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Nature. 2016 Jul 7;535(7610):85-93. doi: 10.1038/nature18849.

Interactions between the microbiota and pathogenic bacteria in the gut.

Author information

Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Davis, California 95616, USA.
Department of Microbiology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390-9048, USA.
Department of Biochemistry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390-9038, USA.


The microbiome has an important role in human health. Changes in the microbiota can confer resistance to or promote infection by pathogenic bacteria. Antibiotics have a profound impact on the microbiota that alters the nutritional landscape of the gut and can lead to the expansion of pathogenic populations. Pathogenic bacteria exploit microbiota-derived sources of carbon and nitrogen as nutrients and regulatory signals to promote their own growth and virulence. By eliciting inflammation, these bacteria alter the intestinal environment and use unique systems for respiration and metal acquisition to drive their expansion. Unravelling the interactions between the microbiota, the host and pathogenic bacteria will produce strategies for manipulating the microbiota against infectious diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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