Coexistence of Wolbachia with Buchnera aphidicola and a secondary symbiont in the aphid Cinara cedri.
ABSTRACT: 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.
Project description:The symbiotic association between aphids (Homoptera) and Buchnera aphidicola (Gammaproteobacteria) started about 100 to 200 million years ago. As a consequence of this relationship, the bacterial genome has undergone a prominent size reduction. The downsize genome process starts when the bacterium enters the host and will probably end with its extinction and replacement by another healthier bacterium or with the establishment of metabolic complementation between two or more bacteria. Nowadays, several complete genomes of Buchnera aphidicola from four different aphid species (Acyrthosiphon pisum, Schizaphis graminum, Baizongia pistacea, and Cinara cedri) have been fully sequenced. C. cedri belongs to the subfamily Lachninae and harbors two coprimary bacteria that fulfill the metabolic needs of the whole consortium: B. aphidicola with the smallest genome reported so far and "Candidatus Serratia symbiotica." In addition, Cinara tujafilina, another member of the subfamily Lachninae, closely related to C. cedri, also harbors "Ca. Serratia symbiotica" but with a different phylogenetic status than the one from C. cedri. In this study, we present the complete genome sequence of B. aphidicola from C. tujafilina and the phylogenetic analysis and comparative genomics with the other Buchnera genomes. Furthermore, the gene repertoire of the last common ancestor has been inferred, and the evolutionary history of the metabolic losses that occurred in the different lineages has been analyzed. Although stochastic gene loss plays a role in the genome reduction process, it is also clear that metabolism, as a functional constraint, is also a powerful evolutionary force in insect endosymbionts.
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: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.
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:BACKGROUND:Aphids are known to live in symbiosis with specific bacteria, called endosymbionts which can be classified as obligate or accessory. Buchnera aphidicola is generally the only obligatory symbiont present in aphids, supplying essential nutrients that are missing in the plants phloem to its host. Pentalonia nigronervosa is the main vector of the banana bunchy top virus, one of the most damageable viruses in banana. This aphid is carrying two symbionts: B. aphidicola (BPn) and Wolbachia sp. (wPn). The high occurrence of Wolbachia in the banana aphid raises questions about the role it plays in this insect. The goal of this study was to go further in the understanding of the role played by the two symbionts in P. nigronervosa. To do so, microinjection tests were made to see the effect of wPn elimination on the host, and then, high-throughput sequencing of the haemolymph was used to analyze the gene content of the symbionts. RESULTS:We observed that the elimination of wPn systematically led to the death of aphids, suggesting that the bacterium could play a mutualistic role. In addition, we identify and annotate 587 and 250 genes for wPn and BPn, respectively, through high-throughput sequencing. Analysis of these genes suggests that the two bacteria are working together for the production of several essential nutrients. The most striking cases are for lysin and riboflavin which are usually provided by B. aphidicola alone to the host. In the banana aphid, the genes involved in the production pathways of these metabolites are shared between the two bacteria making them both essential for the survival of the aphid host. CONCLUSIONS:Our results suggest that a co-obligatory symbiosis between B. aphidicola and Wolbachia occurs in the banana aphid, the two bacteria acting together to supply essential nutrients to the host. This is, to our knowledge, the first time Wolbachia is reported to play an essential role in aphids.
Project description: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:Some bacterial symbionts alter their hosts reproduction through various mechanisms that enhance their transmission in the host population. In addition to its obligatory symbiont Buchnera aphidicola, the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum harbors several facultative symbionts influencing several aspects of host ecology. Aphids reproduce by cyclical parthenogenesis whereby clonal and sexual reproduction alternate within the annual life cycle. Many species, including the pea aphid, also show variation in their reproductive mode at the population level, with some lineages reproducing by cyclical parthenogenesis and others by permanent parthenogenesis. While the role of facultative symbionts has been well studied during the parthenogenetic phase of their aphid hosts, very little is known on their possible influence during the sexual phase. Here we investigated whether facultative symbionts modulate the capacity to produce sexual forms in various genetic backgrounds of the pea aphid with controlled symbiont composition and also in different aphid genotypes from natural populations with previously characterized infection status and reproductive mode. We found that most facultative symbionts exhibited detrimental effects on their hosts fitness under sex-inducing conditions in comparison with the reference lines. We also showed that the loss of sexual phase in permanently parthenogenetic lineages of A. pisum was not explained by facultative symbionts. Finally, we demonstrated that Spiroplasma infection annihilated the production of males in the host progeny by inducing a male-killing phenotype, an unexpected result for organisms such as aphids that reproduce primarily through clonal reproduction.
Project description:Aphids live in symbiosis with a variety of bacteria, including the obligate symbiont Buchnera aphidicola and diverse facultative symbionts. The symbiotic associations for one aphid species, especially for polyphagous species, often differ across populations. In the present study, by using high-throughput 16S rRNA sequencing, we surveyed in detail the microbiota in natural populations of the cotton aphid Aphis gossypii in China and assessed differences in bacterial diversity with respect to host plant and geography. The microbial community of A. gossypii was dominated by a few heritable symbionts. Arsenophonus was the most dominant secondary symbiont, and Spiroplasma was detected for the first time. Statistical tests and ordination analyses showed that host plants rather than geography seemed to have shaped the associated symbiont composition. Special symbiont communities inhabited the Cucurbitaceae-feeding populations, which supported the ecological specialization of A. gossypii on cucurbits from the viewpoint of symbiotic bacteria. Correlation analysis suggested antagonistic interactions between Buchnera and coexisting secondary symbionts and more complicated interactions between different secondary symbionts. Our findings lend further support to an important role of the host plant in structuring symbiont communities of polyphagous aphids and will improve our understanding of the interactions among phytophagous insects, symbionts, and environments.
Project description:Symbiotic interactions between organisms create new ecological niches. For example, many insects survive on plant-sap with the aid of maternally transmitted bacterial symbionts that provision essential nutrients lacking in this diet. Symbiotic partners often enter a long-term relationship in which the co-evolutionary fate of lineages is interdependent. Obligate symbionts that are strictly maternally transmitted experience genetic drift and genome degradation, compromising symbiont function and reducing host fitness unless hosts can compensate for these deficits. One evolutionary solution is the acquisition of a novel symbiont with a functionally intact genome. Whereas almost all aphids host the anciently acquired bacterial endosymbiont Buchnera aphidicola (Gammaproteobacteria), Geopemphigus species have lost Buchnera and instead contain a maternally transmitted symbiont closely related to several known insect symbionts from the bacterial phylum Bacteroidetes. A complete genome sequence shows the symbiont has lost many ancestral genes, resulting in a genome size intermediate between that of free-living and symbiotic Bacteroidetes. The Geopemphigus symbiont retains biosynthetic pathways for amino acids and vitamins, as in Buchnera and other insect symbionts. This case of evolutionary replacement of Buchnera provides an opportunity to further understand the evolution and functional genomics of symbiosis.