BACKGROUND & AIMS: Interactions between genetic and environmental factors are believed to be involved in onset and initiation of inflammatory bowel disease. We analyzed the interaction between gastrointestinal mucosal microbiota and host genes in twin pairs discordant for ulcerative colitis (UC) to study the functional interaction between microbiota and mucosal epithelium. METHODS: Biopsy were collected from sigmoid colon of UC patients and their healthy twins (discordant twin pairs) and from twins without UC. Microbiota profiles were determined from analysis of 16S ribosomal DNA libraries; messenger RNA profiles were determined by microarray analysis. RESULTS: Patients with UC had dysbiotic microbiota, characterized by less bacterial diversity and more Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria than that of their healthy siblings; healthy siblings from discordant twins had more bacteria from the Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae families than twins who were both healthy. In twins who were both healthy, 34 mucosal transcripts correlated with bacterial genera, whereas only 25 and 11 correlated with bacteria genera in healthy individuals and their twins with UC, respectively. Transcripts related to oxidative and immune responses were differentially expressed between patients with UC and their healthy twins. CONCLUSIONS: The transcriptional profile of the mucosa appears to interact with the colonic microbiota; this interaction appears to be lost in colon of patients with UC. Bacterial functions, such as butyrate production, might affect mucosal gene expression. Patients with UC had different gene expression profiles and lower levels of biodiversity than their healthy twins, as well as unusual aerobic bacteria. Patients with UC had lower percentages of potentially protective bacterial species than their healthy twins.