The skin microbiota and its role in skin disorders

Our second skin: the skin microbiota and its role in skin disorders

Whereas the gut microbiota is intensively investigated, knowledge about the skin microbiota is limited. Our research focuses on members of the human skin microbiota, i.e. the prevalent Gram-positive bacteria Propionibacterium (Cutibacterium) sp., Finegoldia sp. and Staphylococcus sp. Here, several aspects are investigated regarding their phylogeny/population structure, the genomics and transcriptomics, their microbial activities, the interference properties between these microorganisms, and their beneficial and harmful significance for the host. A set of state-of-the-art technologies are used ranging from genome sequencing and proteomic approaches to antagonism assays and 3D cell culture-based bacterium host cell-interaction studies. Research results aim at providing new avenues for prophylactic and therapeutic strategies against common skin disorders such as acne vulgaris.

current projects:

A. Phylogeny and comparative genome analyses of the Gram-positive skin bacteria Propionibacterium (Cutibacterium) sp., Finegoldia sp. and Staphylococcus sp.

B. Functional microbiology of skin bacteria: properties of Propionibacteria and S. epidermidis and their interferences on human skin

C. Bacterium-host interaction studies to determine the roles of Propionibacterium (Cutibacterium) acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis in health and disease

D. Applied microbiology: characterization and exploitation of mutualistic properties of the health-associated skin microbiota, and evaluation of skin probiotics. See also: www.acnesci.com.

Figure: Microbial colonization (in red) of the lumen of a human sebaceous follicle