A novel enzyme with antioxidant capacity produced by the ubiquitous skin colonizer Propionibacterium acnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The role of the skin microbiota in human health is poorly understood. Here, we identified and characterized a novel antioxidant enzyme produced by the skin microbiota, designated RoxP for radical oxygenase of Propionibacterium acnes. RoxP is uniquely produced by the predominant skin bacterium P. acnes, with no homologs in other bacteria; it is highly expressed and strongly secreted into culture supernatants. We show that RoxP binds heme, reduces free radicals, and can protect molecules from oxidation. Strikingly, RoxP is crucial for the survival of P. acnes in oxic conditions and for skin colonization of P. acnes ex vivo. Taken together, our study strongly suggests that RoxP facilitates P. acnes' survival on human skin, and is an important beneficial factor for the host-commensal interaction. Thus, RoxP is the first described skin microbiota-derived mutualistic factor that potentially can be exploited for human skin protection.


External organisations
  • Aarhus University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Microbiology in the medical area
Original languageEnglish
Article number36412
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 2
Publication categoryResearch

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