Investigating the Role of Staphylococcal Biofilms in the Pathogenesis of Pediatric Atopic Dermatitis
Saturday, March 3, 2018: 3:00 PM
S220EF (Convention Center)
Tammy Gonzalez, , , , , ,

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is characterized by the onset of eczematous skin lesions often at a young age that significantly impacts quality of life. AD can progress to other atopic disorders, typically allergic rhinitis and asthma. AD skin is often colonized with Staphylococcus aureus, with microbial burden correlating to increased disease severity and worsening barrier function. Staphylococci often live in biofilms, which function to facilitate microbial adherence and protect bacteria from immune defenses and antibiotic action. S. aureus biofilms are found in eccrine ducts of patients with AD and isolates displayed biofilm forming properties. Our preliminary data shows that when soluble factors from S. epidermidis are transferred to S. aureus cultures, S. aureus biofilm formation is inhibited. However, when both species are in physical contact, robust biofilms develop, suggesting that physical interactions facilitate development of polymicrobial biofilms.


Using the M-PAACH cohort of pediatric AD patients (PI Dr. Gurjit Hershey), microbial DNA and live bacterial isolates are sampled from the skin to assess the roles of S. aureus and S. epidermidis in forming functional biofilms and their proportions in a microbial community.


We have optimized DNA extraction and metagenomic shotgun sequencing from genomic DNA samples collected from M-PAACH patients and healthy adult controls. We have characterized the biofilm-producing properties of S. aureus and S. epidermidis isolated from M-PAACH patients.


Using these techniques to sample and assess the M-PAACH cohort will aid in understanding how commensals and pathogens cooperate in the pathogenesis of AD and the atopic march toward other allergic diseases.