The Role of the Gut Microbiome in Mediating Standard Metabolic Rate After Dietary Shifts in the Viviparous Cockroach, Diploptera Punctata

June 02, 2020 | Biology

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Paul A. Ayayee, George Kinney, Chris Yarnes, Thomas Larsen, Gordon F. Custer, Linda T. A. van Diepen, and Agusti Munoz-Garcia

Diet may be a significant determinant of insect gut microbiome composition. However, the extent to which dietary shifts shape both the composition and relevant functions of insect gut microbiomes, and ultimately, impact host energy balance (i.e., metabolic phenotype) is not well understood. We investigated the impacts of diet switching on Diploptera punctata females maintained on dog food (DF) diet relative to those fed a comparatively sub-optimal cellulose-amended dog food (CADF) diet for four weeks. After this period, dietary shift resulted in a significantly higher average mass-specific standard metabolic rate (SMR) in CADF-fed females compared to DF-fed females. We also uncovered significant 13C-enrichment in DF-fed insect samples relative to CADF-fed insect samples and lowered bacterial essential amino acid (EAA) provisioning in CADF-fed samples. Differences in SMR and EAA provisioning were not accompanied by significant differences in overall microbiome composition between the two groups. However, cellulolytic and nitrogen-fixing bacterial families dominant in wild omnivorous cockroaches and wood-feeding termites were significantly enriched in CADF-fed females than in DF-fed females, at the end of the study. We propose that these changes in microbiome composition after dietary shifts are associated with changes in EAA provisioning and possibly SMR. Further studies are needed to comprehensively understand the relative importance of gut microbial functions among the complexity of factors known to underscore SMR responses in insects under varying dietary conditions... Continue reading the full article at the Journal of Experimental Biology (JEB) Blog.

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