Evolutionary relationships among Aspergillus terreus isolates and their relatives.

Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Szeged, P.O. Box 533, H-6701, Szeged, Hungary.
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (Impact Factor: 2.07). 09/2005; 88(2):141-50. DOI: 10.1007/s10482-005-3870-6
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Aspergillus terreus is a ubiquitous fungus in our environment. It is an opportunistic human pathogen and economically important as the main producer of lovastatin, a cholesterol lowering drug. Our aim was to examine the genetic variability of A. terreus and closely related species using molecular and analytical techniques. Lovastatin production was examined by HPLC. Lovastatin was produced by seven isolates belonging to the species A. terreus. RAPD analyses were carried out using 25 different random primers. Neighbor-joining analysis of RAPD data (120 characters) resulted in clustering of the A. terreus isolates into distinct groups. Some correlation was observed between lovastatin producing abilities of the isolates and their position on the dendrogram based on RAPD profiles. The internal transcribed spacer region and the 5.8S rRNA gene of A. terreus and related isolates was also sequenced. Phylogenetic analysis of sequence data let us classify the isolates into different clades which mostly correspond to the species Aspergillus terreus, Aspergillus flavipes, Aspergillus niveus, Aspergillus carneus and Aspergillus janus/A. janus var. brevis. Aspergillus allahabadii, A. terreus var. aureus and A. niveus var. indicus belonged to the A. niveus clade, while an Aspergillus isolate previously classified as A. niveus was most closely related to A. flavipes isolates. Aspergillus anthodesmis formed a distinct branch on the tree. Although it was previously suggested based on 28S rDNA sequence data that Aspergillus section Terrei should include A. carneus and A. niveus isolates, phylogenetic analysis of ITS sequences indicate that A. flavipes isolates are more closely related to A. terreus than A. carneus isolates. Our data suggest that sections Terrei and Flavipedes should be merged. However, further loci should be analysed to draw more definite conclusions.

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