- Drake, Harold L.
- Award ID(s):
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Applied and Environmental Microbiology
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Microbiota Perturbation or Elimination Can Inhibit Normal Development and Elicit a Starvation-Like Response in an Omnivorous Model InvertebrateKlassen, Jonathan L. (Ed.)ABSTRACT Omnivorous animals, including humans, harbor diverse, species-rich gut communities that impact their growth, development, and homeostasis. Model invertebrates are broadly accessible experimental platforms that enable linking specific species or species groups to host phenotypes, yet often their specialized diets and distinct gut microbiota make them less comparable to human and other mammalian and gut communities. The omnivorous cockroach Periplaneta americana harbors ∼4 × 10 2 bacterial genera within its digestive tract and is enriched with taxa commonly found in omnivorous mammals (i.e., Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes , and Firmicutes ). These features make P. americana a valuable platform for identifying microbe-mediated host phenotypes with potential translations to mammals. Rearing P. americana insects under germfree conditions resulted in prolonging development time by ∼30% and an up to ∼8% reduction in body size along three dimensions. Germfree rearing resulted in downregulation of gene networks involved in growth, energy homeostasis, and nutrient availability. Reintroduction of a defined microbiota comprised of a subset of P. americana commensals to germfree insects did not recover normal growth and developmental phenotypes or transcriptional profiles observed in conventionally reared insects. These results are in contrast with specialist-feeding model insects (e.g., Drosophila ), where introduction of a single endemic bacterial species tomore »
Gut Microbial Ecology of Five Species of Sympatric Desert Rodents in Relation to Herbivorous and Insectivorous Feeding Strategies
The gut microbial communities of mammals provide numerous benefits to their hosts. However, given the recent development of the microbiome field, we still lack a thorough understanding of the variety of ecological and evolutionary factors that structure these communities across species. Metabarcoding is a powerful technique that allows for multiple microbial ecology questions to be investigated simultaneously. Here, we employed DNA metabarcoding techniques, predictive metagenomics, and culture-dependent techniques to inventory the gut microbial communities of several species of rodent collected from the same environment that employ different natural feeding strategies [granivorous pocket mice (Chaetodipus penicillatus); granivorous kangaroo rats (Dipodomys merriami); herbivorous woodrats (Neotoma albigula); omnivorous cactus mice (Peromyscus eremicus); and insectivorous grasshopper mice (Onychomys torridus)]. Of particular interest were shifts in gut microbial communities in rodent species with herbivorous and insectivorous diets, given the high amounts of indigestible fibers and chitinous exoskeleton in these diets, respectively. We found that herbivorous woodrats harbored the greatest microbial diversity. Granivorous pocket mice and kangaroo rats had the highest abundances of the genus Ruminococcus and highest predicted abundances of genes related to the digestion of fiber, representing potential adaptations in these species to the fiber content of seeds and the limitations to digestionmore »
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Across the diverse biomes and plant taxa surveyed here, culturable fungi from living leaves were isolated less frequently and were less diverse than those isolated from non-living leaves. Fungal communities in living leaves also differed detectably in composition from communities in dead leaves and leaf litter within focal sites and host taxa, regardless of differential weighting of rare and abundant fungi. All focal isolates grew on cellulose, lignin, and pectin as sole carbon sources, but none displayed ligninolytic or pectinolytic activity
in vitro. Cellulolytic activity differed among fungal classes. Within Dothideomycetes, activity differed significantly between fungi from living vs. non-living leaves, but such differences were not observed in Sordariomycetes. Discussion
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