Paracoccidioides brasiliensis is a pathogenic fungus that undergoes a temperature-dependent cell morphology change from mycelium (22 degrees C) to yeast (36 degrees C). It is assumed that this morphological transition correlates with the infection of the human host. Our goal was to identify genes expressed in the mycelium (M) and yeast (Y) forms by EST sequencing in order to generate a partial map of the fungus transcriptome. Individual EST sequences were clustered by the CAP3 program and annotated using Blastx similarity analysis and InterPro Scan. Three different databases, GenBank nr, COG (clusters of orthologous groups) and GO (gene ontology) were used for annotation. A total of 3,938 (Y = 1,654 and M = 2,274) ESTs were sequenced and clustered into 597 contigs and 1,563 singlets, making up a total of 2,160 genes, which possibly represent one-quarter of the complete gene repertoire in P. brasiliensis. From this total, 1,040 were successfully annotated and 894 could be classified in 18 functional COG categories as follows: cellular metabolism (44%); information storage and processing (25%); cellular processes-cell division, posttranslational modifications, among others (19%); and genes of unknown functions (12%). Computer analysis enabled us to identify some genes potentially involved in the dimorphic transition and drug resistance. Furthermore, computer subtraction analysis revealed several genes possibly expressed in stage-specific forms of P. brasiliensis. Further analysis of these genes may provide new insights into the pathology and differentiation of P. brasiliensis.
Copyright 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.