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Science 337 (6098): 1115-1119

Copyright © 2012 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Compartmentalized Control of Skin Immunity by Resident Commensals

Shruti Naik,1,2 Nicolas Bouladoux,1 Christoph Wilhelm,1 Michael J. Molloy,1 Rosalba Salcedo,3,4 Wolfgang Kastenmuller,5 Clayton Deming,6 Mariam Quinones,7 Lily Koo,8 Sean Conlan,6 Sean Spencer,1,2 Jason A. Hall,9 Amiran Dzutsev,3,4 Heidi Kong,10 Daniel J. Campbell,11,12 Giorgio Trinchieri,3 Julia A. Segre,6 Yasmine Belkaid1,*

Abstract: Intestinal commensal bacteria induce protective and regulatory responses that maintain host-microbial mutualism. However, the contribution of tissue-resident commensals to immunity and inflammation at other barrier sites has not been addressed. We found that in mice, the skin microbiota have an autonomous role in controlling the local inflammatory milieu and tuning resident T lymphocyte function. Protective immunity to a cutaneous pathogen was found to be critically dependent on the skin microbiota but not the gut microbiota. Furthermore, skin commensals tuned the function of local T cells in a manner dependent on signaling downstream of the interleukin-1 receptor. These findings underscore the importance of the microbiota as a distinctive feature of tissue compartmentalization, and provide insight into mechanisms of immune system regulation by resident commensal niches in health and disease.

1 Mucosal Immunology Section, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
2 Immunology Graduate Group, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
3 Cancer and Inflammation Program, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.
4 SAIC-Frederick Inc., National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD 21701, USA.
5 Lymphocyte Biology Section, Laboratory of Immunology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
6 Genetics and Molecular Biology Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
7 Bioinformatics and Computational Biosciences Branch, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
8 Research Technology Branch, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
9 Molecular Pathogenesis Program, Kimmel Center for Biology and Medicine, Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA.
10 Dermatology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
11 Benaroya Research Institute, Seattle, WA 98101, USA.
12 Department of Immunology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ybelkaid{at}

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