An (athlete's?) foot in the door for dermatophytes

Tineas are dermatophyte infections of the skin
Dermatophyte research is poised to take off. The sequencing of seven dermatophyte genomes was recently completed, and the sequence information is now publically available. Analysis of the genome sequences demonstrates that a group of proteinases necessary for degradation of keratin is increased in number in the dermatophytes compared to closely related fungal species. These genome sequences, combined with better genetic tools and a promising model in which to study virulence, provide an optimistic outlook. Sequence information can be used to make informed hypotheses about which gene products, such as the proteinases, are important to virulence, and these genes can be deleted and tested in virulence models. These experiments will contribute to our understanding of how dermatophytes interact with human cells and cause disease. Knowing the fungal factors involved will allow development of better therapeutics and will inform preventative treatments.

 

A Foot in the Door for Dermatophyte Research. (2012) PLoS Pathog 8(3): e1002564. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1002564

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