Many infections start with microbial invasion of mucosal surfaces, which are typically colonized by a community of resident microbes. A growing body of literature demonstrates that the resident microbiota plays a significant role in host susceptibility to pathogens. Recent work has largely focused on the considerable effect that the intestinal microbiota can have upon bacterial pathogenesis. These studies reveal many significant gaps in our knowledge about the mechanisms by which the resident community impacts pathogen invasion and the nature of the ensuing host immune response. It is likely that as viral pathogens become the focus of studies that examine microbiota–host interaction, substantial effects of resident communities exerted via diverse mechanisms will be elucidated. Here we provide a perspective of the exciting emerging field that examines how the intestinal microbiota influences host susceptibility to viruses.
Keywords: intestinal microbiota, virus, pathogen, mucosal immune system, infection
Citation: Pfeiffer JK and Sonnenburg JL (2011) The intestinal microbiota and viral susceptibility. Front. Microbio. 2:92. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2011.00092
Received: 22 January 2011;
Paper pending published: 12 February 2011;
Accepted: 14 April 2011; Published online: 27 April 2011
Edited by:Peter J. Turnbaugh, Harvard University, USA
Reviewed by:Alain Stintzi, Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology, Canada
Copyright: © 2011 Pfeiffer and Sonnenburg. This is an open-access article subject to a non-exclusive license between the authors and Frontiers Media SA, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and other Frontiers conditions are complied with.
*Correspondence: Julie K. Pfeiffer, Department of Microbiology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75390-9048, USA. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Justin L. Sonnenburg, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, 299 Campus Drive, Stanford, CA 94305-5124, USA. e-mail: email@example.com