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29 Sep 2023 at 01:57
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Bibliography on: Endosymbiosis


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 29 Sep 2023 at 01:57 Created: 


A symbiotic relationship in which one of the partners lives within the other, especially if it lives within the cells of the other, is known as endosymbiosis. Mitochondria, chloroplasts, and perhaps other cellular organelles are believed to have originated from a form of endosymbiosis. The endosymbiotic origin of eukaryotes seems to have been a biological singularity — that is, it happened once, and only once, in the history of life on Earth.

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Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2023-09-28

Dittmer J, Corretto E, Štarhová Serbina L, et al (2023)

Division of labor within psyllids: metagenomics reveals an ancient dual endosymbiosis with metabolic complementarity in the genus Cacopsylla.

mSystems [Epub ahead of print].

Hemipteran insects are well-known for their ancient associations with beneficial bacterial endosymbionts, particularly nutritional symbionts that provide the host with essential nutrients such as amino acids or vitamins lacking in the host's diet. Therefore, these primary endosymbionts enable the exploitation of nutrient-poor food sources such as plant sap or vertebrate blood. In turn, the strictly host-associated lifestyle strongly impacts the genome evolution of the endosymbionts, resulting in small and degraded genomes. Over time, even the essential nutritional functions can be compromised, leading to the complementation or replacement of an ancient endosymbiont by another, more functionally versatile bacterium. Herein, we provide evidence for a dual primary endosymbiosis in several psyllid species. Using metagenome sequencing, we produced the complete genome sequences of both the primary endosymbiont "Candidatus Carsonella ruddii" and an as yet uncharacterized Enterobacteriaceae bacterium from four species of the genus Cacopsylla. The latter represents a new psyllid-associated endosymbiont clade for which we propose the name "Candidatus Psyllophila symbiotica." Fluorescent in situ hybridization confirmed the co-localization of both endosymbionts in the bacteriome. The metabolic repertoire of Psyllophila is highly conserved across host species and complements the tryptophan biosynthesis pathway that is incomplete in the co-occurring Carsonella. Unlike co-primary endosymbionts in other insects, the genome of Psyllophila is almost as small as the one of Carsonella, indicating an ancient co-obligate endosymbiosis rather than a recent association to rescue a degrading primary endosymbiont. IMPORTANCE Heritable beneficial bacterial endosymbionts have been crucial for the evolutionary success of numerous insects by enabling the exploitation of nutritionally limited food sources. Herein, we describe a previously unknown dual endosymbiosis in the psyllid genus Cacopsylla, consisting of the primary endosymbiont "Candidatus Carsonella ruddii" and a co-occurring Enterobacteriaceae bacterium for which we propose the name "Candidatus Psyllophila symbiotica." Its localization within the bacteriome and its small genome size confirm that Psyllophila is a co-primary endosymbiont widespread within the genus Cacopsylla. Despite its highly eroded genome, Psyllophila perfectly complements the tryptophan biosynthesis pathway that is incomplete in the co-occurring Carsonella. Moreover, the genome of Psyllophila is almost as small as Carsonella's, suggesting an ancient dual endosymbiosis that has now reached a precarious stage where any additional gene loss would make the system collapse. Hence, our results shed light on the dynamic interactions of psyllids and their endosymbionts over evolutionary time.

RevDate: 2023-09-28

Yüksel E, Yıldırım A, İmren M, et al (2023)

Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus Bacteria as Potential Candidates for the Control of Culex pipiens L. (Diptera: Culicidae), the Principal Vector of West Nile Virus and Lymphatic Filariasis.

Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland), 12(9): pii:pathogens12091095.

Vector-borne diseases pose a severe threat to human and animal health. Culex pipiens L. (Diptera: Culicidae) is a widespread mosquito species and serves as a vector for the transmission of infectious diseases such as West Nile disease and Lymphatic Filariasis. Synthetic insecticides have been the prime control method for many years to suppress Cx. pipiens populations. However, recently, the use of insecticides has begun to be questioned due to the detrimental impact on human health and the natural environment. Therefore, many authorities urge the development of eco-friendly control methods that are nontoxic to humans. The bacterial associates [Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus spp. (Enterobacterales: Morganellaceae)] of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) (Sterinernema spp. and Heterorhabditis spp.) (Rhabditida: Heterorhabditidae and Steinernematidae) are one of the green approaches to combat a variety of insect pests. In the present study, the mosquitocidal activity of the cell-free supernatants and cell suspension (4 × 10[7] cells mL[-1]) of four different symbiotic bacteria (Xenorhabdus nematophila, X. bovienii, X. budapestensis, and P. luminescens subsp. kayaii) was assessed against different development stages of Cx. pipiens (The 1st/2nd and 3rd/4th instar larvae and pupa) under laboratory conditions. The bacterial symbionts were able to kill all the development stages with varying levels of mortality. The 1st/2nd instar larvae exhibited the highest susceptibility to the cell-free supernatants and cell suspensions of symbiotic bacteria and the efficacy of the cell-free supernatants and cell suspensions gradually declined with increasing phases of growth. The highest effectiveness was achieved by the X. bovienii KCS-4S strain inducing 95% mortality to the 1st/2nd instar larvae. The results indicate that tested bacterial symbionts have great potential as an eco-friendly alternative to insecticides.

