Isolation and identification of symbiotic bacteria from the skin, mouth, and rectum of wild and captive tree shrews

Dongwuxue Yanjiu. 2014 Nov 18;35(6):492-9. doi: 10.13918/j.issn.2095-8137.2014.6.492.


Endosymbionts influence many aspects of their hosts' health conditions, including physiology, development, immunity, metabolism, etc. Tree shrews (Tupaia belangeri chinensis) have attracted increasing attention in modeling human diseases and therapeutic responses due to their close relationship with primates. To clarify the situation of symbiotic bacteria from their body surface, oral cavity, and anus, 12 wild and 12 the third generation of captive tree shrews were examined. Based on morphological and cultural characteristics, physiological and biochemical tests, as well as the 16S rDNA full sequence analysis, 12 bacteria strains were isolated and identified from the wild tree shrews: body surface: Bacillus subtilis (detection rate 42%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (25%), Staphlococcus aureus (33%), S. Epidermidis (75%), Micrococcus luteus (25%), Kurthia gibsonii (17%); oral cavity: Neisseria mucosa (58%), Streptococcus pneumonia (17%); anus: Enterococcus faecalis (17%), Lactococus lactis (33%), Escherichia coli (92%), Salmonella typhosa (17%); whereas, four were indentified from the third generation captive tree shrews: body surface: S. epidermidis (75%); oral cavity: N.mucosa (67%); anus: L. lactis (33%), E. coli (100%). These results indicate that S. epidermidis, N. mucosa, L. lactis and E. coli were major bacteria in tree shrews, whereas, S. aureus, M. luteus, K. gibsonii, E. faecalis and S. typhosa were species-specific flora. This study facilitates the future use of tree shrews as a standard experimental animal and improves our understanding of the relationship between endosymbionts and their hosts.

Keywords: Identification; Microbial; Separation; Tree shrew.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / classification*
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Female
  • Male
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Symbiosis / physiology*
  • Tupaiidae / microbiology*


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S

Grant support

This study was supported by the National 863 Project of China ( 2012AA021801) and the Project of Frontier Study of Foundation, CAS (KSCX2-EW-R-11, KSCX2-EW-J-23)