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Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2009 Apr;22(2):119-25.

The range of molecular methods for typing Malassezia.

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Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Medical School, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece.



The recent sequencing of the whole genome of Malassezia globosa and M. restricta forms the basis for molecular epidemiology studies and instigates investigations into their respective virulence factors. Thus, reviewing current knowledge on Malassezia molecular typing methods would reveal the pros and cons of each method and would highlight potential scarcity of epidemiological data regarding this ubiquitous fungal commensal and pathogen.


Methods employed for Malassezia molecular typing can be categorized into those detecting sequence variations of strains and those that selectively amplify polymorphic DNA markers for discriminating Malassezia species subtypes. The former exploit rRNA gene sequence variations in order to trace M. globosa, M. restricta and M.pachydermatis subtypes associated with specific skin diseases, or detect M. furfur geographical variations. Polymorphic DNA amplification methods, such as amplified fragment length polymorphism analysis, demonstrated association of M. furfur subtypes with the origin of the strain (skin or systemic isolate), whereas PCR-fingerprinting of the mini-satellite DNA clustered M. furfur strains according to their geographic origin and disease origin. Moreover, much typing work has already been performed regarding the zoophilic species M. pachydermatis and the relevant methods can be adapted for studying the anthropophilic Malassezia species.


In the near future, molecular typing will be a powerful tool in epidemiological studies that could be employed for the elucidation of the pathobiology of Malassezia species in associated skin diseases

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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