[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Isolation and identification of Cryptococcus neoformans and pathogenic yeast-like fungi from pigeon droppings has been taken for a long time and requires various nutrients for its growth. In this study, we attempted to establish a rapid direct identification method of Cr. neoformans from pigeon dropping samples by nested-PCR using internal transcribed spacer (ITS) CAP64 and CNLAC1 genes, polysaccharide capsule gene and laccase-associated gene to produce melanin pigment, respectively, which are common genes of yeasts. The ITS and CAP64 genes were amplified in all pathogenic yeasts, but CNLAC1 was amplified only in Cr. neoformans. The ITS gene was useful for yeast genotyping depending on nucleotide sequence. Homology of CAP64 genes among the yeasts were very high. The specificity of PCR using CNLAC1 was demonstrated in Cr. neoformans environmental strains but not in other yeast-like fungi. The CNLAC1 gene was detected in 5 serotypes of Cr. neoformans. The nested-PCR amplified up to 10(-11) μg of the genomic DNA and showed high sensitivity. All pigeon droppings among 31 Cr. neoformans-positive samples were positive and all pigeon droppings among 348 Cr. neoformans-negative samples were negative by the direct nested-PCR. In addition, after primary enrichment of pigeon droppings in Sabouraud dextrose broth, all Cr. neoformans-negative samples were negative by the nested-PCR, which showed high specificity. The nested-PCR showed high sensitivity without culture of pigeon droppings. Nested-PCR using CNLAC1 provides a rapid and reliable molecular diagnostic method to overcome weak points such as long culture time of many conventional methods.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cryptococcus neoformans (C neoformans) is a frequent cause of invasive fungal disease in immunocompromised human hosts. Ninety-eight samples of pigeon droppings were collected from the pigeon shelters in Seoul, and cultured on birdseed agar (BSA) and Sabouraud dextrose agar (SDA). One hundred yeast-like colonies were selected and identified via phenotype characteristics, such as colony morphology and biochemical characteristics. This was then followed with genotyping via sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. The colonies were classified into four kinds of colony color types: brown type (BrT), beige type (BeT), pink type (PT), and white type (WT). Numbers of isolated BrT, BeT, PT, and WT colonies were 22 (22%), 30 (30%), 19 (19%), and 39 (39%), respectively. All BrT colonies were identified as C neoformans. BeT were identified as 19 isolates of Cryptococcus laurentii, 10 isolates of Malassezia furfur, and 1 isolate of Cryptococcus uniguttulatus. PT was divided into two colony color types: light-PT (l-PT) and deep-PT (d-PT). Eighteen of l-PT and one of d-PT were identified as Rhodotorula glutinis and Rhodotorula mucilaginosa, respectively. WT were identified as 34 isolates of Cryptococcus guilliermondii, 3 isolates of Cryptococcus zeylanoides, 1 isolate of Cryptococcus sake, and 1 isolate of Stephanoascus ciferrii. Most strains were classified identically with the use of either phenotype or genotyping techniques, but C uniguttulatus and C sake classified by phenotyping were Pseudozyma aphidis and Cryptococcus famata by genotyping. This rapid screening technique of pathogenic yeast-like fungi by only colony characteristics is also expected to be very useful for primary yeast screening. Additionally, we investigated the seasonal variations of C neoformans and other yeast-like fungi from 379 pigeon-dropping samples that were collected from February 2011 to March 2011. We isolated 685 yeast-like fungi from the samples. Almost all C neoformans and yeast-like fungi were isolated in the fall (298 strains, 43.5%) and spring (244 strains, 35.6%). A few yeast-like fungi were isolated in winter (98 strains, 14.3%) and summer (45 strains, 6%). These results would be used as an important indicator related to epidemiology and prevention of pathogenic yeast-like fungi infections transmitted through pigeon droppings.