Designing Probiotic Therapies With Broad-Spectrum Activity Against a Wildlife Pathogen.
ABSTRACT: Host-associated microbes form an important component of immunity that protect against infection by pathogens. Treating wild individuals with these protective microbes, known as probiotics, can reduce rates of infection and disease in both wild and captive settings. However, the utility of probiotics for tackling wildlife disease requires that they offer consistent protection across the broad genomic variation of the pathogen that hosts can encounter in natural settings. Here we develop multi-isolate probiotic consortia with the aim of effecting broad-spectrum inhibition of growth of the lethal amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) when tested against nine Bd isolates from two distinct lineages. Though we achieved strong growth inhibition between 70 and 100% for seven Bd isolates, two isolates appeared consistently resistant to inhibition, irrespective of probiotic strategy employed. We found no evidence that genomic relatedness of the chytrid predicted similarity of inhibition scores, nor that increasing the genetic diversity of the bacterial consortia could offer stronger inhibition of pathogen growth, even for the two resistant isolates. Our findings have important consequences for the application of probiotics to mitigate wildlife diseases in the face of extensive pathogen genomic variation.
Project description:Microbiomes associated with multicellular organisms influence the disease susceptibility of hosts. The potential exists for such bacteria to protect wildlife from infectious diseases, particularly in the case of the globally distributed and highly virulent fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis of the global panzootic lineage (B. dendrobatidis GPL), responsible for mass extinctions and population declines of amphibians. B. dendrobatidis GPL exhibits wide genotypic and virulence variation, and the ability of candidate probiotics to restrict growth across B. dendrobatidis isolates has not previously been considered. Here we show that only a small proportion of candidate probiotics exhibited broad-spectrum inhibition across B. dendrobatidis GPL isolates. Moreover, some bacterial genera showed significantly greater inhibition than others, but overall, genus and species were not particularly reliable predictors of inhibitory capabilities. These findings indicate that bacterial consortia are likely to offer a more stable and effective approach to probiotics, particularly if related bacteria are selected from genera with greater antimicrobial capabilities. Together these results highlight a complex interaction between pathogens and host-associated symbiotic bacteria that will require consideration in the development of bacterial probiotics for wildlife conservation. Future efforts to construct protective microbiomes should incorporate bacteria that exhibit broad-spectrum inhibition of B. dendrobatidis GPL isolates.
Project description:Symbiotic microbes can dramatically impact host health and fitness, and recent research in a diversity of systems suggests that different symbiont community structures may result in distinct outcomes for the host. In amphibians, some symbiotic skin bacteria produce metabolites that inhibit the growth of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a cutaneous fungal pathogen that has caused many amphibian population declines and extinctions. Treatment with beneficial bacteria (probiotics) prevents Bd infection in some amphibian species and creates optimism for conservation of species that are highly susceptible to chytridiomycosis, the disease caused by Bd. In a laboratory experiment, we used Bd-inhibitory bacteria from Bd-tolerant Panamanian amphibians in a probiotic development trial with Panamanian golden frogs, Atelopus zeteki, a species currently surviving only in captive assurance colonies. Approximately 30% of infected golden frogs survived Bd exposure by either clearing infection or maintaining low Bd loads, but this was not associated with probiotic treatment. Survival was instead related to initial composition of the skin bacterial community and metabolites present on the skin. These results suggest a strong link between the structure of these symbiotic microbial communities and amphibian host health in the face of Bd exposure and also suggest a new approach for developing amphibian probiotics.
Project description:Bacterial communities associated with plant roots play an important role in the suppression of soil-borne pathogens, and multispecies probiotic consortia may enhance disease suppression efficacy. Here we introduced defined Pseudomonas species consortia into naturally complex microbial communities and measured the importance of Pseudomonas community diversity for their survival and the suppression of the bacterial plant pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum in the tomato rhizosphere microbiome. The survival of introduced Pseudomonas consortia increased with increasing diversity. Further, high Pseudomonas diversity reduced pathogen density in the rhizosphere and decreased the disease incidence due to both intensified resource competition and interference with the pathogen. These results provide novel mechanistic insights into elevated pathogen suppression by diverse probiotic consortia in naturally diverse plant rhizospheres. Ecologically based community assembly rules could thus play a key role in engineering functionally reliable microbiome applications.<h4>Importance</h4>The increasing demand for food supply requires more-efficient control of plant diseases. The use of probiotics, i.e., naturally occurring bacterial antagonists and competitors that suppress pathogens, has recently reemerged as a promising alternative to agrochemical use. It is, however, still unclear how many and which strains we should choose for constructing effective probiotic consortia. Here we present a general ecological framework for assembling effective probiotic communities based on in vitro characterization of community functioning. Specifically, we show that increasing the diversity of probiotic consortia enhances community survival in the naturally diverse rhizosphere microbiome, leading to increased pathogen suppression via intensified resource competition and interference with the pathogen. We propose that these ecological guidelines can be put to the test in microbiome engineering more widely in the future.
Project description:Amphibians possess beneficial skin bacteria that protect against the disease chytridiomycosis by producing secondary metabolites that inhibit the pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Metabolite production may be a mechanism of competition between bacterial species that results in host protection as a by-product. We expect that some co-cultures of bacterial species or strains will result in greater Bd inhibition than mono-cultures. To test this, we cultured four bacterial isolates (Bacillus sp., Janthinobacterium sp., Pseudomonas sp. and Chitinophaga arvensicola) from red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) and cultured isolates both alone and together to collect their cell-free supernatants (CFS). We challenged Bd with CFSs from four bacterial species in varying combinations. This resulted in three experimental treatments: (1) CFSs of single isolates; (2) combined CFSs of two isolates; and (3) CFSs from co-cultures. Pair-wise combinations of four bacterial isolates CFSs were assayed against Bd and revealed additive Bd inhibition in 42.2% of trials, synergistic inhibition in 42.2% and no effect in 16.6% of trials. When bacteria isolates were grown in co-cultures, complete Bd inhibition was generally observed, and synergistic inhibition occurred in four out of six trials. A metabolite profile of the most potent co-culture, Bacillus sp. and Chitinophaga arvensicola, was determined with LC-MS and compared with the profiles of each isolate in mono-culture. Emergent metabolites appearing in the co-culture were inhibitory to Bd, and the most potent inhibitor was identified as tryptophol. Thus mono-cultures of bacteria cultured from red-backed salamanders interacted synergistically and additively to inhibit Bd, and such bacteria produced emergent metabolites when cultured together, with even greater pathogen inhibition. Knowledge of how bacterial species interact to inhibit Bd can be used to select probiotics to provide amphibians with protection against Bd.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Innovations in fish nutrition act as drivers for the sustainable development of the rapidly expanding aquaculture sector. Probiotic dietary supplements are able to improve health and nutrition of livestock, but respective bacteria have mainly been isolated from terrestrial, warm-blooded hosts, limiting an efficient application in fish. Native probiotics adapted to the gastrointestinal tract of the respective fish species will establish within the original host more efficiently. RESULTS:Here, 248 autochthonous isolates were cultured from the digestive system of three temperate flatfish species. Upon 16S rRNA gene sequencing of 195 isolates, 89.7% (n = 175) Gram-negatives belonging to the Alpha- (1.0%), Beta- (4.1%) and Gammaproteobacteria (84.6%) were identified. Candidate probiotics were further characterized using in vitro assays addressing 1) inhibition of pathogens, 2) degradation of plant derived anti-nutrient (saponin) and 3) the content of essential fatty acids (FA) and their precursors. Twelve isolates revealed an inhibition towards the common fish pathogen Tenacibaculum maritimum, seven were able to metabolize saponin as sole carbon and energy source and two isolates 012 Psychrobacter sp. and 047 Paracoccus sp. revealed remarkably high contents of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Furthermore, a rapid and cost-effective method to coat feed pellets revealed high viability of the supplemented probiotics over 54 d of storage at 4°C. CONCLUSIONS:Here, a strategy for the isolation and characterization of native probiotic candidates is presented that can easily be adapted to other farmed fish species. The simple coating procedure assures viability of probiotics and can thus be applied for the evaluation of probiotic candidates in the future.
