Recent advances in sequencing techniques, applied to the study of microbial communities, have provided compelling evidence that the mammalian intestinal tract harbors a complex microbial community whose composition is a critical determinant of host health in the context of metabolism and inflammation. Given that an imbalanced gut microbiota often arises from a sustained increase in abundance of the phylum Proteobacteria, the natural human gut flora normally contains only a minor proportion of this phylum. Here, we review studies that explored the association between an abnormal expansion of Proteobacteria and a compromised ability to maintain a balanced gut microbial community. We also propose that an increased prevalence of Proteobacteria is a potential diagnostic signature of dysbiosis and risk of disease.
Keywords: Proteobacteria; dysbiosis; microbiota.
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