The Gut Microbiota


In this joint special section, Science and Science Translational Medicine join forces to explore how the myriad microbes that inhabit our guts influence our development, metabolism, immune system, and susceptibility to disease.


Is It Time for a Metagenomic Basis of Therapeutics?

The trillions of microbes associated with the human body are a key part of a comprehensive view of pharmacology.

Honor Thy Gut Symbionts Redux

Studying the gut microbiota has the potential to bring together many diverse fields and positively impact human health.
Science Translational Medicine

The Human Gut Microbiota and Undernutrition

Elucidating the relationships between breast milk and the developing infant gut microbiota and immune system will provide new insights into malnutrition.


The following paired reviews from Science and Science Translational Medicine discuss basic research advances in the ecology, metabolism, and microbial-host immune interactions of the gut microbiota and translation of this knowledge into new treatments to boost immune defense, combat disease, and improve nutrition.


The Application of Ecological Theory Toward an Understanding of the Human Microbiome

Ecological theory can be used to gain a better understanding of the diversity, interactions, and dynamics of human gut microbial communities.
Science Translational Medicine

Microbiota-Targeted Therapies: Taking Advantage of Ecology

Insights from ecology will help to drive the development of microbiota-targeted therapeutics.

Host-Gut Microbiota Metabolic Interactions

Direct chemical interactions between the gut microbiota and the host comprise a series of metabolic axes that connect the gut and liver with other organs.
Science Translational Medicine

Therapeutic Modulation of Microbiota-Host Metabolic Interactions

Abnormal microbial-host metabolic interactions underlying disease provide new targets for therapeutic intervention.

Interactions Between the Microbiota and the Immune System

Interactions between the immune system and the gut microbiota regulate intestinal homeostasis and immune system function.
Science Translational Medicine

Microbiota, Disease and Back Again to Health: A Metastable Journey

The gut microbiota affects many immune-related diseases; the next step is to harness this knowledge for therapeutics.

Taking Stock of the Human Microbiome and Disease

Programs that helped jump-start the microbiome field have yet to come up with the best way to follow up on their discoveries.

My Microbiome and Me

Zhao Liping combines traditional Chinese medicine and studies of gut microbes to understand and fight obesity.

Pigs as Stand-Ins for Microbiome Studies

The Chinese are testing piglets as a new model for human microbiome research.

See Also:


Tackling the Microbiome

Integrative "systems" approaches are needed to understand how microbes and microbial communities function and are interrelated.

Regulated Virulence Controls the Ability of a Pathogen to Compete with the Gut Microbiota

Virulence genes and nutritional requirements determine the course of a gastroenteric bacterial infection in mice.
Related Perspective

Virulence or Competition

Commensal bacteria are necessary to clear pathogenic bacteria from the mammalian intestine during infection.

Innate Lymphoid Cells Promote Anatomical Containment of Lymphoid-Resident Commensal Bacteria

Innate-like lymphocytes are important for the anatomical containment of commensal bacteria and prevent systemic inflammation.

Interactions Between Commensal Fungi and the C-type Lectin Receptor Dectin-1 Influence Colitis

Mammals contain resident fungal intestinal populations that influence disease susceptibility in the gut.

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