Maternal Microbiota Impacts Offspring Immune System
This activity analyzes a published scientific figure from a study assessing if the microbiota from a mother affects the immune systems of the developing offspring.
In this study, scientists compared the offspring from two populations of pregnant mice. One population was kept germ-free throughout pregnancy, while the other was exposed to a strain of E. coli bacteria. The figure shows the offspring’s numbers of an innate immune cell, known as NKp46+ ILC3, after birth. Closed circles represent the offspring of mothers that were exposed to E. coli during pregnancy (“Gestational colonization”). Open circles represent the offspring of mothers that remained germ-free throughout pregnancy (“Control”).
The “Educator Materials” document includes a captioned figure, background information, graph interpretation, and discussion questions. The “Student Handout” includes a captioned figure and background information.
Student Learning Targets
- Analyze and interpret data from a scientific figure.
- Describe how maternal exposure to microbes can affect the immune system development of offspring.
cytokine, error bar, gestation, immunology, innate lymphoid cell, line graph, microbiome, p value
de Agüero, Mercedes G., Stephanie C. Ganal-Vonarburg, Tobias Fuhrer, Sandra Rupp, Yasuhiro Uchimura, Hai Li, Anna Steinert, et al. “The Maternal Microbiota Drives Early Postnatal Innate Immune Development.” Science 351, 6279 (2016): 1296–1302. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aad2571.
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Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS1-2; SEP2, SEP4, SEP5
AP Biology (2019)
IST-3.A; SP1, SP4
IB Biology (2016)
Common Core (2010)
Math.S-ID.3, Math.S-IC.1; MP2, MP5
Vision and Change (2009)
CC3; DP2, DP3