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The Human Gut Phageome: Origins and Roles in the Human Gut Microbiome

Authors
  • Townsend, Eleanor M.1
  • Kelly, Lucy1
  • Muscatt, George1
  • Box, Joshua D.1
  • Hargraves, Nicole1
  • Lilley, Daniel2
  • Jameson, Eleanor1
  • 1 School of Life Sciences, The University of Warwick, Coventry , (United Kingdom)
  • 2 Warwick Medical School, The University of Warwick, Coventry , (United Kingdom)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
Publisher
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Jun 04, 2021
Volume
11
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3389/fcimb.2021.643214
Source
Frontiers
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Cellular and Infection Microbiology
  • Review
License
Green

Abstract

The investigation of the microbial populations of the human body, known as the microbiome, has led to a revolutionary field of science, and understanding of its impacts on human development and health. The majority of microbiome research to date has focussed on bacteria and other kingdoms of life, such as fungi. Trailing behind these is the interrogation of the gut viruses, specifically the phageome. Bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacterial hosts, are known to dictate the dynamics and diversity of bacterial populations in a number of ecosystems. However, the phageome of the human gut, while of apparent importance, remains an area of many unknowns. In this paper we discuss the role of bacteriophages within the human gut microbiome. We examine the methods used to study bacteriophage populations, how this evolved over time and what we now understand about the phageome. We review the phageome development in infancy, and factors that may influence phage populations in adult life. The role and action of the phageome is then discussed at both a biological-level, and in the broader context of human health and disease.

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