Genomic insights into the host specific adaptation of the Pneumocystis genus

Ousmane H. Cissé, Liang Ma, John P. Dekker, Pavel P. Khil, Jung Ho Youn, Jason M. Brenchley, Robert Blair, Bapi Pahar, Magali Chabé, Koen K.A. Van Rompay, Rebekah Keesler, Antti Sukura, Vanessa Hirsch, Geetha Kutty, Yueqin Liu, Li Peng, Jie Chen, Jun Song, Christiane Weissenbacher-Lang, Jie XuNathan S. Upham, Jason E. Stajich, Christina A. Cuomo, Melanie T. Cushion, Joseph A. Kovacs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Pneumocystis jirovecii, the fungal agent of human Pneumocystis pneumonia, is closely related to macaque Pneumocystis. Little is known about other Pneumocystis species in distantly related mammals, none of which are capable of establishing infection in humans. The molecular basis of host specificity in Pneumocystis remains unknown as experiments are limited due to an inability to culture any species in vitro. To explore Pneumocystis evolutionary adaptations, we have sequenced the genomes of species infecting macaques, rabbits, dogs and rats and compared them to available genomes of species infecting humans, mice and rats. Complete whole genome sequence data enables analysis and robust phylogeny, identification of important genetic features of the host adaptation, and estimation of speciation timing relative to the rise of their mammalian hosts. Our data reveals insights into the evolution of P. jirovecii, the sole member of the genus able to infect humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305
Number of pages1
JournalCommunications biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 8 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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