The human skin is a lush microbial habitat which is occupied by a wide array of microorgan-isms. Among the most common inhabitants are Staphylococcus spp., namely Staphylococcus epidermidis and, in ≈20% of healthy individuals, Staphylococcus aureus. Both bacteria have been associated with cutaneous maladies, where they mostly arrange in a biofilm, thus achieving improved surface adhesion and stability. Moreover, our skin is constantly exposed to numerous oxidative environmental stressors, such as UV-irradiation. Thus, skin cells are equipped with an important antioxidant defense mechanism, the Nrf2–Keap1 pathway. In this work, we aimed to explore the morphology of S. aureus and S. epidermidis as they adhered to healthy human skin and characterize their matrix composition. Furthermore, we hypothesized that the localization of both types of bacteria on a healthy skin surface may provide protective effects against oxidative stressors, such as UV-irradiation. Our results indicate for the first time that S. aureus and S. epidermidis assume a biofilm-like morphology as they adhere to ex vivo healthy human skin and that the cultures’ extracellular matrix (ECM) is composed of extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) and extracellular DNA (eDNA). Both bacterial cultures, as well as isolated S. aureus biofilm eDNA, conferred cutaneous protection against UVB-induced apoptosis. This work emphasized the importance of skin microbiota representatives in the maintenance of a healthy cutaneous redox balance by activating the skin’s natural defense mechanism.
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- Biofilm eDNA
- Skin microbiota
- UVB protection