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1.  Asexual Propagation of a Virulent Clone Complex in a Human and Feline Outbreak of Sporotrichosis 
Eukaryotic Cell  2014;14(2):158-169.
Sporotrichosis is one of the most frequent subcutaneous fungal infections in humans and animals caused by members of the plant-associated, dimorphic genus Sporothrix. Three of the four medically important Sporothrix species found in Brazil have been considered asexual as no sexual stage has ever been reported in Sporothrix schenckii, Sporothrix brasiliensis, or Sporothrix globosa. We have identified the mating type (MAT) loci in the S. schenckii (strain 1099-18/ATCC MYA-4821) and S. brasiliensis (strain 5110/ATCC MYA-4823) genomes by using comparative genomic approaches to determine the mating type ratio in these pathogen populations. Our analysis revealed the presence of a MAT1-1 locus in S. schenckii while a MAT1-2 locus was found in S. brasiliensis representing genomic synteny to other Sordariomycetes. Furthermore, the components of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-pheromone pathway, pheromone processing enzymes, and meiotic regulators have also been identified in the two pathogens, suggesting the potential for sexual reproduction. The ratio of MAT1-1 to MAT1-2 was not significantly different from 1:1 for all three Sporothrix species, but the population of S. brasiliensis in the outbreaks originated from a single mating type. We also explored the population genetic structure of these pathogens using sequence data of two loci to improve our knowledge of the pattern of geographic distribution, genetic variation, and virulence phenotypes. Population genetics data showed significant population differentiation and clonality with a low level of haplotype diversity in S. brasiliensis isolates from different regions of sporotrichosis outbreaks in Brazil. In contrast, S. schenckii isolates demonstrated a high degree of genetic variability without significant geographic differentiation, indicating the presence of recombination. This study demonstrated that two species causing the same disease have contrasting reproductive strategies and genetic variability patterns.
PMCID: PMC4311920  PMID: 25480940
2.  Endotoxin Deactivation by Transient Acidification 
Cell transplantation  2010;19(8):1047-1054.
Recombinant proteins are an important tool for research and therapeutic applications. Therapeutic proteins have been delivered to several cell types and tissues and might be used to improve the outcome of the cell transplantation. Recombinant proteins are propagated in bacteria, which will contaminate them with the lypopolysacharide-endotoxin found in the outer bacterial membrane. Endotoxin could interfere with in vitro biological assays and is the major pathological factor, which must be removed or inactivated before in vivo administration. Here we describe a one-step protocol in which the endotoxin activity on recombinant proteins is remarkably reduced by transient exposure to acidic conditions. Maximum endotoxin deactivation occurs at acidic pH below their respective isoelectric point (pI). This method does not require additional protein purification or separation of the protein from the endotoxin fraction. The endotoxin level was measured both in vitro and in vivo. For in vitro assessment we have utilized Limulus Amebocyte Lysate method for in vivo the pyrogenic test. We have tested the above-mentioned method with 5 different recombinant proteins including a monoclonal antibody clone 5c8 against CD154 produced by hybridomas. More than 99% of endotoxin was deactivated in all of the proteins, the recovery of the protein after deactivation varied between maximum 72.9 and minimum 46.8%. The anti CD154 clone 5c8 activity remained unchanged as verified by the measurement of binding capability to activated lymphocytes. Furthermore, the effectiveness of this method was not significantly altered by urea, commonly used in protein purification. This procedure provides a simple and cost-efficient way to reduce the endotoxin activity in antibodies and recombinant proteins.
PMCID: PMC4461865  PMID: 20412635
endotoxin; recombinant protein; pyrogen; lypopolysaccharide
3.  Identification and characterization of expressed retrotransposons in the genome of the Paracoccidioides species complex 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(1):376.
Species from the Paracoccidioides complex are thermally dimorphic fungi and the causative agents of paracoccidioidomycosis, a deep fungal infection that is the most prevalent systemic mycosis in Latin America and represents the most important cause of death in immunocompetent individuals with systemic mycosis in Brazil. We previously described the identification of eight new families of DNA transposons in Paracoccidioides genomes. In this work, we aimed to identify potentially active retrotransposons in Paracoccidioides genomes.
We identified five different retrotransposon families (four LTR-like and one LINE-like element) in the genomes of three Paracoccidioides isolates. Retrotransposons were present in all of the genomes analyzed. P. brasiliensis and P. lutzii species harbored the same retrotransposon lineages but differed in their copy numbers. In the Pb01, Pb03 and Pb18 genomes, the number of LTR retrotransposons was higher than the number of LINE-like elements, and the LINE-like element RtPc5 was transcribed in Paracoccidioides lutzii (Pb01) but could not be detected in P. brasiliensis (Pb03 and Pb18) by semi-quantitative RT-PCR.
Five new potentially active retrotransposons have been identified in the genomic assemblies of the Paracoccidioides species complex using a combined computational and experimental approach. The distribution across the two known species, P. brasiliensis and P. lutzii, and phylogenetics analysis indicate that these elements could have been acquired before speciation occurred. The presence of active retrotransposons in the genome may have implications regarding the evolution and genetic diversification of the Paracoccidioides genus.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1564-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4427930  PMID: 25962381
4.  New cultive medium for bioconversion of C5 fraction from sugarcane bagasse using rice bran extract 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2015;45(4):1469-1475.
