Bacteria and their viruses (bacteriophages or phages) interact antagonistically and beneficially in polymicrobial communities such as the guts of animals. These interactions are multifaceted and are influenced by environmental conditions. In this review, we discuss phage-bacteria interactions as they relate to the complex environment of the gut. Within the mammalian and invertebrate guts, phages and bacteria engage in diverse interactions including genetic coexistence through lysogeny, and phages directly modulate microbiota composition and the immune system with consequences that are becoming recognized as potential drivers of health and disease. With greater depth of understanding of phage-bacteria interactions in the gut and the outcomes, future phage therapies become possible.
Keywords: IBD; arthropod gut; bacteriophage; intestinal virome; phage-bacteria interaction.