Impact of gut microbiota on the fly's germ line

Michael Elgart, Shay Stern, Orit Salton, Yulia Gnainsky, Yael Heifetz, Yoav Soen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Unlike vertically transmitted endosymbionts, which have broad effects on their host's germ line, the extracellular gut microbiota is transmitted horizontally and is not known to influence the germ line. Here we provide evidence supporting the influence of these gut bacteria on the germ line of Drosophila melanogaster. Removal of the gut bacteria represses oogenesis, expedites maternal-to-zygotic-transition in the offspring and unmasks hidden phenotypic variation in mutants. We further show that the main impact on oogenesis is linked to the lack of gut Acetobacter species, and we identify the Drosophila Aldehyde dehydrogenase (Aldh) gene as an apparent mediator of repressed oogenesis in Acetobacter-depleted flies. The finding of interactions between the gut microbiota and the germ line has implications for reproduction, developmental robustness and adaptation.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number11280
JournalNature Communications
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Professor Eli Arama, Professor Ben-Zion Shilo, Dr Eyal Schejter and Professor Lilach Gilboa (Weizmann Institute of Science) for useful discussions and assistance. We thank Professor James D. Fry (Univ. of Rochester) for providing the Aldh17H and Aldh24K lines. We thank the Genomics and the Fly core facilities of the Weizmann Institute for assistance in the project. We thank Dr Vladimir Kiss (Weizmann Institute of Science) for assisting with confocal microscopy. This work was supported by the Sir John Templeton Foundation (grant ID:#40663) and the Israel SCIENCE FOUNDATION (grant No.1860/13). Yoav Soen is Incumbent of the Daniel E. Koshland Sr. Career Development Chair at the Weizmann Institute. We also thank the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (grant ID:#2009270) to Yael Heifetz for the support.


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