Populations of the causal agent of wheat tan spot, Pyrenophora tritici-repentis, that are collected from fields frequently treated with reduced fungicide concentrations have reduced sensitivity to strobilurin fungicides and azole fungicides (C14-demethylase inhibitors). Energy-dependent efflux transporter activity can be induced under field conditions and after in vitro application of sublethal amounts of fungicides. Efflux transporters can mediate cross-resistance to a number of fungicides that belong to different chemical classes and have different modes of action. Resistant isolates can grow on substrata amended with fungicides and can infect plants treated with fungicides at levels above recommended field concentrations. We identified the hydroxyflavone derivative 2-(4-ethoxy-phenyl)-chromen-4-one as a potent inhibitor of energy-dependent fungicide efflux transporters in P. tritici-repentis. Application of this compound in combination with fungicides shifted fungicide-resistant P. tritici-repentis isolates back to normal sensitivity levels and prevented infection of wheat leaves. These results highlight the role of energy-dependent efflux transporters in fungicide resistance and could enable a novel disease management strategy based on the inhibition of fungicide efflux to be developed.
The isolation of Penicillium caseicolum mutants resistant to different fungicides which inhibit ergosterol biosynthesis is reported. Mutational frequencies for resistance were high (3 × 10−3 to 3 × 10−5). The levels of resistance toward the inhibitors of sterol C-14 demethylation were always low (<10), whereas high values were obtained with mutants resistant to inhibitors of sterol Δ14 reduction or Δ8→Δ7 isomerization, or both. Generally, there was a positive cross-resistance between fungicides showing the same biochemical mode of action but not between compounds of two different groups. Mycelial growth rate and sporulation were tested; several mutants were not affected for these characteristics. We conclude that resistance to ergosterol biosynthesis inhibitors may be used as a good marker for genetic studies through protoplast fusion.
Sterol demethylation inhibitor (DMI) fungicides are widely used to control fungi pathogenic to humans and plants. Resistance to DMIs is mediated either through alterations in the structure of the target enzyme CYP51 (encoding 14α-demethylase), through increased expression of the CYP51 gene, or through increased expression of efflux pumps. We found that CYP51 expression in DMI-resistant (DMIR) isolates of the cherry leaf spot pathogen Blumeriella jaapii was increased 5- to 12-fold compared to that in DMI-sensitive (DMIS) isolates. Analysis of sequences upstream of CYP51 in 59 DMIR isolates revealed that various forms of a truncated non-long terminal direct repeat long interspersed nuclear element retrotransposon were present in all instances. Similar inserts upstream of CYP51 were not present in any of 22 DMIS isolates examined.
Fusarium graminearum is a plant pathogen infecting several important cereals, resulting in substantial yield losses and mycotoxin contamination of the grain. Triazole fungicides are used to control diseases caused by this fungus on a worldwide scale. Our previous microarray study indicated that 15 ABC transporter genes were transcriptionally upregulated in response to tebuconazole treatment. Here, we deleted four ABC transporter genes in two genetic backgrounds of F. graminearum representing the DON (deoxynivalenol) and the NIV (nivalenol) trichothecene chemotypes. Deletion of FgABC3 and FgABC4 belonging to group I of ABC-G and to group V of ABC-C subfamilies of ABC transporters, respectively, considerably increased the sensitivity to the class I sterol biosynthesis inhibitors triazoles and fenarimol. Such effects were specific since they did not occur with any other fungicide class tested. Assessing the contribution of the four ABC transporters to virulence of F. graminearum revealed that, irrespective of their chemotypes, deletion mutants of FgABC1 (ABC-C subfamily group V) and FgABC3 were impeded in virulence on wheat, barley and maize. Phylogenetic context and analyses of mycotoxin production suggests that FgABC3 may encode a transporter protecting the fungus from host-derived antifungal molecules. In contrast, FgABC1 may encode a transporter responsible for the secretion of fungal secondary metabolites alleviating defence of the host. Our results show that ABC transporters play important and diverse roles in both fungicide resistance and pathogenesis of F. graminearum.
