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Paracoccidioides brasiliensis is an amenable model to study the molecular and biochemical events that lead to morphological transition in fungi, because temperature seems to be the only factor regulating this process. It is the causative agent of paracoccidioidomycosis, a systemic mycosis that affects humans and that is geographically confined to Latin America, where it constitutes one of the most prevalent deep mycoses. With the help of molecular tools, events leading to the morphological transition have been traced to genes that control cell wall glucan and chitin syntheses, and other metabolic processes such as production of heat shock proteins and ornithine decarboxylase activity. Molecular diagnosis and epidemiology of paracoccidioidomycosis are also the focus of intensive research, with several primers being proposed as specific probes for clinical and field uses. Although P. brasiliensis is refractory to cytogenetic analysis, electrophoretic methods have allowed an approximation of its genomic organization and ploidy. Finally, the recognition of P. brasiliensis as an anamorph in the phylum Ascomycota, order Onygenales, family Onygenaceae, has been accomplished by means of molecular tools. This phylogenetic placement has revised the taxonomic position of this fungus, which was traditionally included within now-abandoned higher anamorph taxa, the phylum Deuteromycota and the class Hyphomycetes.


Gioconda San-Blas, Gustavo Niño-Vega, Teresa Iturriaga. Paracoccidioides brasiliensis and paracoccidioidomycosis: molecular approaches to morphogenesis, diagnosis, epidemiology, taxonomy and genetics. Medical mycology : official publication of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology. 2002 Jun;40(3):225-42

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PMID: 12146752

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