Much of the recent attention paid to the trillions of bacteria that colonize our bodies has been given to the bacteria that reside in the gut. Naik et al. now report that colonization of the skin with commensal bacteria is important for tuning effector T cell responses in the skin and for protective immunity against cutaneous infection with the parasite Leishmania major in mice. In contrast, selective depletion of the gut microbiota, which plays an important role in modulating immune responses in the gut, had no impact on T cell responses in the skin.
S. Naik, N. Bouladoux, C. Wilhelm, M. J. Molloy, R. Salcedo, W. Kastenmuller, C. Deming, M. Quinones, L. Koo, S. Conlan, S. Spencer, J. A. Hall, A. Dzutsev, H. Kong, D. J. Campbell, G. Trinchieri, J. A. Segre, Y. Belkaid, Compartmentalized control of skin immunity by resident commensals. Science 337, 1115–1119 (2012). [Abstract] [Full Text]