Resistance in Monilinia fructicola to demethylation inhibitor (DMI) fungicides is beginning to emerge in North America, but its molecular basis is unknown. Two potential genetic determinants of DMI fungicide resistance including the 14α-demethylase gene (MfCYP51) and the ATP-binding cassette transporter gene MfABC1, were investigated in six resistant (DMI-R) and six sensitive (DMI-S) field isolates. No point mutations leading to an amino acid change were found in the MfCYP51 gene. The constitutive expression of the MfCYP51 gene in DMI-R isolates was significantly higher compared to DMI-S isolates. Gene expression was not induced in mycelium of DMI-R or DMI-S isolates treated with 0.3 μg of propiconazole/ml. A slightly higher average MfCYP51 copy number value was detected in DMI-R isolates (1.35) compared to DMI-S isolates (1.13); however, this difference could not be verified in Southern hybridization experiments or explain the up to 11-fold-increased MfCYP51 mRNA levels in DMI-R isolates. Analysis of the upstream nucleotide sequence of the MfCYP51 gene revealed a unique 65-bp repetitive element at base pair position −117 from the translational start site in DMI-R isolates but not in DMI-S isolates. This repetitive element contained a putative promoter and was named Mona. The link between Mona and the DMI resistance phenotype became even more apparent after studying the genetic diversity between the isolates. In contrast to DMI-S isolates, DMI-R isolates contained an MfCYP51 gene of identical nucleotide sequence associated with Mona. Still, DMI-R isolates were not genetically identical as revealed by Microsatellite-PCR analysis. Also, real-time PCR analysis of genomic DNA indicated that the relative copy number of Mona among DMI-S and DMI-R isolates varied, suggesting its potential for mobility. Interestingly, constitutive expression of the MfABC1 gene in DMI-R isolates was slightly lower than that of DMI-S isolates, but expression of the MfABC1 gene in DMI-R isolates was induced in mycelium after propiconazole treatment. Therefore, the MfABC1 gene may play a minor role in DMI fungicide resistance in M. fructicola. Our results strongly suggest that overexpression of the MfCYP51 gene is an important mechanism in conferring DMI fungicide resistance in M. fructicola field isolates from Georgia and that this overexpression is correlated with Mona located upstream of the MfCYP51 gene.
The aim of this study was to assess the potential breeding value of goatgrass-rye amphiploids, which we are using as a “bridge” in a transfer of Aegilops chromatin (containing, e.g. leaf rust resistance genes) into triticale. We analysed the chromosomal constitution (by genomic in situ hybridisation, GISH), fertility (by pollen viability tests) and the presence of leaf rust and eyespot resistance genes (by molecular and endopeptidase assays) in a collection of 6× and 4× amphiploids originating from crosses between five Aegilops species and Secale cereale. In the five hexaploid amphiploids Aegilops kotschyi × Secale cereale (genome UUSSRR), Ae. variabilis × S. cereale (UUSSRR), Ae. biuncialis × S. cereale (UUMMRR; two lines) and Ae. ovata × S. cereale (UUMMRR), 28 Aegilops chromosomes were recognised, while in the Ae. tauschii × S. cereale amphiploid (4×; DDRR), only 14 such chromosomes were identified. In the materials, the number of rye chromosomes varied from 14 to 16. In one line of Ae. ovata × S. cereale, the U-R translocation was found. Pollen viability varied from 24.4 to 75.4%. The leaf rust resistance genes Lr22, Lr39 and Lr41 were identified in Ae. tauschii and the 4× amphiploid Ae. tauschii × S. cereale. For the first time, the leaf rust resistance gene Lr37 was found in Ae. kotschyi, Ae. ovata, Ae. biuncialis and amphiploids derived from those parental species. No eyespot resistance gene Pch1 was found in the amphiploids.
