Avoidance and Potential Remedy Solutions of Chimeras in Reconstructing the Phylogeny of Aphids Using the 16S rRNA Gene of Buchnera: A Case in Lachninae (Hemiptera).
ABSTRACT: It is known that PCR amplification of highly homologous genes from complex DNA mixtures can generate a significant proportion of chimeric sequences. The 16S rRNA gene is not only widely used in estimating the species diversity of endosymbionts in aphids but also used to explore the co-diversification of aphids and their endosymbionts. Thus, chimeric sequences may lead to the discovery of non-existent endosymbiont species and mislead Buchnera-based phylogenetic analysis that lead to false conclusions. In this study, a high probability (6.49%) of chimeric sequence occurrence was found in the amplified 16S rRNA gene sequences of endosymbionts from aphid species in the subfamily Lachninae. These chimeras are hybrid products of multiple parent sequences from the dominant species of endosymbionts in each corresponding host. It is difficult to identify the chimeric sequences of a new or unidentified species due to the high variability of their main parent, Buchnera aphidicola, and because the chimeric sequences can confuse the phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences. These chimeras present a challenge to Buchnera-based phylogenetic research in aphids. Thus, our study strongly suggests that using appropriate methods to detect chimeric 16S rRNA sequences may avoid some false conclusions in endosymbiont-based aphid research.
Project description:Bacterial endosymbionts that produce important phenotypic effects on their hosts are common among plant sap-sucking insects. Aphids have become a model system of insect-symbiont interactions. However, endosymbiont research has focused on a few aphid species, making it necessary to make greater efforts to other aphid species through different regions, in order to have a better understanding of the role of endosymbionts in aphids as a group. Aphid endosymbionts have frequently been studied by PCR-based techniques, using species-specific primers, nevertheless this approach may omit other non-target bacteria cohabiting a particular host species. Advances in high-throughput sequencing technologies are complementing our knowledge of microbial communities by allowing us the study of whole microbiome of different organisms. We used a 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing approach to study the microbiome of aphids in order to describe the bacterial community diversity in introduced populations of the cereal aphids, Sitobion avenae and Rhopalosiphum padi in Chile (South America). An absence of secondary endosymbionts and two common secondary endosymbionts of aphids were found in the aphids R. padi and S. avenae, respectively. Of those endosymbionts, Regiella insecticola was the dominant secondary endosymbiont among the aphid samples. In addition, the presence of a previously unidentified bacterial species closely related to a phytopathogenic Pseudomonad species was detected. We discuss these results in relation to the bacterial endosymbiont diversity found in other regions of the native and introduced range of S. avenae and R. padi. A similar endosymbiont diversity has been reported for both aphid species in their native range. However, variation in the secondary endosymbiont infection could be observed among the introduced and native populations of the aphid S. avenae, indicating that aphid-endosymbiont associations can vary across the geographic range of an aphid species. In addition, we discuss the potential role of aphids as vectors and/or alternative hosts of phytopathogenic bacteria.
Project description:(E)-β-farnesene (EβF) is the major component of the alarm pheromone of many aphid species, but where EβF is synthesized in aphids is only partly understood. There are at least three most possible sources for the alarm pheromone: host plants, aphid obligate endosymbiont and aphids themselves. Here we eliminated the possibility of host plants and the obligate endosymbiont Buchnera aphidicola as the sources for EβF released by aphids. We excluded the possible effects of host plants on EβF biosynthesis by rearing aphids on non-plant diets. Both the diet-reared aphids, including the cotton aphid Aphis gossypii and the green peach aphid Myzus persicae, could still release EβF based on solid-phase micro-extraction combined with gas chromatography-mass spectrometer analysis. Meanwhile, we treated host aphids with antibiotics to fully eliminate Buchnera bacteria. Though the treatment seriously affected the development and fecundity of host aphids, the treated aphids could still release EβF, and there was no significant difference in the EβF concentration as per the aphid weight under different rearing conditions. Taken together, our experimental results suggest that host plants and obligate endosymbionts are not the sources for EβF released by aphids, indicating that it is most probably the aphid itself synthesizes the alarm pheromone.
