The genus Prevotella includes more than 50 characterized species that occur in varied natural habitats, although most Prevotella spp. are associated with humans. In the human microbiome, Prevotella spp. are highly abundant in various body sites, where they are key players in the balance between health and disease.
Host factors related to diet, lifestyle and geography are fundamental in affecting the diversity and prevalence of Prevotella species and strains in the human microbiome.
These factors, along with the ecological relationship of Prevotella with other members of the microbiome, likely determine the extent of the contribution of Prevotella to human metabolism and health. Here we review the diversity, prevalence and potential connection of Prevotella spp. in the human host, highlighting how genomic methods and analysis have improved and should further help in framing their ecological role.
We also provide suggestions for future research to improve understanding of the possible functions of Prevotella spp. and the effects of the Western lifestyle and diet on the host–Prevotella symbiotic relationship in the context of maintaining human health.
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