650. Molecular Characteristics of Cryptococcus Isolates From Marine Mammals Stranded along the Pacific Northwest Coast
Session: Abstracts: Mycology
Friday, October 22, 2010
Background:

Marine mammals are known to be susceptible to infection by Cryptococcus gattii. This study characterized C gattii isolates from marine mammals in the endemic Pacific Northwest Coast on a molecular basis.

Methods:

Cryptococcus was recovered from 3 dolphins and 4 porpoises and isolated on Canavanine-Glycine-Bromothymol Blue (CGB) Agar followed by Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) targeting the URA5 gene.  Multi-Locus Sequence Typing (MLST) analysis was also performed based on partial sequences of 7 housekeeping genes.

Results:

Both CGB and RFLP identified all marine isolates are C. gattii. RFLP grouped the isolates as belonging to either genogroup VGI or VGIIa. All 3 dolphin isolates tested were VGI: one MLST sequence type for the 2 isolates from Washington and distinct from the California isolate.  One porpoise from BC also was VGI, but differed from the two sequence types found in dolphins.  The remaining 3 isolates from the porpoises were identical to the VGIIa major/common strain sequence type found in BC.

Conclusion:

The test results from CGB, RFLP and MLST were highly correlated. Four MLST sequence types were identified which indicated marine mammals can be infected by strains of different genotypes.  Three porpoises were allele-identical to the predominant strain currently circulating in the Pacific Northwest and one of these three isolates was seen immediately after the emergency of Cryptococcus gattii on Vancouver Island. Because harbor porpoises range throughout the coastal waters of the Northern Hemisphere, it is interesting to monitor the extent of distribution of the predominant B.C. strain that was first discovered in 2001.


Subject Category: M. Mycology including clinical and basic studies of fungal infections

Speakers:
Min-Kuang Lee, MS , BCCDC Public Health Microbiology and Reference Laboratory, Provincial Health Services Authority, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Stephanie Man, BS , BCCDC Public Health Microbiology and Reference Laboratory, Provincial Health Services Authority, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Andrew Balbimie, BS , BCCDC Public Health Microbiology and Reference Laboratory, Provincial Health Services Authority, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Sultana Mithani, BS , BCCDC Public Health Microbiology and Reference Laboratory, Provincial Health Services Authority, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Quantine Wong, BS , BCCDC Public Health Microbiology and Reference Laboratory, Provincial Health Services Authority, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Erin Zabek, BS , Animal Health Centre, BC Ministry of Agriculture and Land, Abbotsford, BC, Canada
Stephen Raverty, DVM, MS, PhD , Animal Health Centre, BC Ministry of Agriculture and Land, Abbotsford, BC, Canada
Linda MN Hoang, MD, FRCPC , BCCDC Public Health Microbiology and Reference Laboratory, Provincial Health Services Authority, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Muhammad G. Morshed, PhD , BCCDC Public Health Microbiology and Reference Laboratory, Provincial Health Services Authority, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Disclosures:

M. K. Lee, None

S. Man, None

A. Balbimie, None

S. Mithani, None

Q. Wong, None

E. Zabek, None

S. Raverty, None

L. M. Hoang, None

M. G. Morshed, None

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