This deadly fungus morphs into your brain tissue: ScienceAlert

It looks a bit like the premise of a horror movie, but scientists have determined that pathogenic fungi Modern Undercover Its size actually changes as soon as it enters the body, which increases the chances of infection.

Fungi can be found in the wild in a variety of different habitats, such as rotting wood or in bird droppings. The same diversity appears within the body once it is inhaled, as it travels from the lungs through the bloodstream to other organs.

Once settled within the human body, the pathogen can be responsible for a range of health problems, including the rare, potentially fatal fungal meningitis.

New findings based on a study in mice could help us treat them more effectively.

occult The cells in the lungs are very diverse with different sizes and different appearances.” Pathologist Jessica Brown says:from the University of Utah. “So, when my graduate student showed me pictures of uniting cells from the brain, I was shocked.”

“It indicates that there is a very strong reason why only this group of cells gets this far in the body.”

Already know Because mushrooms can grow up to 10 times their normal size in the lungs, scientists set out to try to discover why cells of a certain size are found so deep in the host region.

infect mice with C. neoformans Of varying sizes, researchers have discovered that the smallest cells tend to make their way into the brain.

That wasn’t all – the team discovered changes in the surfaces of smaller cells and differences in the genes that were active in those fungi. The researchers suggest that these “seed cells” are not just copies of fungi, but something completely different.

The vascular proliferation of seed cells. (Denham et al., host cell and microbe2022)

These changes are likely driven by phosphate, based on scientists’ experiments. Phosphate is not only released from host cells when tissues are damaged during infection, the element is abundant in bird droppings as well. This appears to be a catalyst for the fungi’s ability to mutate, which may help them infect their hosts and reach the brain.

“We think that selective pressures from environmental niches such as guano may somehow confer it C. neoformans ability to infect mammals,” Brown says.

In mice experiments, these seed cells were able to reach the brain within days. The researchers claim that the way the fungus can quickly adapt to different environments is key to its success in spreading through the body.

The next steps are to demonstrate that this contraction also occurs in humans, and to find drugs that can and prevent this process. C. neoformans from harming the body. The researchers believe there may be existing regulatory-approved compounds that could be effective.

together with Recent Research In how mushrooms penetrate the blood-brain barrier that protects the brain, we are gradually improving our understanding of the tricks this deadly mushroom uses to spread infection.

“We show that a small formation C. neoformans Morphotypes – called ‘seed’ cells due to their colonizing ability – are critical for organ entry outside the lung,” the researchers wrote in published paper.

The search was published in host cell and microbe.