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Host-by-Microbiome Interactions

When a microbe 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 bacterial colonization capacity. We are interested in the biomolecular networks and genetic interactions between hosts and microbes that govern these interactions. Our long term goal is to combine knowledge from humans and animal model systems to address the interplay between host genetics and bacteria. We seek to answer the following three questions: (1) Does human ethnicity impact the oral and gut microbiomes and metabolomes? (2) What genes in animal models affect colonization, replication, and transmission of maternally transmitted bacteria? (3) What host molecular mechanisms are deployed to transmit bacteria from mom to offspring? and (4) What are the roles of dominance and epistasis among these genes and phenotypes?

Select Publications:

  • Brooks, A.W., S. Priya, R. Blekhman, and S.R. Bordenstein (2018) Gut microbiota diversity across ethnicities in the United States. bioRxiv and in press, PLOS Biology.
  • 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 .
  • 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.