The use of hemicellulosic hydrolysates in bioprocesses requires supplementation as to ensure the best fermentative performance of microorganisms. However, in light of conflicting data in the literature, it is necessary to establish an inexpensive and applicable medium for the development of bioprocesses. This paper evaluates the fermentative performance of Scheffersomyces (Pichia) stipitis and Candida guilliermondii growth in sugarcane bagasse hemicellulosic hydrolysate supplemented with different nitrogen sources including rice bran extract, an important by-product of agroindustry and source of vitamins and amino acids. Experiments were carried out with hydrolysate supplemented with rice bran extract and (NH4)2SO4; peptone and yeast extract; (NH4)2SO4, peptone and yeast extract and non-supplemented hydrolysate as a control. S. stipitis produced only ethanol, while C. guilliermondii produced xylitol as the main product and ethanol as by-product. Maximum ethanol production by S. stipitis was observed when sugarcane bagasse hemicellulosic hydrolysate was supplemented with (NH4)2SO4, peptone and yeast extract. Differently, the maximum xylitol formation by C. guilliermondii was obtained by employing hydrolysate supplemented with (NH4)2SO4 and rice bran extract. Together, these findings indicate that: a) for both yeasts (NH4)2SO4 was required as an inorganic nitrogen source to supplement sugarcane bagasse hydrolysate; b) for S. stipitis, sugarcane hemicellulosic hydrolysate must be supplemented with peptone and yeast extract as organic nitrogen source; and: c) for C. guilliermondii, it must be supplemented with rice bran extract. The present study designed a fermentation medium employing hemicellulosic hydrolysate and provides a basis for studies about value-added products as ethanol and xylitol from lignocellulosic materials.
PMCID: PMC4323325  PMID: 25763056
Candida guilliermondii; hemicellulosic hydrolysate; Scheffersomyces stipitis; rice bran extract; sugarcane bagasse
6.  Comparative genomics of the major fungal agents of human and animal Sporotrichosis: Sporothrix schenckii and Sporothrix brasiliensis 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):943.
The fungal genus Sporothrix includes at least four human pathogenic species. One of these species, S. brasiliensis, is the causal agent of a major ongoing zoonotic outbreak of sporotrichosis in Brazil. Elsewhere, sapronoses are caused by S. schenckii and S. globosa. The major aims on this comparative genomic study are: 1) to explore the presence of virulence factors in S. schenckii and S. brasiliensis; 2) to compare S. brasiliensis, which is cat-transmitted and infects both humans and cats with S. schenckii, mainly a human pathogen; 3) to compare these two species to other human pathogens (Onygenales) with similar thermo-dimorphic behavior and to other plant-associated Sordariomycetes.
The genomes of S. schenckii and S. brasiliensis were pyrosequenced to 17x and 20x coverage comprising a total of 32.3 Mb and 33.2 Mb, respectively. Pair-wise genome alignments revealed that the two species are highly syntenic showing 97.5% average sequence identity. Phylogenomic analysis reveals that both species diverged about 3.8-4.9 MYA suggesting a recent event of speciation. Transposable elements comprise respectively 0.34% and 0.62% of the S. schenckii and S. brasiliensis genomes and expansions of Gypsy-like elements was observed reflecting the accumulation of repetitive elements in the S. brasiliensis genome. Mitochondrial genomic comparisons showed the presence of group-I intron encoding homing endonucleases (HE’s) exclusively in S. brasiliensis. Analysis of protein family expansions and contractions in the Sporothrix lineage revealed expansion of LysM domain-containing proteins, small GTPases, PKS type1 and leucin-rich proteins. In contrast, a lack of polysaccharide lyase genes that are associated with decay of plants was observed when compared to other Sordariomycetes and dimorphic fungal pathogens, suggesting evolutionary adaptations from a plant pathogenic or saprobic to an animal pathogenic life style.
Comparative genomic data suggest a unique ecological shift in the Sporothrix lineage from plant-association to mammalian parasitism, which contributes to the understanding of how environmental interactions may shape fungal virulence. . Moreover, the striking differences found in comparison with other dimorphic fungi revealed that dimorphism in these close relatives of plant-associated Sordariomycetes is a case of convergent evolution, stressing the importance of this morphogenetic change in fungal pathogenesis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-943) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4226871  PMID: 25351875
Sporothrix schenckii; Sporothrix brasiliensis; Comparative genomics; Fungal evolution
7.  Chromosomal Polymorphism in the Sporothrix schenckii Complex 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86819.
Sporotrichosis is a polymorphic disease caused by a complex of thermodimorphic fungi including S. brasiliensis, S. schenckii sensu stricto (s. str.), S. globosa and S. luriei. Humans and animals can acquire the disease through traumatic inoculation of propagules into the subcutaneous tissue. Despite the importance of sporotrichosis as a disease that can take epidemic proportions there are just a few studies dealing with genetic polymorphisms and genomic architecture of these pathogens. The main objective of this study was to investigate chromosomal polymorphisms and genomic organization among different isolates in the S. schenckii complex. We used pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to separate chromosomal fragments of isolated DNA, followed by probe hybridization. Nine loci (β-tubulin, calmodulin, catalase, chitin synthase 1, Internal Transcribed Spacer, Pho85 cyclin-dependent kinase, protein kinase C Ss-2, G protein α subunit and topoisomerase II) were mapped onto chromosomal bands of Brazilian isolates of S. schenckii s. str. and S. brasiliensis. Our results revealed the presence of intra and interspecies polymorphisms in chromosome number and size. The gene hybridization analysis showed that closely related species in phylogenetic analysis had similar genetic organizations, mostly due to identification of synteny groups in chromosomal bands of similar sizes. Our results bring new insights into the genetic diversity and genome organization among pathogenic species in the Sporothrix schenckii complex.
