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Extensive intra-phylotype diversity in lactobacilli and bifidobacteria from the honeybee gut
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Molecular Evolution.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Molecular Evolution.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Molecular Evolution.
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2015 (English)In: BMC Genomics, ISSN 1471-2164, E-ISSN 1471-2164, Vol. 16, 284Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: In the honeybee Apis mellifera, the bacterial gut community is consistently colonized by eight distinct phylotypes of bacteria. Managed bee colonies are of considerable economic interest and it is therefore important to elucidate the diversity and role of this microbiota in the honeybee. In this study, we have sequenced the genomes of eleven strains of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria isolated from the honey crop of the honeybee Apis mellifera. Results: Single gene phylogenies confirmed that the isolated strains represent the diversity of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in the gut, as previously identified by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Core genome phylogenies of the lactobacilli and bifidobacteria further indicated extensive divergence between strains classified as the same phylotype. Phylotype-specific protein families included unique surface proteins. Within phylotypes, we found a remarkably high level of gene content diversity. Carbohydrate metabolism and transport functions contributed up to 45% of the accessory genes, with some genomes having a higher content of genes encoding phosphotransferase systems for the uptake of carbohydrates than any previously sequenced genome. These genes were often located in highly variable genomic segments that also contained genes for enzymes involved in the degradation and modification of sugar residues. Strain-specific gene clusters for the biosynthesis of exopolysaccharides were identified in two phylotypes. The dynamics of these segments contrasted with low recombination frequencies and conserved gene order structures for the core genes. Hits for CRISPR spacers were almost exclusively found within phylotypes, suggesting that the phylotypes are associated with distinct phage populations. Conclusions: The honeybee gut microbiota has been described as consisting of a modest number of phylotypes; however, the genomes sequenced in the current study demonstrated a very high level of gene content diversity within all three described phylotypes of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, particularly in terms of metabolic functions and surface structures, where many features were strain-specific. Together, these results indicate niche differentiation within phylotypes, suggesting that the honeybee gut microbiota is more complex than previously thought.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 16, 284
Keyword [en]
Lactic acid bacteria, Lactobacillus spp, Firmicutes, Bifidobacteria, Comparative genomics, Phosphotransferase systems, Niche specialization
National Category
Genetics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-256855DOI: 10.1186/s12864-015-1476-6ISI: 000355302300001PubMedID: 25880915OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-256855DiVA: diva2:827288
Note

De två förstaförfattarna delar förstaförfattarskapet.

Available from: 2015-06-26 Created: 2015-06-26 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Evolution of symbiotic lineages and the origin of new traits
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evolution of symbiotic lineages and the origin of new traits
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis focuses on the genomic study of symbionts of two different groups of hymenopterans: bees and ants. Both groups of insects have major ecological impact, and investigating their microbiomes increases our understanding of their health, diversity and evolution.

The study of the bee gut microbiome, including members of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, revealed genomic processes related to the adaptation to the gut environment, such as the expansion of genes for carbohydrate metabolism and the acquisition of genes for interaction with the host. A broader genomic study of these genera demonstrated that some lineages evolve under strong and opposite substitution biases, leading to extreme GC content values. A comparison of codon usage patterns in these groups revealed ongoing shifts of optimal codons.

In a separate study we analysed the genomes of several strains of Lactobacillus kunkeei, which inhabits the honey stomach of bees but is not found in their gut. We observed signatures of genome reduction and suggested candidate genes for host-interaction processes. We discovered a novel type of genome architecture where genes for metabolic functions are located in one half of the genome, whereas genes for information processes are located in the other half. This genome organization was also found in other Lactobacillus species, indicating that it was an ancestral feature that has since been retained. We suggest mechanisms and selective forces that may cause the observed organization, and describe processes leading to its loss in several lineages independently.

We also studied the genome of a species of Rhizobiales bacteria found in ants. We discuss its metabolic capabilities and suggest scenarios for how it may affect the ants’ lifestyle. This genome contained a region with homology to the Bartonella gene transfer agent (GTA), which is a domesticated bacteriophage used to transfer bacterial DNA between cells. We propose that its unique behaviour as a specialist GTA, preferentially transferring host-interaction factors, originated from a generalist GTA that transferred random segments of chromosomal DNA.

These bioinformatic analyses of previously uncharacterized bacterial lineages have increased our understanding of their physiology and evolution and provided answers to old and new questions in fundamental microbiology.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. 96 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1415
Keyword
symbiosis, host-association, Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Rhizobiales, Bartonella, honeybees, ants, codon usage bias, genome architecture, genome organization, gene transfer agent, evolutionary genomics, comparative genomics
National Category
Evolutionary Biology Genetics Microbiology
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Molecular Evolution; Biology with specialization in Evolutionary Genetics; Biology with specialization in Microbiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-301939 (URN)978-91-554-9672-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-10-14, B41, Biomedical Center (BMC), Husargatan 3, Uppsala, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-09-22 Created: 2016-08-25 Last updated: 2016-10-11
2. Genome Evolution and Niche Differentiation of Bacterial Endosymbionts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Genome Evolution and Niche Differentiation of Bacterial Endosymbionts
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Most animals contain chronic microbial infections that inflict no harm on their hosts. Recently, the gut microflora of humans and other animals have been characterized. However, little is known about the forces that shape the diversity of these bacterial communities. In this work, comparative genomics was used to investigate the evolutionary dynamics of host-adapted bacterial communities, using Wolbachia infecting arthropods and Lactobacteria infecting bees as the main model systems.

Wolbachia are maternally inherited bacteria that cause reproductive disorders in arthropods, such as feminization, male killing and parthenogenesis. These bacteria are difficult to study because they cannot be cultivated outside their hosts. We have developed a novel protocol employing multiple displacement amplification to isolate and sequence their genomes. Taxonomically, Wolbachia is classified into different supergroups. We have sequenced the genomes of Wolbachia strain wHa and wNo that belong to supergroup A and B, respectively, and are present as a double-infection in the fruit-fly Drosophila simulans. Together with previously published genomes, a supergroup comparison of strains belonging to supergroups A and B indicated rampant homologous recombination between strains that belong to the same supergroup but were isolated from different hosts. In contrast, we observed little recombination between strains of different supergroups that infect the same host.

Likewise, phylogenetically distinct members of Lactic acid bacteria co-exist in the gut of the honeybee, Apis mellifera, without transfer of genes between phylotypes. Nor did we find any evidence of co-diversification between symbionts and hosts, as inferred from a study of 13 genomes of Lactobacillus kunkeei isolated from diverse bee species and different geographic origins. Although Lactobacillus kunkeii is the most frequently isolated strain from the honey stomach, we hypothesize that the primary niche is the beebread where the bacteria are likely to contribute to the fermentation process.

In the human gut, the microbial community has been shown to interact with the immune system, and likewise the microbial communities associated with insects are thought to affect the health of their host. Therefore, a better understanding of the role and evolution of endosymbiotic communities is important for developing strategies to control the health of their hosts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. 57 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1121
Keyword
niche, habitat, endosymbiont, gut microbiome, honey bee, Wolbachia, comparative, genomics
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-217724 (URN)978-91-554-8872-7 (ISBN)
External cooperation:
Public defence
2014-03-21, B42, Husargatan 3, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-02-27 Created: 2014-02-04 Last updated: 2016-08-26Bibliographically approved

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Ellegaard, Kirsten M.Tamarit, DanielAndersson, Siv G. E.

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