Early life inter-kingdom interactions shape the immunological environment of the airways

Celine Pattaroni*, Matthew Macowan, Roxanne Chatzis, Carmel Daunt, Adnan Custovic, Michael Shields, Ultan F. Power, Jonathan Grigg, Graham Roberts, Peter Ghazal, Jürgen Schwarze, Mindy Gore, Steve Turner, Andrew Bush, Sejal Saglani, Clare M Lloyd, Benjamin J Marsland*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There is increasing evidence that the airway microbiome plays a key role in the establishment of respiratory health by interacting with the developing immune system early in life. While it has become clear that bacteria are involved in this process, there is a knowledge gap concerning the role of fungi. Moreover, the inter-kingdom interactions that influence immune development remain unknown. In this prospective exploratory human study, we aimed to determine early post-natal microbial and immunological features of the upper airways in 121 healthy newborns.
Results: We found that the oropharynx and nasal cavity represent distinct ecological niches for bacteria and fungi. Breastfeeding correlated with changes in microbiota composition of oropharyngeal samples with the greatest impact upon the relative abundance of Streptococcus species and Candida. Host transcriptome profiling revealed that genes with the highest expression variation were immunological in nature. Multi-omics factor analysis of host and microbial data revealed unique co-variation patterns.
Conclusion: These data provide evidence of a diverse multi-kingdom microbiota linked with local immunological characteristics in the first week of life that could represent distinct trajectories for future respiratory health.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2022


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