alexa Metabolic analysis of the cutaneous fungi Malassezia globosa and M. restricta for insights on scalp condition and dandruff


Journal of Clinical & Experimental Dermatology Research

Author(s): James AG, Abraham KH, Cox DS, Moore AE, Pople JE

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Dandruff is a global consumer problem, characterized by flaking and scaling of the scalp, accompanied by itch and irritancy. However, the aetiology of the condition remains poorly understood, although there is a strong consensus that the cutaneous fungi Malassezia globosa and M. restricta are a major contributory factor. Although there is a paucity of understanding on how these commensal microorganisms adopt a pathogenic phenotype, a rich source of potential insights now exists in the shape of the recently published whole-genome sequence of M. globosa, a functional annotation and metabolic reconstruction of which is freely accessible via the integrated microbial genomes (IMG) online community resource ( In these studies, we have taken a combined in-silico and in-vitro approach to investigate aspects of lipid and amino acid metabolism by M. globosa and M. restricta that have the potential to impact on scalp condition and dandruff. The IMG platform was employed to analyse the metabolism of triacylglycerols and fatty acids, as well as the aromatic amino acid tryptophan, by M. globosa, to investigate pro-inflammatory pathways linked in the literature to dandruff and pityriasis versicolour, respectively. Results were equivocal, leaving question marks over the ability of M. globosa to fully degrade unsaturated fatty acids and metabolize tryptophan to indole-3-pyruvic acid. In-vitro assay systems were then developed to study the biotransformation of these metabolites by both M. globosa and M. restricta, as well as their effect on human keratinocytes, and the results here indicated that neither unsaturated fatty acids nor indole derivatives are likely to be major aetiological factors in dandruff.

This article was published in International journal of cosmetic science and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Dermatology Research

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