Main content area

Vanishing benefits - The loss of actinobacterial symbionts at elevated temperatures

Horváthová, Terézia, Babik, Wiesław, Kozłowski, Jan, Bauchinger, Ulf
Journal of thermal biology 2019 v.82 pp. 222-228
Actinobacteria, Porcellio scaber, antibiotics, digestive system, ectothermy, hosts, insects, microbiome, oxygen, pathogens, rearing, ribosomal RNA, sequence analysis, symbionts, temperature
Only a few insect species are known to engage in symbiotic associations with antibiotic-producing Actinobacteria and profit from this kind of protection against pathogens. However, it still remains elusive how widespread the symbiotic interactions with Actinobacteria in other organisms are and how these partnerships benefit the hosts in terms of the growth and survival. We characterized a drastic temperature-induced change in the occurrence of Actinobacteria in the gut of the terrestrial isopod Porcellio scaber reared under two different temperature (15 °C and 22 °C) and oxygen conditions (10% and 22% O2) using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. We show that the relative abundance of actinobacterial gut symbionts correlates with increased host growth at lower temperature. Actinobacterial symbionts were almost completely absent at 22 °C under both high and low oxygen conditions. In addition, we identified members of nearly half of the known actinobacterial families in the isopod microbiome, and most of these include members that are known to produce antibiotics. Our study suggests that hosting diverse actinobacterial symbionts may provide conditions favorable for host growth. These findings show how a temperature-driven decline in microbiome diversity may cause a loss of beneficial functions with negative effects on ectotherms.