Co-infecting pathogen lineages have additive effects on host bacterial communities

Daniel Medina, Sasha E. Greenspan, Tamilie Carvalho, C. Guilherme Becker, Luís Felipe Toledo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Amphibian skin bacteria may confer protection against the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), but responses of skin bacteria to different Bd lineages are poorly understood. The global panzootic lineage (Bd-GPL) has caused amphibian declines and extinctions globally. However, other lineages are enzootic (Bd-Asia-2/Brazil). Increased contact rates between Bd-GPL and enzootic lineages via globalization pose unknown consequences for host-microbiome-pathogen dynamics. We conducted a laboratory experiment and used 16S rRNA amplicon-sequencing to assess: (i) whether two lineages (Bd-Asia-2/Brazil and Bd-GPL) and their recombinant, in single and mixed infections, differentially affect amphibian skin bacteria; (ii) and the changes associated with the transition to laboratory conditions. We determined no clear differences in bacterial diversity among Bd treatments, despite differences in infection intensity. However, we observed an additive effect of mixed infections on bacterial alpha diversity and a potentially antagonistic interaction between Bd genotypes. Additionally, observed changes in community composition suggest a higher ability of Bd-GPL to alter skin bacteria. Lastly, we observed a drastic reduction in bacterial diversity and a change in community structure in laboratory conditions. We provide evidence for complex interactions between Bd genotypes and amphibian skin bacteria during coinfections, and expand on the implications of experimental conditions in ecological studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberfiab030
JournalFEMS microbiology ecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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