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The effect of gut microbiota elimination in Drosophila melanogaster A how-to guide for host-microbiota studies

Abstract : In recent years, there has been a surge in interest in the effects of the microbiota on the host. Increasingly, we are coming to understand the importance of the gut microbiota in modulating host physiology, ecology, behavior, and evolution. One method utilized to evaluate the effect of the microbiota is to suppress or eliminate it, and compare the effect on the host with that of untreated individuals. In this study, we evaluate some of these commonly used methods in the model organism, Drosophila melanogaster. We test the efficacy of a low-dose streptomycin diet, egg dechorionation, and an axenic or sterile diet, in the removal of gut bacteria within this species in a fully factorial design. We further determine potential side effects of these methods on host physiology by performing a series of standard physiological assays. Our results showed that individuals from all treatments took significantly longer to develop, and weighed less, compared to normal flies. Males and females that had undergone egg dechorionation weighed significantly less than streptomycin reared individuals. Similarly, axenic female flies, but not males, were much less active when analyzed in a locomotion assay. All methods decreased the egg to adult survival, with egg dechorionation inducing significantly higher mortality. We conclude that low-dose streptomycin added to the dietary media is more effective at removing the gut bacteria than egg dechorionation and has somewhat less detrimental effects to host physiology. More importantly, this method is the most practical and reliable for use in behavioral research. Our study raises the important issue that the efficacy of and impacts on the host of these methods require investigation in a case-by-case manner, rather than assuming homogeneity across species and laboratories.
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Submitted on : Thursday, October 18, 2018 - 10:15:43 AM
Last modification on : Monday, April 29, 2019 - 2:30:49 PM
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Chloe Heys, Anne Lizé, Frances Blow, Lewis White, Alistair Darby, et al.. The effect of gut microbiota elimination in Drosophila melanogaster A how-to guide for host-microbiota studies. Ecology and Evolution, Wiley Open Access, 2018, 8 (8), pp.4150-4161. ⟨10.1002/ece3.3991⟩. ⟨hal-01806867⟩

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