Johansson HJ, Vallhov H, Holm T, Gehrmann U, Andersson A, Johansson C, Blom H, Carroni M, Lehtiö J, Scheynius A
Malassezia sympodialis is a dominant commensal fungi in the human skin mycobiome but is also associated with common skin disorders including atopic eczema (AE). M. sympodialis releases extracellular vesicles, designated MalaEx, which are carriers of small RNAs and allergens, and they can induce inflammatory cytokine responses. Here we explored how MalaEx are involved in host-microbe interactions by comparing protein content of MalaEx with that of the parental yeast cells, and by investigating interactions of MalaEx with cells in the skin. Cryo-electron tomography revealed a heterogeneous population of MalaEx. iTRAQ based quantitative proteomics identified in total 2439 proteins in all replicates of which 110 were enriched in MalaEx compared to the yeast cells. Among the MalaEx enriched proteins were two of the M. sympodialis allergens, Mala s 1 and s 7. Functional experiments indicated an active binding and internalization of MalaEx into human keratinocytes and monocytes, and MalaEx were found in close proximity of the nuclei using super-resolution fluorescence 3D-SIM imaging. Our results provides new insights into host-microbe interactions, supporting that MalaEx may have a role in the sensitization and maintenance of inflammation in AE by containing enriched amounts of allergens and with their ability to interact with skin cells.