A bacterial filter protects and structures the gut microbiome of an insect

Michele Caroline Lanan, Pedro Augusto Pos Rodrigues, A. Agellon, Patricia Jansma, Diana E Wheeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Associations with symbionts within the gut lumen of hosts are particularly prone to disruption due to the constant influx of ingested food and non-symbiotic microbes, yet we know little about how partner fidelity is maintained. Here we describe for the first time the existence of a gut morphological filter capable of protecting an animal gut microbiome from disruption. The proventriculus, a valve located between the crop and midgut of insects, functions as a micro-pore filter in the Sonoran Desert turtle ant (Cephalotes rohweri), blocking the entry of bacteria and particles ⩾0.2 μm into the midgut and hindgut while allowing passage of dissolved nutrients. Initial establishment of symbiotic gut bacteria occurs within the first few hours after pupation via oral–rectal trophallaxis, before the proventricular filter develops. Cephalotes ants are remarkable for having maintained a consistent core gut microbiome over evolutionary time and this partner fidelity is likely enabled by the proventricular filtering mechanism. In addition, the structure and function of the cephalotine proventriculus offers a new perspective on organismal resistance to pathogenic microbes, structuring of gut microbial communities, and development and maintenance of host–microbe fidelity both during the animal life cycle and over evolutionary time.The ISME Journal advance online publication, 12 February 2016; doi:10.1038/ismej.2015.264.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalISME Journal
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Feb 12 2016

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Proventriculus
Ants
Cephalotes
Insects
digestive system
insect
filter
Bacteria
Food
Social Planning
insects
Turtles
ant
trophallaxis
Life Cycle Stages
proventriculus
Publications
pupation
bacterium
midgut

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Microbiology

Cite this

A bacterial filter protects and structures the gut microbiome of an insect. / Lanan, Michele Caroline; Rodrigues, Pedro Augusto Pos; Agellon, A.; Jansma, Patricia; Wheeler, Diana E.

In: ISME Journal, 12.02.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lanan, Michele Caroline ; Rodrigues, Pedro Augusto Pos ; Agellon, A. ; Jansma, Patricia ; Wheeler, Diana E. / A bacterial filter protects and structures the gut microbiome of an insect. In: ISME Journal. 2016.
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