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ISME J. 2016 Feb;10(2):514-26. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2015.146. Epub 2015 Aug 28.

Temporal variation selects for diet-microbe co-metabolic traits in the gut of Gorilla spp.

Author information

1
Department of Animal Sciences, Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL, USA.
2
Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL, USA.
3
Department of Anthropology, Hunter College of CUNY, New York, NY, USA.
4
New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology (NYCEP), New York, NY, USA.
5
Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Brno, Czech Republic.
6
Biology Centre, Institute of Parasitology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic.
7
Liberec Zoo, Liberec, Czech Republic.
8
Department of Animal and Range Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, USA.
9
Department of Pathology and Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Czech Republic.
10
CEITEC, Central European Institute for Technology, Brno, Czech Republic.
11
World Wildlife Fund, Dzanga-Sangha Protected Areas, Bayanga, Central African Republic.
12
J. Craig Venter Institute, Rockville, MD, USA.
13
Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL, USA.
14
Department of Microbiology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL, USA.
15
Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, St Paul, MN, USA.
16
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, St Paul, MN, USA.
17
Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA.

Abstract

Although the critical role that our gastrointestinal microbes play in host physiology is now well established, we know little about the factors that influenced the evolution of primate gut microbiomes. To further understand current gut microbiome configurations and diet-microbe co-metabolic fingerprints in primates, from an evolutionary perspective, we characterized fecal bacterial communities and metabolomic profiles in 228 fecal samples of lowland and mountain gorillas (G. g. gorilla and G. b. beringei, respectively), our closest evolutionary relatives after chimpanzees. Our results demonstrate that the gut microbiomes and metabolomes of these two species exhibit significantly different patterns. This is supported by increased abundance of metabolites and bacterial taxa associated with fiber metabolism in mountain gorillas, and enrichment of markers associated with simple sugar, lipid and sterol turnover in the lowland species. However, longitudinal sampling shows that both species' microbiomes and metabolomes converge when hosts face similar dietary constraints, associated with low fruit availability in their habitats. By showing differences and convergence of diet-microbe co-metabolic fingerprints in two geographically isolated primate species, under specific dietary stimuli, we suggest that dietary constraints triggered during their adaptive radiation were potential factors behind the species-specific microbiome patterns observed in primates today.

PMID:
26315972
PMCID:
PMC4737941
DOI:
10.1038/ismej.2015.146
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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