RevDate: 2023-09-28

Margarita V, Congiargiu A, Diaz N, et al (2023)

Mycoplasma hominis and Candidatus Mycoplasma girerdii in Trichomonas vaginalis: Peaceful Cohabitants or Contentious Roommates?.

Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland), 12(9): pii:pathogens12091083.

Trichomonas vaginalis is a pathogenic protozoan diffused worldwide capable of infecting the urogenital tract in humans, causing trichomoniasis. One of its most intriguing aspects is the ability to establish a close relationship with endosymbiotic microorganisms: the unique association of T. vaginalis with the bacterium Mycoplasma hominis represents, to date, the only example of an endosymbiosis involving two true human pathogens. Since its discovery, several aspects of the symbiosis between T. vaginalis and M. hominis have been characterized, demonstrating that the presence of the intracellular guest strongly influences the pathogenic characteristics of the protozoon, making it more aggressive towards host cells and capable of stimulating a stronger proinflammatory response. The recent description of a further symbiont of the protozoon, the newly discovered non-cultivable mycoplasma Candidatus Mycoplasma girerdii, makes the picture even more complex. This review provides an overview of the main aspects of this complex microbial consortium, with particular emphasis on its effect on protozoan pathobiology and on the interplays among the symbionts.

RevDate: 2023-09-28

Santana MCO, Chourabi K, Cantanhêde LM, et al (2023)

Exploring Host-Specificity: Untangling the Relationship between Leishmania (Viannia) Species and Its Endosymbiont Leishmania RNA Virus 1.

Microorganisms, 11(9): pii:microorganisms11092295.

A relevant aspect in the epidemiology of Tegumentary Leishmaniasis (TL) are the Leishmania parasites carrying a viral endosymbiont, Leishmania RNA Virus 1 (LRV1), a dsRNA virus. Leishmania parasites carrying LRV1 are prone to causing more severe TL symptoms, increasing the likelihood of unfavorable clinical outcomes. LRV1 has been observed in the cultured strains of five L. (Viannia) species, and host specificity was suggested when studying the LRV1 from L. braziliensis and L. guyanensis strains. The coevolution hypothesis of LRV1 and Leishmania was based on phylogenetic analyses, implying an association between LRV1 genotypes, Leishmania species, and their geographic origins. This study aimed to investigate LRV1 specificity relative to Leishmania (Viannia) species hosts by analyzing LRV1 from L. (Viannia) species. To this end, LRV1 was screened in L. (Viannia) species other than L. braziliensis or L. guyanensis, and it was detected in 11 out of 15 L. naiffi and two out of four L. shawi. Phylogenetic analyses based on partial LRV1 genomic sequencing supported the hypothesis of host specificity, as LRV1 clustered according to their respective Leishmania species' hosts. These findings underscore the importance of investigating Leishmania and LRV1 coevolution and its impact on Leishmania (Viannia) species dispersion and pathogenesis in the American Continent.

RevDate: 2023-09-27

Garcia Guizzo M, Meneses C, Amado Cecilio P, et al (2023)

Optimizing tick artificial membrane feeding for Ixodes scapularis.

Scientific reports, 13(1):16170.

Artificial membrane feeding (AMF) is a powerful and versatile technique with a wide range of applications in the study of disease vectors species. Since its first description, AMF has been under constant optimization and standardization for different tick species and life stages. In the USA, Ixodes scapularis is the main vector of tick-borne zoonoses including the pathogens causing Lyme disease in humans and animals. Seeking to improve the overall fitness of I. scapularis adult females fed artificially, here, we have optimized the AMF technique, considerably enhancing attachment rate, engorgement success, egg laying, and egg hatching compared to those described in previous studies. Parameters such as the membrane thickness and the light/dark cycle to which the ticks were exposed were refined to more closely reflect the tick's natural behavior and life cycle. Additionally, ticks were fed on blood only, blood + ATP or blood + ATP + gentamicin. The artificial feeding of ticks on blood only was successful and generated a progeny capable of feeding naturally on a host, i.e., mice. Adding ATP as a feeding stimulant did not improve tick attachment or engorgement. Notably, the administration of gentamicin, an antibiotic commonly used in tick AMF to prevent microbial contamination, negatively impacted Rickettsia buchneri endosymbiont levels in the progeny of artificially fed ticks. In addition, gentamicin-fed ticks showed a reduction in oviposition success compared to ticks artificially fed on blood only, discouraging the use of antibiotics in AMF. Overall, our data suggest that the AMF of adult females on blood only, in association with the natural feeding of their progeny on mice, might be used as an integrated approach in tick rearing, eliminating the use of protected species under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Of note, although optimized for I. scapularis adult ticks, I. scapularis nymphs, other tick species, and sand flies could also be fed using the membrane described in this study, indicating that it might be a suitable alternative for the artificial feeding of a variety of hematophagous species.

