Exploring the Interaction of the Virome with Host Virus Sensors RIG-1 a
Principal Investigator: Kate Jeffrey, Massachusetts General Hospital
Humans coexist with trillions of microorganisms that influence our health and disease. The last 20 years of research has focused almost exclusively on our symbiotic bacteria. How the viruses in our gut, i.e “the virome” contributes to host immunity that enable a healthy gut, or how changes in virus composition impacts gut inflammation, is almost completely unknown. This is both daunting and exciting. Learning from the microbiome field, at this juncture in virome research, it is essential that we move beyond correlations and toward a detailed mechanistic understanding of how certain viruses educate our immune system for health and disease. Our work endeavors to identify the precise virus members that the host immune system sees and responds to in the intestine. This work will provide the first evidence of how viruses can help build gut immunity in humans—a contrast to the misconception that all viruses are harmful.