Sequence-based identification of filamentous basidiomycetous fungi from clinical specimens: A cautionary note

Anna M. Romanelli, Deanna A. Sutton, Elizabeth H. Thompson, Michael G. Rinaldi, Brian L. Wickes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


The species-level identification of sterile and/or arthroconidium-forming filamentous fungi presumed to be basidiomycetes based upon morphological or physiological features alone is usually not possible due to the limited amount of hyphal differentiation. Therefore, a reliable molecular approach capable of the unambiguous identification of clinical isolates is needed. One hundred sixty-eight presumptive basidiomycetes were screened by sequence analysis of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and D1/D2 ribosomal DNA regions in an effort to obtain a species identification. Through the use of this approach, identification of a basidiomycetous fungus to the species level was obtained for 167/168 of the isolates. However, comparison of the BLAST results for each isolate for both regions revealed that only 28.6% (48/168) of the isolates had the same species identification by use of both the ITS and the D1/D2 regions, regardless of the percent identity. At the less stringent genus-only level, the identities for only 48.8% (82/168) of the isolates agreed for both regions. Investigation of the causes for this low level of agreement revealed that 14% of the species lacked an ITS region deposit and 16% lacked a D1/D2 region deposit. Few GenBank deposits were found to be complete for either region, with only 8% of the isolates having a complete ITS region and 10% having a complete D1/D2 region. This study demonstrates that while sequence-based identification is a powerful tool for many fungi, sequence data derived from filamentous basidiomycetes should be interpreted carefully, particularly in the context of missing or incomplete GenBank data, and, whenever possible, should be evaluated in light of compatible morphological features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)741-752
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Sequence-based identification of filamentous basidiomycetous fungi from clinical specimens: A cautionary note'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this