Evolution and diversity of facultative symbionts from the aphid subfamily Lachninae.
ABSTRACT: Many aphids harbor a variety of endosymbiotic bacteria. The functions of these symbionts can range from an obligate nutritional role to a facultative role in protecting their hosts against environmental stresses. One such symbiont is "Candidatus Serratia symbiotica," which is involved in defense against heat and potentially also in aphid nutrition. Lachnid aphids have been the focus of several recent studies investigating the transition of this symbiont from a facultative symbiont to an obligate symbiont. In a phylogenetic analysis of Serratia symbionts from 51 lachnid hosts, we found that diversity in symbiont morphology, distribution, and function is due to multiple independent origins of symbiosis from ancestors belonging to Serratia and possibly also to evolution within distinct symbiont clades. Our results do not support cocladogenesis of "Ca. Serratia symbiotica" with Cinara subgenus Cinara species and weigh against an obligate nutritional role. Finally, we show that species belonging to the subfamily Lachninae have a high incidence of facultative symbiont infection.
Project description:Virtually all aphids (Aphididae) harbor Buchnera aphidicola as an obligate endosymbiont to compensate nutritional deficiencies arising from their phloem diet. Many species within the Lachninae subfamily seem to be consistently associated also with Serratia symbiotica We have previously shown that both Cinara (Cinara) cedri and Cinara (Cupressobium) tujafilina (Lachninae: Eulachnini tribe) have indeed established co-obligate associations with both Buchnera and S. symbiotica However, while Buchnera genomes of both Cinara species are similar, genome degradation differs greatly between the two S. symbiotica strains. To gain insight into the essentiality and degree of integration of S. symbiotica within the Lachninae, we sequenced the genome of both Buchnera and S. symbiotica endosymbionts from the distantly related aphid Tuberolachnus salignus (Lachninae: Tuberolachnini tribe). We found a striking level of similarity between the endosymbiotic system of this aphid and that of C. cedri In both aphid hosts, S. symbiotica possesses a highly reduced genome and is found exclusively intracellularly inside bacteriocytes. Interestingly, T. salignus' endosymbionts present the same tryptophan biosynthetic metabolic complementation as C. cedri's, which is not present in C. tujafilina's. Moreover, we corroborate the riboflavin-biosynthetic-role take-over/rescue by S. symbiotica in T. salignus, and therefore, provide further evidence for the previously proposed establishment of a secondary co-obligate endosymbiont in the common ancestor of the Lachninae aphids. Finally, we propose that the putative convergent split of the tryptophan biosynthetic role between Buchnera and S. symbiotica could be behind the establishment of S. symbiotica as an obligate intracellular symbiont and the triggering of further genome degradation.
Project description:Particularly interesting cases of mutualistic endosymbioses come from the establishment of co-obligate associations of more than one species of endosymbiotic bacteria. Throughout symbiotic accommodation from a free-living bacterium, passing through a facultative stage and ending as an obligate intracellular one, the symbiont experiences massive genomic losses and phenotypic adjustments. Here, we scrutinized the changes in the coevolution of Serratia symbiotica and Buchnera aphidicola endosymbionts in aphids, paying particular attention to the transformations undergone by S. symbiotica to become an obligate endosymbiont. Although it is already known that S. symbiotica is facultative in Acyrthosiphon pisum, in Cinara cedri it has established a co-obligate endosymbiotic consortium along with B. aphidicola to fulfill the aphid's nutritional requirements. The state of this association in C. tujafilina, an aphid belonging to the same subfamily (Lachninae) that C. cedri, remained unknown. Here, we report the genome of S. symbiotica strain SCt-VLC from the aphid C. tujafilina. While being phylogenetically and genomically very closely related to the facultative endosymbiont S. symbiotica from the aphid A. pisum, it shows a variety of metabolic, genetic, and architectural features, which point toward this endosymbiont being one step closer to an obligate intracellular one. We also describe in depth the process of genome rearrangements suffered by S. symbiotica and the role mobile elements play in gene inactivations. Finally, we postulate the supply to the host of the essential riboflavin (vitamin B2) as key to the establishment of S. symbiotica as a co-obligate endosymbiont in the aphids belonging to the subfamily Lachninane.
