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:10/7/2015)... -- --> --> According ... third quarter 2015 amounted to around 960 MSEK. This exceeds ... was communicated 20 August 2015. --> ... a continued growing demand for the company,s products, the revenues ... than during the third quarter. The revenue guidance for 2015 ...
(Date:10/2/2015)... , Oct. 02 2015 ... the "Enforcing the Law Using Biometrics" ... ) has announced the addition of the ... their offering. --> Research and Markets ... the "Enforcing the Law Using Biometrics" ...
(Date:9/29/2015)... Sept. 29, 2015 News facts: ... while also saving energy , Minimized design shrinks ... Power Active Mode and embedded Fujitsu PalmSecure authentication enable ... Fujitsu today shows that good things come in ... models to its enterprise desktop and mobile portfolio. Featuring ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... CAESAREA, Israel , October 12, 2015 ... of the Dario™ Diabetes Management Solution, today announced its ... a patient case study at MobiHealth,s 5th EAI ... Focused on, "Transforming healthcare through innovations in mobile and ... London, England from October 14 - ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , Oct. 12, 2015 VolitionRx Limited ... completed clinical study of its NuQ ® blood-based test ... online issue of Clinical Epigenetics , the official journal ... in collaboration with Lund University, ... , MD, PhD, Professor of Surgery and Vice-Dean, Faculty of ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... October 12, 2015 , ... NeuMedics Inc., is a specialty biopharmaceutical ... that can safely and chronically be administered as an eye drop, announced today it ... The Cleveland Clinic and taking place October 25th to October 28th at The Cleveland ...
(Date:10/11/2015)... ... October 11, 2015 , ... ... System has been officially launched and multiple surgeries have been completed with this ... Hunter of the Neuroscience & Spine Center of the Carolinas. The Revolution™ ...
Breaking Biology Technology: