Vibrio elicits targeted transcriptional responses from copepod hosts

FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2016 Jun;92(6):fiw072. doi: 10.1093/femsec/fiw072. Epub 2016 Apr 6.


Copepods are abundant crustaceans that harbor diverse bacterial communities, yet the nature of their interactions with microbiota are poorly understood. Here, we report that Vibrio elicits targeted transcriptional responses in the estuarine copepod Eurytemora affinis We pre-treated E. affinis with an antibiotic cocktail and exposed them to either a zooplankton specialist (Vibrio sp. F10 9ZB36) or a free-living species (Vibrio ordalii 12B09) for 24 h. We then identified via RNA-Seq a total of 78 genes that were differentially expressed following Vibrio exposure, including homologs of C-type lectins, chitin-binding proteins and saposins. The response differed between the two Vibrio treatments, with the greatest changes elicited upon inoculation with V. sp. F10 We suggest that these differentially regulated genes play important roles in cuticle integrity, the innate immune response, and general stress response, and that their expression may enable E. affinis to recognize and regulate symbiotic vibrios. We further report that V. sp. F10 culturability is specifically altered upon colonization of E. affinis These findings suggest that rather than acting as passive environmental vectors, copepods discriminately interact with vibrios, which may ultimately impact the abundance and activity of copepod-associated bacteria.

Keywords: crustacean; innate immunity; marine; microbiome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Base Sequence
  • Copepoda / genetics
  • Copepoda / immunology
  • Copepoda / microbiology*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Microbiota / genetics
  • RNA / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics*
  • Transcriptional Activation / genetics*
  • Vibrio / immunology
  • Vibrio / metabolism*
  • Zooplankton / microbiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • RNA