Secreted Hydrolytic and Haemolytic Activities of Malassezia Clinical Strains
Malassezia yeasts are opportunistic pathogens associated with a number of skin diseases in animals and humans. The free fatty acids released through these organisms’ lipase and phospholipase activities trigger inflammation in the host; thus, these lipase and phospholipase activities are widely recognised as some of the most important factors in Malassezia pathogenesis. In this study, we sought to investigate and examine the relationship between these secreted hydrolytic activities and haemolytic activity in newly isolated Malassezia clinical strains. This characterisation was expected to elucidate pathogenicity of this fungus. We isolated 35 clinical strains of Malassezia spp.; the most frequently isolated species were M. sympodialis and M. furfur. Next, we analysed the hydrolytic activities of all of these clinical isolates; all of these strains (except for one M. dermatis isolate) showed detectable lipase and phospholipase activities against 4-nitrophenyl palmitate and L-α-phosphatidylcholine, dipalmitoyl, respectively. Most of the M. globosa isolates showed higher lipase activities than isolates of other Malassezia species. In terms of phospholipase activity, no significant difference was observed among species of Malassezia, although one isolate of M. globosa showed considerably higher phospholipase activity than the others. All tested strains also exhibited haemolytic activity, both as determined using 5% (v/v) sheep blood agar (halo assay) and by quantitative assay. Although all tested strains showed detectable haemolytic activity, we did not observe an apparent correlation between the secreted lipase and phospholipase activities and haemolytic activity. We infer that the haemolytic activities of Malassezia spp. are mediated by non-enzymatic factor(s) that are present in the secreted samples.
KeywordsMalassezia Lipase Phospholipase Haemolysis Clinical isolation
We thank Dr. Ryuji Maruyama, Maruyama Dermatology Clinic, for cooperating with us in the isolation of clinical samples.
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