RevDate: 2023-09-27

Heidari Latibari M, Moravvej G, Rakhshani E, et al (2023)

Arsenophonus: A Double-Edged Sword of Aphid Defense against Parasitoids.

Insects, 14(9): pii:insects14090763.

It is widely accepted that endosymbiont interactions with their hosts have significant effects on the fitness of both pests and beneficial species. A particular type of endosymbiosis is that of beneficial associations. Facultative endosymbiotic bacteria are associated with elements that provide aphids with protection from parasitoids. Arsenophonus (Enterobacterales: Morganellaceae) is one such endosymbiont bacterium, with infections being most commonly found among the Hemiptera species. Here, black cowpea aphids (BCAs), Aphis craccivora Koch (Hemiptera: Aphididae), naturally infected with Arsenophonus, were evaluated to determine the defensive role of this bacterium in BCAs against two parasitoid wasp species, Binodoxys angelicae and Lysiphlebus fabarum (both in Braconidae: Aphidiinae). Individuals of the black cowpea aphids infected with Arsenophonus were treated with a blend of ampicillin, cefotaxime, and gentamicin (Arsenophonus-reduced infection, AR) and subsequently subjected to parasitism assays. The results showed that the presence of Arsenophonus does not prevent BCAs from being parasitized by either B. angelicae or L. fabarum. Nonetheless, in BCA colonies parasitized by B. angelicae, the endosymbiont delayed both the larval maturation period and the emergence of the adult parasitoid wasps. In brief, Arsenophonus indirectly limits the effectiveness of B. angelicae parasitism by decreasing the number of emerged adult wasps. Therefore, other members of the BCA colony can survive. Arsenophonus acts as a double-edged sword, capturing the complex dynamic between A. craccivora and its parasitoids.

RevDate: 2023-09-27

Scharfenstein HJ, Alvarez-Roa C, Peplow LM, et al (2023)

Chemical mutagenesis and thermal selection of coral photosymbionts induce adaptation to heat stress with trait trade-offs.

Evolutionary applications, 16(9):1549-1567.

Despite the relevance of heat-evolved microalgal endosymbionts to coral reef restoration, to date, few Symbiodiniaceae strains have been thermally enhanced via experimental evolution. Here, we investigated whether the thermal tolerance of Symbiodiniaceae can be increased through chemical mutagenesis followed by thermal selection. Strains of Durusdinium trenchii, Fugacium kawagutii and Symbiodinium pilosum were exposed to ethyl methanesulfonate to induce random mutagenesis, and then underwent thermal selection at high temperature (31/33°C). After 4.6-5 years of experimental evolution, the in vitro thermal tolerance of these strains was assessed via reciprocal transplant experiments to ambient (27°C) and elevated (31/35°C) temperatures. Growth, photosynthetic efficiency, oxidative stress and nutrient use were measured to compare thermal tolerance between strains. Heat-evolved D. trenchii, F. kawagutii and S. pilosum strains all exhibited increased photosynthetic efficiency under thermal stress. However, trade-offs in growth rates were observed for the heat-evolved D. trenchii lineage at both ambient and elevated temperatures. Reduced phosphate and nitrate uptake rates in F. kawagutii and S. pilosum heat-evolved lineages, respectively, suggest alterations in nutrition resource usage and allocation processes may have occurred. Increased phosphate uptake rates of the heat-evolved D. trenchii strain indicate that experimental evolution resulted in further trade-offs in this species. These findings deepen our understanding of the physiological responses of Symbiodiniaceae cultures to thermal selection and their capacity to adapt to elevated temperatures. The new heat-evolved Symbiodiniaceae developed here may be beneficial for coral reef restoration efforts if their enhanced thermal tolerance can be conferred in hospite.

RevDate: 2023-09-27

Lyndby NH, Murthy S, Bessette S, et al (2023)

Non-invasive investigation of the morphology and optical properties of the upside-down jellyfish Cassiopea with optical coherence tomography.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 290(2007):20230127.

