ATCC sent out this email with the Genus of the month as Basidiobolus. It is worth noting they call out B. ranarum as inhabitant of bat and rodent guts but it is mainly known (and named) for being associated with frogs (hence the ‘rana’). It has some quite cool biology, it grows dimorphically as a yeast or hyphae, and is reported to have a large genome (Henk and Fisher PLoS One 2012).
Note that the genome and transcriptome of B. meristosporus is being sequenced as part of the 1000 Fungal genomes project from samples Andrii Gryganski prepared. Don’t forget that YOU can propose genomes to this project by logging in here and submitting a proposed species in a family that is not sufficiently sampled (2 per Family).
The info below is from ATCC®. I couldn’t find a link to the on their site so I am copying the email text in.
There is nothing more fascinating than when a microbial species begins popping up in the literature as a true pathogen. Basidiobolus ranarum, which typically inhabits the guts of bats and small rodents, has been recently tagged as an emerging human pathogen that may have previously been unrecognized.1
B. ranarum was first added to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)1 in 1999 after 6 immunocompetent individuals tested positive for gastrointestinal basidiobolomycosis over a 5-year period. The most interesting aspect of this study, however, was the fact that each patient was originally misdiagnosed with some other intestinal ailment, ranging from diverticulitis to cancer.
While many of the Zygomycetes, including Basidiobolus, have been implicated in subcutaneous human diseases, it is still relatively uncommon for Basidiobolus to colonize the human intestine. This new development piqued the interest of several researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, a region of the U.S. where the majority of such cases have been reported. Following an in-depth analysis of all known case records, they discovered a total of 44 cases of gastrointestinal basidiobolomycosis worldwide; 19 of which occurred in the southwestern U.S., 11 in Saudi Arabia, and 14 in other arid regions of the globe.2
Symptoms displayed in each case were similar, with complaints ranging from abdominal distention and pain to a palpable abdominal mass. Of particular interest was a patient originally treated for Clostridium difficile colitis. This patient underwent several surgeries and treatment with oral vancomycin before a stool fungal culture revealed the presence of B. ranarum. While this patient was successfully treated with a 3-month course of voriconazole, repeated at 1-year follow-up, the investigators cautioned that antifungal resistance may pose a problem in the future. Earlier work performed by the same group revealed uniform resistance to amphotericin B and flucytosine in four B. ranarum isolates, as well as mixed resistance to several other azoles.2
The source of B. ranarum infection leading to gastrointestinal disease is still not understood, but the fecal-oral route has been suggested. Pathologists and clinicians should be aware of this potential new threat, and additional work to understand the pathogenesis and antifungal susceptibility/resistance of B. ranarum should be an on-going effort among the research and medical communities.
ATCC® Basidiobolus Strains
Want to learn more about ATCC Basidiobolus strains available from ATCC? View a list of Basidiobolus spp. online.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). MMWR: Gastrointestinal Basidiobolomycosis – Arizona, 1994-1999. August 20, 1999.
2. Vikram, et al. Emergence of Gastrointestinal Basidiobolomycosis in the United States, with a Review of Worldwide Cases. Clinical Infectious Diseases Advance Access published on March 22, 2012.