Microbiota and Its Role on Viral Evasion: Is It With Us or Against Us?

Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2019 Jul 18;9:256. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2019.00256. eCollection 2019.


Viruses are obligate intracellular pathogens that require the protein synthesis machinery of the host cells to replicate. These microorganisms have evolved mechanisms to avoid detection from the host immune innate and adaptive response, which are known as viral evasion mechanisms. Viruses enter the host through skin and mucosal surfaces that happen to be colonized by communities of thousands of microorganisms collectively known as the commensal microbiota, where bacteria have a role in the modulation of the immune system and maintaining homeostasis. These bacteria are necessary for the development of the immune system and to prevent the adhesion and colonization of bacterial pathogens and parasites. However, the interactions between the commensal microbiota and viruses are not clear. The microbiota could confer protection against viral infection by priming the immune response to avoid infection, with some bacterial species being required to increase the antiviral response. On the other hand, it could also help to promote viral evasion of certain viruses by direct and indirect mechanisms, with the presence of the microbiota increasing infection and viruses using LPS and surface polysaccharides from bacteria to trigger immunosuppressive pathways. In this work, we reviewed the interaction between the microbiota and viruses to prevent their entry into host cells or to help them to evade the host antiviral immunity. This review is focused on the influence of the commensal microbiota in the viruses' success or failure of the host cells infection.

Keywords: microbioma; microbiota; microbiota and antiviral immune defense; microbiota-virome interaction; viral evasion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immune Evasion*
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Lipopolysaccharides / biosynthesis
  • Lipopolysaccharides / immunology
  • Microbial Interactions / immunology*
  • Microbiota / immunology*
  • Mucous Membrane / microbiology*
  • Mucous Membrane / virology
  • Probiotics / pharmacology
  • Symbiosis / immunology*
  • Virus Internalization
  • Virus Replication
  • Viruses / growth & development
  • Viruses / pathogenicity*


  • Lipopolysaccharides