Aspergillus sydowii CBS 593.65 v1.0
Photo of Aspergillus sydowii CBS 593.65 v1.0
Jos A.M.P. Houbraken, Ronald P. de Vries, Robert A. Samson, A. sydowii grown on plate and microscopic images.

This is another species with a reported marine lifestyle from the section Nidulantes. It is the causative agent of aspergillosis in sea fan corals and as such poses a threat to specific marine habitats (coral reefs), which play an important role in the carbon cycle. Attack by A. sydowii has devastating effects on sea fan corals, which are a dominant member of Caribbean coral reef ecosystems. With the development of a laboratory cnidarian pathosystem using Gorgonia ventalina (the common sea fan) and the causative fungal agent A. sydowii, cell biology studies of their interaction are now possible. Genomics data will greatly enhance molecular level studies of coral aspergillosis (in particular making it possible to perform transcriptomic and proteomic studies of this fungus during infection), such studies will increase the depth of understanding of the behavior of the fungus during pathogenic interactions. This will expand our knowledge of the mechanisms coral disease in general, and a greater understanding of the coral-fungus interaction will eventually lead to strategies to mitigate the effects of this particular disease. Utilization of genome data from A. fumigatus has lead to the identification of potential drug targets and improved our understanding of aspergillosis, setting a precedent for the use of genomics in the study of fungal pathogens. The relatively large A. sydowii genome and ability to grow as both a coral (animal) pathogen and on dead plant matter, suggests that A. sydowii has a more extensive spectra of extracellular enzymes than (most) other Aspergilli. The diversity of sampling locations of terrestrial isolates available in public collections, highlights the ability of A. sydowii to 11 grow on a broad range of substrates. Hence, we would predict A. sydowii to possess a set of extracellular enzymes specifically adapted to its unique environmental niche in addition to the core extracellular enzyme set which overlaps that of the other Aspergilli. It is anticipated that A. sydowii enzymes have evolved to suit its novel environmental niche (high salt and aquatic). Therefore, one would expect enzymes from A. sydowii to have biochemical properties differing to those of sequenced Aspergilli. In addition A. sydowii has been reported to produce a potent antimicrobial substance, mulundocandin, which belongs a structural class of compounds that possess a fungus specific mechanism of action and have a low incidence of unwanted side effects A.sydowii is therefore a potential source of fungal secondary metabolites of biomedical interest.

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