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Bibliography on: Squid-Vibrio Symbiosis

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ESP: PubMed Auto Bibliography 18 Jun 2024 at 01:58 Created: 

Squid-Vibrio Symbiosis

The small bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes) has a mutually beneficial relationship with bacteria called Vibrio fischeri that live on the squid's underside. The bacteria allow the squid to produce light, which then allows the squid to escape from things that might want to eat it. "The squid emit ventral luminescence that is often very, very close to the quality of light coming from the moon and stars at night," explains Margaret McFall-Ngai, Margaret McFall-Ngai, professor of medical microbiology and immunology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For fish looking up from below for something to eat, the squid are camouflaged against the moon or the starlight because they don't cast a shadow. "It's like a 'Klingon' cloaking device," she notes. But the Vibrio fischeri don't stay in the squid continuously. Every day, in response to the light cue of dawn, the squid vents 90 percent of the bacteria back into the seawater. "And then, while it's sitting quiescent in the sand, the bacteria grow up in the crypt so that when [the squid] comes out in the evening, it will have a full complement of luminous Vibrio fischeri," says McFall-Ngai.

Created with PubMed® Query: ( (squid OR euprymna) AND (vibrio OR symbiosis OR symbiotic OR endosymbiont) ) NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2024-05-22

Geyman LJ, Tanner MP, Rosario-Meléndez N, et al (2024)

Mobile-CRISPRi as a powerful tool for modulating Vibrio gene expression.

Applied and environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

CRISPRi (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Palindromic Repeats interference) is a gene knockdown method that uses a deactivated Cas9 protein (dCas9) that binds a specific gene target locus dictated by an encoded guide RNA (sgRNA) to block transcription. Mobile-CRISPRi is a suite of modular vectors that enable CRISPRi knockdowns in diverse bacteria by integrating IPTG-inducible dcas9 and sgRNA genes into the genome using Tn7 transposition. Here, we show that the Mobile-CRISPRi system functions robustly and specifically in multiple Vibrio species: Vibrio cholerae, Vibrio fischeri, Vibrio vulnificus, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and Vibrio campbellii. We demonstrate efficacy by targeting both essential and non-essential genes that function to produce defined, measurable phenotypes: bioluminescence, quorum sensing, cell division, and growth arrest. We anticipate that Mobile-CRISPRi will be used in Vibrio species to systematically probe gene function and essentiality in various behaviors and native environments.IMPORTANCEThe genetic manipulation of bacterial genomes is an invaluable tool in experimental microbiology. The development of CRISPRi (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Palindromic Repeats interference) tools has revolutionized genetics in many organisms, including bacteria. Here, we optimized the use of Mobile-CRISPRi in five Vibrio species, each of which has significant impacts on marine environments and organisms that include squid, shrimp, shellfish, finfish, corals, and multiple of which pose direct threats to human health. The Mobile-CRISPRi technology is easily adaptable, moveable from strain to strain, and enables researchers to selectively turn off gene expression. Our experiments demonstrate Mobile-CRISPRi is effective and robust at repressing gene expression of both essential and non-essential genes in Vibrio species.

RevDate: 2024-05-09

Kim BH, Ashrafudoulla M, Shaila S, et al (2024)

Isolation, characterization, and application of bacteriophage on Vibrio parahaemolyticus biofilm to control seafood contamination.

International journal of antimicrobial agents pii:S0924-8579(24)00112-2 [Epub ahead of print].

This study intended to isolate a Vibrio-particular phage from the natural environment, analyze its characteristics and genome sequence, and investigate its reduction effect on V. parahaemolyticus biofilm as a biocontrol agent in squid and mackerel. Among 21 phages, phage CAU_VPP01, isolated from beach mud, was chosen for further experiments based on host range and EOP tests. When examining the reduction effect of phage CAU_VPP01 against Vibrio parahaemolyticus biofilms on surfaces (stainless steel [SS] and polyethylene terephthalate [PET]) and food surfaces (squid and mackerel), the phage showed the most excellent reduction effect at a multiplicity-of-infection (MOI) 10. Three-dimensional images acquired with confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) analysis were quantified using COMSTAT, which showed that biomass, average thickness, and roughness coefficient decreased when treated with the phage. Color and texture analysis confirmed that the quality of squid and mackerel was maintained after the phage treatment. Finally, a comparison of gene expression levels determined by qRT-PCR analysis showed that the phage treatment induced a decrease in the gene expression of flaA, vp0962, and luxS, as examples. This study indicated that Vibrio-specific phage CAU_VPP01 effectively controlled V. parahaemolyticus biofilms under various conditions and confirmed that the isolated phage could possibly be used as an effective biocontrol weapon in the seafood manufacturing industry.

RevDate: 2024-05-07

Fidopiastis PM, Childs C, Esin JJ, et al (2024)

Correction for Fidopiastis et al., "Vibrio fischeri Possesses Xds and Dns Nucleases That Differentially Influence Phosphate Scavenging, Aggregation, Competence, and Symbiotic Colonization of Squid".

Applied and environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2024-05-07

Fidopiastis PM, Childs C, Esin JJ, et al (2024)

Corrected and republished from: "Vibrio fischeri Possesses Xds and Dns Nucleases That Differentially Influence Phosphate Scavenging, Aggregation, Competence, and Symbiotic Colonization of Squid".

Applied and environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Cells of Vibrio fischeri colonize the light organ of Euprymna scolopes, providing the squid bioluminescence in exchange for nutrients and protection. The bacteria encounter DNA-rich mucus throughout their transition to a symbiotic lifestyle, leading us to hypothesize a role for nuclease activity in the colonization process. In support of this, we detected abundant extracellular nuclease activity in growing cells of V. fischeri. To discover the gene(s) responsible for this activity, we screened a V. fischeri transposon mutant library for nuclease-deficient strains. Interestingly, only one strain, whose transposon insertion mapped to nuclease gene VF_1451, showed a complete loss of nuclease activity in our screens. A database search revealed that VF_1451 is homologous to the nuclease-encoding gene xds in Vibrio cholerae. However, V. fischeri strains lacking xds eventually revealed slight nuclease activity on plates upon prolonged incubation. This led us to hypothesize that a second secreted nuclease, identified through a database search as VF_0437, a homolog of V. cholerae dns, might be responsible for the residual nuclease activity. Here, we show that Xds and/or Dns are involved in essential aspects of V. fischeri biology, including natural transformation, aggregation, and phosphate scavenging. Furthermore, strains lacking either nuclease were outcompeted by the wild type for squid colonization. Understanding the specific role of nuclease activity in the squid colonization process represents an intriguing area of future research.IMPORTANCEFrom soil and water to host-associated secretions such as mucus, environments that bacteria inhabit are awash in DNA. Extracellular DNA (eDNA) is a nutritious resource that microbes dedicate significant energy to exploit. Calcium binds eDNA to promote cell-cell aggregation and horizontal gene transfer. eDNA hydrolysis impacts the construction of and dispersal from biofilms. Strategies in which pathogens use nucleases to avoid phagocytosis or disseminate by degrading host secretions are well-documented; significantly less is known about nucleases in mutualistic associations. This study describes the role of nucleases in the mutualism between Vibrio fischeri and its squid host Euprymna scolopes. We find that nuclease activity is an important determinant of colonization in V. fischeri, broadening our understanding of how microbes establish and maintain beneficial associations.

RevDate: 2024-05-02

Septer AN, KL Visick (2024)

Lighting the way: how the Vibrio fischeri model microbe reveals the complexity of Earth's "simplest" life forms.

Journal of bacteriology [Epub ahead of print].

Vibrio (Aliivibrio) fischeri's initial rise to fame derived from its alluring production of blue-green light. Subsequent studies to probe the mechanisms underlying this bioluminescence helped the field discover the phenomenon now known as quorum sensing. Orthologs of quorum-sensing regulators (i.e., LuxR and LuxI) originally identified in V. fischeri were subsequently uncovered in a plethora of bacterial species, and analogous pathways were found in yet others. Over the past three decades, the study of this microbe has greatly expanded to probe the unique role of V. fischeri as the exclusive symbiont of the light organ of the Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes. Buoyed by this optically amenable host and by persistent and insightful researchers who have applied novel and cross-disciplinary approaches, V. fischeri has developed into a robust model for microbe-host associations. It has contributed to our understanding of how bacteria experience and respond to specific, often fluxing environmental conditions and the mechanisms by which bacteria impact the development of their host. It has also deepened our understanding of numerous microbial processes such as motility and chemotaxis, biofilm formation and dispersal, and bacterial competition, and of the relevance of specific bacterial genes in the context of colonizing an animal host. Parallels in these processes between this symbiont and bacteria studied as pathogens are readily apparent, demonstrating functional conservation across diverse associations and permitting a reinterpretation of "pathogenesis." Collectively, these advances built a foundation for microbiome studies and have positioned V. fischeri to continue to expand the frontiers of our understanding of the microbial world inside animals.

RevDate: 2024-04-22

Thomas R, Fukamizo T, W Suginta (2022)

Bioeconomic production of high-quality chitobiose from chitin food wastes using an in-house chitinase from Vibrio campbellii.

Bioresources and bioprocessing, 9(1):86.

Marine Vibrio species are natural degraders of chitin and usually secrete high levels of chitinolytic enzymes to digest recalcitrant chitin to chitooligosaccharides. This study used an endochitinase (VhChiA) from Vibrio campbellii to produce high-quality chitobiose from crustacean chitins. The enzyme was shown to be fully active and stable over 24 h when BSA was used as an additive. When different chitin sources were tested, VhChiA preferentially digested shrimp and squid (α) chitins compared to crab (β) chitin and did not utilize non-chitin substrates. The overall yields of chitobiose obtained from small-scale production using a single-step reaction was 96% from shrimp, and 91% from squid pen and crab-shell chitins. Larger-scale production yielded 200 mg of chitobiose, with > 99% purity after a desalting and purification step using preparative HPLC. In conclusion, we report the employment of an in-house produced chitinase as an effective biocatalyst to rapidly convert chitin food wastes to chitobiose, in a quantity and quality suitable for use in research and commercial purposes. Chitobiose production by this economical and eco-friendly approach can be easily scaled up to obtain multi-gram quantities of chitobiose for chemo-enzymic synthesis of rare chitooligosaccharide derivatives and long chain chitooligosaccharides, as well as preparation of sugar-based functionalized nanomaterials.

RevDate: 2024-04-17

Nakajima H, Fukui A, Suzuki K, et al (2024)


The Journal of parasitology, 110(2):159-169.

Dicyemids (phylum Dicyemida) are the most common and most characteristic endosymbionts in the renal sacs of benthic cephalopod molluscs: octopuses and cuttlefishes. Typically, 2 or 3 dicyemid species are found in a single specimen of the host, and most dicyemids have high host specificity. Host-specific parasites are restricted to a limited range of host species by ecological barriers that impede dispersal and successful establishment; therefore, phylogenies of interacting groups are often congruent due to repeated co-speciation. Most frequently, however, host and parasite phylogenies are not congruent, which can be explained by processes such as host switching and other macro-evolutionary events. Here, the history of dicyemids and their host cephalopod associations were studied by comparing their phylogenies. Dicyemid species were collected from 8 decapodiform species and 12 octopodiform species in Japanese waters. Using whole mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) sequences, a phylogeny of 37 dicyemid species, including 4 genera representing the family Dicyemidae, was reconstructed. Phylogenetic trees derived from analyses of COI genes consistently suggested that dicyemid species should be separated into 3 major clades and that the most common genera, Dicyema and Dicyemennea, are not monophyletic. Thus, morphological classification does not reflect the phylogenetic relationships of these 2 genera. Divergence (speciation) of dicyemid species seems to have occurred within a single host species. Possible host-switching events may have occurred between the Octopodiformes and Decapodiformes or within the Octopodiformes or the Decapodiformes. Therefore, the mechanism of dicyemid speciation may be a mixture of host switching and intra-host speciation. This is the first study in which the process of dicyemid diversification involving cephalopod hosts has been evaluated with a large number of dicyemid species and genera.

RevDate: 2024-04-12

Sathiyamoorthi E, Lee JH, J Lee (2024)

Antibacterial and antibiofilm activity of halogenated phenylboronic acids against Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio harveyi.

Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 14:1340910.

Vibrios are associated with live seafood because they are part of the indigenous marine microflora. In Asia, foodborne infections caused by Vibrio spp. are common. In recent years, V. parahaemolyticus has become the leading cause of all reported food poisoning outbreaks. Therefore, the halogenated acid and its 33 derivatives were investigated for their antibacterial efficacy against V. parahaemolyticus. The compounds 3,5-diiodo-2-methoxyphenylboronic acid (DIMPBA) and 2-fluoro-5-iodophenylboronic acid (FIPBA) exhibited antibacterial and antibiofilm activity. DIMPBA and FIPBA had minimum inhibitory concentrations of 100 μg/mL for the planktonic cell growth and prevented biofilm formation in a dose-dependent manner. Both iodo-boric acids could diminish the several virulence factors influencing the motility, agglutination of fimbria, hydrophobicity, and indole synthesis. Consequently, these two active halogenated acids hampered the proliferation of the planktonic and biofilm cells. Moreover, these compounds have the potential to effectively inhibit the presence of biofilm formation on the surface of both squid and shrimp models.

RevDate: 2024-04-10

Yang L, Lawhorn S, Bongrand C, et al (2024)

Bacterial growth dynamics in a rhythmic symbiosis.

Molecular biology of the cell [Epub ahead of print].

The symbiotic relationship between the bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri and the bobtail squid Euprymna scolopes serves as a valuable system to investigate bacterial growth and peptidoglycan (PG) synthesis within animal tissues. To better understand the growth dynamics of V. fischeri in the crypts of the light-emitting organ of its juvenile host, we showed that, after the daily dawn-triggered expulsion of most of the population, the remaining symbionts rapidly proliferate for about 6 h. At that point the population enters a period of extremely slow growth that continues throughout the night until the next dawn. Further, we found that PG synthesis by the symbionts decreases as they enter the slow-growing stage. Surprisingly, in contrast to the most mature crypts (i.e., Crypt 1) of juvenile animals, most of the symbiont cells in the least mature crypts (i.e., Crypt 3) were not expelled and, instead, remained in the slow-growing state throughout the day, with almost no cell division. Consistent with this observation, the expression of the gene encoding the PG-remodeling enzyme, L,D-transpeptidase (LdtA), was greatest during the slowly growing stage of Crypt 1 but, in contrast, remained continuously high in Crypt 3. Finally, deletion of the ldtA gene resulted in a symbiont that grew and survived normally in culture, but was increasingly defective in competing against its parent strain in the crypts. This result suggests that remodeling of the PG to generate additional 3-3 linkages contributes to the bacterium's fitness in the symbiosis, possibly in response to stresses encountered during the very slow-growing stage. [Media: see text] [Media: see text] [Media: see text] [Media: see text] [Media: see text].

RevDate: 2024-03-25

Yount TA, Murtha AN, Cecere AG, et al (2023)

Quorum sensing facilitates interpopulation signaling by Vibrio fischeri within the light organ of Euprymna scolopes.

Israel journal of chemistry, 63(5-6):.

Quorum sensing is an intercellular signaling mechanism that enables bacterial cells to coordinate population-level behaviors. How quorum sensing functions in natural habitats remains poorly understood. Vibrio fischeri is a bacterial symbiont of the Hawaiian bobtail squid Euprymna scolopes and depends on LuxI/LuxR quorum sensing to produce the symbiotic trait of bioluminescence. A previous study demonstrated that animals emit light when co-colonized by a Δlux mutant, which lacks several genes within the lux operon that are necessary for bioluminescence production, and a LuxI[-] mutant, which cannot synthesize the quorum signaling molecule N-3-oxohexanoyl-homoserine lactone. Here, we build upon that observation and show that populations of LuxI[-] feature elevated promoter activity for the lux operon. We find that population structures comprising of Δlux and LuxI[-] are attenuated within the squid, but a wild-type strain enables the LuxI[-] strain type to be maintained in vivo. These experimental results support a model of interpopulation signaling, which provides basic insight into how quorum sensing functions within the natural habitats found within a host.

RevDate: 2024-02-05

Duscher AA, Vroom MM, JS Foster (2024)

Impact of modeled microgravity stress on innate immunity in a beneficial animal-microbe symbiosis.

Scientific reports, 14(1):2912.

The innate immune response is the first line of defense for all animals to not only detect invading microbes and toxins but also sense and interface with the environment. One such environment that can significantly affect innate immunity is spaceflight. In this study, we explored the impact of microgravity stress on key elements of the NFκB innate immune pathway. The symbiosis between the bobtail squid Euprymna scolopes and its beneficial symbiont Vibrio fischeri was used as a model system under a simulated microgravity environment. The expression of genes associated with the NFκB pathway was monitored over time as the symbiosis progressed. Results revealed that although the onset of the symbiosis was the major driver in the differential expression of NFκB signaling, the stress of simulated low-shear microgravity also caused a dysregulation of expression. Several genes were expressed at earlier time points suggesting that elements of the E. scolopes NFκB pathway are stress-inducible, whereas expression of other pathway components was delayed. The results provide new insights into the role of NFκB signaling in the squid-vibrio symbiosis, and how the stress of microgravity negatively impacts the host immune response. Together, these results provide a foundation to develop mitigation strategies to maintain host-microbe homeostasis during spaceflight.

RevDate: 2024-02-05

Vijayan N, McAnulty SJ, Sanchez G, et al (2024)

Evolutionary history influences the microbiomes of a female symbiotic reproductive organ in cephalopods.

Applied and environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Many female squids and cuttlefishes have a symbiotic reproductive organ called the accessory nidamental gland (ANG) that hosts a bacterial consortium involved with egg defense against pathogens and fouling organisms. While the ANG is found in multiple cephalopod families, little is known about the global microbial diversity of these ANG bacterial symbionts. We used 16S rRNA gene community analysis to characterize the ANG microbiome from different cephalopod species and assess the relationship between host and symbiont phylogenies. The ANG microbiome of 11 species of cephalopods from four families (superorder: Decapodiformes) that span seven geographic locations was characterized. Bacteria of class Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, and Flavobacteriia were found in all species, yet analysis of amplicon sequence variants by multiple distance metrics revealed a significant difference between ANG microbiomes of cephalopod families (weighted/unweighted UniFrac, Bray-Curtis, P = 0.001). Despite being collected from widely disparate geographic locations, members of the family Sepiolidae (bobtail squid) shared many bacterial taxa including (~50%) Opitutae (Verrucomicrobia) and Ruegeria (Alphaproteobacteria) species. Furthermore, we tested for phylosymbiosis and found a positive correlation between host phylogenetic distance and bacterial community dissimilarity (Mantel test r = 0.7). These data suggest that closely related sepiolids select for distinct symbionts from similar bacterial taxa. Overall, the ANGs of different cephalopod species harbor distinct microbiomes and thus offer a diverse symbiont community to explore antimicrobial activity and other functional roles in host fitness.IMPORTANCEMany aquatic organisms recruit microbial symbionts from the environment that provide a variety of functions, including defense from pathogens. Some female cephalopods (squids, bobtail squids, and cuttlefish) have a reproductive organ called the accessory nidamental gland (ANG) that contains a bacterial consortium that protects eggs from pathogens. Despite the wide distribution of these cephalopods, whether they share similar microbiomes is unknown. Here, we studied the microbial diversity of the ANG in 11 species of cephalopods distributed over a broad geographic range and representing 15-120 million years of host divergence. The ANG microbiomes shared some bacterial taxa, but each cephalopod species had unique symbiotic members. Additionally, analysis of host-symbiont phylogenies suggests that the evolutionary histories of the partners have been important in shaping the ANG microbiome. This study advances our knowledge of cephalopod-bacteria relationships and provides a foundation to explore defensive symbionts in other systems.

RevDate: 2024-01-25

Fung BL, Esin JJ, KL Visick (2024)

Vibrio fischeri: a model for host-associated biofilm formation.

Journal of bacteriology [Epub ahead of print].

Multicellular communities of adherent bacteria known as biofilms are often detrimental in the context of a human host, making it important to study their formation and dispersal, especially in animal models. One such model is the symbiosis between the squid Euprymna scolopes and the bacterium Vibrio fischeri. Juvenile squid hatch aposymbiotically and selectively acquire their symbiont from natural seawater containing diverse environmental microbes. Successful pairing is facilitated by ciliary movements that direct bacteria to quiet zones on the surface of the squid's symbiotic light organ where V. fischeri forms a small aggregate or biofilm. Subsequently, the bacteria disperse from that aggregate to enter the organ, ultimately reaching and colonizing deep crypt spaces. Although transient, aggregate formation is critical for optimal colonization and is tightly controlled. In vitro studies have identified a variety of polysaccharides and proteins that comprise the extracellular matrix. Some of the most well-characterized matrix factors include the symbiosis polysaccharide (SYP), cellulose polysaccharide, and LapV adhesin. In this review, we discuss these components, their regulation, and other less understood V. fischeri biofilm contributors. We also highlight what is currently known about dispersal from these aggregates and host cues that may promote it. Finally, we briefly describe discoveries gleaned from the study of other V. fischeri isolates. By unraveling the complexities involved in V. fischeri's control over matrix components, we may begin to understand how the host environment triggers transient biofilm formation and dispersal to promote this unique symbiotic relationship.

RevDate: 2023-12-21

Vander Griend JA, Isenberg RY, Kotla KR, et al (2023)

Transcriptional pathways across colony biofilm models in the symbiont Vibrio fischeri.

mSystems [Epub ahead of print].

