Genetic relatedness versus biological compatibility between Aspergillus fumigatus and related species

Janyce A Sugui, Stephen W Peterson, Abigail Figat, Bryan Hansen, Robert A Samson, Emilia Mellado, Manuel Cuenca-Estrella, Kyung J Kwon-Chung

    Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


    Aspergillus section Fumigati contains 12 clinically relevant species. Among these Aspergillus species, A. fumigatus is the most frequent agent of invasive aspergillosis, followed by A. lentulus and A. viridinutans. Genealogical concordance and mating experiments were performed to examine the relationship between phylogenetic distance and mating success in these three heterothallic species. Analyses of 19 isolates from section Fumigati revealed the presence of three previously unrecognized species within the broadly circumscribed species A. viridinutans. A single mating type was found in the new species Aspergillus pseudofelis and Aspergillus pseudoviridinutans, but in Aspergillus parafelis, both mating types were present. Reciprocal interspecific pairings of all species in the study showed that the only successful crosses occurred with the MAT1-2 isolates of both A. parafelis and A. pseudofelis. The MAT1-2 isolate of A. parafelis was fertile when paired with the MAT1-1 isolates of A. fumigatus, A. viridinutans, A. felis, A. pseudoviridinutans, and A. wyomingensis but was not fertile with the MAT1-1 isolate of A. lentulus. The MAT1-2 isolates of A. pseudofelis were fertile when paired with the MAT1-1 isolate of A. felis but not with any of the other species. The general infertility in the interspecies crossings suggests that genetically unrelated species are also biologically incompatible, with the MAT1-2 isolates of A. parafelis and A. pseudofelis being the exception. Our findings underscore the importance of genealogical concordance analysis for species circumscription, as well as for accurate species identification, since misidentification of morphologically similar pathogens with differences in innate drug resistance may be of grave consequences for disease management.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3707-21
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


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