- Drake, Harold L.
- Award ID(s):
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Applied and Environmental Microbiology
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
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 »
Microbial assemblages residing within and on animal gastric tissues contribute to various host beneficial processes that include diet accessibility and nutrient provisioning, and we sought to examine the degree to which intergenerational and community-acquired gut bacteria impact development in a tractable germ-free (GF) invertebrate model system. Coprophagy is a common behavior in cockroaches and termites that provides access to both nutrients and the primary means by which juveniles are inoculated with beneficial gut bacteria. This hypothesis was tested in the American cockroach ( Periplaneta americana ) by interfering with this means of acquiring gut bacteria, which resulted in GF insects that exhibited prolonged growth rates and gut tissue dysmorphias relative to wild-type (WT) P. americana . Conventionalization of GF P. americana via consumption of frass (feces) from conspecifics and siblings reared under non-sterile conditions resulted in colonization of P. americana gut tissues by a diverse microbial community and a significant ( p < 0.05) recovery of WT level growth and hindgut tissue development phenotypes. These data suggest that coprophagy is essential for normal gut tissue and organismal development by introducing beneficial gut bacteria to P. americana , and that the GF P. americana model system is a useful system formore »
Long-Term Cellulose Enrichment Selects for Highly Cellulolytic Consortia and Competition for Public GoodsMackelprang, Rachel (Ed.)ABSTRACT The complexity of microbial communities hinders our understanding of how microbial diversity and microbe-microbe interactions impact community functions. Here, using six independent communities originating from the refuse dumps of leaf-cutter ants and enriched using the plant polymer cellulose as the sole source of carbon, we examine how changes in bacterial diversity and interactions impact plant biomass decomposition. Over up to 60 serial transfers (∼8 months) using Whatman cellulose filter paper, cellulolytic ability increased and then stabilized in four enrichment lines and was variable in two lines. Bacterial community characterization using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing showed community succession differed between the highly cellulolytic enrichment lines and those that had slower and more variable cellulose degradation rates. Metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analyses revealed that Cellvibrio and/or Cellulomonas dominated each enrichment line and produced the majority of cellulase enzymes, while diverse taxa were retained within these communities over the duration of transfers. Interestingly, the less cellulolytic communities had a higher diversity of organisms competing for the cellulose breakdown product cellobiose, suggesting that cheating slowed cellulose degradation. In addition, we found competitive exclusion as an important factor shaping all of the communities, with a negative correlation of Cellvibrio and Cellulomonas abundance within individual enrichmentmore »
Diversity, taxonomic composition, and functional aspects of fungal communities in living, senesced, and fallen leaves at five sites across North America
Fungal endophytes inhabit symptomless, living tissues of all major plant lineages to form one of earth’s most prevalent groups of symbionts. Many reproduce from senesced and/or decomposing leaves and can produce extracellular leaf-degrading enzymes, blurring the line between symbiotrophy and saprotrophy. To better understand the endophyte–saprotroph continuum we compared fungal communities and functional traits of focal strains isolated from living leaves to those isolated from leaves after senescence and decomposition, with a focus on foliage of woody plants in five biogeographic provinces ranging from tundra to subtropical scrub forest.
We cultured fungi from the interior of surface-sterilized leaves that were living at the time of sampling (i.e., endophytes), leaves that were dead and were retained in plant canopies (dead leaf fungi, DLF), and fallen leaves (leaf litter fungi, LLF) from 3–4 species of woody plants in each of five sites in North America. Our sampling encompassed 18 plant species representing two families of Pinophyta and five families of Angiospermae. Diversity and composition of fungal communities within and among leaf life stages, hosts, and sites were compared using ITS-partial LSU rDNA data. We evaluated substrate use and enzyme activity by a subset of fungi isolated only from living tissues vs. fungi isolatedmore »
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
Although some fungi with endophytic life stages clearly persist for periods of time in leaves after senescence and incorporation into leaf litter, our sampling across diverse biomes and host lineages detected consistent differences between fungal assemblages in living vs. non-living leaves, reflecting incursion by fungi from the leaf exterior after leaf death and as leaves begin to decompose. However, fungi found only in living leaves do not differ consistently in cellulolytic activity from those fungi detected thus far only in dead leaves. Future analyses should consider Basidiomycota in addition to the Ascomycota fungi evaluated here, and should explore more dimensions of functional traits and persistence to further define the endophytism-to-saprotrophy continuum.