Drosophila melanogaster is an excellent model to explore the molecular exchanges that occur between an animal intestine and associated microbes. Previous studies in Drosophila uncovered a sophisticated web of host responses to intestinal bacteria. The outcomes of these responses define critical events in the host, such as the establishment of immune responses, access to nutrients, and the rate of larval development. Despite our steady march towards illuminating the host machinery that responds to bacterial presence in the gut, there are significant gaps in our understanding of the microbial products that influence bacterial association with a fly host. We sequenced and characterized the genomes of three common Drosophila-associated microbes: Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus brevis and Acetobacter pasteurianus. For each species, we compared the genomes of Drosophila-associated strains to the genomes of strains isolated from alternative sources. We found that environmental Lactobacillus strains readily associated with adult Drosophila and were similar to fly isolates in terms of genome organization. In contrast, we identified a strain of A. pasteurianus, that apparently fails to associate with adult Drosophila due to an inability to grow on fly nutrient food. Comparisons between association competent and incompetent A. pasteurianus strains identified a short list of candidate genes that may contribute to survival on fly medium. Many of the gene products unique to fly-associated strains have established roles in the stabilization of host-microbe interactions. These data add to a growing body of literature that examines the microbial perspective of host-microbe relationships.
- Received February 19, 2016.
- Accepted August 2, 2016.
- © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd
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