This study examined the genetic diversity of small-spored Alternaria species in the southwest desert of the USA by sampling 552 isolates from different habitats (soil and plant debris) in different locations (urban and an undisturbed desert). To estimate the genetic diversity, Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) fingerprinting analysis was performed for all isolates. Strains representative of the sampled genotypic diversity (n = 125) were further characterized according their sporulation pattern and the capability to produce allergens. Morphological characterization assigned the majority of the strains to the Alternaria alternata and Alternaria tenuissima morpho-groups with only two isolates assigned to the Alternaria arborescens morpho-group. AFLP fingerprinting differentiated the A. arborescens morpho-groups, but could not distinguish between the A. alternata and A. tenuissima morpho-groups. Western blot analysis showed that a large number of allergenic proteins were produced by strains. These proteins were not specific for any morpho-group nor source of isolation. A hierarchical analysis of molecular variance was performed on the AFLP data to quantify molecular variation and partition this variation among sampled locations and habitat. No statistically significant differentiation among locations and habitat was detected indicating a lack of population structure across environments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Infectious Diseases