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  Burying beetles regulate the microbiome of carcasses and use it to transmit a core microbiota to their offspring

Shukla, S., Vogel, H., Heckel, D. G., Vilcinskas, A., & Kaltenpoth, M. (2018). Burying beetles regulate the microbiome of carcasses and use it to transmit a core microbiota to their offspring. Molecular Ecology, 27(8), 1980-1991. doi:10.1111/mec.14269.

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HEC373.pdf (Publisher version), 774KB
 
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Shukla, Shantanu1, Author              
Vogel, Heiko1, Author              
Heckel, David G.1, Author              
Vilcinskas, A., Author
Kaltenpoth, Martin2, Author              
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1Department of Entomology, Prof. D. G. Heckel, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society, ou_421895              
2Max Planck Research Group Insect Symbiosis, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society, ou_421897              

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 Abstract: Necrophagous beetles utilize carrion, a highly nutritious resource that is susceptible to intense microbial competition, by treating it with antimicrobial anal and oral secretions. However, how this regulates the carcass microbiota remains unclear. Here, we show that carcasses prepared by the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides undergo significant changes in their microbial communities subsequent to their burial and 'preparation'. Prepared carcasses hosted a microbial community that was more similar to that of beetles' anal and oral secretions than to the native carcass community or the surrounding soil, indicating that the beetles regulated the carcass microbiota. A core microbial community (Xanthomonadaceae, Enterococcaceae, Enterobacteriaceae, and Yarrowia yeasts) was transmitted by the beetles to the larvae via the anal and oral secretions and the carcass surface. These core taxa proliferated on the carcass, indicating a growth conducive environment for these microbes when associated with beetles. However, total bacterial loads were higher on decomposing carcasses without beetles than on beetle-prepared carcasses, indicating that the beetles and/or their associated symbionts suppress the growth of competing microbes. Thus, apart from being a nutritional resource, the carcass provides a medium for vertical transmission of a tightly regulated symbiotic microbiota, whose activity on the carcass and in the larval gut may involve carcass preservation as well as digestion.

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 Dates: 2017-07-282017-09-082018
 Publication Status: Published in print
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 Identifiers: Other: HEC373
DOI: 10.1111/mec.14269
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Title: Molecular Ecology
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Oxford : Blackwell Science
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 27 (8) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 1980 - 1991 Identifier: ISSN: 0962-1083
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925580119