Aegilops-Secale; Amphiploids; Eyespot; Genomic in situ hybridisation; Leaf rust; Resistance genes
We investigated the molecular basis of resistance of the obligate biotrophic grape powdery mildew fungus Uncinula necator to sterol demethylation-inhibiting fungicides (DMIs). The sensitivity of 91 single-spore field isolates of U. necator to triadimenol was assessed by using a leaf disc assay. Resistance factors (RF) ranged from 1.8 to 26.0. The gene encoding the target of DMIs (eburicol 14 alpha-demethylase) from five sensitive and seven resistant isolates was cloned and sequenced. A single mutation, leading to the substitution of a phenylalanine residue for a tyrosine residue at position 136, was found in all isolates exhibiting an RF higher than 5. No mutation was found in sensitive or weakly resistant (RF, < 5) isolates. An allele-specific PCR assay was developed to detect the mutation. Among the 91 isolates tested, only isolates with RF higher than 5 carried the mutation. Three of the 19 resistant isolates and all sensitive and weakly resistant isolates did not possess the mutation. The mutation at codon 136 is thus clearly associated with high levels of resistance to triadimenol.
The progressive decline in the effectiveness of some azole fungicides in controlling Mycosphaerella graminicola, causal agent of the damaging Septoria leaf blotch disease of wheat, has been correlated with the selection and spread in the pathogen population of specific mutations in the M. graminicola CYP51 (MgCYP51) gene encoding the azole target sterol 14α-demethylase. Recent studies have suggested that the emergence of novel MgCYP51 variants, often harboring substitution S524T, has contributed to a decrease in the efficacy of prothioconazole and epoxiconazole, the two currently most effective azole fungicides against M. graminicola. In this study, we establish which amino acid alterations in novel MgCYP51 variants have the greatest impact on azole sensitivity and protein function. We introduced individual and combinations of identified alterations by site-directed mutagenesis and functionally determined their impact on azole sensitivity by expression in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutant YUG37::erg11 carrying a regulatable promoter controlling native CYP51 expression. We demonstrate that substitution S524T confers decreased sensitivity to all azoles when introduced alone or in combination with Y461S. In addition, S524T restores the function in S. cerevisiae of MgCYP51 variants carrying the otherwise lethal alterations Y137F and V136A. Sensitivity tests of S. cerevisiae transformants expressing recently emerged MgCYP51 variants carrying combinations of alterations D134G, V136A, Y461S, and S524T reveal a substantial impact on sensitivity to the currently most widely used azoles, including epoxiconazole and prothioconazole. Finally, we exploit a recently developed model of the MgCYP51 protein to predict that the substantial structural changes caused by these novel combinations reduce azole interactions with critical residues in the binding cavity, thereby causing resistance.
Differences between sexes of the same species are widespread and are variable in nature. While it is often assumed that males are more ornamented than females, in the nymphalid butterfly genus Bicyclus, females have, on average, more eyespot wing color patterns than males. Here we extend these studies by surveying eyespot pattern sexual dimorphism across the Nymphalidae family of butterflies. Eyespot presence or absence was scored from a total of 38 wing compartments for two males and two females of each of 450 nymphalid species belonging to 399 different genera. Differences in eyespot number between sexes of each species were tallied for each wing surface (e.g., dorsal and ventral) of forewings and hindwings. In roughly 44% of the species with eyespots, females had more eyespots than males, in 34%, males had more eyespots than females, and, in the remaining 22% of the species, there was monomorphism in eyespot number. Dorsal and forewing surfaces were less patterned, but proportionally more dimorphic, than ventral and hindwing surfaces, respectively. In addition, wing compartments that frequently displayed eyespots were among the least sexually dimorphic. This survey suggests that dimorphism arises predominantly in “hidden” or “private” surfaces of a butterfly's wing, as previously demonstrated for the genus Bicyclus.
Azoles play an important role in the management of Aspergillus diseases. Azole resistance is an emerging global problem in Aspergillus fumigatus, and may develop through patient therapy. In addition, an environmental route of resistance development has been suggested through exposure to 14α-demethylase inhibitors (DMIs). The main resistance mechanism associated with this putative fungicide-driven route is a combination of alterations in the Cyp51A-gene (TR34/L98H). We investigated if TR34/L98H could have developed through exposure to DMIs.
