Interactions between commensal fungi and the C-type lectin receptor dectin-1 influence colitis
The intestinal microflora, typically equated with bacteria, influences diseases such as obesity and inflammatory bowel disease. Here, we show that the mammalian gut contains a rich fungal community that interacts with the immune system through the innate immune receptor Dectin-1. Mice lacking Dectin-1 exhibited increased susceptibility to chemically induced colitis, which was the result of altered responses to indigenous fungi. In humans, we identified a polymorphism in the gene for Dectin-1 (CLEC7A) that is strongly linked to a severe form of ulcerative colitis. Together, our findings reveal a eukaryotic fungal community in the gut (the "mycobiome") that coexists with bacteria and substantially expands the repertoire of organisms interacting with the intestinal immune system to influence health and disease.