Interactions of commensal and pathogenic microorganisms with the intestinal mucosal barrier

Eric C. Martens*, Mareike Neumann, Mahesh S. Desai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

386 Citations (Scopus)


The intestinal mucosal barrier is composed of epithelial cells that are protected by an overlying host-secreted mucous layer and functions as the first line of defence against pathogenic and non-pathogenic microorganisms. Some microorganisms have evolved strategies to either survive in the mucosal barrier or circumvent it to establish infection. In this Review, we discuss the current state of knowledge of the complex interactions of commensal microorganisms with the intestinal mucosal barrier, and we discuss strategies used by pathogenic microorganisms to establish infection by either exploiting different epithelial cell lineages or disrupting the mucous layer, as well as the role of defects in mucus production in chronic disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-470
Number of pages14
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


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