Inter individual variations of the fish skin microbiota: host genetics basis of mutualism?

Sébastien Boutin, Christopher Sauvage, Louis Bernatchez, Céline Audet, Nicolas Derome


The commensal microbiota of fish skin is suspected to provide a protection against opportunist infections. The skin of fish harbors a complex and diverse microbiota that closely interacts with the surrounding water microbial communities. Up to now there is no clear evidence as to whether the host regulates the recruitment of environmental bacteria to build a specific skin microbiota. To address this question, we detected Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) associated with the abundance of specific skin microbiota bacterial strains in brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis), combining 16S RNA tagged-amplicon 454 pyrosequencing with genetic linkage analysis. Skin microbiota analysis revealed high inter-individual variation among 86 F2 fish progeny based upon the relative abundance of bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Out of those OTUs, the pathogenic strain Flavobacterium psychrophilum and the non-pathogenic strain Methylobacterium rhodesianum explained the majority of inter-individual distances. Furthermore, a strong negative correlation was found between Flavobacterium and Methylobacterium, suggesting a mutually competitive relationship. Finally, after considering a total of 266 markers, genetic linkage analysis highlighted three major QTL associated with the abundance of Lysobacter, Rheinheimera and Methylobacterium. All these three genera are known for their beneficial antibacterial activity. Overall, our results provide evidence that host genotype may regulate the abundance of specific genera among their surface microbiota. They also indicate that Lysobacter, Rheinheimera and Methylobacterium are potentially important genera in providing protection against pathogens.
ZeitschriftPLoS ONE
Seiten (von - bis)e102649
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2014
Extern publiziertJa