The jellyfish Cassiopea largely cover their carbon demand via photosynthates produced by microalgal endosymbionts, but how holobiont morphology and tissue optical properties affect the light microclimate and symbiont photosynthesis in Cassiopea remain unexplored. Here, we use optical coherence tomography (OCT) to study the morphology of Cassiopea medusae at high spatial resolution. We include detailed 3D reconstructions of external micromorphology, and show the spatial distribution of endosymbionts and white granules in the bell tissue. Furthermore, we use OCT data to extract inherent optical properties from light-scattering white granules in Cassiopea, and show that granules enhance local light-availability for symbionts in close proximity. Individual granules had a scattering coefficient of µs = 200-300 cm[-1], and scattering anisotropy factor of g = 0.7, while large tissue-regions filled with white granules had a lower µs = 40-100 cm[-1], and g = 0.8-0.9. We combined OCT information with isotopic labelling experiments to investigate the effect of enhanced light-availability in whitish tissue regions. Endosymbionts located in whitish tissue exhibited significantly higher carbon fixation compared to symbionts in anastomosing tissue (i.e. tissue without light-scattering white granules). Our findings support previous suggestions that white granules in Cassiopea play an important role in the host modulation of the light-microenvironment.

RevDate: 2023-09-26

Ward PS, Cash EI, Ferger K, et al (2023)

Reference genome of the bicolored carpenter ant, Camponotus vicinus.

The Journal of heredity pii:7282457 [Epub ahead of print].

Carpenter ants in the genus Camponotus are large, conspicuous ants that are abundant and ecologically influential in many terrestrial ecosystems. The bicolored carpenter ant, C. vicinus Mayr, is distributed across a wide range of elevations and latitudes in western North America, where it is a prominent scavenger and predator. Here, we present a high-quality genome assembly of C. vicinus from a sample collected in Sonoma County, California, near the type locality of the species. This genome assembly consists of 38 scaffolds spanning 302.74 Mb, with contig N50 of 15.9Mb, scaffold N50 of 19.9 Mb, and BUSCO completeness of 99.2%. This genome sequence will be a valuable resource for exploring the evolutionary ecology of C. vicinus and carpenter ants generally. It also provides an important tool for clarifying cryptic diversity within the C. vicinus species complex, a genetically diverse set of populations, some of which are quite localized and of conservation interest.

RevDate: 2023-09-25

Štarhová Serbina L, Corretto E, Enciso Garcia JS, et al (2023)

Seasonal wild dance of dual endosymbionts in the pear psyllid Cacopsylla pyricola (Hemiptera: Psylloidea).

Scientific reports, 13(1):16038.

Most sap-feeding insects maintain obligate relationships with endosymbiotic bacteria that provide their hosts with essential nutrients. However, knowledge about the dynamics of endosymbiont titers across seasons in natural host populations is scarce. Here, we used quantitative PCR to investigate the seasonal dynamics of the dual endosymbionts "Candidatus Carsonella ruddii" and "Ca. Psyllophila symbiotica" in a natural population of the pear psyllid Cacopsylla pyricola (Hemiptera: Psylloidea: Psyllidae). Psyllid individuals were collected across an entire year, covering both summer and overwintering generations. Immatures harboured the highest titers of both endosymbionts, while the lowest endosymbiont density was observed in males. The density of Carsonella remained high and relatively stable across the vegetative period of the pear trees, but significantly dropped during the non-vegetative period, overlapping with C. pyricola's reproductive diapause. In contrast, the titer of Psyllophila was consistently higher than Carsonella's and exhibited fluctuations throughout the sampling year, which might be related to host age. Despite a tightly integrated metabolic complementarity between Carsonella and Psyllophila, our findings highlight differences in their density dynamics throughout the year, that might be linked to their metabolic roles at different life stages of the host.

RevDate: 2023-09-25

Maegele I, Rupp S, Özbek S, et al (2023)

A predatory gastrula leads to symbiosis-independent settlement in Aiptasia.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120(40):e2311872120.

The planula larvae of the sea anemone Aiptasia have so far not been reported to complete their life cycle by undergoing metamorphosis into adult forms. This has been a major obstacle in their use as a model for coral-dinoflagellate endosymbiosis. Here, we show that Aiptasia larvae actively feed on crustacean nauplii, displaying a preference for live prey. This feeding behavior relies on functional stinging cells, indicative of complex neuronal control. Regular feeding leads to significant size increase, morphological changes, and efficient settlement around 14 d postfertilization. Surprisingly, the presence of dinoflagellate endosymbionts does not affect larval growth or settlement dynamics but is crucial for sexual reproduction. Our findings finally close Aiptasia's life cycle and highlight the functional nature of its larvae, as in Haeckel's Gastrea postulate, yet reveal its active carnivory, thus contributing to our understanding of early metazoan evolution.

RevDate: 2023-09-25

Zhao C, Wang L, Zhang K, et al (2023)

Variation of Helicoverpa armigera symbionts across developmental stages and geographic locations.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1251627.

Cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) poses a global problem, causing substantial economic and ecological losses. Endosymbionts in insects play crucial roles in multiple insect biological processes. However, the interactions between H. armigera and its symbionts have not been well characterized to date. We investigated the symbionts of H. armigera in the whole life cycle from different geographical locations. In the whole life cycle of H. armigera, Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria were the dominant bacteria at the phylum level, while Enterococcus, Enterobacter, Glutamicibacter, and Bacillus were the four dominant bacteria at the genus level. Furthermore, high similarity in symbiotic bacterial community was observed in different stages of H. armigera, which were dominated by Enterococcus and Enterobacter. In fields, the dominant bacteria were Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes, whereas, in the laboratory, the dominant bacteria were Proteobacteria. At the genus level, the dominant bacteria in cotton bollworm eggs of wild populations were Enterobacter, Morganella, Lactococcus, Asaia, Apibacter, and Enterococcus, and the subdominant bacteria were Bartonella, Pseudomonas, and Orbus. Moreover, the symbionts varied with geographical locations, and the closer the geographical distance, the more similar the microbial composition. Taken together, our study identifies and compares the symbiont variation along with geographical gradients and host development dynamic and reveals the high flexibility of microbiome communities in H. armigera, which probably benefits for the successful survival in a complicated changing environment.

RevDate: 2023-09-25
CmpDate: 2023-09-25

Kumar V, CS Nautiyal (2023)

Endophytes Modulate Plant Genes: Present Status and Future Perspectives.

Current microbiology, 80(11):353.

Interactions among endophytes and plants are widespread and can vary from neutral or positive or negative. Plants are continually in a functionally dynamic state due to interactions with diverse endophytic microorganisms, which produce various metabolic substances. Through quorum sensing, these substances not only help endophytes to outcompete other host-associated pathogens or microbes but also allow them to overcome the plant immune system. Manifold interactions between endophytic microbiota cause a reflective impact on the host plant functioning and the development of 'endobiomes,' by synthesizing chemicals that fill the gap between host and endophytes. Despite the advances in the field, specific mechanisms for the endophytes' precise methods to modulate plant genome and their effects on host plants remain poorly understood. Deeper genomic exploration can provide a locked away understanding of the competencies of endophytes and their conceivable function in host growth and health. Endophytes also can modify host metabolites, which could manipulate plants' growth, adaptation, and proliferation, and can be a more exciting and puzzling topic that must be properly investigated. The consequence of the interaction of endophytes on the host genome was analyzed as it can help unravel the gray areas of endophytes about which very little or no knowledge exists. This review discusses the recent advances in understanding the future challenges in the emerging research investigating how endosymbionts affect the host's metabolism and gene expression as an effective strategy for imparting resistance to biotic and abiotic challenges.

RevDate: 2023-09-19

Wagner T, Bangoura B, Wiedmer S, et al (2023)

Phytohormones regulate asexual Toxoplasma gondii replication.

Parasitology research [Epub ahead of print].

The protozoan Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is a zoonotic disease agent causing systemic infection in warm-blooded intermediate hosts including humans. During the acute infection, the parasite infects host cells and multiplies intracellularly in the asexual tachyzoite stage. In this stage of the life cycle, invasion, multiplication, and egress are the most critical events in parasite replication. T. gondii features diverse cell organelles to support these processes, including the apicoplast, an endosymbiont-derived vestigial plastid originating from an alga ancestor. Previous studies have highlighted that phytohormones can modify the calcium-mediated secretion, e.g., of adhesins involved in parasite movement and cell invasion processes. The present study aimed to elucidate the influence of different plant hormones on the replication of asexual tachyzoites in a human foreskin fibroblast (HFF) host cell culture. T. gondii replication was measured by the determination of T. gondii DNA copies via qPCR. Three selected phytohormones, namely abscisic acid (ABA), gibberellic acid (GIBB), and kinetin (KIN) as representatives of different plant hormone groups were tested. Moreover, the influence of typical cell culture media components on the phytohormone effects was assessed. Our results indicate that ABA is able to induce a significant increase of T. gondii DNA copies in a typical supplemented cell culture medium when applied in concentrations of 20 ng/μl or 2 ng/μl, respectively. In contrast, depending on the culture medium composition, GIBB may potentially serve as T. gondii growth inhibitor and may be further investigated as a potential treatment for toxoplasmosis.

RevDate: 2023-09-18

Longley R, Robinson A, Liber JA, et al (2023)

Comparative genomics of Mollicutes-related endobacteria supports a late invasion into Mucoromycota fungi.

Communications biology, 6(1):948.

