Mating type determination within a microsatellite multiplex for the fungal pathogen Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the causative agent of white-nose disease in bats
Emerging infectious diseases are a severe conservation threat for a variety of plants and animals. In North America, several bat species are threatened by white-nose disease, which has caused an unprecedented mass mortality of > 6 million bats since 2006. The fungus Pseudogymnoascus (Geomyces) destructans is the causative agent of the disease. Though asexual reproduction is the norm, sexual reproduction is possible as two mating types exist. Sexual reproduction has been implicated in the emergence of virulent strains of fungi but to date no rapid means of mating type characterisation was available for P. destructans. In this study, three mating type-specific primer sets were designed and tested on 80 isolates. The primers were multiplexed with microsatellite loci allowing for rapid and concurrent genotyping and mating type assignment. These markers will have great utility in better understanding and predicting the population dynamics and evolutionary potential of this fungus, including the emergence of virulent strains.
KeywordsWhite-nose syndrome Pseudogymnoascus (Geomyces) destructans Fungal pathogen Mating type Microsatellite multiplexing MAT 1-1 MAT 1-2 Virulence Conservation Emerging infectious disease
We kindly thank Jens Berg of NABU Mecklenburg Vorpommern bat conservation group for facilitating access to the sampling site and Gerald Kerth for providing access to lab facilities. This work was funded by a Bat Conservation International grant awarded to SJP.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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