The microbiota colonizes every surface exposed to the external world and in the gut, it plays important roles in physiological functions such as the maturation of the immune system, the degradation of complex food macromolecules and also behaviour. As such, the immune system has developed tools to cohabit with the microbiota, but also to keep it under control. When this control is lost, dysbiosis, i.e. deregulation in bacterial communities, can occur and this can lead to inflammatory disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, diabetes and autism. For these reasons, the analysis of the microbiota, its interactions with the host and its composition in disease, have been intensively investigated in the last few years. In this review, we summarize the major findings in the interaction of the microbiota with the host immune system.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.