Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2020 May;22(5):1944-1962.
doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.15009. Epub 2020 Apr 19.

Opportunistic Bacteria Use Quorum Sensing to Disturb Coral Symbiotic Communities and Mediate the Occurrence of Coral Bleaching


Opportunistic Bacteria Use Quorum Sensing to Disturb Coral Symbiotic Communities and Mediate the Occurrence of Coral Bleaching

Jin Zhou et al. Environ Microbiol. .


Coral associated microorganisms, especially some opportunistic pathogens can utilize quorum-sensing (QS) signals to affect population structure and host health. However, direct evidence about the link between coral bleaching and dysbiotic microbiomes under QS regulation was lacking. Here, using 11 opportunistic bacteria and their QS products (AHLs, acyl-homoserine-lactones), we exposed Pocillopora damicornis to three different treatments: test groups (A and B: mixture of AHLs-producing bacteria and cocktail of AHLs signals respectively); control groups (C and D: group A and B with furanone added respectively); and a blank control (group E: only seawater) for 21 days. The results showed that remarkable bleaching phenomenon was observed in groups A and B. The operational taxonomic units-sequencing analysis shown that the bacterial network interactions and communities composition were significantly changed, becoming especially enhanced in the relative abundances of Vibrio, Edwardsiella, Enterobacter, Pseudomonas, and Aeromonas. Interestingly, the control groups (C and D) were found to have a limited influence upon host microbial composition and reduced bleaching susceptibility of P. damicornis. These results indicate bleaching's initiation and progression may be caused by opportunistic bacteria of resident microbes in a process under regulation by AHLs. These findings add a new dimension to our understanding of the complexity of bleaching mechanisms from a chemoecological perspective.

Similar articles

See all similar articles


    1. Banerjee, S., Schlaeppi, K., and van der Heijden, M.G.A. (2018) Keystone taxa as drivers of microbiome structure and functioning. Nat Rev Microbiol 16: 567-576.
    1. Banin, E., Israely, T., Fine, M., Loya, Y., and Rosenberg, E. (2001b) Role of endosymbiotic zooxanthellae and coral mucus in the adhesion of the coral-bleaching pathogen Vibrio shiloi to its host. FEMS Microbiol Lett 199: 33-37.
    1. Banin, E., Khare, S.K., Naider, F., and Rosenberg, A. (2001a) Proline-rich peptide from the coral pathogen Vibrio Shiloi that inhibits photosynthesis of Zooxanthellae. Appl Environ Microbiol 64: 1536-1541.
    1. Barberán, A., Bates, S.T., Casamayor, E.O., and Fierer, N. (2012) Using network analysis to explore co-occurrence patterns in soil microbial communities. ISME J 6: 343-351.
    1. Bates, S.T., Berg-Lyons, D., Caporaso, J.G., Walters, W.A., Knight, R., and Fierer, N. (2011) Examining the global distribution of dominant archaeal populations in soil. ISME J 5: 908-917.

LinkOut - more resources