Genetic Changes in Experimental Populations of a Hybrid in the Cryptococcus neoformans Species Complex Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Hybrids between Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus deneoformans are commonly found in patients and the environment. However, the genetic stability of these hybrids remains largely unknown. Here, we established mutation accumulation lines of a diploid C. neoformans × C. deneoformans laboratory hybrid and analyzed the genotypes at 33 markers distributed across all 14 chromosomes. Our analyses found that under standard culture conditions, heterozygosity at most loci was maintained over 800 mitotic generations, with an estimated 6.44 × 10−5 loss-of-heterozygosity (LoH) event per mitotic division. However, under fluconazole stress, the observed LoH frequency increased by > 50 folds for the two markers on Chromosome 1, all due to the loss of the fluconazole susceptible allele on this chromosome. Flow cytometry analyses showed that after the 40th transfer (120 days), 19 of the 20 lines maintained the original ploidy level (2N), while one line was between 2N and 3N. The combined flow cytometry, genotyping at 33 markers, and quantitative PCR analyses showed the allelic loss was compensated for by amplification of the resistant ERG11 allele in eight of the ten fluconazole-stress lines. Our results suggest that hybrids in C. neoformans species complex are generally stable but that they can undergo rapid adaptation to environmental stresses through LoH and gene duplication.

publication date

  • December 18, 2019