the underlying disease is controlled, then cryptococcosis can be managed successfully in the vast majority of patients.
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Human dectin-1 deficiency and mucocutaneous fungal infections.
N. Engl. J. Med.
PUBLISHED: 10-30-2009
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Mucocutaneous fungal infections are typically found in patients who have no known immune defects. We describe a family in which four women who were affected by either recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis or onychomycosis had the early-stop-codon mutation Tyr238X in the beta-glucan receptor dectin-1. The mutated form of dectin-1 was poorly expressed, did not mediate beta-glucan binding, and led to defective production of cytokines (interleukin-17, tumor necrosis factor, and interleukin-6) after stimulation with beta-glucan or Candida albicans. In contrast, fungal phagocytosis and fungal killing were normal in the patients, explaining why dectin-1 deficiency was not associated with invasive fungal infections and highlighting the specific role of dectin-1 in human mucosal antifungal defense.
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Mortality, length of hospitalization, and costs associated with invasive fungal infections in high-risk patients.
Am J Health Syst Pharm
PUBLISHED: 09-22-2009
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The mortality, length of hospitalization, and costs associated with invasive fungal infections (IFIs) in hospitalized patients were studied.
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The trehalose synthesis pathway is an integral part of the virulence composite for Cryptococcus gattii.
Infect. Immun.
PUBLISHED: 08-03-2009
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The trehalose pathway is essential for stress tolerance and virulence in fungi. We investigated the importance of this pathway for virulence of the pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus gattii using the highly virulent Vancouver Island, Canada, outbreak strain R265. Three genes putatively involved in trehalose biosynthesis, TPS1 (trehalose-6-phosphate [T6P] synthase) and TPS2 (T6P phosphatase), and degradation, NTH1 (neutral trehalose), were deleted in this strain, creating the R265tps1 Delta, R265tps2 Delta, and R265nth1 Delta mutants. As in Cryptococcus neoformans, cellular trehalose was reduced in the R265tps1 Delta and R265tps2 Delta mutants, which could not grow and died, respectively, at 37 degrees C on yeast extract-peptone-dextrose agar, suggesting that T6P accumulation in R265tps2 Delta is directly toxic. Characterizations of the cryptococcal hexokinases and trehalose mutants support their linkage to the control of glycolysis in this species. However, unlike C. neoformans, the C. gattii R265tps1 Delta mutant demonstrated, in addition, defects in melanin and capsule production, supporting an influence of T6P on these virulence pathways. Attenuated virulence of the R265tps1 Delta mutant was not due solely to its 37 degrees C growth defect, as shown in worm studies and confirmed by suppressor mutants. Furthermore, an intact trehalose pathway controls protein secretion, mating, and cell wall integrity in C. gattii. Thus, the trehalose synthesis pathway plays a central role in the virulence composites of C. gattii through multiple mechanisms. Deletion of NTH1 had no effect on virulence, but inactivation of the synthesis genes, TPS1 and TPS2, has profound effects on survival of C. gattii in the invertebrate and mammalian hosts. These results highlight the central importance of this pathway in the virulence composites of both pathogenic cryptococcal species.
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Cost-effectiveness of posaconazole versus fluconazole or itraconazole in the prevention of invasive fungal infections among neutropenic patients in the United States.
Value Health
PUBLISHED: 06-11-2009
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Clinical trial data indicate that posaconazole is superior to fluconazole (FLU) or itraconazole (ITRA) in preventing invasive fungal infections (IFIs) among neutropenic patients. Our objective was to assess the cost-effectiveness of posaconazole versus FLU or ITRA for prevention of IFIs among neutropenic patients.
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Hsp90 governs echinocandin resistance in the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans via calcineurin.
PLoS Pathog.
