Microbes in the gut produce a huge range of metabolites, which affect various processes in the host. Knowledge about the metabolome is limited by current experimental and computational tools, but even now, interconnections are emerging between the microbiome, the metabolome, and immunological reponses — for instance, the possible role of metabolites in immune system pattern recognition.
In this Immunity Perspective piece, Dorrestein, Mazmanian, and Knight describe a research pipeline for identifying new connections, noting that studies will be complicated by the bidirectional connections between the microbiome and the immune system. They emphasize that this research will have important implications for human disease.
Dorrestein PC, Mazmanian SK, & Knight R. (2014) Finding the Missing Links among Metabolites, Microbes, and the Host. Immunity DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.immuni.2014.05.015