TitleAlteration of diet microbiota limits the experimentally evolved immune priming response in flour beetles, but not pathogen resistance.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsPrakash A, Agashe D, Khan I
JournalJ Evol Biol
Date Published2023 Sep 01

Host-associated microbiota play a fundamental role in the training and induction of different forms of immunity, including inducible as well as constitutive components. However, direct experiments analysing the relative importance of microbiota on diverse forms of evolved immune functions are missing. We addressed this gap by using experimentally evolved lines of Tribolium castaneum that either produced inducible immune memory-like responses (immune priming) or constitutively expressed basal resistance (without priming), as divergent counterstrategies against Bacillus thuringiensis infection. We altered the microbial communities present in the diet (i.e. wheat flour) of these evolved lines using UV irradiation and estimated the impact on the beetle's ability to mount a priming response versus basal resistance. Populations that had evolved immune priming lost the ability to mount a priming response upon alteration of diet microbiota. Microbiota manipulation also caused a drastic reduction in their reproductive output and post-infection longevity. In contrast, in pathogen-resistant beetles, microbiota manipulation did not affect post-infection survival or reproduction. The divergent evolution of immune responses across beetle lines was thus associated with divergent reliance on the microbiome. Whether the latter is a direct outcome of differential pathogen exposure during selection or reflects evolved immune functions remains unclear. We hope that our results will motivate further experiments to understand the mechanistic basis of these complex evolutionary associations between microbiota, host immune strategies and fitness outcomes.

Alternate JournalJ Evol Biol
PubMed ID37658647
Grant ListECR/2017/003370 / / Science and Engineering Research Board /
IA/I/17/1/503091 / / The DBT Wellcome Trust India Alliance /
IA/I/20/1/504930 / / The Wellcome Trust DBT India Alliance /
Project695IdentificationNo.RTI4006 / / Department of Atomic Energy /