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Melanization of Fusarium keratoplasticum (F. solani Species Complex) During Disseminated Fusariosis in a Patient with Acute Leukemia


Fusarium spp. are recognized as the second most frequently filamentous fungi causing opportunistic infections and particularly important due to the increasing number of immunocompromised patients. F. keratoplasticum (a member of F. solani species complex) is one of the Fusarium species commonly associated with human infection, and therefore, studies on the virulence of this fungus are needed. This study aimed to confirm the presence of melanin in F. keratoplasticum from a patient with systemic fusariosis. Immunofluorescence labeling with anti-melanin monoclonal antibody (MAb) was used to examine an expression of melanin in F. keratoplasticum in vitro and during infection. Electron spin resonance identified the particles extracted from F. keratoplasticum as stable free radical consistent with melanin. Lesional skin from the sites with fusariosis contained hyphal structures that could be labeled by melanin-binding MAb, while digestion of the tissue yielded dark particles that were reactive. These findings suggest that F. keratoplasticum hyphae and chlamydospores can produce melanin in vitro and that hyphae can synthesize pigment in vivo. Given the potential role of melanin in virulence of other fungi, this pigment in F. keratoplasticum may play a role in the pathogenesis of fusariosis.

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We thank the Faculty of Medicine Endowment Fund, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, 50200, Thailand. JDN is supported in part by NIH AI52733.

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Correspondence to Sirida Youngchim.

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Chiewchanvit, S., Chongkae, S., Mahanupab, P. et al. Melanization of Fusarium keratoplasticum (F. solani Species Complex) During Disseminated Fusariosis in a Patient with Acute Leukemia. Mycopathologia 182, 879–885 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11046-017-0156-2

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  • Fusarium keratoplasticum
  • Fusarium solani species complex
  • Melanin
  • Immunocompromised host
  • Anti-melanin monoclonal antibody