Methods and Findings
Thirty-one compounds that have been authorized for use as fungicides, herbicides, herbicide safeners and plant growth regulators in the Netherlands between 1970 and 2005, were investigated for cross-resistance to medical triazoles. Furthermore, CYP51-protein homology modeling and molecule alignment studies were performed to identify similarity in molecule structure and docking modes. Five triazole DMIs, propiconazole, bromuconazole, tebuconazole, epoxiconazole and difenoconazole, showed very similar molecule structures to the medical triazoles and adopted similar poses while docking the protein. These DMIs also showed the greatest cross-resistance and, importantly, were authorized for use between 1990 and 1996, directly preceding the recovery of the first clinical TR34/L98H isolate in 1998. Through microsatellite genotyping of TR34/L98H isolates we were able to calculate that the first isolate would have arisen in 1997, confirming the results of the abovementioned experiments. Finally, we performed induction experiments to investigate if TR34/L98H could be induced under laboratory conditions. One isolate evolved from two copies of the tandem repeat to three, indicating that fungicide pressure can indeed result in these genomic changes.
Our findings support a fungicide-driven route of TR34/L98H development in A. fumigatus. Similar molecule structure characteristics of five triazole DMIs and the three medical triazoles appear the underlying mechanism of cross resistance development. Our findings have major implications for the assessment of health risks associated with the use of triazole DMIs.
We report here a biochemical study of resistance to azole antifungal agents in a field isolate (S-27) of a fungal phytopathogen. Isolates of Septoria tritici were compared in vitro, and their responses reflected that observed in the field, with S-27 exhibiting resistance relative to RL2. In untreated cultures, both RL2 and S-27 contained isomers of ergosterol and ergosta-5,7-dienol, although in differing concentrations. Under azole treatment, this phytopathogen exhibited a response similar to that of other pathogenic fungi, with a reduction in desmethyl sterols and an accumulation of 14(alpha)-methyl sterols, indicative of inhibition of the P450-mediating sterol 14(alpha)-demethylase. Growth arrest was attributed to the reduction of ergosterol combined with an accumulation of nonutilizable sterols. Strain S-27 exhibited an azole-resistant phenotype which was correlated with decreased cellular content of azole.
In this review article, we show that occurrence of fungicide resistance is one of the most important issues in modern agriculture. Fungicide resistance may be due to mutations of genes encoding fungicide targets (qualitative fungicide resistance) or to different mechanisms that are induced by sub-lethal fungicide stress. These mechanisms result in different and varying levels of resistance (quantitative fungicide resistance). We discuss whether or not extensive use of fungicides in agricultural environments is related to the occurrence of fungicide resistance in clinical environments. Furthermore, we provide recommendations of how development of fungicide resistant pathogen populations may be prevented or delayed.
Citrus black spot disease; disease management; fungicide resistance; efflux transporters; wheat tan spot disease
The recent decrease in the sensitivity of the Western European population of the wheat pathogen Mycosphaerella graminicola to azole fungicides has been associated with the emergence and subsequent spread of mutations in the CYP51 gene, encoding the azole target sterol 14α-demethylase. In this study, we have expressed wild-type and mutated M. graminicola CYP51 (MgCYP51) variants in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutant carrying a doxycycline-regulatable tetO7-CYC promoter controlling native CYP51 expression. We have shown that the wild-type MgCYP51 protein complements the function of the orthologous protein in S. cerevisiae. Mutant MgCYP51 proteins containing amino acid alterations L50S, Y459D, and Y461H and the two-amino-acid deletion ΔY459/G460, commonly identified in modern M. graminicola populations, have no effect on the capacity of the M. graminicola protein to function in S. cerevisiae. We have also shown that the azole fungicide sensitivities of transformants expressing MgCYP51 variants with these alterations are substantially reduced. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that the I381V substitution, correlated with the recent decline in the effectiveness of azoles, destroys the capacity of MgCYP51 to complement the S. cerevisiae mutant when introduced alone. However, when I381V is combined with changes between residues Y459 and Y461, the function of the M. graminicola protein is partially restored. These findings demonstrate, for the first time for a plant pathogenic fungus, the impacts that naturally occurring CYP51 alterations have on both azole sensitivity and intrinsic protein function. In addition, we also provide functional evidence underlying the order in which CYP51 alterations in the Western European M. graminicola population emerged.
Candida albicans, the major fungal pathogen of humans, causes life-threatening infections in immunocompromised individuals. Due to limited available therapy options, this can frequently lead to therapy failure and emergence of drug resistance. To improve current treatment strategies, we have combined comprehensive chemical-genomic screening in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and validation in C. albicans with the goal of identifying compounds that can couple with the fungistatic drug fluconazole to make it fungicidal. Among the genes identified in the yeast screen, we found that only AGE3, which codes for an ADP-ribosylation factor GTPase activating effector protein, abrogates fluconazole tolerance in C. albicans. The age3 mutant was more sensitive to other sterols and cell wall inhibitors, including caspofungin. The deletion of AGE3 in drug resistant clinical isolates and in constitutively active calcineurin signaling mutants restored fluconazole sensitivity. We confirmed chemically the AGE3-dependent drug sensitivity by showing a potent fungicidal synergy between fluconazole and brefeldin A (an inhibitor of the guanine nucleotide exchange factor for ADP ribosylation factors) in wild type C. albicans as well as in drug resistant clinical isolates. Addition of calcineurin inhibitors to the fluconazole/brefeldin A combination only initially improved pathogen killing. Brefeldin A synergized with different drugs in non-albicans Candida species as well as Aspergillus fumigatus. Microarray studies showed that core transcriptional responses to two different drug classes are not significantly altered in age3 mutants. The therapeutic potential of inhibiting ARF activities was demonstrated by in vivo studies that showed age3 mutants are avirulent in wild type mice, attenuated in virulence in immunocompromised mice and that fluconazole treatment was significantly more efficacious when ARF signaling was genetically compromised. This work describes a new, widely conserved, broad-spectrum mechanism involved in fungal drug resistance and virulence and offers a potential route for single or improved combination therapies.
Candida albicans is a fungus that normally resides as part of the microflora in the human gut. Candida species can cause superficial infections like thrush in the healthy human population and life-threatening invasive infections in immunocompromised patients. Fungal infections are often treated with azole drugs, but due to the fungistatic nature of these agents, C. albicans can develop drug resistance, leading to therapy failure. To improve the action of azoles and convert them into fungicidal drugs, we first systematically analyzed the genetic requirements for tolerance to one such azole drug, fluconazole. We show, both genetically and pharmacologically, that components of the ARF cycling machinery are critical in mediating both azole and echinocandin tolerance in C. albicans as well as several other pathogenic Candida species and in the pathogenic mold Aspergillus fumigatus. We highlight the importance of ARF cycling in drug resistance by showing that genetic compromise of ARF functions overrides common drug resistance mechanisms in clinical samples and other key regulators of azole/echinocandin tolerance. We validated the therapeutic potential of ARF cycling in two mouse models and provide evidence that drug treatment is more efficacious when ARF activities are genetically compromised. Our study demonstrates a new mechanism involved in two important aspects of the biology of human fungal pathogens and provides a potential route for improved antifungal therapies.
Fluconazole was observed to inhibit sterol 14 alpha-demethylase in the human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, and accumulation of a ketosteroid product was associated with growth arrest. A novel mechanism(s) of azole and amphotericin B cross-resistance was identified, unrelated to changes in sterol biosynthesis, as previously identified in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Reduced cellular content of drug could account for the resistance phenotype, indicating the possible involvement of a mechanism similar to multidrug resistance observed in higher eukaryotes.
Bcmfs1, a novel major facilitator superfamily gene from Botrytis cinerea, was cloned, and replacement and overexpression mutants were constructed to study its function. Replacement mutants showed increased sensitivity to the natural toxic compounds camptothecin and cercosporin, produced by the plant Camptotheca acuminata and the plant pathogenic fungus Cercospora kikuchii, respectively. Overexpression mutants displayed decreased sensitivity to these compounds and to structurally unrelated fungicides, such as sterol demethylation inhibitors (DMIs). A double-replacement mutant of Bcmfs1 and the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter gene BcatrD was more sensitive to DMI fungicides than a single-replacement mutant of BcatrD, known to encode an important ABC transporter of DMIs. The sensitivity of the wild-type strain and mutants to DMI fungicides correlated with Bcmfs1 expression levels and with the initial accumulation of oxpoconazole by germlings of these isolates. The results indicate that Bcmfs1 is a major facilitator superfamily multidrug transporter involved in protection against natural toxins and fungicides and has a substrate specificity that overlaps with the ABC transporter BcatrD. Bcmfs1 may be involved in protection of B. cinerea against plant defense compounds during the pathogenic phase of growth on host plants and against fungitoxic antimicrobial metabolites during its saprophytic phase of growth.
