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  1. Abstract The gut is continuously invaded by diverse bacteria from the diet and the environment, yet microbiome composition is relatively stable over time for host species ranging from mammals to insects, suggesting host-specific factors may selectively maintain key species of bacteria. To investigate host specificity, we used gnotobiotic Drosophila , microbial pulse-chase protocols, and microscopy to investigate the stability of different strains of bacteria in the fly gut. We show that a host-constructed physical niche in the foregut selectively binds bacteria with strain-level specificity, stabilizing their colonization. Primary colonizers saturate the niche and exclude secondary colonizers of the same strain, but initial colonization by Lactobacillus species physically remodels the niche through production of a glycan-rich secretion to favor secondary colonization by unrelated commensals in the Acetobacter genus. Our results provide a mechanistic framework for understanding the establishment and stability of a multi-species intestinal microbiome. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024