Zygomycetes fungi, especially members of the order Mucorales and Mortierellales are important from various biological, biotechnological and medical aspects. They are used as model organisms to answer biological questions in the fields of sexual differentiation (Sutter, 1975; Kuzina and Cerdá- Olmedo, 2006; Idnurm et al., 2008), morphological dimorphism (Lübbehüsen et al., 2003; Iturriaga et al., 2005), biosynthesis of carotenoids (Iturriaga et al., 2000; Sanz et al., 2002; Kuzina et al, 2006; Almeida and Cerdá-Olmedo, 2008) or the light induction of gene regulation and metabolite production (Velayos et al., 2003; Quiles-Rosillo et al., 2005; Idnurm et al., 2006). Phycomyces blakesleeanus, Mucor circinelloides, M. mucedo, Rhizopus oryzae and Absidia glauca are the best-studied species. Rhizopus, Mucor and Gilbertella species may also be important causing post-harvest losses in agricultural products, or as spoilage microorganisms of certain foods (Csernetics et al., 2005). Several species belonging to the genera Rhizopus, Absidia, Rhizomucor, Mucor, Apophysomyces, Saksanea, Cunninghamella, Cokeromyces and Syncephalastrum are known as causative agents of frequently fatal opportunistic fungal infections in immunocompromised patients called as zygomycoses (Ribes et al., 2000; Chayakulkeeree et al., 2006; Papp et al., 2008). High mortality rates, difficulties in the diagnosis and non-treatability with the most widely used antifungal drugs are characteristic features of such infections. Studies on the molecular and genetic background of the pathogenicity of these fungi started only a few years ago (Papp et al., 2008).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)