Patterns of Human Oral Yeast Species Distribution on Hainan Island in China
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Infections by yeast strains of the genus Candida are among the most prevalent fungal infections of humans. These yeasts are common residents of the oral mucosa and other body surfaces. Since most yeast infections are due to endogenous strains and that species of Candida differ in virulence properties and in intrinsic susceptibilities to antifungal drugs, understanding the human commensal yeast flora can help designing effective treatment and prevention strategies against yeast infections. Here, we report the patterns of yeast species distributions in the oral cavities of 1,799 people from Hainan Island in southern China. Based on sequence information at the fungal barcode locus ITS regions, 368 of the 415 obtained oral yeast strains were identified as belonging to 26 yeast species, while the remaining 47 strains all showed significant sequence divergence to the currently described species. The four most common yeast species were C. albicans (42 %), C. tropicalis (20 %), C. glabrata (5.5 %), and C. parapsilosis (4.1 %) and 10 of the 26 yeast species were represented by only one strain each. Our analyses identified that the gender of hosts and ethnical background showed no contribution to oral yeast species distributions. However, the health status, place of birth, current residency, and the age of hosts all showed significant contributions to the distributions of the four dominant yeast species. We compared our results with those reported previously and discussed the potential mechanisms for the observed differences in oral yeast species distributions.
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