Gaulke, C.A., Barton, C.L., Proffitt, S., Tanguay, R.L., Sharpton, T.J. (2016) Triclosan Exposure Is Associated with Rapid Restructuring of the Microbiome in Adult Zebrafish. PLoS One. 11:e0154632.
Growing evidence indicates that disrupting the microbial community that comprises the intestinal tract, known as the gut microbiome, can contribute to the development or severity of disease. As a result, it is important to discern the agents responsible for microbiome disruption. While animals are frequently exposed to a diverse array of environmental chemicals, little is known about their effects on gut microbiome stability and structure. Here, we demonstrate how zebrafish can be used to glean insight into the effects of environmental chemical exposure on the structure and ecological dynamics of the gut microbiome. Specifically, we exposed forty-five adult zebrafish to triclosan-laden food for four or seven days or a control diet, and analyzed their microbial communities using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing. Triclosan exposure was associated with rapid shifts in microbiome structure and diversity. We find evidence that several operational taxonomic units (OTUs) associated with the family Enterobacteriaceae appear to be susceptible to triclosan exposure, while OTUs associated with the genus Pseudomonas appeared to be more resilient and resistant to exposure. We also found that triclosan exposure is associated with topological alterations to microbial interaction networks and results in an overall increase in the number of negative interactions per microbe in these networks. Together these data indicate that triclosan exposure results in altered composition and ecological dynamics of microbial communities in the gut. Our work demonstrates that because zebrafish afford rapid and inexpensive interrogation of a large number of individuals, it is a useful experimental system for the discovery of the gut microbiome's interaction with environmental chemicals.