Gastrointestinal host-pathogen interaction in the age of microbiome research

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The microbiota is linked to human health by governing susceptibility to infection. However, the interplay between enteric pathogens, the host, and its microbiota is complex, encompassing host cell manipulation by virulence factors, immune responses, and a diverse gut ecosystem. The host represents a foundation species that uses its immune system as a habitat filter to shape the gut microbiota. In turn, the gut microbiota protects against ecosystem invasion by opportunistic pathogens through priority effects that are based on niche modification or niche preemption. Frank pathogens can overcome these priority effects by using their virulence factors to manipulate host-derived habitat filters, thereby constructing new nutrient-niches in the intestinal lumen that support ecosystem invasion. The emerging picture identifies pathogens as ecosystem engineers and suggests that virulence factors are useful tools for identifying host-derived habitat filters that balance the microbiota.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-89
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Opinion in Microbiology
StatePublished - Feb 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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