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Gene Function Analysis in the Ubiquitous Human Commensal and Pathogen Malassezia Genus


The genus Malassezia includes 14 species that are found on the skin of humans and animals and are associated with a number of diseases. Recent genome sequencing projects have defined the gene content of all 14 species; however, to date, genetic manipulation has not been possible for any species within this genus. Here, we develop and then optimize molecular tools for the transformation of Malassezia furfur and Malassezia sympodialis using Agrobacterium tumefaciens delivery of transfer DNA (T-DNA) molecules. These T-DNAs can insert randomly into the genome. In the case of M. furfur, targeted gene replacements were also achieved via homologous recombination, enabling deletion of the ADE2 gene for purine biosynthesis and of the LAC2 gene predicted to be involved in melanin biosynthesis. Hence, the introduction of exogenous DNA and direct gene manipulation are feasible in Malassezia species.

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