Analysis of complete genomes of Propionibacterium acnes reveals a novel plasmid and increased pseudogenes in an acne associated strain

Biomed Res Int. 2013:2013:918320. doi: 10.1155/2013/918320. Epub 2013 May 13.


The human skin harbors a diverse community of bacteria, including the Gram-positive, anaerobic bacterium Propionibacterium acnes. P. acnes has historically been linked to the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris, a common skin disease affecting over 80% of all adolescents in the US. To gain insight into potential P. acnes pathogenic mechanisms, we previously sequenced the complete genome of a P. acnes strain HL096PA1 that is highly associated with acne. In this study, we compared its genome to the first published complete genome KPA171202. HL096PA1 harbors a linear plasmid, pIMPLE-HL096PA1. This is the first described P. acnes plasmid. We also observed a five-fold increase of pseudogenes in HL096PA1, several of which encode proteins in carbohydrate transport and metabolism. In addition, our analysis revealed a few island-like genomic regions that are unique to HL096PA1 and a large genomic inversion spanning the ribosomal operons. Together, these findings offer a basis for understanding P. acnes virulent properties, host adaptation mechanisms, and its potential role in acne pathogenesis at the strain level. Furthermore, the plasmid identified in HL096PA1 may potentially provide a new opportunity for P. acnes genetic manipulation and targeted therapy against specific disease-associated strains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / microbiology*
  • Chromosome Inversion
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial / genetics
  • DNA, Circular / genetics
  • Genes, Bacterial / genetics
  • Genetic Loci / genetics
  • Genome, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Genomic Islands / genetics
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmids / genetics*
  • Propionibacterium acnes / genetics*
  • Pseudogenes / genetics*
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • DNA, Circular

Associated data

  • GENBANK/CP003293
  • GENBANK/CP003294