A strain of the bacterial symbiont Regiella insecticola protects aphids against parasitoids.
ABSTRACT: Aphids commonly harbour facultative bacterial endosymbionts and may benefit from their presence through increased resistance to parasitoids. This has been demonstrated for Hamiltonella defensa and Serratia symbiotica, while a third common endosymbiont, Regiella insecticola, did not provide such protection. However, this symbiont was recently detected in a highly resistant clone of the peach-potato aphid, Myzus persicae, from Australia. To test if resistance was indeed conferred by the endosymbiont, we eliminated it from this clone with antibiotics, and we transferred it to two other clones of the same and one clone of a different aphid species (Aphis fabae). Exposing these lines to the parasitoid Aphidius colemani showed clearly that unlike other strains of this bacterium, this specific isolate of R. insecticola provides strong protection against parasitic wasps, suggesting that the ability to protect their host against natural enemies may evolve readily in multiple species of endosymbiotic bacteria.
Project description:Regiella insecticola is a bacterial endosymbiont in insects that exhibits a negative effect on the fitness of hosts. Thus, it is not clear why this costly endosymbiont can persist in host populations. Here, we tested a hypothesis that the infection pattern and negative roles of the endosymbiont were not constant but environmentally dependent. The grain aphids Sitobion avenae, belonging to different genotypes and infected with Regiella or not, were used in this study. We found that S. avenae populations were infected with Regiella, Hamiltonella defensa, Serratia symbiotica and Rickettsia. The predominant endosymbionts in the aphid populations varied with season. Serratia and Rickettsia were predominant from December to February while Regiella predominated from March to May. The vertical transmission of Regiella was poorer at high temperature, but following conditioning for seven generations, the transmission rate improved. Regiella inhibited the production of winged aphids at 25?°C, but it did not affect winged morph production at the higher temperatures of 28?°C and 31?°C. Regiella infection decreased the intrinsic rate of increase (rm) of aphids at 25?°C and 28?°C. However, at 31?°C, the effect of Regiella on the rm varied depending on the aphid genotype and density. Thus, the negative effects of this endosymbiont on its host were environmentally dependent.
Project description:The interactions between herbivorous insects and their symbiotic micro-organisms can be influenced by the plant species on which the insects are reared, but the underlying mechanisms are not understood. Here, we identify plant nutrients, specifically amino acids, as a candidate factor affecting the impact of symbiotic bacteria on the performance of the phloem-feeding aphid Aphis fabae. Aphis fabae grew more slowly on the labiate plant Lamium purpureum than on an alternative host plant Vicia faba, and the negative effect of L. purpureum on aphid growth was consistently exacerbated by the bacterial secondary symbionts Regiella insecticola and Hamiltonella defensa, which attained high densities in L. purpureum-reared aphids. The amino acid content of the phloem sap of L. purpureum was very low; and A. fabae on chemically defined diets of low amino acid content also grew slowly and had elevated secondary symbiont densities. It is suggested that the phloem nutrient profile of L. purpureum promotes deleterious traits in the secondary symbionts and disturbs insect controls over bacterial abundance.
Project description:Parasitoids are an important mortality factor for insects. Susceptibility to parasitoids should thus be under strong negative selection. Nevertheless, ample genetic variation for susceptibility to parasitoids is commonly observed in natural populations, suggesting that trade-offs may constrain the evolution of reduced susceptibility. This can be studied by assessing genetic variation for susceptibility and its covariation with other components of fitness. In a set of 17 clones of the peach potato aphid, Myzus persicae, for which good estimates of heritable variation for life-history traits were available, we found significant clonal variation for susceptibility to two of their common parasitoids: Aphidius colemani and Diaeretiella rapae. One clone, the only one harbouring a facultative endosymbiotic bacterium, Regiella insecticola, was entirely resistant to both parasitoids. Susceptibilities to the two parasitoids exhibited a positive genetic correlation close to unity, implying a general mechanism of defence. However, the susceptibility to parasitoids was uncorrelated to the clones' fecundity or rate of increase, providing no evidence for costs of the ability to resist parasitoids.