Diverse members of early-diverging Mucoromycota, including mycorrhizal taxa and soil-associated Mortierellaceae, are known to harbor Mollicutes-related endobacteria (MRE). It has been hypothesized that MRE were acquired by a common ancestor and transmitted vertically. Alternatively, MRE endosymbionts could have invaded after the divergence of Mucoromycota lineages and subsequently spread to new hosts horizontally. To better understand the evolutionary history of MRE symbionts, we generated and analyzed four complete MRE genomes from two Mortierellaceae genera: Linnemannia (MRE-L) and Benniella (MRE-B). These genomes include the smallest known of fungal endosymbionts and showed signals of a tight relationship with hosts including a reduced functional capacity and genes transferred from fungal hosts to MRE. Phylogenetic reconstruction including nine MRE from mycorrhizal fungi revealed that MRE-B genomes are more closely related to MRE from Glomeromycotina than MRE-L from the same host family. We posit that reductions in genome size, GC content, pseudogene content, and repeat content in MRE-L may reflect a longer-term relationship with their fungal hosts. These data indicate Linnemannia and Benniella MRE were likely acquired independently after their fungal hosts diverged from a common ancestor. This work expands upon foundational knowledge on minimal genomes and provides insights into the evolution of bacterial endosymbionts.

RevDate: 2023-09-18

Kolo AO, R Raghavan (2023)

Impact of endosymbionts on tick physiology and fitness.

Parasitology pii:S0031182023000793 [Epub ahead of print].

Ticks transmit pathogens and harbour non-pathogenic, vertically transmitted intracellular bacteria termed endosymbionts. Almost all ticks studied to date contain 1 or more of Coxiella, Francisella, Rickettsia or Candidatus Midichloria mitochondrii endosymbionts, indicative of their importance to tick physiology. Genomic and experimental data suggest that endosymbionts promote tick development and reproductive success. Here, we review the limited information currently available on the potential roles endosymbionts play in enhancing tick metabolism and fitness. Future studies that expand on these findings are needed to better understand endosymbionts’ contributions to tick biology. This knowledge could potentially be applied to design novel strategies that target endosymbiont function to control the spread of ticks and pathogens they vector.

RevDate: 2023-09-18

Castañeda-Molina Y, Marulanda-Moreno SM, Saldamando-Benjumea C, et al (2023)

Microbiome analysis of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae) larvae exposed to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) endotoxins.

PeerJ, 11:e15916.

BACKGROUND: Spodoptera frugiperda (or fall armyworm, FAW) is a polyphagous pest native to Western Hemisphere and recently discovered in the Eastern Hemisphere. In Colombia, S. frugiperda is recognized as a pest of economic importance in corn. The species has genetically differentiated into two host populations named "corn" and "rice" strains. In 2012, a study made in central Colombia demonstrated that the corn strain is less susceptible to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) endotoxins (Cry1Ac and Cry 1Ab) than the rice strain. In this country, Bt transgenic corn has been extensively produced over the last 15 years. Since gut microbiota plays a role in the physiology and immunity of insects, and has been implicated in promoting the insecticidal activity of Bt, in this study an analysis of the interaction between Bt endotoxins and FAW gut microbiota was made. Also, the detection of endosymbionts was performed here, as they might have important implications in the biological control of a pest.

METHODS: The composition and diversity of microbiomes associated with larval specimens of S. frugiperda(corn strain) was investigated in a bioassay based on six treatments in the presence/absence of Bt toxins and antibiotics (Ab) through bacterial isolate analyses and by high throughput sequencing of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene. Additionally, species specific primers were used, to detect endosymbionts from gonads in S. frugiperda corn strain.

RESULTS: Firmicutes, Proteobacteria and Bacteroidota were the most dominant bacterial phyla found in S. frugiperda corn strain. No significant differences in bacteria species diversity and richness among the six treatments were found. Two species of Enterococcus spp., E. mundtii and E. casseliflavus were detected in treatments with Bt and antibiotics, suggesting that they are less susceptible to both of them. Additionally, the endosymbiont Arsenophonus was also identified on treatments in presence of Bt and antibiotics. The results obtained here are important since little knowledge exists about the gut microbiota on this pest and its interaction with Bt endotoxins. Previous studies made in Lepidoptera suggest that alteration of gut microbiota can be used to improve the management of pest populations, demonstrating the relevance of the results obtained in this work.

RevDate: 2023-09-18
CmpDate: 2023-09-18

Mfopit YM, Engel JS, Chechet GD, et al (2023)

Molecular detection of Sodalis glossinidius, Spiroplasma species and Wolbachia endosymbionts in wild population of tsetse flies collected in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria.

BMC microbiology, 23(1):260.

BACKGROUND: Tsetse flies are cyclical vectors of African trypanosomiasis (AT). The flies have established symbiotic associations with different bacteria that influence certain aspects of their physiology. Vector competence of tsetse flies for different trypanosome species is highly variable and is suggested to be affected by bacterial endosymbionts amongst other factors. Symbiotic interactions may provide an avenue for AT control. The current study provided prevalence of three tsetse symbionts in Glossina species from Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria.

