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Proc Biol Sci. 2017 Sep 13;284(1862). pii: 20170955. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2017.0955.

Seasonal variation in nutrient utilization shapes gut microbiome structure and function in wild giant pandas.

Wu Q1, Wang X1,2, Ding Y1,3, Hu Y1, Nie Y1, Wei W1,2, Ma S1,2, Yan L1, Zhu L4, Wei F5,2.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, People's Republic of China.
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, People's Republic of China.
3
School of Life Sciences, University of Nanchang, Nanchang 330031, People's Republic of China.
4
School of Life Sciences, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, People's Republic of China.
5
Key Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, People's Republic of China weifw@ioz.ac.cn.

Abstract

Wild giant pandas use different parts of bamboo (shoots, leaves and stems) and different bamboo species at different times of the year. Their usage of bamboo can be classified temporally into a distinct leaf stage, shoot stage and transition stage. An association between this usage pattern and variation in the giant panda gut microbiome remains unknown. Here, we found associations using a gut metagenomic approach and nutritional analyses whereby diversity of the gut microbial community in the leaf and shoot stages was significantly different. Functional metagenomic analysis showed that in the leaf stage, bacteria species over-represented genes involved in raw fibre utilization and cell cycle control. Thus, raw fibre utilization by the gut microbiome was guaranteed during the nutrient-deficient leaf stage by reinforcing gut microbiome robustness. During the protein-abundant shoot stage, the functional capacity of the gut microbiome expanded to include prokaryotic secretion and signal transduction activity, suggesting active interactions between the gut microbiome and host. These results illustrate that seasonal nutrient variation in wild giant pandas substantially influences gut microbiome composition and function. Nutritional interactions between gut microbiomes and hosts appear to be complex and further work is needed.

KEYWORDS:

giant panda; gut microbiome; nutrition utilization

PMID:
28904137
PMCID:
PMC5597826
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2017.0955
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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