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Med Mycol. 2018 Apr 1;56(suppl_1):S10-S25. doi: 10.1093/mmy/myx134.

Malassezia ecology, pathophysiology, and treatment.

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Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy.
Department of Skin and Venereal Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, University of Ioannina, Greece.
Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Shanghai Key Laboratory of Molecular Medical Mycology, Shanghai Institute of Medical Mycology, Changzheng Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China.
Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR), Institute for Medical Biology, (IMB), Singapore.
Center for Cell Death, Injury and Regeneration, Departments of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA.


Malassezia are lipid dependent basidiomycetous yeasts that inhabit the skin and mucosa of humans and other warm-blooded animals, and are a major component of the skin microbiome. They occur as skin commensals, but are also associated with various skin disorders and bloodstream infections. The genus currently comprises 17 species and has recently been assigned its own class, Malasseziomycetes. Importantly, multiple Malassezia species and/or genotypes may cause unique or similar pathologies and vary in their antifungal susceptibility. In addition to culture-based approaches, culture-independent methods have added to our understanding of Malassezia presence and abundance and their relationship to pathogenicity. Moreover, these novel approaches have suggested a much wider-spread presence, including other human body parts and even other ecosystems, but their role in these arenas requires further clarification. With recent successful transformation and genetic engineering of Malassezia, the role of specific genes in pathogenesis can now be studied. We suggest that characterizing the metabolic impact of Malassezia communities rather than species identification is key in elucidation of pathophysiological associations. Finally, the increasing availability of genome sequences may provide key information aiding faster diagnostics, and understanding of the biochemical mechanisms for Malassezia skin adaptation and the design of future drugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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