Human skin functions as a physical barrier, preventing the entry of foreign pathogens while also accommodating a myriad of commensal microorganisms. A key contributor to the skin landscape is the sebaceous gland. Mice devoid of sebocytes are prone to skin infection, yet our understanding of how sebocytes function in host defense is incomplete. Here, we show that the small proline-rich proteins, SPRR1 and SPRR2 are bactericidal in skin. SPRR1B and SPPR2A were induced in human sebocytes by exposure to the bacterial cell wall component lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Colonization of germ-free mice was insufficient to trigger increased SPRR expression in mouse skin, but LPS injected into mouse skin stimulated increased expression of the mouse SPRR orthologous genes, Sprr1a and Sprr2a, through activation of MYD88. Both mouse and human SPRR proteins displayed potent bactericidal activity against MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and skin commensals. Thus, Sprr1a−/−;Sprr2a−/− mice are more susceptible to MRSA and P. aeruginosa skin infection. Lastly, mechanistic studies demonstrate that SPRR proteins exert their bactericidal activity through binding and disruption of the bacterial membrane. Taken together, these findings provide insight into the regulation and antimicrobial function of SPRR proteins in skin and how the skin defends the host against systemic infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)