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Whole exome sequencing of germline DNA was performed and subsequent polymorphisms in genes known and putatively involved in the innate immune response to fungi were identified

Disease can be conceptualized as the result of interactions between infecting microbe and holobiont, the combination of a host and its microbial communities. It is likely that genomic variation in the host, infecting microbe, and commensal microbiota are key determinants of infectious disease clinical outcomes. However, until recently, simultaneous, multiomic investigation of infecting microbe and holobiont components has rarely been explored. Herein, we characterized the infecting microbe, host, micro- and mycobiomes leading up to infection onset in a leukemia patient that developed invasive mucormycosis. We discovered that the patient was infected with a strain of the recently described Mucor velutinosus species which we determined was hypervirulent in a Drosophila challenge model and has a predisposition for skin dissemination. After completing the infecting M. velutinosus genome and genomes from four other Mucor species, comparative pathogenomics was performed and assisted in identifying 66 M. velutinosus-specific putatively secreted proteins, including multiple novel secreted aspartyl proteinases which may contribute to the unique clinical presentation of skin dissemination. Whole exome sequencing of the patient revealed multiple non-synonymous polymorphisms in genes critical to control of fungal proliferation, such as TLR6 and PTX3. Moreover, the patient had a non-synonymous polymorphism in the NOD2 gene and a missense mutation in FUT2, which have been linked to microbial dysbiosis and microbiome diversity maintenance during physiologic stress, respectively. In concert with host genetic polymorphism data, the micro- and mycobiome analyses revealed that the infection developed amid a dysbiotic microbiome with low α-diversity, dominated by staphylococci. Additionally, longitudinal mycobiome data showed that M. velutinosus DNA was detectable in oral samples preceding disease onset. Our genome-level study of the host-infecting microbe-commensal triad extends the concept of personalized genomic medicine to the holobiont-infecting microbe interface thereby offering novel opportunities for using synergistic genetic methods to increase understanding of infectious diseases pathogenesis and clinical outcomes.

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Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001001692 Illumina HiSeq 2500 1
Publications Citations
Implementation of a Pan-Genomic Approach to Investigate Holobiont-Infecting Microbe Interaction: A Case Report of a Leukemic Patient with Invasive Mucormycosis.
PLoS One 10: 2015 e0139851