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Br J Dermatol. 2015;172(5):1204-9. doi: 10.1111/bjd.13667. Epub 2015 Apr 9.

Typing of Propionibacterium acnes: a review of methods and comparative analysis.

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Division of Dermatology and Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A.
Irvine School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, CA, U.S.A.
Department of Dermatology, Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System Veterans Affairs, Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A.


Propionibacterium acnes is a major commensal of the human skin. However, it is also the pathogen responsible for acne vulgaris and other diseases, such as medical-device infections. Strains of Propionibacterium acnes have long been classified into several different types. Recently, typing systems for this bacterium have taken on an increased importance as different types of P. acnes have been found to be associated with different disease states, including acne. Genetic approaches based on individual or multiple genes have classified P. acnes into types, which have been supported by the sequencing of nearly 100 P. acnes genomes. These types have distinct genetic, transcriptomic and proteomic differences. Additionally, they may have different immune response profiles. Taken together, these factors may account for the different disease associations of P. acnes types.

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