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Definition of Propionibacterium acnes

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Propionibacterium acnes: A ubiquitous skin-dwelling organism that is involved in causing acne.

The complete genome of this bacterium was sequenced and analyzed in 2004, providing insights into the bacterial antigens and tissue-damaging enzymes that may cause the inflammatory reactions underlying acne. The genome sequence also clearly revealed many proteins involved in the ability of P. acnes to colonize and reside in skin sites as well as its pronounced potential to survive in a spectrum of environments. This capacity helps to explain the ubiquity of P. acnes and also its potential hazards, for example, in contaminating units of blood in blood banks.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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