Polyphasic Discrimination of Trichophyton tonsurans and T. equinum from Humans and Horses

  • Hazal Kandemir
  • Karolina Dukik
  • Ferry Hagen
  • Macit IlkitEmail author
  • Yvonne Gräser
  • G. Sybren de HoogEmail author
Original paper


The anthropophilic dermatophyte Trichophyton tonsurans and its zoophilic counterpart T. equinum are phylogenetically closely related. The barcoding marker rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) shows limited variation between these two species. In the current study, we combined molecular approaches with phenotypic data to determine the species boundaries between T. tonsurans (n = 52) and T. equinum (n = 15) strains originating from humans (n = 40), horses (n = 26), and a mouse (n = 1). Culture characteristics and physiology on Trichophyton agar media 1 and 5 were evaluated. Multi-locus sequencing involving ITS, partial large rDNA subunit (LSU), β-tubulin (TUB), 60S ribosomal protein (RPB), and translation elongation factor-3 (TEF3) genes, and the mating-type (MAT) locus was performed. Amplified fragment length polymorphism data were added. None of the test results showed complete mutual correspondence. With the exception of strains from New Zealand, strains of equine origin required niacin for growth, whereas most strains from human origin did not show this dependence. It is concluded that T. tonsurans and T. equinum incompletely diverged from a common lineage relatively recently. MAT1-1 and MAT1-2 are the main distinguishing genes between the two species.


Amplified fragment length polymorphism Multi-locus sequencing Biodiversity Mating type Physiology Trichophyton 



HK was supported by a Grant from the Federation of European Microbiological Societies (FEMS-RG-2016-0067). The funders had no influence on the study design; on the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; on the preparation of the manuscript; or the decision to publish.

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and the writing of this paper.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

11046_2019_344_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (25 kb)
Fig. S1 Phylogenetic trees (PDF 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Mycology, Department of Microbiology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of ÇukurovaAdanaTurkey
  2. 2.Centre of Expertise in MycologyRadboud University Medical Centre/Canisius Wilhelmina HospitalNijmegenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity InstituteUtrechtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Medical MicrobiologyUniversity Medical Center UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Laboratory of Medical MycologyJining No. 1 People’s HospitalJiningPeople’s Republic of China
  6. 6.Institute für Hygiene und Mikrobiologie der CharitéBerlinGermany

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