[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pathogen host shifts represent a major source of new infectious diseases. There are several examples of cross-genus host jumps that have caused catastrophic epidemics in animal and plant species worldwide. Cross-kingdom jumps are rare, and are often associated with nosocomial infections. Here we provide an example of human-mediated cross-kingdom jumping of Exserohilum rostratum isolated from a patient who had received a corticosteroid injection and died of fungal meningitis in a Florida hospital in 2012. The clinical isolate of E. rostratum was compared with two plant pathogenic isolates of E. rostratum and an isolate of the closely related genus Bipolaris in terms of morphology, phylogeny, and pathogenicity on one C3 grass, Gulf annual rye grass (Lolium multiflorum), and two C4 grasses, Japanese stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum) and bahia grass (Paspalum notatum). Colony growth and color, as well as conidia shape and size were the same for the clinical and plant isolates of E. rostratum, while these characteristics differed slightly for the Bipolaris sp. isolate. The plant pathogenic and clinical isolates of E. rostratum were indistinguishable based on morphology and ITS and 28S rDNA sequence analysis. The clinical isolate was as pathogenic to all grass species tested as the plant pathogenic strains that were originally isolated from plant hosts. The clinical isolate induced more severe symptoms on stilt grass than on rye grass, while this was the reverse for the plant isolates of E. rostratum. The phylogenetic similarity between the clinical and plant-associated E. rostratum isolates and the ability of the clinical isolate to infect plants suggests that a plant pathogenic strain of E. rostratum contaminated the corticosteroid injection fluid and was able to cause systemic disease in the affected patient. This is the first proof that a clinical isolate of E. rostratum is also an effective plant pathogen.
PLoS ONE 10/2014; 9(10):e108691. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0108691 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Six species of Cystangium, a genus of sequestrate taxa related to Russula, were collected in Patagonia (Argentina and Chile) during autumn 2001. Two species, C. depauperatum Singer & A.H. Sm. and C. nothofagi (E. Horak) Trappe, Castellano & T. Lebel, were already known from this region, while four new species, C. domingueziae, C. gamundiae, C. grandihyphatum and C. longisterigmatum, are described, illustrated and a key to the species is provided. In addition, sequences of the ITS (rDNA) region were obtained to explore the phylogenetic relationships of our South American Cystangium species.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ectomycorrhizal fungus Cenococcum geophilum (Ascomycota, Dothideomycetes) forms black, round to irregular sclerotia in forest soils. Fungi that colonize the sclerotia appear to affect sclerotia viability and may play an important role in the life history of Cenococcum. Some of the fungi could also affect nutrient cycling by decomposing Cenococcum sclerotia, which are melanized and recalcitrant to decay. We used a culture-based method to document the fungal communities growing inside surface-sterilized sclerotia that were collected from forest soils. Cenococcum was successfully isolated from 297 out of 971 sclerotia whereas 427 sclerotia hosted fungi other than Cenococcum. DNA barcoding of the ITS rDNA followed by grouping at 97% sequence similarity yielded 85 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) that consisted primarily of Ascomycota (e.g. Chaetothyriales, Eurotiales, Helotiales, Pleosporales) and a few Basidiomycota and Mucoromycotina. Although most fungal OTUs were infrequently cultured, several OTUs such as members of Asterostroma, Cladophialophora, Oidiodendron and Pleosporales were common and found across many sites. Our results suggest that Cenococcum sclerotia act as a substrate for diverse fungi. The occurrence of several OTUs in sclerotia across many sites suggests that these fungi may be active parasites of Cenococcum sclerotia or may preferencially use sclerotia as a nutrient source.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The family Cudoniaceae (Rhytismatales, Ascomycota) was erected to accommodate the "earth tongue fungi" in the genera Cudonia and Spathularia. There have been no recent taxonomic studies of these genera, and the evolutionary relationships within and among these fungi are largely unknown. Here we explore the molecular phylogenetic relationships within Cudonia and Spathularia using maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference analyses based on 111 collections from across the Northern Hemisphere. Phylogenies based on the combined data from ITS, nrLSU, rpb2 and tef-1α sequences support the monophyly of three main clades, the /flavida, /velutipes, and /cudonia clades. The genus Cudonia and the family Cudoniaceae are supported as monophyletic groups, while the genus Spathularia is not monophyletic. Although Cudoniaceae is monophyletic, our analyses agree with previous studies that this family is nested within the Rhytismataceae. Our phylogenetic analyses circumscribes 32 species-level clades, including the putative recognition of 23 undescribed phylogenetic species. Our molecular phylogeny also revealed an unexpectedly high species diversity of Cudonia and Spathularia in eastern Asia, with 16 (out of 21) species-level clades of Cudonia and 8 (out of 11) species-level clades of Spathularia. We estimate that the divergence time of the Cudoniaceae was in the Paleogene approximately 28 Million years ago (Mya) and that the ancestral area for this group of fungi was in Eastern Asia based on the current data. We hypothesize that the large-scale geological and climatic events in Oligocene (e.g. the global cooling and the uplift of the Tibetan plateau) may have triggered evolutionary radiations in this group of fungi in East Asia. This work provides a foundation for future studies on the phylogeny, diversity, and evolution of Cudonia and Spathularia and highlights the need for more molecular studies on collections from Europe and North America.
PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e103457. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0103457 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Identifying the ecological processes that structure communities and the consequences for ecosystem function is a central goal of ecology. The recognition that fungi, bacteria, and viruses control key ecosystem functions has made microbial communities a major focus of this field. Because many ecological processes are apparent only at particular spatial or temporal scales, a complete understanding of the linkages between microbial community, environment, and function requires analysis across a wide range of scales. Here, we map the biological and functional geography of soil fungi from local to continental scales and show that the principal ecological processes controlling community structure and function operate at different scales. Similar to plants or animals, most soil fungi are endemic to particular bioregions, suggesting that factors operating at large spatial scales, like dispersal limitation or climate, are the first-order determinants of fungal community structure in nature. By contrast, soil extracellular enzyme activity is highly convergent across bioregions and widely differing fungal communities. Instead, soil enzyme activity is correlated with local soil environment and distribution of fungal traits within the community. The lack of structure-function relationships for soil fungal communities at continental scales indicates a high degree of functional redundancy among fungal communities in global biogeochemical cycles.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2014; 111(17). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1402584111 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most fungi produce some type of durable microscopic structure such as a spore that is important for dispersal and/or survival under adverse conditions, but many species also produce dense aggregations of tissue called sclerotia. These structures help fungi to survive challenging conditions such as freezing, desiccation, microbial attack, or the absence of a host. During studies of hypogeous fungi we encountered morphologically distinct sclerotia in nature that were not linked with a known fungus. These observations suggested that many unrelated fungi with diverse trophic modes may form sclerotia, but that these structures have been overlooked. To identify the phylogenetic affiliations and trophic modes of sclerotium-forming fungi, we conducted a literature review and sequenced DNA from fresh sclerotium collections. We found that sclerotium-forming fungi are ecologically diverse and phylogenetically dispersed among 85 genera in 20 orders of Dikarya, suggesting that the ability to form sclerotia probably evolved ≥14 different times in fungi.