Melanin as a virulence factor of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis and other dimorphic pathogenic fungi: A minireview

Carlos P. Taborda, Marcelo B. Da Silva, Joshua D. Nosanchuk, Luiz R. Travassos

Research output: Contribution to journalShort survey

88 Scopus citations


Melanin pigments are substances produced by a broad variety of pathogenic microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and helminths. Microbes predominantly produce melanin pigment via tyrosinases, laccases, catecholases, and the polyketide synthase pathway. In fungi, melanin is deposited in the cell wall and cytoplasm, and melanin particles ("ghosts") can be isolated from these fungi that have the same size and shape of the original cells. Melanin has been reported in several human pathogenic dimorphic fungi including Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, Sporothrix schenckii, Histoplasma capsulatum, Blastomyces dermatitidis, and Coccidioides posadasii. Melanization appears to contribute to virulence by reducing the susceptibility of melanized fungi to host defense mechanisms and antifungal drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-339
Number of pages9
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2008



  • Dimorphic fungi
  • Melanin
  • Paracoccidioides brasiliensis
  • Pathogenesis
  • Susceptibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)

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