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Parasite-Microbiota Interactions With the Vertebrate Gut: Synthesis Through an Ecological Lens

Author(s): Leung, Jacqueline M.; Graham, Andrea L.; Knowles, Sarah C.L.

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Abstract: The vertebrate gut teems with a large, diverse, and dynamic bacterial community that has pervasive effects on gut physiology, metabolism, and immunity. Under natural conditions, these microbes share their habitat with a similarly dynamic community of eukaryotes (helminths, protozoa, and fungi), many of which are well-known parasites. Both parasites and the prokaryotic microbiota can dramatically alter the physical and immune landscape of the gut, creating ample opportunities for them to interact. Such interactions may critically alter infection outcomes and affect overall host health and disease. For instance, parasite infection can change how a host interacts with its bacterial flora, either driving or protecting against dysbiosis and inflammatory disease. Conversely, the microbiota can alter a parasite’s colonization success, replication, and virulence, shifting it along the parasitism-mutualism spectrum. The mechanisms and consequences of these interactions are just starting to be elucidated in an emergent transdisciplinary area at the boundary of microbiology and parasitology. However, heterogeneity in experimental designs, host and parasite species, and a largely phenomenological and taxonomic approach to synthesizing the literature have meant that common themes across studies remain elusive. Here, we use an ecological perspective to review the literature on interactions between the prokaryotic microbiota and eukaryotic parasites in the vertebrate gut. Using knowledge about parasite biology and ecology, we discuss mechanisms by which they may interact with gut microbes, the consequences of such interactions for host health, and how understanding parasite-microbiota interactions may lead to novel approaches in disease control.
Publication Date: 14-May-2018
Electronic Publication Date: 14-May-2018
Citation: Leung, Jacqueline M., Graham, Andrea L., Knowles, Sarah C.L. (2018). Parasite-Microbiota Interactions With the Vertebrate Gut: Synthesis Through an Ecological Lens. Frontiers in Microbiology, 9:843. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2018.00843
DOI: doi:10.3389/fmicb.2018.00843
EISSN: 1664-302X
Pages: 1 - 20
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Frontiers in Microbiology
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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