Molecular approaches to the role of the microbiota in inflammatory bowel disease

Charles O. Elson, Yingzi Cong, Fengxia Qi, Robert M. Hershberg, Stephan R. Targan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Scopus citations


The microbiota plays a crucial role in experimental models of inflammatory bowel disease, but the exact mechanisms of its effects are unknown. These studies took two molecular approaches to this question. The first used amplification of the 16s ribosomal DNA to define microbial diversity in the colon. Although there were differences in colitic and non-colitic mice, we could not determine whether this was primary or secondary to the disease. The second approach used serologic expression cloning to identify the microbial proteins stimulating the pathogenic immune response. Previously unknown microbial flagellins were the dominant cluster of antigens identified. About half of the sera from patients with Crohn's disease have IgG antibodies to these flagellins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInflammatory Bowel Disease
Subtitle of host publicationGenetics, Barrier Function, Immunologic Mechanisms, and Microbial Pathways
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc.
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)1573315680, 9781573315685
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Print)0077-8923
ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632


  • Antibodies
  • Colitis
  • Flagellin
  • Microbiota
  • Ribosomal DNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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