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      Microbes Drive Evolution of Animals and Plants: the Hologenome Concept

      review-article

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      mBio

      American Society for Microbiology

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          ABSTRACT

          The hologenome concept of evolution postulates that the holobiont (host plus symbionts) with its hologenome (host genome plus microbiome) is a level of selection in evolution. Multicellular organisms can no longer be considered individuals by the classical definitions of the term. Every natural animal and plant is a holobiont consisting of the host and diverse symbiotic microbes and viruses. Microbial symbionts can be transmitted from parent to offspring by a variety of methods, including via cytoplasmic inheritance, coprophagy, direct contact during and after birth, and the environment. A large number of studies have demonstrated that these symbionts contribute to the anatomy, physiology, development, innate and adaptive immunity, and behavior and finally also to genetic variation and to the origin and evolution of species. Acquisition of microbes and microbial genes is a powerful mechanism for driving the evolution of complexity. Evolution proceeds both via cooperation and competition, working in parallel.

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          Most cited references 59

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          Has the microbiota played a critical role in the evolution of the adaptive immune system?

           Y Lee,  S. Mazmanian (2010)
          Although microbes have been classically viewed as pathogens, it is now well established that the majority of host-bacterial interactions are symbiotic. During development and into adulthood, gut bacteria shape the tissues, cells, and molecular profile of our gastrointestinal immune system. This partnership, forged over many millennia of coevolution, is based on a molecular exchange involving bacterial signals that are recognized by host receptors to mediate beneficial outcomes for both microbes and humans. We explore how specific aspects of the adaptive immune system are influenced by intestinal commensal bacteria. Understanding the molecular mechanisms that mediate symbiosis between commensal bacteria and humans may redefine how we view the evolution of adaptive immunity and consequently how we approach the treatment of numerous immunologic disorders.
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            Developmental regulation of intestinal angiogenesis by indigenous microbes via Paneth cells.

            The adult mouse intestine contains an intricate vascular network. The factors that control development of this network are poorly understood. Quantitative three-dimensional imaging studies revealed that a plexus of branched interconnected vessels developed in small intestinal villi during the period of postnatal development that coincides with assembly of a complex society of indigenous gut microorganisms (microbiota). To investigate the impact of this environmental transition on vascular development, we compared the capillary networks of germ-free mice with those of ex-germ-free animals colonized during or after completion of postnatal gut development. Adult germ-free mice had arrested capillary network formation. The developmental program can be restarted and completed within 10 days after colonization with a complete microbiota harvested from conventionally raised mice, or with Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, a prominent inhabitant of the normal mouse/human gut. Paneth cells in the intestinal epithelium secrete antibacterial peptides that affect luminal microbial ecology. Comparisons of germ-free and B. thetaiotaomicron-colonized transgenic mice lacking Paneth cells established that microbial regulation of angiogenesis depends on this lineage. These findings reveal a previously unappreciated mechanism of postnatal animal development, where microbes colonizing a mucosal surface are assigned responsibility for regulating elaboration of the underlying microvasculature by signaling through a bacteria-sensing epithelial cell.
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              What are the consequences of the disappearing human microbiota?

              Humans and our ancestors have evolved since the most ancient times with a commensal microbiota. The conservation of indicator species in a niche-specific manner across all of the studied human population groups suggests that the microbiota confer conserved benefits on humans. Nevertheless, certain of these organisms have pathogenic properties and, through medical practices and lifestyle changes, their prevalence in human populations is changing, often to an extreme degree. In this Essay, we propose that the disappearance of these ancestral indigenous organisms, which are intimately involved in human physiology, is not entirely beneficial and has consequences that might include post-modern conditions such as obesity and asthma.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                mBio
                MBio
                mbio
                mbio
                mBio
                mBio
                American Society for Microbiology (1752 N St., N.W., Washington, DC )
                2150-7511
                31 March 2016
                Mar-Apr 2016
                : 7
                : 2
                Affiliations
                Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Tel Aviv University, Israel
                Author notes
                Address correspondence to Eugene Rosenberg, eros@ 123456post.tau.ac.il .

                Editor R. John Collier, Harvard Medical School

                Article
                mBio01395-15
                10.1128/mBio.01395-15
                4817260
                27034283
                Copyright © 2016 Rosenberg and Zilber-Rosenberg.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license, which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 106, Pages: 8, Words: 7424
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                Minireview
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                March/April 2016

                Life sciences

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