Navigation Links
Scientists track evolution and spread of deadly fungus, one of the world's major killers
Date:5/3/2011

New research has shed light on the origins of a fungal infection which is one of the major causes of death from AIDS-related illnesses. The study, published today in the journal PLoS Pathogens, funded by the Wellcome Trust and the BBSRC, shows how the more virulent forms of Cryptococcus neoformans evolved and spread out of Africa and into Asia.

Cryptococcus neoformans is a species of often highly aggressive fungi. One particular strain of the fungus known as Cryptococcus neoformas variety grubii (Cng) causes meningitis amongst patients with compromised immune systems following HIV infection. There are believed to over up to a million cases of cryptococcal meningitis each year, resulting in over 600,000 deaths. Infection with the fungus, which invades the central nervous system, is treated with a life long therapy of antifungal drugs, which can have highly unpleasant side effects.

Sitali Simwami and Dr Matthew Fisher from Imperial College London, together with colleagues from St Georges, University of London, Naresuan University, Thailand, and the CBS Fungal Biodiversity Centre, The Netherlands, used genetic sequencing techniques to compare the genetic diversity of Cng in 183 samples taken from the clinic and the environment in Thailand against the 77 samples from a global database. Thailand has an emerging HIV epidemic and nearly one in five HIV-infected patients are affected by cryptococcal infection.

"Cryptococcal meningitis kills hundreds of thousands of people each year, almost as many as malaria, yet gets little attention," explains Dr Fisher. "We know very little about where it originated from and how it evolved. If we can track its evolution and diversity, then we can begin to understand where the pathogen originates from, how it infects people and how it adapts to become more or less virulent. This information will be valuable in helping us identify potential therapeutic targets in the future."

The researchers found that Cng in Thailand exhibits significantly less genetic diversity in comparison to other areas of the world, especially Africa where many different lineages of the pathogen occur. This suggests that populations of the fungus in Africa will have a wider spectrum of virulent strains and higher rates of adaptation to antifungal treatments, implying that clinicians need to pay particular attention to the risk of drug-resistant forms of the fungus here.

Their analysis also suggested that the pathogen was introduced from Africa to Asia at some point within the last 7,000 years. Many human infectious diseases are thought to have emerged within the last 11,000 years, following the rise of agriculture and domestication of animals. In particular, it supports the idea that the pathogen was imported via infected pigeons, which were domesticated around 5,000 years ago. The common pigeon, which originated in Africa, is considered to be a carrier and potential spreader of the fungus, its faeces being a common environmental source of Cng.


'/>"/>

Contact: Craig Brierley
c.brierley@wellcome.ac.uk
44-207-611-7329
Wellcome Trust
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Scripps Research scientists create new genetic model of premature aging diseases
2. Mutant mouse reveals new wrinkle in genetic code, say UCSF scientists
3. Scientists can track origin of shark fins using zip codes in their DNA
4. Scientists explore ways to restore health energy balance at the New York Academy of Sciences
5. Blocking crucial molecule could help treat multiple sclerosis, Jefferson neuroscientists say
6. Fossil sirenians give scientists new look at ancient climate
7. Scientists observe single gene activity in living cells
8. Scientists engineer nanoscale vaults to encapsulate nanodisks for drug delivery
9. NIH scientists identify gene that could hold the key to muscle repair
10. Gladstone scientists identify genes involved in embryonic heart development
11. Scripps Research scientists identify mechanism of long-term memory
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/15/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... offering. ... The global bioinformatics market is ... Billion in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 21.1% during the ... driven by the growing demand for nucleic acid and protein sequencing, ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... June 22, 2016   Acuant , ... verification solutions, has partnered with RightCrowd ® ... for Visitor Management, Self-Service Kiosks and Continuous ... that add functional enhancements to existing physical ... and venues with an automated ID verification ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... New York , June 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... a new market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market by ... and Forecast, 2016 - 2024". According to the report, ... USD 11.60 billion in 2015 and is estimated ... reach USD 48.56 billion by 2024.  ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... Boston, MA (PRWEB) , ... December 02, 2016 , ... ... of Light Event on December 3rd, 2016. The event, which is held on ... NTI’s work with helping Americans with Disabilities back into the workplace. Suitable Technologies is ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... The immunohistochemistry (IHC) market is projected to reach ... during the forecast period of 2016 to 2021 dominated by immunohistochemistry ... the largest share of immunohistochemistry (IHC) market, by end user.   ... , , ... across 225 pages, profiling 10 companies and supported with 181 tables ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... , ... November 30, 2016 , ... ... moving magnet Voice Coil Actuator with a flexure design that ensures high alignment ... with cost-effective pricing and is ideally suited where extreme precision is required, such ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... New York , November 30, 2016 ... consolidated as a few players hold a dominant share ... Group, Charles River Laboratories International, Inc., and Merck KGaA, ... market in 2015. Transparency Market Research observes that these ... are focused on development products that are do not ...
Breaking Biology Technology: