5 years ago

Inhibiting Bacterial Quorum Sensing Arrests Coral Disease Development and Disease-Associated Microbes

Rebecca H. Certner, Steven V. Vollmer
Among the greatest threats to coral reefs are coral epizootics, which are increasing in frequency and severity across many reef ecosystems. In particular, white band disease (WBD) has devastated Caribbean acroporid populations since its initial outbreak in 1979. However, despite its widespread and damaging effects, the etiology of WBD remains largely unresolved. Here we examine the role of quorum sensing within bacterial communities associated with WBD-infected Acropora cervicornis. Microbial communities isolated from WBD-infected corals were exposed to quorum sensing inhibitor (QSI) – a N-acyl homoserine lactone autoinducer antagonist – and then dosed onto healthy test corals. WBD-associated bacteria supplemented with QSI lost the ability to establish disease, while healthy corals exposed to uninhibited WBD bacterial communities became infected within two days. Microbial 16S rRNA metagenomic sequencing analyses were then used to identify shifts in bacterial communities due to QSI exposure on WBD-associated bacterial communities. Our results demonstrated that Vibrionaceae and Flavobacteriaceae abundances were strongly inhibited by the addition of QSI to WBD-infected corals, whereas putative coral symbiont Endozoicomonas and Halomonadaceae abundances decrease dramatically in diseased corals. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.13991

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