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Eukaryot Cell. 2015 Feb;14(2):158-69. doi: 10.1128/EC.00153-14. Epub 2014 Dec 5.

Asexual propagation of a virulent clone complex in a human and feline outbreak of sporotrichosis.

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Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, DF, Brazil.
Departamento de Microbiologia, Imunologia e Parasitologia, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Laboratório Nacional de Computação Científica, Petrópolis, RJ, Brazil.
Fungal Biodiversity Centre, Institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Department of Pathobiology, Nihon University School of Veterinary Medicine, Fujisawa, Kanagawa, Japan.
Instituto de Biologia Roberto Alcantara Gomes, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.
Ciências Genômicas e Biotecnologia, Universidade Católica de Brasília, Brasília, DF, Brazil Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, DF, Brazil


Sporotrichosis is one of the most frequent subcutaneous fungal infections in humans and animals caused by members of the plant-associated, dimorphic genus Sporothrix. Three of the four medically important Sporothrix species found in Brazil have been considered asexual as no sexual stage has ever been reported in Sporothrix schenckii, Sporothrix brasiliensis, or Sporothrix globosa. We have identified the mating type (MAT) loci in the S. schenckii (strain 1099-18/ATCC MYA-4821) and S. brasiliensis (strain 5110/ATCC MYA-4823) genomes by using comparative genomic approaches to determine the mating type ratio in these pathogen populations. Our analysis revealed the presence of a MAT1-1 locus in S. schenckii while a MAT1-2 locus was found in S. brasiliensis representing genomic synteny to other Sordariomycetes. Furthermore, the components of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-pheromone pathway, pheromone processing enzymes, and meiotic regulators have also been identified in the two pathogens, suggesting the potential for sexual reproduction. The ratio of MAT1-1 to MAT1-2 was not significantly different from 1:1 for all three Sporothrix species, but the population of S. brasiliensis in the outbreaks originated from a single mating type. We also explored the population genetic structure of these pathogens using sequence data of two loci to improve our knowledge of the pattern of geographic distribution, genetic variation, and virulence phenotypes. Population genetics data showed significant population differentiation and clonality with a low level of haplotype diversity in S. brasiliensis isolates from different regions of sporotrichosis outbreaks in Brazil. In contrast, S. schenckii isolates demonstrated a high degree of genetic variability without significant geographic differentiation, indicating the presence of recombination. This study demonstrated that two species causing the same disease have contrasting reproductive strategies and genetic variability patterns.

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