Conservation of mannan synthesis in fungi of the Zygomycota and Ascomycota reveals a broad diagnostic target

Amanda R. Burnham-Marusich, Breeana Hubbard, Alexander J. Kvam, Marcellene Gates-Hollingsworth, Heather R. Green, Eric Soukup, Andrew H. Limper, Thomas R. Kozel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Ascomycetes and zygomycetes account for the majority of (i) fungi responsible for cutaneous, subcutaneous, and invasive human fungal infections, (ii) plant fungal pathogens, (iii) fungi that threaten global biodiversity, (iv) fungal agents of agricultural spoilage, and (v) fungi in water-damaged buildings. Rapid recognition of fungal infection (or contamination) enables early treatment (or remediation). A bioinformatics search found homologues of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Mnn9p present in members of the Zygomycota and Ascomycota phyla and absent in members of the Chytridiomycota and Basidiomycota. Mnn9p is a component of the yeast mannan polymerization complex and is necessary for α-1,6 mannan production. A monoclonal antibody (2DA6) was produced that was reactive with purified mannans of Mucor, Rhizopus, Aspergillus, Fusarium, and Candida species. Experimentation using a 2DA6 antigen capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and extracts of fungi from the four phyla found agreement between the presence or absence of Mnn9p homologues and production or lack of production of mannan reactive with 2DA6. Studies of cell extracts from yeast mannan mutants identified α-1,6 mannan as the epitope recognized by 2DA6. To translate this finding into a point-of-use diagnostic, a 2DA6 lateral flow immunoassay was constructed that detected mannan in (i) extracts of dermatophytes and fungi that produce traumarelated infection and (ii) tissue from plants infected with Grosmannia clavigera or Sclerotium cepivorum. These studies (i) revealed that the conservation of α-1,6-linked mannan in fungi of the Zygomycota and Ascomycota can be exploited as a broad diagnostic target and (ii) have provided a means to detect that target in an immunoassay platform that is well suited for clinic or field use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00094-18
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Diagnostics
  • Immunodetection
  • Invasive fungal infection
  • Lateral flow immunoassay
  • Mannan
  • Mnn9
  • Point of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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