Little is known about the molecular epidemiology of the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans in India, a country now in the midst of an epidemic of AIDS-related cryptococcosis. We studied 57 clinical isolates from several regions in India, of which 51 were C. neoformans var. grubii, 1 was C. neoformans var. neoformans, and 5 were C. neoformans var. gattii. This strain set included 18 additional sequential isolates from 14 patients. Strains were characterized phenotypically by measuring the polysaccharide capsule and by determining the MICs of standard antifungals. Molecular typing was performed by a PCR-based method using the minisatellite-specific core sequence (M13), by electrophoretic karyotyping, by restriction fragment length polymorphisms with the C. neoformans transposon 1 (TCN-1), and by URA5 DNA sequence analysis. Overall, Indian isolates were less heterogeneous than isolates from other regions and included a subset that clustered into one group based on URA5 DNA sequence analysis. In summary, our results demonstrate (i) differences in genetic diversity of C. neoformans isolates from India compared to isolates from other regions in the world; (ii) that DNA typing with the TCN-1 probe can adequately distinguish C. neoformans var. grubii strains; (iii) that TCN-1 sequences are absent in many C. neoformans var. gattii strains, supporting previous studies indicating that these strains have a limited geographical dispersal; and (iv) that human cryptococcal infection can be associated with microevolution of the infecting strain and by simultaneous coinfection with two distinct C. neoformans strains.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)