Q-310. Variability in UVB Tolerances of Melanized and Nonmelanized Cells of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus laurentii

L. A. Schiave1, R. S. Pedroso1, R. C. Candido1, D. W. Roberts2, G. U. L. Braga1;
1Univ. de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, BRAZIL, 2Utah State Univ., Logan, UT.

Background: Solar radiation is one of the major factors responsible for the control of fungus populations in the environment. Inactivation by UVA and UVB radiation is especially important for the control of fungi that disperse infective units through the air; including fungi such as Cryptoccocus spp. that infect their vertebrate hosts by inhalation. C. neoformans produces melanin in the presence of certain exogenous substrates such as L-dopa and melanization may protect the fungus against biotic and abiotic environmental factors. Methods: In the present study, we investigated the effect of exposure to an UVB irradiance of 1,000 mW m-2 (biologically effective weighted irradiance) on the survival of melanized and nonmelanized cells of four strains of C. neoformans and four strains of C. laurentii. The relative survival (survival of cells exposed to radiation in relation to cells not exposed) of cells grown 2, 4, 6 or 8 days on medium with or without L-dopa was determined after exposure to UVB doses of 1.8 and 3.6 kJ m-2. Both the irradiance spectrum and the intensities of those doses are environmentally realistic, and, in fact, occur routinely during summer months in temperate regions. Results: Differences in tolerance to UVB radiation were observed between the C. neoformans and C. laurentii strains. The C. neoformans strains were more susceptible to UVB radiation than the C. laurentii strains. In C. neoformans, differences in tolerance to radiation were observed during development of both melanized and nonmelanized cells. For most treatments (strain, time of growth and UVB dose), there were virtually no differences in tolerances between melanized and nonmelanized cells; and when differences occurred they were smaller than those previously observed with UVC. In tests with two strains of C. laurentii, there was no difference in tolerance to UVB radiation between melanized and nonmelanized cells during eight days of culture; and in tests with four strains for less culture time (4 days) there were no significant differences in tolerance between melanized and nonmelanized cells of any strain of this species.