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. 2008 Sep 30;25(3):150-3.
doi: 10.1016/s1130-1406(08)70035-4.

Laccase Activity in Cryptococcus Gattii Strains Isolated From Goats

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Laccase Activity in Cryptococcus Gattii Strains Isolated From Goats

Eidi Alvarado-Ramírez et al. Rev Iberoam Micol. .
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Abstract

Cryptococcosis is a life-threatening infection in humans and animals caused by encapsulated yeasts of the genus Cryptococcus. Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii are the main agents of this mycosis. Until 2002 C. gattii was classified as a variety of C. neoformans but now is accepted as an independent species. The laccase (phenoloxydase) enzyme produced by these yeasts is considered one of the main pathogenic factors for its ability to induce melanin from dihydroxyphenolic compounds. The vast majority of the studies in laccase and melanin synthesis have been developed using isolates of C. neoformans. The main objective of this study was to evaluate laccase activity in strains of C. gattii, serotype B isolated from immunocompetent goats that died of lung and disseminated cryptococcosis, in several outbreaks occurring in Spain. The laccase activities of these isolates were compared with those of other strains of C. gattii and C. neoformans. After fungal cell rupture, the supernatant of each isolate was analyzed for its laccase activity using as substrate an L-dopa 20 mM solution. The degree of enzymatic activity was assessed according to its absorbance at 450 nm and scored using Enzymatic Units (EU). The maximum values were observed in three strains of C. gattii from goats (EU > 12). The smallest values were observed in one environmental isolate of C. gattii serotype C (EU = 0.7). The highest recorded value for C. neoformans was 6.3 EU in a serotype A isolate from one human case of meningitis. C. gattii serotype B obtained from goats showed different degrees of laccase activity, being the highest in those isolated from severe outbreaks of cryptococcosis. This enzyme appears to represent a major, though nonexclusive, pathogenic factor for Cryptococcus gattii.

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