Human skin microbiota is a rich source of bacteriocin-producing staphylococci that kill human pathogens

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O'Sullivan, Julie N.
Rea, Mary C.
O'Connor, Paula M.
Hill, Colin
Ross, R. Paul
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The demand for novel antimicrobial therapies due to the threat posed by antimicrobial resistance has resulted in a growing interest in the protective role of our skin bacteria and the importance of competition among bacteria on the skin. A survey of the cultivable bacteria on human skin was undertaken to identify the capacity of the skin microbiota to produce bacteriocins with activity against skin pathogens. Twenty-one bacteriocins produced by bacteria isolated from seven sites on the human body of each subject exhibited inhibition spectra ranging from broad to narrow range, inhibiting many Gram-positive bacteria, including opportunistic skin pathogens such as Propionibacterium acnes (recently renamed Cutibacterium acnes), Staphylococcus epidermidis and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Sequencing indicated that the antimicrobial-producing isolates were predominately species/strains of the Staphylococcus genus. Colony mass spectrometry revealed peptide masses that do not correspond to known bacteriocins. In an era where antibiotic resistance is of major concern, the inhibitory effect of novel bacteriocins from the bacteria of skin origin demonstrates the antimicrobial potential that could be harnessed from within the human skin microbiota.
Skin pathogens , Staphylococci , Antimicrobial potential , Bacteriocin , Skin microbiota , Skin microbiome
O'Sullivan, J.N., Rea, M.C., O'Connor, P.M., Hill, C. and Ross, R.P. (2018) 'Human skin microbiota is a rich source of bacteriocin-producing staphylococci that kill human pathogens'. FEMS microbiology ecology, 95(2), fiy241. (10pp). doi:10.1093/femsec/fiy241