Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2014 Sep 19;9(9):e107908.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107908. eCollection 2014.

Proteome Analysis of Human Sebaceous Follicle Infundibula Extracted From Healthy and Acne-Affected Skin

Free PMC article

Proteome Analysis of Human Sebaceous Follicle Infundibula Extracted From Healthy and Acne-Affected Skin

Malene Bek-Thomsen et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article


Acne vulgaris is a very common disease of the pilosebaceous unit of the human skin. The pathological processes of acne are not fully understood. To gain further insight sebaceous follicular casts were extracted from 18 healthy and 20 acne-affected individuals by cyanoacrylate-gel biopsies and further processed for mass spectrometry analysis, aiming at a proteomic analysis of the sebaceous follicular casts. Human as well as bacterial proteins were identified. Human proteins enriched in acne and normal samples were detected, respectively. Normal follicular casts are enriched in proteins such as prohibitins and peroxiredoxins which are involved in the protection from various stresses, including reactive oxygen species. By contrast, follicular casts extracted from acne-affected skin contained proteins involved in inflammation, wound healing and tissue remodeling. Among the most distinguishing proteins were myeloperoxidase, lactotransferrin, neutrophil elastase inhibitor and surprisingly, vimentin. The most significant biological process among all acne-enriched proteins was 'response to a bacterium'. Identified bacterial proteins were exclusively from Propionibacterium acnes. The most abundant P. acnes proteins were surface-exposed dermatan sulphate adhesins, CAMP factors, and a so far uncharacterized lipase in follicular casts extracted from normal as well as acne-affected skin. This is a first proteomic study that identified human proteins together with proteins of the skin microbiota in sebaceous follicular casts.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: Co-author Holger Brüggemann is a PLOS ONE Editorial Board member. This does not alter the authors’ adherence to PLOS ONE Editorial policies and criteria.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Experimental pipeline of processing extracted human follicular cast material for mass spectrometry analysis.
Figure 2
Figure 2. Interaction analysis of human proteins enriched in follicular casts extracted from acne-affected skin sites.
The human proteins that are enriched in acne-affected samples (acne-A1) compared to unaffected nasal follicular casts (nose-A1) were analyzed for known protein-protein interactions with the STRING program. The analysis highlighted a cluster of proteins involved in inflammation and host response to a bacterial impact (in yellow) and a cluster of actin-related functions involved in tissue remodeling and repair (in red). A small cluster (in blue) comprises mainly proteins of the 14-3-3 protein family which mediates signal transduction. The complete list of enriched proteins can be found in Tables S2C; a selection is listed in Table 2.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 14 articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Grice EA, Segre JA (2011) The skin microbiome. Nat Rev Microbiol 9: 244–253. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Bek-Thomsen M, Lomholt HB, Kilian M (2008) Acne is not associated with yet-uncultured bacteria. J Clin Microbiol 46: 3355–3360. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Christensen GJ, Brüggemann H (2014) Bacterial skin commensals and their role as host guardians. Benef Microbes 5: 201–215. - PubMed
    1. Shu M, Wang Y, Yu J, Kuo S, Coda A, et al. (2013) Fermentation of Propionibacterium acnes, a commensal bacterium in the human skin microbiome, as skin probiotics against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus . PLoS One 8: e55380. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Williams HC, Dellavalle RP, Garner S (2012) Acne vulgaris. Lancet 379: 361–372. - PubMed

Publication types

Grant support

This work was supported by the Danish Medical Research council (DFF–1331-00241) to HB ( The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

LinkOut - more resources