The gut microbiota makes important contributions to host immune system development and resistance to pathogen infections, especially during early life. However, studies addressing the immunomodulatory functions of gut microbial individuals or populations are limited. In this study, we explore the systemic impact of the ileal microbiota on immune cell development and function of chickens and identify the members of the microbiota involved in immune system modulation. We initially used a time-series design with six time points to prove that ileal microbiota at different succession stages is intimately connected to immune cell maturation. Antibiotics perturbed the microbiota succession and negatively affected immune development, whereas early exposure to the ileal commensal microbiota from more mature birds promoted immune cell development and facilitated pathogen elimination after Salmonella Typhimurium infection, illustrating that early colonization of gut microbiota is an important driver of immune development. Five bacterial strains, Blautia coccoides, Bacteroides xylanisolvens, Fournierella sp002159185, Romboutsia lituseburensis, and Megamonas funiformis, which are closely related to the immune system development of broiler chickens, were then screened out and validated for their immunomodulatory properties. Our results provide insight into poultry immune system–microbiota interactions and also establish a foundation for targeted immunological interventions aiming to combat infectious diseases and promote poultry health and production.
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The raw 16S rRNA gene sequencing data of luminal microbiota from the antibiotic-untreated broiler chickens were obtained from NCBI BioProject PRJNA817429 (unpublished data from our own laboratory), and additional raw 16S rRNA gene sequencing data have been deposited in NCBI BioProject PRJNA904673. The genome data have been deposited in NCBI BioProject PRJNA903494 and PRJNA902159. The transcriptome data have been deposited in NCBI BioProject PRJNA904665. Raw datasets used for multicolor flow cytometry and qRT-PCR are available on FigShare (https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.21825042).
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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (32172685), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2022YFD1300400) and the 2115 Talent Development Program of China Agricultural University. Figure 1 was produced with BioRender.
The authors declare no competing interests.
All the experiments were reviewed and approved by China Agricultural University Animal Care and Use Committee (statement no. AW30112202-1-1).
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Liu, Y., Feng, Y., Yang, X. et al. Mining chicken ileal microbiota for immunomodulatory microorganisms. ISME J 17, 758–774 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41396-023-01387-z