Metagenomic analysis of stressed coral holobionts.
ABSTRACT The coral holobiont is the community of metazoans, protists and microbes associated with scleractinian corals. Disruptions in these associations have been correlated with coral disease, but little is known about the series of events involved in the shift from mutualism to pathogenesis. To evaluate structural and functional changes in coral microbial communities, Porites compressa was exposed to four stressors: increased temperature, elevated nutrients, dissolved organic carbon loading and reduced pH. Microbial metagenomic samples were collected and pyrosequenced. Functional gene analysis demonstrated that stressors increased the abundance of microbial genes involved in virulence, stress resistance, sulfur and nitrogen metabolism, motility and chemotaxis, fatty acid and lipid utilization, and secondary metabolism. Relative changes in taxonomy also demonstrated that coral-associated microbiota (Archaea, Bacteria, protists) shifted from a healthy-associated coral community (e.g. Cyanobacteria, Proteobacteria and the zooxanthellae Symbiodinium) to a community (e.g. Bacteriodetes, Fusobacteria and Fungi) of microbes often found on diseased corals. Additionally, low-abundance Vibrio spp. were found to significantly alter microbiome metabolism, suggesting that the contribution of a just a few members of a community can profoundly shift the health status of the coral holobiont.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Rebecca Vega Thurber, Jul 11, 2014
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ABSTRACT: Microorganisms are increasingly being recognized as the causative agents in the diseases of marine higher organisms, such as corals, sponges, and macroalgae. Delisea pulchra is a common, temperate red macroalga, which suffers from a bleaching disease. Two bacterial strains, Nautella italica R11 and Phaeobacter gallaeciensis LSS9, have been shown in vitro to cause bleaching symptoms, but previous work has failed to detect them during a natural bleaching event. To provide a link between in vitro observations and natural occurrences of the disease, we employ here deep-sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to comprehensively analyze the community composition of healthy and diseased D. pulchra samples from two separate locations. We observed operational taxonomic units (OTUs) with 100% identity and coverage to the 16S RNA gene sequence of both in vitro pathogens, but only the OTU with similarity to strain LSS9 showed a statistically significant higher abundance in diseased samples. Our analysis also reveals the existence of other bacterial groups within the families Rhodobacteraceae and Flavobacteriaceae that strongly contribute to difference between diseased and healthy samples and thus these groups potentially contain novel macroalgal pathogens and/or saprophytes. Together our results provide evidence for the ecological relevance of one kind of in vitro pathogen, but also highlight the possibility that multiple opportunistic pathogens are involved in the bleaching disease of D. pulchra.Frontiers in Microbiology 02/2015; 6:146. DOI:10.3389/fmicb.2015.00146 · 3.94 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The deep-sea mussel Bathymodiolus azoricus dominates hydrothermal vent fauna in the the Azores region. The gills of this species house methane- and sulfur-oxidizing bacteria that fulfill most of the mussel's nutritional requirements. Previous studies suggested that the ratio between methane- and sulfur-oxidizers could vary in response to the availability of electron donors in their environment, and this flexibility is considered a key factor in explaining the ecological success of the species. However, previous studies were based on non-isobaric recovery of specimens, with experiments at atmospheric pressure which may have induced artifacts. This study investigates the effect of pressure-related stress during recovery and experimentation on the relative abundances of bacterial symbionts. Mussel specimens were recovered for the first time using the pressure-maintaining device PERISCOP. Specimens were subsequently transferred into pressurized vessels and exposed to various chemical conditions. Using optimized fluorescence in situ hybridization-based approaches, relative abundance of symbionts were measured. Our results show that the recovery method (isobaric versus non-isobaric) does not influence the abundances of bacterial symbionts. Significant differences occur among specimens sampled from two contrasting sites. Exposure of mussels from the deeper site to sulfide and bicarbonate, and to bicarbonate alone, both resulted in a rapid and significant increase in the relative abundance of sulfur-oxidizers. Results reported herein are congruent with those from previous reports investigating mussels originating from shallow sites and kept at ambient pressure. Isobaric recovery and maintenance allowed us to perform in vivo experiments in specimens from a deeper site that could not be maintained alive at ambient pressure, and will greatly improve the chances of identifying the molecular mechanisms underlying the dialogue between bathymodioline hosts and symbionts.Deep Sea Research Part I Oceanographic Research Papers 03/2015; 101. DOI:10.1016/j.dsr.2015.03.003 · 2.83 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Macroalgal surfaces support abundant and diverse microorganisms within biofilms, which are often involved in fundamental functions relating to the health and defense of their seaweed hosts, including algal development, facilitation of spore release, and chemical antifouling. Given these intimate and important interactions, environmental changes have the potential to negatively impact macroalgae by disrupting seaweed-microbe interactions. We used the disappearance of the dominant canopy-forming fucoid Phyllospora comosa from the metropolitan coast of Sydney, NSW, Australia as a model system to study these interactions. We transplanted Phyllospora individuals from nearby, extant populations back onto reefs in Sydney to test whether bacterial assemblages associated with seaweed surfaces would be influenced by (i) the host itself, independently of where it occurs, (ii) the type of habitat where the host occurs, or (iii) site-specific differences. Analyses of bacterial DNA fingerprints (terminal fragment length polymorphisms) indicated that assemblages of bacteria on Phyllospora were not habitat-specific. Rather, they were primarily influenced by local, site-specific conditions with some evidence for host-specificity in some cases. This could suggest a lottery model of host-surface colonization, by which hosts are colonized by 'suitable' bacteria available in the local species pool, resulting in high variability in assemblage structure across sites, but where some species in the community are specific to the host and possibly influenced by differences in host traits.Frontiers in Microbiology 01/2015; 6:230. DOI:10.3389/fmicb.2015.00230 · 3.94 Impact Factor