The human skin microbiome.

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PubMed ID: 29332945

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Byrd AL, Belkaid Y, Segre JA

Nat Rev Microbiol. Jan 2018. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro.2017.157

COMMENT: In this Review, the authors discuss recent insights into skin microbial communities, including their composition in health and disease, assembly and ecology, and interactions with the immune system.

Functioning as the exterior interface of the human body with the environment, skin acts as a physical barrier to prevent the invasion of foreign pathogens while providing a home to the commensal microbiota. The harsh physical landscape of skin, particularly the desiccated, nutrient-poor, acidic environment, also contributes to the adversity that pathogens face when colonizing human skin. Despite this, the skin is colonized by a diverse microbiota.

In this Review, the authors describe amplicon and shotgun metagenomic DNA sequencing studies that have been used to assess the taxonomic diversity of microorganisms that are associated with skin from the kingdom to the strain level. They also discuss recent insights into skin microbial communities with a focus on Propionibacterium acnes, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus.

According to author's conclusions:

Analyses of microbiome sequencing data from patients compared with healthy controls can be used to generate hypotheses about putative disease-causing microorganisms. Organisms of interest can then be isolated from individuals through targeted culturing methods. Next, these organisms can undergo whole genome sequencing to analyse their functional potential and can be tested in animal models to determine potential mechanistic roles in disease progression. Overall, the objective is to translate microbiome sequence data to functional studies that could inform the development of therapeutic modalities to ameliorate dysbiosis and counteract pathogens.


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Javier Velasco