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      Microbial Dysbiosis: Rethinking Disease in Marine Ecosystems


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          With growing environmental pressures placed on our marine habitats there is concern that the prevalence and severity of diseases affecting marine organisms will increase. Yet relative to terrestrial systems, we know little about the underlying causes of many of these diseases. Moreover, factors such as saprophytic colonizers and a lack of baseline data on healthy individuals make it difficult to accurately assess the role of specific microbial pathogens in disease states. Emerging evidence in the field of medicine suggests that a growing number of human diseases result from a microbiome imbalance (or dysbiosis), questioning the traditional view of a singular pathogenic agent. Here we discuss the possibility that many diseases seen in marine systems are, similarly, the result of microbial dysbiosis and the rise of opportunistic or polymicrobial infections. Thus, understanding and managing disease in the future will require us to also rethink definitions of disease and pathogenesis for marine systems. We suggest that a targeted, multidisciplinary approach that addresses the questions of microbial symbiosis in both healthy and diseased states, and at that the level of the holobiont, will be key to progress in this area.

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          Most cited references72

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          A microbial symbiosis factor prevents intestinal inflammatory disease.

          Humans are colonized by multitudes of commensal organisms representing members of five of the six kingdoms of life; however, our gastrointestinal tract provides residence to both beneficial and potentially pathogenic microorganisms. Imbalances in the composition of the bacterial microbiota, known as dysbiosis, are postulated to be a major factor in human disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease. We report here that the prominent human symbiont Bacteroides fragilis protects animals from experimental colitis induced by Helicobacter hepaticus, a commensal bacterium with pathogenic potential. This beneficial activity requires a single microbial molecule (polysaccharide A, PSA). In animals harbouring B. fragilis not expressing PSA, H. hepaticus colonization leads to disease and pro-inflammatory cytokine production in colonic tissues. Purified PSA administered to animals is required to suppress pro-inflammatory interleukin-17 production by intestinal immune cells and also inhibits in vitro reactions in cell cultures. Furthermore, PSA protects from inflammatory disease through a functional requirement for interleukin-10-producing CD4+ T cells. These results show that molecules of the bacterial microbiota can mediate the critical balance between health and disease. Harnessing the immunomodulatory capacity of symbiosis factors such as PSA might potentially provide therapeutics for human inflammatory disorders on the basis of entirely novel biological principles.
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            Reciprocal gut microbiota transplants from zebrafish and mice to germ-free recipients reveal host habitat selection.

            The gut microbiotas of zebrafish and mice share six bacterial divisions, although the specific bacteria within these divisions differ. To test how factors specific to host gut habitat shape microbial community structure, we performed reciprocal transplantations of these microbiotas into germ-free zebrafish and mouse recipients. The results reveal that communities are assembled in predictable ways. The transplanted community resembles its community of origin in terms of the lineages present, but the relative abundance of the lineages changes to resemble the normal gut microbial community composition of the recipient host. Thus, differences in community structure between zebrafish and mice arise in part from distinct selective pressures imposed within the gut habitat of each host. Nonetheless, vertebrate responses to microbial colonization of the gut are ancient: Functional genomic studies disclosed shared host responses to their compositionally distinct microbial communities and distinct microbial species that elicit conserved responses.
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              Low gut microbiota diversity in early infancy precedes asthma at school age.

              Low total diversity of the gut microbiota during the first year of life is associated with allergic diseases in infancy, but little is known how early microbial diversity is related to allergic disease later in school age. To assess microbial diversity and characterize the dominant bacteria in stool during the first year of life in relation to the prevalence of different allergic diseases in school age, such as asthma, allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (ARC) and eczema. The microbial diversity and composition was analysed with barcoded 16S rDNA 454 pyrosequencing in stool samples at 1 week, 1 month and 12 months of age in 47 infants which were subsequently assessed for allergic disease and skin prick test reactivity at 7 years of age (ClinicalTrials.gov ID NCT01285830). Children developing asthma (n = 8) had a lower diversity of the total microbiota than non-asthmatic children at 1 week (P = 0.04) and 1 month (P = 0.003) of age, whereas allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (n = 13), eczema (n = 12) and positive skin prick reactivity (n = 14) at 7 years of age did not associate with the gut microbiota diversity. Neither was asthma associated with the microbiota composition later in infancy (at 12 months). Children having IgE-associated eczema in infancy and subsequently developing asthma had lower microbial diversity than those that did not. There were no significant differences, however, in relative abundance of bacterial phyla and genera between children with or without allergic disease. Low total diversity of the gut microbiota during the first month of life was associated with asthma but not ARC in children at 7 years of age. Measures affecting microbial colonization of the infant during the first month of life may impact asthma development in childhood. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

                Author and article information

                Front Microbiol
                Front Microbiol
                Front. Microbiol.
                Frontiers in Microbiology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                21 June 2016
                : 7
                : 991
                [1]Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW, Australia
                Author notes

                Edited by: Ute Hentschel, GEOMAR – Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research and University of Kiel, Germany

                Reviewed by: Gwenael Piganeau, Centre National pour la Recherche Scientifique, France; Julie Beth Olson, The University of Alabama, USA

                *Correspondence: Suhelen Egan, s.egan@ 123456unsw.edu.au

                This article was submitted to Microbial Symbioses, a section of the journal Frontiers in Microbiology

                Copyright © 2016 Egan and Gardiner.

                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.

                : 08 March 2016
                : 09 June 2016
                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 94, Pages: 8, Words: 0

                Microbiology & Virology
                dysbiosis,marine diseases,opportunistic pathogens,microbial interactions,microbiome,holobiont


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