Unit: Fungi Culture Collection
Director: PAPIEROK, Bernard
The Fungi Culture Collection of the Institut Pasteur is in charge of more than 2000 strains of fungi (filamentous fungi and yeasts) and Actinomycetes, most of which originated from human lesions. In addition to specific collection activities (culture, conservation, identity and viability checking, distribution), the laboratory carried out molecular investigations on systematics and phylogeny of potentially pathogenic Entomophthorales. In 2003, these investigations focused again on the rDNA ITS1-5,8S-ITS2 region in Basidiobolus spp. and Conidiobolus spp. strains.
The Fungi Culture Collection of the Institut Pasteur is in charge of more than 2000 strains of fungi (filamentous fungi and yeasts) and Actinomycetes, most of which originated from human lesions. This collection includes also strains from environmental origin (air, soil, decaying plant material, dead invertebrates, mostly insects). To keep the collection is the basic purpose of the laboratory. In addition research investigations are carried out on original isolates.
The laboratory keeps strains in checked pure culture and delivers them to the interested research laboratories, as well as to industrial and pharmaceutical ones and to education establishments. More than 600 strains were distributed in 2003. Furthermore, strain identification is performed on request. The laboratory provides also most of the isolates used in the laboratory work at the annual Institut Pasteur Medical Mycology course. As the Fungi Culture Collection is involved directly in the Biological Resource Centre of the Institut Pasteur project, it developed organization and quality control strategy.
Furthermore research activities are dedicated to characterization, systematics and ecology of filamentous fungi. Owing to the experience of the staff, these investigations focused on entomophthoralean species (Zygomycetes) bearing pathogenic potential for humans and/or for insects. As in 2002, the laboratory gave in 2003 greater importance to the sequencing of the complete rDNA ITS1-5,8S-ITS2 region in strains of more or less related species of Basidiobolus and Conidiobolus. Indeed, these two genera are outstanding owing to the fact that they are mostly saprophytic; however several species are more or less regularly isolated from lesions in humans or some other mammals, or from invertebrate cadavers. Moreover, a few Conidiobolus species are only known as naturally occurring entomopathogens.
Finally, the laboratory got involved in the study of systematics and ecology of Austrian entomopathogenic Entomophthorales, in the framework of a collaboration set up with the University of Agricultural Sciences, Vienna.
Molecular characterization of strains of Basidiobolus spp. and Conidiobolus spp. (Céline POGGI, Martine KIREDJIAN, Bernard PAPIEROK)
Study of new strains of Basidiobolus spp. and Conidiobolus spp. confirmed the 2002 results. Whatever the involved Basidiobolus species, the size of the rDNA ITS1-5,8S-ITS2 region of all strains ranged from 650 to 700 bp. Sequence analysis underlined a certain homogeneity within the strains, whatever they originated from plant decaying material, reptile faeces, insect cadavers or human lesions.
For Conidiobolus spp., taking new strains of saprophytic species into account led to emphasize the homogeneity of the sequence of the rDNA ITS1-5,8S-ITS2 region at the species level. Within the species Conidiobolus coronatus, strains isolated from lesions in primates didn't separate from strains isolated from soils or from arthropod cadavers.
Systematics and ecology of entomopathogenic Entomophthorales in Austria (Bernard PAPIEROK)
In June 2003, investigations on naturally occurring entomopathogenic Entomophthorales in Austria were carried out in the framework of a collaboration established with Rudolf WEGENSTEINER (Institute of Forest Entomology, Forest Pathology and Forest Protection, University of Agricultural Sciences, Vienna). No entomophthorosis was found in aphid populations, due probably to their low level and quite high temperatures. No mycosed brachycerous Diptera were found in open fields as well. On the contrary, Entomophthorales were encountered infecting Homoptera other than Aphididae (Psyllidae, Delphacidae, Cercopidae), nematocerous Diptera (Chironomidae) and Trichoptera, mostly in shady locations. The fungal species belong to the genera Erynia and Zoophthora. Several strains were isolated; they represent the first Austrian isolates of these Entomophthorales.
Keywords: Entomophthorales, characterization, ITS, Basidiobolus, Conidiobolus, Mycology, Strain Collection