Animal development and physiology depend on beneficial interactions with microbial symbionts. In many cases, the microbial symbionts are horizontally transmitted among hosts, thereby making the acquisition of these microbes from the environment an important event within the life history of each host. The light organ symbiosis established between the Hawaiian squid Euprymna scolopes and the bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri is a model system for examining how hosts acquire horizontally transmitted microbial symbionts. Recent studies have revealed that the light organ of wild-caught E. scolopes squid contains polyclonal populations of V. fischeri bacteria; however, the function and development of such strain diversity in the symbiosis are unknown. Here, we report our phenotypic and phylogenetic characterizations of FQ-A001, which is a V. fischeri strain isolated directly from the light organ of an E. scolopes individual. Relative to the type strain ES114, FQ-A001 exhibits similar growth in rich medium but displays increased bioluminescence and decreased motility in soft agar. FQ-A001 outcompetes ES114 in colonizing the crypt spaces of the light organs. Remarkably, we find that animals cocolonized with FQ-A001 and ES114 harbor singly colonized crypts, in contrast to the cocolonized crypts observed from competition experiments involving single genotypes. The results with our two-strain system suggest that strain diversity within the squid light organ is a consequence of diversity in the single-strain colonization of individual crypt spaces.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology