Fungal pigments inhibit the matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry analysis of darkly pigmented fungi.
ABSTRACT Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) has been used to discriminate moniliaceous fungal species; however, darkly pigmented fungi yield poor fingerprint mass spectra that contain few peaks of low relative abundance. In this study, the effect of dark fungal pigments on the observed MALDI mass spectra was investigated. Peptide and protein samples containing varying concentrations of synthetic melanin or fungal pigments extracted from Aspergillus niger were analyzed by MALDI-TOF and MALDI-qTOF (quadrupole TOF) MS. Signal suppression was observed in samples containing greater than 250ng/μl pigment. Microscopic examination of the MALDI sample deposit was usually heterogeneous, with regions of high pigment concentration appearing as black. Acquisition of MALDI mass spectra from these darkly pigmented regions of the sample deposit yielded poor or no [M+H](+) ion signal. In contrast, nonpigmented regions within the sample deposit and hyphal negative control extracts of A. niger were not inhibited. This study demonstrated that dark fungal pigments inhibited the desorption/ionization process during MALDI-MS; however, these fungi may be successfully analyzed by MALDI-TOF MS when culture methods that suppress pigment expression are used. The addition of tricyclazole to the fungal growth media blocks fungal melanin synthesis and results in less melanized fungi that may be analyzed by MALDI-TOF MS.
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ABSTRACT: Within the past years MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry has become a powerful tool for the species identification of cultured bacteria and fungi. In the present study, the implementation of MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry in a commercial high throughput laboratory is described. The impact of different growth conditions on the identification results was evaluated. Although slight differences in MALDI-TOF spectra of E. coli and S. aureus strains cultured on blood agar for various periods (5, 18, 24 and 48 hours) were noticed, reliable species identification was obtained for all periods. The same was true when E. coli and S. aureus strains were cultured for 18 hours on various solid media. Reliable identification was also achieved when fungi were cultured on solid and in liquid media (Sabouraud bouillon). Moreover, growth of fungi in bouillon resulted in accelerated identification. MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry also allowed reliable identification of microorganisms from positive blood culture samples. In total, 2,900 specimens (234 different species) predominantly derived from clinical samples were examined. Microorganisms were cultured on solid media, in blood culture bottles and in liquid Sabouraud bouillon. 98.6% (n=2,860) of the MALDI-TOF identification results matched those of conventional methods (e.g. Gram staining, carbohydrate degradation ability, Phoenix system) and 16S rDNA PCR product sequencing. Mismatches were mainly based on missing reference spectra in the database of the analysis system. The study was performed in 2009. Due to continuous improvement of the database, even higher accuracy would be achieved when performing the study nowadays. In summary, the use of MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry in a clinical high throughput environment leads to reliable results, even when various culture conditions are used, for instance bouillons for culture of fungi. MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry is a fast and robust identification system, which is on its way to become a new standard for the identification of microorganisms in high throughput laboratories.Journal of Bacteriology and Parasitology. 01/2013;
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ABSTRACT: Abstract Aspergillus fumigatus is a filamentous fungus that produces abundant pigmented conidia. Several fungal components have been identified as virulence factors, including melanin; however, the impact of these factors in a repeated exposure model resembling natural environmental exposures remains unknown. This study examined the role of fungal melanin in the stimulation of pulmonary immune responses using immunocompetent BALB/c mice in a multiple exposure model. It compared conidia from wild-type A. fumigatus to two melanin mutants of the same strain, Δarp2 (tan) or Δalb1 (white). Mass spectrometry-based analysis of conidial extracts demonstrated that there was little difference in the protein fingerprint profiles between the three strains. Field emission scanning electron microscopy demonstrated that the immunologically inert Rodlet A layer remained intact in melanin-deficient conidia. Thus, the primary difference between the strains was the extent of melanization. Histopathology indicated that each A. fumigatus strain induced lung inflammation, regardless of the extent of melanization. In mice exposed to Δalb1 conidia, an increase in airway eosinophils and a decrease in neutrophils and CD8(+) IL-17(+) (Tc17) cells were observed. Additionally, it was shown that melanin mutant conidia were more rapidly cleared from the lungs than wild-type conidia. These data suggest that the presence of fungal melanin may modulate the pulmonary immune response in a mouse model of repeated exposures to A. fumigatus conidia.Journal of Immunotoxicology 08/2013; · 1.57 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: MALDI-TOF MS is a recent technique, which revolutionized bacterial species identifications, due to its simplicity, accuracy and speed of analysis. The same efficiency of species identification for fungi is highly sought. This review aims to discuss the evolving role of MALDI-TOF MS in the laboratory diagnosis of fungal infections. Yeast identifications are increasingly being performed with MALDI-TOF MS in a routine setting with good results. A further extension of the libraries will further increase its potential. Direct identification of yeast in blood cultures and MALDI-TOF MS susceptibility testing are new promising applications. The identification of filamentous fungi on MALDI-TOF MS is still challenging, but knowledge and experience is taking huge leaps forward.Current Fungal Infection Reports 09/2012; 6(3-September 2012):2206-214.