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The antibacterial lectin RegIIIgamma promotes the spatial segregation of microbiota and host in the intestine.

Science (New York, N.Y.) | Oct 14, 2011

The mammalian intestine is home to ~100 trillion bacteria that perform important metabolic functions for their hosts. The proximity of vast numbers of bacteria to host intestinal tissues raises the question of how symbiotic host-bacterial relationships are maintained without eliciting potentially harmful immune responses. Here, we show that RegIIIγ, a secreted antibacterial lectin, is essential for maintaining a ~50-micrometer zone that physically separates the microbiota from the small intestinal epithelial surface. Loss of host-bacterial segregation in RegIIIγ(-/-) mice was coupled to increased bacterial colonization of the intestinal epithelial surface and enhanced activation of intestinal adaptive immune responses by the microbiota. Together, our findings reveal that RegIIIγ is a fundamental immune mechanism that promotes host-bacterial mutualism by regulating the spatial relationships between microbiota and host.

Pubmed ID: 21998396 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Adaptive Immunity | Animals | Anti-Bacterial Agents | Bacterial Load | Gram-Negative Bacteria | Gram-Positive Bacteria | Homeostasis | Immunoglobulin A | Intestinal Mucosa | Intestine, Small | Lectins, C-Type | Metagenome | Mice | Mice, Inbred C57BL | Mice, Transgenic | Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88 | Proteins | Symbiosis | T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer

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Associated grants

  • Agency: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Id: HHMI_HOOPER_L
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: R01 DK070855
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: R01 DK070855-06

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