Epigenetics and the Microbiome

  • Meirav Pevsner-Fischer
  • Niv Zmora
  • Sofia Braverman
  • Eran ElinavEmail author
Reference work entry


The gut-resident commensal microbial ecosystem, collectively termed the microbiome, plays a vital role in host physiology and disease susceptibility. Being strategically situated in the intersection between the host and the external environment, the microbiome serves as a hub which integrates dietary and other environmental signals with a multitude of inherent host signals, and forms extensive communication networks with the host. Disruption of the delicate balance between the host and its microbiome can result in alterations in microbial composition, termed dysbiosis, which is associated with the etiology of multiple pathologies including metabolic disorders, inflammatory diseases, cancer, and neurodegeneration. Most mechanisms mediating these microbial effects on the host remain elusive. Microbial-induced host epigenetic modifications have been recently suggested as one such mechanism, by which the microbiome translates environmental signals to fine-tuning of the host gene expression and subsequently its corresponding systemic functions. In this chapter, we highlight recently studied examples exploring the mechanisms by which the microbiome may elicit epigenetic changes in the host, thereby affecting its physiology and pathology.


Microbiome Microbiota Dysbiosis Epigenetics Intestine Immune cells Intestinal epithelial cells Diet Inflammatory bowel disease Tumorigenesis Metabolic syndrome 

List of Abbreviations


Bone marrow-derived macrophages


Crohn’s disease


Dextran sulfate sodium




Histone deacetylase


Intestinal epithelial cells




Innate lymphoid cells


Invariant natural killer T cells


Fatty acid synthase and lamin A/C


Lamina propria




Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease


Natural killer


Short-chain fatty acids


Specific pathogen-free


T helper


Regulatory T cells


Ulcerative colitis




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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meirav Pevsner-Fischer
    • 1
  • Niv Zmora
    • 1
  • Sofia Braverman
    • 1
  • Eran Elinav
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of ImmunologyWeizmann Institute of ScienceRehovotIsrael

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