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Know your neighbor: Microbiota and host epithelial cells interact locally to control intestinal function and physiology

Journal article
Authors Felix Sommer
Fredrik Bäckhed
Published in Bioessays
Volume 38
Issue 5
Pages 455-464
ISSN 0265-9247
Publication year 2016
Published at Wallenberg Laboratory
Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Pages 455-464
Language en
Keywords host-microbe interactions, intestine, microbiota, physiology, site-specific, segmented filamentous bacteria, inflammatory-bowel-disease, protein-coupled receptor, gut microbiota, immune-system, fusobacterium-nucleatum, in-vitro, spatial-organization, colorectal-cancer, germ-free, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Subject categories Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Interactions between the host and its associated microbiota differ spatially and the local cross talk determines organ function and physiology. Animals and their organs are not uniform but contain several functional and cellular compartments and gradients. In the intestinal tract, different parts of the gut carry out different functions, tissue structure varies accordingly, epithelial cells are differentially distributed and gradients exist for several physicochemical parameters such as nutrients, pH, or oxygen. Consequently, the microbiota composition also differs along the length of the gut, but also between lumen and mucosa of the same intestinal segment, and even along the crypt-villus axis in the epithelium. Thus, host-microbiota interactions are highly site-specific and the local cross talk determines intestinal function and physiology. Here we review recent advances in our understanding of site-specific host-microbiota interactions and discuss their functional relevance for host physiology. RAMS GD, 1963, LABORATORY INVESTIGATION, V12, P355

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