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PLOS ONE  2012 

Antimicrobial Activity and Genetic Profile of Enteroccoci Isolated from Hoopoes Uropygial Gland

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041843

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Symbiotic microorganisms may be directly transferred from parents to offspring or acquired from a particular environment that animals may be able to select. If benefits for hosts vary among microbial strains, natural selection may favour hosts holding the most beneficial one. Enterococci symbionts living in the hoopoe (Upupa epops) uropygial gland are able to synthesise bacteriocins (antimicrobial peptides that inhibit the growth of competitor bacteria). We explored variability in genetic profile (through RAPD-PCR analyses) and antimicrobial properties (by performing antagonistic tests against ten bacterial indicator strains) of the different isolates obtained from the uropygial glands of hoopoe females and nestlings. We found that the genetic profile of bacterial isolates was related to antimicrobial activity, as well as to individual host identity and the nest from which samples were obtained. This association suggest that variation in the inhibitory capacity of Enterococci symbionts should be under selection.


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