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Bram Vanthournout and Frederik Hendrickx (2015)

Endosymbiont dominated bacterial communities in a dwarf spider

PLoS One, 10(2):e0117297.

The microbial community of spiders is little known, with previous studies focussing primarily on the medical importance of spiders as vectors of pathogenic bacteria and on the screening of known cytoplasmic endosymbiont bacteria. These screening studies have been performed by means of specific primers that only amplify a selective set of endosymbionts, hampering the detection of unreported species in spiders. In order to have a more complete overview of the bacterial species that can be present in spiders, we applied a combination of a cloning assay, DGGE profiling and high-throughput sequencing on multiple individuals of the dwarf spider Oedothorax gibbosus. This revealed a co-infection of at least three known (Wolbachia, Rickettsia and Cardinium) and the detection of a previously unreported endosymbiont bacterium (Rhabdochlamydia) in spiders. 16S rRNA gene sequences of Rhabdochlamydia matched closely with those of Candidatus R. porcellionis, which is currently only reported as a pathogen from a woodlouse and with Candidatus R. crassificans reported from a cockroach. Remarkably, this bacterium appears to present in very high proportions in one of the two populations only, with all investigated females being infected. We also recovered Acinetobacter in high abundance in one individual. In total, more than 99% of approximately 4.5M high-throughput sequencing reads were restricted to these five bacterial species. In contrast to previously reported screening studies of terrestrial arthropods, our results suggest that the bacterial communities in this spider species are dominated by, or even restricted to endosymbiont bacteria. Given the high prevalence of endosymbiont species in spiders, this bacterial community pattern could be widespread in the Araneae order.
Peer Review, International Redaction Board, Impact Factor, Open Access
16SrRNA, Adaptation, 16S
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