Taxonomy of fungal mammalian pathogens is revealed through phylogeny
Abstract: Ever since the uncultivated South American fungal pathogen Lacazia loboi was first described 90 years ago, its etiology and evolutionary traits have been at the center of endless controversies. This pathogen infects the skin of humans and as long believed, dolphin skin. However, recent DNA analyses of infected dolphins placed its DNA sequences within Paracoccidioides species. This came as a surprise and suggested the human and dolphin pathogens may be different species. In this study, population genetic analyses of DNA from four infected dolphins grouped this pathogen in a monophyletic cluster sister to P. americana and to the other Paracoccidioides species. Based on the results we have emended the taxonomy of the dolphin pathogen as Paracoccidioides cetiiand P. loboi the one infecting human. Our data warn that phylogenetic analysis of available taxa without the inclusion of unusual members may provide incomplete information for the accurate classification of anomalous species.
PI: Leonel Mendoza, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
CSTAT Collaborator: Marianne Huebner