Large communities of microorganisms, collectively termed the microbiome, inhabit our body surfaces. With the advent of next-generation sequencing, the diversity and abundance of these communities are being unravelled. Besides an imporant role in metabolic processes, the microbiome is essential for proper functioning of our immune system, including the defense against fungi. Despite the progress of the past years, studies aimed at characterizing our fungal colonizers (the mycobiome) are limited; nevertheless fungi are important players of the microbiome, either as a cofactor in disease or as potential pathogens. In this review, we describe the role of the bacterial microbiome in antifungal host defense. On the one hand, bacteria provide colonization resistance to fungi, inhibit Candida virulence by preventing yeast-hyphal transition and contribute to epithelial integrity, all factors are important for the pathogenesis of invasive fungal disease. On the other hand, several bacterial species modulate mucosal (antifungal) immune responses. Murine studies demonstrate important effects of the microbiome on the antifungal responses of T-helper 17 cells, regulatory T cells and innate lymphoid cells. Inferred from these studies, perturbation of the healthy microbiome should be avoided and microbiome manipulation and interventions based on bacteria-derived pathways involved in immunomodulation are attractive options for modulating antifungal host defense.
Keywords: Antifungal host defense; Candida albicans; Immunomodulation; Microbiome; Mycobiome.
© 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.