The metagenome of utricularia gibba's traps: Into the microbial input to a carnivorous plant

Luis David Alcaraz, Shamayim Martínez-Sánchez, Ignacio Torres, Enrique Ibarra-Laclette, Luis Herrera-Estrella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The genome and transcriptome sequences of the aquatic, rootless, and carnivorous plant Utricularia gibba L. (Lentibulariaceae), were recently determined. Traps are necessary for U. gibba because they help the plant to survive in nutrient-deprived environments. The U. gibba's traps (Ugt) are specialized structures that have been proposed to selectively filter microbial inhabitants. To determine whether the traps indeed have a microbiome that differs, in composition or abundance, from the microbiome in the surrounding environment, we used whole-genome shotgun (WGS) metagenomics to describe both the taxonomic and functional diversity of the Ugt microbiome. We collected U. gibba plants from their natural habitat and directly sequenced the metagenome of the Ugt microbiome and its surrounding water. The total predicted number of species in the Ugt was more than 1,100. Using pangenome fragment recruitment analysis, we were able to identify to the species level of some key Ugt players, such as Pseudomonas monteilii. Functional analysis of the Ugt metagenome suggests that the trap microbiome plays an important role in nutrient scavenging and assimilation while complementing the hydrolytic functions of the plant.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0148979
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


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