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|Title:||Melanization of Penicillium marneffei in vitro and in vivo|
Roderick J. Hay
Andrew J. Hamilton
|Keywords:||Immunology and Microbiology|
|Abstract:||Melanins are found universally in nature and are implicated in the pathogenesis of several important human fungal pathogens. This study investigated whether the conidia and the yeast cells of the thermally dimorphic fungal pathogen Penicillium marneffei produce melanin or melanin-like compounds in vitro and during infection. Treatment of conidia with proteolytic enzymes, denaturant and concentrated hot acid yielded dark particles that were similar in size and shape to the conidia. A melanin-binding monoclonal antibody (mAb) labelled pigmented conidia, yeast cells and the isolated particles as determined by immunofluorescence microscopy. Electron spin resonance spectroscopy revealed that particles derived from pigmented conidia contained a stable free radical compound, consistent with their identification as melanins. Skin tissue from penicilliosis marneffei patients contained yeast cells that were labelled by melanin-binding mAb. Additionally, sera from P. marneffei-infected mice developed a significant antibody response (both IgG and IgM) against melanin. Phenoloxidase activity capable of synthesizing melanin from L-DOPA was detected in cytoplasmic yeast cell extracts. These findings indicate that P. marneffei conidia and yeast cells can produce melanin or melanin-like compounds in vitro and that the yeast cells can synthesize pigment in vivo. Accordingly this pigment may play some role in the virulence of P. marneffei. © 2005 SGM.|
|Appears in Collections:||CMUL: Journal Articles|
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