Molecular typing of aspergilli: Recent developments and outcomes.


Varga J.

Date: 16 February 2007


Aspergillus spp. have been the subject of numerous epidemiological studies. The most useful typing techniques are DNA based methods including the random amplified polymorphic DNA technique, microsatellite length polymorphisms, restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis using retrotransposon-like sequences as probes, and multilocus sequence typing. The results of typing clinical isolates indicate that most of the invasive aspergillosis (IA) patients were infected by a single strain. Genetic analysis could not discriminate between clinical and environmental isolates of Aspergillus. fumigatus, indicating that every strain present in the environment is a potential pathogen if it encounters the appropriate host. The source of infection can also be monitored by typing. Typing studies led to the discovery of a new pathogenic species, A. lentulus, and to the identification of several species not known previously to be pathogenic. Typing studies revealed the existence of two genetically isolated groups within a global A. fumigatus population. Aspergillus fumigatus was found to be the first example of a true cosmopolitan fungus. Additionally, the results obtained in several studies support the premise that recombination played an important role in A. fumigatus populations. The discovery of functional mating type genes in A. fumigatus indicates that past or recent sexual processes could be responsible for the observed recombining population structure.

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