Commensal Bacterial Colonization of the Intestine
The human gastrointestinal (GI) tract is home to over 10^14 microbes and hundreds of commensal species of bacteria. Scientists have long known about the mutualistic relationship between humans and the bacteria that reside in our gut microbiome. The bacteria assist us with processes such as metabolism and immunity, while the human host provides a nutrient-rich habitat.
Despite this knowledge, researchers in the field are still uncertain as to how these microbes colonize and thrive. Our work centered on understanding the various mechanisms through which commensal bacterial strains can colonize the intestine, such as protease secretion, expression of adhesion proteins, and swimming motility. We performed these experiments using mouse intestinal colonization models.