Abstracts (first author)
Bacterial communities influenced by Wolbachia? Bacterial community structure and major players in the terrestrial isopod microbiome
Endosymbiotic communities, interactions between community members and their synergistic effects on host evolution have become important aspects in symbiosis research. Terrestrial isopods represent an excellent model system for multipartite symbioses due to their well-characterised association with Wolbachia. These endosymbiotic bacteria act as reproductive parasites in terrestrial isopods, inducing the feminisation of genetic males in Armadillidium vulgare. To date, three different feminising Wolbachia strains have been identified in this host and these strains vary in their distribution across host tissues. However, the microbiome of terrestrial isopods has never been analysed on a large scale and the role of Wolbachia within the bacterial community remains unknown. Here, we characterized the tissue-specific bacterial communities in A. vulgare, combining qPCR and 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. To gain insight into intra-community dynamics, we analysed bacterial communities present in hosts from both laboratory and field populations, depending on (i) presence or absence of Wolbachia and (ii) infection with different Wolbachia strains. Wolbachia infection was an important factor influencing bacterial community structure. Furthermore, Wolbachia represented the predominant member of the bacterial community in infected individuals. These findings indicate that Wolbachia plays an important role within the terrestrial isopod microbiome. Apart from Wolbachia, we detected a second highly abundant bacterium: Candidatus Hepatoplasma crinochetorum, a facultative symbiont previously reported from the midgut caeca, was for the first time observed in all tested host tissues. Moreover, Ca. H. crinochetorum co-occurred with Wolbachia, although it was not observed in co-existence with all three Wolbachia strains. A better knowledge of the potential interactions of Wolbachia and Ca. H. crinochetorum will contribute to a better understanding of multipartite symbiotic interactions.