Research ArticleMICROBIAL ECOLOGY

Staphylococcus aureus and the ecology of the nasal microbiome

Science Advances  05 Jun 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 5, e1400216
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1400216

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Abstract

The human microbiome can play a key role in host susceptibility to pathogens, including in the nasal cavity, a site favored by Staphylococcus aureus. However, what determines our resident nasal microbiota—the host or the environment—and can interactions among nasal bacteria determine S. aureus colonization? Our study of 46 monozygotic and 43 dizygotic twin pairs revealed that nasal microbiota is an environmentally derived trait, but the host’s sex and genetics significantly influence nasal bacterial density. Although specific taxa, including lactic acid bacteria, can determine S. aureus colonization, their negative interactions depend on thresholds of absolute abundance. These findings demonstrate that nasal microbiota is not fixed by host genetics and opens the possibility that nasal microbiota may be manipulated to prevent or eliminate S. aureus colonization.

Keywords
  • nasal cavity
  • nares
  • nasal microbiome
  • human microbiome
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • microbiome
  • microbial ecology
  • interspecies interaction
  • competition
  • absolute abundance

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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