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Abstract

Bacteriophages—viruses that infect bacteria—are abundant within our bodies, but their significance to human health is only beginning to be explored. Here, we synthesize what is currently known about our phageome and its interactions with the immune system. We first review how phages indirectly affect immunity via bacterial expression of phage-encoded proteins. We next review how phages directly influence innate immunity and bacterial clearance. Finally, we discuss adaptive immunity against phages and its implications for phage/bacterial interactions. In light of these data, we propose that our microbiome can be understood as an interconnected network of bacteria, bacteriophages, and human cells and that the stability of these tri-kingdom interactions may be important for maintaining our immunologic and metabolic health. Conversely, the disruption of this balance, through exposure to exogenous phages, microbial dysbiosis, or immune dysregulation, may contribute to disease.

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2021-09-29
2024-06-21
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