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Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.01678

Protective Microbiota: From Localized to Long-Reaching Co-Immunity

  • 1Health and Life Sciences, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), France

Resident microbiota do not just shape host immunity, they can also contribute to host protection against pathogens and infectious diseases. Previous reviews of the protective roles of the microbiota have focused exclusively on colonization resistance localized within a microenvironment. This review shows that the protection against pathogens also involves the mitigation of pathogenic impact without eliminating the pathogens (i.e., “disease tolerance”) and the containment of microorganisms to prevent pathogenic spread. Protective microorganisms can have an impact beyond their niche, interfering with the entry, establishment, growth, and spread of pathogenic microorganisms. More fundamentally, we propose a series of conceptual clarifications in support of the idea of a “co-immunity”, where an organism is protected by both its own immune system and components of its microbiota.

Keywords: Host-microbiota symbiosis, protective microbes, colonization resistance, microbial ecology, disease tolerance, pathogens, Containment, infectious diseases, co-immunity

Received: 13 Jul 2017; Accepted: 15 Nov 2017.

Edited by:

Mats Bemark, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Reviewed by:

Wim Van Den Broeck, Ghent University, Belgium
Siegfried Hapfelmeier, University of Bern, Switzerland  

Copyright: © 2017 Pradeu. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Thomas Pradeu, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Health and Life Sciences, 146 rue Léo Saignat, Paris, 33800, Bordeaux, France,