University of Oulu

Lavrinienko, A., Hämäläinen, A., Hindström, R., Tukalenko, E., Boratyński, Z., Kivisaari, K., Mousseau, T.A., Watts, P.C. and Mappes, T. (2021), Comparable response of wild rodent gut microbiome to anthropogenic habitat contamination. Mol Ecol, 30: 3485-3499.

Comparable response of wild rodent gut microbiome to anthropogenic habitat contamination

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Author: Lavrinienko, Anton1,2; Hämäläinen, Anni1,2,3; Hindström, Rasmus1;
Organizations: 1Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
3Institute of Environmental Sciences, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
4National Research Center for Radiation Medicine of the National Academy of Medical Science, Kyiv, Ukraine
5CIBIO-InBIO Associate Laboratory, Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, University of Porto, Vairão, Portugal
6Department of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA
7SURA/LASSO/NASA, ISS Utilization and Life Sciences Division, Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, FL, USA
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.1 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-09-02


Species identity is thought to dominate over environment in shaping wild rodent gut microbiota, but it remains unknown whether the responses of host gut microbiota to shared anthropogenic habitat impacts are species-specific or if the general gut microbiota response is similar across host species. Here, we compare the influence of exposure to radionuclide contamination on the gut microbiota of four wild mouse species: Apodemus flavicollis, A. sylvaticus, A. speciosus and A. argenteus. Building on the evidence that radiation impacts bank vole (Myodes glareolus) gut microbiota, we hypothesized that radiation exposure has a general impact on rodent gut microbiota. Because we sampled (n = 288) two species pairs of Apodemus mice that occur in sympatry in habitats affected by the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents, these comparisons provide an opportunity for a general assessment of the effects of exposure to environmental contamination (radionuclides) on gut microbiota across host phylogeny and geographical areas. In general agreement with our hypothesis, analyses of bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed that radiation exposure alters the gut microbiota composition and structure in three of the four species of Apodemus mice. The notable lack of an association between the gut microbiota and soil radionuclide contamination in one mouse species from Fukushima (A. argenteus) probably reflects host “radiation escape” through its unique tree-dwelling lifestyle. The finding that host ecology can modulate effects of radiation exposure offers an interesting counterpoint for future analyses into effects of radiation or any other toxic exposure on host and its associated microbiota. Our data show that exposure to radionuclide contamination is linked to comparable gut microbiota responses across multiple species of rodents.

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Series: Molecular ecology
ISSN: 0962-1083
ISSN-E: 1365-294X
ISSN-L: 0962-1083
Volume: 30
Issue: 14
Pages: 3485 - 3499
DOI: 10.1111/mec.15945
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: The project was funded by the Academy of Finland to P.W. (project number 287153) and to T.M. (project number 268670), by the Finnish Cultural Foundation to A.H., by the Oskar Öflund Stiftelse, Scholarship Fund of the University of Oulu, and by the University of Oulu Graduate School doctoral programme award to A.L.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 287153
Detailed Information: 287153 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. Molecular Ecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.