Project description:Bacterial endosymbionts exert a variety of beneficial effects on insect hosts. In pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum), several inherited endosymbiont species protect their hosts against parasitoid wasps, which are major natural enemies. However, strains of these symbiont species vary in their ability to confer protection against parasitoids, with some conferring almost complete protection and others conferring almost none. In this study, two strains of the endosymbiont Regiella insecticola (R. insecticola 5.15 and R. insecticola LSR1) were found to differ in ability to protect pea aphids attacked by the parasitoid Aphidius ervi. Parasitism trials reveal that R. insecticola 5.15, but not R. insecticola LSR1, significantly reduced parasitoid success and increased aphid survivorship. To address the potential genetic basis of protection conferred by R. insecticola 5.15 we sequenced the genome of this symbiont strain, and then compared its gene repertoire with that of the already sequenced nonprotective strain R. insecticola LSR1. We identified striking differences in gene sets related to eukaryote pathogenicity. The protective strain R. insecticola 5.15 encoded five categories of pathogenicity factors that were missing or inactivated in R. insecticola LSR1. These included genes encoding the O-antigen biosynthetic pathway, an intact Type 1 Secretion System and its secreted RTX toxins, an intact SPI-1 Type 3 Secretion System and its effectors, hemin transport, and the two-component system PhoPQ. These five pathogenicity factors and translocation systems are hypothesized to collectively play key roles in the endosymbiont's virulence against parasitoids, resulting in aphid protection. Mechanisms through which these factors may target parasitoids are discussed.
Project description:Legumes can meet their nitrogen requirements through root nodule symbiosis, which could also trigger plant systemic resistance against pests. The pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum, a legume pest, can harbour different facultative symbionts (FS) influencing various traits of their hosts. It is therefore worth determining if and how the symbionts of the plant and the aphid modulate their interaction. We used different pea aphid lines without FS or with a single one (Hamiltonella defensa, Regiella insecticola, Serratia symbiotica) to infest Medicago truncatula plants inoculated with Sinorhizobium meliloti (symbiotic nitrogen fixation, SNF) or supplemented with nitrate (non-inoculated, NI). The growth of SNF and NI plants was reduced by aphid infestation, while aphid weight (but not survival) was lowered on SNF compared to NI plants. Aphids strongly affected the plant nitrogen fixation depending on their symbiotic status, suggesting indirect relationships between aphid- and plant-associated microbes. Finally, all aphid lines triggered expression of Pathogenesis-Related Protein 1 (PR1) and Proteinase Inhibitor (PI), respective markers for salicylic and jasmonic pathways, in SNF plants, compared to only PR1 in NI plants. We demonstrate that the plant symbiotic status influences plant-aphid interactions while that of the aphid can modulate the amplitude of the plant's defence response.
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:Animal-associated microbes are highly variable, contributing to a diverse set of symbiont-mediated phenotypes. Given that host and symbiont genotypes, and their interactions, can impact symbiont-based phenotypes across environments, there is potential for extensive variation in fitness outcomes. Pea aphids, Acyrthosiphon pisum, host a diverse assemblage of heritable facultative symbionts (HFS) with characterized roles in host defense. Protective phenotypes have been largely studied as single infections, but pea aphids often carry multiple HFS species, and particular combinations may be enriched or depleted compared to expectations based on chance. Here, we examined the consequences of single infection versus coinfection with two common HFS exhibiting variable enrichment, the antiparasitoid Hamiltonella defensa and the antipathogen Regiella insecticola, across three host genotypes and environments. As expected, single infections with either H. defensa or R. insecticola raised defenses against their respective targets. Single infections with protective H. defensa lowered aphid fitness in the absence of enemy challenge, while R. insecticola was comparatively benign. However, as a coinfection, R. insecticola ameliorated H. defensa infection costs. Coinfected aphids continued to receive antiparasitoid protection from H. defensa, but protection was weakened by R. insecticola in two clones. Notably, H. defensa eliminated survival benefits conferred after pathogen exposure by coinfecting R. insecticola Since pathogen sporulation was suppressed by R. insecticola in coinfected aphids, the poor performance likely stemmed from H. defensa-imposed costs rather than weakened defenses. Our results reveal a complex set of coinfection outcomes which may partially explain natural infection patterns and suggest that symbiont-based phenotypes may not be easily predicted based solely on infection status.IMPORTANCE The hyperdiverse arthropods often harbor maternally transmitted bacteria that protect against natural enemies. In many species, low-diversity communities of heritable symbionts are common, providing opportunities for cooperation and conflict among symbionts, which can impact the defensive services rendered. Using the pea aphid, a model for defensive symbiosis, we show that coinfections with two common defensive symbionts, the antipathogen Regiella and the antiparasite Hamiltonella, produce outcomes that are highly variable compared to single infections, which consistently protect against designated enemies. Compared to single infections, coinfections often reduced defensive services during enemy challenge yet improved aphid fitness in the absence of enemies. Thus, infection with multiple symbionts does not necessarily create generalist aphids with "Swiss army knife" defenses against numerous enemies. Instead, particular combinations of symbionts may be favored for a variety of reasons, including their abilities to lessen the costs of other defensive symbionts when enemies are not present.
