Aspergillus fumigatus is a fungus that causes opportunistic infections in immunocompromised patients, with high morbidity and mortality. In its turn, A. fumigatus can become infected with mycoviruses. Most mycoviruses have a dsRNA genome and can cause fungal hypovirulence. For that reason, mycoviruses could theoretically be used as therapeutic tools to combat fungal infections. We determined if a certain genetic make-up of A. fumigatus was associated with the presence of mycoviruses in 86 clinical A. fumigatus isolates. Mycovirus screening was performed by isolating dsRNA from mycelial cultures using a Trizol/Chloroform method. The genetic relatedness of dsRNA infected A. fumigatus was determined by cell surface protein (CSP) typing and determination of the mating type. Sixteen (18.6%) of the 86 clinical A. fumigatus isolates contained dsRNA. The A. fumigatus collection could be divided into 11 different CSP types. DsRNA infected A. fumigatus isolates had similar CSP types as non-infected isolates. In both cases, the CSP types t01, t02, t03 and t04 were the most prevalent and the distribution comparable to the CSP types observed in other Dutch collections. Mating types MAT1-1 and MAT1-2 were evenly distributed among all A. fumigatus strains, regardless of CSP type. No difference was observed in mycovirus infections between MAT1-1 and MAT1-2 isolates. DsRNA mycovirus infections in A. fumigatus are not related to either CSP or mating type and therefore represent an interesting future therapeutic tool to combat fungal infections.,
Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Refos, J., Vonk, A., Eadie, K., Lo-Ten-Foe, J., Verbrugh, H., van Diepeningen, A., & van de Sande, W. (2013). Double-Stranded RNA Mycovirus Infection of Aspergillus fumigatus Is Not Dependent on the Genetic Make-Up of the Host. PLoS ONE, 8(10). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077381