PUBLISHED: 05-22-2009
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Candida albicans is the leading fungal pathogen of humans, causing life-threatening disease in immunocompromised individuals. Treatment of candidiasis is hampered by the limited number of antifungal drugs whose efficacy is compromised by host toxicity, fungistatic activity, and the emergence of drug resistance. We previously established that the molecular chaperone Hsp90, which regulates the form and function of diverse client proteins, potentiates resistance to the azoles in C. albicans and in the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Genetic studies in S. cerevisiae revealed that Hsp90s role in azole resistance is to enable crucial cellular responses to the membrane stress exerted by azoles via the client protein calcineurin. Here, we demonstrate that Hsp90 governs cellular circuitry required for resistance to the only new class of antifungals to reach the clinic in decades, the echinocandins, which inhibit biosynthesis of a critical component of the fungal cell wall. Pharmacological or genetic impairment of Hsp90 function reduced tolerance of C. albicans laboratory strains and resistance of clinical isolates to the echinocandins and created a fungicidal combination. Compromising calcineurin function phenocopied compromising Hsp90 function. We established that calcineurin is an Hsp90 client protein in C. albicans: reciprocal co-immunoprecipitation validated physical interaction; Hsp90 inhibition blocked calcineurin activation; and calcineurin levels were depleted upon genetic reduction of Hsp90. The downstream effector of calcineurin, Crz1, played a partial role in mediating calcineurin-dependent stress responses activated by echinocandins. Hsp90s role in echinocandin resistance has therapeutic potential given that genetic compromise of C. albicans HSP90 expression enhanced the efficacy of an echinocandin in a murine model of disseminated candidiasis. Our results identify the first Hsp90 client protein in C. albicans, establish an entirely new role for Hsp90 in mediating resistance to echinocandins, and demonstrate that targeting Hsp90 provides a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of life-threatening fungal disease.
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Surfactant protein D increases phagocytosis of hypocapsular Cryptococcus neoformans by murine macrophages and enhances fungal survival.
Infect. Immun.
PUBLISHED: 05-18-2009
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Cryptococcus neoformans is a facultative intracellular opportunistic pathogen and the leading cause of fungal meningitis in humans. In the absence of a protective cellular immune response, the inhalation of C. neoformans cells or spores results in pulmonary infection. C. neoformans cells produce a polysaccharide capsule composed predominantly of glucuronoxylomannan, which constitutes approximately 90% of the capsular material. In the lungs, surfactant protein A (SP-A) and SP-D contribute to immune defense by facilitating the aggregation, uptake, and killing of many microorganisms by phagocytic cells. We hypothesized that SP-D plays a role in C. neoformans pathogenesis by binding to and enhancing the phagocytosis of the yeast. Here, the abilities of SP-D to bind to and facilitate the phagocytosis and survival of the wild-type encapsulated strain H99 and the cap59Delta mutant hypocapsular strain are assessed. SP-D binding to cap59Delta mutant cells was approximately sixfold greater than binding to wild-type cells. SP-D enhanced the phagocytosis of cap59Delta cells by approximately fourfold in vitro. To investigate SP-D binding in vivo, SP-D(-/-) mice were intranasally inoculated with Alexa Fluor 488-labeled cap59Delta or H99 cells. By confocal microscopy, a greater number of phagocytosed C. neoformans cells in wild-type mice than in SP-D(-/-) mice was observed, consistent with in vitro data. Interestingly, SP-D protected C. neoformans cells against macrophage-mediated defense mechanisms in vitro, as demonstrated by an analysis of fungal viability using a CFU assay. These findings provide evidence that C. neoformans subverts host defense mechanisms involving surfactant, establishing a novel virulence paradigm that may be targeted for therapy.
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Invasive mould infections: a multi-disciplinary update.
Med. Mycol.
PUBLISHED: 05-16-2009
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Systemic fungal infections remain a significant cause of mortality in neutropenic and immunocompromised patients, despite advances in their diagnosis and treatment. The incidence of such infections is rising due to the use of intensive chemotherapy regimens in patients with solid tumours or haematological cancers, the increasing numbers of allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell and solid organ transplants, and the use of potent immunosuppressive therapy in patients with autoimmune disorders. In addition, the epidemiology of systemic fungal infections is changing, with atypical species such as Aspergillus terreus and zygomycetes becoming more common. Treatment has traditionally focused on empirical therapy, but targeted pre-emptive therapy in high-risk patients and prophylactic antifungal treatment are increasingly being adopted. New treatments, including lipid formulations of amphotericin B, second-generation broad-spectrum azoles, and echinocandins, offer effective antifungal activity with improved tolerability compared with older agents; the potential impact of these treatments is reflected in their inclusion in current treatment and prophylaxis guidelines. New treatment strategies, such as aerosolized lipid formulations of amphotericin B, may also reduce the burden of mortality associated with systemic fungal infections. The challenge is to identify ways of coupling potentially effective treatments with early and reliable identification of patients at highest risk of infection.
