Experimentally induced metamorphosis in highly regenerative axolotl (ambystoma mexicanum) under constant diet restructures microbiota

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Demircan T., Ovezmyradov G., Yıldırım B., KESKİN İ., İlhan A. E., Fesçioğlu E. C., ...More

Scientific Reports, vol.8, no.1, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 8 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/s41598-018-29373-y
  • Journal Name: Scientific Reports
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is a critically endangered salamander species and a model organism for regenerative and developmental biology. Despite life-long neoteny in nature and in captive-bred colonies, metamorphosis of these animals can be experimentally induced by administering Thyroid hormones (THs). However, microbiological consequences of this experimental procedure, such as host microbiota response, remain largely unknown. Here, we systematically compared host bacterial microbiota associated with skin, stomach, gut tissues and fecal samples, between neotenic and metamorphic axolotls based on 16S rRNA gene sequences. Our results show that distinct bacterial communities inhabit individual organs of axolotl and undergo substantial restructuring through metamorphosis. Skin microbiota among others, shifted sharply, as highlighted by a major transition from Firmicutes-enriched to Proteobacteria-enriched relative abundance and precipitously decreased diversity. Fecal microbiota of neotenic and metamorphic axolotl shared relatively higher similarity, suggesting that diet continues to shape microbiota despite fundamental transformations in the host digestive organs. We also reproduced the previous finding on reduction in regenerative capacity in limbs of axolotl following metamorphosis, highlighting the need to investigate whether shifts in microbiota is causally linked to regenerative capacity of axolotl. The initial results on axolotl microbiota provide novel insights into microbiological aspects of axolotl metamorphosis and will establish a baseline for future in-depth studies.