The V. fischeri-squid system provides an opportunity to study biofilm development both in the animal host and in culture-based biofilm models that capture key aspects of in vivo signaling. In this work, we report the results of the transcriptomic profiling of two V. fischeri biofilm models followed by phenotypic validation and examination of novel signaling pathway architecture. Remarkable consistency between the models provides a strong basis for future studies using either approach or both. A subset of the factors identified by the approaches were validated in the work, and the body of transcriptomic data provides a number of leads for future studies in culture and during animal colonization.

RevDate: 2023-12-19

Siriphap A, Prapasawat W, Borthong J, et al (2023)

Prevalence, virulence characteristics, and antimicrobial resistance of Vibrio parahaemolyticus isolates from raw seafood in a province in Northern Thailand.

FEMS microbiology letters pii:7478020 [Epub ahead of print].

Vibrio parahaemolyticus (V. parahaemolyticus) is commonly found in seawater and seafood products, but evidence is limited of its presence in seafood marketed in locations very distant from coastal sources. This study determined the prevalence and characterization of V. parahaemolyticus in seafood from markets in landlocked Phayao province, Northern Thailand. Among 120 samples, 26 (21.7%) were positive for V. parahaemolyticus, being highest in shrimp (43.3%), followed by shellfish (36.7%), and squid (6.7%), but was not found in fish. V. parahaemolyticus comprised 33 isolates that were non-pathogenic and non-pandemic. Almost all isolates from shrimp and shellfish samples were positive for T3SS1. Only five isolates (15.2%) showed two antimicrobial resistance patterns, namely, kanamycin-streptomycin (1) carrying sul2 and ampicillin-kanamycin-streptomycin (4) that carried tetA (2), tetA-sul2 (1), as well as one negative. Antimicrobial susceptible V. parahaemolyticus isolates possessing tetA (67.9%) and sul2 (3.5%) were also found. Six isolates positive for integron class 1 and/or class 2 were detected in 4 antimicrobial susceptible and 2 resistant isolates. While pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus was not detected, contamination of antimicrobial resistance V. parahaemolyticus in seafood in locations distant from coastal areas requires ongoing monitoring to improve food safety in the seafood supply chain.

RevDate: 2023-10-24

Zhang C, BK Hammer (2023)

Sociomicrobiology: Coexistence of conflict and cooperation in the squid light organ.

Current biology : CB, 33(20):R1063-R1064.

The Hawaiian bobtail squid's Vibrio fischeri symbionts use quorum sensing for both bioluminescence and to modulate antagonism. New research finds quorum sensing unexpectedly represses V. fischeri's type 6 secretion system, highlighting intricate connections between cooperative and competitive microbial behaviors.

RevDate: 2023-10-12

Bongrand C, JS Foster (2023)

Modelled microgravity impacts Vibrio fischeri population structure in a mutualistic association with an animal host.

Environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Perturbations to host-microbe interactions, such as environmental stress, can alter and disrupt homeostasis. In this study, we examined the effects of a stressor, simulated microgravity, on beneficial bacteria behaviours when colonising their host. We studied the bacterium Vibrio fischeri, which establishes a mutualistic association in a symbiosis-specific organ within the bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes. To elucidate how animal-microbe interactions are affected by the stress of microgravity, squid were inoculated with different bacterial strains exhibiting either a dominant- or sharing-colonisation behaviour in High Aspect Ratio Vessels, which simulate the low-shear environment of microgravity. The colonisation behaviours of the sharing and dominant strains under modelled microgravity conditions were determined by counting light-organ homogenate of squids as well as confocal microscopy to assess the partitioning of different strains within the light organ. The results indicated that although the colonisation behaviours of the strains did not change, the population levels of the sharing strains were at lower relative abundance in single-colonised animals exposed to modelled microgravity compared to unit gravity; in addition, there were shifts in the relative abundance of strains in co-colonised squids. Together these results suggest that the initiation of beneficial interactions between microbes and animals can be altered by environmental stress, such as simulated microgravity.

RevDate: 2023-09-09

Guckes KR, Yount TA, Steingard CH, et al (2023)

Quorum sensing inhibits interference competition among bacterial symbionts within a host.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(23)01131-4 [Epub ahead of print].

The symbioses that animals form with bacteria play important roles in health and disease, but the molecular details underlying how bacterial symbionts initially assemble within a host remain unclear.[1][,][2][,][3] The bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri establishes a light-emitting symbiosis with the Hawaiian bobtail squid Euprymna scolopes by colonizing specific epithelium-lined crypt spaces within a symbiotic organ called the light organ.[4] Competition for these colonization sites occurs between different strains of V. fischeri, with the lancet-like type VI secretion system (T6SS) facilitating strong competitive interference that results in strain incompatibility within a crypt space.[5][,][6] Although recent studies have identified regulators of this T6SS, how the T6SS is controlled as symbionts assemble in vivo remains unknown.[7][,][8] Here, we show that T6SS activity is suppressed by N-octanoyl-L-homoserine lactone (C8 HSL), which is a signaling molecule that facilitates quorum sensing in V. fischeri and is important for efficient symbiont assembly.[9][,][10] We find that this signaling depends on the quorum-sensing regulator LitR, which lowers expression of the needle subunit Hcp, a key component of the T6SS, by repressing transcription of the T6SS regulator VasH. We show that LitR-dependent quorum sensing inhibits strain incompatibility within the squid light organ. Collectively, these results provide new insights into the mechanisms by which regulatory networks that promote symbiosis also control competition among symbionts, which in turn may affect the overall symbiont diversity that assembles within a host.

RevDate: 2023-09-04

Sathiyamoorthi E, Lee JH, Tan Y, et al (2023)

Antimicrobial and antibiofilm activities of formylchromones against Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio harveyi.

Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 13:1234668.

Gram-negative Vibrio species are major foodborne pathogens often associated with seafood intake that causes gastroenteritis. On food surfaces, biofilm formation by Vibrio species enhances the resistance of bacteria to disinfectants and antimicrobial agents. Hence, an efficient antibacterial and antibiofilm approach is urgently required. This study examined the antibacterial and antivirulence effects of chromones and their 26 derivatives against V. parahaemolyticus and V. harveyi. 6-Bromo-3-formylchromone (6B3FC) and 6-chloro-3-formylchromone (6C3FC) were active antibacterial and antibiofilm compounds. Both 6B3FC and 6C3FC exhibited minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of 20 µg/mL for planktonic cell growth and dose-dependently inhibited biofilm formation. Additionally, they decreased swimming motility, protease activity, fimbrial agglutination, hydrophobicity, and indole production at 20 µg/mL which impaired the growth of the bacteria. Furthermore, the active compounds could completely inhibit the slimy substances and microbial cells on the surface of the squid and shrimp. The most active compound 6B3FC inhibited the gene expression associated in quorum sensing and biofilm formation (luxS, opaR), pathogenicity (tdh), and membrane integrity (vmrA) in V. parahaemolyticus. However, toxicity profiling using seed germination and Caenorhabditis elegans models suggests that 6C3FC may have moderate effect at 50 µg/mL while 6B3FC was toxic to the nematodes 20-100 µg/mL. These findings suggest chromone analogs, particularly two halogenated formylchromones (6B3FC and 6C3FC), were effective antimicrobial and antibiofilm agents against V. parahaemolyticus in the food and pharmaceutical sectors.

RevDate: 2023-08-28
CmpDate: 2023-08-28

Zhou X, Fang PX, Cao HM, et al (2023)

Molecular characterization and expression of twenty interleukin-17 transcripts in the common Chinese cuttlefish (Sepiella japonica) in response to Vibrio harveyi infection.

Fish & shellfish immunology, 140:108903.

The common Chinese cuttlefish (Sepiella japonica) is an essential species for stock enhancement by releasing juveniles in the East China Sea now. S. japonica is susceptible to bacterial diseases during parental breeding. In vertebrates, Interleukin-17 (IL-17) cytokine family plays critical roles in both acute and chronic inflammatory responses. In Cephalopoda, few studies have been reported on IL-17 genes so far. In this study, twenty IL-17 transcripts obtained from S. japonica were divided into eight groups (designated as Sj_IL-17-1 to Sj_IL-17-8). Multiple alignment analysis showed that IL-17s in S. japonica and human both contained four β-folds (β1-β4), except for Sj_IL-17-6 with two β-folds (β1 and β2), and the third and fourth β-folds of Sj_IL-17-5 and Sj_IL-17-8 were longer than those of other Sj_IL-17. Protein structure and conserved motifs analysis demonstrated that Sj_IL-17-5 and Sj_IL-17-6 displayed different protein structure with respect to other six Sj_IL-17 proteins. The homology and phylogenetic analysis of amino acids showed that Sj_IL-17-5, Sj_IL-17-6 and Sj_IL-17-8 had low homology with the other five Sj_IL-17s. Eight Sj_IL-17 mRNAs were ubiquitously expressed in ten examined tissues, with dominant expression in the hemolymph. qRT-PCR data showed that the mRNA expression levels of Sj_IL-17-2, Sj_IL-17-3, Sj_IL-17-6, and Sj_IL-17-8 were significantly up-regulated in infected cuttlefishes, and Sj_IL-17-2, Sj_IL-17-6, Sj_IL-17-7, and Sj_IL-17-8 mRNAs Awere significantly up-regulated after bath infection of Vibrio harveyi, suggesting that certain Sj_IL-17s were involved in the immune response of S. japonica against V. harveyi infection. These results implied that Sj_IL-17s were likely to have distinct functional diversification. This study aims to understand the involvement of Sj_IL-17 genes in immune responses of cuttlefish against bacterial infections.

RevDate: 2023-08-23

Griend JAV, Isenberg RY, Kotla KR, et al (2023)

Transcriptional pathways across colony biofilm models in the symbiont Vibrio fischeri.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2023.08.07.552283.

UNLABELLED: Beneficial microbial symbionts that are horizontally acquired by their animal hosts undergo a lifestyle transition from free-living in the environment to associated with host tissues. In the model symbiosis between the Hawaiian bobtail squid and its microbial symbiont Vibrio fischeri, one mechanism used to make this transition during host colonization is the formation of biofilm-like aggregates in host mucosa. Previous work identified factors that are sufficient to induce V. fischeri biofilm formation, yet much remains unknown regarding the breadth of target genes induced by these factors. Here, we probed two widely-used in vitro models of biofilm formation to identify novel regulatory pathways in the squid symbiont V. fischeri ES114. We discovered a shared set of 232 genes that demonstrated similar patterns in expression in both models. These genes comprise multiple exopolysaccharide loci that are upregulated and flagellar motility genes that are downregulated, with a consistent decrease in measured swimming motility. Furthermore, we identified genes regulated downstream of the key sensor kinase RscS that are induced independent of the response regulator SypG. Our data suggest that putative response regulator VpsR plays a strong role in expression of at least a subset of these genes. Overall, this study adds to our understanding of the genes involved in V. fischeri biofilm regulation, while revealing new regulatory pathways branching from previously characterized signaling networks.

IMPORTANCE: The V. fischeri- squid system provides an opportunity to study biofilm development both in the animal host and in culture-based biofilm models that capture key aspects of in vivo signaling. In this work, we report the results of the transcriptomic profiling of two V. fischeri biofilm models followed by phenotypic validation and examination of novel signaling pathway architecture. Remarkable consistency between the models provides a strong basis for future studies using either-or both-approaches. A subset of the factors identified by the approaches were validated in the work, and the body of transcriptomic data provides a number of leads for future studies in culture and during animal colonization.

RevDate: 2023-08-07

Isenberg RY, Holschbach CS, Gao J, et al (2023)

Functional analysis of cyclic diguanylate-modulating proteins in Vibrio fischeri.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2023.07.24.550417.

UNLABELLED: As bacterial symbionts transition from a motile free-living state to a sessile biofilm state, they must coordinate behavior changes suitable to each lifestyle. Cyclic diguanylate (c-di-GMP) is an intracellular signaling molecule that can regulate this transition, and it is synthesized by diguanylate cyclase (DGC) enzymes and degraded by phosphodiesterase (PDE) enzymes. Generally, c-di-GMP inhibits motility and promotes biofilm formation. While c-di-GMP and the enzymes that contribute to its metabolism have been well-studied in pathogens, considerably less focus has been placed on c-di-GMP regulation in beneficial symbionts. Vibrio fischeri is the sole beneficial symbiont of the Hawaiian bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes) light organ, and the bacterium requires both motility and biofilm formation to efficiently colonize. C-di-GMP regulates swimming motility and cellulose exopolysaccharide production in V. fischeri . The genome encodes 50 DGCs and PDEs, and while a few of these proteins have been characterized, the majority have not undergone comprehensive characterization. In this study, we use protein overexpression to systematically characterize the functional potential of all 50 V. fischeri proteins. All 28 predicted DGCs and 14 predicted PDEs displayed at least one phenotype consistent with their predicted function, and a majority of each displayed multiple phenotypes. Finally, active site mutant analysis of proteins with the potential for both DGC and PDE activities revealed potential activities for these proteins. This work presents a systems-level functional analysis of a family of signaling proteins in a tractable animal symbiont and will inform future efforts to characterize the roles of individual proteins during lifestyle transitions.

IMPORTANCE: C-di-GMP is a critical second messenger that mediates bacterial behaviors, and V. fischeri colonization of its Hawaiian bobtail squid host presents a tractable model in which to interrogate the role of c-di-GMP during animal colonization. This work provides systems-level characterization of the 50 proteins predicted to modulate c-di-GMP levels. By combining multiple assays, we generated a rich understanding of which proteins have the capacity to influence c-di-GMP levels and behaviors. Our functional approach yielded insights into how proteins with domains to both synthesize and degrade c-di-GMP may impact bacterial behaviors. Finally, we integrated published data to provide a broader picture of each of the 50 proteins analyzed. This study will inform future work to define specific pathways by which c-di-GMP regulates symbiotic behaviors and transitions.

RevDate: 2023-07-31

Cecere AG, Cook RA, TI Miyashiro (2023)

A case study assessing the impact of mating frequency on the reproductive performance of the Hawaiian bobtail squid Euprymna scolopes.

Laboratory animal research, 39(1):17.

BACKGROUND: The symbiosis between the Hawaiian bobtail squid Euprymna scolopes and bacterium Vibrio fischeri serves as a model for investigating the molecular mechanisms that promote the initial formation of animal-bacterial symbioses. Research with this system frequently depends on freshly hatched E. scolopes, but the husbandry factors that promote hatchling production in a mariculture facility remain underreported. Here we report on the reproductive performance of E. scolopes in response to decreased mating frequency.

RESULTS: One animal cohort was maintained in a mariculture facility for 107 days, with females assigned to either a control group (mating once every 14 days) or an experimental group (mating once every 21 days). No differences between the groups were observed in survival, the number of egg clutches laid, or hatchling counts. Each group featured multiple females that were hyper-reproductive, i.e., they generated more than 8 egg clutches while in captivity. Examination of the distributions for daily hatchling counts of individual egg clutches revealed significant variation in the hatching patterns among clutches that was independent of mating frequency. Finally, an assessment of hatchling production showed that 93.5% of total hatchlings produced by the cohort were derived from egg clutches laid within the first 70 days.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest a lower mating frequency does not impede hatchling production. Furthermore, the variation in hatchling production among egg clutches provides new insight into the reproductive performance of E. scolopes as a lab animal for microbiology research.

RevDate: 2023-07-18
CmpDate: 2023-07-17

Donnelly AR, Giacobe EJ, Cook RA, et al (2023)

Quantification of the capacity of vibrio fischeri to establish symbiosis with Euprymna scolopes.

PloS one, 18(7):e0287519.

Most animals establish long-term symbiotic associations with bacteria that are critical for normal host physiology. The symbiosis that forms between the Hawaiian squid Euprymna scolopes and the bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri serves as an important model system for investigating the molecular mechanisms that promote animal-bacterial symbioses. E. scolopes hatch from their eggs uncolonized, which has led to the development of squid-colonization assays that are based on introducing culture-grown V. fischeri cells to freshly hatched juvenile squid. Recent studies have revealed that strains often exhibit large differences in how they establish symbiosis. Therefore, we sought to develop a simplified and reproducible protocol that permits researchers to determine appropriate inoculum levels and provides a platform to standardize the assay across different laboratories. In our protocol, we adapt a method commonly used for evaluating the infectivity of pathogens to quantify the symbiotic capacity of V. fischeri strains. The resulting metric, the symbiotic dose-50 (SD50), estimates the inoculum level that is necessary for a specific V. fischeri strain to establish a light-emitting symbiosis. Relative to other protocols, our method requires 2-5-fold fewer animals. Furthermore, the power analysis presented here suggests that the protocol can detect up to a 3-fold change in the SD50 between different strains.

RevDate: 2023-07-18

Rouressol L, Briseno J, Vijayan N, et al (2023)

Emergence of novel genomic regulatory regions associated with light-organ development in the bobtail squid.

iScience, 26(7):107091.

Light organs (LO) with symbiotic bioluminescent bacteria are hallmarks of many bobtail squid species. These organs possess structural and functional features to modulate light, analogous to those found in coleoid eyes. Previous studies identified four transcription factors and modulators (SIX, EYA, PAX6, DAC) associated with both eyes and light organ development, suggesting co-option of a highly conserved gene regulatory network. Using available topological, open chromatin, and transcriptomic data, we explore the regulatory landscape around the four transcription factors as well as genes associated with LO and shared LO/eye expression. This analysis revealed several closely associated and putatively co-regulated genes. Comparative genomic analyses identified distinct evolutionary origins of these putative regulatory associations, with the DAC locus showing a unique topological and evolutionarily recent organization. We discuss different scenarios of modifications to genome topology and how these changes may have contributed to the evolutionary emergence of the light organ.

RevDate: 2023-07-27
CmpDate: 2023-07-26

Dial CN, Fung BL, KL Visick (2023)

Genetic Analysis Reveals a Requirement for the Hybrid Sensor Kinase RscS in para-Aminobenzoic Acid/Calcium-Induced Biofilm Formation by Vibrio fischeri.

Journal of bacteriology, 205(7):e0007523.

The marine bacterium Vibrio fischeri initiates symbiotic colonization of its squid host, Euprymna scolopes, by forming and dispersing from a biofilm dependent on the symbiosis polysaccharide locus (syp). Historically, genetic manipulation of V. fischeri was needed to visualize syp-dependent biofilm formation in vitro, but recently, we discovered that the combination of two small molecules, para-aminobenzoic acid (pABA) and calcium, was sufficient to induce wild-type strain ES114 to form biofilms. Here, we determined that these syp-dependent biofilms were reliant on the positive syp regulator RscS, since the loss of this sensor kinase abrogated biofilm formation and syp transcription. These results were of particular note because loss of RscS, a key colonization factor, exerts little to no effect on biofilm formation under other genetic and medium conditions. The biofilm defect could be complemented by wild-type RscS and by an RscS chimera that contains the N-terminal domains of RscS fused to the C-terminal HPT domain of SypF, the downstream sensor kinase. It could not be complemented by derivatives that lacked the periplasmic sensory domain or contained a mutation in the conserved site of phosphorylation, H412, suggesting that these cues promote signaling through RscS. Lastly, pABA and/or calcium was able to induce biofilm formation when rscS was introduced into a heterologous system. Taken together, these data suggest that RscS is responsible for recognizing pABA and calcium, or downstream consequences of those cues, to induce biofilm formation. This study thus provides insight into signals and regulators that promote biofilm formation by V. fischeri. IMPORTANCE Bacterial biofilms are common in a variety of environments. Infectious biofilms formed in the human body are notoriously hard to treat due to a biofilm's intrinsic resistance to antibiotics. Bacteria must integrate signals from the environment to build and sustain a biofilm and often use sensor kinases that sense an external signal, which triggers a signaling cascade to elicit a response. However, identifying the signals that kinases sense remains a challenging area of investigation. Here, we determine that a hybrid sensor kinase, RscS, is crucial for Vibrio fischeri to recognize para-aminobenzoic acid and calcium as cues to induce biofilm formation. This study thus advances our understanding of the signal transduction pathways leading to biofilm formation.

RevDate: 2023-05-13
CmpDate: 2023-05-08

Surrett ED, Guckes KR, Cousins S, et al (2023)

Two enhancer binding proteins activate σ[54]-dependent transcription of a quorum regulatory RNA in a bacterial symbiont.

eLife, 12:.

To colonize a host, bacteria depend on an ensemble of signaling systems to convert information about the various environments encountered within the host into specific cellular activities. How these signaling systems coordinate transitions between cellular states in vivo remains poorly understood. To address this knowledge gap, we investigated how the bacterial symbiont Vibrio fischeri initially colonizes the light organ of the Hawaiian bobtail squid Euprymna scolopes. Previous work has shown that the small RNA Qrr1, which is a regulatory component of the quorum-sensing system in V. fischeri, promotes host colonization. Here, we report that transcriptional activation of Qrr1 is inhibited by the sensor kinase BinK, which suppresses cellular aggregation by V. fischeri prior to light organ entry. We show that Qrr1 expression depends on the alternative sigma factor σ[54] and the transcription factors LuxO and SypG, which function similar to an OR logic gate, thereby ensuring Qrr1 is expressed during colonization. Finally, we provide evidence that this regulatory mechanism is widespread throughout the Vibrionaceae family. Together, our work reveals how coordination between the signaling pathways underlying aggregation and quorum-sensing promotes host colonization, which provides insight into how integration among signaling systems facilitates complex processes in bacteria.

RevDate: 2023-06-17
CmpDate: 2023-04-04

Essock-Burns T, Lawhorn S, Wu L, et al (2023)

Maturation state of colonization sites promotes symbiotic resiliency in the Euprymna scolopes-Vibrio fischeri partnership.

Microbiome, 11(1):68.

