Original Article

Subject Category: Microbial population and community ecology

The ISME Journal (2010) 4, 839–851; doi:10.1038/ismej.2010.15; published online 25 February 2010

A poke into the diversity and associations within human anterior nare microbial communities

Melissa L Wos-Oxley1, Iris Plumeier1, Christof von Eiff2,4, Stefan Taudien3, Matthias Platzer3, Ramiro Vilchez-Vargas1, Karsten Becker2 and Dietmar H Pieper1

  1. 1Microbial Interactions and Processes Research Group, Department of Medical Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany
  2. 2Institute of Medical Microbiology, University Hospital, Münster, Germany
  3. 3Genome Analysis, Leibniz Institute for Age Research - Fritz Lipmann Institute, Jena, Germany

Correspondence: DH Pieper, Microbial Interactions and Processes Research Group, Department of Medical Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstr. 7, Braunschweig 38124, Germany. E-mail: dpi@helmholtz-hzi.de

4Current address: Wyeth Pharma GmbH, Wienburgstr. 207, Münster D-48159, Germany.

Received 2 November 2009; Revised 18 January 2010; Accepted 24 January 2010; Published online 25 February 2010.

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Abstract

The anterior nares are the major reservoir for Staphylococcus aureus in humans, where nasal carriage has a crucial function as a source for invasive infections. Despite various investigations on aerobic community members based on traditional cultivation methods, little is known on the overall microbial composition and complex in situ interactions, but such knowledge is highly warranted for effective S. aureus control strategies. As assessed using advanced culture-independent approaches, this study provides a comprehensive survey of the anterior nare bacterial community of 40 individuals. Previously undiscovered co-colonization patterns and natural variations in species composition were revealed and provide insights for future intervention strategies for the control of health-care- and community-associated S. aureus infections.

Keywords:

anterior nares; bacterial associations; microbial diversity; 454-pyrosequening; SSCP; Staphylococcus aureus

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