Science Webinar Series

A systems approach to the modern microbiome world: Investigating host-microbiota symbiosis

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Science  19 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6203, pp. 1522
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6203.1522-c

Summary

Microorganisms living in or on the body of a healthy human adult outnumber human cells by 10 to one. A large number of the 100 trillion microbes that compose the majority of life on Earth have coevolved a close relationship with the mammalian immune system. Therefore, by solely limiting research to either the host or bacteria, only half of the information required in microbiome studies is being seen. The symbiotic relationship of the host and resident microbiota must remain in delicate harmony to maintain a healthy body. Disruption of the microbial community can lead to an imbalance in homeostasis of the immune cells including Th17, T regulatory, and innate lymphoid cells, which can influence susceptibility of the host to a variety of health disorders including rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, and ulcerative colitis, among others. As the number of microbiome studies grow, it is becoming increasingly clear that the host and microbiota do not operate alone. To understand the complete story, the interaction between the host and bacterial systems needs to be considered through a more holistic, systematic approach. This webinar will discuss just such an approach, examining the problem from the perspective of both the host and microbiome.