BACKGROUND: Many animals and plants acquire their coevolved symbiotic partners shortly post-embryonic development. Thus, during embryogenesis, cellular features must be developed that will promote both symbiont colonization of the appropriate tissues, as well as persistence at those sites. While variation in the degree of maturation occurs in newborn tissues, little is unknown about how this variation influences the establishment and persistence of host-microbe associations.

RESULTS: The binary symbiosis model, the squid-vibrio (Euprymna scolopes-Vibrio fischeri) system, offers a way to study how an environmental gram-negative bacterium establishes a beneficial, persistent, extracellular colonization of an animal host. Here, we show that bacterial symbionts occupy six different colonization sites in the light-emitting organ of the host that have both distinct morphologies and responses to antibiotic treatment. Vibrio fischeri was most resilient to antibiotic disturbance when contained within the smallest and least mature colonization sites. We show that this variability in crypt development at the time of hatching allows the immature sites to act as a symbiont reservoir that has the potential to reseed the more mature sites in the host organ when they have been cleared by antibiotic treatment. This strategy may produce an ecologically significant resiliency to the association.

CONCLUSIONS: The data presented here provide evidence that the evolution of the squid-vibrio association has been selected for a nascent organ with a range of host tissue maturity at the onset of symbiosis. The resulting variation in physical and chemical environments results in a spectrum of host-symbiont interactions, notably, variation in susceptibility to environmental disturbance. This "insurance policy" provides resiliency to the symbiosis during the critical period of its early development. While differences in tissue maturity at birth have been documented in other animals, such as along the infant gut tract of mammals, the impact of this variation on host-microbiome interactions has not been studied. Because a wide variety of symbiosis characters are highly conserved over animal evolution, studies of the squid-vibrio association have the promise of providing insights into basic strategies that ensure successful bacterial passage between hosts in horizontally transmitted symbioses. Video Abstract.

RevDate: 2023-04-03

Septer AN, Sharpe G, EA Shook (2023)

The Vibrio fischeri type VI secretion system incurs a fitness cost under host-like conditions.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology.

The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is an interbacterial weapon composed of thousands of protein subunits and predicted to require significant cellular energy to deploy, yet a fitness cost from T6SS use is rarely observed. Here, we identify host-like conditions where the T6SS incurs a fitness cost using the beneficial symbiont, Vibrio fischeri , which uses its T6SS to eliminate competitors in the natural squid host. We hypothesized that a fitness cost for the T6SS could be dependent on the cellular energetic state and used theoretical ATP cost estimates to predict when a T6SS-dependent fitness cost may be apparent. Theoretical energetic cost estimates predicted a minor relative cost for T6SS use in fast-growing populations (0.4-0.45% of total ATP used cell [-1]), and a higher relative cost (3.1-13.6%) for stationary phase cells. Consistent with these predictions, we observed no significant T6SS-dependent fitness cost for fast-growing populations typically used for competition assays. However, the stationary phase cell density was significantly lower in the wild-type strain, compared to a regulator mutant that does not express the T6SS, and this T6SS-dependent fitness cost was between 11 and 23%. Such a fitness cost could influence the prevalence and biogeography of T6SSs in animal-associated bacteria. While the T6SS may be required in kill or be killed scenarios, once the competitor is eliminated there is no longer selective pressure to maintain the weapon. Our findings indicate an evolved genotype lacking the T6SS would have a growth advantage over its parent, resulting in the eventual dominance of the unarmed population.

RevDate: 2023-04-04
CmpDate: 2023-04-04

Stratev D, Fasulkova R, G Krumova-Valcheva (2023)

Incidence, virulence genes and antimicrobial resistance of Vibrio parahaemolyticus isolated from seafood.

Microbial pathogenesis, 177:106050.

The objective of the study was to establish the incidence, pathogenic factors and antimicrobial resistance of Vibrio parahaemolyticus in seafood from retail shops in Bulgaria. A hundred and eighty samples of sea fish, mussels, oysters, veined rapa whelks, shrimps and squids were included in the study. PCR methods were used to identify V. parahaemolyticus and prove tdh and trh genes. Antimicrobial resistance was established by disc diffusion method, and MAR index was calculated. The results proved the presence of V. parahaemolyticus in 24% (44/180) of the seafood samples. tdh-positive V. parahaemolyticus was not found, while the trh gene was detected in one veined rapa whelk isolate. All isolates were susceptible to Sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim, Tetracycline, Gentamycin, Amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, Amikacin, Ciprofloxacin, and Levofloxacin. Intermediate resistance was found to Ampicillin (25%; 11/44), Cefepime (16%; 7/44), and Ceftazidime (2%; 1/44). The results showed that 16% (7/44) of the isolates were resistant to Cefepime, 9% (4/44) to Ampicillin, and 5% (2/44) to Ceftazidime. MAR-index values ranged from 0.10 to 0.30. The incidence of pathogenic and multidrug-resistant V. parahaemolyticus strains in seafood offered on the market poses a risk to consumer health.

RevDate: 2023-05-22
CmpDate: 2023-02-24

Guckes KR, TI Miyashiro (2023)

The type-VI secretion system of the beneficial symbiont Vibrio fischeri.

Microbiology (Reading, England), 169(2):.

The mutualistic symbiosis between the Hawaiian bobtail squid Euprymna scolopes and the marine bacterium Vibrio fischeri is a powerful experimental system for determining how intercellular interactions impact animal-bacterial associations. In nature, this symbiosis features multiple strains of V. fischeri within each adult animal, which indicates that different strains initially colonize each squid. Various studies have demonstrated that certain strains of V. fischeri possess a type-VI secretion system (T6SS), which can inhibit other strains from establishing symbiosis within the same host habitat. The T6SS is a bacterial melee weapon that enables a cell to kill adjacent cells by translocating toxic effectors via a lancet-like apparatus. This review describes the progress that has been made in understanding the factors that govern the structure and expression of the T6SS in V. fischeri and its effect on the symbiosis.

RevDate: 2023-02-15
CmpDate: 2023-02-15

Qian Y, Zhao C, Cai X, et al (2023)

Enhancing the AI-2/LuxS quorum sensing system in Lactiplantibacillus plantarum: Effect on the elimination of biofilms grown on seafoods.

International journal of food microbiology, 389:110102.

The biofilm clustered with putrefying microorganisms and seafood pathogens could cover the surface of aquatic products that pose a risk to cross-contaminating food products or even human health. Fighting biofilms triggers synchronous communication associated with microbial consortia to regulate their developmental processes, and the enhancement of the quorum sensing system in Lactiplantibacillus plantarum can serve as an updated starting point for antibiofilm-forming strategies. Our results showed that the exogenous 25 mM L-cysteine induced a significant strengthening in the AI-2/LuxS system of Lactiplantibacillus plantarum SS-128 along with a stronger bacteriostatic ability, resulting in an effective inhibition of biofilms formed by the simplified microbial consortia constructed by Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Shewanella putrefaciens grown on shrimp and squid surfaces. The accumulation of AI-2 allowed the suppression of the expression of biofilm-related genes in V. parahaemolyticus under the premise of L. plantarum SS-128 treatment, contributing to the inhibition effect. In addition, strengthening the AI-2/LuxS system is also conducive to eliminating preexisting biofilms by L. plantarum SS-128. This study suggests that the enhancement of the AI-2/LuxS system of lactic acid bacteria enables the regulation of interspecific communication within biofilms to be a viable tool to efficiently reduce and eradicate potentially harmful biofilms from aquatic product sources, opening new horizons for combating biofilms.

RevDate: 2023-03-14
CmpDate: 2023-03-02

McAnulty SJ, Kerwin AH, Koch E, et al (2023)

"Failure To Launch": Development of a Reproductive Organ Linked to Symbiotic Bacteria.

mBio, 14(1):e0213122.

Developmental processes in animals are influenced by colonization and/or signaling from microbial symbionts. Here, we show that bacteria from the environment are linked to development of a symbiotic organ that houses a bacterial consortium in female Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes. In addition to the well-characterized light organ association with the bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri, female E. scolopes house a simple bacterial community in a reproductive organ, the accessory nidamental gland (ANG). In order to understand the influences of bacteria on ANG development, squid were raised in the laboratory under conditions where exposure to environmental microorganisms was experimentally manipulated. Under conditions where hosts were exposed to depleted environmental bacteria, ANGs were completely absent or stunted, a result independent of the presence of the light organ symbiont V. fischeri. When squid were raised in the laboratory with substrate from the host's natural environment containing the native microbiota, normal ANG development was observed, and the bacterial communities were similar to wild-caught animals. Analysis of the bacterial communities from ANGs and substrates of wild-caught and laboratory-raised animals suggests that certain bacterial groups, namely, the Verrucomicrobia, are linked to ANG development. The ANG community composition was also experimentally manipulated. Squid raised with natural substrate supplemented with a specific ANG bacterial strain, Leisingera sp. JC1, had high proportions of this strain in the ANG, suggesting that once ANG development is initiated, specific strains can be introduced and subsequently colonize the organ. Overall, these data suggest that environmental bacteria are required for development of the ANG in E. scolopes. IMPORTANCE Microbiota have profound effects on animal and plant development. Hosts raised axenically or without symbionts often suffer negative outcomes resulting in developmental defects or reduced organ function. Using defined experimental conditions, we demonstrate that environmental bacteria are required for the formation of a female-specific symbiotic organ in the Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes. Although nascent tissues from this organ that are involved with bacterial recruitment formed initially, the mature organ failed to develop and was absent or severely reduced in sexually mature animals that were not exposed to microbiota from the host's natural environment. This is the first example of complete organ development relying on exposure to symbiotic bacteria in an animal host. This study broadens the use of E. scolopes as a model organism for studying the influence of beneficial bacteria on animal development.

RevDate: 2023-01-17
CmpDate: 2023-01-17

Liu J, Liu Y, Liu Y, et al (2023)

Molecular cloning, expression analysis and immune-related functional identification of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) in Sepiella japonica under bacteria stress.

Fish & shellfish immunology, 132:108509.

Tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), a cytokine mainly secreted by active macrophages and monocytes, causes hemorrhagic necrosis of tumor tissues, kills tumor cells, regulates inflammatory responses, and plays a crucial role in innate immunity. In this study, TNFα of Sepiella japonica (named as SjTNFα) was acquired, whose full-length cDNA was 1206 bp (GenBank accession no. ON357428), containing a 5' UTR of 185 bp, a 3' UTR of 137 bp and an open reading frame (ORF) of 1002bp to encode a putative peptide of 333 amino acids for constructing the transmembrane domain and the cytoplasmic TNF domain. Its predicted pI was 8.69 and the theoretical molecular weight was 44.72 KDa. Multiple sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis showed that SjTNFα had the highest homology to Octopus sinensis, they fell into a unified branch and further clustered with other animals. Real-time PCR indicated that SjTNFα was widely expressed in all subject tissues, including spleen, pancreas, gill, heart, brain, optic lobe, liver and intestine, and exhibited the highest in the liver and the lowest in the brain. The relative expression of SjTNFα varied at the developmental period of juvenile stage, pre-spawning and oviposition in the squid, with the highest in the liver at the juvenile stage and oviposition, and in the optic lobe of pre-spawning. After being infected with Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Aeromonas hydrophila, the expression of SjTNFα in liver and gill were both upregulated with time, and the highest expression appeared at 24 h and 8 h in liver for different infection, and at 4 h in gill consistently. Cell localization showed that SjTNFα distributed on membrane of HEK293 cells because it was a type II soluble transmembrane protein. When HEK293 cells were stimulated with LPS of different concentrations, the NF-κB pathway was activated in the nucleus and the corresponding mRNA was transferred through the intracellular signal transduction pathway, resulting in the synthesis and release of TNFα, which made the expression of SjTNFα was up-regulated obviously. These findings showed that SjTNFα might play an essential role in the defense of S. japonica against bacteria challenge, which contributed to the understanding of the intrinsic immune signaling pathway of Cephalopoda and the further study of host-pathogen interactions.

RevDate: 2023-05-08
CmpDate: 2022-11-24

Fidopiastis PM, Childs C, Esin JJ, et al (2022)

Vibrio fischeri Possesses Xds and Dns Nucleases That Differentially Influence Phosphate Scavenging, Aggregation, Competence, and Symbiotic Colonization of Squid.

Applied and environmental microbiology, 88(22):e0163522.

Cells of Vibrio fischeri colonize the light organ of Euprymna scolopes, providing the squid bioluminescence in exchange for nutrients and protection. The bacteria encounter DNA-rich mucus throughout their transition to a symbiotic lifestyle, leading us to hypothesize a role for nuclease activity in the colonization process. In support of this, we detected abundant extracellular nuclease activity in growing cells of V. fischeri. To discover the gene(s) responsible for this activity, we screened a V. fischeri transposon mutant library for nuclease-deficient strains. Interestingly, only one strain, whose transposon insertion mapped to nuclease gene VF_1451, showed complete loss of nuclease activity in our screens. A database search revealed that VF_1451 is homologous to the nuclease-encoding gene xds in Vibrio cholerae. However, V. fischeri strains lacking xds eventually revealed slight nuclease activity on plates after 72 h. This led us to hypothesize that a second secreted nuclease, identified through a database search as VF_0437, a homolog of V. cholerae dns, might be responsible for the residual nuclease activity. Here, we show that Xds and/or Dns are involved in essential aspects of V. fischeri biology, including natural transformation, aggregation, and phosphate scavenging. Furthermore, strains lacking either nuclease were outcompeted by the wild type for squid colonization. Understanding the specific role of nuclease activity in the squid colonization process represents an intriguing area of future research. IMPORTANCE From soil and water to host-associated secretions such as mucus, environments that bacteria inhabit are awash in DNA. Extracellular DNA (eDNA) is a nutritious resource that microbes dedicate significant energy to exploit. Calcium binds eDNA to promote cell-cell aggregation and horizontal gene transfer. eDNA hydrolysis impacts construction of and dispersal from biofilms. Strategies in which pathogens use nucleases to avoid phagocytosis or disseminate by degrading host secretions are well documented; significantly less is known about nucleases in mutualistic associations. This study describes the role of nucleases in the mutualism between V. fischeri and its squid host, Euprymna scolopes. We find that nuclease activity is an important determinant of colonization in V. fischeri, broadening our understanding of how microbes establish and maintain beneficial associations.

RevDate: 2022-11-30

Gundlach KA, Nawroth J, Kanso E, et al (2022)

Ciliated epithelia are key elements in the recruitment of bacterial partners in the squid-vibrio symbiosis.

Frontiers in cell and developmental biology, 10:974213.

The Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, harvests its luminous symbiont, Vibrio fischeri, from the surrounding seawater within hours of hatching. During embryogenesis, the host animal develops a nascent light organ with ciliated fields on each lateral surface. We hypothesized that these fields function to increase the efficiency of symbiont colonization of host tissues. Within minutes of hatching from the egg, the host's ciliated fields shed copious amounts of mucus in a non-specific response to bacterial surface molecules, specifically peptidoglycan (PGN), from the bacterioplankton in the surrounding seawater. Experimental manipulation of the system provided evidence that nitric oxide in the mucus drives an increase in ciliary beat frequency (CBF), and exposure to even small numbers of V. fischeri cells for short periods resulted in an additional increase in CBF. These results indicate that the light-organ ciliated fields respond specifically, sensitively, and rapidly, to the presence of nonspecific PGN as well as symbiont cells in the ambient seawater. Notably, the study provides the first evidence that this induction of an increase in CBF occurs as part of a thus far undiscovered initial phase in colonization of the squid host by its symbiont, i.e., host recognition of V. fischeri cues in the environment within minutes. Using a biophysics-based mathematical analysis, we showed that this rapid induction of increased CBF, while accelerating bacterial advection, is unlikely to be signaled by V. fischeri cells interacting directly with the organ surface. These overall changes in CBF were shown to significantly impact the efficiency of V. fischeri colonization of the host organ. Further, once V. fischeri has fully colonized the host tissues, i.e., about 12-24 h after initial host-symbiont interactions, the symbionts drove an attenuation of mucus shedding from the ciliated fields, concomitant with an attenuation of the CBF. Taken together, these findings offer a window into the very first interactions of ciliated surfaces with their coevolved microbial partners.

RevDate: 2022-10-30

Soto W (2022)

Emerging Research Topics in the Vibrionaceae and the Squid-Vibrio Symbiosis.

Microorganisms, 10(10):.

The Vibrionaceae encompasses a cosmopolitan group that is mostly aquatic and possesses tremendous metabolic and genetic diversity. Given the importance of this taxon, it deserves continued and deeper research in a multitude of areas. This review outlines emerging topics of interest within the Vibrionaceae. Moreover, previously understudied research areas are highlighted that merit further exploration, including affiliations with marine plants (seagrasses), microbial predators, intracellular niches, and resistance to heavy metal toxicity. Agarases, phototrophy, phage shock protein response, and microbial experimental evolution are also fields discussed. The squid-Vibrio symbiosis is a stellar model system, which can be a useful guiding light on deeper expeditions and voyages traversing these "seas of interest". Where appropriate, the squid-Vibrio mutualism is mentioned in how it has or could facilitate the illumination of these various subjects. Additional research is warranted on the topics specified herein, since they have critical relevance for biomedical science, pharmaceuticals, and health care. There are also practical applications in agriculture, zymology, food science, and culinary use. The tractability of microbial experimental evolution is explained. Examples are given of how microbial selection studies can be used to examine the roles of chance, contingency, and determinism (natural selection) in shaping Earth's natural history.

RevDate: 2022-11-08
CmpDate: 2022-11-08

Sathiyamoorthi E, Faleye OS, Lee JH, et al (2023)

Hydroquinone derivatives attenuate biofilm formation and virulence factor production in Vibrio spp.

International journal of food microbiology, 384:109954.

Gram-negative Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a halophilic human pathogen known to be the leading cause of food poisoning associated with consuming uncooked or undercooked seafood. The increasing presence and contamination of seafood have caused serious safety concerns in food facilities. Notably, it can form biofilms on food surfaces that confer resistance to antimicrobial treatments. Therefore, in the present study, the antibacterial, antibiofilm, and antivirulence activities of hydroquinone (HQ) and its 16 derivatives were investigated against V. parahaemolyticus and V. harveyi. Representative active antibacterial and antibiofilm compounds, 2,3-dimethylhydroquinone (2,3-DMHQ) and 2,5-ditert-butylhydroquinone (DBHQ), were further examined using a crystal violet assay, biochemical reactions, live cell imaging, and scanning electron microscopy. 2,3-DMHQ with a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 20 μg/mL completely inhibited biofilm formation at a sub-MIC of 15 μg/mL. And, DBHQ with an MIC of ˃1000 μg/mL reduced biofilm formation by 70 % at sub-MIC of 25 μg/mL. Both 2,3-DMHQ and DBHQ inhibited protease and indole production as well as motility phenotypes. 2,3-DMHQ decreased fimbriae production and hydrophobicity whereas DBHQ did not. Transcriptomic studies revealed that genes related to biofilm, quorum sensing (QS), and hemolysin were downregulated. In addition, 2,3-DMHQ and DBHQ prevented biofilm formation of V. parahaemolyticus on squid surfaces and 2,3-DMHQ reduced the presence of V. parahaemolyticus in a boiled shrimp model. Toxicity assays using the Caenorhabditis elegans and seed germinations models showed that they were non-to-mildly toxic. These results suggest that 2,3-DMHQ and DBHQ possess the antimicrobial properties required to control V. parahaemolyticus planktonic and biofilm states in food production facilities.

RevDate: 2023-07-01

Suria AM, Smith S, Speare L, et al (2022)

Prevalence and diversity of type VI secretion systems in a model beneficial symbiosis.

Frontiers in microbiology, 13:988044.

The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is widely distributed in diverse bacterial species and habitats where it is required for interbacterial competition and interactions with eukaryotic cells. Previous work described the role of a T6SS in the beneficial symbiont, Vibrio fischeri, during colonization of the light organ of Euprymna scolopes squid. However, the prevalence and diversity of T6SSs found within the distinct symbiotic structures of this model host have not yet been determined. Here, we analyzed 73 genomes of isolates from squid light organs and accessory nidamental glands (ANGs) and 178 reference genomes. We found that the majority of these bacterial symbionts encode diverse T6SSs from four distinct classes, and most share homology with T6SSs from more distantly related species, including pathogens of animals and humans. These findings indicate that T6SSs with shared evolutionary histories can be integrated into the cellular systems of host-associated bacteria with different effects on host health. Furthermore, we found that one T6SS in V. fischeri is located within a genomic island with high genomic plasticity. Five distinct genomic island genotypes were identified, suggesting this region encodes diverse functional potential that natural selection can act on. Finally, analysis of newly described T6SSs in roseobacter clade ANG isolates revealed a novel predicted protein that appears to be a fusion of the TssB-TssC sheath components. This work underscores the importance of studying T6SSs in diverse organisms and natural habitats to better understand how T6SSs promote the propagation of bacterial populations and impact host health.

RevDate: 2022-11-25

Olaso CM, Viliunas J, M McFall-Ngai (2022)

A peptidoglycan-recognition protein orchestrates the first steps of symbiont recruitment in the squid-vibrio symbiosis.

Symbiosis (Philadelphia, Pa.), 87(1):31-43.

In symbioses established through horizontal transmission, evolution has selected for mechanisms that promote the recruitment of symbionts from the environment. Using the binary association between the Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, and its symbiont, Vibrio fischeri, we explored the first step of symbiont enrichment around sites where V. fischeri cells will enter host tissues. Earlier studies of the system had shown that, within minutes of hatching in natural seawater, ciliated epithelia of the nascent symbiotic tissue secrete a layer of mucus in response to exposure to the cell-wall biomolecule peptidoglycan (PGN) from non-specific bacterioplankton. We hypothesized that a peptidoglycan recognition protein, EsPGRP4, is the receptor that mediates host mucus secretion by sensing the environmental PGN; earlier studies of this protein family had shown that this is the only member predicted to behave as a membrane receptor. Immunocytochemistry localized EsPGRP4 to the superficial ciliated fields of the juvenile organ. We found that production of EsPGRP4 increased over the first 48 h after hatching if the light organ remained uncolonized. When colonized by V. fischeri, the levels of the protein in light-organ tissue remained similar to that of hatchling organs. Pharmacologically curing the initially colonized light organ with antibiotics resulted in return of EsPGRP4 production to levels similar to light organs that had remained uncolonized since hatching. Furthermore, we found that preincubation of the tissues with an EsPGRP4 antibody decreased light organ mucus production and colonization. These findings provide evidence of an innate mechanism that underlies a crucial first step in the horizontal recruitment of bacterial symbionts.

RevDate: 2022-09-06
CmpDate: 2022-08-22

Vroom MM, Troncoso-Garcia A, Duscher AA, et al (2022)

Modeled microgravity alters apoptotic gene expression and caspase activity in the squid-vibrio symbiosis.

BMC microbiology, 22(1):202.

BACKGROUND: Spaceflight is a novel and profoundly stressful environment for life. One aspect of spaceflight, microgravity, has been shown to perturb animal physiology thereby posing numerous health risks, including dysregulation of normal developmental pathways. Microgravity can also negatively impact the interactions between animals and their microbiomes. However, the effects of microgravity on developmental processes influenced by beneficial microbes, such as apoptosis, remains poorly understood. Here, the binary mutualism between the bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, and the gram-negative bacterium, Vibrio fischeri, was studied under modeled microgravity conditions to elucidate how this unique stressor alters apoptotic cell death induced by beneficial microbes.

RESULTS: Analysis of the host genome and transcriptome revealed a complex network of apoptosis genes affiliated with extrinsic/receptor-mediated and intrinsic/stress-induced apoptosis. Expression of apoptosis genes under modeled microgravity conditions occurred earlier and at high levels compared to gravity controls, in particular the expression of genes encoding initiator and executioner caspases. Functional assays of these apoptotic proteases revealed heightened activity under modeled microgravity; however, these increases could be mitigated using caspase inhibitors.

CONCLUSIONS: The outcomes of this study indicated that modeled microgravity alters the expression of both extrinsic and intrinsic apoptosis gene expression and that this process is mediated in part by caspases. Modeled microgravity-associated increases of caspase activity can be pharmacologically inhibited suggesting that perturbations to the normal apoptosis signaling cascade can be mitigated, which may have broader implications for maintaining animal-microbial homeostasis in spaceflight.

RevDate: 2022-10-04
CmpDate: 2022-09-02

Isenberg RY, Christensen DG, Visick KL, et al (2022)

High Levels of Cyclic Diguanylate Interfere with Beneficial Bacterial Colonization.

mBio, 13(4):e0167122.

During colonization of the Hawaiian bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes), Vibrio fischeri bacteria undergo a lifestyle transition from a planktonic motile state in the environment to a biofilm state in host mucus. Cyclic diguanylate (c-di-GMP) is a cytoplasmic signaling molecule that is important for regulating motility-biofilm transitions in many bacterial species. V. fischeri encodes 50 proteins predicted to synthesize and/or degrade c-di-GMP, but a role for c-di-GMP regulation during host colonization has not been investigated. We examined strains exhibiting either low or high levels of c-di-GMP during squid colonization and found that while a low-c-di-GMP strain had no colonization defect, a high c-di-GMP strain was severely impaired. Expression of a heterologous c-di-GMP phosphodiesterase restored colonization, demonstrating that the effect is due to high c-di-GMP levels. In the constitutive high-c-di-GMP state, colonizing V. fischeri exhibited reduced motility, altered biofilm aggregate morphology, and a regulatory interaction where transcription of one polysaccharide locus is inhibited by the presence of the other polysaccharide. Our results highlight the importance of proper c-di-GMP regulation during beneficial animal colonization, illustrate multiple pathways regulated by c-di-GMP in the host, and uncover an interplay of multiple exopolysaccharide systems in host-associated aggregates. IMPORTANCE There is substantial interest in studying cyclic diguanylate (c-di-GMP) in pathogenic and environmental bacteria, which has led to an accepted paradigm in which high c-di-GMP levels promote biofilm formation and reduce motility. However, considerably less focus has been placed on understanding how this compound contributes to beneficial colonization. Using the Vibrio fischeri-Hawaiian bobtail squid study system, we took advantage of recent genetic advances in the bacterium to modulate c-di-GMP levels and measure colonization and track c-di-GMP phenotypes in a symbiotic interaction. Studies in the animal host revealed a c-di-GMP-dependent genetic interaction between two distinct biofilm polysaccharides, Syp and cellulose, that was not evident in culture-based studies: elevated c-di-GMP altered the composition and abundance of the in vivo biofilm by decreasing syp transcription due to increased cellulose synthesis. This study reveals important parallels between pathogenic and beneficial colonization and additionally identifies c-di-GMP-dependent regulation that occurs specifically in the squid host.

RevDate: 2022-12-05

Cecere AG, TI Miyashiro (2022)

Impact of transit time on the reproductive capacity of Euprymna scolopes as a laboratory animal.

Laboratory animal research, 38(1):25.

BACKGROUND: The Hawaiian bobtail squid Euprymna scolopes hosts various marine bacterial symbionts, and these symbioses have served as models for the animal-microbe relationships that are important for host health. Within a light organ, E. scolopes harbors populations of the bacterium Vibrio fischeri, which produce low levels of bioluminescence that the squid uses for camouflage. The symbiosis is initially established after a juvenile squid hatches from its egg and acquires bacterial symbionts from the ambient marine environment. The relative ease with which a cohort of wild-caught E. scolopes can be maintained in a mariculture facility has facilitated over 3 decades of research involving juvenile squid. However, because E. scolopes is native to the Hawaiian archipelago, their transport from Hawaii to research facilities often represents a stress that has the potential to impact their physiology.

RESULTS: Here, we describe animal survival and reproductive capacity associated with a cohort of squid assembled from two shipments with markedly different transit times. We found that the lower juvenile squid counts generated by animals with the longer transit time were not due to the discrepancy in shipment but instead to fewer female squid that produced egg clutches at an elevated rate, which we term hyper-reproductivity. We find that hyper-reproductive females were responsible for 58% of the egg clutches laid.

CONCLUSIONS: The significance of these findings for E. scolopes biology and husbandry is discussed, thereby providing a platform for future investigation and further development of this cephalopod as a valuable lab animal for microbiology research.

RevDate: 2022-09-06
CmpDate: 2022-06-03

Toushik SH, Park JH, Kim K, et al (2022)

Antibiofilm efficacy of Leuconostoc mesenteroides J.27-derived postbiotic and food-grade essential oils against Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Escherichia coli alone and in combination, and their application as a green preservative in the seafood industry.

Food research international (Ottawa, Ont.), 156:111163.

Foodborne pathogen-mediated biofilms in food processing environments are severe threats to human lives. In the interest of human and environmental safety, natural substances with antimicrobial properties and generally regarded as safe (GRAS) status are the futuristic disinfectants of the food industry. In this study, the efficacy of bioactive, soluble products (metabolic by-products) from lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and plant-derived essential oils (EO) were investigated as biocidal agents. The postbiotic produced by kimchi-derived Leuconostoc mesenteroides J.27 isolate was analyzed for its metabolic components to reveal its antimicrobial potential against three pathogenic microorganisms (Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Escherichia coli). Additionally, the efficacy of food-grade EO (eugenol and thymol, respectively) was also assessed in our study. Determination of the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of postbiotic and EO against three tested pathogens revealed that the sub-MIC (0.5 MIC) of postbiotic and EO could efficiently inhibit the biofilm formation on both seafood (squid) and seafood-processing surfaces (rubber and low-density polyethylene plastic). Moreover, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis confirmed that the LAB J.27 isolate possesses bacteriocin- and enzyme-coding genes. The residual antibacterial activity of the produced postbiotic was maintained over a diverse pH range (pH 1-6) but was entirely abolished at neutral or higher pH values. However, the activity was unaffected by exposure to high temperatures (100 and 121 °C) and storage (30 days). Notably, the leakage of intracellular metabolites, damage to DNA, and the down-regulation of biofilm-associated gene expression in the pathogens increased significantly (p > 0.05) following the combination treatment of postbiotic with thymol compared to postbiotic with eugenol. Nonetheless, all in vitro results indicated the prospective use of combining Leu. mesenteroides J.27-derived postbiotic with both EO as a "green preservative" in the seafood industry to inhibit the formation of pathogenic microbial biofilms.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-05-19

Zheng L, Cao H, Qiu J, et al (2022)

Inhibitory Effect of FMRFamide on NO Production During Immune Defense in Sepiella japonica.

Frontiers in immunology, 13:825634.

Neuropeptide Phe-Met-Arg-Phe-NH2 (FMRFamide), specifically existing in invertebrates, plays pivotal roles in various physiological processes. The involvement in neuroendocrine-immune regulation was explored in recent years, and it could modulate nitric oxide (NO) production under immune stress. However, detailed knowledge is still little known. In this study, we identified FMRFamide as an inhibitory factor on NO production in the immune reaction of Sepiella japonica. Firstly, Vibrio harveyi incubation caused significantly upregulated expression of FMRFamide precursor and NO synthase (NOS) in just hatched cuttlefish with quantitative Real-time PCR (qRT-PCR), which indicated that both were likely to be involved in the immune defense. The whole-mount in situ hybridization (ISH) detected FMRFamide precursor and NOS-positive signals appeared colocalization, suggesting that at histological and anatomical levels FMRFamide might interact with NOS. Next, NOS mRNA was highly significantly upregulated at 72 h when FMRFamide precursor mRNA was knocked down effectively with the RNA interference (RNAi) method; the results hinted that FMRFamide was likely to regulate NO production. Continuously, the inflammatory model was constructed in RAW 264.7 cells induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS), FMRFamide administration resulted in a highly significant reduction of the NO level in dose- and time-response manners. Although the addition of the selected inducible NOS (iNOS) inhibitor had inhibited the NO production induced by LPS, the additional FMRFamide could still furtherly sharpen the process. Collectively, it was concluded that neuropeptide FMRFamide could indeed inhibit NO production to serve as feedback regulation at the late stage of immune response to protect hosts from excessive immune cytotoxicity. The inhibitory effect on NO production could not only be mediated by the NOS pathway but also be implemented through other pathways that needed to be furtherly explored. The results will provide data for comparing the structure and immune function of neuroendocrine-immune system (NEIS) between "advanced" cephalopods and other invertebrates and will provide new information for understanding the NEIS of cephalopods.

RevDate: 2022-04-16
CmpDate: 2022-04-13

Pipes BL, MK Nishiguchi (2022)

Nocturnal Acidification: A Coordinating Cue in the Euprymna scolopes-Vibrio fischeri Symbiosis.

International journal of molecular sciences, 23(7):.

The Vibrio fischeri-Euprymna scolopes symbiosis has become a powerful model for the study of specificity, initiation, and maintenance between beneficial bacteria and their eukaryotic partner. In this invertebrate model system, the bacterial symbionts are acquired every generation from the surrounding seawater by newly hatched squid. These symbionts colonize a specialized internal structure called the light organ, which they inhabit for the remainder of the host's lifetime. The V. fischeri population grows and ebbs following a diel cycle, with high cell densities at night producing bioluminescence that helps the host avoid predation during its nocturnal activities. Rhythmic timing of the growth of the symbionts and their production of bioluminescence only at night is critical for maintaining the symbiosis. V. fischeri symbionts detect their population densities through a behavior termed quorum-sensing, where they secrete and detect concentrations of autoinducer molecules at high cell density when nocturnal production of bioluminescence begins. In this review, we discuss events that lead up to the nocturnal acidification of the light organ and the cues used for pre-adaptive behaviors that both host and symbiont have evolved. This host-bacterium cross talk is used to coordinate networks of regulatory signals (such as quorum-sensing and bioluminescence) that eventually provide a unique yet stable environment for V. fischeri to thrive and be maintained throughout its life history as a successful partner in this dynamic symbiosis.

RevDate: 2023-03-05
CmpDate: 2022-04-28

Speare L, Woo M, Dunn AK, et al (2022)

A Putative Lipoprotein Mediates Cell-Cell Contact for Type VI Secretion System-Dependent Killing of Specific Competitors.

mBio, 13(2):e0308521.

Interbacterial competition is prevalent in host-associated microbiota, where it can shape community structure and function, impacting host health in both positive and negative ways. However, the factors that permit bacteria to discriminate among their various neighbors for targeted elimination of competitors remain elusive. We identified a putative lipoprotein (TasL) in Vibrio species that mediates cell-cell attachment with a subset of target strains, allowing inhibitors to target specific competitors for elimination. Here, we describe this putative lipoprotein, which is associated with the broadly distributed type VI secretion system (T6SS), by studying symbiotic Vibrio fischeri, which uses the T6SS to compete for colonization sites in their squid host. We demonstrate that TasL allows V. fischeri cells to restrict T6SS-dependent killing to certain genotypes by selectively integrating competitor cells into aggregates while excluding other cell types. TasL is also required for T6SS-dependent competition within juvenile squid, indicating that the adhesion factor is active in the host. Because TasL homologs are found in other host-associated bacterial species, this newly described cell-cell attachment mechanism has the potential to impact microbiome structure within diverse hosts. IMPORTANCE T6SSs are broadly distributed interbacterial weapons that share an evolutionary history with bacteriophage. Because the T6SS can be used to kill neighboring cells, it can impact the spatial distribution and biological function of both free-living and host-associated microbial communities. Like their phage relatives, T6SS[+] cells must sufficiently bind competitor cells to deliver their toxic effector proteins through the syringe-like apparatus. Although phage use receptor-binding proteins (RBPs) and tail fibers to selectively bind prey cells, the biophysical properties that mediate this cell-cell contact for T6SS-mediated killing remain unknown. Here, we identified a large, predicted lipoprotein that is coordinately expressed with T6SS proteins and facilitates the contact that is necessary for the T6SS-dependent elimination of competitors in a natural host. Similar to phage RBPs and tail fibers, this lipoprotein is required for T6SS[+] cells to discriminate between prey and nonprey cell types, revealing new insight into prey selection during T6SS-mediated competition.

RevDate: 2023-07-06
CmpDate: 2022-07-08

Lynch JB, James N, McFall-Ngai M, et al (2022)

Transitioning to confined spaces impacts bacterial swimming and escape response.

Biophysical journal, 121(13):2653-2662.

Symbiotic bacteria often navigate complex environments before colonizing privileged sites in their host organism. Chemical gradients are known to facilitate directional taxis of these bacteria, guiding them toward their eventual destination. However, less is known about the role of physical features in shaping the path the bacteria take and defining how they traverse a given space. The flagellated marine bacterium Vibrio fischeri, which forms a binary symbiosis with the Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, must navigate tight physical confinement during colonization, squeezing through a tissue bottleneck constricting to ∼2 μm in width on the way to its eventual home. Using microfluidic in vitro experiments, we discovered that V. fischeri cells alter their behavior upon entry into confined space, straightening their swimming paths and promoting escape from confinement. Using a computational model, we attributed this escape response to two factors: reduced directional fluctuation and a refractory period between reversals. Additional experiments in asymmetric capillary tubes confirmed that V. fischeri quickly escape from confined ends, even when drawn into the ends by chemoattraction. This avoidance was apparent down to a limit of confinement approaching the diameter of the cell itself, resulting in a balance between chemoattraction and evasion of physical confinement. Our findings demonstrate that nontrivial distributions of swimming bacteria can emerge from simple physical gradients in the level of confinement. Tight spaces may serve as an additional, crucial cue for bacteria while they navigate complex environments to enter specific habitats.

RevDate: 2022-04-15

Nyholm SV, MJ McFall-Ngai (2022)

Publisher Correction: A lasting symbiosis: how the Hawaiian bobtail squid finds and keeps its bioluminescent bacterial partner.

Nature reviews. Microbiology, 20(5):315.

RevDate: 2022-11-24

Bongrand C, Koch E, Mende D, et al (2022)

Evidence of Genomic Diversification in a Natural Symbiotic Population Within Its Host.

Frontiers in microbiology, 13:854355.

Planktonic cells of the luminous marine bacterium Vibrio fischeri establish themselves in the light-emitting organ of each generation of newly hatched Euprymna scolopes bobtail squid. A symbiont population is maintained within the 6 separated crypts of the organ for the ∼9-month life of the host. In the wild, the initial colonization step is typically accomplished by a handful of planktonic V. fischeri cells, leading to a species-specific, but often multi-strain, symbiont population. Within a few hours, the inoculating cells proliferate within the organ's individual crypts, after which there is evidently no supernumerary colonization. Nevertheless, every day at dawn, the majority of the symbionts is expelled, and the regrowth of the remaining ∼5% of cells provides a daily opportunity for the population to evolve and diverge, thereby increasing its genomic diversity. To begin to understand the extent of this diversification, we characterized the light-organ population of an adult animal. First, we used 16S sequencing to determine that species in the V. fischeri clade were essentially the only ones detectable within a field-caught E. scolopes. Efforts to colonize the host with a minor species that appeared to be identified, V. litoralis, revealed that, although some cells could be imaged within the organ, they were <0.1% of the typical V. fischeri population, and did not persist. Next, we determined the genome sequences of seventy-two isolates from one side of the organ. While all these isolates were associated with one of three clusters of V. fischeri strains, there was considerable genomic diversity within this natural symbiotic population. Comparative analyses revealed a significant difference in both the number and the presence/absence of genes within each cluster; in contrast, there was little accumulation of single-nucleotide polymorphisms. These data suggest that, in nature, the light organ is colonized by a small number of V. fischeri strains that can undergo significant genetic diversification, including by horizontal-gene transfer, over the course of ∼1500 generations of growth in the organ. When the resulting population of symbionts is expelled into seawater, its genomic mix provides the genetic basis for selection during the subsequent environmental dispersal, and transmission to the next host.

RevDate: 2023-02-27
CmpDate: 2022-04-27

Vu TTT, Hoang TTH, Fleischmann S, et al (2022)

Quantification and Antimicrobial Resistance of Vibrio parahaemolyticus in Retail Seafood in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Journal of food protection, 85(5):786-791.

ABSTRACT: Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a major cause of foodborne diseases and a significant threat to human health worldwide. Most of the infections caused by V. parahaemolyticus are usually associated with the consumption of raw or undercooked seafood. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence, quantitative load, and antimicrobial resistance of V. parahaemolyticus in retail seafood in Hanoi, Vietnam. A total of 120 seafood samples consisting of marine fish (n = 30), oysters (n = 30), shrimp (n = 30), and squid (n = 30) were purchased from different traditional markets in Hanoi between May and October 2020. Isolation of V. parahaemolyticus was based on ISO/TS 21872-1:2017, and the most-probable-number (MPN) method was used for quantification. The disk diffusion method was applied for antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Overall, V. parahaemolyticus was detected in 58.33% of the samples. V. parahaemolyticus was most commonly isolated in shrimp samples, with a prevalence of 86.67%, followed by fish (53.33%), squid (53.33%), and oysters (40%). One V. parahaemolyticus isolate from an oyster carrying the trh gene was detected. Of the positive samples, 27.14% contained V. parahaemolyticus counts of less than 2 log MPN/g, whereas 44.29% ranged from 2 to 4 log MPN/g and 28.57% contained more than 4 log MPN/g. Regarding antimicrobial resistance, 85.71% of V. parahaemolyticus isolates were resistant to at least one antibiotic tested. The highest rate of resistance was observed against ampicillin (81.43%), followed by cefotaxime (11.43%), ceftazidime (11.43%), trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (8.57%), and tetracycline (2.86%). The results demonstrate the high prevalence and quantitative load and the antimicrobial resistance of V. parahaemolyticus isolated from seafood sold in the study area.

RevDate: 2022-04-08
CmpDate: 2022-03-02

Lynch JB, Bennett BD, Merrill BD, et al (2022)

Independent host- and bacterium-based determinants protect a model symbiosis from phage predation.

Cell reports, 38(7):110376.

Bacteriophages (phages) are diverse and abundant constituents of microbial communities worldwide, capable of modulating bacterial populations in diverse ways. Here, we describe the phage HNL01, which infects the marine bacterium Vibrio fischeri. We use culture-based approaches to demonstrate that mutations in the exopolysaccharide locus of V. fischeri render this bacterium resistant to infection by HNL01, highlighting the extracellular matrix as a key determinant of HNL01 infection. Additionally, using the natural symbiosis between V. fischeri and the squid Euprymna scolopes, we show that, during colonization, V. fischeri is protected from phages present in the ambient seawater. Taken together, these findings shed light on independent yet synergistic host- and bacterium-based strategies for resisting symbiosis-disrupting phage predation, and we present important implications for understanding these strategies in the context of diverse host-associated microbial ecosystems.

RevDate: 2022-03-15
CmpDate: 2022-03-15

Allen C, SE Finkel (2022)

Vibrio harveyi Exhibits the Growth Advantage in Stationary Phase Phenotype during Long-Term Incubation.

Microbiology spectrum, 10(1):e0214421.

The bioluminescent marine bacterium Vibrio harveyi can exist within a host, acting as a mutualist or a parasitic microbe, and as planktonic cells in open seawater. This study demonstrates the ability of V. harveyi populations to survive and adapt under nutrient stress conditions in the laboratory, starting in an initially rich medium. V. harveyi populations remain viable into long-term stationary phase, for at least 1 month, without the addition of nutrients. To determine whether these communities are dynamic, populations were sampled after 10, 20, and 30 days of incubation and examined for their competitive ability when cocultured with an unaged, parental population. While populations incubated for 10 or 20 days showed some fitness advantage over parental populations, only after 30 days of incubation did all populations examined outcompete parental populations in coculture, fully expressing the growth advantage in stationary phase (GASP) phenotype. The ability to express GASP, in the absence of additional nutrients after inoculation, verifies the dynamism of long-term stationary-phase V. harveyi populations, implies the ability to generate genetic diversity, and demonstrates the plasticity of the V. harveyi genome, allowing for rapid adaptation for survival in changing culture environments. Despite the dynamism, the adaptation to the changing culture environment occurs less rapidly than in Escherichia coli, possibly due to Vibrio harveyi's lower mutation frequency. IMPORTANCE Vibrio harveyi populations exist in many different niches within the ocean environment, as free-living cells, symbionts with particular squid and fish species, and parasites to other marine organisms. It is important to understand V. harveyi's ability to survive and evolve within each of these niches. This study focuses on V. harveyi's lifestyle outside the host environment, demonstrating this microbe's ability to survive long-term culturing after inoculation in an initially rich medium and revealing increased competitive fitness correlated with incubation time when aged V. harveyi populations are cocultured with unaged, parental cultures. Thus, this study highlights the development of the growth advantage in stationary phase (GASP) phenotype in V. harveyi populations suggesting a dynamic population with fluctuating genotype frequencies throughout long-term, host-independent incubation.

RevDate: 2021-12-31

Faleye OS, Sathiyamoorthi E, Lee JH, et al (2021)

Inhibitory Effects of Cinnamaldehyde Derivatives on Biofilm Formation and Virulence Factors in Vibrio Species.

Pharmaceutics, 13(12):.

Vibrio parahaemolyticus is considered one of the most relevant pathogenic marine bacteria with a range of virulence factors to establish food-related gastrointestinal infections in humans. Cinnamaldehyde (CNMA) and some of its derivatives have antimicrobial and antivirulence activities against several bacterial pathogens. This study examined the inhibitory effects of CNMA and its derivatives on biofilm formation and the virulence factors in Vibrio species, particularly V. parahaemolyticus. CNMA and ten of its derivatives were initially screened against V. parahaemolyticus biofilm formation, and their effects on the production of virulence factors and gene expression were studied. Among the CNMA derivatives tested, 4-nitrocinnamaldehyde, 4-chlorocinnamaldehyde, and 4-bromocinnamaldehyde displayed antibacterial and antivirulence activities, while the backbone CNMA had weak effects. The derivatives could prevent the adhesion of V. parahaemolyticus to surfaces by the dose-dependent inhibition of cell surface hydrophobicity, fimbriae production, and flagella-mediated swimming and swarming phenotypes. They also decreased the protease secretion required for virulence and indole production, which could act as an important signal molecule. The expression of QS and biofilm-related genes (aphA, cpsA, luxS, and opaR), virulence genes (fliA, tdh, and vopS), and membrane integrity genes (fadL, and nusA) were downregulated in V. parahaemolyticus by these three CNMA analogs. Interestingly, they eliminated V. parahaemolyticus and reduced the background flora from the squid surface. In addition, they exhibited similar antimicrobial and antibiofilm activities against Vibrio harveyi. This study identified CNMA derivatives as potential broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents to treat biofilm-mediated Vibrio infections and for surface disinfection in food processing facilities.

RevDate: 2023-01-31
CmpDate: 2021-12-07

Tepavčević J, Yarrington K, Fung B, et al (2022)

sRNA chaperone Hfq controls bioluminescence and other phenotypes through Qrr1-dependent and -independent mechanisms in Vibrio fischeri.

Gene, 809:146048.

Colonization of the squid Euprymna scolopes by the bacterium Vibrio fischeri depends on bacterial biofilm formation, motility, and bioluminescence. Previous work has demonstrated an inhibitory role for the small RNA (sRNA) Qrr1 in quorum-induced bioluminescence of V. fischeri, but the contribution of the corresponding sRNA chaperone, Hfq, was not examined. We thus hypothesized that V. fischeri Hfq similarly functions to inhibit bacterial bioluminescence as well as regulate other key steps of symbiosis, including bacterial biofilm formation and motility. Surprisingly, deletion of hfq increased luminescence of V. fischeri beyond what was observed for the loss of qrr1 sRNA. Epistasis experiments revealed that, while Hfq contributes to the Qrr1-dependent regulation of light production, it also functions independently of Qrr1 and its downstream target, LitR. This Hfq-dependent, Qrr1-independent regulation of bioluminescence is also independent of the major repressor of light production in V. fischeri, ArcA. We further determined that Hfq is required for full motility of V. fischeri in a mechanism that partially depends on the Qrr1/LitR regulators. Finally, Hfq also appears to function in the control of biofilm formation: loss of Hfq delayed the timing and diminished the extent of wrinkled colony development, but did not eliminate the production of SYP-polysaccharide-dependent cohesive colonies. Furthermore, loss of Hfq enhanced production of cellulose and resulted in increased Congo red binding. Together, these findings point to Hfq as an important regulator of multiple phenotypes relevant to symbiosis between V. fischeri and its squid host.

RevDate: 2022-02-14
CmpDate: 2022-02-14

Tischler AH, Vanek ME, Peterson N, et al (2021)

Calcium-Responsive Diguanylate Cyclase CasA Drives Cellulose-Dependent Biofilm Formation and Inhibits Motility in Vibrio fischeri.

mBio, 12(6):e0257321.

The marine bacterium Vibrio fischeri colonizes its host, the Hawaiian bobtail squid, in a manner requiring both bacterial biofilm formation and motility. The decision to switch between sessile and motile states is often triggered by environmental signals and regulated by the widespread signaling molecule c-di-GMP. Calcium is an environmental signal previously shown to affect both biofilm formation and motility by V. fischeri. In this study, we investigated the link between calcium and c-di-GMP, determining that calcium increases intracellular c-di-GMP dependent on a specific diguanylate cyclase, calcium-sensing protein A (CasA). CasA is activated by calcium, dependent on residues in an N-terminal sensory domain, and synthesizes c-di-GMP through an enzymatic C-terminal domain. CasA is responsible for calcium-dependent inhibition of motility and activation of cellulose-dependent biofilm formation. Calcium regulates cellulose biofilms at the level of transcription, which also requires the transcription factor VpsR. Finally, the Vibrio cholerae CasA homolog, CdgK, is unable to complement CasA and may be inhibited by calcium. Collectively, these results identify CasA as a calcium-responsive regulator, linking an external signal to internal decisions governing behavior, and shed light on divergence between Vibrio spp. IMPORTANCE Biofilm formation and motility are often critical behaviors for bacteria to colonize a host organism. Vibrio fischeri is the exclusive colonizer of its host's symbiotic organ and requires both biofilm formation and motility to initiate successful colonization, providing a relatively simple model to explore complex behaviors. In this study, we determined how the environmental signal calcium alters bacterial behavior through production of the signaling molecule c-di-GMP. Calcium activates the diguanylate cyclase CasA to synthesize c-di-GMP, resulting in inhibition of motility and activation of cellulose production. These activities depend on residues in CasA's N-terminal sensory domain and C-terminal enzymatic domain. These findings thus identify calcium as a signal recognized by a specific diguanylate cyclase to control key bacterial phenotypes. Of note, CasA activity is seemingly inverse to that of the homologous V. cholerae protein, CdgK, providing insight into evolutionary divergence between closely related species.

RevDate: 2022-07-31
CmpDate: 2022-02-23

Murphy TR, Xiao R, Brooks ML, et al (2022)

Aquaculture production of hatchling Hawaiian Bobtail Squid (Euprymna scolopes) is negatively impacted by decreasing environmental microbiome diversity.

Journal of applied microbiology, 132(3):1724-1737.

AIMS: The Hawaiian Bobtail Squid (Euprymna scolopes) is a model organism for investigating host-symbiont relationships. The current scientific focus is on the microbiome within E. scolopes, while very little is known about the microbiome of the tanks housing E. scolopes. We examined the hypothesis that bacterial communities and geochemistry within the squid tank environment correlate with the production of viable paralarval squid.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Total DNA was extracted from sediment and filtered water samples from 'productive' squid cohorts with high embryonic survival and paralarval hatching, 'unproductive' cohorts with low embryonic survival and paralarval hatching. As a control total DNA was extracted from environmental marine locations where E. scolopes is indigenous. Comparative analysis of the bacterial communities by the 16S rRNA gene was performed using next generation sequencing. Thirty-eight differentially abundant genera were identified in the adult tank waters. The majority of the sequences represented unclassified, candidate or novel genera. The characterized genera included Aquicella, Woeseia and Ferruginibacter, with Hyphomicrobium and Rhizohapis were found to be more abundant in productive adult tank water. In addition, nitrate and pH covaried with productive cohorts, explaining 67% of the bacterial populations. The lower abundance of nitrate-reducing bacteria in unproductive adult tank water could explain detected elevated nitrate levels.

CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that microbiome composition and water geochemistry can negatively affect E. scolopes reproductive physiology in closed tank systems, ultimately impacting host-microbe research using these animals.

These results identify the tight relationship between the microbiome and geochemistry to E. scolopes. From this study, it may be possible to design probiotic counter-measures to improve aquaculture conditions for E. scolopes.

RevDate: 2022-02-03
CmpDate: 2022-02-03

Dial CN, Speare L, Sharpe GC, et al (2021)

Para-Aminobenzoic Acid, Calcium, and c-di-GMP Induce Formation of Cohesive, Syp-Polysaccharide-Dependent Biofilms in Vibrio fischeri.

mBio, 12(5):e0203421.

The marine bacterium Vibrio fischeri efficiently colonizes its symbiotic squid host, Euprymna scolopes, by producing a transient biofilm dependent on the symbiosis polysaccharide (SYP). In vitro, however, wild-type strain ES114 fails to form SYP-dependent biofilms. Instead, genetically engineered strains, such as those lacking the negative regulator BinK, have been developed to study this phenomenon. Historically, V. fischeri has been grown using LBS, a complex medium containing tryptone and yeast extract; supplementation with calcium is required to induce biofilm formation by a binK mutant. Here, through our discovery that yeast extract inhibits biofilm formation, we uncover signals and underlying mechanisms that control V. fischeri biofilm formation. In contrast to its inability to form a biofilm on unsupplemented LBS, a binK mutant formed cohesive, SYP-dependent colony biofilms on tTBS, modified LBS that lacks yeast extract. Moreover, wild-type strain ES114 became proficient to form cohesive, SYP-dependent biofilms when grown in tTBS supplemented with both calcium and the vitamin para-aminobenzoic acid (pABA); neither molecule alone was sufficient, indicating that this phenotype relies on coordinating two cues. pABA/calcium supplementation also inhibited bacterial motility. Consistent with these phenotypes, cells grown in tTBS with pABA/calcium were enriched in transcripts for biofilm-related genes and predicted diguanylate cyclases, which produce the second messenger cyclic-di-GMP (c-di-GMP). They also exhibited elevated levels of c-di-GMP, which was required for the observed phenotypes, as phosphodiesterase overproduction abrogated biofilm formation and partially rescued motility. This work thus provides insight into conditions, signals, and processes that promote biofilm formation by V. fischeri. IMPORTANCE Bacteria integrate environmental signals to regulate gene expression and protein production to adapt to their surroundings. One such behavioral adaptation is the formation of a biofilm, which can promote adherence and colonization and provide protection against antimicrobials. Identifying signals that trigger biofilm formation and the underlying mechanism(s) of action remain important and challenging areas of investigation. Here, we determined that yeast extract, commonly used for growth of bacteria in laboratory culture, inhibits biofilm formation by Vibrio fischeri, a model bacterium used for investigating host-relevant biofilm formation. Omitting yeast extract from the growth medium led to the identification of an unusual signal, the vitamin para-aminobenzoic acid (pABA), that when added together with calcium could induce biofilm formation. pABA increased the concentrations of the second messenger, c-di-GMP, which was necessary but not sufficient to induce biofilm formation. This work thus advances our understanding of signals and signal integration controlling bacterial biofilm formation.

RevDate: 2021-10-29

McFall-Ngai M, E Ruby (2021)

Getting the Message Out: the Many Modes of Host-Symbiont Communication during Early-Stage Establishment of the Squid-Vibrio Partnership.

mSystems, 6(5):e0086721.

Symbiosis, by its basic nature, depends on partner interactions that are mediated by cues and signals. This kind of critical reciprocal communication shapes the trajectory of host-microbe associations from their onset through their maturation and is typically mediated by both biochemical and biomechanical influences. Symbiotic partnerships often involve communities composed of dozens to hundreds of microbial species, for which resolving the precise nature of these partner interactions is highly challenging. Naturally occurring binary associations, such as those between certain legumes, nematodes, fishes, and squids, and their specific bacterial partner species offer the opportunity to examine interactions with high resolution and at the scale at which the interactions occur. The goals of this review are to provide the conceptual framework for evolutionarily conserved drivers of host-symbiont communication in animal associations and to offer a window into some mechanisms of this phenomenon as discovered through the study of the squid-vibrio model. The discussion focuses upon the early events that lead to persistence of the symbiotic partnership. The biophysical and biochemical determinants of the initial hours of dialogue between partners and how the symbiosis is shaped by the environment that is created by their reciprocal interactions are key topics that have been difficult to approach in more complex systems. Through our research on the squid-vibrio system, we provide insight into the intricate temporal and spatial complexity that underlies the molecular and cellular events mediating successful microbial colonization of the host animal.

RevDate: 2022-02-07
CmpDate: 2022-02-07

Bosch TCG, M Zasloff (2021)

Antimicrobial Peptides-or How Our Ancestors Learned to Control the Microbiome.

mBio, 12(5):e0184721.

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are short and generally positively charged peptides found in a wide variety of life forms from microorganisms to humans. Their wide range of activity against pathogens, including Gram-positive and -negative bacteria, yeasts, fungi, and enveloped viruses makes them a fundamental component of innate immunity. Marra et al. (A. Marra, M. A. Hanson, S. Kondo, B. Erkosar, B. Lemaitre, mBio 12:e0082421, 2021, use the analytical potential of Drosophila to show that AMPs and lysozymes play a direct role in controlling the composition and abundance of the beneficial gut microbiome. By comparing mutant and wild-type flies, they demonstrated that the specific loss of AMPs and lysozyme production results in changes in microbiome abundance and composition. Furthermore, they established that AMPs and lysozyme are particularly essential in aging flies. Studies of early emerging metazoans, other invertebrates, and humans support the view of an ancestral function of AMPs in controlling microbial colonization.

RevDate: 2022-02-07
CmpDate: 2022-02-07

Essock-Burns T, Bennett BD, Arencibia D, et al (2021)

Bacterial Quorum-Sensing Regulation Induces Morphological Change in a Key Host Tissue during the Euprymna scolopes-Vibrio fischeri Symbiosis.

mBio, 12(5):e0240221.

Microbes colonize the apical surfaces of polarized epithelia in nearly all animal taxa. In one example, the luminous bacterium Vibrio fischeri enters, grows to a dense population within, and persists for months inside, the light-emitting organ of the squid Euprymna scolopes. Crucial to the symbiont's success after entry is the ability to trigger the constriction of a host tissue region (the "bottleneck") at the entrance to the colonization site. Bottleneck constriction begins at about the same time as bioluminescence, which is induced in V. fischeri through an autoinduction process called quorum sensing. Here, we asked the following questions: (i) Are the quorum signals that induce symbiont bioluminescence also involved in triggering the constriction? (ii) Does improper signaling of constriction affect the normal maintenance of the symbiont population? We manipulated the presence of three factors, the two V. fischeri quorum signal synthases, AinS and LuxI, the transcriptional regulator LuxR, and light emission itself, and found that the major factor triggering and maintaining bottleneck constriction is an as yet unknown effector(s) regulated by LuxIR. Treating the animal with chemical inhibitors of actin polymerization reopened the bottlenecks, recapitulating the host's response to quorum-sensing defective symbionts, as well as suggesting that actin polymerization is the primary mechanism underlying constriction. Finally, we found that these host responses to the presence of symbionts changed as a function of tissue maturation. Taken together, this work broadens our concept of how quorum sensing can regulate host development, thereby allowing bacteria to maintain long-term tissue associations. IMPORTANCE Interbacterial signaling within a host-associated population can have profound effects on the behavior of the bacteria, for instance, in their production of virulence/colonization factors; in addition, such signaling can dictate the nature of the outcome for the host, in both pathogenic and beneficial associations. Using the monospecific squid-vibrio model of symbiosis, we examined how quorum-sensing regulation by the Vibrio fischeri population induces a biogeographic tissue phenotype that promotes the retention of this extracellular symbiont within the light organ of its host, Euprymna scolopes. Understanding the influence of bacterial symbionts on key sites of tissue architecture has implications for all horizontally transmitted symbioses, especially those that colonize an epithelial surface within the host.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-02-28

Perreau J, NA Moran (2022)

Genetic innovations in animal-microbe symbioses.

Nature reviews. Genetics, 23(1):23-39.

Animal hosts have initiated myriad symbiotic associations with microorganisms and often have maintained these symbioses for millions of years, spanning drastic changes in ecological conditions and lifestyles. The establishment and persistence of these relationships require genetic innovations on the parts of both symbionts and hosts. The nature of symbiont innovations depends on their genetic population structure, categorized here as open, closed or mixed. These categories reflect modes of inter-host transmission that result in distinct genomic features, or genomic syndromes, in symbionts. Although less studied, hosts also innovate in order to preserve and control symbiotic partnerships. New capabilities to sequence host-associated microbial communities and to experimentally manipulate both hosts and symbionts are providing unprecedented insights into how genetic innovations arise under different symbiont population structures and how these innovations function to support symbiotic relationships.

RevDate: 2021-12-21
CmpDate: 2021-12-21

Smith S, Salvato F, Garikipati A, et al (2021)

Activation of the Type VI Secretion System in the Squid Symbiont Vibrio fischeri Requires the Transcriptional Regulator TasR and the Structural Proteins TssM and TssA.

Journal of bacteriology, 203(21):e0039921.

Bacteria have evolved diverse strategies to compete for a niche, including the type VI secretion system (T6SS), a contact-dependent killing mechanism. T6SSs are common in bacterial pathogens, commensals, and beneficial symbionts, where they affect the diversity and spatial structure of host-associated microbial communities. Although T6SS gene clusters are often located on genomic islands (GIs), which may be transferred as a unit, the regulatory strategies that promote gene expression once the T6SS genes are transferred into a new cell are not known. We used the squid symbiont Vibrio fischeri to identify essential regulatory factors that control expression of a strain-specific T6SS encoded on a GI. We found that a transcriptional reporter for this T6SS is active only in strains that contain the T6SS-encoding GI, suggesting the GI encodes at least one essential regulator. A transposon screen identified seven mutants that could not activate the reporter. These mutations mapped exclusively to three genes on the T6SS-containing GI that encode two essential structural proteins (a TssA-like protein and TssM) and a transcriptional regulator (TasR). Using T6SS reporters, reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR), competition assays, and differential proteomics, we found that all three genes are required for expression of many T6SS components, except for the TssA-like protein and TssM, which are constitutively expressed. Based on these findings, we propose a model whereby T6SS expression requires conserved structural proteins, in addition to the essential regulator TasR, and this ability to self-regulate may be a strategy to activate T6SS expression upon transfer of T6SS-encoding elements into a new bacterial host. IMPORTANCE Interbacterial weapons like the T6SS are often located on mobile genetic elements, and their expression is highly regulated. We found that two conserved structural proteins are required for T6SS expression in Vibrio fischeri. These structural proteins also contain predicted GTPase and GTP binding domains, suggesting their role in promoting T6SS expression may involve sensing the energetic state of the cell. Such a mechanism would provide a direct link between T6SS activation and cellular energy levels, providing a "checkpoint" to ensure the cell has sufficient energy to build such a costly weapon. Because these regulatory factors are encoded within the T6SS gene cluster, they are predicted to move with the genetic element to activate T6SS expression in a new host cell.

RevDate: 2022-01-12
CmpDate: 2022-01-12

Speare L, Woo M, Bultman KM, et al (2021)

Host-Like Conditions Are Required for T6SS-Mediated Competition among Vibrio fischeri Light Organ Symbionts.

mSphere, 6(4):e0128820.

Bacteria employ diverse competitive strategies to enhance fitness and promote their own propagation. However, little is known about how symbiotic bacteria modulate competitive mechanisms as they compete for a host niche. The bacterium Vibrio fischeri forms a symbiotic relationship with marine animals and encodes a type VI secretion system (T6SS), which is a contact-dependent killing mechanism used to eliminate competitors during colonization of the Euprymna scolopes squid light organ. Like other horizontally acquired symbionts, V. fischeri experiences changes in its physical and chemical environment during symbiosis establishment. Therefore, we probed both environmental and host-like conditions to identify ecologically relevant cues that control T6SS-dependent competition during habitat transition. Although the T6SS did not confer a competitive advantage for V. fischeri strain ES401 under planktonic conditions, a combination of both host-like pH and viscosity was necessary for T6SS competition. For ES401, high viscosity activates T6SS expression and neutral/acidic pH promotes cell-cell contact for killing, and this pH-dependent phenotype was conserved in the majority of T6SS-encoding strains examined. We also identified a subset of V. fischeri isolates that engaged in T6SS-mediated competition at high viscosity under both planktonic and host-like pH conditions. T6SS phylogeny revealed that strains with pH-dependent phenotypes cluster together to form a subclade within the pH-independent strains, suggesting that V. fischeri may have recently evolved to limit competition to the host niche. IMPORTANCE Bacteria have evolved diverse strategies to compete for limited space and resources. Because these mechanisms can be costly to use, their expression and function are often restricted to specific environments where the benefits outweigh the costs. However, little is known about the specific cues that modulate competitive mechanisms as bacterial symbionts transition between free-living and host habitats. Here, we used the bioluminescent squid and fish symbiont Vibrio fischeri to probe for host and environmental conditions that control interbacterial competition via the type VI secretion system. Our findings identify a new host-specific cue that promotes competition among many but not all V. fischeri isolates, underscoring the utility of studying multiple strains to reveal how competitive mechanisms may be differentially regulated among closely related populations as they evolve to fill distinct niches.

