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Insectivorous bats digest chitin in the stomach using acidic mammalian chitinase.

Strobel S, Roswag A, Becker NI, Trenczek TE, Encarnação JA - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: We hypothesized that (i) European vespertilionid bat species have the digestive enzyme chitinase and that (ii) the chitinolytic activity is located in the intestine, as has been found for North American bat species.In conclusion, European vespertilionid bat species have acidic mammalian chitinase that is produced in the gastric glands of the stomach.Therefore, the gastrointestinal tracts of insectivorous bat species evolved an enzymatic adaptation to their diet.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Mammalian Ecology Group, Department of Animal Ecology and Systematics, Justus-Liebig-University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany ; Department of General Zoology and Developmental Biology, Justus-Liebig-University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The gastrointestinal tract of animals is adapted to their primary source of food to optimize resource use and energy intake. Temperate bat species mainly feed on arthropods. These contain the energy-rich carbohydrate chitin, which is indigestible for the endogenous enzymes of a typical mammalian gastrointestinal tract. However, the gastrointestinal tract of bat species should be adapted to their diet and be able to digest chitin. We hypothesized that (i) European vespertilionid bat species have the digestive enzyme chitinase and that (ii) the chitinolytic activity is located in the intestine, as has been found for North American bat species. The gastrointestinal tracts of seven bat species (Pipistrellus pipistrellus, Plecotus auritus, Myotis bechsteinii, Myotis nattereri, Myotis daubentonii, Myotis myotis, and Nyctalus leisleri) were tested for chitinolytic activity by diffusion assay. Gastrointestinal tracts of P. pipistrellus, P. auritus, M. nattereri, M. myotis, and N. leisleri were examined for acidic mammalian chitinase by western blot analysis. Tissue sections of the gastrointestinal tract of P. pipistrellus were immunohistochemically analyzed to locate the acidic mammalian chitinase. Chitinolytic activity was detected in the stomachs of all bat species. Western blot analysis confirmed the acidic mammalian chitinase in stomach samples. Immunohistochemistry of the P. pipistrellus gastrointestinal tract indicated that acidic mammalian chitinase is located in the stomach chief cells at the base of the gastric glands. In conclusion, European vespertilionid bat species have acidic mammalian chitinase that is produced in the gastric glands of the stomach. Therefore, the gastrointestinal tracts of insectivorous bat species evolved an enzymatic adaptation to their diet.

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Exemplary gel plate for the measurement of the chitinolytic activity of the GI tract.1– reference, 2– stomach, 3– duodenum, 4– jejunum/ileum, 5– ileum/colon samples of Plecotus auritus and 6– negative control.
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pone-0072770-g001: Exemplary gel plate for the measurement of the chitinolytic activity of the GI tract.1– reference, 2– stomach, 3– duodenum, 4– jejunum/ileum, 5– ileum/colon samples of Plecotus auritus and 6– negative control.

Mentions: We were able to detect chitinolytic activity in the stomach samples of all individuals (for example Fig. 1) and in the colon/rectum sample of one, M. myotis, M. nattereri and N. leisleri each (Table 2). No chitinolytic activity could be measured in the duodenum, jejunum/ileum or ileum/colon samples. The chitinolytic activity in the stomach samples was highest between pH 5.0 and pH 6.0 (Fig. 2). Supporting our previous results, no chitinolytic activity was detected in the other regions of the GI tract, regardless of pH value. The mean pH value of the GI tract of P. pipistrellus (n = 5) was 5.6±0.2 in the stomach, 7.0±0.3 in the duodenum, 7.1±0.2 in the jejunum/ileum, 7.0±0.2 in the ileum/colon and 7.0±0.5 in the colon/rectum.


Insectivorous bats digest chitin in the stomach using acidic mammalian chitinase.

Strobel S, Roswag A, Becker NI, Trenczek TE, Encarnação JA - PLoS ONE (2013)

Exemplary gel plate for the measurement of the chitinolytic activity of the GI tract.1– reference, 2– stomach, 3– duodenum, 4– jejunum/ileum, 5– ileum/colon samples of Plecotus auritus and 6– negative control.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3760910&req=5

pone-0072770-g001: Exemplary gel plate for the measurement of the chitinolytic activity of the GI tract.1– reference, 2– stomach, 3– duodenum, 4– jejunum/ileum, 5– ileum/colon samples of Plecotus auritus and 6– negative control.
Mentions: We were able to detect chitinolytic activity in the stomach samples of all individuals (for example Fig. 1) and in the colon/rectum sample of one, M. myotis, M. nattereri and N. leisleri each (Table 2). No chitinolytic activity could be measured in the duodenum, jejunum/ileum or ileum/colon samples. The chitinolytic activity in the stomach samples was highest between pH 5.0 and pH 6.0 (Fig. 2). Supporting our previous results, no chitinolytic activity was detected in the other regions of the GI tract, regardless of pH value. The mean pH value of the GI tract of P. pipistrellus (n = 5) was 5.6±0.2 in the stomach, 7.0±0.3 in the duodenum, 7.1±0.2 in the jejunum/ileum, 7.0±0.2 in the ileum/colon and 7.0±0.5 in the colon/rectum.

Bottom Line: We hypothesized that (i) European vespertilionid bat species have the digestive enzyme chitinase and that (ii) the chitinolytic activity is located in the intestine, as has been found for North American bat species.In conclusion, European vespertilionid bat species have acidic mammalian chitinase that is produced in the gastric glands of the stomach.Therefore, the gastrointestinal tracts of insectivorous bat species evolved an enzymatic adaptation to their diet.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Mammalian Ecology Group, Department of Animal Ecology and Systematics, Justus-Liebig-University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany ; Department of General Zoology and Developmental Biology, Justus-Liebig-University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The gastrointestinal tract of animals is adapted to their primary source of food to optimize resource use and energy intake. Temperate bat species mainly feed on arthropods. These contain the energy-rich carbohydrate chitin, which is indigestible for the endogenous enzymes of a typical mammalian gastrointestinal tract. However, the gastrointestinal tract of bat species should be adapted to their diet and be able to digest chitin. We hypothesized that (i) European vespertilionid bat species have the digestive enzyme chitinase and that (ii) the chitinolytic activity is located in the intestine, as has been found for North American bat species. The gastrointestinal tracts of seven bat species (Pipistrellus pipistrellus, Plecotus auritus, Myotis bechsteinii, Myotis nattereri, Myotis daubentonii, Myotis myotis, and Nyctalus leisleri) were tested for chitinolytic activity by diffusion assay. Gastrointestinal tracts of P. pipistrellus, P. auritus, M. nattereri, M. myotis, and N. leisleri were examined for acidic mammalian chitinase by western blot analysis. Tissue sections of the gastrointestinal tract of P. pipistrellus were immunohistochemically analyzed to locate the acidic mammalian chitinase. Chitinolytic activity was detected in the stomachs of all bat species. Western blot analysis confirmed the acidic mammalian chitinase in stomach samples. Immunohistochemistry of the P. pipistrellus gastrointestinal tract indicated that acidic mammalian chitinase is located in the stomach chief cells at the base of the gastric glands. In conclusion, European vespertilionid bat species have acidic mammalian chitinase that is produced in the gastric glands of the stomach. Therefore, the gastrointestinal tracts of insectivorous bat species evolved an enzymatic adaptation to their diet.

Show MeSH