The role of gut microbial community and metabolomic shifts in adaptive resistance of Atlantic killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Altered gut microbiomes may play a role in rapid evolution to anthropogenic change but remain poorly understood. Atlantic killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) in the Elizabeth River, VA have evolved resistance to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and provide a unique opportunity to examine the links between shifts in the commensal microbiome and organismal physiology associated with evolved resistance. Here, 16S rRNA sequence libraries derived from fish guts and sediments sampled from a highly PAH contaminated site revealed significant differences collected at similar samples from an uncontaminated site. Phylogenetic groups enriched in the libraries derived from PAH-resistant fish were dissimilar to their associated sediment libraries, suggesting the specific environment within the PAH-resistant fish intestine influence the gut microbiome composition. Gut metabolite analysis revealed shifts between PAH-resistant and non-resistant subpopulations. Notably, PAH-resistant fish exhibited reduced levels of tryptophan and increased levels of sphingolipids. Exposure to PAHs appears to impact several bacterial in the gut microbiome, particularly sphingolipid containing bacteria. Bacterial phylotypes known to include species containing sphingolipids were generally lower in the intestines of fish subpopulations exposed to high concentrations of PAHs, inferring a complex host-microbiome relationship. Overall, killifish microbial community shifts appear to be related to a suppression of overall metabolite level, indicating a potential role of the gut in organismal response to anthropogenic environmental change. These results on microbial and metabolomics shifts are potentially linked to altered bioenergetic phenotype observed in the same PAH-resistant killifish populations in other studies.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Redfern, LK; Jayasundara, N; Singleton, DR; Di Giulio, RT; Carlson, J; Sumner, SJ; Gunsch, CK

Published Date

  • July 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 776 /

Start / End Page

  • 145955 -

PubMed ID

  • 33647645

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8294123

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-1026

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0048-9697

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145955


  • eng