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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 918320, 11 pages
Research Article

Analysis of Complete Genomes of Propionibacterium acnes Reveals a Novel Plasmid and Increased Pseudogenes in an Acne Associated Strain

1Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
2UCLA-DOE Institute for Genomics and Proteomics, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA

Received 6 February 2013; Accepted 9 April 2013

Academic Editor: Andrew McDowell

Copyright © 2013 Gabriela Kasimatis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The human skin harbors a diverse community of bacteria, including the Gram-positive, anaerobic bacterium Propionibacterium acnes. P. acnes has historically been linked to the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris, a common skin disease affecting over 80% of all adolescents in the US. To gain insight into potential P. acnes pathogenic mechanisms, we previously sequenced the complete genome of a P. acnes strain HL096PA1 that is highly associated with acne. In this study, we compared its genome to the first published complete genome KPA171202. HL096PA1 harbors a linear plasmid, pIMPLE-HL096PA1. This is the first described P. acnes plasmid. We also observed a five-fold increase of pseudogenes in HL096PA1, several of which encode proteins in carbohydrate transport and metabolism. In addition, our analysis revealed a few island-like genomic regions that are unique to HL096PA1 and a large genomic inversion spanning the ribosomal operons. Together, these findings offer a basis for understanding P. acnes virulent properties, host adaptation mechanisms, and its potential role in acne pathogenesis at the strain level. Furthermore, the plasmid identified in HL096PA1 may potentially provide a new opportunity for P. acnes genetic manipulation and targeted therapy against specific disease-associated strains.