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Hamm, Paris [1], Montoya, Kyana [2], Taylor, John [3], Cook, Joseph [1], Natvig, Donald [1].

Lung Tissues from Wild Southwestern Rodents Help in Understanding the Lung Mycobiome and the Distribution and Disease Ecology of Coccidioides and Other Members of the Onygenales.

Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever) is a disease of humans and animals caused by species of the dimorphic fungus  Coccidioidesand is highly endemic to arid regions of the southwestern United States.  Recently, Taylor and Barker reviewed modern studies that support the hypothesis that small mammals provide an environmental reservoir for species of  Coccidioides. This hypothesis is supported in part by the fact that  Coccidioides  genomes have a reduced number of genes associated with plant cell-wall degradation and an increased number of genes associated with animal pathogenesis.  We are taking a multifaceted approach to study the lung mycobiome of southwestern wild rodents to explore the distribution and ecology of species of  Coccidioides  and other fungi.Ultrafrozen lung tissues have been obtained for five families of rodents across the southwestern U.S. from UNM Museum of Southwestern Biology and UC Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. A combination of next-generation sequencing approaches and culturing have been used to examine the lungs for fungi. We have examined the lungs of approximately 200 small mammals usingIllumina ITS2 sequencing. Sequences for species of  Coccidioides  were present in 12% of the samples, albeit often in low relative abundance. Sequence similarity points to the presence of  C. posadasii  in rodent lungs from New Mexico and Arizona, reflecting results obtained from analyses of clinical isolates.  Coccidioides  positive samples were from 14 wild host species. The presence of  Coccidioides  does not appear to disrupt the normal lung mycobiome as might be expected if it were an aggressive pathogen. Plated lung samples from southern California, generated multiple Onygenalean fungi including  Blastomyces parvus  in more than a third of the samples.  Despite the fact that species of  Coccidioides  are among the few fungal pathogens to infect healthy individuals, our results suggest that  Coccidioide smay be more common in hosts than expected.Our data show that Onygenales are in more than 70% of the samples and are among the most common members of the small-mammal the lung mycobiome community.

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1 - University of New Mexico, Department of Biology, Albuquerque, NM, USA
2 - Los Alamos National Laboratory, Bioscience Division, Los Alamos, NM, USA
3 - University of California, Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, Berkeley, CA, USA

lung mycobiome
disease ecology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: MY2, Mycology: Human and Animal Pathogens
Location: /
Date: Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
Time: 12:45 PM(EDT)
Number: MY2002
Abstract ID:1133
Candidate for Awards:MSA Best Oral Presentation Award by a Graduate Student

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