Specific plasmid patterns and high rates of bacterial co-occurrence within the coral holobiont

Deborah C.A. Leite, Joana F. Salles, Emiliano N. Calderon, Jan D. van Elsas, Raquel S. Peixoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Despite the importance of coral microbiomes for holobiont persistence, the interactions among these are not well understood. In particular, knowledge of the co-occurrence and taxonomic importance of specific members of the microbial core, as well as patterns of specific mobile genetic elements (MGEs), is lacking. We used seawater and mucus samples collected from Mussismilia hispida colonies on two reefs located in Bahia, Brazil, to disentangle their associated bacterial communities, intertaxa correlations, and plasmid patterns. Proxies for two broad-host-range (BHR) plasmid groups, IncP-1β and PromA, were screened. Both groups were significantly (up to 252 and 100%, respectively) more abundant in coral mucus than in seawater. Notably, the PromA plasmid group was detected only in coral mucus samples. The core bacteriome of M. hispida mucus was composed primarily of members of the Proteobacteria, followed by those of Firmicutes. Significant host specificity and co-occurrences among different groups of the dominant phyla (e.g., Bacillaceae and Pseudoalteromonadaceae and the genera Pseudomonas, Bacillus, and Vibrio) were detected. These relationships were observed for both the most abundant phyla and the bacteriome core, in which most of the operational taxonomic units showed intertaxa correlations. The observed evidence of host-specific bacteriome and co-occurrence (and potential symbioses or niche space co-dominance) among the most dominant members indicates a taxonomic selection of members of the stable bacterial community. In parallel, host-specific plasmid patterns could also be, independently, related to the assembly of members of the coral microbiome.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1818-1832
Number of pages15
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


Dive into the research topics of 'Specific plasmid patterns and high rates of bacterial co-occurrence within the coral holobiont'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this