This review is part of the review series on host-pathogen interactions.
Antimicrobial peptides and gut microbiota in homeostasis and pathology
Article first published online: 23 AUG 2013
Copyright © 2013 EMBO Molecular Medicine
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
EMBO Molecular Medicine
Volume 5, Issue 10, pages 1465–1483, October 2013
How to Cite
Ostaff, M. J., Stange, E. F. and Wehkamp, J. (2013), Antimicrobial peptides and gut microbiota in homeostasis and pathology. EMBO Mol Med, 5: 1465–1483. doi: 10.1002/emmm.201201773
- Issue published online: 2 OCT 2013
- Article first published online: 23 AUG 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 4 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 19 JUN 2013
- Manuscript Received: 8 MAY 2013
- European Research Council
- antimicrobial peptides;
- epithelial differentiation;
- intestinal homeostasis;
We survive because we adapted to a world of microorganisms. All our epithelial surfaces participate in keeping up an effective barrier against microbes while not initiating ongoing inflammatory processes and risking collateral damage to the host. Major players in this scenario are antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). Such broad-spectrum innate antibiotics are in part produced by specialized cells but also widely sourced from all epithelia as well as circulating inflammatory cells. AMPs belong to an ancient defense system found in all organisms and participated in a preservative co-evolution with a complex microbiome. Particularly interesting interactions between host barrier and microbiota can be found in the gut. The intestinal cell lining not only has to maintain a tightly regulated homeostasis during its high-throughput regeneration, but also a balanced relationship towards an extreme number of mutualistic or commensal inhabitants. Recent research suggests that advancing our understanding of the circumstances of such balanced and sometimes imbalanced interactions between gut microbiota and host AMPs should have therapeutic implications for different intestinal disorders.