Starvation stress affects the interplay among shrimp gut microbiota, digestion and immune activities

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Aquatic animals are frequently suffered from starvation due to restricted food availability or deprivation. It is currently known that gut microbiota assists host in nutrient acquisition. Thus, exploring the gut microbiota responses would improve our understanding on physiological adaptation to starvation. To achieve this, we investigated how the gut microbiota and shrimp digestion and immune activities were affected under starvation stress. The results showed that the measured digestion activities in starved shrimp were significantly lower than in normal cohorts; while the measured immune activities exhibited an opposite trend. A structural equation modeling (SEM) revealed that changes in the gut bacterial community were directly related to digestive and immune enzyme activities, which in turn markedly affected shrimp growth traits. Notably, several gut bacterial indicators that characterized the shrimp nutrient status were identified, with more abundant opportunistic pathogens in starved shrimp, although there were no statistical differences in the overall diversity and the structures of gut bacterial communities between starved and normal shrimp. Starved shrimp exhibited less connected and cooperative interspecies interaction as compared with normal cohorts. Additionally, the functional pathways involved in carbohydrate and protein digestion, glycan biosynthesis, lipid and enzyme metabolism remarkably decreased in starved shrimp. These attenuations could increase the susceptibility of starved shrimp to pathogens infection. In summary, this study provides novel insights into the interplay among shrimp digestion, immune activities and gut microbiota in response to starvation stress.HighlightsShrimp immunity is compromised under starvation.Gut microbiota affects shrimp growth traits.Starved shrimp are susceptible to infection.

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