Anaerobic carbon monoxide dehydrogenase diversity in the homoacetogenic hindgut microbial communities of lower termites and the wood roach.
ABSTRACT: Anaerobic carbon monoxide dehydrogenase (CODH) is a key enzyme in the Wood-Ljungdahl (acetyl-CoA) pathway for acetogenesis performed by homoacetogenic bacteria. Acetate generated by gut bacteria via the acetyl-CoA pathway provides considerable nutrition to wood-feeding dictyopteran insects making CODH important to the obligate mutualism occurring between termites and their hindgut microbiota. To investigate CODH diversity in insect gut communities, we developed the first degenerate primers designed to amplify cooS genes, which encode the catalytic (?) subunit of anaerobic CODH enzyme complexes. These primers target over 68 million combinations of potential forward and reverse cooS primer-binding sequences. We used the primers to identify cooS genes in bacterial isolates from the hindgut of a phylogenetically lower termite and to sample cooS diversity present in a variety of insect hindgut microbial communities including those of three phylogenetically-lower termites, Zootermopsis nevadensis, Reticulitermes hesperus, and Incisitermes minor, a wood-feeding cockroach, Cryptocercus punctulatus, and an omnivorous cockroach, Periplaneta americana. In total, we sequenced and analyzed 151 different cooS genes. These genes encode proteins that group within one of three highly divergent CODH phylogenetic clades. Each insect gut community contained CODH variants from all three of these clades. The patterns of CODH diversity in these communities likely reflect differences in enzyme or physiological function, and suggest that a diversity of microbial species participate in homoacetogenesis in these communities.
Project description:Termites and cockroaches are closely related, with molecular phylogenetic analyses even placing termites within the radiation of cockroaches. The intestinal tract of wood-feeding termites harbors a remarkably diverse microbial community that is essential for the digestion of lignocellulose. However, surprisingly little is known about the gut microbiota of their closest relatives, the omnivorous cockroaches. Here, we present a combined characterization of physiological parameters, metabolic activities, and bacterial microbiota in the gut of Shelfordella lateralis, a representative of the cockroach family Blattidae, the sister group of termites. We compared the bacterial communities within each gut compartment using terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis and made a 16S rRNA gene clone library of the microbiota in the colon-the dilated part of the hindgut with the highest density and diversity of bacteria. The colonic community was dominated by members of the Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes (mainly Clostridia), and some Deltaproteobacteria. Spirochaetes and Fibrobacteres, which are abundant members of termite gut communities, were conspicuously absent. Nevertheless, detailed phylogenetic analysis revealed that many of the clones from the cockroach colon clustered with sequences previously obtained from the termite gut, which indicated that the composition of the bacterial community reflects at least in part the phylogeny of the host.
Project description:Cryptocercus punctulatus and Parasphaeria boleiriana are two distantly related xylophagous and subsocial cockroaches. Cryptocercus is related to termites. Xylophagous cockroaches and termites are excellent model organisms for studying the symbiotic relationship between the insect and their microbiota. In this study, high-throughput 454 pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA was used to investigate the diversity of metagenomic gut communities of C. punctulatus and P. boleiriana, and thereby to identify possible shifts in symbiont allegiances during cockroaches evolution. Our results revealed that the hindgut prokaryotic communities of both xylophagous cockroaches are dominated by members of four Bacteria phyla: Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, and Actinobacteria. Other identified phyla were Spirochaetes, Planctomycetes, candidatus Saccharibacteria (formerly TM7), and Acidobacteria, each of which represented 1-2% of the total population detected. Community similarity based on phylogenetic relatedness by unweighted UniFrac analyses indicated that the composition of the bacterial community in the two species was significantly different (P < 0.05). Phylogenetic analysis based on the characterized clusters of Bacteroidetes, Spirochaetes, and Deltaproteobacteria showed that many OTUs present in both cockroach species clustered with sequences previously described in termites and other cockroaches, but not with those from other animals or environments. These results suggest that, during their evolution, those cockroaches conserved several bacterial communities from the microbiota of a common ancestor. The ecological stability of those microbial communities may imply the important functional role for the survival of the host of providing nutrients in appropriate quantities and balance.
