Bacterial Microbiota Associated with the Glacier Ice Worm Is Dominated by Both Worm-Specific and Glacier-Derived Facultative Lineages

  • Murakami Takumi
    Department of Biological Sciences, Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • Segawa Takahiro
    Center for Life Science Research, University of Yamanashi National Institute of Polar Research Transdisciplinary Research Integration Center
  • Dial Roman
    Department of Environmental Science, Alaska Pacific University
  • Takeuchi Nozomu
    Department of Earth Sciences, Chiba University
  • Kohshima Shiro
    Wildlife Research Center, Kyoto University
  • Hongoh Yuichi
    Department of Biological Sciences, Tokyo Institute of Technology

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<p>The community structure of bacteria associated with the glacier ice worm Mesenchytraeus solifugus was analyzed by amplicon sequencing of 16S rRNA genes and their transcripts. Ice worms were collected from two distinct glaciers in Alaska, Harding Icefield and Byron Glacier, and glacier surfaces were also sampled for comparison. Marked differences were observed in bacterial community structures between the ice worm and glacier surface samples. Several bacterial phylotypes were detected almost exclusively in the ice worms, and these bacteria were phylogenetically affiliated with either animal-associated lineages or, interestingly, clades mostly consisting of glacier-indigenous species. The former included bacteria that belong to Mollicutes, Chlamydiae, Rickettsiales, and Lachnospiraceae, while the latter included Arcicella and Herminiimonas phylotypes. Among these bacteria enriched in ice worm samples, Mollicutes, Arcicella, and Herminiimonas phylotypes were abundantly and consistently detected in the ice worm samples; these phylotypes constituted the core microbiota associated with the ice worm. A fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis showed that Arcicella cells specifically colonized the epidermis of the ice worms. Other bacterial phylotypes detected in the ice worm samples were also abundantly recovered from the respective habitat glaciers; these bacteria may be food for ice worms to digest or temporary residents. Nevertheless, some were overrepresented in the ice worm RNA samples; they may also function as facultative gut bacteria. Our results indicate that the community structure of bacteria associated with ice worms is distinct from that in the associated glacier and includes worm-specific and facultative, glacier-indigenous lineages.</p>


  • Microbes and Environments

    Microbes and Environments 32 (1), 32-39, 2017

    Japanese Society of Microbial Ecology / Japanese Society of Soil Microbiology / Taiwan Society of Microbial Ecology / Japanese Society of Plant Microbe Interactions / Japanese Society for Extremophiles

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