Coral microbiome manipulation elicits metabolic and genetic restructuring to mitigate heat stress and evade mortality
Santoro EP, Borges RM, Espinoza JL, Freire M, Messias CSMA, Villela HDM, Pereira LM, Vilela CLS, Rosado JG, Cardoso PM, Rosado PM, Assis JM, Duarte GAS, Perna G, Rosado AS, Macrae A, Dupont CL, Nelson KE, Sweet MJ, Voolstra CR, Peixoto RS
Beneficial microorganisms for corals (BMCs) ameliorate environmental stress, but whether they can prevent mortality and the underlying host response mechanisms remains elusive. Here, we conducted omics analyses on the coral exposed to bleaching conditions in a long-term mesocosm experiment and inoculated with a selected BMC consortium or a saline solution placebo. All corals were affected by heat stress, but the observed "post-heat stress disorder" was mitigated by BMCs, signified by patterns of dimethylsulfoniopropionate degradation, lipid maintenance, and coral host transcriptional reprogramming of cellular restructuration, repair, stress protection, and immune genes, concomitant with a 40% survival rate increase and stable photosynthetic performance by the endosymbiotic algae. This study provides insights into the responses that underlie probiotic host manipulation. We demonstrate that BMCs trigger a dynamic microbiome restructuring process that instigates genetic and metabolic alterations in the coral host that eventually mitigate coral bleaching and mortality.