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Axial dynamics, stability, and interspecies similarity of bacterial community structure in the highly compartmentalized gut of soil-feeding termites (Cubitermes spp.)

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Citation

Schmitt-Wagner, D., Friedrich, M., Wagner, B., & Brune, A. (2003). Axial dynamics, stability, and interspecies similarity of bacterial community structure in the highly compartmentalized gut of soil-feeding termites (Cubitermes spp.). APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY, 69(10), 6018-6024. doi:10.1128/AEM.69.10.6018-6024.2003.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000D-5BB4-2
Abstract
The highly compartmentalized gut of soil-feeding termites is characterized by pronounced axial dynamics in physicochemical conditions and microbial processes. In a companion paper (D. Schmitt-Wagner, M. W. Friedrich, B. Wagner, and A. Brune, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 69:6007-6017, 2003), we demonstrated that the variety of physicochemical conditions in the different gut compartments of Cubitermes spp. is reflected in the diversity of the respective intestinal microbial communities. Here, we used molecular fingerprints of 16S rRNA genes of the bacterial community, obtained by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis, to describe the axial dynamics of the bacterial community structure in the different gut sections. Comparison of the T-RFLP profiles with the predicted terminal restriction fragments of the clones in clone libraries of the gut segments in Cubitermes orthognathus confirmed that all hindgut sections harbored distinct bacterial communities. Morisita indices of community similarity, calculated by comparing the different patterns, revealed large differences between the bacterial communities of soil, gut, and nest material and also among the individual gut sections. By contrast, comparison of the homologous gut segments of different Cubitermes species indicated that the three termite species investigated possessed a similar, gut-specific microbiota that remained comparatively stable even during several months of maintenance in the laboratory.