Platelet activation and aggregation by the opportunistic pathogen Cutibacterium (Propionibacterium) acnes

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Cutibacterium (Propionibacterium) acnes, considered a part of the skin microbiota, is one of the most commonly isolated anaerobic bacteria from medical implants in contact with plasma. However, the precise interaction of C. acnes with blood cells and plasma proteins has not been fully elucidated. Herein, we have investigated the molecular interaction of C. acnes with platelets and plasma proteins. We report that the ability of C. acnes to aggregate platelets is dependent on phylotype, with a significantly lower ability amongst type IB isolates, and the interaction of specific donor-dependent plasma proteins (or concentrations thereof) with C. acnes. Pretreatment of C. acnes with plasma reduces the lag time before aggregation demonstrating that pre-deposition of plasma proteins on C. acnes is an important step in platelet aggregation. Using mass spectrometry we identified several plasma proteins deposited on C. acnes, including IgG, fibrinogen and complement factors. Inhibition of IgG, fibrinogen or complement decreased C. acnes-mediated platelet aggregation, demonstrating the importance of these plasma proteins for aggregation. The interaction of C. acnes and platelets was visualized using fluorescence microscopy, verifying the presence of IgG and fibrinogen as components of the aggregates, and co-localization of C. acnes and platelets in the aggregates. Here, we have demonstrated the ability of C. acnes to activate and aggregate platelets in a bacterium and donor-specific fashion, as well as added mechanistic insights into this interaction.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Infectious Medicine
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0192051
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1
Publication categoryResearch