Annu Rev Nutr. 2021 Oct 11;41:455-478. doi: 10.1146/annurev-nutr-043020-090050.
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a ligand-activated basic-helix-loop-helix transcription factor that binds structurally diverse ligands and senses cues from environmental toxicants and physiologically relevant dietary/microbiota-derived ligands. The AhR is an ancient conserved protein and is widely expressed across different tissues in vertebrates and invertebrates. AhR signaling mediates a wide range of cellular functions in a ligand-, cell type-, species-, and context-specific manner. Dysregulation of AhR signaling is linked to many developmental defects and chronic diseases. In this review, we discuss the emerging role of AhR signaling in mediating bidirectional host-microbiome interactions. We also consider evidence showing the potential for the dietary/microbial enhancement ofhealth-promoting AhR ligands to improve clinical pathway management in the context of inflammatory bowel diseases and colon tumorigenesis.
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