Comparative gene genealogical analyses of strains of serotype AD identify recombination in populations of serotypes A and D in the human pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans.
Cryptococcus neoformans is a major pathogen of humans throughout the world. Using commercial monoclonal antibodies to capsular epitopes, strains of C. neoformans manifest five serotypes: A, B, C, D and AD. Previous studies demonstrated significant divergence among serotypes A, B, C and D, which are typically haploid. In contrast, most strains of serotype AD are diploid or aneuploid and result from recent hybridization between strains of serotypes A and D. Whether serotypes A, B, C and D represent strictly asexual lineages is not known. Using comparative genealogical analyses of two genes, the authors investigated whether recombination occurred among strains within serotypes A and D. For each of 14 serotype AD strains, a portion (642 bp) of the orotidine monophosphate pyrophosphorylase (URA5) gene was cloned and sequenced. Each of these 14 strains contained two different alleles and sequences for both alleles were obtained. The URA5 gene genealogy was compared to that derived from the laccase (LAC) gene, which was reported recently for the same 14 strains. For both genes, each of the 14 serotype AD strains contained two phylogenetically distinct alleles: one allele was highly similar to those from serotype A strains and the other to alleles from serotype D strains. However, within both the serotype A allelic group and the serotype D allelic group, there was significant incongruence between genealogies derived from URA5 and LAC. The results suggest recombination in natural populations of both serotypes A and D.
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