The Skin Bacterium Propionibacterium acnes Employs Two Variants of Hyaluronate Lyase with Distinct Properties

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Hyaluronic acid (HA) and other glycosaminoglycans are extracellular matrix components in the human epidermis and dermis. One of the most prevalent skin microorganisms, Propionibacterium acnes, possesses HA-degrading activity, possibly conferred by the enzyme hyaluronate lyase (HYL). In this study, we identified the HYL of P. acnes and investigated the genotypic and phenotypic characteristics. Investigations include the generation of a P. acneshyl knockout mutant and HYL activity assays to determine the substrate range and formed products. We found that P. acnes employs two distinct variants of HYL. One variant, HYL-IB/II, is highly active, resulting in complete HA degradation; it is present in strains of the phylotypes IB and II. The other variant, HYL-IA, has low activity, resulting in incomplete HA degradation; it is present in type IA strains. Our findings could explain some of the observed differences between P. acnes phylotype IA and IB/II strains. Whereas type IA strains are primarily found on the skin surface and associated with acne vulgaris, type IB/II strains are more often associated with soft and deep tissue infections, which would require elaborate tissue invasion strategies, possibly accomplished by a highly active HYL-IB/II.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMicroorganisms
Volume5
Issue3
ISSN2076-2607
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2017

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