Project description:To aid in their digestion of wood, lower termites are known to harbour a diverse community of prokaryotes as well as parabasalid and oxymonad protist symbionts. One of the best-studied lower termite gut communities is that of Zootermopsis angusticollis which has been known for almost 100 years to possess 3 species of Trichonympha (T. campanula, T. collaris, and T. sphaerica), 1 species of Trichomitopsis (T. termopsidis), as well as smaller flagellates. We have re-assessed this community by sequencing the small subunit (SSU) rRNA gene and the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region from a large number of single Trichonympha and Trichomitopsis cells for which morphology was also documented. Based on phylogenetic clustering and sequence divergence, we identify 3 new species: Trichonympha postcylindrica, Trichomitopsis minor, and Trichomitopsis parvus spp. nov. Once identified by sequencing, the morphology of the isolated cells for all 3 new species was re-examined and found to be distinct from the previously described species: Trichonympha postcylindrica can be morphologically distinguished from the other Trichonympha species by an extension on its posterior end, whereas Trichomitopsis minor and T. parvus are smaller than T. termopsidis but similar in size to each other and cannot be distinguished based on morphology using light microscopy. Given that Z. angusticollis has one of the best characterized hindgut communities, the near doubling of the number of the largest and most easily identifiable symbiont species suggests that the diversity of hindgut symbionts is substantially underestimated in other termites as well. Accurate descriptions of the diversity of these microbial communities are essential for understanding hindgut ecology and disentangling the interactions among the symbionts, and molecular barcoding should be a priority for these systems.
Project description:Recently we discovered two novel, deeply branching lineages in the domain Bacteria from termite guts by PCR-based analyses of 16S rRNA (Y. Hongoh, P. Deevong, T. Inoue, S. Moriya, S. Trakulnaleamsai, M. Ohkuma, C. Vongkaluang, N. Noparatnaraporn, and T. Kudo, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 71:6590-6599, 2005). Here, we report on the specific detection of these bacteria, the candidate phylum TG3 (Termite Group 3) and a subphylum in the phylum Fibrobacteres, by fluorescence in situ hybridization in the guts of the wood-feeding termites Microcerotermes sp. and Nasutitermes takasagoensis. Both bacterial groups were detected almost exclusively from the luminal fluid of the dilated portion in the hindgut. Each accounted for approximately 10% of the total prokaryotic cells, constituting the second-most dominant groups in the whole-gut microbiota. The detected cells of both groups were in undulate or vibroid forms and apparently resembled small spirochetes. The cell sizes were 0.2 to 0.4 by 1.3 to 6.0 microm and 0.2 to 0.3 by 1.3 to 4.9 microm in the TG3 and Fibrobacteres, respectively. Using PCR screenings with specific primers, we found that both groups are distributed among various termites. The obtained clones formed monophyletic clusters that were delineated by the host genus rather than by the geographic distance, implying a robust association between these bacteria and host termites. TG3 clones were also obtained from a cockroach gut, lake sediment, rice paddy soil, and deep-sea sediments. Our results suggest that the TG3 and Fibrobacteres bacteria are autochthonous gut symbionts of various termites and that the TG3 members are also widely distributed among various other environments.
Project description:Termites digest wood and other lignocellulosic substrates with the help of their intestinal microbiota. While the functions of the symbionts in the digestive process are slowly emerging, the origin of the bacteria colonizing the hindgut bioreactor is entirely unknown. Recently, our group discovered numerous representatives of bacterial lineages specific to termite guts in a closely related omnivorous cockroach, but it remains unclear whether they derive from the microbiota of a common ancestor or were independently selected by the gut environment. Here, we studied the bacterial gut microbiota in 34 species of termites and cockroaches using pyrotag analysis of the 16S rRNA genes. Although the community structures differed greatly between the major host groups, with dramatic changes in the relative abundances of particular bacterial taxa, we found that the majority of sequence reads belonged to bacterial lineages that were shared among most host species. When mapped onto the host tree, the changes in community structure coincided with major events in termite evolution, such as acquisition and loss of cellulolytic protists and the ensuing dietary diversification. UniFrac analysis of the core microbiota of termites and cockroaches and construction of phylogenetic tree of individual genus level lineages revealed a general host signal, whereas the branching order often did not match the detailed phylogeny of the host. It remains unclear whether the lineages in question have been associated with the ancestral cockroach since the early Cretaceous (cospeciation) or are diet-specific lineages that were independently acquired from the environment (host selection).
