BACKGROUNDMucosal surfaces of fish provide cardinal defense against environmental pathogens and toxins, yet these external mucosae are also responsible for maintaining and regulating beneficial microbiota. To better our understanding of interactions between host, diet, and microbiota in finfish and how those interactions may vary across mucosal tissue, we used an integrative approach to characterize and compare immune biomarkers and microbiota across three mucosal tissues (skin, gill, and gut) in Atlantic salmon receiving a control diet or diets supplemented with mannan-oligosaccharides, coconut oil, or both. Dietary impacts on mucosal immunity were further evaluated by experimental ectoparasitic sea lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) challenge.
RESULTSFish grew to a final size of 646.5 g ± 35.8 during the 12-week trial, with no dietary effects on growth or sea lice resistance. Bacterial richness differed among the three tissues with the highest richness detected in the gill, followed by skin, then gut, although dietary effects on richness were only detected within skin and gill. Shannon diversity was reduced in the gut compared to skin and gill but was not influenced by diet. Microbiota communities clustered separately by tissue, with dietary impacts on phylogenetic composition only detected in the skin, although skin and gill communities showed greater overlap compared to the gut according to overall composition, differential abundance, and covariance networks. Inferred metagenomic functions revealed preliminary evidence for tissue-specific host-microbiota coadaptation, as putative microbiota functions showed ties to the physiology of each tissue. Immune gene expression profiles displayed tissue-specific signatures, yet dietary effects were also detected within each tissue and peripheral blood leukocytes. Procrustes analysis comparing sample-matched multivariate variation in microbiota composition to that of immune expression profiles indicated a highly significant correlation between datasets.
CONCLUSIONSDiets supplemented with functional ingredients, namely mannan-oligosaccharide, coconut oil, or a both, resulted in no difference in Atlantic salmon growth or resistance to sea lice infection. However, at the molecular level, functional ingredients caused physiologically relevant changes to mucosal microbiota and host immune expression. Putative tissue-specific metagenomic functions and the high correlation between expression profiles and microbiota composition suggest host and microbiota are interdependent and coadapted in a tissue-specific manner.
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