Project description:Symbiosis is prevalent throughout the tree of life and has had a significant impact on the ecology and evolution of many bacteria and eukaryotes. The benevolence of symbiotic interactions often varies with the environment, and such variation is expected to play an important role in shaping the prevalence and distributions of symbiosis throughout nature. In this study, we examine how the fitness of aphids is influenced by infection with one of three maternally transmitted bacteria, 'Candidatus Serratia symbiotica', 'Candidatus Hamiltonella defensa' and 'Candidatus Regiella insecticola', addressing how symbiont benevolence varies with temperature. We find that the effects of these 'secondary' symbionts on Acyrthosiphon pisum depend on when and whether aphids are exposed to a brief period of heat shock. We also demonstrate that symbionts--even closely related isolates--vary in their effects on hosts. Our results indicate similar effects of S. symbiotica and H. defensa in conferring tolerance to high temperatures and a liability of R. insecticola under these same conditions. These findings reveal a role for heritable symbionts in the adaptation of aphids to their abiotic environments and add to an expanding body of knowledge on the adaptive significance of symbiosis.
Project description:Recent studies suggest that the pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum) has low immune defenses. However, its immune components are largely undescribed, and notably, extensive characterization of circulating cells has been missing. Here, we report characterization of five cell categories in hemolymph of adults of the LL01 pea aphid clone, devoid of secondary symbionts (SS): prohemocytes, plasmatocytes, granulocytes, spherulocytes and wax cells. Circulating lipid-filed wax cells are rare; they otherwise localize at the basis of the cornicles. Spherulocytes, that are likely sub-cuticular sessile cells, are involved in the coagulation process. Prohemocytes have features of precursor cells. Plasmatocytes and granulocytes, the only adherent cells, can form a layer in vivo around inserted foreign objects and phagocytize latex beads or Escherichia coli bacteria injected into aphid hemolymph. Using digital image analysis, we estimated that the hemolymph from one LL01 aphid contains about 600 adherent cells, 35% being granulocytes. Among aphid YR2 lines differing only in their SS content, similar results to LL01 were observed for YR2-Amp (without SS) and YR2-Ss (with Serratia symbiotica), while YR2-Hd (with Hamiltonella defensa) and YR2(Ri) (with Regiella insecticola) had strikingly lower adherent hemocyte numbers and granulocyte proportions. The effect of the presence of SS on A. pisum cellular immunity is thus symbiont-dependent. Interestingly, Buchnera aphidicola (the aphid primary symbiont) and all SS, whether naturally present, released during hemolymph collection, or artificially injected, were internalized by adherent hemocytes. Inside hemocytes, SS were observed in phagocytic vesicles, most often in phagolysosomes. Our results thus raise the question whether aphid symbionts in hemolymph are taken up and destroyed by hemocytes, or actively promote their own internalization, for instance as a way of being transmitted to the next generation. Altogether, we demonstrate here a strong interaction between aphid symbionts and immune cells, depending upon the symbiont, highlighting the link between immunity and symbiosis.
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.