Genetic and environmental influences on the evolution of virulence in the HIV-associated opportunistic human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Y. YuChangbin Chen


The fungus Cryptococcus neoformans is considered the leading cause of death in immunocompromised patients. Despite numerous investigations concerning its molecular epidemiology, there are only a few studies addressing the impacts of varying factors on genotype-phenotype correlations. It remains largely unknown whether genetic and environmental variabilities among isolates from different sources may have dramatic consequences on virulence. In this study, we analyzed 105 Chinese C. neoformans isolates, including 54 from HIV-infected patients, 44 from HIV-uninfected individuals and 7 from a natural environment, to investigate factors influencing the outcome of C. neoformans infection. MLST analysis clearly identified sequence type (ST) 5 as the prevalent sequence type in all clinical isolates and interestingly, genotypic diversities were observed in isolates from both HIV-uninfected individual and natural environment but not those from HIV-infected patients. Moreover, we found that compared to those from HIV-infected patients, the isolates from HIV-uninfected individuals exhibited enhanced virulence-associated traits including significantly elevated capsule production and melanin formation, increases in survival in human cerebrosp...Continue Reading

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