Selective antimicrobial action is provided by phenol-soluble modulins derived from staphylococcus epidermidis, a normal resident of the skin

Anna L. Cogen, Kenshi Yamasaki, Katheryn M. Sanchez, Robert A. Dorschner, Yuping Lai, Daniel T. MacLeod, Justin W. Torpey, Michael Otto, Victor Nizet, Judy E. Kim, Richard L. Gallo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

225 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Antimicrobial peptides serve as a first line of innate immune defense against invading organisms such as bacteria and viruses. In this study, we hypothesized that peptides produced by a normal microbial resident of human skin, Staphylococcus epidermidis, might also act as an antimicrobial shield and contribute to normal defense at the epidermal interface. We show by circular dichroism and tryptophan spectroscopy that phenol-soluble modulins (PSMs) γ and produced by S. epidermidis have an α-helical character and a strong lipid membrane interaction similar to mammalian AMPs such as LL-37. Both PSMs directly induced lipid vesicle leakage and exerted selective antimicrobial action against skin pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus. PSMs functionally cooperated with each other and LL-37 to enhance antimicrobial action. Moreover, PSMs reduced Group A Streptococcus (GAS) but not the survival of S. epidermidis on mouse skin. Thus, these data suggest that the production of PSMγ and PSM by S. epidermidis can benefit cutaneous immune defense by selectively inhibiting the survival of skin pathogens while maintaining the normal skin microbiome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-200
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Volume130
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology

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