Phylogenetic evaluation of Geomyces and allies reveals no close relatives of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, comb. nov., in bat hibernacula of eastern North America.Fungal Biol. 2013 Sep; 117(9):638-49.FB
White-nose syndrome (WNS) of bats, caused by the fungus previously known as Geomyces destructans, has decimated populations of insectivorous bats in eastern North America. Recent work on fungi associated with bat hibernacula uncovered a large number of species of Geomyces and allies, far exceeding the number of described species. Communication about these species has been hindered by the lack of a modern taxonomic evaluation, and a phylogenetic framework of the group is needed to understand the origin of G. destructans and to target closely related species and their genomes for the purposes of understanding mechanisms of pathogenicity. We addressed these issues by generating DNA sequence data for the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region, nuclear large subunit (LSU) rDNA, MCM7, RPB2, and TEF1 from a diverse array of Geomyces and allies that included isolates recovered from bat hibernacula as well as those that represent important type species. Phylogenetic analyses indicate Geomyces and allies should be classified in the family Pseudeurotiaceae, and the genera Geomyces, Gymnostellatospora, and Pseudogymnoascus should be recognized as distinct. True Geomyces are restricted to a basal lineage based on phylogenetic placement of the type species, Geomyces auratus. Thus, G. destructans is placed in genus Pseudogymnoascus. The closest relatives of Pseudogymnoascus destructans are members of the Pseudogymnoascus roseus species complex, however, the isolated and long branch of P. destructans indicates that none of the species included in this study are closely related, thus providing further support to the hypothesis that this pathogen is non-native and invasive in eastern North America. Several conidia-producing isolates from bat hibernacula previously identified as members of Pseudeurotium are determined to belong to the genus Leuconeurospora, which is widespread, especially in colder regions. Teberdinia hygrophila is transferred to Pseudeurotium as Pseudeurotium hygrophilum, comb. nov., in accordance with the one name per fungus system of classification, and two additional combinations are made in Pseudogymnoascus including Pseudogymnoascus carnis and Pseudogymnoascus pannorum. Additional sampling from other regions of the world is needed to better understand the evolution and biogeography of this important and diverse group of fungi.