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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Genet. | doi: 10.3389/fgene.2019.00383

Whole-genome sequencing of the opportunistic yeast pathogen Candida inconspicua uncovers its hybrid origin

 Veronica Mixao1, Antonio Perez-Hansen2, Ester Saus1,  Teun Boekhout3,  Cornelia Lass-Flörl2 and  Toni Gabaldón4*
  • 1Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Spain
  • 2Innsbruck Medical University, Austria
  • 3Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute, Netherlands
  • 4Bioinformatics and Genomics, Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Spain

Fungal infections such as those caused by Candida species are increasingly common complications in immunocompromised patients. The list of causative agents of candidiasis is growing and comprises a set of emerging species whose relative global incidence is rare but recurrent. This is the case of Candida inconspicua, which prevalence has increased tenfold over the last years. To gain novel insights into the emergence of this opportunistic pathogen and its genetic diversity, we performed whole genome sequencing of the type strain (CBS180), and of ten other clinical isolates. Our results revealed high levels of genetic heterozygosity structured in non-homogeneous patterns which are indicative of a hybrid genome shaped by events of loss of heterozygosity. All analyzed strains were hybrids and could be clustered into two distinct clades. We found large variability across strains in terms of ploidy, patterns of loss of heterozygosity, and mitochondrial genome heterogeneity that suggest potential admixture between hybrids. Altogether, our results identify a new hybrid species with virulence potential towards humans and underscore the potential role of hybridization in the emergence of novel pathogenic lineages.

Keywords: Candida, hybridisation, Candida inconspicua, Loss of heterozygosity (LOH), Emerging pathogenic fungi

Received: 12 Feb 2019; Accepted: 09 Apr 2019.

Edited by:

Jean Marie François, UMR5504 Laboratoire d'Ingénierie des Systèmes Biologiques et des Procédés (LISBP), France

Reviewed by:

Santiago Castillo Ramírez, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico
Christina A. Cuomo, Broad Institute, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Mixao, Perez-Hansen, Saus, Boekhout, Lass-Flörl and Gabaldón. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Toni Gabaldón, Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Bioinformatics and Genomics, Barcelona, 08003, Spain, tgabaldon@crg.es