Cornyebacterium species may help protect against Staphylococcus aureus

By Liz Meszaros, MDLinx
Published August 19, 2016

Key Takeaways

Cornyebacterium species, long known to be residents of both the nasal and skin microbiome, may help protect against Staphylococcus aureus, also commonly found colonizing the human body, according to researchers from the Forsyth Institute, who found that when these two species interact, Cornyebacterium inhibits the virulence of S. aureus.

"Our research helps set the stage for the development of small molecules and, potentially, probiotic therapies for promoting health by actively managing nasal microbiome composition," says senior author Katherine P. Lemon, MD, PhD, associate member of the staff, department of microbiology, Forsyth Institute, Cambridge, MA, department of Microbiology, and assistant professor of pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

They published this original research article in the August 17, 2016 issue of the journal Frontiers in Microbiology.

Dr. Lemon and colleagues assessed gene expression using RNA sequencing (RNAseq) after growing S. aureus JE2 in either mono- or coculture with C. striatum ATCC 6940 in a solid-phase, low pH medium that approximates human skin-surface conditions. They found that when these two bacteria interact, the virulence of S. aureus was inhibited by Cornyebacterium.

Their results may help in the development of future treatments and even prevention of S. aureus infections. Using the functions of beneficial bacteria that are already present, such as Cornyebacterium, may help curtail the numbers of S. aureus present, or help shift them towards less virulent activity. These beneficial bacteria may even one day be used as probiotics.

"This research identifies a role for Corynebacterium species in suppressing S. aureus virulence, and is an exciting early stage in our exploration of the molecular mechanisms that sculpt the composition of the nasal microbiome and influence colonization by pathobionts. We look forward to an increase in research on commensal-pathobiont interactions within the human microbiome and an ever-increasing understanding of the significance of our beneficial bacteria partners,” concluded Dr. Lemon.

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health NIAID grants F32 AI102498 (MR), R00 DE023584 (MF), R15 AI105763 (KR), and R01 AI101018 (KL).

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