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Assemblages of anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria in tank bromeliads exhibit a host‐specific signature

Abstract : Anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria (APB) are a very significant metabolic functional group in the phytotelmata of tank-forming Bromeliaceae plants. Considering the close relationships existing between the bromeliad and its tank microbiota, the dominance of APB raises the question of their role in the ecology and evolution of these plants. Here, using pufM gene sequencing for taxonomic profiling, we investigated the structure of APB communities in the tanks of five bromeliad species exhibiting different habitat characteristics (i.e. physicochemical factors associated with the host), and occurring in different localities of French Guiana. We found that APB assemblages were specific to plant species and were less dependent on location or on bromeliad habitat characteristics. This convergence suggests that the identity of the bromeliad species per se is more important than habitat filtering or dispersal to control specific assembly rules for APB. The pufM OTUs were affiliated with five orders of Alpha- and Beta-proteobacteria (Rhodobacterales, Sphingomonadales, Rhizobiales, Burkholderiales and Rhodospirillales), and we assume that they may be major components of the core microbiota of plant-held waters. Our findings also revealed that up to 79% of the sequences were affiliated with APB clades possessing nitrogen-fixing genes suggesting that this metabolic capability is widespread within the APB community inhabiting tank bromeliads. We hypothesized that bromeliads may benefit nutritionally from associations with free-living APB capable to fix atmospheric nitrogen. Synthesis. Understanding the dominance of APB in tank bromeliads and determining whether a potential interplay exists between these partners is an intriguing aspect of possible mutualistic and coevolving interactions between the two existing forms of chlorophototrophy (i.e. bacteriochlorophyll-based anoxygenic and chlorophyll-based oxygenic phototrophy). In the present study, we found that bromeliad species was the main factor that explained variance in APB community composition. These findings suggest that APB and tank bromeliads may have a close, mutualistic relationship and we hypothesize according to our genomic analyses that APB may promote the bromeliad growth by provisioning essential nutrients like nitrogen.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03383240
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Submitted on : Monday, October 18, 2021 - 3:21:37 PM
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Antoine Vergne, Vincent Darbot, Corinne Bardot, François Enault, Anne‐hélène Le Jeune, et al.. Assemblages of anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria in tank bromeliads exhibit a host‐specific signature. Journal of Ecology, Wiley, 2021, 109 (7), pp.2550-2565. ⟨10.1111/1365-2745.13657⟩. ⟨hal-03383240v2⟩

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