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Open Access Molecular analysis and pathogenicity of the Cladophialophora carrionii complex, with the description of a novel species

Cladophialophora carrionii is one of the four major etiologic agents of human chromoblastomycosis in semi-arid climates. This species was studied using sequence data of the internal transcribed spacer region of rDNA, the partial β-tubulin gene and an intron in the translation elongation factor 1-alpha gene, in addition to morphology. With all genes a clear bipartition was observed, which corresponded with minute differences in conidiophore morphology. A new species, C. yegresii, was introduced, which appeared to be, in contrast to C. carrionii, associated with living cactus plants. All strains from humans, and a few isolates from dead cactus debris, belonged to C. carrionii, for which a lectotype was designated. Artificial inoculation of cactus plants grown from seeds in the greenhouse showed that both fungi are able to persist in cactus tissue. When reaching the spines they produce cells that morphologically resemble the muriform cells known as the “invasive form” in chromoblastomycosis. The tested clinical strain of C. carrionii proved to be more virulent in cactus than the environmental strain of C. yegresii that originated from the same species of cactus, Stenocereus griseus. The muriform cell expressed in cactus spines can be regarded as the extremotolerant survival phase, and is likely to play an essential role in the natural life cycle of these organisms. Taxonomic novelty: Cladophialophora yegresii de Hoog, sp. nov.

Keywords: Cactus; Cladophialophora; chromoblastomycosis; endophyte; extremotolerance; phylogeny; taxonomy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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  • Studies in Mycology is an international journal which publishes systematic monographs of filamentous fungi and yeasts, and special topical issues related to all fields of mycology, biotechnology, ecology, molecular biology, pathology and systematics. The journal is Open-Access and contains monographs or topical issues (5–6 papers per issue). There are no restrictions of length, although it is generally expected that manuscripts should be at least 50 A4 pages in print.
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