Lipid moieties on lipoproteins of commensal and non-commensal staphylococci induce differential immune responses

Nat Commun. 2017 Dec 21;8(1):2246. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-02234-4.


Lipoproteins (Lpp) of Gram-positive bacteria are major players in alerting our immune system. Here, we show that the TLR2 response induced by commensal species Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis is almost ten times lower than that induced by noncommensal Staphylococcus carnosus, and this is at least partially due to their different modifications of the Lpp lipid moieties. The N terminus of the lipid moiety is acylated with a long-chain fatty acid (C17) in S. aureus and S. epidermidis, while it is acylated with a short-chain fatty acid (C2) in S. carnosus. The long-chain N-acylated Lpp, recognized by TLR2-TLR1 receptors, silences innate and adaptive immune responses, while the short-chain N-acetylated Lpp, recognized by TLR2-TLR6 receptors, boosts it.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / immunology*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / physiology*
  • Lipids / chemistry*
  • Lipoproteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Staphylococcus aureus / physiology*
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / physiology*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Toll-Like Receptors / genetics
  • Toll-Like Receptors / immunology
  • Toll-Like Receptors / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Fatty Acids
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha