New Method Detects Gut Microbes That Activate Immune Cells

Authors: Ivan Vujkovic-Cvijin, Hugh C. Welles, Connie W. Y. HA., Lutfi Huq, Shreni Mistry, Jason M. Brenchley, Giorgio Trinchieri, Suzanne Devkota, Yasmine Belkaid

Link to Research: The systemic anti-microbiota IgG repertoire can identify gut bacteria that translocate across gut barrier surfaces | Science Translational Medicine

Link to Media Release: New Method Detects Gut Microbes That Activate Immune Cells (


Unique gut microbiota compositions have been associated with inflammatory diseases, but identifying gut bacterial functions linked to immune activation in humans remains challenging. Translocation of pathogens from mucosal surfaces into peripheral tissues can elicit immune activation, although whether and which gut commensal bacteria translocate in inflammatory diseases is difficult to assess. We report that a subset of commensal gut microbiota constituents that translocate across the gut barrier in mice and humans are associated with heightened systemic immunoglobulin G (IgG) responses. We present a modified high-throughput, culture-independent approach to quantify systemic IgG against gut commensal bacteria in human serum samples without the need for paired stool samples.

Using this approach, we highlight several commensal bacterial species that elicit elevated IgG responses in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) including taxa within the clades CollinsellaBifidobacteriumLachnospiraceae, and Ruminococcaceae. These and other taxa identified as translocating bacteria or targets of systemic immunity in IBD concomitantly exhibited heightened transcriptional activity and growth rates in IBD patient gut microbiomes. Our approach represents a complementary tool to illuminate interactions between the host and its gut microbiota and may provide an additional method to identify microbes linked to inflammatory disease.