Navigation Links
Scientists complete genome sequence of fungus responsible for dandruff, skin disorders

Scientists from P&G Beauty announced that they successfully sequenced the complete genome for Malassezia globosa (M. globosa), a naturally occurring fungus responsible for the onset of dandruff and other skin conditions in humans. Results of the genome sequencing are published in todays online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis affect more than 50 percent of the human population. Despite the role of Malassezia in these and other common skin diseases, including eczema, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, little was known about the fungus at the molecular level until this study. In addition, understanding of Malassezias genetic make-up may help scientists reevaluate the parameters that have historically been used to classify fungal organisms.

M. globosa, which is among the smallest of the sequenced free-living fungal organisms, is comprised of just around 4,285 genes roughly 300 times fewer base pairs than are found in the human genome. A common fungus that lives on the skin of humans, M. globosa feeds off of fatty external lipids. Humans naturally secrete sebum and other lipids onto the scalp, creating a prime environment for M. globosa to thrive. The average human can host to up to 10 million M. globosa. Symptoms of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis occur when three factors come together: genetic susceptibility for an inflammatory response, the presence of sebum on the scalp and the presence of M. globosa.

"A complete genomic sequencing of a Malassezia genome opens tremendous opportunities for researchers to understand the interactions of fungi and humans," said Thomas Dawson, Ph.D., a scientist at P&G Beauty and the principal author of the PNAS study. "Its amazing that the understanding of the genetic make-up of a microscopic organism can have broad implications ranging from human health to agricultural science."

Research and Treatment Implications

The family of Malassezia species affects a wide range of human health issues. While M. globosa is related to a host of irritant conditions, other types of Malassezia have been found to be particularly threatening to individuals with early and compromised immune systems, including infants and those suffering from autoimmune diseases. This fungus family also plays a role in skin and respiratory allergies.

Beyond human health, these findings have agricultural implications. M. globosa is also very closely related to multiple common plant pathogenic fungi that cause disease on corn, wheat, and other important food source crops. Comparative genomic studies are now underway that could lead to new strategies for managing these related crop diseases.

What started as an effort to unlock the mechanism behind dandruff has opened the scientific doors for the development and enhancement of treatments for dandruff and many more Malassezia-related conditions, said James Schwartz, Ph.D. and Research Fellow at P&G Beauty. These advances were made possible through collaboration among multiple institutions and subject experts, and were excited that our findings may benefit multiple disciplines and specialties.

Malassezia is a culprit in conditions mild to severe, but almost nothing was understood at the molecular level before this research. The genetic sequencing of M. globosa has expanded the range of potential treatment targets from a few observational characteristics to now more than 4,000 molecular targets.

Science Behind the Sequencing

The genomic sequencing was made possible by DNA sequencing technologies developed within the last decade. Scientists previously tested many different compounds in a trial and error style to find ways to treat and reduce dandruff symptoms. In fact, due to the earlier use of less-accurate culture-based technologies, scientists incorrectly assumed for years that dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis were caused by a different type of fungus (Malassezia furfur). With the use of molecular science, the team uncovered the correct fungal species that was the primary cause of dandruff, eventually leading to the complete sequencing.


Contact: Corrie Allen
Spectrum Science Public Relations

Related biology news :

1. UK scientists working to help cut ID theft
2. Scientists show that mitochondrial DNA variants are linked to risk factors for type 2 diabetes
3. Comet probes reveal evidence of origin of life, scientists claim
4. Scientists link fragile X tremor/ataxia syndrome to binding protein in RNA
5. Male elephants get photo IDs from scientists
6. Scientists retrace evolution with first atomic structure of an ancient protein
7. Muscle mass: Scientists identify novel mode of transcriptional regulation during myogenesis
8. Carnegie Mellon scientists develop nanogels that enable controlled delivery of carbohydrate drugs
9. Clemson scientists shed light on molecules in living cells
10. Scientists tackle mystery mountain illness
11. T. rex quicker than Becks, say scientists
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2015)... MATEO, Calif. , Oct. 13, 2015 ... real-time, machine-based learning to analyze big data and minimize ... today with Emailage , an innovative fraud prevention ... leverage transactional risk based on a user,s email address. ... a machine learning solution that combines email risk assessment ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... 13, 2015 Dragon Capital Group Corp. ... China , announced today that its wholly ... received a contract for Multi-Format Naked Eye 3D System for ... $450,000 for the project that is expected to be completed ... 35% in gross profits. --> ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , Oct. 7, 2015 Research and ... the "India Biometrics Authentication & Identification Market - ... --> --> ... $823.46 million in 2014 to $2.06 billion in 2020 ... 2020. India . Growing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... , ... The shortlist of finalists for the Pistoia Alliance President’s Startup Challenge ... from across Europe and the USA. , The Startup Challenge 2015 has seen startup ... in life sciences R&D, with over 30 entries submitted. A panel of expert judges ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... Universal SuperHeat Controller/Sensor (USHX) product, launches today on the Android smartphone platform. Southern ... system with DMQ’s remote control and monitoring capability for the first time to ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , Oct. 13, 2015  Amgen (NASDAQ: ... and Cocoon Biotech, Inc. are Amgen,s 2015 selection for ... space at LabCentral. LabCentral is an innovative, shared laboratory ... startups. Cambridge, Mass. ... ways to deliver potential life-changing therapies. --> ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... SUNNYVALE, Calif. , Oct. 13, 2015  Cepheid ... the quarter ending September 30, 2015. ... financial results, total revenue for the third quarter of ... net loss per share is expected to be approximately ... financial results, non-GAAP net loss per share for the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: