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Open AccessArticle

Egyptian Mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon) Gut Microbiota: Taxonomical and Functional Differences across Sex and Age Classes

1
INIAV, IP- National Institute for Agrarian and Veterinary Research, 2780-157 Oeiras, Portugal
2
Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes (cE3c), Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
3
Biosystems & Integrative Sciences Institute (BioISI), Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
4
Departamento de Biologia & CESAM, Universidade de Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Microorganisms 2020, 8(3), 392; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8030392
Received: 11 February 2020 / Revised: 6 March 2020 / Accepted: 9 March 2020 / Published: 11 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Microbiology 2.0)
The Egyptian mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon) is a medium-size carnivore that, in Europe, is restricted to Iberia. The bio-ecology of this species remains to be elucidated in several dimensions, including gut microbiota that is nowadays recognized as a fundamental component of mammals. In this work, we investigated the gut microbiota of this herpestid by single-molecule real-time sequencing of twenty paired male (n = 10) and female (n = 10) intestinal samples. This culture-independent approach enabled microbial profiling based on 16S rDNA and investigation of taxonomical and functional features. The core gut microbiome of the adult subpopulation was dominated by Firmicutes, Fusobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Proteobacteria. Eight genera were uniquely found in adults and five in non-adults. When comparing gut bacterial communities across sex, four genera were exclusive of females and six uniquely found in males. Despite these compositional distinctions, alpha- and beta-diversity analyses showed no statistically significant differences across sex or between adult and non-adult specimens. However, when function was inferred, males presented a significantly higher abundance of amino acid and citrate cycle metabolic pathways, compared to the significant overrepresentation in females of galactose metabolic pathways. Additionally, adults exhibited a significantly higher abundance of cationic antimicrobial peptide resistance pathways, while non-adults bared a significant overrepresentation of two-component systems associated with antibiotic synthesis, flagellin and biofilm production, and chemotaxis control. This study adds new insights into the mongoose bio-ecology palette, highlighting taxonomical and functional microbiome dissimilarities across sex and age classes, possibly related to primary production resources and life-history traits that impact on behavior and diet. View Full-Text
Keywords: Egyptian mongoose; gut microbiota; microbial profiling; bio-ecology; Mediterranean wild carnivores Egyptian mongoose; gut microbiota; microbial profiling; bio-ecology; Mediterranean wild carnivores
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Pereira, A.C.; Bandeira, V.; Fonseca, C.; Cunha, M.V. Egyptian Mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon) Gut Microbiota: Taxonomical and Functional Differences across Sex and Age Classes. Microorganisms 2020, 8, 392.

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