RevDate: 2022-01-07

Dial CN, Eichinger SJ, Foxall R, et al (2021)

Quorum Sensing and Cyclic di-GMP Exert Control Over Motility of Vibrio fischeri KB2B1.

Frontiers in microbiology, 12:690459.

Bacterial motility is critical for symbiotic colonization by Vibrio fischeri of its host, the squid Euprymna scolopes, facilitating movement from surface biofilms to spaces deep inside the symbiotic organ. While colonization has been studied traditionally using strain ES114, others, including KB2B1, can outcompete ES114 for colonization for a variety of reasons, including superior biofilm formation. We report here that KB2B1 also exhibits an unusual pattern of migration through a soft agar medium: whereas ES114 migrates rapidly and steadily, KB2B1 migrates slowly and then ceases migration. To better understand this phenomenon, we isolated and sequenced five motile KB2B1 suppressor mutants. One harbored a mutation in the gene for the cAMP receptor protein (crp); because this strain also exhibited a growth defect, it was not characterized further. Two other suppressors contained mutations in the quorum sensing pathway that controls bacterial bioluminescence in response to cell density, and two had mutations in the diguanylate cyclase (DGC) gene VF_1200. Subsequent analysis indicated that (1) the quorum sensing mutations shifted KB2B1 to a perceived low cell density state and (2) the high cell density state inhibited migration via the downstream regulator LitR. Similar to the initial point mutations, deletion of the VF_1200 DGC gene increased migration. Consistent with the possibility that production of the second messenger c-di-GMP inhibited the motility of KB2B1, reporter-based measurements of c-di-GMP revealed that KB2B1 produced higher levels of c-di-GMP than ES114, and overproduction of a c-di-GMP phosphodiesterase promoted migration of KB2B1. Finally, we assessed the role of viscosity in controlling the quorum sensing pathway using polyvinylpyrrolidone and found that viscosity increased light production of KB2B1 but not ES114. Together, our data indicate that while the two strains share regulators in common, they differ in the specifics of the regulatory control over downstream phenotypes such as motility.

RevDate: 2022-09-02
CmpDate: 2022-01-31

Wasilko NP, Ceron JS, Baker ER, et al (2021)

Vibrio fischeri imports and assimilates sulfate during symbiosis with Euprymna scolopes.

Molecular microbiology, 116(3):926-942.

Sulfur is in cellular components of bacteria and is, therefore, an element necessary for growth. However, mechanisms by which bacteria satisfy their sulfur needs within a host are poorly understood. Vibrio fischeri is a bacterial symbiont that colonizes, grows, and produces bioluminescence within the light organ of the Hawaiian bobtail squid, which provides an experimental platform for investigating sulfur acquisition in vivo. Like other γ-proteobacteria, V. fischeri fuels sulfur-dependent anabolic processes with intracellular cysteine. Within the light organ, the abundance of a ΔcysK mutant, which cannot synthesize cysteine through sulfate assimilation, is attenuated, suggesting sulfate import is necessary for V. fischeri to establish symbiosis. Genes encoding sulfate-import systems of other bacteria that assimilate sulfate were not identified in the V. fischeri genome. A transposon mutagenesis screen implicated YfbS as a sulfate importer. YfbS is necessary for growth on sulfate and in the marine environment. During symbiosis, a ΔyfbS mutant is attenuated and strongly expresses sulfate-assimilation genes, which is a phenotype associated with sulfur-starved cells. Together, these results suggest V. fischeri imports sulfate via YfbS within the squid light organ, which provides insight into the molecular mechanisms by which bacteria harvest sulfur in vivo.

RevDate: 2022-01-10
CmpDate: 2022-01-10

Heath-Heckman E, MK Nishiguchi (2021)

Leveraging Short-Read Sequencing to Explore the Genomics of Sepiolid Squid.

Integrative and comparative biology, 61(5):1753-1761.

Due to their large size (∼3-5 Gb) and high repetitive content, the study of cephalopod genomes has historically been problematic. However, with the recent sequencing of several cephalopod genomes, including the Hawaiian bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes), whole-genome studies of these molluscs are now possible. Of particular interest are the sepiolid or bobtail squids, many of which develop photophores in which bioluminescent bacterial symbionts reside. The variable presence of the symbiosis throughout the family allows us to determine regions of the genome that are under selection in symbiotic lineages, potentially providing a mechanism for identifying genes instrumental in the evolution of these mutualistic associations. To this end, we have used high-throughput sequencing to generate sequence from five bobtail squid genomes, four of which maintain symbioses with luminescent bacteria (E. hyllebergi, E. albatrossae, E. scolopes, and Rondeletiola minor), and one of which does not (Sepietta neglecta). When we performed K-mer based heterozygosity and genome size estimations, we found that the Euprymna genus has a higher predicted genome size than other bobtail squid (∼5 Gb as compared to ∼4 Gb) and lower genomic heterozygosity. When we analyzed the repetitive content of the genomes, we found that genomes in the genus Euprymna appear to have recently acquired a significant quantity of LINE elements that are not found in its sister genus Rondeletiola or the closely related Sepietta. Using Abyss-2.0 and then Chromosomer with the published E. scolopes genome as a reference, we generated E. hyllebergi and E. albatrossae genomes of 1.54-1.57 Gb in size, but containing over 78-81% of eukaryotic single-copy othologs. The data that we have generated will enable future whole-genome comparisons between these species to determine gene and regulatory content that differs between symbiotic and non-symbiotic lineages, as well as genes associated with symbiosis that are under selection.

RevDate: 2021-07-15
CmpDate: 2021-07-15

Kerwin AH, McAnulty SJ, SV Nyholm (2021)

Development of the Accessory Nidamental Gland and Associated Bacterial Community in the Hawaiian Bobtail Squid, Euprymna scolopes.

The Biological bulletin, 240(3):205-218.

AbstractThe Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, has a female reproductive organ called the accessory nidamental gland that contains a symbiotic bacterial consortium. These bacteria are deposited from the accessory nidamental gland into the squid's egg cases, where the consortium prevents microbial fouling. The symbiont community is environmentally transmitted and conserved across host populations, yet little is known about how the organ develops and is colonized by bacteria. In order to understand accessory nidamental gland development in E. scolopes, we characterized the gland during maturation by using histology and confocal and transmission electron microscopy. We found that an epithelial field formed first about four weeks after hatching, followed by the proliferation of numerous pores during what we hypothesize to be the initiation of bacterial recruitment (early development). Microscopy revealed that these pores were connected to ciliated invaginations that occasionally contained bacteria. During mid development, these epithelial fields expanded, and separate colonized tubules were observed below the epithelial layer that contained the pores and invaginations. During late development, the superficial epithelial fields appeared to regress as animals approached sexual maturity and were never observed in fully mature adults (about 2-3 months post-hatching), suggesting that they help facilitate bacterial colonization of the accessory nidamental gland. An analysis of 16S rRNA gene diversity in accessory nidamental glands from females of varying size showed that the bacterial community changed as the host approached sexual maturity, increasing in community evenness and shifting from a Verrucomicrobia-dominated to an Alphaproteobacteria-dominated consortium. Given the host's relationship with the well-characterized light organ symbiont Vibrio fischeri, our work suggests that the accessory nidamental gland of E. scolopes may have similar mechanisms to recruit bacteria from the environment. Understanding the developmental and colonization processes of the accessory nidamental gland will expand the use of E. scolopes as a model organism for studying bacterial consortia in marine symbioses.

RevDate: 2022-03-19
CmpDate: 2021-11-22

Nyholm SV, MJ McFall-Ngai (2021)

A lasting symbiosis: how the Hawaiian bobtail squid finds and keeps its bioluminescent bacterial partner.

Nature reviews. Microbiology, 19(10):666-679.

For more than 30 years, the association between the Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, and the bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri has been studied as a model system for understanding the colonization of animal epithelia by symbiotic bacteria. The squid-vibrio light-organ system provides the exquisite resolution only possible with the study of a binary partnership. The impact of this relationship on the partners' biology has been broadly characterized, including their ecology and evolutionary biology as well as the underlying molecular mechanisms of symbiotic dynamics. Much has been learned about the factors that foster initial light-organ colonization, and more recently about the maturation and long-term maintenance of the association. This Review synthesizes the results of recent research on the light-organ association and also describes the development of new horizons for E. scolopes as a model organism that promises to inform biology and biomedicine about the basic nature of host-microorganism interactions.

RevDate: 2022-03-12
CmpDate: 2021-11-22

Visick KL, Stabb EV, EG Ruby (2021)

A lasting symbiosis: how Vibrio fischeri finds a squid partner and persists within its natural host.

Nature reviews. Microbiology, 19(10):654-665.

As our understanding of the human microbiome progresses, so does the need for natural experimental animal models that promote a mechanistic understanding of beneficial microorganism-host interactions. Years of research into the exclusive symbiosis between the Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, and the bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri have permitted a detailed understanding of those bacterial genes underlying signal exchange and rhythmic activities that result in a persistent, beneficial association, as well as glimpses into the evolution of symbiotic competence. Migrating from the ambient seawater to regions deep inside the light-emitting organ of the squid, V. fischeri experiences, recognizes and adjusts to the changing environmental conditions. Here, we review key advances over the past 15 years that are deepening our understanding of these events.

RevDate: 2022-01-09
CmpDate: 2021-10-19

Ludvik DA, Bultman KM, MJ Mandel (2021)

Hybrid Histidine Kinase BinK Represses Vibrio fischeri Biofilm Signaling at Multiple Developmental Stages.

Journal of bacteriology, 203(15):e0015521.

The symbiosis between the Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, and its exclusive light organ symbiont, Vibrio fischeri, provides a natural system in which to study host-microbe specificity and gene regulation during the establishment of a mutually beneficial symbiosis. Colonization of the host relies on bacterial biofilm-like aggregation in the squid mucus field. Symbiotic biofilm formation is controlled by a two-component signaling (TCS) system consisting of regulators RscS-SypF-SypG, which together direct transcription of the symbiosis polysaccharide Syp. TCS systems are broadly important for bacteria to sense environmental cues and then direct changes in behavior. Previously, we identified the hybrid histidine kinase BinK as a strong negative regulator of V. fischeri biofilm regulation, and here we further explore the function of BinK. To inhibit biofilm formation, BinK requires the predicted phosphorylation sites in both the histidine kinase (H362) and receiver (D794) domains. Furthermore, we show that RscS is not essential for host colonization when binK is deleted from strain ES114, and imaging of aggregate size revealed no benefit to the presence of RscS in a background lacking BinK. Strains lacking RscS still suffered in competition. Finally, we show that BinK functions to inhibit biofilm gene expression in the light organ crypts, providing evidence for biofilm gene regulation at later stages of host colonization. Overall, this study provides direct evidence for opposing activities of RscS and BinK and yields novel insights into biofilm regulation during the maturation of a beneficial symbiosis. IMPORTANCE Bacteria are often in a biofilm state, and transitions between planktonic and biofilm lifestyles are important for pathogenic, beneficial, and environmental microbes. The critical nature of biofilm formation during Vibrio fischeri colonization of the Hawaiian bobtail squid light organ provides an opportunity to study development of this process in vivo using a combination of genetic and imaging approaches. The current work refines the signaling circuitry of the biofilm pathway in V. fischeri, provides evidence that biofilm regulatory changes occur in the host, and identifies BinK as one of the regulators of that process. This study provides information about how bacteria regulate biofilm gene expression in an intact animal host.

RevDate: 2021-06-11

Moriano-Gutierrez S, Ruby EG, MJ McFall-Ngai (2021)

MicroRNA-Mediated Regulation of Initial Host Responses in a Symbiotic Organ.

mSystems, 6(3):.

One of the most important events in an animal's life history is the initial colonization by its microbial symbionts, yet little is known about this event's immediate impacts on the extent of host gene expression or the molecular mechanisms controlling it. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short, noncoding RNAs that bind to target mRNAs, rapidly shaping gene expression by posttranscriptional control of mRNA translation and decay. Here, we show that, in the experimentally tractable binary squid-vibrio symbiosis, colonization of the light organ induces extensive changes in the miRNA transcriptome. Examination of the squid genome revealed the presence of evolutionarily conserved genes encoding elements essential for the production and processing of miRNAs. At 24 h postcolonization, 215 host miRNAs were detected in the light organ, 26 of which were differentially expressed in response to the symbionts. A functional enrichment analysis of genes potentially targeted by downregulation of certain miRNAs at the initiation of symbiosis revealed two major gene ontology (GO) term categories, neurodevelopment and tissue remodeling. This symbiont-induced downregulation is predicted to promote these activities in host tissues and is consistent with the well-described tissue remodeling that occurs at the onset of the association. Conversely, predicted targets of upregulated miRNAs, including the production of mucus, are consistent with attenuation of immune responses by symbiosis. Taken together, our data provide evidence that, at the onset of symbiosis, host miRNAs in the light organ drive alterations in gene expression that (i) orchestrate the symbiont-induced development of host tissues, and (ii) facilitate the partnership by dampening the immune response.IMPORTANCE Animals often acquire their microbiome from the environment at each generation, making the initial interaction of the partners a critical event in the establishment and development of a stable, healthy symbiosis. However, the molecular nature of these earliest interactions is generally difficult to study and poorly understood. We report that, during the initial 24 h of the squid-vibrio association, a differential expression of host miRNAs is triggered by the presence of the microbial partner. Predicted mRNA targets of these miRNAs were associated with regulatory networks that drive tissue remodeling and immune suppression, two major symbiosis-induced developmental outcomes in this and many other associations. These results implicate regulation by miRNAs as key to orchestrating the critical transcriptional responses that occur very early during the establishment of a symbiosis. Animals with more complex microbiota may have similar miRNA-driven responses as their association is initiated, supporting an evolutionary conservation of symbiosis-induced developmental mechanisms.

RevDate: 2021-09-09
CmpDate: 2021-09-09

Zink KE, Ludvik DA, Lazzara PR, et al (2021)

A Small Molecule Coordinates Symbiotic Behaviors in a Host Organ.

mBio, 12(2):.

The lifelong relationship between the Hawaiian bobtail squid Euprymna scolopes and its microbial symbiont Vibrio fischeri represents a simplified model system for studying microbiome establishment and maintenance. The bacteria colonize a dedicated symbiotic light organ in the squid, from which bacterial luminescence camouflages the host in a process termed counterillumination. The squid host hatches without its symbionts, which must be acquired from the ocean amidst a diversity of nonbeneficial bacteria, such that precise molecular communication is required for initiation of the specific relationship. Therefore it is likely there are specialized metabolites used in the light organ microenvironment to modulate these processes. To identify small molecules that may influence the establishment of this symbiosis, we used imaging mass spectrometry to analyze metabolite production in V. fischeri with altered biofilm production, which correlates directly to colonization capability in its host. "Biofilm-up" and "biofilm-down" mutants were compared to a wild-type strain, and ions that were more abundantly produced by the biofilm-up mutant were detected. Using a combination of structural elucidation and synthetic chemistry, one such signal was determined to be a diketopiperazine, cyclo(d-histidyl-l-proline). This diketopiperazine modulated luminescence in V. fischeri and, using imaging mass spectrometry, was directly detected in the light organ of the colonized host. This work highlights the continued need for untargeted discovery efforts in host-microbe interactions and showcases the benefits of the squid-Vibrio system for identification and characterization of small molecules that modulate microbiome behaviors.IMPORTANCE The complexity of animal microbiomes presents challenges to defining signaling molecules within the microbial consortium and between the microbes and the host. By focusing on the binary symbiosis between Vibrio fischeri and Euprymna scolopes, we have combined genetic analysis with direct imaging to define and study small molecules in the intact symbiosis. We have detected and characterized a diketopiperazine produced by strong biofilm-forming V. fischeri strains that was detectable in the host symbiotic organ, and which influences bacterial luminescence. Biofilm formation and luminescence are critical for initiation and maintenance of the association, respectively, suggesting that the compound may link early and later development stages, providing further evidence that multiple small molecules are important in establishing these beneficial relationships.

RevDate: 2021-10-21
CmpDate: 2021-10-21

McFall-Ngai M, TCG Bosch (2021)

Animal development in the microbial world: The power of experimental model systems.

Current topics in developmental biology, 141:371-397.

The development of powerful model systems has been a critical strategy for understanding the mechanisms underlying the progression of an animal through its ontogeny. Here we provide two examples that allow deep and mechanistic insight into the development of specific animal systems. Species of the cnidarian genus Hydra have provided excellent models for studying host-microbe interactions and how metaorganisms function in vivo. Studies of the Hawaiian bobtail squid Euprymna scolopes and its luminous bacterial partner Vibrio fischeri have been used for over 30 years to understand the impact of a broad array of levels, from ecology to genomics, on the development and persistence of symbiosis. These examples provide an integrated perspective of how developmental processes work and evolve within the context of a microbial world, a new view that opens vast horizons for developmental biology research. The Hydra and the squid systems also lend an example of how profound insights can be discovered by taking advantage of the "experiments" that evolution had done in shaping conserved developmental processes.

RevDate: 2021-08-27
CmpDate: 2021-04-05

Cohen JJ, Eichinger SJ, Witte DA, et al (2021)

Control of Competence in Vibrio fischeri.

Applied and environmental microbiology, 87(6):.

Vibrio species, including the squid symbiont Vibrio fischeri, become competent to take up DNA under specific conditions. For example, V. fischeri becomes competent when grown in the presence of chitin oligosaccharides or upon overproduction of the competence regulatory factor TfoX. While little is known about the regulatory pathway(s) that controls V. fischeri competence, this microbe encodes homologs of factors that control competence in the well-studied V. cholerae To further develop V. fischeri as a genetically tractable organism, we evaluated the roles of some of these competence homologs. Using TfoX-overproducing cells, we found that competence depends upon LitR, the homolog of V. cholerae master quorum-sensing and competence regulator HapR, and upon homologs of putative pilus genes that in V. cholerae facilitate DNA uptake. Disruption of genes for negative regulators upstream of LitR, namely, the LuxO protein and the small RNA (sRNA) Qrr1, resulted in increased transformation frequencies. Unlike LitR-controlled light production, however, competence did not vary with cell density under tfoX overexpression conditions. Analogous to the case with V. cholerae, the requirement for LitR could be suppressed by loss of the Dns nuclease. We also found a role for the putative competence regulator CytR. Finally, we determined that transformation frequencies varied depending on the TfoX-encoding plasmid, and we developed a new dual tfoX and litR overexpression construct that substantially increased the transformation frequency of a less genetically tractable strain. By advancing the ease of genetic manipulation of V. fischeri, these findings will facilitate the rapid discovery of genes involved in physiologically relevant processes, such as biofilm formation and host colonization.IMPORTANCE The ability of bacteria to take up DNA (competence) and incorporate foreign DNA into their genomes (transformation) permits them to rapidly evolve and gain new traits and/or acquire antibiotic resistances. It also facilitates laboratory-based investigations into mechanisms of specific phenotypes, such as those involved in host colonization. Vibrio fischeri has long been a model for symbiotic bacterium-host interactions as well as for other aspects of its physiology, such as bioluminescence and biofilm formation. Competence of V. fischeri can be readily induced upon overexpression of the competence factor TfoX. Relatively little is known about the V. fischeri competence pathway, although homologs of factors known to be important in V. cholerae competence exist. By probing the importance of putative competence factors that control transformation of V. fischeri, this work deepens our understanding of the competence process and advances our ability to genetically manipulate this important model organism.

RevDate: 2021-02-26

Burgos HL, Burgos EF, Steinberger AJ, et al (2020)

Multiplexed Competition in a Synthetic Squid Light Organ Microbiome Using Barcode-Tagged Gene Deletions.

mSystems, 5(6):.

Beneficial symbioses between microbes and their eukaryotic hosts are ubiquitous and have widespread impacts on host health and development. The binary symbiosis between the bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri and its squid host Euprymna scolopes serves as a model system to study molecular mechanisms at the microbe-animal interface. To identify colonization factors in this system, our lab previously conducted a global transposon insertion sequencing (INSeq) screen and identified over 300 putative novel squid colonization factors in V. fischeri To pursue mechanistic studies on these candidate genes, we present an approach to quickly generate barcode-tagged gene deletions and perform high-throughput squid competition experiments with detection of the proportion of each strain in the mixture by barcode sequencing (BarSeq). Our deletion approach improves on previous techniques based on splicing by overlap extension PCR (SOE-PCR) and tfoX-based natural transformation by incorporating a randomized barcode that results in unique DNA sequences within each deletion scar. Amplicon sequencing of the pool of barcoded strains before and after colonization faithfully reports on known colonization factors and provides increased sensitivity over colony counting methods. BarSeq enables rapid and sensitive characterization of the molecular factors involved in establishing the Vibrio-squid symbiosis and provides a valuable tool to interrogate the molecular dialogue at microbe-animal host interfaces.IMPORTANCE Beneficial microbes play essential roles in the health and development of their hosts. However, the complexity of animal microbiomes and general genetic intractability of their symbionts have made it difficult to study the coevolved mechanisms for establishing and maintaining specificity at the microbe-animal host interface. Model symbioses are therefore invaluable for studying the mechanisms of beneficial microbe-host interactions. Here, we present a combined barcode-tagged deletion and BarSeq approach to interrogate the molecular dialogue that ensures specific and reproducible colonization of the Hawaiian bobtail squid by Vibrio fischeri The ability to precisely manipulate the bacterial genome, combined with multiplex colonization assays, will accelerate the use of this valuable model system for mechanistic studies of how environmental microbes-both beneficial and pathogenic-colonize specific animal hosts.

