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Comparative genomics of the major fungal agents of human and animal Sporotrichosis: Sporothrix schenckii and Sporothrix brasiliensis

  • Author(s): Teixeira, MM
  • de Almeida, LGP
  • Kubitschek-Barreira, P
  • Alves, FL
  • Kioshima, ÉS
  • Abadio, AKR
  • Fernandes, L
  • Derengowski, LS
  • Ferreira, KS
  • Souza, RC
  • Ruiz, JC
  • de Andrade, NC
  • Paes, HC
  • Nicola, AM
  • Albuquerque, P
  • Gerber, AL
  • Martins, VP
  • Peconick, LDF
  • Neto, AV
  • Chaucanez, CB
  • Silva, PA
  • Cunha, OL
  • de Oliveira, FFM
  • dos Santos, TC
  • Barros, ALN
  • Soares, MA
  • de Oliveira, LM
  • Marini, MM
  • Villalobos-Duno, H
  • Cunha, MML
  • de Hoog, S
  • da Silveira, JF
  • Henrissat, B
  • Niño-Vega, GA
  • Cisalpino, PS
  • Mora-Montes, HM
  • Almeida, SR
  • Stajich, JE
  • Lopes-Bezerra, LM
  • Vasconcelos, ATR
  • Felipe, MSS
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2014 Teixeira et al. Background: The fungal genus Sporothrix includes at least four human pathogenic species. One of these species, S. brasiliensis, is the causal agent of a major ongoing zoonotic outbreak of sporotrichosis in Brazil. Elsewhere, sapronoses are caused by S. schenckii and S. globosa. The major aims on this comparative genomic study are: 1) to explore the presence of virulence factors in S. schenckii and S. brasiliensis; 2) to compare S. brasiliensis, which is cat-transmitted and infects both humans and cats with S. schenckii, mainly a human pathogen; 3) to compare these two species to other human pathogens (Onygenales) with similar thermo-dimorphic behavior and to other plant-associated Sordariomycetes. Results: The genomes of S. schenckii and S. brasiliensis were pyrosequenced to 17x and 20x coverage comprising a total of 32.3 Mb and 33.2 Mb, respectively. Pair-wise genome alignments revealed that the two species are highly syntenic showing 97.5% average sequence identity. Phylogenomic analysis reveals that both species diverged about 3.8-4.9 MYA suggesting a recent event of speciation. Transposable elements comprise respectively 0.34% and 0.62% of the S. schenckii and S. brasiliensis genomes and expansions of Gypsy-like elements was observed reflecting the accumulation of repetitive elements in the S. brasiliensis genome. Mitochondrial genomic comparisons showed the presence of group-I intron encoding homing endonucleases (HE's) exclusively in S. brasiliensis. Analysis of protein family expansions and contractions in the Sporothrix lineage revealed expansion of LysM domain-containing proteins, small GTPases, PKS type1 and leucin-rich proteins. In contrast, a lack of polysaccharide lyase genes that are associated with decay of plants was observed when compared to other Sordariomycetes and dimorphic fungal pathogens, suggesting evolutionary adaptations from a plant pathogenic or saprobic to an animal pathogenic life style. Conclusions: Comparative genomic data suggest a unique ecological shift in the Sporothrix lineage from plantassociation to mammalian parasitism, which contributes to the understanding of how environmental interactions may shape fungal virulence. Moreover, the striking differences found in comparison with other dimorphic fungi revealed that dimorphism in these close relatives of plant-associated Sordariomycetes is a case of convergent evolution, stressing the importance of this morphogenetic change in fungal pathogenesis.

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