Pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) sensing commensal microorganisms in the intestine induce tightly controlled tonic signaling in the intestinal mucosa, which is required to maintain intestinal barrier integrity and immune homeostasis. At the same time, PRR signaling pathways rapidly trigger the innate immune defense against invasive pathogens in the intestine. Intestinal epithelial cells and mononuclear phagocytes in the intestine and the gut-associated lymphoid tissues are critically involved in sensing components of the microbiome and regulating immune responses in the intestine to sustain immune tolerance against harmless antigens and to prevent inflammation. These processes have been mostly investigated in the context of the bacterial components of the microbiome so far. The impact of viruses residing in the intestine and the virus sensors, which are activated by these enteric viruses, on intestinal homeostasis and inflammation is just beginning to be unraveled. In this review, we will summarize recent findings indicating an important role of the enteric virome for intestinal homeostasis as well as pathology when the immune system fails to control the enteric virome. We will provide an overview of the virus sensors and signaling pathways, operative in the intestine and the mononuclear phagocyte subsets, which can sense viruses and shape the intestinal immune response. We will discuss how these might interact with resident enteric viruses directly or in context with the bacterial microbiome to affect intestinal homeostasis.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited