P&G researchers sequence genome of dandruff-causing fungus

December 4, 2007

Cincinnati - Reuters reports that researchers at Procter & Gamble say they have sequenced the genome of Malassezia globosa, a fungus that grows on the skin of between 50 percent and 90 percent of the population, causing dandruff and other skin conditions.

Cincinnati - Reuters reports that researchers at Procter & Gamble say they have sequenced the genome of Malassezia globosa, a fungus that grows on the skin of between 50 percent and 90 percent of the population, causing dandruff and other skin conditions.

In an article that appeared recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers say their study may lead to ways to fight not only dandruff, but also an infection that can threaten the lives of newborns.

They say the complete genomic sequencing of a Malassezia genome “opens tremendous opportunities for researchers to understand the interactions of fungi and humans,” according to the Reuters report.

According to the P&G research team, M. globosa can excrete more than 50 different enzymes that help digest and break down compounds in the hair and scalp.

Sequencing of the genome revealed the presence of mating-type genes, providing an indication that Malassezia may be capable of sex, the researchers write, and that while fungi can reproduce sexually, this particular type had not been known to.

This means the fungi could find a way to evade dandruff shampoos.

Malassezia fungi also cause systemic infections in newborns.