The mammalian virome includes diverse commensal and pathogenic viruses that evoke a broad range of immune responses from the host. Sustained viral immunomodulation is implicated in a variety of inflammatory diseases, but also confers unexpected benefits to the host. These outcomes of viral infections are often dependent on host genotype. Moreover, it is becoming clear that the virome is part of a dynamic network of microorganisms that inhabit the body. Therefore, viruses can be viewed as a component of the microbiome, and interactions with commensal bacteria and other microbial agents influence their behavior. This piece is a review of our current understanding of how the virome, together with other components of the microbiome, affects the function of the host immune system to regulate health and disease.
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