Saprophytic bacteria and fungi colonize stearoyl coenzyme-A desaturase-1 knockout skin

Hunter J. Pyle, Methinee Artami, Marshall Edwards, Prithvi Raj, Bo Zhang, Carlos Arana, Tamia A. Harris-Tryon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Lipids synthesized on the skin are critical to the antimicrobial barrier. Skin lipids also facilitate survival of lipophilic skin commensals in an otherwise dry and acidic ecological landscape. Thus, skin-specific stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase 1 knockout mice (Scd1ΔK14) with sebocyte atrophy and decreased synthesis of monounsaturated fatty acids, triglycerides and wax diesters have dry, inflamed skin. Here, we used 16S rRNA (V1-V2 and V1-V9) and internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) amplicon sequencing to compare bacterial and fungal skin microbiomes between Scd1ΔK14 mice and wildtype control mice (Scd1fl/fl) in a barrier facility. Saprophytic bacteria including Sporosarcina spp. and Staphylococcus lentus and saprophytic fungi including Alternaria infectoria were found in higher relative abundance in the Scd1ΔK14 group (ANCOM). Analysis of community diversity (Shannon index) revealed greater fungal alpha diversity in the Scd1ΔK14 group (p = 0.009, Kruskal–Wallis). Principal coordinates analysis (Bray–Curtis dissimilarity) showed that both bacterial (p = 0.002, PERMANOVA) and fungal communities (p = 0.006, PERMANOVA) of the Scd1ΔK14 group were unique from the wildtype group. Altogether, these results suggest that sebaceous gland-derived lipids normally restrict the skin microbiome, and in the absence of these lipids, a greater diversity of opportunistic organisms are able to colonize the surface of skin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-84
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • bioinformatics
  • lipids
  • microbiome
  • sebaceous gland
  • skin microbiota

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology


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