Parasites modulate the gut-microbiome in insects: A proof-of-concept study.

07:00 EST 14th January 2020 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Parasites modulate the gut-microbiome in insects: A proof-of-concept study."

Host-parasite interactions may be modulated by host- or parasite-associated microbes, but the role of these are often overlooked. Particularly for parasites with intestinal stages (either larval or adult), the host gut microbiome may play a key role for parasite establishment; moreover, the microbiome may change in response to invading parasites. Hypothesis testing at the organismal level may be hampered, particularly in mammalian definitive hosts, by ethical, logistical, and economical restrictions. Thus, invertebrates naturally serving as intermediate hosts to parasites with complex life cycles may inform the development of mammalian models as an early-stage host-parasite model. In addition, several important pathogens are vectored by insects, and insect gut microbiome-pathogen interactions may provide essential base-line knowledge, which may be used to control vectorborne pathogens. Here, we used the grain beetle, Tenebrio molitor, a host of the tapeworm Hymenolepis diminuta, to explore interactions between infection status and resident gut microbiota at two pre-determined time points (day two and seven) post infection. Using 16S/18S microbial profiling, we measured key parameters of the composition, relative abundance, and diversity of the host gut bacteriome and mycobiome. In addition, we quantified the systemic beetle immune response to infection by Phenoloxidase activity and hemocyte abundance. We found significant changes in the gut bacteriome and mycobiome in relation to infection status and beetle age. Thus, the relative abundance of Proteobacteria was significantly higher in the gut of infected beetles and driven mostly by an increased abundance of Acinetobacter. In addition, the mycobiome was less abundant in infected beetles but maintained higher Shannon diversity in infected compared with non-infected beetles. Beetles treated with a broad-spectrum antibiotic (Tetracycline) exhibited significantly reduced parasite establishment compared with the untreated control group, indicating that the host microbiome may greatly influence hatching of eggs and subsequent establishment of H. diminuta larvae. Our results suggest that experimental work using invertebrates may provide a platform for explorative studies of host-parasite-microbe interactions and their underlying mechanisms.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: PloS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
Pages: e0227561


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