Secreted Proteases from Dermatophytes

Michel Monod
November 2008
Mycopathologia;Nov2008, Vol. 166 Issue 5/6, p285
Academic Journal
Abstract  Dermatophytes are highly specialized pathogenic fungi that exclusively infect the stratum corneum, nails or hair, and it is evident that secreted proteolytic activity is important for their virulence. Endo- and exoproteases-secreted by dermatophytes are similar to those of species of the genus Aspergillus. However, in contrast to Aspergillus spp., dermatophyte-secreted endoproteases are multiple and are members of two large protein families, the subtilisins (serine proteases) and the fungalysins (metalloproteases). In addition, dermatophytes excrete sulphite as a reducing agent. In the presence of sulphite, disulphide bounds of the keratin substrate are directly cleaved to cysteine and S-sulphocysteine, and reduced proteins become accessible for further digestion by various endo- and exoproteases secreted by the fungi. Sulphitolysis is likely to be an essential step in the digestion of compact keratinized tissues which precedes the action of all proteases.


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