Project description:Heritable symbionts are common in terrestrial arthropods and often provide beneficial services to hosts. Unlike obligate, nutritional symbionts that largely persist under strict host control within specialized host cells, heritable facultative symbionts exhibit large variation in within-host lifestyles and services rendered with many retaining the capacity to transition among roles. One enigmatic symbiont, Candidatus Fukatsuia symbiotica, frequently infects aphids with reported roles ranging from pathogen, defensive symbiont, mutualism exploiter, and nutritional co-obligate symbiont. Here, we used an in vitro culture-assisted protocol to sequence the genome of a facultative strain of Fukatsuia from pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum). Phylogenetic and genomic comparisons indicate that Fukatsuia is an aerobic heterotroph, which together with Regiella insecticola and Hamiltonella defensa form a clade of heritable facultative symbionts within the Yersiniaceae (Enterobacteriales). These three heritable facultative symbionts largely share overlapping inventories of genes associated with housekeeping functions, metabolism, and nutrient acquisition, while varying in complements of mobile DNA. One unusual feature of Fukatsuia is its strong tendency to occur as a coinfection with H. defensa. However, the overall similarity of gene inventories among aphid heritable facultative symbionts suggests that metabolic complementarity is not the basis for coinfection, unless playing out on a H. defensa strain-specific basis. We also compared the pea aphid Fukatsuia with a strain from the aphid Cinara confinis (Lachninae) where it is reported to have transitioned to co-obligate status to support decaying Buchnera function. Overall, the two genomes are very similar with no clear genomic signatures consistent with such a transition, which suggests co-obligate status in C. confinis was a recent event.
Project description:Symbiosis is a widespread phenomenon in nature, in which insects show a great number of these associations. Buchnera aphidicola, the obligate endosymbiont of aphids, coexists in some species with another intracellular bacterium, Serratia symbiotica. Of particular interest is the case of the cedar aphid Cinara cedri, where B. aphidicola BCc and S. symbiotica SCc need each other to fulfil their symbiotic role with the insect. Moreover, various features seem to indicate that S. symbiotica SCc is closer to an obligate endosymbiont than to other facultative S. symbiotica, such as the one described for the aphid Acirthosyphon pisum (S. symbiotica SAp). This work is based on the comparative genomics of five strains of Serratia, three free-living and two endosymbiotic ones (one facultative and one obligate) which should allow us to dissect the genome reduction taking place in the adaptive process to an intracellular life-style. Using a pan-genome approach, we have identified shared and strain-specific genes from both endosymbiotic strains and gained insight into the different genetic reduction both S. symbiotica have undergone. We have identified both retained and reduced functional categories in S. symbiotica compared to the Free-Living Serratia (FLS) that seem to be related with its endosymbiotic role in their specific host-symbiont systems. By means of a phylogenomic reconstruction we have solved the position of both endosymbionts with confidence, established the probable insect-pathogen origin of the symbiotic clade as well as the high amino-acid substitution rate in S. symbiotica SCc. Finally, we were able to quantify the minimal number of rearrangements suffered in the endosymbiotic lineages and reconstruct a minimal rearrangement phylogeny. All these findings provide important evidence for the existence of at least two distinctive S. symbiotica lineages that are characterized by different rearrangements, gene content, genome size and branch lengths.
Project description:Aphids are economically important pest insects that damage plants by phloem feeding and the transmission of plant viruses. Their ability to feed exclusively on nutritionally poor phloem sap is dependent on the obligatory symbiotic bacterium Buchnera aphidicola, but additional facultative symbionts may also be present, a common example of which is Serratia symbiotica. Many Serratia species secrete extracellular enzymes, so we hypothesised that S. symbiotica may produce proteases that help aphids to feed on plants. Molecular analysis, including fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), revealed that S. symbiotica colonises the gut, salivary glands and mouthparts (including the stylet) of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum, providing a mechanism to transfer the symbiont into host plants. S. symbiotica was also detected in plant tissues wounded by the penetrating stylet and was transferred to naïve aphids feeding on plants containing this symbiont. The maintenance of S. symbiotica by repeated transmission via plants may explain the high frequency of this symbiont in aphid populations. Proteomic analysis of the supernatant from a related but cultivable S. symbiotica strain cultured in liquid medium revealed the presence of known and novel proteases including metalloproteases. The corresponding transcripts encoding these S. symbiotica enzymes were detected in A. pisum and in plants carrying the symbiont, although the mRNA was much more abundant in the aphids. Our data suggest that enzymes from S. symbiotica may facilitate the digestion of plant proteins, thereby helping to suppress plant defense, and that the symbionts are important mediators of aphid-plant interactions.
Project description:Buchnera aphidicola BCc, the primary endosymbiont of the aphid Cinara cedri (subfamily Lachninae), is losing its symbiotic capacity and might be replaced by the coresident "Candidatus Serratia symbiotica." Phylogenetic and morphological analyses within the subfamily Lachninae indicate two different "Ca. Serratia symbiotica" lineages and support the longtime coevolution of both symbionts in C. cedri.