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:Aphids are one of the most important insect taxa in terms of ecology, evolutionary biology, genetics and genomics, and interactions with endosymbionts. Additionally, many aphids are serious pest species of agricultural and horticultural plants. Recent genetic and genomic research has expanded molecular resources for many aphid species, including the whole genome sequencing of the pea aphid, Acrythosiphon pisum. However, the invasive soybean aphid, Aphis glycines, lacks in any significant molecular resources.Two next-generation sequencing technologies (Roche-454 and Illumina GA-II) were used in a combined approach to develop both transcriptomic and genomic resources, including expressed genes and molecular markers. Over 278 million bp were sequenced among the two methods, resulting in 19,293 transcripts and 56,688 genomic sequences. From this data set, 635 SNPs and 1,382 microsatellite markers were identified. For each sequencing method, different soybean aphid biotypes were used which revealed potential biotype specific markers. In addition, we uncovered 39,822 bp of sequence that were related to the obligatory endosymbiont, Buchnera aphidicola, as well as sequences that suggest the presence of Hamiltonella defensa, a facultative endosymbiont.Molecular resources for an invasive, non-model aphid species were generated. Additionally, the power of next-generation sequencing to uncover endosymbionts was demonstrated. The resources presented here will complement ongoing molecular studies within the Aphididae, including the pea aphid whole genome, lead to better understanding of aphid adaptation and evolution, and help provide novel targets for soybean aphid control.
Project description:Molecular approaches are increasingly being used to analyse host-parasitoid food webs as they overcome several hurdles inherent to conventional approaches. However, such studies have focused primarily on the detection and identification of aphids and their aphidiid primary parasitoids, largely ignoring primary parasitoid-hyperparasitoid interactions or limiting these to a few common species within a small geographical area. Furthermore, the detection of bacterial secondary endosymbionts has not been considered in such assays despite the fact that endosymbionts may alter aphid-parasitoid interactions, as they can confer protection against parasitoids. Here we present a novel two-step multiplex PCR (MP-PCR) protocol to assess cereal aphid-primary parasitoid-hyperparasitoid-endosymbiont interactions. The first step of the assay allows detection of parasitoid DNA at a general level (24 primary and 16 hyperparasitoid species) as well as the species-specific detection of endosymbionts (3 species) and cereal aphids (3 species). The second step of the MP-PCR assay targets seven primary and six hyperparasitoid species that commonly occur in Central Europe. Additional parasitoid species not covered by the second-step of the assay can be identified via sequencing 16S rRNA amplicons generated in the first step of the assay. The approach presented here provides an efficient, highly sensitive, and cost-effective (~consumable costs of 1.3 € per sample) tool for assessing cereal aphid-parasitoid-endosymbiont interactions.
Project description:Buchnera are maternally transmitted bacterial endosymbionts that synthesize amino acids that are limiting in the diet of their aphid hosts. Previous studies demonstrated accelerated sequence evolution in Buchnera compared to free-living bacteria, especially for nonsynonymous substitutions. Two mechanisms may explain this acceleration: relaxed purifying selection and increased fixation of slightly deleterious alleles under drift. Here, we test the divergent predictions of these hypotheses for intraspecific polymorphism using Buchnera associated with natural populations of the ragweed aphid, Uroleucon ambrosiae. Contrary to expectations under relaxed selection, U. ambrosiae from across the United States yielded strikingly low sequence diversity at three Buchnera loci (dnaN, trpBC, trpEG), revealing polymorphism three orders of magnitude lower than in enteric bacteria. An excess of nonsynonymous polymorphism and of rare alleles was also observed. Local sampling of additional dnaN sequences revealed similar patterns of polymorphism and no evidence of food plant-associated genetic structure. Aphid mitochondrial sequences further suggested that host bottlenecks and large-scale dispersal may contribute to genetic homogenization of aphids and symbionts. Together, our results support reduced N(e) as a primary cause of accelerated sequence evolution in Buchnera. However, our study cannot rule out the possibility that mechanisms other than bottlenecks also contribute to reduced N(e) at aphid and endosymbiont loci.
Project description:Eriosomatinae is a particular aphid group with typically heteroecious holocyclic life cycle, exhibiting strong primary host plant specialization and inducing galls on primary host plants. Aphids are frequently associated with bacterial symbionts, which can play fundamental roles in the ecology and evolution of their host aphids. However, the bacterial communities in Eriosomatinae are poorly known. In the present study, using high-throughput sequencing of the bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA gene, we surveyed the bacterial flora of eriosomatines and explored the associations between symbiont diversity and aphid relatedness, aphid host plant and geographical distribution. The microbiota of Eriosomatinae is dominated by the heritable primary endosymbiont Buchnera and several facultative symbionts. The primary endosymbiont Buchnera is expectedly the most abundant symbiont across all species. Six facultative symbionts were identified. Regiella was the most commonly identified facultative symbiont, and multiple infections of facultative symbionts were detected in the majority of the samples. Ordination analyses and statistical tests show that the symbiont community of aphids feeding on plants from the family Ulmaceae were distinguishable from aphids feeding on other host plants. Species in Eriosomatinae feeding on different plants are likely to carry different symbiont compositions. The symbiont distributions seem to be not related to taxonomic distance and geographical distance. Our findings suggest that host plants can affect symbiont maintenance, and will improve our understanding of the interactions between aphids, their symbionts and ecological conditions.