Pneumocystis carinii synthesizes sterols with a double bond at C-7 of the sterol nucleus and an alkyl group with one or two carbons at C-24 of the side chain. Also, some human-derived Pneumocystis carinii f. sp. hominis strains contain lanosterol derivatives with an alkyl group at C-24. These unique sterols have not been found in other pathogens of mammalian lungs. Thus, P. carinii may have important differences in its susceptibility to drugs known to block reactions in ergosterol biosynthesis in other fungi. In the present study, inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methyglutaryl coenzyme A reductase, squalene synthase, squalene epoxidase, squalene epoxide-lanosterol cyclase, lanosterol demethylase, Δ8 to Δ7 isomerase, and S-adenosylmethionine:sterol methyltransferase were tested for their effects on P. carinii viability as determined by quantitation of cellular ATP levels in a population of organisms. Compounds within each category varied in inhibitory effect; the most effective included drugs targeted at squalene synthase, squalene epoxide-lanosterol cyclase, and Δ8 to Δ7 isomerase. Some drugs that are potent against ergosterol-synthesizing fungi had little effect against P. carinii, suggesting that substrates and/or enzymes in P. carinii sterol biosynthetic reactions are distinct. Amphotericin B is ineffective in clearing P. carinii infections at clinical doses; however, this drug apparently binds to sterols and causes permeability changes in P. carinii membranes, since it reduced cellular ATP levels in a dose-dependent fashion.
Fluconazole-resistant Candida albicans, a cause of recurrent oropharyngeal candidiasis in patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection, has recently emerged as a cause of candidiasis in patients receiving cancer chemotherapy and marrow transplantation (MT). In this study, we performed detailed molecular analyses of a series of C. albicans isolates from an MT patient who developed disseminated candidiasis caused by an azole-resistant strain 2 weeks after initiation of fluconazole prophylaxis (K. A. Marr, T. C. White, J. A. H. vanBurik, and R. A. Bowden, Clin. Infect. Dis. 25:908–910, 1997). DNA sequence analysis of the gene (ERG11) for the azole target enzyme, lanosterol demethylase, revealed no difference between sensitive and resistant isolates. A sterol biosynthesis assay revealed no difference in sterol intermediates between the sensitive and resistant isolates. Northern blotting, performed to quantify mRNA levels of genes encoding enzymes in the ergosterol biosynthesis pathway (ERG7, ERG9, and ERG11) and genes encoding efflux pumps (MDR1, ABC1, YCF, and CDR), revealed that azole resistance in this series is associated with increased mRNA levels for members of the ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporter superfamily, CDR genes. Serial growth of resistant isolates in azole-free media resulted in an increased susceptibility to azole drugs and corresponding decreased mRNA levels for the CDR genes. These results suggest that C. albicans can become transiently resistant to azole drugs rapidly after exposure to fluconazole, in association with increased expression of ABC transporter efflux pumps.
As reported previously (J. R. Jarvest et al., J. Med. Chem. 45:1952-1962, 2002), potent inhibitors (at nanomolar concentrations) of Staphylococcus aureus methionyl-tRNA synthetase (MetS; encoded by metS1) have been derived from a high-throughput screening assay hit. Optimized compounds showed excellent activities against staphylococcal and enterococcal pathogens. We report on the bimodal susceptibilities of S. pneumoniae strains, a significant fraction of which was found to be resistant (MIC, ≥8 mg/liter) to these inhibitors. Using molecular genetic techniques, we have found that the mechanism of resistance is the presence of a second, distantly related MetS enzyme, MetS2, encoded by metS2. We present evidence that the metS2 gene is necessary and sufficient for resistance to MetS inhibitors. PCR analysis for the presence of metS2 among a large sample (n = 315) of S. pneumoniae isolates revealed that it is widespread geographically and chronologically, occurring at a frequency of about 46%. All isolates tested also contained the metS1 gene. Searches of public sequence databases revealed that S. pneumoniae MetS2 was most similar to MetS in Bacillus anthracis, followed by MetS in various non-gram-positive bacterial, archaeal, and eukaryotic species, with streptococcal MetS being considerably less similar. We propose that the presence of metS2 in specific strains of S. pneumoniae is the result of horizontal gene transfer which has been driven by selection for resistance to some unknown class of naturally occurring antibiotics with similarities to recently reported synthetic MetS inhibitors.
