Composition and immunological significance of the upper respiratory tract microbiota
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The intestinal microbiota is essential for nutrient acquisition, immune development, and exclusion of invading pathogens. The upper respiratory tract (URT) microbiota is less well studied and does not appear to abide by many of the paradigms of the gastrointestinal tract. Decades of carriage studies in children have demonstrated that microbe-microbe competition and collusion occurs in the URT. Whether colonization with common pathogens (e.g., Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae) alters immune development or susceptibility to respiratory conditions is just beginning to be understood. Herein, we discuss the biogeography of the URT microbiota, the succession and evolution of the microbiota through the life course, and discuss the evidence for microbe-microbe interactions in colonization and infection.
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