Ecological and evolutionary drivers of hemoplasma infection and bacterial genotype sharing in a Neotropical bat community

Becker, D. J. et al. (2020) Ecological and evolutionary drivers of hemoplasma infection and bacterial genotype sharing in a Neotropical bat community. Molecular Ecology, 29(8), 1534-1549-1534-1549. (doi: 10.1111/mec.15422) (PMID:32243630)

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Most emerging pathogens can infect multiple species, underlining the importance of understanding the ecological and evolutionary factors that allow some hosts to harbour greater infection prevalence and share pathogens with other species. However, our understanding of pathogen jumps is based primarily around viruses, despite bacteria accounting for the greatest proportion of zoonoses. Because bacterial pathogens in bats (order Chiroptera) can have conservation and human health consequences, studies that examine the ecological and evolutionary drivers of bacterial prevalence and barriers to pathogen sharing are crucially needed. Here were studied haemotropic Mycoplasma spp. (i.e., haemoplasmas) across a species�rich bat community in Belize over two years. Across 469 bats spanning 33 species, half of individuals and two�thirds of species were haemoplasma positive. Infection prevalence was higher for males and for species with larger body mass and colony sizes. Haemoplasmas displayed high genetic diversity (21 novel genotypes) and strong host specificity. Evolutionary patterns supported codivergence of bats and bacterial genotypes alongside phylogenetically constrained host shifts. Bat species centrality to the network of shared haemoplasma genotypes was phylogenetically clustered and unrelated to prevalence, further suggesting rare—but detectable—bacterial sharing between species. Our study highlights the importance of using fine phylogenetic scales when assessing host specificity and suggests phylogenetic similarity may play a key role in host shifts not only for viruses but also for bacteria. Such work more broadly contributes to increasing efforts to understand cross�species transmission and the epidemiological consequences of bacterial pathogens.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding information: D.J.B. was funded by the ARCS Foundation, American Society of Mammalogists, Odum School of Ecology, Explorer's Club, and NSF DEB�1601052. R.K.P. was supported by NSF DEB�1716698, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA D16AP00113 and the DARPA PREEMPT program Cooperative Agreement D18AC00031), U.S. National Institutes of General Medical Sciences IDeA Program (P20GM103474 and P30GM110732), and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (Hatch project 1015891). D.J.B. and K.A.S. were both supported by the American Museum of Natural History Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund. N.B.S. was supported by the American Museum of Natural History Taxonomic Mammalogy Fund. D.G.S. was supported by a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship, jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust and Royal Society (102507/Z/13/Z).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Streicker, Professor Daniel
Authors: Becker, D. J., Speer, K. A., Brown, A. M., Fenton, M. B., Washburne, A. D., Altizer, S., Streicker, D. G., Plowright, R. K., Chizhikov, V. E., Simmons, N. B., and Volokhov, D. V.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Molecular Ecology
ISSN (Online):1365-294X
Published Online:03 April 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Molecular Ecology 29(8):1534-1549
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
169793Managing viral emergence at the interface of bats and livestockDaniel StreickerWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)102507/Z/13/ZRInstitute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine