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2006 | 53 | 3 | 429-443
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Melanin synthesis in microorganisms - biotechnological and medical aspects

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Melanins form a diverse group of pigments synthesized in living organisms in the course of hydroxylation and polymerization of organic compounds. Melanin production is observed in all large taxa from both Pro- and Eukaryota. The basic functions of melanins are still a matter of controversy and speculation, even though their adaptative importance has been proved. Melanogenesis has probably evolved paralelly in various groups of free living organisms to provide protection from environmental stress conditions, but in pathogenic microorganisms it correlates with an increased virulence. The genes responsible for melanization are collected in some cases within operons which find a versatile application in genetic engineering. This review sumarizes current views on melanogenesis in Pro- and Eukaryotic microorganisms in terms of their biotechnological and biomedical importance.
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  • Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
  • Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
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