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Melanin as a virulence factor of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis and other dimorphic pathogenic fungi: a minireview

Authors
  • TABORDA, Carlos P.
  • SILVA, Marcelo B. da
  • NOSANCHUK, Joshua D.
  • TRAVASSOS, Luiz R.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2008
Source
Biblioteca Digital da Produção Intelectual da Universidade de São Paulo (BDPI/USP)
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown
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Abstract

Melanin pigments are substances produced by a broad variety of pathogenic microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and helminths. Microbes predominantly produce melanin pigment via tyrosinases, laccases, catecholases, and the polyketide synthase pathway. In fungi, melanin is deposited in the cell wall and cytoplasm, and melanin particles (""ghosts"") can be isolated from these fungi that have the same size and shape of the original cells. Melanin has been reported in several human pathogenic dimorphic fungi including Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, Sporothrix schenckii, Histoplasma capsulatum, Blastomyces dermatitidis, and Coccidioides posadasii. Melanization appears to contribute to virulence by reducing the susceptibility of melanized fungi to host defense mechanisms and antifungal drugs.

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