Dataset Information


Reciprocal immune benefit based on complementary production of antibiotics by the leech Hirudo verbana and its gut symbiont Aeromonas veronii.

ABSTRACT: The medicinal leech has established a long-term mutualistic association with Aeromonas veronii, a versatile bacterium which can also display free-living waterborne and fish- or human-pathogenic lifestyles. Here, we investigated the role of antibiotics in the dynamics of interaction between the leech and its gut symbiont Aeromonas. By combining biochemical and molecular approaches, we isolated and identified for the first time the antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) produced by the leech digestive tract and by its symbiont Aeromonas. Immunohistochemistry data and PCR analyses evidenced that leech AMP genes are induced in the gut epithelial cells when Aeromonas load is low (starved animals), while repressed when Aeromonas abundance is the highest (post blood feeding). The asynchronous production of AMPs by both partners suggests that these antibiotic substances (i) provide them with reciprocal protection against invasive bacteria and (ii) contribute to the unusual simplicity of the gut microflora of the leech. This immune benefit substantially reinforces the evidence of an evolutionarily stable association between H. verbana and A. veronii. Altogether these data may provide insights into the processes making the association with an Aeromonas species in the digestive tract either deleterious or beneficial.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4669451 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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