Systemic fungal infections represent a major cause of morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients. The ever-increasing number of yeast species associated with human infections that are not covered by conventional identication kits, and the fact that moulds isolated from deep infections are frequently impossible to identify using classical methods due to lack of sporulation, has driven the need for rapid, robust molecular identication techniques. We recently developed a rapid method of preparing fungal genomic DNAs using Whatman FTA lters, which has greatly facilitated molecular identication. Mould isolates cultured from dark grain mycetomas (destructive infections of skin/sub-cutaneous tissues that progress to involve muscle and bone) invariably fail to produce features by which they can be identied and were taxonomic mysteries. PCR amplication and sequencing of 250 bp of the internal transcribed spacer region 1 (ITS1) allowed us to distinguish between the known agents of mycetoma, to describe three new species associated with this disease and to dene phylo-genetic relationships. For yeasts, 153 isolates encompassing 47 species that had failed to be identied using classical methods were unambiguously identied by conventional sequencing of 350 bp of the 26S rRNA D1D2 region. These represented 5% of the isolates examined and included common species with atypical biochemical and phenotypic proles, and rarer species infrequently associated with infec-tion. Our recent studies indicate that FTA extraction coupled with pyrosequencing of 25 bp of ITS2 could potentially identify most common yeast species from pure culture in half a day. Together, these data underscore the importance of molecular techniques for fungal identication.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
These studies were supported in part by Whatman International and Biotage.
- Nuclear ribosomal DNA genes