The genome of the basidiomycetous yeast and human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans.

Institute for Genomic Research, 9712 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD 20850, USA.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.2). 03/2005; 307(5713):1321-4. DOI: 10.1126/science.1103773
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cryptococcus neoformans is a basidiomycetous yeast ubiquitous in the environment, a model for fungal pathogenesis, and an opportunistic human pathogen of global importance. We have sequenced its approximately 20-megabase genome, which contains approximately 6500 intron-rich gene structures and encodes a transcriptome abundant in alternatively spliced and antisense messages. The genome is rich in transposons, many of which cluster at candidate centromeric regions. The presence of these transposons may drive karyotype instability and phenotypic variation. C. neoformans encodes unique genes that may contribute to its unusual virulence properties, and comparison of two phenotypically distinct strains reveals variation in gene content in addition to sequence polymorphisms between the genomes.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cryptococcus, a major cause of disseminated infections in immunocompromised patients, kills over 600,000 people per year worldwide. Genes involved in virulence of this meningitis-causing fungus are being characterized at an increasing rate, and to date, at least 648 Cryptococcus gene names have been published. However, these data are scattered throughout the literature and are challenging to find. Furthermore, conflicts in locus identification exist, such that named genes have been subsequently published under new names, or names associated with one locus have been used for another locus. To avoid these conflicts and provide a central source of Cryptococcus gene information, we have collected all published Cryptococcus gene names from the scientific literature and associated them with standard Cryptococcus locus identifiers, and incorporated these into FungiDB ( FungiDB is a pan-fungal genome database that collects gene information and functional data, and provides search tools for 61 species of fungi and oomycetes. We applied these published names to a manually curated ortholog set of all Cryptococcus species currently in FungiDB, including C. neoformans var. neoformans strains JEC21 and B-3501A, C. neoformans var. grubii strain H99 and C. gattii strains R265 and WM276, and have written brief descriptions of their functions. We also compiled a protocol for gene naming that summarizes guidelines proposed by members of the Cryptococcus research community. The centralization of genomic and literature-based information for Cryptococcus at FungiDB will help researchers communicate about genes of interest, such as those related to virulence, and will further facilitate research on this pathogen.
    Eukaryotic Cell 05/2014; · 3.59 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cryptococcus neoformans is a human fungal pathogen that often causes lung and brain infections in immunocompromised patients, with a high fatality rate. Our previous results showed that an F-box protein, Fbp1, is essential for Cryptococcus virulence independent of the classical virulence factors, suggesting a novel virulence control mechanism. In this study, we show that Fbp1 is part of the ubiquitin-proteasome system, and we further investigated the mechanism of Fbp1 function during infection. Time course studies revealed that the fbp1Δ mutant causes little damage in the infected lung and that the fungal burden in the lung remains at a low but persistent level throughout infection. The fbp1Δ mutant cannot disseminate to other organs following pulmonary infection in the murine inhalation model of cryptococcosis but still causes brain infection in a murine intravenous injection model, suggesting that the block of dissemination of the fbp1Δ mutant is due to its inability to leave the lung. The fbp1Δ mutant showed a defect in intracellular proliferation after phagocytosis in a Cryptococcus-macrophage interaction assay, which likely contributes to its virulence attenuation. To elucidate the molecular basis of the SCF(Fbp1) E3 ligase function, we analyzed potential Fbp1 substrates based on proteomic approaches combined with phenotypic analysis. One substrate, the inositol phosphosphingolipid-phospholipase C1 (Isc1), is required for fungal survival inside macrophage cells, which is consistent with the role of Fbp1 in regulating Cryptococcus-macrophage interaction and fungal virulence. Our results thus reveal a new determinant of fungal virulence that involves the posttranslational regulation of inositol sphingolipid biosynthesis.
    Infection and immunity 02/2014; 82(2):557-68. · 4.21 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cryptococcus neoformans is a human fungal pathogen that causes lethal infections of the lung and central nervous system in immunocompromised individuals. C. neoformans has a defined bipolar sexual life cycle with a and α mating types. During the sexual cycle, which can occur between cells of opposite mating types (bisexual reproduction) or cells of one mating type (unisexual reproduction), a dimorphic transition from yeast to hyphal growth occurs. Hyphal development and meiosis generate abundant spores that, following inhalation, penetrate deep into the lung to enter the alveoli, germinate, and establish a pulmonary infection growing as budding yeast cells. Unisexual reproduction has been directly observed only in the Cryptococcus var. neoformans (serotype D) lineage under laboratory conditions. However, hyphal development has been previously associated with reduced virulence and the serotype D lineage exhibits limited pathogenicity in the murine model. In this study we show that the serotype D hyperfilamentous strain XL280α is hypervirulent in an animal model. It can grow inside the lung of the host, establish a pulmonary infection, and then disseminate to the brain to cause cryptococcal meningoencephalitis. Surprisingly, this hyperfilamentous strain triggers an immune response polarized towards Th2-type immunity, which is usually observed in the highly virulent sibling species C. gattii, responsible for the Pacific Northwest outbreak. These studies provide a technological advance that will facilitate analysis of virulence genes and attributes in C. neoformans var. neoformans, and reveal the virulence potential of serotype D as broader and more dynamic than previously appreciated.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(8):e104432. · 3.53 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Jun 5, 2014