Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii - Pathogenicity of environmental isolates correlated to virulence factors, susceptibility to fluconazole and molecular profile

Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2010 Dec;105(8):993-1000. doi: 10.1590/s0074-02762010000800008.


The pathogenicity of Cryptococcus neoformans is heterogeneous and is associated with the expression of virulence factors. This study aimed to correlate the pathogenicity of C. neoformans var. grubii in BALB/c mice with in vitro virulence factors, fluconazole minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) and molecular profiles, before and after animal passage. Ten environmental isolates and one ATCC strain of C. neoformans var. grubii mating type α were evaluated. Most isolates (91%) killed 50% or more of the infected animals by day 24 postinfection and were recovered from the lungs and brains of surviving animals on days 7 and 14 postinfection. The burden of yeast in the lungs was more variable than that in the brain. The differences in the expression of virulence factors (growth at 37ºC, presence and size of the capsule and production of melanin, urease, proteinase and phospholipase) by most isolates pre and postpassage in animals were not statistically significant. The fluconazole MICs in postpassaged lines differed by a one-dilution from the MIC of the corresponding prepassaged line for six isolates. Using molecular typing [polymerase chain reaction-fingerprinting with (GACA)4 and M13], eight isolates were identified as VNI and three as VNII. We concluded that different isolates with the same molecular and phenotypic profiles, including isolates that are markedly hypervirulent, span a wide range of virulence and there were no changes in virulence factors in the postpassaged lines when compared with the corresponding nonpassaged lines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / drug effects*
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / genetics
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / pathogenicity*
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • DNA, Fungal / analysis
  • Female
  • Fluconazole / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Molecular Typing / methods*
  • Mycological Typing Techniques
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Time Factors
  • Virulence Factors / analysis*


  • DNA, Fungal
  • Virulence Factors
  • Fluconazole