Coccidioidomycosis is a mild to life-threatening disease in otherwise healthy humans and other mammals caused by the fungus Coccidioides spp. Understanding the development of the unique dimorphic life cycle of Coccidioides spp. and its role in pathogenesis has been an area of research focus. However, nuclear behavior during the saprobic and parasitic life cycle has not been studied intensively. In this study, green fluorescent protein (GFP) was fused to histone H1 and introduced into Coccidioides posadasii (C. posadasii) strain Silveira to monitor the nuclear behavior of the fungus during the saprobic and parasitic stages of the life cycle. We constructed an Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation (ATMT) vector that had in its T-DNA region a hygromycin-resistance gene as well as the fused histone H1-GFP gene under the control of the histone H3 promoter of C. posadasii. More than 30 hygromycin-resistant transformants were obtained and 23 were purified to homozygosity through multiple passages of the original transformants on hygromycin-containing media. One strain (VFC1420) transformed with a single copy of the fusion histone H1-GFP gene was selected for cytological studies. Strong nuclear-localized GFP signals were observed in arthroconidia, hyphae, as well as in spherules and endospores developed in vitro. Thus GFP can be used to study the expression pattern of potential virulence genes identified in serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) or expressed sequence tags (EST) libraries, and could be a useful tool to monitor disease development in the murine model.
Coccidioidomycosis is a fungal infection that is endemic to parts of the Southwestern United States. When infection involves the spine, the treatment strategies can be challenging. We have devised a management protocol for spinal coccidioidomycosis based on a review of the literature and our experience.
Submitted first to Journal of Infectious Diseases, which decided it didn't match their criteria. It has been accepted pending revision in Vaccine (1/18)
Ambruticin S, an antifungal cyclopropyl-pyran acid, showed curative effects against murine coccidioidal infection. Two analogs of this compound with greater in vitro potency were tested against lethal murine Coccidioides infection. Both improved the survival of mice over that of controls; one resulted in near-sterilization of infection.
This forum report contains conclusions about 3 different issues relevant to conducting clinical trials in deep mycoses. (1) Trials of diagnostic tests for deep mycoses must define the population appropriate for testing and the clinical question being asked. The unanswered question for the serum Aspergillus galactomannan assay is whether knowledge of results can change use of empirical therapy to treat febrile patients at high risk of invasive aspergillosis. (2) Use of historical controls is suboptimal but offers a pragmatic solution for studying rare mycoses; use of contemporaneous controls, matched for critical variables and evaluated by a blinded data review committee using detailed criteria, appears optimal. (3) Established groups of independent investigators, such as the European Organization for Research on Treatment of Cancer's Invasive Fungal Infections Group and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases's Bacteriology and Mycology Study Group, provide a pool of experienced investigators, defined operating rules, impartiality, and specialized expertise. Considering the enormous investment required for adequately powered efficacy trials of antifungal agents and the importance of these trials to guide clinical practice, use of collaborative groups outweighs the extra administrative time that is sometimes required.