Innate and adaptive immunity cooperate flexibly to maintain host-microbiota mutualism.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Commensal bacteria in the lower intestine of mammals are 10 times as numerous as the body's cells. We investigated the relative importance of different immune mechanisms in limiting the spread of the intestinal microbiota. Here, we reveal a flexible continuum between innate and adaptive immune function in containing commensal microbes. Mice deficient in critical innate immune functions such as Toll-like receptor signaling or oxidative burst production spontaneously produce high-titer serum antibodies against their commensal microbiota. These antibody responses are functionally essential to maintain host-commensal mutualism in vivo in the face of innate immune deficiency. Spontaneous hyper-activation of adaptive immunity against the intestinal microbiota, secondary to innate immune deficiency, may clarify the underlying mechanisms of inflammatory diseases where immune dysfunction is implicated.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Slack, E; Hapfelmeier, S; Stecher, B; Velykoredko, Y; Stoel, M; Lawson, MAE; Geuking, MB; Beutler, B; Tedder, TF; Hardt, W-D; Bercik, P; Verdu, EF; McCoy, KD; Macpherson, AJ

Published Date

  • July 31, 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 325 / 5940

Start / End Page

  • 617 - 620

PubMed ID

  • 19644121

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3730530

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-9203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1126/science.1172747


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States