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Microsc Res Tech. 2005 Dec 15;68(6):377-84.

Inhibition of melanin synthesis pathway by tricyclazole increases susceptibility of Fonsecaea pedrosoi against mouse macrophages.

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Laboratório de Biologia Celular de Fungos, Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho (IBCCF), Centro de Ciências da Saúde (CCS), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Bloco G, Ilha do Fundão, Rio de Janeiro 21949-900, Brazil.


Fonsecaea pedrosoi produces melanin, a pigment related to virulence in pathogenic fungi. To understand the involvement of melanin in the protection of fungi, the authors used tricyclazole to inhibit the melanin pathway in F. pedrosoi. Experiments of pigmentation suggested that F. pedrosoi uniquely produces dihydroxynaphthalene-melanin. Pigments produced on cultures modified or not with tricyclazole were extracted by an alkali-acid method and submitted to infrared and ion exchange chromatography analysis; also cytochemistry analysis for cationized ferritin of whole cells was carried out. This group of experiments showed that the tricyclazole treatment on F. pedrosoi produced a melanin-like pigment, but less negatively charged and with less affinity for iron ions than that without the tricyclazole treatment, and this in turn lead to a less negatively charge cell wall surface. Scanning electron microscopy of such pigments showed that the melanin from control cultures maintained their hyphae-like structures, which have been described as "melanin-ghosts," whereas the tricyclazole pigment showed an amorphous surface. Interaction of conidia from cultures of F. pedrosoi, modified by tricyclazole or not, with peritoneal activated macrophages suggested that tricyclazole causes higher association of fungus with macrophages, weakens the fungus capacity to destroy the macrophages, and diminishes the resistance to dry fracture procedures on samples prepared for high resolution scanning electron microscopy.

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