The immune system responds vigorously to microbial infection, while permitting life-long colonization by the microbiome. Mechanisms that facilitate the establishment and stability of the gut microbiota remain poorly described. We discovered that a sensor/regulatory system in the prominent human commensal Bacteroides fragilis modulates its surface architecture to invite binding of immunoglobulin A (IgA). Specific immune recognition facilitated bacterial adherence to cultured intestinal epithelial cells and intimate association with the gut mucosal surface in vivo.
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