We report a case of infection with Candida glabrata in which the organism became resistant to fluconazole and in which pre- and posttreatment isolates were available for comparison. The organism was cross-resistant to ketoconazole and itraconazole, in common with other azole-resistant yeasts. Fluconazole was a potent inhibitor of cytochrome P-450-dependent 14 alpha-sterol demethylase (P-450DM) in lysates of cells from both susceptible and resistant cultures (50% inhibitory concentration, 0.2 microM), indicating that resistance was unrelated to changes in P-450DM. Instead, it appeared to arise from a permeability barrier to fluconazole, since resistant cells were unable to take up radiolabelled drug.
By disrupting the action of androgens during gestation, certain chemicals present in food, consumer products, and the environment can induce irreversible demasculinization and malformations of sex organs among male offspring. However, the consequences of simultaneous exposure to such chemicals are not well described, especially when they exert their actions by differing molecular mechanisms.
To fill this gap, we investigated the effects of mixtures of a widely used plasticizer, di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP); two fungicides present in food, vinclozolin and prochloraz; and a pharmaceutical, finasteride, on landmarks of male sexual development in the rat, including changes in anogenital distance (AGD), retained nipples, sex organ weights, and malformations of genitalia. These chemicals were chosen because they disrupt androgen action with differing mechanisms of action.
Strikingly, the effect of combined exposure to the selected chemicals on malformations of external sex organs was synergistic, and the observed responses were greater than would be predicted from the toxicities of the individual chemicals. In relation to other hallmarks of disrupted male sexual development, including changes in AGD, retained nipples, and sex organ weights, the combined effects were dose additive. When the four chemicals were combined at doses equal to no observed adverse effect levels estimated for nipple retention, significant reductions in AGD were observed in male offspring.
Because unhindered androgen action is essential for human male development in fetal life, these findings are highly relevant to human risk assessment. Evaluations that ignore the possibility of combination effects may lead to considerable underestimations of risks associated with exposures to chemicals that disrupt male sexual differentiation.
antiandrogens; azole fungicides; combination effects; cumulative effects; DEHP; dose addition; finasteride; independent action; male sexual differentiation; mixtures; phthalates; prochloraz; vinclozolin
We investigated genetic factors that govern the reduced propiconazole sensitivity of Sclerotinia homoeocarpa field isolates collected during a 2-year field efficacy study on dollar spot disease of turf in five New England sites. These isolates displayed a >50-fold range of in vitro sensitivity to a sterol demethylation inhibitor (DMI) fungicide, propiconazole, making them ideal for investigations of genetic mechanisms of reduced DMI sensitivity. The CYP51 gene homolog in S. homoeocarpa (ShCYP51B), encoding the enzyme target of DMIs, is likely a minor genetic factor for reduced propiconazole sensitivity, since there were no differences in constitutive relative expression (RE) values and only 2-fold-higher induced RE values for insensitive than for sensitive isolate groups. Next, we mined RNA-Seq transcriptome data for additional genetic factors and found evidence for the overexpression of a homolog of Botrytis cinerea atrD (BcatrD), ShatrD, a known efflux transporter of DMI fungicides. The ShatrD gene showed much higher constitutive and induced RE values for insensitive isolates. Several polymorphisms were found upstream of ShatrD but were not definitively linked to overexpression. The screening of constitutive RE values of ShCYP51B and ShatrD in isolates from two golf courses that exhibited practical field resistance to propiconazole uncovered evidence for significant population-specific overexpression of both genes. However, linear regression demonstrated that the RE of ShatrD displays a more significant relationship with propiconazole sensitivity than that of ShCYP51B. In summary, our results suggest that efflux is a major determinant of the reduced DMI sensitivity of S. homoeocarpa genotypes in New England, which may have implications for the emergence of practical field resistance in this important turfgrass pathogen.