PMCID: PMC3900657  PMID: 24466257
8.  A Recombinant Multiepitope Protein for Hepatitis B Diagnosis 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:148317.
Hepatitis B is a liver inflammation caused by hepatitis B virus (HBV) and can be diagnosed in clinical stage by hepatitis B core antibody from IgM class (anti-HBcIgM). Hepatitis B core antibody from IgG class (Anti-HBcIgG) appears quickly after IgM, reaching high titers in chronic hepatitis, and remains even after cure. Since hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc) is the first antibody identified and sometimes the only marker detected during the course of infection, it can be used both to indicate HBV acute infection (anti-HBc-IgM) and to identify individuals who have come into contact with the virus (anti-HBc-IgG). In this work we propose a recombinant hepatitis B core multiepitope antigen (rMEHB) to be used for diagnosis of hepatitis B. For this purpose, a synthetic gene coding for rMEHB was designed and cloned into vector pET21a with a 6xHis tag at the C-terminal. Time course induction in E. coli showed an induced protein with an apparent molecular mass of ~21 kDa. Protein purification was performed by a single step with affinity chromatography Ni-NTA. Circular dichroism spectroscopy indicated rMEHB as a thermal stable protein at pH 7.0 and 8.0. In these conditions rMEHB was successfully used to perform an enzyme linked immuno sorbent assay (ELISA) with positive and negative sera.
PMCID: PMC3835477  PMID: 24294596
9.  Differences in Cell Morphometry, Cell Wall Topography and Gp70 Expression Correlate with the Virulence of Sporothrix brasiliensis Clinical Isolates 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75656.
Sporotrichosis is a chronic infectious disease affecting both humans and animals. For many years, this subcutaneous mycosis had been attributed to a single etiological agent; however, it is now known that this taxon consists of a complex of at least four pathogenic species, including Sporothrix schenckii and Sporothrix brasiliensis. Gp70 was previously shown to be an important antigen and adhesin expressed on the fungal cell surface and may have a key role in immunomodulation and host response. The aim of this work was to study the virulence, morphometry, cell surface topology and gp70 expression of clinical isolates of S. brasiliensis compared with two reference strains of S. schenckii. Several clinical isolates related to severe human cases or associated with the Brazilian zoonotic outbreak of sporotrichosis were genotyped and clustered as S. brasiliensis. Interestingly, in a murine subcutaneous model of sporotrichosis, these isolates showed a higher virulence profile compared with S. schenckii. A single S. brasiliensis isolate from an HIV-positive patient not only showed lower virulence but also presented differences in cell morphometry, cell wall topography and abundant gp70 expression compared with the virulent isolates. In contrast, the highly virulent S. brasiliensis isolates showed reduced levels of cell wall gp70. These observations were confirmed by the topographical location of the gp70 antigen using immunoelectromicroscopy in both species. In addition, the gp70 molecule was sequenced and identified using mass spectrometry, and the sequenced peptides were aligned into predicted proteins using Blastp with the S. schenckii and S. brasiliensis genomes.
PMCID: PMC3792129  PMID: 24116065
10.  Molecular and Morphological Data Support the Existence of a Sexual Cycle in Species of the Genus Paracoccidioides 
Eukaryotic Cell  2013;12(3):380-389.
The genus Paracoccidioides includes the thermodimorphic species Paracoccidioides brasiliensis and P. lutzii, both of which are etiologic agents of paracoccidioidomycosis, a systemic mycosis that affects humans in Latin America. Despite the common occurrence of a sexual stage among closely related fungi, this has not been observed with Paracoccidioides species, which have thus been considered asexual. Molecular evolutionary studies revealed recombination events within isolated populations of the genus Paracoccidioides, suggesting the possible existence of a sexual cycle. Comparative genomic analysis of all dimorphic fungi and Saccharomyces cerevisiae demonstrated the presence of conserved genes involved in sexual reproduction, including those encoding mating regulators such as MAT, pheromone receptors, pheromone-processing enzymes, and mating signaling regulators. The expression of sex-related genes in the yeast and mycelial phases of both Paracoccidioides species was also detected by real-time PCR, with nearly all of these genes being expressed preferentially in the filamentous form of the pathogens. In addition, the expression of sex-related genes was responsive to the putative presence of pheromone in the supernatants obtained from previous cocultures of strains of two different mating types. In vitro crossing of isolates of different mating types, discriminated by phylogenetic analysis of the α-box (MAT1-1) and the high-mobility-group (HMG) domain (MAT1-2), led to the identification of the formation of young ascocarps with constricted coiled hyphae related to the initial stage of mating. These genomic and morphological analyses strongly support the existence of a sexual cycle in species of the genus Paracoccidioides.
PMCID: PMC3629771  PMID: 23125354
11.  Phospholipase gene expression during Paracoccidioides brasiliensis morphological transition and infection 
Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz  2013;108(6):808-811.
Phospholipase is an important virulence factor for pathogenic fungi. In this study, we demonstrate the following: (i) the Paracoccidioides brasiliensis pld gene is preferentially expressed in mycelium cells, (ii) the plb1 gene is mostly up-regulated by infection after 6 h of co-infection of MH-S cells or during BALB/c mice lung infection, (iii) during lung infection, plb1, plc and pld gene expression are significantly increased 6-48 h post-infection compared to 56 days after infection, strongly suggesting that phospholipases play a role in the early events of infection, but not during the chronic stages of pulmonary infection by P. brasiliensis.
