Staphylococcus aureus and the ecology of the nasal microbiome

Cindy M. Liu, Lance B. Price, Bruce A. Hungate, Alison G. Abraham, Lisbeth A. Larsen, Kaare Christensen, Marc Stegger, Robert Skov, Paal Skytt Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


The human microbiome can play a key role in host susceptibility to pathogens, including in the nasal cavity, a site favored by Staphylococcus aureus. However, what determines our resident nasal microbiota-the host or the environment-and can interactions among nasal bacteria determine S. aureus colonization? Our study of 46 monozygotic and 43 dizygotic twin pairs revealed that nasal microbiota is an environmentally derived trait, but the host's sex and genetics significantly influence nasal bacterial density. Although specific taxa, including lactic acid bacteria, can determine S. aureus colonization, their negative interactions depend on thresholds of absolute abundance. These findings demonstrate that nasal microbiota is not fixed by host genetics and opens the possibility that nasal microbiota may be manipulated to prevent or eliminate S. aureus colonization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1400216
JournalScience Advances
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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