Cell-penetrating peptides as antifungals towardsMalassezia sympodialis


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Abstract

Aim:To determine whether different antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are able to inhibit the growth of the commensal yeast Malassezia sympodialis, which can act as a trigger factor in different skin disorders, such as atopic eczema (AE), seborrhoeic eczema (SE) and dandruff.Methods and results:The antifungal activity of 21 different AMPs and CPPs was investigated by microdilution assay and plate counting to determine the number of colony forming units. Five CPPs and one AMP showed fungicidal activity at submicromolar concentrations. Importantly, no membrane damage on human keratinocytes was detected after peptide treatment.Conclusions:Several CPPs, while being nontoxic to mammalian cells, possess growth inhibitory activity on the very stringent yeast M. sympodialis.Significance and impact of study:Our findings that five CPPs and one AMP that are harmless towards mammalian cells act as antifungal agents against M. sympodialis opens up the possibility to use these in the treatment for AE, SE and dandruff. To our knowledge, this is the first time peptides have been identified as antifungal agents against M. sympodialis. Further studies to elucidate the mechanism are warranted.

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