The evolutionary relationships of twenty-five of the most significant human pathogenic fungi will be determined in relation to fifty of their close higher fungal relatives by applying a powerful new DNA amplification and sequencing technology to study fungal ribosomal RNA genes. The polymerase chain reaction methodology, which has been recently applied to the diagno- sis of viral diseases such as HIV, HTLV-I, and human papilloma virus, will be used to amplify and directly sequence the nuclear small subunit rRNA gene. and other regions of the rDNA repeat, of the pathogens and other fungi. Pathogenic fungi for study include Ascomycetes (e.g., Ajellomyces capsulatus, A. dermatitidis, and Arthroderma species), Basidiomycetes (e.g., Filobasidiella neoformans), and fungi of uncertain placement (e.g., Coccidioides immitis, Candida albicans, and Trichosporon beigelii). The nucleotide sequence variation among these and other pathogens, and other higher fungi, will be used to construct a molecular phylogeny of Ascomycetes and Basidiomycetes. Knowledge of true phylogenetic relationships is essential to predicting the attributes of fungi, including their susceptibility to methods of prevention and control. The results of this study will allow development of fungal-wide and pathogen-specific amplification primers, and pathogen-- specific identification probes which will improve the speed and accuracy of diagnostic tests for the agents of human mycoses. The results will also be broadly applicable to the fields of mycotoxins in food and feed and fungal plant pathology.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Project (R01)
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Bacteriology and Mycology Subcommittee 2 (BM)
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University of California Berkeley
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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LoBuglio, K F; Taylor, J W (1995) Phylogeny and PCR identification of the human pathogenic fungus Penicillium marneffei. J Clin Microbiol 33:85-9
Gargas, A; Taylor, J W (1995) Phylogeny of Discomycetes and early radiations of the apothecial Ascomycotina inferred from SSU rDNA sequence data. Exp Mycol 19:7-15
Gargas, A; DePriest, P T; Taylor, J W (1995) Positions of multiple insertions in SSU rDNA of lichen-forming fungi. Mol Biol Evol 12:208-18
Mitchell, T G; Freedman, E Z; White, T J et al. (1994) Unique oligonucleotide primers in PCR for identification of Cryptococcus neoformans. J Clin Microbiol 32:253-5
Burt, A; Carter, D A; White, T J et al. (1994) DNA sequencing with arbitrary primer pairs. Mol Ecol 3:523-5
Mitchell, T G; White, T J; Taylor, J W (1992) Comparison of 5.8S ribosomal DNA sequences among the basidiomycetous yeast genera Cystofilobasidium, Filobasidium and Filobasidiella. J Med Vet Mycol 30:207-18
Bowman, B H; Taylor, J W; Brownlee, A G et al. (1992) Molecular evolution of the fungi: relationship of the Basidiomycetes, Ascomycetes, and Chytridiomycetes. Mol Biol Evol 9:285-96
Berbee, M L; Taylor, J W (1992) Detecting morphological convergence in true fungi, using 18S rRNA gene sequence data. Biosystems 28:117-25
Berbee, M L; Taylor, J W (1992) Convergence in ascospore discharge mechanism among pyrenomycete fungi based on 18S ribosomal RNA gene sequence. Mol Phylogenet Evol 1:59-71
Berbee, M L; Taylor, J W (1992) Two ascomycete classes based on fruiting-body characters and ribosomal DNA sequence. Mol Biol Evol 9:278-84

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