Project description:The hindgut of the termite Reticulitermes flavipes harbors a complex symbiotic community consisting of protists, bacteria, and archaea. These symbionts aid in the digestion of lignocellulose from the termite's wood meal. Termite hindguts were sampled and the V4 hyper-variable region of the 16S rRNA gene was sequenced and analyzed from individual termites. The core microbiota of worker termites consisted of 69 OTUs at the 97% identity level, grouped into 16 taxa, and together accounted for 67.05% of the sequences from the bacterial community. The core was dominated by Treponema, which contained 36 different OTUs and accounted for ?32% of the sequences, which suggests Treponema sp. have an important impact on the overall physiology in the hindgut. Bray-Curtis beta diversity metrics showed that hindgut samples from termites of the same colony were more similar to each other than to samples from other colonies despite possessing a core that accounted for the majority of the sequences. The specific tasks and dietary differences of the termite castes could have an effect on the composition of the microbial community. The hindgut microbiota of termites from the alate castes differed from the worker caste with significantly lower abundances of Treponema and Endomicrobia, which dominated the hindgut microbiota in workers and soldiers. Protist abundances were also quantified in the same samples using qPCR of the 18S rRNA gene. Parabasalia abundances dropped significantly in the winged alates and the Oxymonadida abundances dropped in both alate castes. These data suggest that the changes in diet or overall host physiology affected the protist and bacterial populations in the hindgut. The in-depth bacterial characterization and protist quantification in this study sheds light on the potential community dynamics within the R. flavipes hindgut and identified a large and complex core microbiota in termites obtained from multiple colonies and castes.
Project description:Beneficial microbial associations with insects are common and are classified as either one or a few intracellular species that are vertically transmitted and reside intracellularly within specialized organs or as microbial assemblages in the gut. Cockroaches and termites maintain at least one if not both beneficial associations. Blattabacterium is a flavobacterial endosymbiont of nearly all cockroaches and the termite Mastotermes darwiniensis and can use nitrogenous wastes in essential amino acid and vitamin biosynthesis. Key changes during the evolutionary divergence of termites from cockroaches are loss of Blattabacterium, diet shift to wood, acquisition of a specialized hindgut microbiota, and establishment of advanced social behavior. Termite gut microbes collaborate to fix nitrogen, degrade lignocellulose, and produce nutrients, and the absence of Blattabacterium in nearly all termites suggests that its nutrient-provisioning role has been replaced by gut microbes. M. darwiniensis is a basal, extant termite that solely retains Blattabacterium, which would show evidence of relaxed selection if it is being supplanted by the gut microbiome. This termite-associated Blattabacterium genome is ∼8% smaller than cockroach-associated Blattabacterium genomes and lacks genes underlying vitamin and essential amino acid biosynthesis. Furthermore, the M. darwiniensis gut microbiome membership is more consistent between individuals and includes specialized termite gut-associated bacteria, unlike the more variable membership of cockroach gut microbiomes. The M. darwiniensis Blattabacterium genome may reflect relaxed selection for some of its encoded functions, and the loss of this endosymbiont in all remaining termite genera may result from its replacement by a functionally complementary gut microbiota.
