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Stepping stones for the adaptation of human pathogenic fungi resulting from global change

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 509240

  • Start date

    1 September 2005

  • End date

    31 August 2007

Funded under:

FP6-MOBILITY

  • Overall budget:

    € 70 876

  • EU contribution

    € 70 876

Coordinated by:

CENTRAALBUREAU VOOR SCHIMMELCULTURES

Netherlands

Objective

Most human pathogenic fungi have a dual life cycle involving saprotrophic growth in the environment, alternated by an invasive phase. The formation of propagules enable the fungus to leave the host is necessary and can be viewed as a hallmark of a pathogen . In contrast, opportunists do not have any means of transmission. The model organism Pseudallescheria boydii, a fungal opportunist, colonises man-made environments, such as polluted soil and ponds, industrial filters and sewage in high frequencies. This f ungus is one of the emerging, therapy-refractory agents of hospital infections. Opportunists are taking advantage of environmental conditions which are adverse for most other organisms, e.g., assimilation of toxic compounds, oligotrophism, or thermotoleran ce. When these conditions are provided in excess, e.g., in man-made habitats, up-scaled niches serve as stepping stones for adaptation, now in the direct vicinity of humans. As adaption and evolution towards increased virulence can take place in the host a s well as in the environment. P. boydii is prone to reach another level of virulence in the human host. This may be driven by changes in the environment or by the adaption to the human host. When the environment becomes more permissive, it allows for selec tion of the most vigorously reproducing genotypes and thus provides an enormous window of opportunity for the species which overrules the trade-offs for invasion. A new balance between environmental and invasive cycles is probable to lie on a higher level of virulence. In the proposed study we will evaluate computed models of the cost effectiveness of pathogen abilities in opportunistic fungi. Together with the description of population dynamics this will serve to establish tools for effective risk assessme nt and for better understanding of the evolution of fungal virulence. Competition experiments with the model organism P. boydii will be carried out, providing basic data for computer-aided modelling.

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Coordinator

CENTRAALBUREAU VOOR SCHIMMELCULTURES

Address

Uppsalalaan 8
Utrecht

Netherlands

Participants (2)

UNIVERSITAET INNSBRUCK

Austria

UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Netherlands

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 509240

  • Start date

    1 September 2005

  • End date

    31 August 2007

Funded under:

FP6-MOBILITY

  • Overall budget:

    € 70 876

  • EU contribution

    € 70 876

Coordinated by:

CENTRAALBUREAU VOOR SCHIMMELCULTURES

Netherlands