Bacterial symbiosis maintenance in the asexually reproducing and regenerating flatworm Paracatenula galateia.
ABSTRACT: Bacteriocytes set the stage for some of the most intimate interactions between animal and bacterial cells. In all bacteriocyte possessing systems studied so far, de novo formation of bacteriocytes occurs only once in the host development, at the time of symbiosis establishment. Here, we present the free-living symbiotic flatworm Paracatenula galateia and its intracellular, sulfur-oxidizing bacteria as a system with previously undescribed strategies of bacteriocyte formation and bacterial symbiont transmission. Using thymidine analogue S-phase labeling and immunohistochemistry, we show that all somatic cells in adult worms - including bacteriocytes - originate exclusively from aposymbiotic stem cells (neoblasts). The continued bacteriocyte formation from aposymbiotic stem cells in adult animals represents a previously undescribed strategy of symbiosis maintenance and makes P. galateia a unique system to study bacteriocyte differentiation and development. We also provide morphological and immunohistochemical evidence that P. galateia reproduces by asexual fragmentation and regeneration (paratomy) and, thereby, vertically transmits numerous symbiont-containing bacteriocytes to its asexual progeny. Our data support the earlier reported hypothesis that the symbiont population is subjected to reduced bottleneck effects. This would justify both the codiversification between Paracatenula hosts and their Candidatus Riegeria symbionts, and the slow evolutionary rates observed for several symbiont genes.
Project description:Symbiosis often entails the emergence of novel adaptive traits in organisms. Microbial symbionts are indispensable for diverse insects via provisioning of essential nutrients, wherein novel host cells and organs for harboring the microbes, called bacteriocytes and bacteriomes, have evolved repeatedly. Molecular and developmental mechanisms underpinning the emergence of novel symbiotic cells and organs comprise an unsolved question in evolutionary developmental biology. Here, we report that a conserved homeotic gene, Ultrabithorax, plays a pivotal role in the bacteriocyte differentiation in a hemipteran insect Nysius plebeius. During embryonic development, six pairs of aggregated presumptive bacteriocytes appear on both sides of six abdominal segments, incorporate the symbiotic bacteria at the stage of germband retraction, and fuse into a pair of lateral bacteriomes at the stage of germband flip, where bacteriocyte-associated Ultrabithorax expression coincides with the symbiont infection process. Suppression of Ultrabithorax expression by maternal RNA interference results in disappearance of the bacteriocytes and the symbiont localization therein, suggesting that Ultrabithorax is involved in differentiation of the host cells for symbiosis. Suppression of other homeotic genes abdominal-A and Antennapedia disturbs integrity and positioning of the bacteriomes, affecting the configuration of the host organs for symbiosis. Our findings unveil the molecular and developmental mechanisms underlying the bacteriocyte differentiation, which may have evolved either via cooption of the transcription factors for inducing the novel symbiotic cells, or via revival of the developmental pathway for the bacteriocytes that had existed in the ancestral hemipterans.
