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The zebrafish as a model for gastrointestinal tract–microbe interactions


The zebrafish (Danio rerio) has become a widely used vertebrate model for bacterial, fungal, viral, and protozoan infections. Due to its genetic tractability, large clutch sizes, ease of manipulation, and optical transparency during early life stages, it is a particularly useful model to address questions about the cellular microbiology of host–microbe interactions. Although its use as a model for systemic infections, as well as infections localised to the hindbrain and swimbladder having been thoroughly reviewed, studies focusing on host–microbe interactions in the zebrafish gastrointestinal tract have been neglected. Here, we summarise recent findings regarding the developmental and immune biology of the gastrointestinal tract, drawing parallels to mammalian systems. We discuss the use of adult and larval zebrafish as models for gastrointestinal infections, and more generally, for studies of host–microbe interactions in the gut.

  • Gastrointestinal System