PMCID: PMC3970691  PMID: 24037207
host-pathogen interaction; Paracoccidioides brasiliensis; pathogenicity; phospholipases
12.  Phylogenetic Analysis Reveals a High Prevalence of Sporothrix brasiliensis in Feline Sporotrichosis Outbreaks 
Sporothrix schenckii, previously assumed to be the sole agent of human and animal sporotrichosis, is in fact a species complex. Recently recognized taxa include S. brasiliensis, S. globosa, S. mexicana, and S. luriei, in addition to S. schenckii sensu stricto. Over the last decades, large epidemics of sporotrichosis occurred in Brazil due to zoonotic transmission, and cats were pointed out as key susceptible hosts. In order to understand the eco-epidemiology of feline sporotrichosis and its role in human sporotrichosis a survey was conducted among symptomatic cats. Prevalence and phylogenetic relationships among feline Sporothrix species were investigated by reconstructing their phylogenetic origin using the calmodulin (CAL) and the translation elongation factor-1 alpha (EF1α) loci in strains originated from Rio de Janeiro (RJ, n = 15), Rio Grande do Sul (RS, n = 10), Paraná (PR, n = 4), São Paulo (SP, n = 3) and Minas Gerais (MG, n = 1). Our results showed that S. brasiliensis is highly prevalent among cats (96.9%) with sporotrichosis, while S. schenckii was identified only once. The genotype of Sporothrix from cats was found identical to S. brasiliensis from human sources confirming that the disease is transmitted by cats. Sporothrix brasiliensis presented low genetic diversity compared to its sister taxon S. schenckii. No evidence of recombination in S. brasiliensis was found by split decomposition or PHI-test analysis, suggesting that S. brasiliensis is a clonal species. Strains recovered in states SP, MG and PR share the genotype of the RJ outbreak, different from the RS clone. The occurrence of separate genotypes among strains indicated that the Brazilian S. brasiliensis epidemic has at least two distinct sources. We suggest that cats represent a major host and the main source of cat and human S. brasiliensis infections in Brazil.
Author Summary
Sporotrichosis is a subcutaneous mycosis acquired by traumatic inoculation of soil and plant material contaminated with infectious propagules of the pathogen. The transmission of the disease by cats to other animals and humans occurs by biting or scratching, promoting direct inoculation of yeast cells into host tissue. This may represent an alternative and a successful transmission of the fungus. In order to understand the impact of felines on the epidemiology of sporotrichosis, we evaluated the phenotypic and genotypic features of isolates obtained from animals and humans living in outbreak areas. Although sporotrichosis is caused by a complex of species, in this study we observed that S. brasiliensis is the prevalent etiological agent of feline sporotrichosis, having been recovered from 96.9% of the samples. Moreover, this approach allowed us to recognize that isolates from RJ, SP, PR and MG states are genetically similar among them but different from feline isolates recovered from the RS epidemic. Our study brings new insights into the eco-epidemiology of sporotrichosis in Brazil, clarifying the distribution and prevalence of S. brasiliensis in feline outbreaks. Knowledge about the source and distribution of the etiological agent between outbreak areas may help to establish public strategies for the containment of the epidemic of sporotrichosis in Brazil.
PMCID: PMC3688539  PMID: 23818999
13.  The Genome of Anopheles darlingi, the main neotropical malaria vector 
Marinotti, Osvaldo | Cerqueira, Gustavo C. | de Almeida, Luiz Gonzaga Paula | Ferro, Maria Inês Tiraboschi | Loreto, Elgion Lucio da Silva | Zaha, Arnaldo | Teixeira, Santuza M. R. | Wespiser, Adam R. | Almeida e Silva, Alexandre | Schlindwein, Aline Daiane | Pacheco, Ana Carolina Landim | da Silva, Artur Luiz da Costa | Graveley, Brenton R. | Walenz, Brian P. | Lima, Bruna de Araujo | Ribeiro, Carlos Alexandre Gomes | Nunes-Silva, Carlos Gustavo | de Carvalho, Carlos Roberto | Soares, Célia Maria de Almeida | de Menezes, Claudia Beatriz Afonso | Matiolli, Cleverson | Caffrey, Daniel | Araújo, Demetrius Antonio M. | de Oliveira, Diana Magalhães | Golenbock, Douglas | Grisard, Edmundo Carlos | Fantinatti-Garboggini, Fabiana | de Carvalho, Fabíola Marques | Barcellos, Fernando Gomes | Prosdocimi, Francisco | May, Gemma | de Azevedo Junior, Gilson Martins | Guimarães, Giselle Moura | Goldman, Gustavo Henrique | Padilha, Itácio Q. M. | Batista, Jacqueline da Silva | Ferro, Jesus Aparecido | Ribeiro, José M. C. | Fietto, Juliana Lopes Rangel | Dabbas, Karina Maia | Cerdeira, Louise | Agnez-Lima, Lucymara Fassarella | Brocchi, Marcelo | de Carvalho, Marcos Oliveira | Teixeira, Marcus de Melo | Diniz Maia, Maria de Mascena | Goldman, Maria Helena S. | Cruz Schneider, Maria Paula | Felipe, Maria Sueli Soares | Hungria, Mariangela | Nicolás, Marisa Fabiana | Pereira, Maristela | Montes, Martín Alejandro | Cantão, Maurício E. | Vincentz, Michel | Rafael, Miriam Silva | Silverman, Neal | Stoco, Patrícia Hermes | Souza, Rangel Celso | Vicentini, Renato | Gazzinelli, Ricardo Tostes | Neves, Rogério de Oliveira | Silva, Rosane | Astolfi-Filho, Spartaco | Maciel, Talles Eduardo Ferreira | Ürményi, Turán P. | Tadei, Wanderli Pedro | Camargo, Erney Plessmann | de Vasconcelos, Ana Tereza Ribeiro
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;41(15):7387-7400.
