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Skin microbiota–host interactions

An Erratum to this article was published on 22 March 2018

This article has been updated


The skin is a complex and dynamic ecosystem that is inhabited by bacteria, archaea, fungi and viruses. These microbes—collectively referred to as the skin microbiota—are fundamental to skin physiology and immunity. Interactions between skin microbes and the host can fall anywhere along the continuum between mutualism and pathogenicity. In this Review, we highlight how host–microbe interactions depend heavily on context, including the state of immune activation, host genetic predisposition, barrier status, microbe localization, and microbe–microbe interactions. We focus on how context shapes the complex dialogue between skin microbes and the host, and the consequences of this dialogue for health and disease.

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Figure 1: Crosstalk between skin microbiota and the host.
Figure 2: Chemistry of the skin.
Figure 3: Chemistry of microbial surfaces.
Figure 4: Contextual pathogenicity.

Change history

  • 25 January 2018

    In the HTML version of this Review, the two corresponding authors were incorrectly listed as Michael A. Fischbach and Y. Erin Chen, instead of Michael A. Fischbach and Yasmine Belkaid.


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We apologize for not having cited all papers relevant to this expanding field of research (in particular, older literature) because of space constraints and editorial limits. This work was supported by the Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (Y.B.), DP1 DK113598 (M.A.F.), R01 DK110174 (M.A.F.), an HHMI-Simons Faculty Scholars Award (M.A.F.), a Fellowship for Science and Engineering from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (M.A.F.), a Burroughs Wellcome Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease Award (M.A.F.) and the Dermatology Foundation (Y.E.C.).

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Y.E.C., M.A.F. and Y.B. conceptualized the article structure, content, and figures, and wrote and edited the manuscript and figures.

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Correspondence to Michael A. Fischbach or Yasmine Belkaid.

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Reviewer Information Nature thanks T. Scharschmidt and the other anonymous reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Chen, Y., Fischbach, M. & Belkaid, Y. Skin microbiota–host interactions. Nature 553, 427–436 (2018).

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