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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2011 Feb;14(1):92-8. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2010.12.012. Epub 2011 Jan 5.

Enteric pathogen exploitation of the microbiota-generated nutrient environment of the gut.

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Michael Smith Laboratories, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada.


Residing within the intestine is a large community of commensal organisms collectively termed the microbiota. This community generates a complex nutrient environment by breaking down indigestible food products into metabolites that are used by both the host and the microbiota. Both the invading intestinal pathogen and the microbiota compete for these metabolites, which can shape both the composition of the flora, as well as susceptibility to infection. After infection is established, pathogen mediated inflammation alters the composition of the microbiota, which further shifts the makeup of metabolites in the gastrointestinal tract. A greater understanding of the interplay between the microbiota, the metabolites they generate, and susceptibility to enteric disease will enable the discovery of novel therapies against infectious disease.

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