Anopheles darlingi is the principal neotropical malaria vector, responsible for more than a million cases of malaria per year on the American continent. Anopheles darlingi diverged from the African and Asian malaria vectors ∼100 million years ago (mya) and successfully adapted to the New World environment. Here we present an annotated reference A. darlingi genome, sequenced from a wild population of males and females collected in the Brazilian Amazon. A total of 10 481 predicted protein-coding genes were annotated, 72% of which have their closest counterpart in Anopheles gambiae and 21% have highest similarity with other mosquito species. In spite of a long period of divergent evolution, conserved gene synteny was observed between A. darlingi and A. gambiae. More than 10 million single nucleotide polymorphisms and short indels with potential use as genetic markers were identified. Transposable elements correspond to 2.3% of the A. darlingi genome. Genes associated with hematophagy, immunity and insecticide resistance, directly involved in vector–human and vector–parasite interactions, were identified and discussed. This study represents the first effort to sequence the genome of a neotropical malaria vector, and opens a new window through which we can contemplate the evolutionary history of anopheline mosquitoes. It also provides valuable information that may lead to novel strategies to reduce malaria transmission on the South American continent. The A. darlingi genome is accessible at
PMCID: PMC3753621  PMID: 23761445
14.  Pulmonary cavitation and skin lesions mimicking tuberculosis in a HIV negative patient caused by Sporothrix brasiliensis 
A 32-year-old HIV negative male presented with multiple pulmonary cavitation and skin abscesses up to 15 cm in diameter mimicking tuberculosis. Sporothrix brasiliensis was isolated and patient responded well to amphotericin B followed by itraconazole, except the skin lesions that had to be surgical drained to obtain cure.
PMCID: PMC3885933  PMID: 24432220
Sporothrix brasiliensis; Pulmonary sporotrichosis; Genotyping; Serology; Amphotericin B
15.  Bioconversion of Sugarcane Biomass into Ethanol: An Overview about Composition, Pretreatment Methods, Detoxification of Hydrolysates, Enzymatic Saccharification, and Ethanol Fermentation 
Depleted supplies of fossil fuel, regular price hikes of gasoline, and environmental damage have necessitated the search for economic and eco-benign alternative of gasoline. Ethanol is produced from food/feed-based substrates (grains, sugars, and molasses), and its application as an energy source does not seem fit for long term due to the increasing fuel, food, feed, and other needs. These concerns have enforced to explore the alternative means of cost competitive and sustainable supply of biofuel. Sugarcane residues, sugarcane bagasse (SB), and straw (SS) could be the ideal feedstock for the second-generation (2G) ethanol production. These raw materials are rich in carbohydrates and renewable and do not compete with food/feed demands. However, the efficient bioconversion of SB/SS (efficient pretreatment technology, depolymerization of cellulose, and fermentation of released sugars) remains challenging to commercialize the cellulosic ethanol. Among the technological challenges, robust pretreatment and development of efficient bioconversion process (implicating suitable ethanol producing strains converting pentose and hexose sugars) have a key role to play. This paper aims to review the compositional profile of SB and SS, pretreatment methods of cane biomass, detoxification methods for the purification of hydrolysates, enzymatic hydrolysis, and the fermentation of released sugars for ethanol production.
PMCID: PMC3516358  PMID: 23251086
16.  Genus Paracoccidioides: Species Recognition and Biogeographic Aspects 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37694.
Paracoccidioidomycosis is a systemic mycosis caused by Paracoccidioides brasiliensis (species S1, PS2, PS3), and Paracoccidioides lutzii. This work aimed to differentiate species within the genus Paracoccidioides, without applying multilocus sequencing, as well as to obtain knowledge of the possible speciation processes.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Single nucleotide polymorphism analysis on GP43, ARF and PRP8 intein genes successfully distinguished isolates into four different species. Morphological evaluation indicated that elongated conidia were observed exclusively in P. lutzii isolates, while all other species (S1, PS2 and PS3) were indistinguishable.
To evaluate the biogeographic events that led to the current geographic distribution of Paracoccidioides species and their sister species, Nested Clade and Likelihood Analysis of Geographic Range Evolution (LAGRANGE) analyses were applied. The radiation of Paracoccidioides started in northwest South America, around 11–32 million years ago, as calculated on the basis of ARF substitution rate, in the BEAST program. Vicariance was responsible for the divergence among S1, PS2 and P. lutzii and a recent dispersal generated the PS3 species, restricted to Colombia. Taking into account the ancestral areas revealed by the LAGRANGE analysis and the major geographic distribution of L. loboi in the Amazon basin, a region strongly affected by the Andes uplift and marine incursions in the Cenozoic era, we also speculate about the effect of these geological events on the vicariance between Paracoccidioides and L. loboi.
The use of at least 3 SNPs, but not morphological criteria, as markers allows us to distinguish among the four cryptic species of the genus Paracoccidioides. The work also presents a biogeographic study speculating on how these species might have diverged in South America, thus contributing to elucidating evolutionary aspects of the genus Paracoccidioides.
