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WIREs Syst Biol Med
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The mammalian mycobiome: A complex system in a dynamic relationship with the host

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Mammalian barrier surfaces are densely populated by symbiont fungi in much the same way the former are colonized by symbiont bacteria. The fungal microbiota, otherwise known as the mycobiota, is increasingly recognized as a critical player in the maintenance of health and homeostasis of the host. Here we discuss the impact of the mycobiota on host physiology and disease, the factors influencing mycobiota composition, and the current technologies used for identifying symbiont fungal species. Understanding the tripartite interactions among the host, mycobiota, and other members of the microbiota, will help to guide the development of novel prevention and therapeutic strategies for a variety of human diseases.

This article is categorized under:

  • Physiology > Mammalian Physiology in Health and Disease
  • Laboratory Methods and Technologies > Genetic/Genomic Methods
  • Models of Systems Properties and Processes > Organismal Models
Host genetic and nongenetic factors, including trans‐kingdom microbe–microbe interactions, collectively influence the composition of the microbiota (which subsumes the mycobiota, symbiotic bacteria, and other microbes such as viruses) at various barrier sites of the body. In healthy people, the mycobiota modifies host physiology, in particular host immunity, in a variety of ways, and contributes to tissue homeostasis (upper panel). A combination of perturbations, including genetic mutations in the host and the use of antibiotics or antifungals, may disrupt the mycobiota sufficiently to provoke pathological tissue function, excessive inflammation, and ultimately disease (lower panel), although the etiological links between fungal dysbiosis and pathology remain to be verified for certain skin, autoimmune, and neurological diseases (indicated by a question mark “?”)
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Laboratory Methods and Technologies > Genetic/Genomic Methods
Models of Systems Properties and Processes > Organismal Models
Physiology > Mammalian Physiology in Health and Disease

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