Evidence for sexuality in the opportunistic fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus

Mathieu Paoletti, Carla Rydholm, Elke U. Schwier, Michael J. Anderson, G. Szakács, François Lutzoni, Jean Paul Debeaupuis, Jean Paul Latgé, David W. Denning, Paul S. Dyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

215 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aspergillus fumigatus is a medically important opportunistic pathogen and a major cause of respiratory allergy [1]. The species has long been considered an asexual organism. However, genome analysis has revealed the presence of genes associated with sexual reproduction, including a MAT-2 high-mobility group mating-type gene and genes for pheromone production and detection (Galagan et al., personal communication; Nierman et al., personal communication; [2, 3]). We now demonstrate that A. fumigatus has other key characteristics of a sexual species. We reveal the existence of isolates containing a complementary MAT-1 α box mating-type gene and show that the MAT locus has an idiomorph structure characteristic of heterothallic (obligate sexual outbreeding) fungi [4, 5]. Analysis of 290 worldwide clinical and environmental isolates with a multiplex-PCR assay revealed the presence of MAT1-1 and MAT1-2 genotypes in similar proportions (43% and 57%, respectively). Further population genetic analyses provided evidence of recombination across a global sampling and within North American and European subpopulations. We also show that mating-type, pheromone-precursor, and pheromone-receptor genes are expressed during mycelial growth. These results indicate that A. fumigatus has a recent evolutionary history of sexual recombination and might have the potential for sexual reproduction. The possible presence of a sexual cycle is highly significant for the population biology and disease management of the species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1242-1248
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Biology
Volume15
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 12 2005

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Aspergillus fumigatus
Aspergillus
Sexuality
Pathogens
Genes
pathogens
Pheromones
sexual reproduction
genes
animal communication
pheromones
Genetic Recombination
Reproduction
Pheromone Receptors
Communication
outbreeding
chemoreceptors
Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction
Allergies
Population Genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Paoletti, M., Rydholm, C., Schwier, E. U., Anderson, M. J., Szakács, G., Lutzoni, F., ... Dyer, P. S. (2005). Evidence for sexuality in the opportunistic fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. Current Biology, 15(13), 1242-1248. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2005.05.045

Evidence for sexuality in the opportunistic fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. / Paoletti, Mathieu; Rydholm, Carla; Schwier, Elke U.; Anderson, Michael J.; Szakács, G.; Lutzoni, François; Debeaupuis, Jean Paul; Latgé, Jean Paul; Denning, David W.; Dyer, Paul S.

In: Current Biology, Vol. 15, No. 13, 12.07.2005, p. 1242-1248.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Paoletti, M, Rydholm, C, Schwier, EU, Anderson, MJ, Szakács, G, Lutzoni, F, Debeaupuis, JP, Latgé, JP, Denning, DW & Dyer, PS 2005, 'Evidence for sexuality in the opportunistic fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus', Current Biology, vol. 15, no. 13, pp. 1242-1248. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2005.05.045
Paoletti, Mathieu ; Rydholm, Carla ; Schwier, Elke U. ; Anderson, Michael J. ; Szakács, G. ; Lutzoni, François ; Debeaupuis, Jean Paul ; Latgé, Jean Paul ; Denning, David W. ; Dyer, Paul S. / Evidence for sexuality in the opportunistic fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. In: Current Biology. 2005 ; Vol. 15, No. 13. pp. 1242-1248.
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