Although there is great interest in the specific mechanisms of how gut microbiota modulate the biological processes of the human host, the extent of host-microbe interactions and the bacteria-specific metabolic activities for survival in the co-evolved gastrointestinal environment remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate a comprehensive comparison of the host epithelial response induced by either a pathogenic or commensal strain of Escherichia coli using a multi-omics approach. We show that Caco-2 cells incubated with E. coli display an activation of defense response genes associated with oxidative stress. Indeed, in the bacteria co-culture system, the host cells experience an altered environment compared with the germ-free system that includes reduced pH, depletion of major energy substrates, and accumulation of fermentation by-products. Measurement of intracellular Caco-2 cell metabolites revealed a significantly increased lactate concentration, as well as changes in TCA cycle intermediates. Our results will lead to a deeper understanding of acute microbial-host interactions.
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