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Kearns P, Fischer S, Fernández-Beaskoetxea S, Gabor C, Bosch J, Bowen JL, Tlusty MF, Woodhams D.2017. Fighting fungi with fungi: the mycobiome contribution to emerging disease in amphibians. PeerJ Preprints5:e3017v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.3017v1
Emerging infectious diseases caused by fungal taxa are increasing and are placing a substantial burden on economies and ecosystems worldwide. Of the emerging fungal diseases, chytridomycosis caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (hereafter Bd) is causing a global amphibian extinction. The host frog does have come internal innate immunity, as well as additional resistance through cutaneous microbial communities, leading to the development of probiotic bacterial therapies with mixed results. Unknown is the role of fungi in the protection against Bd infection, and as such, we examined the overlapping roles of bacterial and fungal microbiota in pathogen defense with a combination of high-throughput sequencing and culturing of symbiotic fungi from poison arrow frogs (Dendrobates sp.). Our analyses revealed that abundance of cutaneous fungi contributed more to pathogen defense (~45%), than bacteria (~10%) and these differed from environmental microbiota. Further, we demonstrated that a fungal probiotic therapy did not induce an endocrine-immune reaction in contrast to bacterial probiotics that stressed amphibian hosts and suppressed antimicrobial peptide responses, limiting their long-term colonization potential. Our results suggest that probiotic strategies against amphibian fungal pathogens should refocus on host-associated and environmental fungi such as Penicillium and member of the families Chaetomiaceae and Lasiosphaeriaceae.
Paper is currently submitted for review at Molecular Ecology.