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Title: Symbiotic bacteria mediate volatile chemical signal synthesis in a large solitary mammal species
Author: Zhou,Wenliang;Qi,Dunwu;Swaisgood,Ronald R.;Wang,Le;Jin,Yipeng;Wu,Qi;Wei,Fuwen;Nie,Yonggang
Abstract: Mammalian chemosignals-or scent marks-are characterized by astounding chemical diversity, reflecting both complex biochemical pathways that produce them and rich information exchange with conspecifics. The microbiome of scent glands was thought to play prominent role in the chemical signal synthesis, with diverse microbiota metabolizing glandular products to produce odorants that may be used as chemosignals. Here, we use gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and metagenomic shotgun sequencing to explore this phenomenon in the anogenital gland secretions (AGS) of the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). We find that this gland contains a diverse community of fermentative bacteria with enzymes that support metabolic pathways (e.g., lipid degradation) for the productions of volatile odorants specialized for chemical communication. We found quantitative and qualitative differences in the microbiota between AGS and digestive tract, a finding which was mirrored by differences among chemical compounds that could be used for olfactory communication. Volatile chemical compounds were more diverse and abundant in AGS than fecal samples, and our evidence suggests that metabolic pathways have been specialized for the synthesis of chemosignals for communication. The panda's microbiome is rich with genes coding for enzymes that participate in the fermentation pathways producing chemical compounds commonly deployed in mammalian chemosignals. These findings illuminate the poorly understood phenomena involved in the role of symbiotic bacteria in the production of chemosignals.
Corresponding author: Nie, Yonggang
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PubYear: 2021
Volume: 15
Issue: 7
Page: 2070-2080
Journal: The ISME Journal
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URL: http://www-nature-com-s.webvpn.ioz.ac.cn/articles/s41396-021-00905-1