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Interspecies commensal interactions have nonlinear impacts on host immunity

Rice, TA;Bielecka, AA;Nguyen, MT;Rosen, CE;Song, D;Sonnert, ND;Yang, Y;Cao, Y;Khetrapal, V;Catanzaro, JR;Martin, AL;Rashed, SA;Leopold, SR;Hao, L;Yu, X;van Dijk, D;Ring, AM;Flavell, RA;de Zoete, MR;Palm, NW;

The impacts of individual commensal microbes on immunity and disease can differ dramatically depending on the surrounding microbial context; however, the specific bacterial combinations that dictate divergent immunological outcomes remain largely undefined. Here, we characterize an immunostimulatory Allobaculum species from an inflammatory bowel disease patient that exacerbates colitis in gnotobiotic mice. Allobaculum inversely associates with the taxonomically divergent immunostimulatory species Akkermansia muciniphila in human-microbiota-associated mice and human cohorts. Co-colonization with A. muciniphila ameliorates Allobaculum-induced intestinal epithelial cell activation and colitis in mice, whereas Allobaculum blunts the A.muciniphila-specific systemic antibody response and reprograms the immunological milieu in mesenteric lymph nodes by blocking A.muciniphila-induced dendritic cell activation and T cell expansion. These studies thus identify a pairwise reciprocal interaction between human gut bacteria that dictates divergent immunological outcomes. Furthermore, they establish a generalizable framework to define the contextual cues contributing to the “incomplete penetrance” of microbial impacts on human disease.