Project description:Aiming at learning the association between the gut microbiota and termites with different diet habits and phylogenetic positions, the gut bacteria of three populations for each of the two higher termites (wood-feeding Mironasutitermes shangchengensis and fungus-feeding Odontotermes formosanus) and two wood-feeding lower termites (Tsaitermes ampliceps and Reticulitermes flaviceps) were analyzed by high-throughput 454 pyrosequencing of 16S V1-V3 amplicons. As results, 132 bacterial genera and some unidentified operational taxonomic units within 29 phyla in the gut bacteria were detected, with Spirochaetes (11-55%), Firmicutes (7-18%), Bacteroidetes (7-31%), and Proteobacteria (8-14%) as the main phyla, and Treponema, TG5, Dysgonomonas, Tannerella, za29, Lactococcus, Pseudomonas, and SJA-88 as the common genera in all the four termites. The diversity of gut bacterial communities in the higher termite guts was significantly greater than that in the lower termites; while the gut microbiota in M. shangchengensis (wood-feeding higher termite) was more similar to those of the wood-feeding lower termites rather than that of O. formosanus (fungus-feeding higher termite), and phylum Spirochaetes and nitrogen-fixing bacteria were super-dominant in the wood-feeding termites, despite of their phylogenetic relations. This study reported for the first time the gut bacterial communities for the termites of M. shangchengensis and T. ampliceps and the comparative analyses showed that the gut microbial communities varied according to the phylogeny and the diet habits of termites.
Project description:A 3.7-kb DNA region encoding part of the Rhodospirillum rubrum CO oxidation (coo) system was identified by using oligonucleotide probes. Sequence analysis of the cloned region indicated four complete or partial open reading frames (ORFs) with acceptable codon usage. The complete ORFs, the 573-bp cooF and the 1,920-bp cooS, encode an Fe/S protein and the Ni-containing carbon monoxide dehydrogenase (CODH), respectively. The four 4-cysteine motifs encoded by cooF are typical of a class of proteins associated with other oxidoreductases, including formate dehydrogenase, nitrate reductase, dimethyl sulfoxide reductase, and hydrogenase activities. The R. rubrum CODH is 67% similar to the beta subunit of the Clostridium thermoaceticum CODH and 47% similar to the alpha subunit of the Methanothrix soehngenii CODH; an alignment of these three peptides shows relatively limited overall conservation. Kanamycin cassette insertions into cooF and cooS resulted in R. rubrum strains devoid of CO-dependent H2 production with little (cooF::kan) or no (cooS::kan) methyl viologen-linked CODH activity in vitro, but did not dramatically alter their photoheterotrophic growth on malate in the presence of CO. Upstream of cooF is a 567-bp partial ORF, designated cooH, that we ascribe to the CO-induced hydrogenase, based on sequence similarity with other hydrogenases and the elimination of CO-dependent H2 production upon introduction of a cassette into this region. From mutant characterizations, we posit that cooH and cooFS are not cotranscribed. The second partial ORF starts 67 bp downstream of cooS and would be capable of encoding 35 amino acids with an ATP-binding site motif.
Project description:Higher termites are characterized by a purely prokaryotic gut microbiota and an increased compartmentation of their intestinal tract. In soil-feeding species, each gut compartment has different physicochemical conditions and is colonized by a specific microbial community. Although considerable information has accumulated also for wood-feeding species of the genus Nasutitermes, including cellulase activities and metagenomic data, a comprehensive study linking physicochemical gut conditions with the structure of the microbial communities in the different gut compartments is lacking. In this study, we measured high-resolution profiles of H(2), O(2), pH, and redox potential in the gut of Nasutitermes corniger termites, determined the fermentation products accumulating in the individual gut compartments, and analyzed the bacterial communities in detail by pyrotag sequencing of the V3-V4 region of the 16S rRNA genes. The dilated hindgut paunch (P3 compartment) was the only anoxic gut region, showed the highest density of bacteria, and accumulated H(2) to high partial pressures (up to 12 kPa). Molecular hydrogen is apparently produced by a dense community of Spirochaetes and Fibrobacteres, which also dominate the gut of other Nasutitermes species. All other compartments, such as the alkaline P1 compartment (average pH, 10.0), showed high redox potentials and comprised small but distinct populations characteristic for each gut region. In the crop and the posterior hindgut compartments, the community was even more diverse than in the paunch. Similarities in the communities of the posterior hindgut and crop suggested that proctodeal trophallaxis or coprophagy also occurs in higher termites. The large sampling depths of pyrotag sequencing in combination with the determination of important physicochemical parameters allow cautious conclusions concerning the functions of particular bacterial lineages in the respective gut sections to be drawn.