We investigated the resolving power of the beta tubulin protein-coding gene (BT2) for systematic study of dermatophyte fungi.
Initially, 144 standard and clinical strains belonging to 26 species in the genera Trichophyton, Microsporum, and Epidermophyton
were identified by internal transcribe spacer (ITS) sequencing. Subsequently, BT2 was partially amplified in all strains,
and sequence analysis performed after construction of a BT2 database that showed length ranged from approximately 723 (T.
ajelloi) to 808 nucleotides (M. persicolor) in different species. Intraspecific sequence variation was found in some species,
but T. tonsurans, T. equinum, T. concentricum, T. verrucosum, T. rubrum, T. violaceum, T. eriotrephon, E. floccosum, M. canis,
M. ferrugineum, and M. audouinii were invariant. The sequences were found to be relatively conserved among different strains
of the same species. The species with the closest resemblance were Arthroderma benhamiae and T. concentricum and T. tonsurans
and T. equinum with 100% and 99.8% identity, respectively; the most distant species were M. persicolor and M. amazonicum.
The dendrogram obtained from BT2 topology was almost compatible with the species concept based on ITS sequencing, and similar
clades and species were distinguished in the BT2 tree. Here, beta tubulin was characterized in a wide range of dermatophytes
in order to assess intra- and interspecies variation and resolution and was found to be a taxonomically valuable gene.