Interplay between the gut microbiota and immune responses of ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis) duringVibrio anguillaruminfection
Gut microbiota plays fundamental roles in protection against pathogen invasion. However, the mechanism and extent of responses of gut microbiota to pathogenic infection are poorly understood. This study investigated the gut bacterial communities and immune responses of ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis) upon exposure to Vibrio anguillarum. The succession of V. anguillarum infection was evidenced by increased expression of immune genes and bacterial loads in ayu tissues, which in turn altered the composition and predicted functions of gut bacterial community. The dynamics of gut bacterial diversity and evenness were temporally stable in control ayu but were reduced in infected subjects, particularly at the late stages of infection. Variations in the gut microbiota were significantly associated with the expression levels of TNF-α (P = 0.019) and IL-1 β (P = 0.013). The profiles of certain gut bacterial taxa were indicative of V. anguillarum infection. Compared with healthy controls, the ayu infected with V. anguillarum possessed less complex, fewer connected, and lower cooperative gut bacterial interspecies interaction, coinciding with significant shifts in keystone species. These findings imply that V. anguillarum infection substantially disrupted the compositions and interspecies interaction of ayu gut bacterial community, thereby altering gut microbial-mediated functions and inducing host immune responses. This study provides an integrated overview on the interaction between the gut microbiota and host immune responses to pathogen infection from an ecological perspective.