The Habitat Filters of Microbiota-Nourishing Immunity

Brittany M. Miller, Andreas J. Baumler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


An imbalance in the microbiota may contribute to many human illnesses, which has prompted efforts to rebalance it by targeting the microbes themselves. However, by supplying the habitat, the host wields a prominent influence over microbial growth at body surfaces, raising the possibility that rebalancing the microbiota by targeting our immune system would be a viable alternative. Host control mechanisms that sculpt the microbial habitat form a functional unit with the microbiota, termed microbiota-nourishing immunity, that confers colonization resistance against pathogens. The host components of microbiota-nourishing immunity can be viewed as habitat filters that select for microbial traits licensing growth and survival in host habitat patches. Here we review current knowledge of how host-derived habitat filters shape the size, species composition, and spatial heterogeneity of the microbiota and discuss whether these host control mechanisms could be harnessed for developing approaches to rebalance microbial communities during dysbiosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalAnnual Review of Immunology
StatePublished - Apr 26 2021


  • antimicrobial peptides
  • dysbiosis
  • immunometabolism
  • microbiota

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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