Microbiome (2021-02-01)

Characterization of the human skin resistome and identification of two microbiota cutotypes

  • Zhiming Li,
  • Jingjing Xia,
  • Liuyiqi Jiang,
  • Yimei Tan,
  • Yitai An,
  • Xingyu Zhu,
  • Jie Ruan,
  • Zhihua Chen,
  • Hefu Zhen,
  • Yanyun Ma,
  • Zhuye Jie,
  • Liang Xiao,
  • Huanming Yang,
  • Jian Wang,
  • Karsten Kristiansen,
  • Xun Xu,
  • Li Jin,
  • Chao Nie,
  • Jean Krutmann,
  • Xiao Liu,
  • Jiucun Wang

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 9, no. 1
pp. 1 – 18


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Abstract Background The human skin microbiota is considered to be essential for skin homeostasis and barrier function. Comprehensive analyses of its function would substantially benefit from a catalog of reference genes derived from metagenomic sequencing. The existing catalog for the human skin microbiome is based on samples from limited individuals from a single cohort on reference genomes, which limits the coverage of global skin microbiome diversity. Results In the present study, we have used shotgun metagenomics to newly sequence 822 skin samples from Han Chinese, which were subsequently combined with 538 previously sequenced North American samples to construct an integrated Human Skin Microbial Gene Catalog (iHSMGC). The iHSMGC comprised 10,930,638 genes with the detection of 4,879,024 new genes. Characterization of the human skin resistome based on iHSMGC confirmed that skin commensals, such as Staphylococcus spp, are an important reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). Further analyses of skin microbial ARGs detected microbe-specific and skin site-specific ARG signatures. Of note, the abundance of ARGs was significantly higher in Chinese than Americans, while multidrug-resistant bacteria (“superbugs”) existed on the skin of both Americans and Chinese. A detailed analysis of microbial signatures identified Moraxella osloensis as a species specific for Chinese skin. Importantly, Moraxella osloensis proved to be a signature species for one of two robust patterns of microbial networks present on Chinese skin, with Cutibacterium acnes indicating the second one. Each of such “cutotypes” was associated with distinct patterns of data-driven marker genes, functional modules, and host skin properties. The two cutotypes markedly differed in functional modules related to their metabolic characteristics, indicating that host-dependent trophic chains might underlie their development. Conclusions The development of the iHSMGC will facilitate further studies on the human skin microbiome. In the present study, it was used to further characterize the human skin resistome. It also allowed to discover the existence of two cutotypes on the human skin. The latter finding will contribute to a better understanding of the interpersonal complexity of the skin microbiome. Video abstract