Mucormycosis usually presents as a progressive infection with significant angio-invasion. Mucormycosis due to Mucor irregularis (formerly Rhizomucor variabilis var. variabilis), however, is exceptional in causing chronic cutaneous infection in immunocompetent humans, ultimately leading to severe morbidity if left untreated. More than 90 % of the cases known to date were reported from Asia, mainly from China. The nearest neighbour of M. irregularis is the saprobic species M. hiemalis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the taxonomic position, epidemiology, and intra- and inter-species diversity of M. irregularis based on 21 strains (clinical n = 17) by multilocus analysis using ITS, LSU, RPB1 and RPB2 genes, compared to results of cluster analysis with amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) data. By combining MLST and AFLP analyses, M. irregularis was found to be monophyletic with high bootstrap support, and consisted of five subgroups, which were not concordant in all partitions. It was thus confirmed that M. irregularis is a single species at 96.1–100 % ITS similarity and low recombination rates between populations. Some geographic structuring was noted with some localised populations, which may be explained by limited air-dispersal. The natural habitat of the species is likely to be in soil and decomposing plant material.
chronic cutaneous infection
National Museum of Natural History, Netherlands
Article / Letter to the editor