Data from: Hibernation alters the diversity and composition of mucosa-associated bacteria while enhancing antimicrobial defense in the gut of 13-lined ground squirrels
Dill-McFarland, Kimberly A. et al. (2014), Data from: Hibernation alters the diversity and composition of mucosa-associated bacteria while enhancing antimicrobial defense in the gut of 13-lined ground squirrels, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.jr82b
The gut microbiota plays important roles in animal nutrition and health. This relationship is particularly dynamic in hibernating mammals where fasting drives the gut community to rely on host-derived nutrients instead of exogenous substrates. We used 16S rRNA pyrosequencing and cecal tissue protein analysis to investigate the effects of hibernation on the mucosa-associated bacterial microbiota and host responses in 13-lined ground squirrels. The mucosal microbiota was less diverse in winter hibernators than in actively feeding spring and summer squirrels. UniFrac analysis revealed distinct summer and late winter microbiota clusters, while spring and early winter clusters overlapped slightly, consistent with their transitional structures. Communities in all seasons were dominated by Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes, with lesser contributions from Proteobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, Tenericutes and Actinobacteria. Hibernators had lower relative abundances of Firmicutes, which include genera that prefer plant polysaccharides, and higher abundances of Bacteroidetes and Verrucomicrobia, some of which can survive solely on host-derived mucins. A core mucosal assemblage of nine operational taxonomic units shared among all individuals was identified with an average total sequence abundance of 60.2%. This core community, together with moderate shifts in specific taxa, indicates that the mucosal microbiota remains relatively stable over the annual cycle yet responds to substrate changes while potentially serving as a pool for “seeding” the microbiota once exogenous substrates return in spring. Relative to summer, hibernation reduced cecal crypt length and increased MUC2 expression in early winter and spring. Hibernation also decreased cecal TLR4 and increased TLR5 expression, suggesting a protective response that minimizes inflammation.