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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Host genotype-specific microbiota do not influence the susceptibility of D. magna to a bacterial pathogen.

  • Author(s): Sison-Mangus, Marilou P
  • Metzger, César MJA
  • Ebert, Dieter
  • et al.

Host-associated microbiota have been claimed to play a role in hosts' responses to parasitic infections, often protecting the hosts from infection. We tested for such a role in the crustacean Daphnia and the parasitic bacterium Pasteuria ramosa, a widely used model system for host-parasite interactions. We first determined the infection phenotype (i.e., resistotype) of eight clonal D. magna genotypes against four strains of P. ramosa by attachment test, followed by 16 S rDNA amplicon sequencing to determine if their genotype or their parasite resistotype influences the composition of their microbiome. We then reciprocally transplanted the microbiota of two host genotypes with opposite resistotypes to four P. ramosa isolates, followed by a reassessment of their resistotype after transplantation. We found significant differences in microbiome composition and structure between Daphnia genotypes and between Daphnia resistotypes to specific P. ramosa strains. Reciprocal microbiota exchange or making the Daphnia hosts bacteria-free, however, did not influence the resistotypes of the hosts. Thus, in contrary to what has been observed in some taxa, our results suggest that D. magna susceptibility to P. ramosa is strongly dictated by the genetic differences of the hosts and is still dependent on Daphnia's first line of immune defense against the esophageal attachment of P. ramosa, which appears to be uninfluenced by the host's microbiota.

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