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Light therapy may combat fungal infections, new evidence suggests

eviously linked to virulence.

"The genes required for light sensing, while not essential for virulence, do contribute to the rapidity with which the fungus causes lethal infection in the mammalian host," Heitman said. "It is therefore conceivable that light could be used as a therapy for fungal infections, particularly infections at the body surface, such as those of skin or nails." Laser therapy might also be possible for certain fungal sinus infections, he added.

The finding that Cryptococcus shares its light-sensing mechanism with other distantly related fungi also has important implications for understanding fungal evolution, Heitman said. The researchers speculate that evolution of these light-sensing genes more than 400 million years ago may have had major significance for fungal colonization of land, at a time when UV irradiation was particularly intense.


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Source:Duke University Medical Center


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