The intestinal microbiota and viral susceptibility

Julie K. Pfeiffer, Justin L. Sonnenburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberAPR
StatePublished - 2011


  • Infection
  • Intestinal microbiota
  • Mucosal immune system
  • Pathogen
  • Virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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