PMCID: PMC3364295  PMID: 22666382
17.  Comparative Genomic Analysis of Human Fungal Pathogens Causing Paracoccidioidomycosis 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(10):e1002345.
Paracoccidioides is a fungal pathogen and the cause of paracoccidioidomycosis, a health-threatening human systemic mycosis endemic to Latin America. Infection by Paracoccidioides, a dimorphic fungus in the order Onygenales, is coupled with a thermally regulated transition from a soil-dwelling filamentous form to a yeast-like pathogenic form. To better understand the genetic basis of growth and pathogenicity in Paracoccidioides, we sequenced the genomes of two strains of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis (Pb03 and Pb18) and one strain of Paracoccidioides lutzii (Pb01). These genomes range in size from 29.1 Mb to 32.9 Mb and encode 7,610 to 8,130 genes. To enable genetic studies, we mapped 94% of the P. brasiliensis Pb18 assembly onto five chromosomes. We characterized gene family content across Onygenales and related fungi, and within Paracoccidioides we found expansions of the fungal-specific kinase family FunK1. Additionally, the Onygenales have lost many genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism and fewer genes involved in protein metabolism, resulting in a higher ratio of proteases to carbohydrate active enzymes in the Onygenales than their relatives. To determine if gene content correlated with growth on different substrates, we screened the non-pathogenic onygenale Uncinocarpus reesii, which has orthologs for 91% of Paracoccidioides metabolic genes, for growth on 190 carbon sources. U. reesii showed growth on a limited range of carbohydrates, primarily basic plant sugars and cell wall components; this suggests that Onygenales, including dimorphic fungi, can degrade cellulosic plant material in the soil. In addition, U. reesii grew on gelatin and a wide range of dipeptides and amino acids, indicating a preference for proteinaceous growth substrates over carbohydrates, which may enable these fungi to also degrade animal biomass. These capabilities for degrading plant and animal substrates suggest a duality in lifestyle that could enable pathogenic species of Onygenales to transfer from soil to animal hosts.
Author Summary
Paracoccidioides sp. are fungal pathogens that cause paracoccidioidomycosis in humans. They are part of a larger group of dimorphic fungi causing pulmonary infections in immunocompetent people, whereas many other fungi cause opportunistic infections. We sequenced the genomes of two strains of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis and one strain of the closely related species Paracoccidioides lutzii, and compared them to other fungal genomes. We found gene family expansions specific to Paracoccidioides, including the fungal-specific kinase family. By contrast we found that dimorphic fungi as a group have lost many genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism but retained most proteases. As the growth substrates for dimorphic fungi have not been well characterized, we tested a non-pathogenic relative, Uncinocarpus reesii, for growth on 190 carbon sources. We found that U. reesii is capable of growth on a limited set of carbohydrates, but grows more rapidly on a wide range of dipeptides and amino acids. Our analysis suggests that this genetic and phenotypic preference may underlie the ability of the dimorphic fungi to infect and grow on animal hosts.
PMCID: PMC3203195  PMID: 22046142
18.  Poly(lactic acid-glycolic acid) nanoparticles markedly improve immunological protection provided by peptide P10 against murine paracoccidioidomycosis 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2010;159(5):1126-1132.
Background and purpose:
The present study reports on the preparation and testing of a sustained delivery system for the immunomodulatory peptide P10 aimed at reducing the in vivo degradation of the peptide and the amount required to elicit a protective immune response against paracoccidioidomycosis.
Experimental approach:
BALB/c mice were infected with the yeast Paracoccidioides brasiliensis to mimic the chronic form of paracoccidioidomycosis. The animals were treated daily with sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim alone or combined with peptide P10, either emulsified in Freund's adjuvant or entrapped in poly(lactic acid-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles at different concentrations (1 µg, 5 µg, 10 µg, 20 µg or 40 µg·50 µL−1). Therapeutic efficacy was assessed as fungal burden in tissues and the immune response by quantitative determination of cytokines.
Key results:
Animals given combined chemotherapy and P10 nanotherapy presented a marked reduction of fungal load in the lungs, compared with the non-treated animals. After 30 days of treatment, P10 entrapped within PLGA (1 µg·50 µL−1) was more effective than ‘free’ P10 emulsified in Freund's adjuvant (20 µg·50 µL−1), as an adjuvant to chemotherapy. After treatment for 90 days, the higher doses of P10 entrapped within PLGA (5 or 10 µg·50 µL−1) were most effective. Treatment with P10 emulsified in Freund's adjuvant (20 µg·50 µL−1) or P10 entrapped within PLGA (1 µg·50 µL−1) were accompanied by high levels of interferon-gamma in lung.
Conclusions and implications:
Combination of sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim with the P10 peptide entrapped within PLGA demonstrated increased therapeutic efficacy against paracoccidioidomycosis. P10 incorporation into PLGA nanoparticles dramatically reduced the peptide amount necessary to elicit a protective effect.
PMCID: PMC2839270  PMID: 20136827
immunomodulatory peptide; antifungal therapy; biodegradable polymers; drug delivery; nanobiotechnology
19.  Comparative genomics allowed the identification of drug targets against human fungal pathogens 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:75.
