FEMS Microbiology Letters | 2019

Transmission mode is associated with environment type and taxa across bacteria-eukaryote symbioses: a systematic review and meta-analysis



Symbiotic associations between bacteria and eukaryotes exhibit a range of transmission strategies. The rates and distributions of transmission modes have not been thoroughly investigated across associations, despite their consequences on symbiont and host evolution. To address this empirically, I compiled data from the literature on bacteria-multicellular eukaryote associations for which transmission mode data was available. Of the total 528 analyzed symbioses, 21.2% were strictly horizontally transmitted, 36.0% exhibited some form of mixed mode transmission and 42.8% were strictly vertically transmitted. Controlling for phylogenetically independent symbiosis events revealed modes were approximately equally distributed among the 113 independent associations, at 32.1%+/-0.57% horizontal, 37.8%+/-1.4% mixed mode and 31.1%+/-1.3% vertical transmission. Binning symbioses by environment revealed an abundance of vertical transmission on land and a lack of it in aquatic environments. The naturally occurring uneven distribution of taxa among environments prevented controlling for host/symbiont phylogeny. However, the results were robust over a large number of independently evolved associations, suggesting that many vertically transmitted bacteria are capable of mixed mode transmission and barriers exist that reduce the rate of horizontal transmission events. Thus, both the environment type and host/symbiont taxa influence symbiont transmission mode evolution.

Volume 366
Pages &NA;
DOI 10.1093/femsle/fnz013
Language English
Journal FEMS Microbiology Letters

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