RevDate: 2021-06-14
CmpDate: 2021-06-14

Chavez-Dozal A, Soto W, MK Nishiguchi (2021)

Identification of a Transcriptomic Network Underlying the Wrinkly and Smooth Phenotypes of Vibrio fischeri.

Journal of bacteriology, 203(3):.

Vibrio fischeri is a cosmopolitan marine bacterium that oftentimes displays different colony morphologies, switching from a smooth to a wrinkly phenotype in order to adapt to changes in the environment. This wrinkly phenotype has also been associated with increased biofilm formation, an essential characteristic for V. fischeri to adhere to substrates, to suspended debris, and within the light organs of sepiolid squids. Elevated levels of biofilm formation are correlated with increased microbial survival of exposure to environmental stressors and the ability to expand niche breadth. Since V. fischeri has a biphasic life history strategy between its free-living and symbiotic states, we were interested in whether the wrinkly morphotype demonstrated differences in its expression profile in comparison to the naturally occurring and more common smooth variant. We show that genes involved in major biochemical cascades, including those involved in protein sorting, oxidative stress, and membrane transport, play a role in the wrinkly phenotype. Interestingly, only a few unique genes are specifically involved in macromolecule biosynthesis in the wrinkly phenotype, which underlies the importance of other pathways utilized for adaptation under the conditions in which Vibrio bacteria are producing this change in phenotype. These results provide the first comprehensive analysis of the complex form of genetic activation that underlies the diversity in morphologies of V. fischeri when switching between two different colony morphotypes, each representing a unique biofilm ecotype.IMPORTANCE The wrinkly bacterial colony phenotype has been associated with increased squid host colonization in V. fischeri The significance of our research is in identifying the genetic mechanisms that are responsible for heightened biofilm formation in V. fischeri This report also advances our understanding of gene regulation in V. fischeri and brings to the forefront a number of previously overlooked genetic networks. Several loci that were identified in this study were not previously known to be associated with biofilm formation in V. fischeri.

RevDate: 2021-07-16
CmpDate: 2021-03-26

Fidopiastis PM, Mariscal V, McPherson JM, et al (2021)

Vibrio fischeri Amidase Activity Is Required for Normal Cell Division, Motility, and Symbiotic Competence.

Applied and environmental microbiology, 87(3):.

N-Acetylmuramoyl-l-alanine amidases are periplasmic hydrolases that cleave the amide bond between N-acetylmuramic acid and alanine in peptidoglycan (PG). Unlike many Gram-negative bacteria that encode redundant periplasmic amidases, Vibrio fischeri appears to encode a single protein that is homologous to AmiB of Vibrio cholerae We screened a V. fischeri transposon mutant library for strains altered in biofilm production and discovered a biofilm-overproducing strain with an insertion in amiB (VF_2326). Further characterization of biofilm enhancement suggested that this phenotype was due to the overproduction of cellulose, and it was dependent on the bcsA cellulose synthase. Additionally, the amiB mutant was nonmotile, perhaps due to defects in its ability to septate during division. The amidase mutant was unable to compete with the wild type for the colonization of V. fischeri's symbiotic host, the squid Euprymna scolopes In single-strain inoculations, host squid inoculated with the mutant eventually became colonized but with a much lower efficiency than in squid inoculated with the wild type. This observation was consistent with the pleiotropic effects of the amiB mutation and led us to speculate that motile suppressors of the amiB mutant were responsible for the partially restored colonization. In culture, motile suppressor mutants carried point mutations in a single gene (VF_1477), resulting in a partial restoration of wild-type motility. In addition, these point mutations reversed the effect of the amiB mutation on cellulosic biofilm production. These data are consistent with V. fischeri AmiB possessing amidase activity; they also suggest that AmiB suppresses cellulosic biofilm formation but promotes successful host colonization.IMPORTANCE Peptidoglycan (PG) is a critical microbe-associated molecular pattern (MAMP) that is sloughed by cells of V. fischeri during symbiotic colonization of squid. Specifically, this process induces significant remodeling of a specialized symbiotic light organ within the squid mantle cavity. This phenomenon is reminiscent of the loss of ciliated epithelium in patients with whooping cough due to the production of PG monomers by Bordetella pertussis Furthermore, PG processing machinery can influence susceptibility to antimicrobials. In this study, we report roles for the V. fischeri PG amidase AmiB, including the beneficial colonization of squid, underscoring the urgency to more deeply understand PG processing machinery and the downstream consequences of their activities.

RevDate: 2021-10-29
CmpDate: 2021-01-04

Moriano-Gutierrez S, Bongrand C, Essock-Burns T, et al (2020)

The noncoding small RNA SsrA is released by Vibrio fischeri and modulates critical host responses.

PLoS biology, 18(11):e3000934.

The regulatory noncoding small RNAs (sRNAs) of bacteria are key elements influencing gene expression; however, there has been little evidence that beneficial bacteria use these molecules to communicate with their animal hosts. We report here that the bacterial sRNA SsrA plays an essential role in the light-organ symbiosis between Vibrio fischeri and the squid Euprymna scolopes. The symbionts load SsrA into outer membrane vesicles, which are transported specifically into the epithelial cells surrounding the symbiont population in the light organ. Although an SsrA-deletion mutant (ΔssrA) colonized the host to a normal level after 24 h, it produced only 2/10 the luminescence per bacterium, and its persistence began to decline by 48 h. The host's response to colonization by the ΔssrA strain was also abnormal: the epithelial cells underwent premature swelling, and host robustness was reduced. Most notably, when colonized by the ΔssrA strain, the light organ differentially up-regulated 10 genes, including several encoding heightened immune-function or antimicrobial activities. This study reveals the potential for a bacterial symbiont's sRNAs not only to control its own activities but also to trigger critical responses promoting homeostasis in its host. In the absence of this communication, there are dramatic fitness consequences for both partners.

RevDate: 2022-04-06
CmpDate: 2021-01-07

Koch EJ, Bongrand C, Bennett BD, et al (2020)

The cytokine MIF controls daily rhythms of symbiont nutrition in an animal-bacterial association.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(44):27578-27586.

The recent recognition that many symbioses exhibit daily rhythms has encouraged research into the partner dialogue that drives these biological oscillations. Here we characterized the pivotal role of the versatile cytokine macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) in regulating a metabolic rhythm in the model light-organ symbiosis between Euprymna scolopes and Vibrio fischeri As the juvenile host matures, it develops complex daily rhythms characterized by profound changes in the association, from gene expression to behavior. One such rhythm is a diurnal shift in symbiont metabolism triggered by the periodic provision of a specific nutrient by the mature host: each night the symbionts catabolize chitin released from hemocytes (phagocytic immune cells) that traffic into the light-organ crypts, where the population of V. fischeri cells resides. Nocturnal migration of these macrophage-like cells, together with identification of an E. scolopes MIF (EsMIF) in the light-organ transcriptome, led us to ask whether EsMIF might be the gatekeeper controlling the periodic movement of the hemocytes. Western blots, ELISAs, and confocal immunocytochemistry showed EsMIF was at highest abundance in the light organ. Its concentration there was lowest at night, when hemocytes entered the crypts. EsMIF inhibited migration of isolated hemocytes, whereas exported bacterial products, including peptidoglycan derivatives and secreted chitin catabolites, induced migration. These results provide evidence that the nocturnal decrease in EsMIF concentration permits the hemocytes to be drawn into the crypts, delivering chitin. This nutritional function for a cytokine offers the basis for the diurnal rhythms underlying a dynamic symbiotic conversation.

RevDate: 2021-12-03
CmpDate: 2021-07-12

Christensen DG, Tepavčević J, KL Visick (2020)

Genetic Manipulation of Vibrio fischeri.

Current protocols in microbiology, 59(1):e115.

Vibrio fischeri is a nonpathogenic organism related to pathogenic Vibrio species. The bacterium has been used as a model organism to study symbiosis in the context of its association with its host, the Hawaiian bobtail squid Euprymna scolopes. The genetic tractability of this bacterium has facilitated the mapping of pathways that mediate interactions between these organisms. The protocols included here describe methods for genetic manipulation of V. fischeri. Following these protocols, the researcher will be able to introduce linear DNA via transformation to make chromosomal mutations, to introduce plasmid DNA via conjugation and subsequently eliminate unstable plasmids, to eliminate antibiotic resistance cassettes from the chromosome, and to randomly or specifically mutagenize V. fischeri with transposons. © 2020 Wiley Periodicals LLC. Basic Protocol 1: Transformation of V. fischeri with linear DNA Basic Protocol 2: Plasmid transfer into V. fischeri via conjugation Support Protocol 1: Removing FRT-flanked antibiotic resistance cassettes from the V. fischeri genome Support Protocol 2: Eliminating unstable plasmids from V. fischeri Alternate Protocol 1: Introduction of exogenous DNA using a suicide plasmid Alternate Protocol 2: Site-specific transposon insertion using a suicide plasmid Alternate Protocol 3: Random transposon mutagenesis using a suicide plasmid.

RevDate: 2021-07-20
CmpDate: 2021-07-20

Bennett BD, Essock-Burns T, EG Ruby (2020)

HbtR, a Heterofunctional Homolog of the Virulence Regulator TcpP, Facilitates the Transition between Symbiotic and Planktonic Lifestyles in Vibrio fischeri.

mBio, 11(5):.

The bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri forms a mutually beneficial symbiosis with the Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, in which the bacteria, housed inside a specialized light organ, produce light used by the squid in its nocturnal activities. Upon hatching, E. scolopes juveniles acquire V. fischeri from the seawater through a complex process that requires, among other factors, chemotaxis by the bacteria along a gradient of N-acetylated sugars into the crypts of the light organ, the niche in which the bacteria reside. Once inside the light organ, V. fischeri transitions into a symbiotic, sessile state in which the quorum-signaling regulator LitR induces luminescence. In this work we show that expression of litR and luminescence are repressed by a homolog of the Vibrio cholerae virulence factor TcpP, which we have named HbtR. Further, we demonstrate that LitR represses genes involved in motility and chemotaxis into the light organ and activates genes required for exopolysaccharide production.IMPORTANCE TcpP homologs are widespread throughout the Vibrio genus; however, the only protein in this family described thus far is a V. cholerae virulence regulator. Here, we show that HbtR, the TcpP homolog in V. fischeri, has both a biological role and regulatory pathway completely unlike those in V. cholerae Through its repression of the quorum-signaling regulator LitR, HbtR affects the expression of genes important for colonization of the E. scolopes light organ. While LitR becomes activated within the crypts and upregulates luminescence and exopolysaccharide genes and downregulates chemotaxis and motility genes, it appears that HbtR, upon expulsion of V. fischeri cells into seawater, reverses this process to aid the switch from a symbiotic to a planktonic state. The possible importance of HbtR to the survival of V. fischeri outside its animal host may have broader implications for the ways in which bacteria transition between often vastly different environmental niches.

RevDate: 2021-05-11
CmpDate: 2021-05-11

Benoist L, Houyvet B, Henry J, et al (2020)

In-Depth In Silico Search for Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) Antimicrobial Peptides Following Bacterial Challenge of Haemocytes.

Marine drugs, 18(9):.

Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) haemocytes are potential sources of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). To study the immune response to Vibrio splendidus and identify new AMPs, an original approach was developed based on a differential transcriptomic study and an in-depth in silico analysis using multiple tools. Two de novo transcriptomes were retrieved from cuttlefish haemocytes following challenge by V. splendidus or not. A first analysis of the annotated transcripts revealed the presence of Toll/NF-κB pathway members, including newly identified factors such as So-TLR-h, So-IKK-h and So-Rel/NF-κB-h. Out of the eight Toll/NF-κB pathway members, seven were found up-regulated following V. splendidus challenge. Besides, immune factors involved in the immune response were also identified and up-regulated. However, no AMP was identified based on annotation or conserved pattern searches. We therefore performed an in-depth in silico analysis of unannotated transcripts based on differential expression and sequence characteristics, using several tools available like PepTraq, a homemade software program. Finally, five AMP candidates were synthesized. Among them, NF19, AV19 and GK28 displayed antibacterial activity against Gram-negative bacteria. Each peptide had a different spectrum of activity, notably against Vibrio species. GK28-the most active peptide-was not haemolytic, whereas NF19 and AV19 were haemolytic at concentrations between 50 and 100 µM, 5 to 10 times higher than their minimum inhibitory concentration.

RevDate: 2021-09-29
CmpDate: 2021-05-11

Chomicki G, Werner GDA, West SA, et al (2020)

Compartmentalization drives the evolution of symbiotic cooperation.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 375(1808):20190602.

Across the tree of life, hosts have evolved mechanisms to control and mediate interactions with symbiotic partners. We suggest that the evolution of physical structures that allow hosts to spatially separate symbionts, termed compartmentalization, is a common mechanism used by hosts. Such compartmentalization allows hosts to: (i) isolate symbionts and control their reproduction; (ii) reward cooperative symbionts and punish or stop interactions with non-cooperative symbionts; and (iii) reduce direct conflict among different symbionts strains in a single host. Compartmentalization has allowed hosts to increase the benefits that they obtain from symbiotic partners across a diversity of interactions, including legumes and rhizobia, plants and fungi, squid and Vibrio, insects and nutrient provisioning bacteria, plants and insects, and the human microbiome. In cases where compartmentalization has not evolved, we ask why not. We argue that when partners interact in a competitive hierarchy, or when hosts engage in partnerships which are less costly, compartmentalization is less likely to evolve. We conclude that compartmentalization is key to understanding the evolution of symbiotic cooperation. This article is part of the theme issue 'The role of the microbiome in host evolution'.

RevDate: 2021-11-02
CmpDate: 2021-08-23

Christensen DG, Marsden AE, Hodge-Hanson K, et al (2020)

LapG mediates biofilm dispersal in Vibrio fischeri by controlling maintenance of the VCBS-containing adhesin LapV.

Molecular microbiology, 114(5):742-761.

Efficient symbiotic colonization of the squid Euprymna scolopes by the bacterium Vibrio fischeri depends on bacterial biofilm formation on the surface of the squid's light organ. Subsequently, the bacteria disperse from the biofilm via an unknown mechanism and enter through pores to reach the interior colonization sites. Here, we identify a homolog of Pseudomonas fluorescens LapG as a dispersal factor that promotes cleavage of a biofilm-promoting adhesin, LapV. Overproduction of LapG inhibited biofilm formation and, unlike the wild-type parent, a ΔlapG mutant formed biofilms in vitro. Although V. fischeri encodes two putative large adhesins, LapI (near lapG on chromosome II) and LapV (on chromosome I), only the latter contributed to biofilm formation. Consistent with the Pseudomonas Lap system model, our data support a role for the predicted c-di-GMP-binding protein LapD in inhibiting LapG-dependent dispersal. Furthermore, we identified a phosphodiesterase, PdeV, whose loss promotes biofilm formation similar to that of the ΔlapG mutant and dependent on both LapD and LapV. Finally, we found a minor defect for a ΔlapD mutant in initiating squid colonization, indicating a role for the Lap system in a relevant environmental niche. Together, these data reveal new factors and provide important insights into biofilm dispersal by V. fischeri.

RevDate: 2021-07-06
CmpDate: 2021-06-18

Koch EJ, Moriano-Gutierrez S, Ruby EG, et al (2020)

The impact of persistent colonization by Vibrio fischeri on the metabolome of the host squid Euprymna scolopes.

The Journal of experimental biology, 223(Pt 16):.

Associations between animals and microbes affect not only the immediate tissues where they occur, but also the entire host. Metabolomics, the study of small biomolecules generated during metabolic processes, provides a window into how mutualistic interactions shape host biochemistry. The Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, is amenable to metabolomic studies of symbiosis because the host can be reared with or without its species-specific symbiont, Vibrio fischeri In addition, unlike many invertebrates, the host squid has a closed circulatory system. This feature allows a direct sampling of the refined collection of metabolites circulating through the body, a focused approach that has been highly successful with mammals. Here, we show that rearing E. scolopes without its natural symbiont significantly affected one-quarter of the more than 100 hemolymph metabolites defined by gas chromatography mass spectrometry analysis. Furthermore, as in mammals, which harbor complex consortia of bacterial symbionts, the metabolite signature oscillated on symbiont-driven daily rhythms and was dependent on the sex of the host. Thus, our results provide evidence that the population of even a single symbiont species can influence host hemolymph biochemistry as a function of symbiotic state, host sex and circadian rhythm.

RevDate: 2021-10-26
CmpDate: 2021-07-15

Suria AM, Tan KC, Kerwin AH, et al (2020)

Hawaiian Bobtail Squid Symbionts Inhibit Marine Bacteria via Production of Specialized Metabolites, Including New Bromoalterochromides BAC-D/D'.

mSphere, 5(4):.

The Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, has a symbiotic bacterial consortium in the accessory nidamental gland (ANG), a female reproductive organ that protects eggs against fouling microorganisms. To test the antibacterial activity of ANG community members, 19 bacterial isolates were screened for their ability to inhibit Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, of which two strains were inhibitory. These two antibacterial isolates, Leisingera sp. ANG59 and Pseudoalteromonas sp. JC28, were subjected to further genomic characterization. Genomic analysis of Leisingera sp. ANG59 revealed a biosynthetic gene cluster encoding the antimicrobial compound indigoidine. The genome of Pseudoalteromonas sp. JC28 had a 14-gene cluster with >95% amino acid identity to a known bromoalterochromide (BAC) cluster. Chemical analysis confirmed production of known BACs, BAC-A/A' (compounds 1a/1b), as well as two new derivatives, BAC-D/D' (compounds 2a/2b). Extensive nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analyses allowed complete structural elucidation of compounds 2a/2b, and the absolute stereochemistry was unambiguously determined using an optimized Marfey's method. The BACs were then investigated for in vitro antibacterial, antifungal, and nitric oxide (NO) inhibitory activity. Compounds 1a/1b were active against the marine bacteria Bacillus algicola and Vibrio fischeri, while compounds 2a/2b were active only against B. algicola Compounds 1a/1b inhibited NO production via lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation in RAW264.7 macrophage cells and also inhibited the pathogenic fungus Fusarium keratoplasticum, which, coupled with their antibacterial activity, suggests that these polyketide-nonribosomal peptides may be used for squid egg defense against potential pathogens and/or fouling microorganisms. These results indicate that BACs may provide Pseudoalteromonas sp. JC28 an ecological niche, facilitating competition against nonsymbiotic microorganisms in the host's environment.IMPORTANCE Animals that deposit eggs must protect their embryos from fouling and disease by microorganisms to ensure successful development. Although beneficial bacteria are hypothesized to contribute to egg defense in many organisms, the mechanisms of this protection are only recently being elucidated. Our previous studies of the Hawaiian bobtail squid focused on fungal inhibition by beneficial bacterial symbionts of a female reproductive gland and eggs. Herein, using genomic and chemical analyses, we demonstrate that symbiotic bacteria from this gland can also inhibit other marine bacteria in vitro One bacterial strain in particular, Pseudoalteromonas sp. JC28, had broad-spectrum abilities to inhibit potential fouling bacteria, in part via production of novel bromoalterochromide metabolites, confirmed via genomic annotation of the associated biosynthetic gene cluster. Our results suggest that these bacterial metabolites may contribute to antimicrobial activity in this association and that such defensive symbioses are underutilized sources for discovering novel antimicrobial compounds.

RevDate: 2021-03-23
CmpDate: 2021-03-23

Parmar P, Shukla A, Goswami D, et al (2020)

Comprehensive depiction of novel heavy metal tolerant and EPS producing bioluminescent Vibrio alginolyticus PBR1 and V. rotiferianus PBL1 confined from marine organisms.

Microbiological research, 238:126526.

The current study depicts the isolation of luminescent bacteria from fish and squid samples that were collected from Veraval fish harbour. From Indian mackerel, total 14 and from squid, total 23 bioluminescent bacteria were isolated using luminescence agar medium. Two bioluminescent bacteria with highest relative luminescence intensity PBR1 and PBL1 were selected. These two isolates were subjected to detailed biochemical characterization and were tested positive for 5 out of 13 biochemical tests. Furthermore, both PBR1 and PBL1 were able to ferment cellobiose, dextrose, fructose, galactose, maltose, mannose, sucrose and trehalose with acid production. Based on 16S rRNA partial gene sequence analysis, PBR1 was identified as Vibrio alginolyticus and PBL1 as V. rotiferianus. Antibiotic susceptibility test using paper-disc method showed that PBR1 and PBL1 were sensitive to chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, co-trimoxazole, gatifloxacin, levofloxacin, linezolid ad roxithromycin out of 18 antibiotics tested. Moreover, both strains were evaluated for their exopolysachharide (EPS) producing ability where PBR1 and PBL1 were able to yield 1.34 g% (w/v) and 2.45 g% (w/v) EPS respectively from 5 g% (v/v) sucrose concentration. Heavy metal toxicity assessment was carried out using agar well diffusion method with eight heavy metals and both the strains were sensitive to As(III), Cd(II), Ce(II), Cr(III), Cu(II), Hg(II) and while they showed resistance to Pb(II) and Sr(II). Based on these results, a study was conducted to demonstrate bio-removal of Pb and Sr by EPS of PBR1 and PBL1. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectra revealed the functional groups of EPS involved in interaction with the heavy metals. Owing to the sensitivity for the remaining heavy metals, these bioluminescent bacteria can be used further for the development of luminescence-based biosensor.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Tan CW, Rukayadi Y, Hasan H, et al (2020)

Prevalence and antibiotic resistance patterns of Vibrio parahaemolyticus isolated from different types of seafood in Selangor, Malaysia.

