Author(s): Carsten Holland, Tim N Mak, Ursula ZimnyArndt, Monika Schmid, Thomas F Meyer
Background: The anaerobic Gram-positive bacterium Propionibacterium acnes is a human skin commensal that resides preferentially within sebaceous follicles; however, it also exhibits many traits of an opportunistic pathogen, playing roles in a variety of inflammatory diseases such as acne vulgaris. To date, the underlying disease-causing mechanisms remain ill-defined and knowledge of P. acnes virulence factors remains scarce. Here, we identified proteins secreted during anaerobic cultivation of a range of skin and clinical P. acnes isolates, spanning the four known phylogenetic groups.
Results: Culture supernatant proteins of P. acnes were separated by two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) and all Coomassie-stained spots were subsequently identified by MALDI mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS). A set of 20 proteins was secreted in the mid-exponential growth phase by the majority of strains tested. Functional annotation revealed that many of these common proteins possess degrading activities, including glycoside hydrolases with similarities to endoglycoceramidase, β-N-acetylglucosaminidase and muramidase; esterases such as lysophospholipase and triacylglycerol lipase; and several proteases. Other secreted factors included Christie-Atkins-Munch-Petersen (CAMP) factors, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), and several hypothetical proteins, a few of which are unique to P. acnes. Strain-specific differences were apparent, mostly in the secretion of putative adhesins, whose genes exhibit variable phase variation-like sequence signatures.
Conclusions: Our proteomic investigations have revealed that the P. acnes secretome harbors several proteins likely to play a role in host-tissue degradation and inflammation. Despite a large overlap between the secretomes of all four P. acnes phylotypes, distinct differences between predicted host-tissue interacting proteins were identified, providing potential insight into the differential virulence properties of P. acnes isolates. Thus, our data presents a rich resource for guiding much-needed investigations on P. acnes virulence factors and host interacting properties.Journal of Bacteriology & Parasitology