Cordyceps subsessilis forms a small, compound ascocarp that arises from the cadaver of its host beetle. The stalk is cylindrical but loosely constructed of pale hyphae, and is surmounted by a small crown of naked yellow perithecia. Filamentous, multicellular ascospores are discharged into the air from asci in the perithecia. The ascospores break easily into uninucleate part spores, each of which is presumably capable of causing infection in a suitable host, or germinating to grow asexually in soil.
The asexual state of C. subsessilis is a white mold known as Tolypocladium inflatum. This mold is commonly isolated from soil, and is the original source of cyclosporin, an immunosuppresive drug used to prevent rejection following organ and bone marrow transplantation. It is also used in the treatment of the following diseases: nephrotic syndrome, refractory Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, biliary cirrhosis, aplastic anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, myasthenia gravis, and dermatomytosis.
- Cordyceps subsessilis at Tom Volk's Fungi
- Chemical structure of cyclosporin A
- Tolypocladium at Hodge Lab, Cornell University