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Commun Biol DOI:10.1038/s42003-021-01799-7

Genomic insights into the host specific adaptation of the Pneumocystis genus.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsCissé, OH, Ma, L, Dekker, JP, Khil, PP, Youn, J-H, Brenchley, JM, Blair, R, Pahar, B, Chabé, M, Van Rompay, KKA, Keesler, R, Sukura, A, Hirsch, V, Kutty, G, Liu, Y, Peng, L, Chen, J, Song, J, Weissenbacher-Lang, C, Xu, J, Upham, NS, Stajich, JE, Cuomo, CA, Cushion, MT, Kovacs, JA
JournalCommun Biol
Date Published2021 03 08
KeywordsAnimals, Evolution, Molecular, Fungal Proteins, Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal, Genome, Fungal, Host-Pathogen Interactions, Humans, Phylogeny, Pneumocystis carinii, Pneumonia, Pneumocystis, Species Specificity

Pneumocystis jirovecii, the fungal agent of human Pneumocystis pneumonia, is closely related to macaque Pneumocystis. Little is known about other Pneumocystis species in distantly related mammals, none of which are capable of establishing infection in humans. The molecular basis of host specificity in Pneumocystis remains unknown as experiments are limited due to an inability to culture any species in vitro. To explore Pneumocystis evolutionary adaptations, we have sequenced the genomes of species infecting macaques, rabbits, dogs and rats and compared them to available genomes of species infecting humans, mice and rats. Complete whole genome sequence data enables analysis and robust phylogeny, identification of important genetic features of the host adaptation, and estimation of speciation timing relative to the rise of their mammalian hosts. Our data reveals insights into the evolution of P. jirovecii, the sole member of the genus able to infect humans.


Alternate JournalCommun Biol
PubMed ID33686174
PubMed Central IDPMC7940399
Grant ListI01 BX004441 / BX / BLRD VA / United States
IK6 BX005232 / BX / BLRD VA / United States
P51 OD011104 / OD / NIH HHS / United States
R01 HL146266 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States