Metabolic Stress Drives Keratinocyte Defenses against Staphylococcus aureus Infection

Wickersham, Matthew; Wachtel, Sarah; Wong Fok Lung, Tania; Soong, Grace; Jacquet, Rudy; Richardson, Anthony; Parker, Dane; Prince, Alice S.

Human skin is commonly colonized and infected by Staphylococcus aureus. Exactly how these organisms are sensed by keratinocytes has not been clearly delineated. Using a combination of metabolic and transcriptomic methodologies, we found that S. aureus infection is sensed as a metabolic stress by the hypoxic keratinocytes. This induces HIF1α signaling, which promotes IL-1β production and stimulates aerobic glycolysis to meet the metabolic requirements of infection. We demonstrate that staphylococci capable of glycolysis, including WT and agr mutants, readily induce HIF1α responses. In contrast, Δpyk glycolytic mutants fail to compete with keratinocytes for their metabolic needs. Suppression of glycolysis using 2-DG blocked keratinocyte production of IL-1β in vitro and significantly exacerbated the S. aureus cutaneous infection in a murine model. Our data suggest that S. aureus impose a metabolic stress on keratinocytes that initiates signaling necessary to promote both glycolysis and the proinflammatory response to infection.


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March 5, 2018