PLoS One 2018 23;13(8):e0202529. Epub 2018 Aug 23.
Laboratório de Biologia Celular e Molecular de Fungos, Instituto de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento, Universidade do Vale do Paraíba, São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil.
Paracoccidioides spp. is a thermally dimorphic fungus endemic to Latin America and the etiological agent of paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM), a granulomatous disease acquired through fungal propagule inhalation by its mammalian host. The infection is established after successful mycelia to yeast transition in the host pulmonary alveoli. The challenging environment inside the host exposes the fungus to the need of adaptation in order to circumvent nutritional, thermal, oxidative, immunological and other stresses that can directly affect their survival. Considering that autophagy is a response to abrupt environmental changes and is induced by stress conditions, this study hypothesizes that this process might be crucially involved in the adaptation of Paracoccidioides spp. to the host and, therefore, it is essential for the proper establishment of the disease. By labelling autophagous vesicles with monodansylcadaverine, autophagy was observed as an early event in cells during the normal mycelium to yeast transition, as well as in yeast cells of P. brasiliensis under glucose deprivation, and under either rapamycin or 3-methyladenine (3-MA). Findings in this study demonstrated that autophagy is triggered in P. brasiliensis during the thermal-induced mycelium to yeast transition and by glucose-limited conditions in yeasts, both of which modulated by rapamycin or 3-MA. Certainly, further genetic and in vivo analyses are needed in order to finally address the contribution of autophagy for adaptation. Yet, our data propose that autophagy possibly plays an important role in Paracoccidioides brasiliensis virulence and pathogenicity.