The Human Fungal Pathogen Cryptococcus Can Complete Its Sexual Cycle during a Pathogenic Association with Plants

Chaoyang Xue, Yasuomi Tada, Xinnian Dong, Joseph Heitman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cryptococcus is a globally distributed human fungal pathogen that primarily afflicts immunocompromised individuals. How and why this human fungal pathogen associates with plants and how this environmental niche influences its life cycle remains a mystery. We established Cryptococcus-Arabidopsis and Cryptococcus-Eucalyptus systems and discovered that Cryptococcus proliferates and mates on plant surfaces. Mating efficiency of C. gattii was markedly enhanced on plants and myo-inositol and indole acetic acid were specific plant products that stimulated mating. On Arabidopsis, dwarfing and chlorosis were observed following infection with a fungal mixture of two opposite mating-type strains, but not with either mating-type alone. This infection process is countered by the plant jasmonate-mediated defense mechanism. These findings reveal that Cryptococcus can parasitically interact with plants to complete its sexual cycle, which may impact an understanding of the origin and evolution of both plant and animal fungal pathogens in nature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-273
Number of pages11
JournalCell Host and Microbe
Volume1
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 14 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Virology

Keywords

  • MICROBIO

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