Insights into the cultured bacterial fraction of corals

Sweet, Michael, Villela, Helena, Keller-Costa, Tina, Costa, Rodrigo, Romano, Stefano, Bourne, David G., Cárdenas, Anny, Huggett, Megan J., Kerwin, Allison H., Kuek, Felicity, Medina, Monica, Meyer, Julie L., Müller, Moritz, Pollock, F. Joseph, Rappé, Michael S., Sere, Mathieu, Sharp, Koty H., Voolstra, Christian R., Zaccardi, Nathan, Ziegler, Maren, and Peixoto, Raquel (2021) Insights into the cultured bacterial fraction of corals. mSystems, 6 (3). e01249-20.

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Abstract

Abstract: Bacteria associated with coral hosts are diverse and abundant, with recent studies suggesting involvement of these symbionts in host resilience to anthropogenic stress. Despite their putative importance, the work dedicated to culturing coral-associated bacteria has received little attention. Combining published and unpublished data, here we report a comprehensive overview of the diversity and function of culturable bacteria isolated from corals originating from tropical, temperate, and cold-water habitats. A total of 3,055 isolates from 52 studies were considered by our metasurvey. Of these, 1,045 had full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences, spanning 138 formally described and 12 putatively novel bacterial genera across the Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria phyla. We performed comparative genomic analysis using the available genomes of 74 strains and identified potential signatures of beneficial bacterium-coral symbioses among the strains. Our analysis revealed >400 biosynthetic gene clusters that underlie the biosynthesis of antioxidant, antimicrobial, cytotoxic, and other secondary metabolites. Moreover, we uncovered genomic features-not previously described for coral-bacterium symbioses-potentially involved in host colonization and host-symbiont recognition, antiviral defense mechanisms, and/or integrated metabolic interactions, which we suggest as novel targets for the screening of coral probiotics. Our results highlight the importance of bacterial cultures to elucidate coral holobiont functioning and guide the selection of probiotic candidates to promote coral resilience and improve holistic and customized reef restoration and rehabilitation efforts.

Importance: Our paper is the first study to synthesize currently available but decentralized data of cultured microbes associated with corals. We were able to collate 3,055 isolates across a number of published studies and unpublished collections from various laboratories and researchers around the world. This equated to 1,045 individual isolates which had full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences, after filtering of the original 3,055. We also explored which of these had genomes available. Originally, only 36 were available, and as part of this study, we added a further 38—equating to 74 in total. From this, we investigated potential genetic signatures that may facilitate a host-associated lifestyle. Further, such a resource is an important step in the selection of probiotic candidates, which are being investigated for promoting coral resilience and potentially applied as a novel strategy in reef restoration and rehabilitation efforts. In the spirit of open access, we have ensured this collection is available to the wider research community through the web site http://isolates.reefgenomics.org/ with the hope many scientists across the globe will ask for access to these cultures for future studies.

Item ID: 70338
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2379-5077
Keywords: Beneficial microbes, Coral, Cultured microorganisms, Genomes, Holobiont, Metaorganism, Probiotics, Symbiosis, Symbiosis
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2021 Sweet et. al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2021 22:38
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3107 Microbiology > 310701 Bacteriology @ 40%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 20%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3105 Genetics > 310509 Genomics @ 40%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 50%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180504 Marine biodiversity @ 50%
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