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Phospholipase Activity in Cryptococcus neoformans: A New Virulence Factor?

Sharon C. A. Chen, Michael Muller, Jin Zhong Zhou, Lesley C. Wright and Tania C. Sorrell
The Journal of Infectious Diseases
Vol. 175, No. 2 (Feb., 1997), pp. 414-420
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30131662
Page Count: 7
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Phospholipase Activity in Cryptococcus neoformans: A New Virulence Factor?
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Abstract

Fifty isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans were examined for extracellular phospholipase production after inoculation onto egg yolk agar; 49 produced a pericolonial precipitate indicative of phospholipase activity. Phospholipase B (PLB), lysophospholipase, and lysophospholipase-transacylase activities were identified by radiometric analysis in supernatants from 4 clinical isolates. The ratio of colony diameter to colony plus precipitate on agar (Pz) correlated with PLB activity. Phospholipase production was similar in 12 environmental and 13 clinical isolates of C. neoformans var. gattii. Environmental strains of C. neoformans var. neoformans (n = 8) produced more phospholipase at 72 h than did 17 clinical isolates (mean Pz, 0.57 vs. 0.72; P < .01); however, Pz values were similar at 96 h. Quantitation of cryptococci in the lungs and brains of BALB/c mice inoculated intravenously with 4 strains expressing high, intermediate, or low phospholipase activity revealed a correlation between phospholipase activity and virulence. Phospholipases secreted by C. neo-formans may be implicated in virulence.

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