Saudi journal of biological sciences, 27(6):1602-1608.

Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a foodborne bacterial pathogen that may cause gastroenteritis in humans through the consumption of seafood contaminated with this microorganism. The emergence of antimicrobial and multidrug-resistant bacteria is another serious public health threat worldwide. In this study, the prevalence and antibiotic susceptibility test of V. parahaemolyticus in blood clams, shrimps, surf clams, and squids were determined. The overall prevalence of V. parahaemolyticus in seafood was 85.71% (120/140), consisting of 91.43% (32/35) in blood clam, 88.57% (31/35) in shrimps, 82.86% (29/35) in surf clams, and 80% (28/35) in squids. The majority of V. parahaemolyticus isolates from the seafood samples were found to be susceptible to most antibiotics except ampicillin, cefazolin, and penicillin. The MAR indices of V. parahaemolyticus isolates ranged from 0.04 to 0.71 and about 90.83% of isolates were found resistant to more than one antibiotic. The high prevalence of V. parahaemolyticus in seafood and multidrug-resistant isolates detected in this study could pose a potential risk to human health and hence appropriate control methods should be in place to minimize the potential contamination and prevent the emergence of antibiotic resistance.

RevDate: 2021-05-25
CmpDate: 2021-04-09

Essock-Burns T, Bongrand C, Goldman WE, et al (2020)

Interactions of Symbiotic Partners Drive the Development of a Complex Biogeography in the Squid-Vibrio Symbiosis.

mBio, 11(3):.

Microbes live in complex microniches within host tissues, but how symbiotic partners communicate to create such niches during development remains largely unexplored. Using confocal microscopy and symbiont genetics, we characterized the shaping of host microenvironments during light organ colonization of the squid Euprymna scolopes by the bacterium Vibrio fischeri During embryogenesis, three pairs of invaginations form sequentially on the organ's surface, producing pores that lead to interior compressed tubules at different stages of development. After hatching, these areas expand, allowing V. fischeri cells to enter and migrate ∼120 μm through three anatomically distinct regions before reaching blind-ended crypt spaces. A dynamic gatekeeper, or bottleneck, connects these crypts with the migration path. Once V. fischeri cells have entered the crypts, the bottlenecks narrow, and colonization by the symbiont population becomes spatially restricted. The actual timing of constriction and restriction varies with crypt maturity and with different V. fischeri strains. Subsequently, starting with the first dawn following colonization, the bottleneck controls a lifelong cycle of dawn-triggered expulsions of most of the symbionts into the environment and a subsequent regrowth in the crypts. Unlike other developmental phenotypes, bottleneck constriction is not induced by known microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) or by V. fischeri-produced bioluminescence, but it does require metabolically active symbionts. Further, while symbionts in the most mature crypts have a higher proportion of live cells and a greater likelihood of expulsion at dawn, they have a lower resistance to antibiotics. The overall dynamics of these distinct microenvironments reflect the complexity of the host-symbiont dialogue.IMPORTANCE The complexity, inaccessibility, and time scales of initial colonization of most animal microbiomes present challenges for the characterization of how the bacterial symbionts influence the form and function of tissues in the minutes to hours following the initial interaction of the partners. Here, we use the naturally occurring binary squid-vibrio association to explore this phenomenon. Imaging of the spatiotemporal landscape of this symbiosis during its onset provides a window into the impact of differences in both host-tissue maturation and symbiont strain phenotypes on the establishment of a dynamically stable symbiotic system. These data provide evidence that the symbionts shape the host-tissue landscape and that tissue maturation impacts the influence of strain-level differences on the daily rhythms of the symbiosis, the competitiveness for colonization, and antibiotic sensitivity.

RevDate: 2021-04-16
CmpDate: 2021-04-16

Cohen SK, Aschtgen MS, Lynch JB, et al (2020)

Tracking the cargo of extracellular symbionts into host tissues with correlated electron microscopy and nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry imaging.

Cellular microbiology, 22(4):e13177.

Extracellular bacterial symbionts communicate biochemically with their hosts to establish niches that foster the partnership. Using quantitative ion microprobe isotopic imaging (nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry [NanoSIMS]), we surveyed localization of [15] N-labelled molecules produced by the bacterium Vibrio fischeri within the cells of the symbiotic organ of its host, the Hawaiian bobtail squid, and compared that with either labelled non-specific species or amino acids. In all cases, two areas of the organ's epithelia were significantly more [15] N enriched: (a) surface ciliated cells, where environmental symbionts are recruited, and (b) the organ's crypts, where the symbiont population resides in the host. Label enrichment in all cases was strongest inside host cell nuclei, preferentially in the euchromatin regions and the nucleoli. This permissiveness demonstrated that uptake of biomolecules is a general mechanism of the epithelia, but the specific responses to V. fischeri cells recruited to the organ's surface are due to some property exclusive to this species. Similarly, in the organ's deeper crypts, the host responds to common bacterial products that only the specific symbiont can present in that location. The application of NanoSIMS allows the discovery of such distinct modes of downstream signalling dependent on location within the host and provides a unique opportunity to study the microbiogeographical patterns of symbiotic dialogue.

RevDate: 2021-08-16
CmpDate: 2021-08-16

Dumen E, Ekici G, Ergin S, et al (2020)

Presence of Foodborne Pathogens in Seafood and Risk Ranking for Pathogens.

Foodborne pathogens and disease, 17(9):541-546.

This study aims at examining the contamination of coliform bacteria, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Vibrio vulnificus, and Vibrio cholerae, which carry extremely serious risks to the consumer health, in 700 seafood belonging to 4 different (raw sea fish, raw mussels, raw shrimp, and raw squid) categories. The total number of samples was determined as 700. When the obtained results were viewed in total, they were found to be 48.14%, 18.71%, 8.57%, and 3.42% for coliform bacteria, E. coli, L. monocytogenes, and V. vulnificus, respectively. V. cholerae, one of the factors studied, was not found. Conventional microbiological cultivation methods were used in the analysis stage as well as the real-time PCR method. This study aims at making a risk ranking modeling for consumer health based on product category and pathogens by interpreting the results of the analysis with statistical methods. According to the statistical analysis, significantly binary correlations were determined among some parameters that stimulate one another for reproducing. In the light of the obtained results of the study, it has been concluded that the studies of the most detailed examinations of the microbiological risks associated with seafood, forms of microbial pollution and microorganisms that cause deterioration in seafood and threaten consumer health and the path that their epidemiologies follow, are of primary importance to both protecting consumer health and obtaining safe and quality seafood.

RevDate: 2021-04-15
CmpDate: 2020-12-14

Bongrand C, Moriano-Gutierrez S, Arevalo P, et al (2020)

Using Colonization Assays and Comparative Genomics To Discover Symbiosis Behaviors and Factors in Vibrio fischeri.

mBio, 11(2):.

The luminous marine Gram-negative bacterium Vibrio (Aliivibrio) fischeri is the natural light organ symbiont of several squid species, including the Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, and the Japanese bobtail squid, Euprymna morsei Work with E. scolopes has shown how the bacteria establish their niche in the light organ of the newly hatched host. Two types of V. fischeri strains have been distinguished based upon their behavior in cocolonization competition assays in juvenile E. scolopes, i.e., (i) niche-sharing or (ii) niche-dominant behavior. This study aimed to determine whether these behaviors are observed with other V. fischeri strains or whether they are specific to those isolated from E. scolopes light organs. Cocolonization competition assays between V. fischeri strains isolated from the congeneric squid E. morsei or from other marine animals revealed the same sharing or dominant behaviors. In addition, whole-genome sequencing of these strains showed that the dominant behavior is polyphyletic and not associated with the presence or absence of a single gene or genes. Comparative genomics of 44 squid light organ isolates from around the globe led to the identification of symbiosis-specific candidates in the genomes of these strains. Colonization assays using genetic derivatives with deletions of these candidates established the importance of two such genes in colonization. This study has allowed us to expand the concept of distinct colonization behaviors to strains isolated from a number of squid and fish hosts.IMPORTANCE There is an increasing recognition of the importance of strain differences in the ecology of a symbiotic bacterial species and, in particular, how these differences underlie crucial interactions with their host. Nevertheless, little is known about the genetic bases for these differences, how they manifest themselves in specific behaviors, and their distribution among symbionts of different host species. In this study, we sequenced the genomes of Vibrio fischeri isolated from the tissues of squids and fishes and applied comparative genomics approaches to look for patterns between symbiont lineages and host colonization behavior. In addition, we identified the only two genes that were exclusively present in all V. fischeri strains isolated from the light organs of sepiolid squid species. Mutational studies of these genes indicated that they both played a role in colonization of the squid light organ, emphasizing the value of applying a comparative genomics approach in the study of symbioses.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Septer AN, Speare L, Coleman CK, et al (2020)

Draft Genome Sequence of a Harveyi Clade Bacterium Isolated from Lolliguncula brevis Squid.

Microbiology resource announcements, 9(8):.

Vibrio species of the Harveyi clade are commonly found in free-living and host-associated marine habitats. Here, we report the draft genome sequence for a Harveyi clade bacterium, Vibrio sp. strain LB10LO1, which was isolated from the Atlantic brief squid Lolliguncula brevis.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2021-06-17

Truong TV, Holland DB, Madaan S, et al (2020)

High-contrast, synchronous volumetric imaging with selective volume illumination microscopy.

Communications biology, 3(1):74.

Light-field fluorescence microscopy uniquely provides fast, synchronous volumetric imaging by capturing an extended volume in one snapshot, but often suffers from low contrast due to the background signal generated by its wide-field illumination strategy. We implemented light-field-based selective volume illumination microscopy (SVIM), where illumination is confined to only the volume of interest, removing the background generated from the extraneous sample volume, and dramatically enhancing the image contrast. We demonstrate the capabilities of SVIM by capturing cellular-resolution 3D movies of flowing bacteria in seawater as they colonize their squid symbiotic partner, as well as of the beating heart and brain-wide neural activity in larval zebrafish. These applications demonstrate the breadth of imaging applications that we envision SVIM will enable, in capturing tissue-scale 3D dynamic biological systems at single-cell resolution, fast volumetric rates, and high contrast to reveal the underlying biology.

RevDate: 2020-10-16
CmpDate: 2020-10-16

Speare L, Smith S, Salvato F, et al (2020)

Environmental Viscosity Modulates Interbacterial Killing during Habitat Transition.

mBio, 11(1):.

Symbiotic bacteria use diverse strategies to compete for host colonization sites. However, little is known about the environmental cues that modulate interbacterial competition as they transition between free-living and host-associated lifestyles. We used the mutualistic relationship between Eupyrmna scolopes squid and Vibrio fischeri bacteria to investigate how intraspecific competition is regulated as symbionts move from the seawater to a host-like environment. We recently reported that V. fischeri uses a type VI secretion system (T6SS) for intraspecific competition during host colonization. Here, we investigated how environmental viscosity impacts T6SS-mediated competition by using a liquid hydrogel medium that mimics the viscous host environment. Our data demonstrate that although the T6SS is functionally inactive when cells are grown under low-viscosity liquid conditions similar to those found in seawater, exposure to a host-like high-viscosity hydrogel enhances T6SS expression and sheath formation, activates T6SS-mediated killing in as little as 30 min, and promotes the coaggregation of competing genotypes. Finally, the use of mass spectrometry-based proteomics revealed insights into how cells may prepare for T6SS competition during this habitat transition. These findings, which establish the use of a new hydrogel culture condition for studying T6SS interactions, indicate that V. fischeri rapidly responds to the physical environment to activate the competitive mechanisms used during host colonization.IMPORTANCE Bacteria often engage in interference competition to gain access to an ecological niche, such as a host. However, little is known about how the physical environment experienced by free-living or host-associated bacteria influences such competition. We used the bioluminescent squid symbiont Vibrio fischeri to study how environmental viscosity impacts bacterial competition. Our results suggest that upon transition from a planktonic environment to a host-like environment, V. fischeri cells activate their type VI secretion system, a contact-dependent interbacterial nanoweapon, to eliminate natural competitors. This work shows that competitor cells form aggregates under host-like conditions, thereby facilitating the contact required for killing, and reveals how V. fischeri regulates a key competitive mechanism in response to the physical environment.

RevDate: 2021-01-10
CmpDate: 2020-11-19

Cohen ML, Mashanova EV, Jagannathan SV, et al (2020)

Adaptation to pH stress by Vibrio fischeri can affect its symbiosis with the Hawaiian bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes).

Microbiology (Reading, England), 166(3):262-277.

Many microorganisms engaged in host-microbe interactions pendulate between a free-living phase and a host-affiliated stage. How adaptation to stress during the free-living phase affects host-microbe associations is unclear and understudied. To explore this topic, the symbiosis between Hawaiian bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes) and the luminous bacterium Vibrio fischeri was leveraged for a microbial experimental evolution study. V. fischeri experienced adaptation to extreme pH while apart from the squid host. V. fischeri was serially passaged for 2000 generations to the lower and upper pH growth limits for this microorganism, which were pH 6.0 and 10.0, respectively. V. fischeri was also serially passaged for 2000 generations to vacillating pH 6.0 and 10.0. Evolution to pH stress both facilitated and impaired symbiosis. Microbial evolution to acid stress promoted squid colonization and increased bioluminescence for V. fischeri, while symbiont adaptation to alkaline stress diminished these two traits. Oscillatory selection to acid and alkaline stress also improved symbiosis for V. fischeri, but the facilitating effects were less than that provided by microbial adaptation to acid stress. In summary, microbial adaptation to harsh environments amid the free-living phase may impact the evolution of host-microbe interactions in ways that were not formerly considered.

RevDate: 2020-10-20
CmpDate: 2020-10-20

Guckes KR, Cecere AG, Williams AL, et al (2020)

The Bacterial Enhancer Binding Protein VasH Promotes Expression of a Type VI Secretion System in Vibrio fischeri during Symbiosis.

Journal of bacteriology, 202(7):.

Vibrio fischeri is a bacterial symbiont that colonizes the light organ of the Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes Certain strains of V. fischeri express a type VI secretion system (T6SS), which delivers effectors into neighboring cells that result in their death. Strains that are susceptible to the T6SS fail to establish symbiosis with a T6SS-positive strain within the same location of the squid light organ, which is a phenomenon termed strain incompatibility. This study investigates the regulation of the T6SS in V. fischeri strain FQ-A001. Here, we report that the expression of Hcp, a necessary structural component of the T6SS, depends on the alternative sigma factor σ[54] and the bacterial enhancer binding protein VasH. VasH is necessary for FQ-A001 to kill other strains, suggesting that VasH-dependent regulation is essential for the T6SS of V. fischeri to affect intercellular interactions. In addition, this study demonstrates VasH-dependent transcription of hcp within host-associated populations of FQ-A001, suggesting that the T6SS is expressed within the host environment. Together, these findings establish a model for transcriptional control of hcp in V. fischeri within the squid light organ, thereby increasing understanding of how the T6SS is regulated during symbiosis.IMPORTANCE Animals harbor bacterial symbionts with specific traits that promote host fitness. Mechanisms that facilitate intercellular interactions among bacterial symbionts impact which bacterial lineages ultimately establish symbiosis with the host. How these mechanisms are regulated is poorly characterized in nonhuman bacterial symbionts. This study establishes a model for the transcriptional regulation of a contact-dependent killing machine, thereby increasing understanding of mechanisms by which different strains compete while establishing symbiosis.

RevDate: 2021-01-10
CmpDate: 2020-11-16

Li HW, Chen C, Kuo WL, et al (2019)

The Characteristics and Expression Profile of Transferrin in the Accessory Nidamental Gland of the Bigfin Reef Squid during Bacteria Transmission.

Scientific reports, 9(1):20163.

The accessory nidamental gland (ANG) is a female reproductive organ found in most squid and cuttlefish that contains a consortium of bacteria. These symbiotic bacteria are transmitted from the marine environment and selected by the host through an unknown mechanism. In animals, a common antimicrobial mechanism of innate immunity is iron sequestration, which is based on the development of transferrin (TF)-like proteins. To understand this mechanism of host-microbe interaction, we attempted to characterize the role of transferrin in bigfin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana) during bacterial transmission. qPCR analysis showed that Tf was exclusively expressed in the outer layer of ANG,and this was confirmed by in situ hybridization, which showed that Tf was localized in the outer epithelial cell layer of the ANG. Western blot analysis indicated that TF is a soluble glycoprotein. Immunohistochemical staining also showed that TF is localized in the outer epithelial cell layer of the ANG and that it is mainly expressed in the outer layer during ANG growth. These results suggest that robust Tf mRNA and TF protein expression in the outer layer of the ANG plays an important role in microbe selection by the host during bacterial transmission.

RevDate: 2020-12-14
CmpDate: 2020-12-08

Ramos AF, Woods DF, Shanahan R, et al (2020)

A structure-function analysis of interspecies antagonism by the 2-heptyl-4-alkyl-quinolone signal molecule from Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Microbiology (Reading, England), 166(2):169-179.

In recent years, the alkyl-quinolone molecular framework has already provided a rich source of bioactivity for the development of novel anti-infective compounds. Based on the quorum-sensing signalling molecules 4-hydroxy-2-heptylquinoline (HHQ) and 3,4-dihydroxy-2-heptylquinoline (PQS) from the nosocomial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, modifications have been developed with markedly enhanced anti-biofilm bioactivity towards important fungal and bacterial pathogens, including Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus. Here we show that antibacterial activity of HHQ against Vibrionaceae is species-specific and it requires an exquisite level of structural fidelity within the alkyl-quinolone molecular framework. Antibacterial activity was demonstrated against the serious human pathogens Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio cholerae as well as a panel of bioluminescent squid symbiont Allivibrio fischeri isolates. In contrast, Vibrio parahaemolyticus growth and biofilm formation was unaffected in the presence of HHQ and all the structural variants tested. In general, modification to almost all of the molecule except the alkyl-chain end, led to loss of activity. This suggests that the bacteriostatic activity of HHQ requires the concerted action of the entire framework components. The only exception to this pattern was deuteration of HHQ at the C3 position. HHQ modified with a terminal alkene at the quinolone alkyl chain retained bacteriostatic activity and was also found to activate PqsR signalling comparable to the native agonist. The data from this integrated analysis provides novel insights into the structural flexibility underpinning the signalling activity of the complex alkyl-quinolone molecular communication system.


ESP Quick Facts

ESP Origins

In the early 1990's, Robert Robbins was a faculty member at Johns Hopkins, where he directed the informatics core of GDB — the human gene-mapping database of the international human genome project. To share papers with colleagues around the world, he set up a small paper-sharing section on his personal web page. This small project evolved into The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Support

In 1995, Robbins became the VP/IT of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. Soon after arriving in Seattle, Robbins secured funding, through the ELSI component of the US Human Genome Project, to create the original ESP.ORG web site, with the formal goal of providing free, world-wide access to the literature of classical genetics.

ESP Rationale

Although the methods of molecular biology can seem almost magical to the uninitiated, the original techniques of classical genetics are readily appreciated by one and all: cross individuals that differ in some inherited trait, collect all of the progeny, score their attributes, and propose mechanisms to explain the patterns of inheritance observed.

ESP Goal

In reading the early works of classical genetics, one is drawn, almost inexorably, into ever more complex models, until molecular explanations begin to seem both necessary and natural. At that point, the tools for understanding genome research are at hand. Assisting readers reach this point was the original goal of The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Usage

Usage of the site grew rapidly and has remained high. Faculty began to use the site for their assigned readings. Other on-line publishers, ranging from The New York Times to Nature referenced ESP materials in their own publications. Nobel laureates (e.g., Joshua Lederberg) regularly used the site and even wrote to suggest changes and improvements.

ESP Content

When the site began, no journals were making their early content available in digital format. As a result, ESP was obliged to digitize classic literature before it could be made available. For many important papers — such as Mendel's original paper or the first genetic map — ESP had to produce entirely new typeset versions of the works, if they were to be available in a high-quality format.

ESP Help

Early support from the DOE component of the Human Genome Project was critically important for getting the ESP project on a firm foundation. Since that funding ended (nearly 20 years ago), the project has been operated as a purely volunteer effort. Anyone wishing to assist in these efforts should send an email to Robbins.

ESP Plans

With the development of methods for adding typeset side notes to PDF files, the ESP project now plans to add annotated versions of some classical papers to its holdings. We also plan to add new reference and pedagogical material. We have already started providing regularly updated, comprehensive bibliographies to the ESP.ORG site.

Electronic Scholarly Publishing
961 Red Tail Lane
Bellingham, WA 98226

E-mail: RJR8222 @

Papers in Classical Genetics

The ESP began as an effort to share a handful of key papers from the early days of classical genetics. Now the collection has grown to include hundreds of papers, in full-text format.

Digital Books

Along with papers on classical genetics, ESP offers a collection of full-text digital books, including many works by Darwin and even a collection of poetry — Chicago Poems by Carl Sandburg.


ESP now offers a large collection of user-selected side-by-side timelines (e.g., all science vs. all other categories, or arts and culture vs. world history), designed to provide a comparative context for appreciating world events.


Biographical information about many key scientists (e.g., Walter Sutton).

Selected Bibliographies

Bibliographies on several topics of potential interest to the ESP community are automatically maintained and generated on the ESP site.

ESP Picks from Around the Web (updated 07 JUL 2018 )