Electricity-producing Staphylococcus epidermidis counteracts Cutibacterium acnes

Shinta Marito, Sunita Keshari, Supitchaya Traisaeng, Do Thi Tra My, Arun Balasubramaniam, Prakoso Adi, Ming Fa Hsieh, Deron Raymond Herr, Chun Ming Huang

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3 Scopus citations


Staphylococcus epidermidis (S. epidermidis) ATCC 12228 was incubated with 2% polyethylene glycol (PEG)-8 Laurate to yield electricity which was measured by a voltage difference between electrodes. Production of electron was validated by a Ferrozine assay. The anti-Cutibacterium acnes (C. acnes) activity of electrogenic S. epidermidis was assessed in vitro and in vivo. The voltage change (~ 4.4 mV) reached a peak 60 min after pipetting S. epidermidis plus 2% PEG-8 Laurate onto anodes. The electricity produced by S. epidermidis caused significant growth attenuation and cell lysis of C. acnes. Intradermal injection of C. acnes and S. epidermidis plus PEG-8 Laurate into the mouse ear considerably suppressed the growth of C. acnes. This suppressive effect was noticeably reversed when cyclophilin A of S. epidermidis was inhibited, indicating the essential role of cyclophilin A in electricity production of S. epidermidis against C. acnes. In summary, we demonstrate for the first time that skin S. epidermidis, in the presence of PEG-8 Laurate, can mediate cyclophilin A to elicit an electrical current that has anti-C. acnes effects. Electricity generated by S. epidermidis may confer immediate innate immunity in acne lesions to rein in the overgrowth of C. acnes at the onset of acne vulgaris.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12001
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


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