Project description:Emerging infectious diseases caused by fungal taxa are increasing and are placing a substantial burden on economies and ecosystems worldwide. Of the emerging fungal diseases, chytridomycosis caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (hereafter Bd) is linked to global amphibian declines. Amphibians have innate immunity, as well as additional resistance through cutaneous microbial communities. Despite the targeting of bacteria as potential probiotics, the role of fungi in the protection against Bd infection in unknown. We used a four-part approach, including high-throughput sequencing of bacterial and fungal communities, cultivation of fungi, Bd challenge assays, and experimental additions of probiotic to Midwife Toads (Altyes obstetricans), to examine the overlapping roles of bacterial and fungal microbiota in pathogen defense in captive bred poison arrow frogs (Dendrobates sp.). Our results revealed that cutaneous fungal taxa differed from environmental microbiota across three species and a subspecies of Dendrobates spp. frogs. Cultivation of host-associated and environmental fungi realved numerous taxa with the ability to inhibit or facilitate the growth of Bd. The abundance of cutaneous fungi contributed more to Bd defense (~45% of the fungal community), than did bacteria (~10%) and frog species harbored distinct inhibitory communities that were distinct from the environment. Further, we demonstrated that a fungal probiotic therapy did not induce an endocrine-immune reaction, in contrast to bacterial probiotics that stressed amphibian hosts and suppressed antimicrobial peptide responses, limiting their long-term colonization potential. Our results suggest that probiotic strategies against amphibian fungal pathogens should, in addition to bacterial probiotics, focus on host-associated and environmental fungi such as Penicillium and members of the families Chaetomiaceae and Lasiosphaeriaceae.
Project description:Root-rot disease caused by Fusarium oxysporum is a growing problem in agriculture for commercial cultivation of Panax notoginseng. Diverse microbes colonize plant roots, and numerous earlier studies have characterized the rhizospheric microbiome of P. notoginseng; nevertheless, the function of probiotic consortia on the rhizospheric microbiome against the root-rot disease remain elusive. We have compared and described the rhizospheric microbiome of lightly and severely diseased P. notoginseng as well as the interactions of the probiotic consortia and rhizospheric microbiome, and their function to alleviate the plant diseases were explored by inoculating probiotic consortia in bulk soil. From the perspective of microbial diversity, the rhizospheric dominant bacterial and fungal genera were utterly different between lightly and severely diseased plants. Through inoculating assembled probiotic consortia to diseased plant roots, we found that the application of probiotic consortia reshaped the rhizosphere microbiome, increasing the relative abundance of bacteria and fungi, while the relative abundance of potential pathogens was decreased significantly. We developed a microcosm system that provides a preliminary ecological framework for constructing an active probiotic community to reshape soil microbiota and restrain the disease. Microbial community structure differs between lightly and seriously diseased plants. The application of probiotic consortia changes the imbalance of micro-ecology to a state of relative health, reducing plant mortality. Plant disease suppression may be achieved by seeking and applying antagonistic microbes based on their direct inhibitory capability or by restructuring the soil microbiome structure and function.
