Genomic diversification of giant enteric symbionts reflects host dietary lifestyles

David Ngugi, Sou Miyake, Matthew Cahill, Manikandan Vinu, Timothy J. Hackmann, Jochen Blom, Matthew Tietbohl, Michael L. Berumen, Ulrich Stingl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Herbivorous surgeonfishes are an ecologically successful group of reef fish that rely on marine algae as their principal food source. Here, we elucidated the significance of giant enteric symbionts colonizing these fishes regarding their roles in the digestive processes of hosts feeding predominantly on polysiphonous red algae and brown Turbinaria algae, which contain different polysaccharide constituents. Using metagenomics, single-cell genomics, and metatranscriptomic analyses, we provide evidence of metabolic diversification of enteric microbiota involved in the degradation of algal biomass in these fishes. The enteric microbiota is also phylogenetically and functionally simple relative to the complex lignocellulose-degrading microbiota of terrestrial herbivores. Over 90% of the enzymes for deconstructing algal polysaccharides emanate from members of a single bacterial lineage,
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E7592-E7601
Number of pages1
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Issue number36
StatePublished - Aug 23 2017


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