The resident prokaryotic microbiota of the metazoan gut elicits profound effects on the growth and development of the intestine. However, the molecular mechanisms of symbiotic prokaryotic-eukaryotic cross-talk in the gut are largely unknown. It is increasingly recognized that physiologically generated reactive oxygen species (ROS) function as signalling secondary messengers that influence cellular proliferation and differentiation in a variety of biological systems. Here, we report that commensal bacteria, particularly members of the genus Lactobacillus, can stimulate NADPH oxidase 1 (Nox1)-dependent ROS generation and consequent cellular proliferation in intestinal stem cells upon initial ingestion into the murine or Drosophila intestine. Our data identify and highlight a highly conserved mechanism that symbiotic microorganisms utilize in eukaryotic growth and development. Additionally, the work suggests that specific redox-mediated functions may be assigned to specific bacterial taxa and may contribute to the identification of microbes with probiotic potential.
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