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J Exp Med. 2018 Mar 5;215(3):785-799. doi: 10.1084/jem.20171079. Epub 2018 Jan 30.

Contextual control of skin immunity and inflammation by Corynebacterium.

Author information

1
Mucosal Immunology Section, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.
2
Microbiome Program, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.
3
Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.
4
Translational and Functional Genomics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.
5
Department of Bioinformatics, Boston University, Boston, MA.
6
Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA fischbach@fischbachgroup.org.
7
Mucosal Immunology Section, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD ybelkaid@niaid.nih.gov.

Abstract

How defined microbes influence the skin immune system remains poorly understood. Here we demonstrate that Corynebacteria, dominant members of the skin microbiota, promote a dramatic increase in the number and activation of a defined subset of γδ T cells. This effect is long-lasting, occurs independently of other microbes, and is, in part, mediated by interleukin (IL)-23. Under steady-state conditions, the impact of Corynebacterium is discrete and noninflammatory. However, when applied to the skin of a host fed a high-fat diet, Corynebacterium accolens alone promotes inflammation in an IL-23-dependent manner. Such effect is highly conserved among species of Corynebacterium and dependent on the expression of a dominant component of the cell envelope, mycolic acid. Our data uncover a mode of communication between the immune system and a dominant genus of the skin microbiota and reveal that the functional impact of canonical skin microbial determinants is contextually controlled by the inflammatory and metabolic state of the host.

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