The prevalence of invasive fungal infections (IFIs) has increased steadily worldwide in the last few decades. Particularly, there has been a global rise in the number of infections among immunosuppressed people. These patients present severe clinical forms of the infections, which are commonly fatal, and they are more susceptible to opportunistic fungal infections than non-immunocompromised people. IFIs have historically been associated with high morbidity and mortality, partly because of the limitations of available antifungal therapies, including side effects, toxicities, drug interactions and antifungal resistance. Thus, the search for alternative therapies and/or the development of more specific drugs is a challenge that needs to be met. Genomics has created new ways of examining genes, which open new strategies for drug development and control of human diseases.
In silico analyses and manual mining selected initially 57 potential drug targets, based on 55 genes experimentally confirmed as essential for Candida albicans or Aspergillus fumigatus and other 2 genes (kre2 and erg6) relevant for fungal survival within the host. Orthologs for those 57 potential targets were also identified in eight human fungal pathogens (C. albicans, A. fumigatus, Blastomyces dermatitidis, Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, Paracoccidioides lutzii, Coccidioides immitis, Cryptococcus neoformans and Histoplasma capsulatum). Of those, 10 genes were present in all pathogenic fungi analyzed and absent in the human genome. We focused on four candidates: trr1 that encodes for thioredoxin reductase, rim8 that encodes for a protein involved in the proteolytic activation of a transcriptional factor in response to alkaline pH, kre2 that encodes for α-1,2-mannosyltransferase and erg6 that encodes for Δ(24)-sterol C-methyltransferase.
Our data show that the comparative genomics analysis of eight fungal pathogens enabled the identification of four new potential drug targets. The preferred profile for fungal targets includes proteins conserved among fungi, but absent in the human genome. These characteristics potentially minimize toxic side effects exerted by pharmacological inhibition of the cellular targets. From this first step of post-genomic analysis, we obtained information relevant to future new drug development.
PMCID: PMC3042012  PMID: 21272313
20.  Identification and characterization of Tc1/mariner-like DNA transposons in genomes of the pathogenic fungi of the Paracoccidioides species complex 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:130.
Paracoccidioides brasiliensis (Eukaryota, Fungi, Ascomycota) is a thermodimorphic fungus, the etiological agent of paracoccidioidomycosis, the most important systemic mycoses in Latin America. Three isolates corresponding to distinct phylogenetic lineages of the Paracoccidioides species complex had their genomes sequenced. In this study the identification and characterization of class II transposable elements in the genomes of these fungi was carried out.
A genomic survey for DNA transposons in the sequence assemblies of Paracoccidioides, a genus recently proposed to encompass species P. brasiliensis (harboring phylogenetic lineages S1, PS2, PS3) and P. lutzii (Pb01-like isolates), has been completed. Eight new Tc1/mariner families, referred to as Trem (Transposable element mariner), labeled A through H were identified. Elements from each family have 65-80% sequence similarity with other Tc1/mariner elements. They are flanked by 2-bp TA target site duplications and different termini. Encoded DDD-transposases, some of which have complete ORFs, indicated that they could be functionally active. The distribution of Trem elements varied between the genomic sequences characterized as belonging to P. brasiliensis (S1 and PS2) and P. lutzii. TremC and H elements would have been present in a hypothetical ancestor common to P. brasiliensis and P. lutzii, while TremA, B and F elements were either acquired by P. brasiliensis or lost by P. lutzii after speciation. Although TremD and TremE share about 70% similarity, they are specific to P. brasiliensis and P. lutzii, respectively. This suggests that these elements could either have been present in a hypothetical common ancestor and have evolved divergently after the split between P. brasiliensis and P. Lutzii, or have been independently acquired by horizontal transfer.
New families of Tc1/mariner DNA transposons in the genomic assemblies of the Paracoccidioides species complex are described. Families were distinguished based on significant BLAST identities between transposases and/or TIRs. The expansion of Trem in a putative ancestor common to the species P. brasiliensis and P. lutzii would have given origin to TremC and TremH, while other elements could have been acquired or lost after speciation had occurred. The results may contribute to our understanding of the organization and architecture of genomes in the genus Paracoccidioides.
PMCID: PMC2836289  PMID: 20178623
21.  Obtaining partial purified xylose reductase from Candida guilliermondii 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2009;40(3):631-635.
The enzymatic bioconversion of xylose into xylitol by xylose reductase (XR) is an alternative for chemical and microbiological processes. The partial purified XR was obtained by using the following three procedures: an agarose column, a membrane reactor or an Amicon Ultra-15 50K Centrifugal Filter device at yields of 40%, 7% and 67%, respectively.
PMCID: PMC3768554  PMID: 24031408
Xylose reductase; Xylitol; Partial purification
22.  The stress responsive and morphologically regulated hsp90 gene from Paracoccidioides brasiliensis is essential to cell viability 
BMC Microbiology  2008;8:158.
Paracoccidioides brasiliensis is a dimorphic fungus that causes the most prevalent systemic mycosis in Latin America. The response to heat shock is involved in pathogenesis, as this pathogen switches from mycelium to yeast forms in a temperature dependent fashion that is essential to establish infection. HSP90 is a molecular chaperone that helps in the folding and stabilization of selected polypeptides. HSP90 family members have been shown to present important roles in fungi, especially in the pathogenic species, as an immunodominant antigen and also as a potential antifungal therapeutic target.
In this work, we decided to further study the Pbhsp90 gene, its expression and role in cell viability because it plays important roles in fungal physiology and pathogenesis. Thus, we have sequenced a Pbhsp90 cDNA and shown that this gene is present on the genome as a single copy. We have also confirmed its preferential expression in the yeast phase and its overexpression during dimorphic transition and oxidative stress. Treatment of the yeast with the specific HSP90 inhibitors geldanamycin and radicicol inhibited growth at 2 and 10 μM, respectively.