The mechanisms of fluconazole resistance in three clinical isolates of Candida krusei were investigated. Analysis of sterols of organisms grown in the absence and presence of fluconazole demonstrated that the predominant sterol of C. krusei is ergosterol and that fluconazole inhibits 14α-demethylase in this organism. The 14α-demethylase activity in cell extracts of C. krusei was 16- to 46-fold more resistant to inhibition by fluconazole than was 14α-demethylase activity in cell extracts of two fluconazole-susceptible strains of Candida albicans. Comparing the carbon monoxide difference spectra of microsomes from C. krusei with those of microsomes from C. albicans indicated that the total cytochrome P-450 content of C. krusei is similar to that of C. albicans. The Soret absorption maximum in these spectra was located at 448 nm for C. krusei and at 450 nm for C. albicans. Finally, the fluconazole accumulation of two of the C. krusei isolates was similar to if not greater than that of C. albicans. Thus, there are significant qualitative differences between the 14α-demethylase of C. albicans and C. krusei. In addition, fluconazole resistance in these strains of C. krusei appears to be mediated predominantly by a reduced susceptibility of 14α-demethylase to inhibition by this drug.
A common consequence of using agricultural fungicides is the development of resistance by fungal pathogens, which undermines reliability of fungicidal effectiveness. A potentially new strategy to aid in overcoming or minimizing this problem is enhancement of pathogen sensitivity to fungicides, or “chemosensitization.” Chemosensitization can be accomplished by combining a commercial fungicide with a certain non- or marginally fungicidal substance at levels where, alone, neither compound would be effective. Chemosensitization decreases the probability of the pathogen developing resistance, reduces the toxic impact on the environment by lowering effective dosage levels of toxic fungicides, and improves efficacy of antifungal agents. The present study shows that the antifungal activity of azole and strobilurin fungicides can be significantly enhanced through their co-application with certain natural or synthetic products against several economically important plant pathogenic fungi. Quadris (azoxystrobin) combined with thymol at a non-fungitoxic concentration produced much higher growth inhibition of Bipolaris sorokiniana, Phoma glomerata, Alternaria sp. and Stagonospora nodorum than the fungicide alone. The effect of Dividend (difenoconazole) applied with thymol significantly enhanced antifungal activity against B. sorokiniana and S. nodorum. Folicur (tebuconazole) combined with 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde (4-HBA), 2,3-dihydroxybenzaldehyde or thymol significantly inhibited growth of Alternaria alternata, at a much greater level than the fungicide alone. In addition, co-application of Folicur and 4-HBA resulted in a similar enhancement of antifungal activity against Fusarium culmorum. Lastly, we discovered that metabolites in the culture liquid of Fusarium sambucinum biocontrol isolate FS-94 also had chemosensitizing activity, increasing S. nodorum sensitivity to Folicur and Dividend.
chemosensitization; plant pathogenic fungi; agricultural fungicides
From each of two AIDS patients with oropharyngeal candidiasis, five Candida albicans isolates from recurrent episodes of infection which became gradually resistant against fluconazole during antimycotic treatment were analyzed for molecular changes responsible for drug resistance. In both patients, a single C. albicans strain was responsible for the recurrent infections, but the CARE-2 fingerprint pattern of the isolates exhibited minor genetic alterations, indicating that microevolution of the strains took place during fluconazole therapy. In the isolates from patient 1, enhanced mRNA levels of the MDR1 gene, encoding a multiple drug resistance protein from the superfamily of major facilitators, and constitutive high expression of the ERG11 gene, coding for the drug target enzyme sterol 14α-demethylase, correlated with a stepwise development of fluconazole resistance. The resistant strains exhibited reduced accumulation of fluconazole and, for the last in the series, a slight increase in drug needed to inhibit sterol 14α-demethylation in vitro. In the isolates from patient 2, increased MDR1 mRNA levels and the change from heterozygosity to homozygosity for a mutant form of the ERG11 gene correlated with continuously decreased drug susceptibility. In this series, reduced drug accumulation and increased resistance in the target enzyme activity, sterol 14α-demethylase, were observed. These results demonstrate that different molecular mechanisms contribute to a gradual development of fluconazole resistance in C. albicans.