Molecular analysis of fungal microbiota in samples from healthy human skin and psoriatic lesions

J Clin Microbiol. 2006 Aug;44(8):2933-41. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00785-06.


Psoriasis, a common cutaneous disease of unknown etiology, may be triggered by infections, including those due to fungi. Since the fungal community of human skin is poorly characterized, we aimed to analyze the mycological microbiota in healthy skin and psoriatic lesions. Twenty-five skin samples from five healthy subjects (flexor forearm) and three patients with psoriasis were analyzed using broad-range 18S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) and 5.8S rDNA/internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) Malassezia-specific PCR primers. Broad-range PCR analysis indicated that most organisms resembled Malassezia. Malassezia-specific 5.8S/ITS2 analysis of 1,374 clones identified five species and four unknown phylotypes, potentially representing new species. The species distribution appears largely host specific and conserved in different sites of healthy skin. In three subjects, the Malassezia microbiota composition appeared relatively stable over time. Samples of Malassezia microbiota from healthy skin and psoriatic lesions were similar in one patient but substantially different in two others. These data indicate the predominance of Malassezia organisms in healthy human skin, host-specific variation, stability over time, and as yet, no consistent patterns differentiating psoriatic skin from healthy skin.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • DNA, Fungal / chemistry
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics
  • DNA, Ribosomal / chemistry
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Female
  • Fungi / classification
  • Fungi / genetics
  • Fungi / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Malassezia / classification
  • Malassezia / genetics
  • Malassezia / isolation & purification*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Psoriasis / complications
  • Psoriasis / microbiology*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 5.8S / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Skin / microbiology*


  • DNA, Fungal
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 5.8S

Associated data

  • GENBANK/DQ119888
  • GENBANK/DQ119889
  • GENBANK/DQ119890
  • GENBANK/DQ119891