Research ArticleMicrobiome

Quorum sensing between bacterial species on the skin protects against epidermal injury in atopic dermatitis

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Science Translational Medicine  01 May 2019:
Vol. 11, Issue 490, eaat8329
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aat8329

Skin-soothing bacteria

Staphylococcus aureus is both a normal skin-resident species and a common bad actor in inflammatory skin conditions. Williams et al. showed that S. aureus relies on quorum sensing to secrete certain toxins and proteases that can cause epithelial barrier damage. Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) normally present on human skin, however, secreted autoinducing peptides that inhibited quorum sensing in S. aureus and hence secretion of these virulence factors. A CoNS autoinducing peptide also reduced S. aureus–induced skin inflammation in mice. Analysis of the skin microbiome of patients with atopic dermatitis suggested that the ratio of protective CoNS to S. aureus may be a factor in the pathogenesis of this condition.

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