RESULTS: Tsetse flies were collected and dissected from five different locations. DNA was extracted and polymerase chain reaction used to detect presence of Sodalis glossinidius, Spiroplasma species and Wolbachia endosymbionts, using species specific primers. A total of 848 tsetse samples were analysed: Glossina morsitans submorsitans (47.52%), Glossina palpalis palpalis (37.26%), Glossina fuscipes fuscipes (9.08%) and Glossina tachinoides (6.13%). Only 95 (11.20%) were infected with at least one of the three symbionts. Among infected flies, six (6.31%) had Wolbachia and Spiroplasma mixed infection. The overall symbiont prevalence was 0.88, 3.66 and 11.00% respectively, for Sodalis glossinidius, Spiroplasma species and Wolbachia endosymbionts. Prevalence varied between countries and tsetse fly species. Neither Spiroplasma species nor S. glossinidius were detected in samples from Cameroon and Nigeria respectively.

CONCLUSION: The present study revealed, for the first time, presence of Spiroplasma species infections in tsetse fly populations in Chad and Nigeria. These findings provide useful information on repertoire of bacterial flora of tsetse flies and incite more investigations to understand their implication in the vector competence of tsetse flies.

RevDate: 2023-09-16

Amses K, Desiró A, Bryson A, et al (2023)

Convergent reductive evolution and host adaptation in Mycoavidus bacterial endosymbionts of Mortierellaceae fungi.

Fungal genetics and biology : FG & B pii:S1087-1845(23)00069-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Intimate associations between fungi and intracellular bacterial endosymbionts are becoming increasingly well understood. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrate that bacterial endosymbionts of Mucoromycota fungi are related either to free-living Burkholderia or Mollicutes species. The so-called Burkholderia-related endosymbionts or BRE comprise Mycoavidus, Mycetohabitans and Candidatus Glomeribacter gigasporarum. These endosymbionts are marked by genome contraction thought to be associated with intracellular selection. However, the conclusions drawn thus far are based on a very small subset of endosymbiont genomes, and the mechanisms leading to genome streamlining are not well understood. The purpose of this study was to better understand how intracellular existence shapes Mycoavidus and BRE functionally at the genome level. To this end we generated and analyzed 14 novel draft genomes for Mycoavidus living within the hyphae of Mortierellomycotina fungi. We found that our novel Mycoavidus genomes were significantly reduced compared to free-living Burkholderiales relatives. Using a genome-scale phylogenetic approach including the novel and available existing genomes of Mycoavidus, we show that the genus is an assemblage composed of two independently derived lineages including three well supported clades of Mycoavidus. Using a comparative genomic approach, we shed light on the functional implications of genome reduction, documenting shared and unique gene loss patterns between the three Mycoavidus clades. We found that many endosymbiont isolates demonstrate patterns of vertical transmission and host-specificity, but some are present in phylogenetically disparate hosts. We discuss how reductive evolution and host specificity reflect convergent adaptation to the intrahyphal selective landscape and commonalities of eukaryotic endosymbiont genome evolution.

RevDate: 2023-09-16

Bharathi MD, Muthukumar C, Sathishkumar RS, et al (2023)

First report on the occurrence of Gonyaulax polygramma bloom during the onset of Noctiluca scintillans bloom along the Tuticorin coast, southeast coast of India.

Marine pollution bulletin, 195:115523 pii:S0025-326X(23)00957-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Dense and green-coloured patches were encountered on the sea surface waters of the Tuticorin coast on 22[nd] October 2022. Microscopic investigation revealed that the discoloration is caused by plankton, green Noctiluca scintillans. In order to find out the causes that trigger the bloom of N. scintillans, plankton samples were collected for 5 days in fourteen days duration from 22[nd] October to 4[th] November. During the peak bloom period, the abundance and biovolume of N. scintillans reached 1.56 × 10[4] cells/L and 21.8 × 10[10]μm[3]/L, respectively. The highest concentration (73.65 mg/m[3]) of chlorophyll-a was recorded during blooming period that was caused by Gonyaulax polygramma and endosymbiont, Pedinomonas noctilucae in N. scintillans. Formation of G. polygramma bloom is being reported for the first time in Tuticorin, southeast coast of India, with a species abundance of 36.9 × 10[4] cells/L. Present study concluded that besides the optimum hydrological conditions and eutrophic nature of the system, abundant prey (G. polygramma) facilitated the N. scintillans bloom.

RevDate: 2023-09-15

ElKraly OA, Awad M, El-Saadany HM, et al (2023)

Impact of gut microbiota composition on black cutworm, Agrotis ipsilon (hufnagel) metabolic indices and pesticide degradation.

Animal microbiome, 5(1):44.