Project description:A novel secondary intracellular symbiotic bacterium from aphids of the genus Yamatocallis (subfamily Drepanosiphinae) was characterized by using molecular phylogenetic analysis, in situ hybridization, and diagnostic PCR detection. In the aphid tissues, this bacterium (tentatively designated YSMS [Yamatocallis secondary mycetocyte symbiont]) was found specifically in large cells surrounded by primary mycetocytes harboring Buchnera cells. Of nine drepanosiphine aphids examined, YSMS was detected in only two species of the same genus, Yamatocallis tokyoensis and Yamatocallis hirayamae. In natural populations of these aphids, YSMS was present in 100% of the individuals. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequences demonstrated that YSMS of Y. tokyoensis and Y. hirayamae constitute a distinct and isolated clade in the gamma subdivision of the class Proteobacteria. No 16S rDNA sequences of secondary endosymbionts characterized so far from other aphids showed phylogenetic affinity to YSMS. Based on these results, I suggest that YSMS was acquired by an ancestor of the genus Yamatocallis and has been conserved throughout the evolution of the lineage. By using the nucleotide substitution rate for 16S rDNA of Buchnera spp., the time of acquisition of YSMS was estimated to be about 13 to 26 million years ago, in the Miocene epoch of the Tertiary period.
Project description:Facultative bacterial endosymbionts can protect their aphid hosts from natural enemies such as hymenopteran parasitoids. As such, they have the capability to modulate interactions between aphids, parasitoids and hyperparasitoids. However, the magnitude of these effects in natural aphid populations and their associated parasitoid communities is currently unknown. Moreover, environmental factors such as plant fertilization and landscape complexity are known to affect aphid-parasitoid interactions but it remains unclear how such environmental factors affect the interplay between aphids, parasitoids and endosymbionts. Here, we tested whether facultative endosymbionts confer protection to parasitoids in natural populations of the English grain aphid, Sitobion avenae, and if this is affected by plant fertilization and landscape complexity. Furthermore, we examined whether the effects of facultative endosymbionts can cascade up to the hyperparasitoid level and increase primary-hyperparasitoid food web specialization. Living aphids and mummies were collected in fertilized and unfertilized plots within 13 wheat fields in Central Germany. We assessed the occurrence of primary parasitoid, hyperparasitoid and endosymbiont species in aphids and mummies using a newly established molecular approach. Facultative endosymbiont infection rates were high across fields (~80%), independent of whether aphids were parasitized or unparasitized. Aphid mummies exhibited a significantly lower share of facultative endosymbiont infection (~38%). These findings suggest that facultative endosymbionts do not affect parasitoid oviposition behaviour, but decrease parasitoid survival in the host. Facultative endosymbiont infection rates were lower in mummies collected from fertilized compared to unfertilized plants, indicating that plant fertilization boosts the facultative endosymbiont protective effect. Furthermore, we found strong evidence for species-specific and negative cascading effects of facultative endosymbionts on primary and hyperparasitoids, respectively. Facultative endosymbionts impacted parasitoid assemblages and increased the specialization of primary-hyperparasitoid food webs: these effects were independent from and much stronger than other environmental factors. The current findings strongly suggest that facultative endosymbionts act as a driving force in aphid-parasitoid-hyperparasitoid networks: they shape insect community composition at different trophic levels and modulate, directly and indirectly, the interactions between aphids, parasitoids and their environment.
Project description:A 8,392-nucleotide-long DNA fragment from Buchnera aphidicola (endosymbiont of the aphid Schizaphis graminum) contained five genes of the tryptophan biosynthetic pathway [trpDC(F)BA] which code for enzymes converting anthranilate to tryptophan. These genes are probably arranged as a single transcription unit. Downstream of the trp genes were ORF-V, ORF-VI, and P14, three open reading frames which in Escherichia coli are also found downstream of the trp operon. Upstream of the B. aphidicola trp genes were two unidentified open reading frames, one of which potentially codes for a membrane-spanning protein with a leader sequence. Evidence for the presence of trpB in the endosymbionts of eight additional species of aphids and two species of whiteflies was obtained. These results as well as those of A. E. Douglas and W. A. Prosser (J. Insect Physiol. 38:565-568, 1992) suggest that aphid endosymbionts are capable of synthesizing tryptophan, which is required by the aphid host.