The deadly chytrid fungus: a story of an emerging pathogen

Rosenblum, Erica Bree, Voyles, Jamie, Poorten, Thomas J., and Stajich, Jason E. (2010) The deadly chytrid fungus: a story of an emerging pathogen. Plos Pathogens, 6 (1). e1000550. pp. 1-3.

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[Extract] Emerging infectious diseases present a great challenge for the health of both humans and wildlife. The increasing prevalence of drug-resistant fungal pathogens in humans [1] and recent outbreaks of novel fungal pathogens in wildlife populations [2] underscore the need to better understand the origins and mechanisms of fungal pathogenicity. One of the most dramatic examples of fungal impacts on vertebrate populations is the effect of the amphibian disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Amphibians around the world are experiencing unprecedented population losses and local extinctions [3]. While there are multiple causes of amphibian declines, many catastrophic die-offs are attributed to Bd [4],[5]. The chytrid pathogen has been documented in hundreds of amphibian species, and reports of Bd's impact on additional species and in additional geographic regions are accumulating at an alarming rate (e.g., see Bd is a microbial, aquatic fungus with distinct life stages. The motile stage, called a zoospore, swims using a flagellum and initiates the colonization of frog skin. Within the host epidermal cells, a zoospore forms a spherical thallus, which matures and produces new zoospores by dividing asexually, renewing the cycle of infection when zoospores are released to the skin surface (Figure 1). Bd is considered an emerging pathogen, discovered and described only a decade ago [6],[7]. Despite intensive ecological study of Bd over the last decade, a number of unanswered questions remain. Here we summarize what has been recently learned about this lethal pathogen.

Item ID: 17328
Item Type: Article (Commentary)
ISSN: 1553-7374
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Copyright: © 2010 Rosenblum et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Date Deposited: 30 May 2011 22:27
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060804 Animal Immunology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960499 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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