Article

Whole metagenome profiling reveals skin microbiome-dependent susceptibility to atopic dermatitis flare

  • Nature Microbiology 1, Article number: 16106 (2016)
  • doi:10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.106
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Abstract

Whole metagenome analysis has the potential to reveal functional triggers of skin diseases, but issues of cost, robustness and sampling efficacy have limited its application. Here, we have established an alternative, clinically practical and robust metagenomic analysis protocol and applied it to 80 skin microbiome samples epidemiologically stratified for atopic dermatitis (AD). We have identified distinct non-flare, baseline skin microbiome signatures enriched for Streptococcus and Gemella but depleted for Dermacoccus in AD-prone versus normal healthy skin. Bacterial challenge assays using keratinocytes and monocyte-derived dendritic cells established distinct IL-1-mediated, innate and Th1-mediated adaptive immune responses with Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis. Bacterial differences were complemented by perturbations in the eukaryotic community and functional shifts in the microbiome-wide gene repertoire, which could exacerbate a dry and alkaline phenotype primed for pathogen growth and inflammation in AD-susceptible skin. These findings provide insights into how the skin microbial community, skin surface microenvironment and immune system cross-modulate each other, escalating the destructive feedback cycle between them that leads to AD flare.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank all volunteers for donating their skin microbiome samples, the Biological Resource Centre at A*STAR for assistance with animal work, the Flow Cytometry Facility at the Singapore Immunology Network, A*STAR, for assistance with cell sorting, and G. Low, H. Chan and M. Unnaamalai for assistance with the isolation of epidermal LCs. This work was funded by an SRG National Healthcare Group grant to J.C., N.N. and M.B.Y.T. and A*STAR SPF funding for basic and translational skin research.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Genome Institute of Singapore, Singapore 138672, Singapore

    • Kern Rei Chng
    • , Chenhao Li
    • , Amanda Hui Qi Ng
    • , Andreas Wilm
    • , Paola Florez De Sessions
    •  & Niranjan Nagarajan
  2. Institute of Medical Biology, Singapore 138648, Singapore

    • Angeline Su Ling Tay
    • , Xuan Fei Colin C. Wong
    • , E. Birgitte Lane
    •  & John E. A. Common
  3. Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Singapore 138673, Singapore

    • Jingjing Wang
    • , Bijin Veonice Au
    •  & John E. Connolly
  4. Department of Neurology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, Henan 450001, China

    • Jingjing Wang
  5. Institute of Biomedical Studies, Baylor University, Waco, Texas 76798, USA

    • Jingjing Wang
    •  & John E. Connolly
  6. Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543

    • Bani Kaur Suri
    • , Sri Anusha Matta
    • , Yang Yie Sio
    •  & Fook Tim Chew
  7. Singapore Immunology Network, Singapore 138648, Singapore

    • Naomi McGovern
    • , Baptiste Janela
    •  & Florent Ginhoux
  8. Division of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, National University Health System, Singapore 119074, Singapore

    • Thiam Chye Lim
  9. National Skin Centre, Singapore 308205, Singapore

    • Mark Boon Yang Tang
  10. Department of Microbiology and Immunology, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117545, Singapore

    • John E. Connolly

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Contributions

K.R.C., M.B.Y.T., F.T.C., J.E.A.C. and N.N. planned the study. A.S.L.T., A.H.Q.N., J.W., N.M., B.J., X.F.C.C.W. and B.V.A. designed and conducted all experiments under the guidance of J.E.A.C., K.R.C., P.F.D.S., F.G. and J.E.C. Metagenomic data analysis was performed by K.R.C. and C.L. with supervision from N.N. Human skin tissue samples were collected by T.C.L. and A.W. provided technical computational assistance. B.K.S., S.A.M., Y.Y.S., F.T.C. and J.E.A.C. organized volunteer recruitment and sampling. K.R.C., A.S.L.T., E.B.L., J.E.A.C. and N.N. wrote the manuscript, with input from all authors.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to John E. A. Common or Niranjan Nagarajan.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary information

    Supplementary Notes 1–3, Supplementary References, Supplementary Figures 1–14, Supplementary Tables 1–3 and 8–10, Supplementary Tables 4–7 legends.

Excel files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Table 4

    Detailed metadata of study subjects.

  2. 2.

    Supplementary Table 5

    Table showing the relative abundances of different microbial genera and species in the skin microbiome of study subjects.

  3. 3.

    Supplementary Table 6

    Table showing pairwise Spearman correlations between the relative abundances of different skin microbial species across study subjects.

  4. 4.

    Supplementary Table 7

    Table showing SNPs of key staphylococcal virulence factors between cases and controls.