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Pharmacokinetics of posaconazole administered orally or by nasogastric tube in healthy volunteers.
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.
PUBLISHED: 05-11-2009
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The use of a nasogastric tube is one means of administering antifungal therapy to critically ill patients unable to receive medication via the oral route. This was a phase 1, open-label, single-center, randomized, crossover study of posaconazole administered via nasogastric tube in healthy volunteers. Each subject received two 400-mg single doses of posaconazole, one administered orally and one administered by nasogastric tube, with a 7-day washout period between each dose. Posaconazole was administered 5 to 10 min after subjects received a nutritional supplement. Blood samples for pharmacokinetic analysis were obtained up to 120 h postdose. The analysis of variance estimate of the study population suggests that the posaconazole nasogastric tube administration least-square mean values of observed maximum concentration (C(max)), area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC) to the last measurable concentration, and AUC to time infinity were 81%, 76%, and 77%, respectively, of the corresponding oral administration values. The reason for lower C(max) and AUC values when posaconazole is administered via the nasogastric tube route is not known. Oral and nasogastric tube administration of a single 400-mg dose of posaconazole suspension was safe and well tolerated in healthy adult subjects. The incidence and nature of treatment-emergent adverse events were similar with both administration routes, and no serious adverse events or clinically significant laboratory test or vital sign abnormalities were reported. Obtaining plasma posaconazole concentrations may be warranted when posaconazole is given to patients via a nasogastric tube to ensure adequate posaconazole exposure. Strategies that have been shown to enhance posaconazole exposure (such as splitting the dose and minimizing the use of proton pump inhibitors) may also be used.
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Molds: hyalohyphomycosis, phaeohyphomycosis, and zygomycosis.
Clin. Chest Med.
PUBLISHED: 04-21-2009
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Emerging fungi previously thought to be nonpathogenic are now recognized as playing a significant role in the increased incidence of invasive fungal disease. This change in the epidemiology of invasive fungal infections (IFIs) has occurred in the era of aggressive new therapies for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and other malignancies that lead to profound immunosuppression for longer durations and has extended the survival of these critically ill patients. The significant morbidity and mortality associated with these infections is not only related to the host populations but to delayed recognition and diagnosis and high rates of resistance in some of these emerging pathogens to standard antifungal therapies.
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Differential effects of inhibiting chitin and 1,3-{beta}-D-glucan synthesis in ras and calcineurin mutants of Aspergillus fumigatus.
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.
PUBLISHED: 04-21-2009
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Aspergillus fumigatus must be able to properly form hyphae and maintain cell wall integrity in order to establish invasive disease. Ras proteins and calcineurin each have been implicated as having roles in these processes. Here, we further delineate the roles of calcineurin and Ras activity in cell wall biosynthesis and hyphal morphology using genetic and pharmacologic tools. Strains deleted for three genes encoding proteins of these pathways, rasA (the Ras protein), cnaA (calcineurin), or crzA (the zinc finger transcription factor downstream of calcineurin), all displayed decreased cell wall 1,3-beta-d-glucan content. Echinocandin treatment further decreased the levels of 1,3-beta-d-glucan for all strains tested yet also partially corrected the hyphal growth defect of the DeltarasA strain. The inhibition of glucan synthesis caused an increase in chitin content for wild-type, dominant-active rasA, and DeltarasA strains. However, this important compensatory response was diminished in the calcineurin pathway mutants (DeltacnaA and DeltacrzA). Taken together, our data suggest that the Ras and calcineurin pathways act in parallel to regulate cell wall formation and hyphal growth. Additionally, the calcineurin pathway elements cnaA and crzA play a major role in proper chitin and glucan incorporation into the A. fumigatus cell wall.
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JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.

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In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.