The paper describes the implementation of an approach to study the chemical makeup of human skin surface and correlate it to the microbes that live in the skin. We provide the translation of molecular information in high-spatial resolution 3D to understand the body distribution of skin molecules and bacteria. In addition, we use integrative analysis to interpret, at a molecular level, the large scale of data obtained from human skin samples. Correlations between molecules and microbes can be obtained to further gain insights into the chemical milieu in which these different microbial communities live.
The human skin is an organ with a surface area of 1.5–2 m2 that provides our interface with the environment. The molecular composition of this organ is derived from host cells, microbiota, and external molecules. The chemical makeup of the skin surface is largely undefined. Here we advance the technologies needed to explore the topographical distribution of skin molecules, using 3D mapping of mass spectrometry data and microbial 16S rRNA amplicon sequences. Our 3D maps reveal that the molecular composition of skin has diverse distributions and that the composition is defined not only by skin cells and microbes but also by our daily routines, including the application of hygiene products. The technological development of these maps lays a foundation for studying the spatial relationships of human skin with hygiene, the microbiota, and environment, with potential for developing predictive models of skin phenotypes tailored to individual health.
Sources and more information
- Scientists Map The Chemical Residues On Skin, news.health, April 2, 2015.
- 3D Human Skin Maps Aid Study of Relationships Between Molecules, Microbes and Environment, UC San Diego, March 30, 2015.
- Molecular cartography of the human skin surface in 3D, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 6, 2015.