About this Research Topic
Animal microbiomes are formed by communities of microorganisms that display remarkable niche specificity. Virtually, all exposed surfaces and many deep organs (once thought to be sterile) are colonized by specific microbial consortia. When developed properly, microbiomes are known to play key roles in animal development and physiology; helping maintaining the normal functions of the host (i.e. eubiosis). On the other hand, infections are often accompanied by microbial imbalances (i.e. dysbiosis). While pathogens and microbiota co-exist, the interplay of them with host response remains enigmatic.
To date, the evolution of the animal intestine and microbiome is possibly the best described example of this interplay. For example, gut microbes not only metabolize plant tissues that ruminants cannot do by themselves but also protect them from pathogens and diseases. Microbiota transplantation has been used as a way of targeting microbiomes therapeutically against intractable diseases. Research is urged to depict the exact cellular and molecular mechanisms of this.
Recent advances in high-throughput, next generation sequencing and metabolomics have provided the tools to analyze microbial communities beyond the past census to defining community activities, especially in response to diet, host genetics, and other environmental factors. The tools are there to piece out how communities exclude, permit or control microbial pathogens or “put out the fire” of inflammation started by the pathogen and heal the breach in the mucosal layer. While the intrinsic complexity of microbiomes is a hurdle, research comprising the triad host-microbiota-pathogen is needed to understand the cause-effect relationships and mechanisms of disease; and what this emergent field needs most are studies that explain causation.
In this Research Topic, we would like to focus on the following questions:
• How can we define microbiome homeostasis: eubiosis versus dysbiosis?
• How do microbiomes and specific microbial consortia develop and evolve with the host?
• How do microbiomes exclude or allow the co-existence of pathogens? On the other hand, how do pathogens shape the host microbiota?
• How does a microbiome in eubiosis or dysbiosis change the pathogen behavior and host response?
• What are the mechanisms by which microbiomes affect the expression of microbial virulence and host response?
• How do microbial consortia promote or interfere with pathogen persistence, metabolism or growth?
• How can we exploit the knowledge above towards preventative or interventional therapies against infectious diseases?
Keywords: eubiosis, dysbiosis, pathogen and host
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