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Host-by-Microbiome Interactions

When a microbe or microbial community occupies the niche of an animal or plant, a conflict or compromise can ensue that is dependent upon the efficacy of the host response and microbial colonization capacity. We are interested in the evolutionary, genetic, and biochemical principles that shape interactions between hosts and microbes. Our long term goal is to combine knowledge from humans and animal model systems to address the interplay between the interacting organisms. We seek to answer three main questions: (1) Does human ethnicity, dietary variation, genetic variation impact the gut microbiome and metabolome? (2) What genes in animal models affect colonization, replication, and maternal transmission of bacteria? (3) What is the degree of phylogenetic signal on animal-associated microbiomes (aka, phylosymbiosis); simply put, do phylogenetically-related species have more similar microbiomes? If the answer is yes, then is phylosymbiosis consequential to host biology?

Select Publications:

  • Brooks, A.W., S. Priya, R. Blekhman, and S.R. Bordenstein (2018) Gut microbiota diversity across ethnicities in the United States. PLOS Biology 16(12): e2006842. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2006842
  • Funkhouser, L.J., E.J. van Opstal, A. Sharma, and S.R. Bordenstein (2018) The maternal effect gene Wds controls Wolbachia titer in Nasonia. Current Biology 28(11):1692-1702 .
  • Brooks AW, Kohl KD, Brucker RM, Van Opstal EJ, and Bordenstein SR (2016) Phylosymbiosis: Relationships and functional effects of microbial communities across host evolutionary history. PLOS Biology Link
  • Funkhouser, L.J. and S.R. Bordenstein (2013) Mom knows best: The universality of maternal microbial transmission. PLOS Biology e1001631.
  • Chafee, M.E., C.N. Zecher, M.L. Gourley, V.T. Schmidt, J.H. Chen, S.R. Bordenstein, M.E. Clark, and S.R. Bordenstein. (2011) Decoupling of host-symbiont-phage coadaptations following transfer between insect species. Genetics 187: 203-215.