Project description:Although the deep-sea bathymodiolin mussels have been intensively studied as a model of animal-bacteria symbiosis, it remains challenging to assess the host-symbiont interactions due to the complexity of the symbiotic tissue-the gill. Using cold-seep mussel <i>Gigantidas platifrons</i> as a model, we isolated the symbiont harboring bacteriocytes and profiled the transcriptomes of the three major parts of the symbiosis-the gill, the bacteriocyte, and the symbiont. This breakdown of the complex symbiotic tissue allowed us to characterize the host-symbiont interactions further. Our data showed that the gill's non-symbiotic parts play crucial roles in maintaining and protecting the symbiosis; the bacteriocytes supply the symbiont with metabolites, control symbiont population, and shelter the symbiont from phage infection; the symbiont dedicates to the methane oxidation and energy production. This study demonstrates that the bathymodiolin symbiosis interacts at the tissue, cellular, and molecular level, maintaining high efficiency and harmonic chemosynthetic micro niche.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Obligate intracellular symbionts of insects are metabolically and developmentally integrated with their hosts. Typically, reproduction fails in many insect nutritional endosymbioses when host insects are cured of their bacterial symbionts, and yet remarkably little is known about the processes that developmentally integrate host and symbiont. Here in the best studied insect obligate intracellular symbiosis, that of the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, with the gammaproteobacterium Buchnera aphidicola, we tracked the expression and localization of amino acid transporter ApGLNT1 gene products during asexual embryogenesis. Recently being characterized as a glutamine transporter, ApGLNT1 has been proposed to be a key regulator of amino acid biosynthesis in A. pisum bacteriocytes. To determine when this important mediator of the symbiosis becomes expressed in aphid embryonic bacteriocytes, we applied whole-mount in situ hybridization and fluorescent immunostaining with a specific anti-ApGLNT1 antibody to detect the temporal and spatial expression of ApGLNT1 gene products during asexual embryogenesis. RESULTS:During embryogenesis, ApGLNT1 mRNA and protein localize to the follicular epithelium that surrounds parthenogenetic viviparous embryos, where we speculate that it functions to supply developing embryos with glutamine from maternal hemolymph. Unexpectedly, in the embryonic bacteriome ApGLNT1 protein does not localize to the membrane of bacteriocytes, a pattern that leads us to conclude that the regulation of amino acid metabolism in the embryonic bacteriome mechanistically differs from that in the maternal bacteriome. Paralleling our earlier report of punctate cytoplasmic localization of ApGLNT1 in maternal bacteriocytes, we find ApGLNT1 protein localizing as cytoplasmic puncta throughout development in association with Buchnera. CONCLUSIONS:Our work that documents ontogenetic shifts in the localization of ApGLNT1 protein in the host bacteriome demonstrates that maternal and embryonic bacteriomes are not equivalent. Significantly, the persistent punctate cytoplasmic localization of ApGLNT1 in association with Buchnera in embryos prior to bacteriocyte formation and later in both embryonic and maternal bacteriomes suggests that ApGLNT1 plays multiple roles in this symbiosis, roles that include amino acid transport and possibly nutrient sensing.
Project description:Many insects are associated with obligate symbiotic bacteria, which are localized in specialized cells called bacteriocytes, vertically transmitted through host generations via ovarial passage, and essential for growth and reproduction of their hosts. Although vertical transmission is pivotal for maintenance of such intimate host-symbiont associations, molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the process are largely unknown. Here we report a cellular mechanism for vertical transmission of the obligate symbiont Buchnera in the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum. In the aphid body, Buchnera cells are transmitted from maternal bacteriocytes to adjacent blastulae at the ovariole tips in a highly coordinated manner. By making use of symbiont-manipulated strains of A. pisum, we demonstrated that the facultative symbiont Serratia is, unlike Buchnera, not transmitted from maternal bacteriocytes to blastulae, suggesting a specific mechanism for Buchnera transmission. EM observations revealed a series of exo-/endocytotic processes operating at the bacteriocyte-blastula interface: Buchnera cells are exocytosed from the maternal bacteriocyte, temporarily released to the extracellular space, and endocytosed by the posterior syncytial cytoplasm of the blastula. These results suggest that the selective Buchnera transmission is likely attributable to Buchnera-specific exocytosis by the maternal bacteriocyte, whereas both Buchnera and Serratia are nonselectively incorporated by the endocytotic activity of the posterior region of the blastula. The sophisticated cellular mechanism for vertical transmission of Buchnera must have evolved to ensure the obligate host-symbiont association, whereas facultative symbionts like Serratia may coopt the endocytotic component of the mechanism for their entry into the host embryos.
