The Sporothrix complex members cause sporotrichosis, a subcutaneous mycosis with a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations. Several specific phenotypic characteristics are associated with virulence in many fungi, but studies in this field involving the Sporothrix complex species are scarce. Melanization, thermotolerance, and production of proteases, catalase, and urease were investigated in 61 S. brasiliensis, one S. globosa, and 10 S. schenckii strains. The S. brasiliensis strains showed a higher expression of melanin and urease compared with S. schenckii. These two species, however, presented similar thermotolerances. Our S. globosa strain had low expression of all studied virulence factors. The relationship between these phenotypes and clinical aspects of sporotrichosis was also evaluated. Strains isolated from patients with spontaneous regression of infection were heavily melanized and produced high urease levels. Melanin was also related to dissemination of internal organs and protease production was associated with HIV-coinfection. A murine sporotrichosis model showed that a S. brasiliensis strain with high expression of virulence factors was able to disseminate and yield a high fungal burden in comparison with a control S. schenckii strain. Our results show that virulence-related phenotypes are variably expressed within the Sporothrix complex species and might be involved in clinical aspects of sporotrichosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)