Although the lungs were once considered a sterile environment, advances in sequencing technology have revealed dynamic, low-biomass communities in the respiratory tract, even in health. Key features of these communities—composition, diversity, and burden—are consistently altered in lung disease, associate with host physiology and immunity, and can predict clinical outcomes. Although initial studies of the lung microbiome were descriptive, recent studies have leveraged advances in technology to identify metabolically active microbes and potential associations with their immunomodulatory by-products and lung disease. In this brief review, we discuss novel insights in airway disease and parenchymal lung disease, exploring host–microbiome interactions in disease pathogenesis. We also discuss complex interactions between gut and oropharyngeal microbiota and lung immunobiology. Our advancing knowledge of the lung microbiome will provide disease targets in acute and chronic lung disease and may facilitate the development of new therapeutic strategies.

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