Lacazia loboi is the causal agent of Lobomycosis (Jorge Lobo’s disease), which manifests as chronic nodular legions in cooler areas of the bodies of its victims. L. loboi is an aquatic microorganism acquired through lesions in cutaneous and subcutaneous tissues, and primarily infects dolphins and humans residing in tropical areas of the Americas(1). The biological and epidemiological characteristics of this fungus remain quite enigmatic due to its resistance to being cultured. Phylogenetic analysis has shown that this obligate pathogen is closely related to dimorphic fungi of the family Onygenaceae(2). However, L. loboi is the only known member of the dimorphic fungal clade unable to grow at temperatures above 37° Celsius. Although its closest relative is Paracoccidoides brasiliensis, there are significant genetic differences between the two fungi manifesting in distinct mechanisms of infection and disease. The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard is sequencing one clinical isolate of L. loboi.
The comparative L. loboi project is funded by NIAID through the "Comparative Genomics of Coccidioides and other Pathogenic Dimorphic Fungi" whitepaper. This project aims to characterize the uniqueness of the L. loboi strain in order to better understand the evolutionary differentiation of the larger group of dimorphic fungal pathogens.
Opromolla DV, Nogueira ME. Inoculation of Lacazia loboi into the subcutaneous tissue of the hamster cheek pouch. Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo. 2000 May-Jun;42(3):119-23.
Herr RA, Tarcha EJ, Taborda PR, Taylor JW, Ajello L, Mendoza L. Phylogenetic analysis of Lacazia loboi places this previously uncharacterized pathogen within the dimorphic Onygenales. J Clin Microbiol. 2001 Jan;39(1):309-14.
A pilot 454 sequencing effort yielded 282 reads (~7.7%) showing similarity to other dimorphic fungi (blastn, e-value of <= 1e-10). This data is available on FigShare.