Project description:The fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is the causative agent of chytridiomycosis and has been a key driver in the catastrophic decline of amphibians globally. While many strategies have been proposed to mitigate Bd outbreaks, few have been successful. In recent years, the use of probiotic formulations that protect an amphibian host by killing or inhibiting Bd have shown promise as an effective chytridiomycosis control strategy. The North American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) is a common carrier of Bd and harbours a diverse skin microbiota that includes lactic acid bacteria (LAB), a microbial group containing species classified as safe and conferring host benefits. We investigated beneficial/probiotic properties: anti-Bd activity, and adhesion and colonisation characteristics (hydrophobicity, biofilm formation and exopolysaccharide-EPS production) in two confirmed LAB (cLAB-Enterococcus gallinarum CRL 1826, Lactococcus garvieae CRL 1828) and 60 presumptive LAB (pLAB) [together named as LABs] isolated from bullfrog skin.We challenged LABs against eight genetically diverse Bd isolates and found that 32% of the LABs inhibited at least one Bd isolate with varying rates of inhibition. Thus, we established a score of sensitivity from highest (BdGPL AVS7) to lowest (BdGPL C2A) for the studied Bd isolates. We further reveal key factors underlying host adhesion and colonisation of LABs. Specifically, 90.3% of LABs exhibited hydrophilic properties that may promote adhesion to the cutaneous mucus, with the remaining isolates (9.7%) being hydrophobic in nature with a surface polarity compatible with colonisation of acidic, basic or both substrate types. We also found that 59.7% of LABs showed EPS synthesis and 66.1% produced biofilm at different levels: 21% weak, 29% moderate, and 16.1% strong. Together all these properties enhance colonisation of the host surface (mucus or epithelial cells) and may confer protective benefits against Bd through competitive exclusion. Correspondence analysis indicated that biofilm synthesis was LABs specific with high aggregating bacteria correlating with strong biofilm producers, and EPS producers being correlated to negative biofilm producing LABs. We performed Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD)-PCR analysis and demonstrated a higher degree of genetic diversity among rod-shaped pLAB than cocci. Based on the LAB genetic analysis and specific probiotic selection criteria that involve beneficial properties, we sequenced 16 pLAB which were identified as Pediococcus pentosaceus, Enterococcus thailandicus, Lactobacillus pentosus/L. plantarum, L. brevis, and L. curvatus. Compatibility assays performed with cLAB and the 16 species described above indicate that all tested LAB can be included in a mixed probiotic formula. Based on our analyses, we suggest that E. gallinarum CRL 1826, L. garvieae CRL 1828, and P. pentosaceus 15 and 18B represent optimal probiotic candidates for Bd control and mitigation.
Project description:For thousands of years, humans have safely consumed microorganisms through fermented foods. Many of these bacteria are considered probiotics, which act through diverse mechanisms to confer a health benefit to the host. However, it was not until the availability of whole-genome sequencing and the era of genomics that mechanisms of probiotic efficacy could be discovered. In this review, we explore the history of the probiotic concept and the current standard of integrated genomic techniques to discern the complex, beneficial relationships between probiotic microbes and their hosts.
Project description:Pathogenesis is strongly dependent on microbial context, but development of probiotic therapies has neglected the impact of ecological interactions. Dynamics among microbial communities, host immune responses, and environmental conditions may alter the effect of probiotics in human and veterinary medicine, agriculture and aquaculture, and the proposed treatment of emerging wildlife and zoonotic diseases such as those occurring on amphibians or vectored by mosquitoes. Here we use a holistic measure of amphibian mucosal defenses to test the effects of probiotic treatments and to assess disease risk under different ecological contexts. We developed a non-invasive assay for antifungal function of the skin mucosal ecosystem (mucosome function) integrating host immune factors and the microbial community as an alternative to pathogen exposure experiments. From approximately 8500 amphibians sampled across Europe, we compared field infection prevalence with mucosome function against the emerging fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Four species were tested with laboratory exposure experiments, and a highly susceptible species, Alytes obstetricans, was treated with a variety of temperature and microbial conditions to test the effects of probiotic therapies and environmental conditions on mucosome function. We found that antifungal function of the amphibian skin mucosome predicts the prevalence of infection with the fungal pathogen in natural populations, and is linked to survival in laboratory exposure experiments. When altered by probiotic therapy, the mucosome increased antifungal capacity, while previous exposure to the pathogen was suppressive. In culture, antifungal properties of probiotics depended strongly on immunological and environmental context including temperature, competition, and pathogen presence. Functional changes in microbiota with shifts in temperature provide an alternative mechanistic explanation for patterns of disease susceptibility related to climate beyond direct impact on host or pathogen. This nonlethal management tool can be used to optimize and quickly assess the relative benefits of probiotic therapies under different climatic, microbial, or host conditions.