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  • Author or Editor: Cs. Vágvölgyi x
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The complete ITS (internal transcribed spacer) region coding the ITS1, the ITS2 and the 5.8S rDNA was amplified by polymerase chain reaction from two strains of Gilbertella persicaria, six strains in the Mucoraceae (Mucor piriformis, M. rouxii, M. circinelloides, Rhizomucor miehei, R. pusillus and R. tauricus) and four strains representing three species of the Choanephoraceae (Blakeslea trispora, Choanephora infundibulifera and Poitrasia circinans). Sequences of the amplified DNA fragments were determined and analysed. G. persicaria belongs to the monogeneric family (Gilbertellaceae), however, originally it was described as Choanephora persicaria. The goal of this study was to reveal the phylogenetic relationship among fungi belonging to Gilbertellaceae, Choanephoraceae and Mucoraceae. Our results support that the “intermediate” position of this family is between Choanephoraceae and Mucoraceae.

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The in vitro antifungal activity of different statins and the combinations of the two most effective ones (fluvastatin and rosuvastatin) with amphotericin B were investigated in this study on 6 fungal isolates representing 4 clinically important genera, namely Absidia, Rhizomucor, Rhizopus and Syncephalastrum . The antifungal effects of statins revealed substantial differences. The synthetic statins proved to be more effective than the fungal metabolites. All investigated strains proved to be sensitive to fluvastatin. Fluvastatin and rosuvastatin acted synergistically and additively with amphotericin B in inhibiting the fungal growth in clinically available concentration ranges. Results suggest that statins combined with amphotericin B have a therapeutic potential against fungal infections caused by Zygomycetes species.

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The mortality rates of fungal infections that affect the central nervous system are high in consequence of the absence of effective antifungal drugs with good penetration across the blood-brain barrier and the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier. In the present work in vitro antifungal activities of three good penetrating non-antifungal drugs (amantadine hydrochloride, R-(-)-deprenyl hydrochloride, valproic acid sodium salt) and their combinations with three antifungal agents (amphotericin B, itraconazole, terbinafine) were tested with broth microdilution method against eight fungal isolates belonging to Zygomycetes (Lichtheimia corymbifera, Rhizomucor miehei, Rhizopus microsporus var. rhizopodiformis, Saksenaea vasiformis) and Aspergillus genus (A. flavus, A. fumigatus, A. nidulans, A. terreus). These are known to be possible agents of central nervous fungal infections (CNFI). When used alone, the investigated nonantifungal drugs exerted slight antifungal effects. In their combinations with antifungal agents they acted antagonistically, additively and synergistically against zygomyceteous isolates. Primarily antagonistic interactions were revealed between the investigated drugs in case of Aspergilli, but additive and synergistic interactions were also observed. The additive and synergistic combinations allowed the usage of reduced concentrations of antifungal agents to inhibit the fungal growth in our study. These combinations would be a basis of an effective, less toxic therapy for treatment of CNFI.

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Acta Microbiologica et Immunologica Hungarica
Authors: Ildikó Nyilasi, T. Papp, M. Takó, Erzsébet Nagy, and Cs. Vágvölgyi

Iron is an essential nutrient for most organisms because it serves as a catalytic cofactor in oxidation-reduction reactions. Iron is rather unavailable because it occurs in its insoluble ferric form in oxides and hydroxides, while in serum of mammalian hosts is highly bound to carrier proteins such as transferrin, so the free iron concentration is extremely low insufficient for microbial growth. Therefore, many organisms have developed different iron-scavenging systems for solubilizing ferric iron and transporting it into cells across the fungal membrane. There are three major mechanisms by which fungi can obtain iron from the host: (a) utilization of a high affinity iron permease to transport iron intracellularly, (b) production and secretion of low molecular weight iron-specific chelators (siderophores), (c) utilization of a hem oxygenase to acquire iron from hemin. Patients with elevated levels of available serum iron treated with iron chelator, deferoxamine to remedy iron overload conditions have an increased susceptibility of invasive zygomycosis. Presumably deferoxamine predisposes patients to Zygomycetes infections by acting as a siderophore. The frequency of zygomycosis is increasing in recent years and these infections respond very poorly to currently available antifungal agents, so new approaches to develop strategies to prevent and treat zygomycosis are urgently needed. Siderophores and iron-transport proteins have been suggested to function as virulence factors because the acquisition of iron is a crucial pathogenetic event. Biosynthesis and uptake of siderophores represent possible targets for antifungal therapy.

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A genomic library of Mucor circinelloides ATCC 1216b has been constructed in Lambda Fix II vector. The library has an average insert site of 10 kb and covers the genome 12 times. The M. circinelloides gene encoding glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (gpd) was isolated from this library by hybridization of the recombinant phage clones with a gpd-specific gene probe generated by PCR reaction. The complete nucleotide sequence encodes a putative polypeptide chain of 339 amino acids interrupted by 3 introns. The predicted amino acid sequence of this gene shows a high degree of sequence similarity to the GPD proteins from other filamentous fungi. The promoter region, containing a consensus TATA and CAAT box and a 298 nucleotid long termination region were also determined.

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Cells of the astaxanthin-producing yeast Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous were subjected to successive 60 Co and UV irradiation. Colonies exhibiting increased pigmentation were recovered from different non-selective plates. Mutant strains were subcultured to ensure their genetic homogeneity and their pigment production was characterized. Analysis of the metabolic patterns of 7 pigment-overproducing mutants (derived from 3 wild-type parental isolates) revealed different patterns of carotenoid production: the greatest increase in astaxanthin production (6.7-fold) was found for X. dendrorhous strain ATCC 24229/S119 (274 μ g g −1 dry weight). Mutant strains with increased total carotenoid content, but without significant change in astaxanthin production, were also isolated.

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Acta Biologica Hungarica
Authors: L. Kredics, Kata Terecskei, Zsuzsanna Antal, A. Szekeres, L. Hatvani, L. Manczinger, and Cs. Vágvölgyi

Eleven cold-tolerant Trichoderma isolates were screened for the production of proteolytic activities at 10 °C. Based on the activity profiles determined with paranitroanilide substrates at 5 °C, strain T221 identified as Trichoderma atroviride was selected for further investigations. The culture broth of the strain grown at 10 °C in casein-containing culture medium was concentrated by lyophilization and subjected to gel filtration, which was followed by chromatofocusing of the fraction showing the highest activity on N -benzoyl-Phe-Val-Arg-paranitroanilide. The purified enzyme had a molecular weight of 24 kDa, an isoelectric point of 7.3 and a pH optimum of 6.2. The temperature optimum of 25 °C and the low thermal stability suggested that it is a true cold-adapted enzyme. Substrate specificity data indicate that the enzyme is a proteinase with a preference for Arg or Lys at the P1 position. The effect of proteinase inhibitors suggests that the enzyme has a binding pocket similar to the one present in trypsin.

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