Immune-directed support of rich microbial communities in the gut has ancient roots.


Journal Article (Review)

The animal gut serves as a primary location for the complex host-microbe interplay that is essential for homeostasis and may also reflect the types of ancient selective pressures that spawned the emergence of immunity in metazoans. In this review, we present a phylogenetic survey of gut host-microbe interactions and suggest that host defense systems arose not only to protect tissue directly from pathogenic attack but also to actively support growth of specific communities of mutualists. This functional dichotomy resulted in the evolution of immune systems much more tuned for harmonious existence with microbes than previously thought, existing as dynamic but primarily cooperative entities in the present day. We further present the protochordate Ciona intestinalis as a promising model for studying gut host-bacterial dialogue. The taxonomic position, gut physiology and experimental tractability of Ciona offer unique advantages in dissecting host-microbe interplay and can complement studies in other model systems.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Dishaw, LJ; Cannon, JP; Litman, GW; Parker, W

Published Date

  • November 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 47 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 36 - 51

PubMed ID

  • 24984114

Pubmed Central ID

  • 24984114

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-0089

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.dci.2014.06.011


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States