Project description:The role of symbiosis in bacterial symbiont genome evolution is well understood, yet the ways that symbiosis shapes host genomes or more particularly, host/symbiont genome coevolution in the holobiont is only now being revealed. Here, we identify three coevolutionary signatures that characterize holobiont genomes. The first signature, host/symbiont collaboration, arises when completion of essential pathways requires host/endosymbiont genome complementarity. Metabolic collaboration has evolved numerous times in the pathways of amino acid and vitamin biosynthesis. Here, we highlight collaboration in branched-chain amino acid and pantothenate (vitamin B5) biosynthesis. The second coevolutionary signature is acquisition, referring to the observation that holobiont genomes acquire novel genetic material through various means, including gene duplication, lateral gene transfer from bacteria that are not their current obligate symbionts, and full or partial endosymbiont replacement. The third signature, constraint, introduces the idea that holobiont genome evolution is constrained by the processes governing symbiont genome evolution. In addition, we propose that collaboration is constrained by the expression profile of the cell lineage from which endosymbiont-containing host cells, called bacteriocytes, are derived. In particular, we propose that such differences in bacteriocyte cell lineage may explain differences in patterns of host/endosymbiont metabolic collaboration between the sap-feeding suborders Sternorrhyncha and Auchenorrhynca. Finally, we review recent studies at the frontier of symbiosis research that are applying functional genomic approaches to characterization of the developmental and cellular mechanisms of host/endosymbiont integration, work that heralds a new era in symbiosis research.
Project description:Aphids evolved novel cells, called bacteriocytes, that differentiate specifically to harbour the obligatory mutualistic endosymbiotic bacteria Buchnera aphidicola. The genome of the host aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum contains many orphan genes that display no similarity with genes found in other sequenced organisms, prompting us to hypothesize that some of these orphan genes are related to lineage-specific traits, such as symbiosis. We conducted deep sequencing of bacteriocytes mRNA followed by whole mount in situ hybridizations of over-represented transcripts encoding aphid-specific orphan proteins. We identified a novel class of genes that encode small proteins with signal peptides, which are often cysteine-rich, that are over-represented in bacteriocytes. These genes are first expressed at a developmental time point coincident with the incorporation of symbionts strictly in the cells that contribute to the bacteriocyte and this bacteriocyte-specific expression is maintained throughout the aphid's life. The expression pattern suggests that recently evolved secretion proteins act within bacteriocytes, perhaps to mediate the symbiosis with beneficial bacterial partners, which is reminiscent of the evolution of novel cysteine-rich secreted proteins of leguminous plants that regulate nitrogen-fixing endosymbionts.
Project description:Many insects host their obligate, maternally transmitted symbiotic bacteria in specialized cells called bacteriocytes. One of the best-studied insect nutritional endosymbioses is that of the aphid and its endosymbiont, Buchnera aphidicola. Aphids and Buchnera are metabolically and developmentally integrated, but the molecular mechanisms underlying Buchnera transmission and coordination with aphid development remain largely unknown. Previous work using electron microscopy to study aphid asexual embryogenesis has revealed that Buchnera transmission involves exocytosis from a maternal bacteriocyte followed by endocytotic uptake by a blastula. While the importance of exo- and endocytic cellular processes for symbiont transmission is clear, the molecular mechanisms that regulate these processes are not known. Here, we shed light on the molecular mechanisms that regulate Buchnera transmission and developmental integration.We present the developmental atlas of ACYPI000536 and ACYPI008904 mRNAs during asexual embryogenesis in the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum. Immediately before Buchnera invasion, transcripts of both genes were detected by whole-mount in situ hybridization in the posterior syncytial nuclei of late blastula embryos. Following Buchnera invasion, expression of both genes was identified in the region occupied by Buchnera throughout embryogenesis. Notably during Buchnera migration, expression of both genes was not concomitant with the entirety of the bacterial mass but rather expression colocalized with Buchnera in the anterior region of the bacterial mass. In addition, we found that ACYPI000536 was expressed in nuclei at the leading edge of the bacterial mass, joining the bacterial mass in subsequent developmental stages. Finally, quantitative reverse transcription real-time PCR suggested that early in development both transcripts were maternally provisioned to embryos.We venture that ACYPI000536 and ACYPI008904 function as nutrient sensors at the site of symbiont invasion to facilitate TOR-pathway-mediated endocytosis of Buchnera by the aphid blastula. Our data support earlier reports of bacteriocyte determination involving a two-step recruitment process but suggest that the second wave of recruitment occurs earlier than previously described. Finally, our work highlights that bacteriocyte-enriched amino acid transporter paralogs have additionally been retained to play novel developmental roles in both symbiont recruitment and bacteriome development.
