The cross talk between microbiota and the immune system: metabolites take center stage
The human meta-organism consists of more than 90% of microbial cells. The gastrointestinal tract harbors trillions of commensal microorganisms that influence the development and homeostasis of the host. Alterations in composition and function of the microbiota, termed dysbiosis, have been implicated in a multitude of metabolic and inflammatory diseases in humans. Thus, understanding the molecular underpinnings the cross talk between commensal bacteria and their host during homeostasis and dysbiosis may hold the key to understanding many idiopathic diseases. While most attention has focused on the innate recognition of immune-stimulatory bacterial molecules, such as cell wall components and nucleic acids, we emphasize here the impact of diet-dependent microbial metabolites on the development and function of the immune system.
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