Homeostatic Immunity and the Microbiota

Image credit: [Immunity]


The microbiota plays a fundamental role in the induction, education, and function of the host immune system. In return, the host immune system has evolved multiple means by which to maintain its symbiotic relationship with the microbiota. The maintenance of this dialogue allows the induction of protective responses to pathogens and the utilization of regulatory pathways involved in the sustained tolerance to innocuous antigens. The ability of microbes to set the immunological tone of tissues, both locally and systemically, requires tonic sensing of microbes and complex feedback loops between innate and adaptive components of the immune system. Here we review the dominant cellular mediators of these interactions and discuss emerging themes associated with our current understanding of the homeostatic immunological dialogue between the host and its microbiota.