The data confirm that the Pbhsp90 gene encodes a morphologically regulated and stress-responsive protein whose function is essential to cell viability of this pathogen. This work also enforces the potential of HSP90 as a target for antifungal therapies, since the use of HSP90 inhibitors is lethal to the P. brasiliensis yeast cells in a dose-responsive manner.
PMCID: PMC2556680  PMID: 18808717
23.  Xylitol production from wheat straw hemicellulosic hydrolysate: hydrolysate detoxification and carbon source used for inoculum preparation 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2008;39(2):333-336.
Wheat straw hemicellulosic hydrolysate was used for xylitol bioproduction. The use of a xylose-containing medium to grow the inoculum did not favor the production of xylitol in the hydrolysate, which was submitted to a previous detoxification treatment with 2.5% activated charcoal for optimized removal of inhibitory compounds.
PMCID: PMC3768398  PMID: 24031226
Wheat straw hemicellulosic hydrolysate; Hydrolysate detoxification; Inoculum preparation; Candida guilliermondii; Xylitol production.
24.  The transcriptome analysis of early morphogenesis in Paracoccidioides brasiliensis mycelium reveals novel and induced genes potentially associated to the dimorphic process 
BMC Microbiology  2007;7:29.
Paracoccidioides brasiliensis is a human pathogen with a broad distribution in Latin America. The fungus is thermally dimorphic with two distinct forms corresponding to completely different lifestyles. Upon elevation of the temperature to that of the mammalian body, the fungus adopts a yeast-like form that is exclusively associated with its pathogenic lifestyle. We describe expressed sequence tags (ESTs) analysis to assess the expression profile of the mycelium to yeast transition. To identify P. brasiliensis differentially expressed sequences during conversion we performed a large-scale comparative analysis between P. brasiliensis ESTs identified in the transition transcriptome and databases.
Our analysis was based on 1107 ESTs from a transition cDNA library of P. brasiliensis. A total of 639 consensus sequences were assembled. Genes of primary metabolism, energy, protein synthesis and fate, cellular transport, biogenesis of cellular components were represented in the transition cDNA library. A considerable number of genes (7.51%) had not been previously reported for P. brasiliensis in public databases. Gene expression analysis using in silico EST subtraction revealed that numerous genes were more expressed during the transition phase when compared to the mycelial ESTs [1]. Classes of differentially expressed sequences were selected for further analysis including: genes related to the synthesis/remodeling of the cell wall/membrane. Thirty four genes from this family were induced. Ten genes related to signal transduction were increased. Twelve genes encoding putative virulence factors manifested increased expression. The in silico approach was validated by northern blot and semi-quantitative RT-PCR.
The developmental program of P. brasiliensis is characterized by significant differential positive modulation of the cell wall/membrane related transcripts, and signal transduction proteins, suggesting the related processes important contributors to dimorphism. Also, putative virulence factors are more expressed in the transition process suggesting adaptation to the host of the yeast incoming parasitic phase. Those genes provide ideal candidates for further studies directed at understanding fungal morphogenesis and its regulation.
PMCID: PMC1855332  PMID: 17425801
25.  Cell organisation, sulphur metabolism and ion transport-related genes are differentially expressed in Paracoccidioides brasiliensis mycelium and yeast cells 
BMC Genomics  2006;7:208.
Mycelium-to-yeast transition in the human host is essential for pathogenicity by the fungus Paracoccidioides brasiliensis and both cell types are therefore critical to the establishment of paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM), a systemic mycosis endemic to Latin America. The infected population is of about 10 million individuals, 2% of whom will eventually develop the disease. Previously, transcriptome analysis of mycelium and yeast cells resulted in the assembly of 6,022 sequence groups. Gene expression analysis, using both in silico EST subtraction and cDNA microarray, revealed genes that were differential to yeast or mycelium, and we discussed those involved in sugar metabolism. To advance our understanding of molecular mechanisms of dimorphic transition, we performed an extended analysis of gene expression profiles using the methods mentioned above.
In this work, continuous data mining revealed 66 new differentially expressed sequences that were MIPS(Munich Information Center for Protein Sequences)-categorised according to the cellular process in which they are presumably involved. Two well represented classes were chosen for further analysis: (i) control of cell organisation – cell wall, membrane and cytoskeleton, whose representatives were hex (encoding for a hexagonal peroxisome protein), bgl (encoding for a 1,3-β-glucosidase) in mycelium cells; and ags (an α-1,3-glucan synthase), cda (a chitin deacetylase) and vrp (a verprolin) in yeast cells; (ii) ion metabolism and transport – two genes putatively implicated in ion transport were confirmed to be highly expressed in mycelium cells – isc and ktp, respectively an iron-sulphur cluster-like protein and a cation transporter; and a putative P-type cation pump (pct) in yeast. Also, several enzymes from the cysteine de novo biosynthesis pathway were shown to be up regulated in the yeast form, including ATP sulphurylase, APS kinase and also PAPS reductase.
Taken together, these data show that several genes involved in cell organisation and ion metabolism/transport are expressed differentially along dimorphic transition. Hyper expression in yeast of the enzymes of sulphur metabolism reinforced that this metabolic pathway could be important for this process. Understanding these changes by functional analysis of such genes may lead to a better understanding of the infective process, thus providing new targets and strategies to control PCM.
PMCID: PMC1578568  PMID: 16907987

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