Project description:Endosymbiotic associations constitute a driving force in the ecological and evolutionary diversification of metazoan organisms. Little is known about whether and how symbiotic cells are coordinated according to host physiology. Here, we use the nutritional symbiosis between the insect pest, Acyrthosiphon pisum, and its obligate symbiont, Buchnera aphidicola, as a model system. We have developed a novel approach for unculturable bacteria, based on flow cytometry, and used this method to estimate the absolute numbers of symbionts at key stages of aphid life. The endosymbiont population increases exponentially throughout nymphal development, showing a growing rate which has never been characterized by indirect molecular techniques. Using histology and imaging techniques, we have shown that the endosymbiont-bearing cells (bacteriocytes) increase significantly in number and size during the nymphal development, and clustering in the insect abdomen. Once adulthood is reached and the laying period has begun, the dynamics of symbiont and host cells is reversed: the number of endosymbionts decreases progressively and the bacteriocyte structure degenerates during insect aging. In summary, these results show a coordination of the cellular dynamics between bacteriocytes and primary symbionts and reveal a fine-tuning of aphid symbiotic cells to the nutritional demand imposed by the host physiology throughout development.
Project description:Symbioses between animals and microbes are often described as mutualistic, but are subject to tradeoffs that may manifest as shifts in host and symbiont metabolism, cellular processes, or symbiont density. In pea aphids, the bacterial symbiont Buchnera is confined to specialized aphid cells called bacteriocytes, where it produces essential amino acids needed by hosts. This relationship is dynamic; Buchnera titer varies within individual aphids and among different clonal aphid lineages, and is affected by environmental and host genetic factors. We examined how host genotypic variation relates to host and symbiont function among seven aphid clones differing in Buchnera titer. We found that bacteriocyte gene expression varies among individual aphids and among aphid clones, and that Buchnera gene expression changes in response. By comparing hosts with low and high Buchnera titer, we found that aphids and Buchnera oppositely regulate genes underlying amino acid biosynthesis and cell growth. In high-titer hosts, both bacteriocytes and symbionts show elevated expression of genes underlying energy metabolism. Several eukaryotic cell signaling pathways are differentially expressed in bacteriocytes of low- versus high-titer hosts: Cell-growth pathways are up-regulated in low-titer genotypes, while membrane trafficking, lysosomal processes, and mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) and cytokine pathways are up-regulated in high-titer genotypes. Specific Buchnera functions are up-regulated within different bacteriocyte environments, with genes underlying flagellar body secretion and flagellar assembly overexpressed in low- and high-titer hosts, respectively. Overall, our results reveal allowances and demands made by both host and symbiont engaged in a metabolic "tug-of-war."
Project description:Intracellular symbiosis is very common in the insect world. For the aphid Cinara cedri, we have identified by electron microscopy three symbiotic bacteria that can be characterized by their different sizes, morphologies, and electrodensities. PCR amplification and sequencing of the 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) genes showed that, in addition to harboring Buchnera aphidicola, the primary endosymbiont of aphids, C. cedri harbors a secondary symbiont (S symbiont) that was previously found to be associated with aphids (PASS, or R type) and an alpha-proteobacterium that belongs to the Wolbachia genus. Using in situ hybridization with specific bacterial probes designed for symbiont 16S rDNA sequences, we have shown that Wolbachia was represented by only a few minute bacteria surrounding the S symbionts. Moreover, the observed B. aphidicola and the S symbionts had similar sizes and were housed in separate specific bacterial cells, the bacteriocytes. Interestingly, in contrast to the case for all aphids examined thus far, the S symbionts were shown to occupy a similarly sized or even larger bacteriocyte space than B. aphidicola. These findings, along with the facts that C. cedri harbors the B. aphidicola strain with the smallest bacterial genome and that the S symbionts infect all Cinara spp. analyzed so far, suggest the possibility of bacterial replacement in these species.