Sci Rep. 2022 Aug 1;12(1):13187. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-17114-1.
The interactions of microalgae and their associated microbiomes have come to the fore of applied phycological research in recent years. However, the functional mechanisms of microalgal interactions remain largely unknown. Here, we examine functional protein patterns of the microalgae Scenedesmus vacuolatus and its associated bacterial community during algal infection by the endoparasite Amoeboaphelidium protococcarum. We performed metaproteomics analyses of non-infected (NI) and aphelid-infected (AI) S. vacuolatus cultures to investigate underlying functional and physiological changes under infectious conditions. We observed an increase in bacterial protein abundance as well as a severe shift of bacterial functional patterns throughout aphelid-infection in comparison to NI treatment. Most of the bacterial proteins (about 55%) upregulated in AI were linked to metabolism and transport of amino acids, lipids, coenzymes, nucleotides and carbohydrates and to energy production. Several proteins associated with pathogenic bacterial-plant interactions showed higher protein abundance levels in AI treatment. These functional shifts indicate that associated bacteria involved in commensalistic or mutualistic interactions in NI switch to opportunistic lifestyles and facilitate pathogenic or saprotrophic traits in AI treatment. In summary, the native bacterial microbiome adapted its metabolism to algal host die off and is able to metabolize nutrients from injured cells or decompose dead cellular material.