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Insects. 2018 Dec 7;9(4). pii: E188. doi: 10.3390/insects9040188.

Hibernation Leads to Altered Gut Communities in Bumblebee Queens (Bombus terrestris).

Author information

1
Laboratory for Process Microbial Ecology and Bioinspirational Management (PME&BIM), Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems, KU Leuven, Campus De Nayer, B-2860 Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium. lien.bosmans@kuleuven.be.
2
Plant Conservation and Population Biology, Biology Department, KU Leuven, B-3001 Heverlee, Belgium. maribel.pozoromero@kuleuven.be.
3
Laboratory for Process Microbial Ecology and Bioinspirational Management (PME&BIM), Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems, KU Leuven, Campus De Nayer, B-2860 Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium. christel.verreth@kuleuven.be.
4
Laboratory for Process Microbial Ecology and Bioinspirational Management (PME&BIM), Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems, KU Leuven, Campus De Nayer, B-2860 Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium. sam.crauwels@kuleuven.be.
5
Biobest Group, B-2260 Westerlo, Belgium. felix.wackers@biobestgroup.com.
6
Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK. felix.wackers@biobestgroup.com.
7
Plant Conservation and Population Biology, Biology Department, KU Leuven, B-3001 Heverlee, Belgium. hans.jacquemyn@kuleuven.be.
8
Laboratory for Process Microbial Ecology and Bioinspirational Management (PME&BIM), Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems, KU Leuven, Campus De Nayer, B-2860 Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium. bart.lievens@kuleuven.be.

Abstract

Many reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and insects practice some form of hibernation during which their metabolic rate is drastically reduced. This allows them to conserve energy and survive the harsh winter conditions with little or no food. While it can be expected that a reduction in host metabolism has a substantial influence on the gut microbial community, little is known about the effects of hibernation on the composition of the microbial gut community, especially for insects. In this study, we assessed and compared the bacterial gut community composition within the midgut and ileum of indoor-reared queens of Bombus terrestris before and after an artificial hibernation period of 16 weeks. Deep sequencing of 16S ribosomal RNA gene amplicons and clustering of sequence reads into operational taxonomic units (OTUs) at a similarity threshold of 97% revealed several bacterial taxa that are known to be strongly associated with corbiculate bees. Bacterial community composition after hibernation compared to before hibernation was characterized by higher OTU richness and evenness, with decreased levels of the core bacteria Gilliamella (Proteobacteria, Orbaceae) and Snodgrassella (Proteobacteria, Neisseriaceae), and increased relative abundance of non-core bacteria, including several psychrophilic and psychrotrophic taxa.

KEYWORDS:

Bombus terrestris; gut microbiota; hibernation; ileum; midgut; queen

PMID:
30544592
DOI:
10.3390/insects9040188
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