Project description:"Candidatus Serratia symbiotica" is a facultative bacterial symbiont of aphids that affects various ecological traits of the host insects. Here, we report the complete genome sequence of "Candidatus Serratia symbiotica" strain IS, consisting of a 2,736,352-bp chromosome and an 82,605-bp plasmid, from the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum.
Project description:Study of the mutualistic associations between facultative symbionts and aphids are developed only in a few models. That survey on the situation and distribution of the symbionts in a certain area is helpful to obtain clues for the acquisition and spread of them as well as their roles played in host evolution. To understand the infection patterns of seven facultative symbionts (Serratia symbiotica, Hamiltonella defensa, Regiella insecticola, Rickettsia, Spiroplasma, Wolbachia, and Arsenophonus) in Rhopalosiphum padi (Linnaeus) and Rhopalosiphum maidis (Fitch), we collected 882 R. maidis samples (37 geographical populations) from China and 585 R. padi samples (32 geographical populations) from China and Europe. Results showed that both species were widely infected with various symbionts and totally 50.8% of R. maidis and 50.1% of R. padi were multi-infected with targeted symbionts. However, very few Rhopalosiphum aphids were infected with S. symbiotica. The infection frequencies of some symbionts were related to the latitude of collecting sites, suggesting the importance of environmental factors in shaping the geographic distribution of facultative symbionts. Also, R. maidis and R. padi were infected with different H. defensa strains based on phylogenetic analysis which may be determined by host ×symbiont genotype interactions. According to our results, the ubiquitous symbionts may play important roles in the evolution of their host aphid and their impacts on adaptation of R. padi and R. maidis were discussed as well.
Project description:The genome sequencing of Buchnera aphidicola BCc from the aphid Cinara cedri, which is the smallest known Buchnera genome, revealed that this bacterium had lost its symbiotic role, as it was not able to synthesize tryptophan and riboflavin. Moreover, the biosynthesis of tryptophan is shared with the endosymbiont Serratia symbiotica SCc, which coexists with B. aphidicola in this aphid. The whole-genome sequencing of S. symbiotica SCc reveals an endosymbiont in a stage of genome reduction that is closer to an obligate endosymbiont, such as B. aphidicola from Acyrthosiphon pisum, than to another S. symbiotica, which is a facultative endosymbiont in this aphid, and presents much less gene decay. The comparison between both S. symbiotica enables us to propose an evolutionary scenario of the transition from facultative to obligate endosymbiont. Metabolic inferences of B. aphidicola BCc and S. symbiotica SCc reveal that most of the functions carried out by B. aphidicola in A. pisum are now either conserved in B. aphidicola BCc or taken over by S. symbiotica. In addition, there are several cases of metabolic complementation giving functional stability to the whole consortium and evolutionary preservation of the actors involved.
Project description:Many insects depend on obligate mutualistic bacteria to provide essential nutrients lacking from their diet. Most aphids, whose diet consists of phloem, rely on the bacterial endosymbiont Buchnera aphidicola to supply essential amino acids and B vitamins. However, in some aphid species, provision of these nutrients is partitioned between Buchnera and a younger bacterial partner, whose identity varies across aphid lineages. Little is known about the origin and the evolutionary stability of these di-symbiotic systems. It is also unclear whether the novel symbionts merely compensate for losses in Buchnera or carry new nutritional functions. Using whole-genome endosymbiont sequences of nine Cinara aphids that harbour an Erwinia-related symbiont to complement Buchnera, we show that the Erwinia association arose from a single event of symbiont lifestyle shift, from a free-living to an obligate intracellular one. This event resulted in drastic genome reduction, long-term genome stasis, and co-divergence with aphids. Fluorescence in situ hybridisation reveals that Erwinia inhabits its own bacteriocytes near Buchnera's. Altogether these results depict a scenario for the establishment of Erwinia as an obligate symbiont that mirrors Buchnera's. Additionally, we found that the Erwinia vitamin-biosynthetic genes not only compensate for Buchnera's deficiencies, but also provide a new nutritional function; whose genes have been horizontally acquired from a Sodalis-related bacterium. A subset of these genes have been subsequently transferred to a new Hamiltonella co-obligate symbiont in one specific Cinara lineage. These results show that the establishment and dynamics of multi-partner endosymbioses can be mediated by lateral gene transfers between co-ocurring symbionts.