Commensal bacteria at the interface of host metabolism and the immune system

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Abstract

The mammalian gastrointestinal tract, the site of digestion and nutrient absorption, harbors trillions of beneficial commensal microbes from all three domains of life. Commensal bacteria, in particular, are key participants in the digestion of food, and are responsible for the extraction and synthesis of nutrients and other metabolites that are essential for the maintenance of mammalian health. Many of these nutrients and metabolites derived from commensal bacteria have been implicated in the development, homeostasis and function of the immune system, suggesting that commensal bacteria may influence host immunity via nutrient- and metabolite-dependent mechanisms. Here we review the current knowledge of how commensal bacteria regulate the production and bioavailability of immunomodulatory, diet-dependent nutrients and metabolites and discuss how these commensal bacteria-derived products may regulate the development and function of the mammalian immune system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)676-684
Number of pages9
JournalNature immunology
Volume14
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2013

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