Digestive tract of mammals is one of the most complex microbial ecosystems subject to both external and internal factors, through food consumption and interactions with intestinal cells.
We are developing and using several experimental models of intestinal colonization to study how the two antogonistic populations of bacteria and bacteriophages coexist in the intestinal flora. We are focusing on Escherichia coli, one of the best studied facultative anaerobic bacterial species of the human microflora, and several virulent bacteriophages infecting a large panel of E. coli strains. Looking at both short and long term interactions between bacteriophages and their hosts in different ecological settings led us to uncover the underevaluated complexity of these interactions. Studies to identify the molecular mechanisms behind these interactions and more broadly the role of bacteriophages on intestinal homeostasis are ongoing.
Our team is currently associated to the German research consortium SPP2330: New Concepts in Prokaryotic Virus-host Interactions – From Single Cells to Microbial Communities leaded by Julia Frunzke.