Endosymbionts are known to have significant effects on their insect hosts, including nutrition, reproduction, and immunity. Insects gut microbiota is a critical component that affects their physiological and behavioral characteristics. The black cutworm (BCW), Agrotis ipsilon, is an economically important lepidopteran pest that has a diverse gut microbiome composed of nine species belonging to three phyla: Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Firmicutes. This study was conducted to investigate the diversity of gut bacteria isolated from BCW larvae and moths and their effects on metabolism and pesticide degradation. The bacterial isolates were identified using the 16 S rRNA gene. The study showed that the gut microbiome composition significantly affected the metabolism of BCW larvae. Based on the screening results of synthesis of digestive enzymes and pesticide degradation, Brachybacterium conglomeratum and Glutamicibacter sp were selected to perform the remaining experiments as single isolates and consortium. The consortium-fed larvae showed high metabolic indices compared to antibiotic-fed larvae and the control. The gut bacteria were also shown to degrade three pesticide groups. Concerns regarding the health risk of chlorpyrifos have been raised due to its extensive use in agriculture. The isolated B. conglomeratum was more effective in chlorpyrifos degradation than the consortium. Furthermore, the study also examined the presence of sex related endosymbionts (Wolbachia, Spiroplasma, and Rickettsia) in the reproductive tissues of adults. The outcomes demonstrated that none of the examined endosymbionts existed. In conclusion, the study highlights the importance of the gut microbiome in insect physiology and behavior and its potential applications in biotechnology. It provides insights into developing eco-friendly pest control and bioremediation strategies using gut bacteria.

RevDate: 2023-09-15

Nuschke A, Sobey-Skelton C, Dawod B, et al (2023)

Use of Magnetotactic Bacteria as an MRI Contrast Agent for In Vivo Tracking of Adoptively Transferred Immune Cells.

Molecular imaging and biology [Epub ahead of print].

PURPOSE: In vivo immune cell tracking using MRI can be a valuable tool for studying the mechanisms underlying successful cancer therapies. Current cell labeling methods using superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) lack the persistence to track the fate and location of transplanted cells long-term. Magnetospirillum magneticum is a commercially available, iron-producing bacterium that can be taken up by and live harmoniously within mammalian cells as magneto-endosymbionts (MEs). MEs have shown promise as labeling agents for in vivo stem and cancer cell tracking but have yet to be evaluated in immune cells. This pilot study examined ME labeling in myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), and dendritic cells (DCs) and its effects on cell purity, function, and MRI contrast.

PROCEDURES: MDSCs, CTLs, and DCs were incubated with MEs at various ME labeling ratios (MLR), and various biological metrics and iron uptake were assessed. For in vivo imaging, MDSCs were labeled overnight with either MEs or SPIO (Molday ION Rhodamine B) and injected into C3 tumor-bearing mice via tail vein injection 24 days post-implant and scanned daily with MRI for 1 week to assess cellular quantification.

RESULTS: Following incubations, MDSCs contained > 0.6 pg Fe/cell. CTLs achieved Fe loading of < 0.5 pg/cell, and DCs achieved Fe loading of ~ 1.4 pg/cell. The suppressive functionality of MDSCs at 1000 MLR was not affected by ME labeling but was affected at 2000 MLR. Markers of CTL dysfunction were not markedly affected by ME labeling nor were DC markers. In vivo data demonstrated that the MDSCs labeled with MEs generated sufficient contrast to be detectable using TurboSPI, similar to SPIO-labeled cells.

CONCLUSIONS: Cells can be labeled with sufficient numbers of MEs to be detectable with MRI without compromising cell viability. Care must be taken at higher concentrations of MEs, which may affect some cell types' functional activity and/or morphology. Immune cells with minimal phagocytic behavior have much lower iron content per cell after incubation with MEs vs SPIO; however, MEs can successfully be used as a contrast agent for phagocytic immune cells.

RevDate: 2023-09-13

Sakamoto W, T Takami (2023)

Plastid inheritance revisited: emerging role of organelle DNA degradation in angiosperms.

Plant & cell physiology pii:7272704 [Epub ahead of print].

Plastids are essential organelles in angiosperms and show non-Mendelian inheritance due to their evolution as endosymbionts. In approximately 80% of angiosperms, plastids are thought to be inherited from the maternal parent, whereas other species transmit plastids biparentally. Maternal inheritance can be generally explained by the stochastic segregation of maternal plastids after fertilization because the zygote is overwhelmed by the maternal cytoplasm. In contrast, biparental inheritance shows transmission of organelles from both parents. In some species, maternal inheritance is not absolute and paternal leakage occurs at a very low frequency (~10-5). A key process controlling the inheritance mode lies in the behavior of plastids during male gametophyte (pollen) development, with accumulating evidence indicating that the plastids themselves or their DNAs are eliminated during pollen maturation or at fertilization. Cytological observations in numerous angiosperm species have revealed several critical steps that mutually influence the degree of plastid transmission quantitatively among different species. This review revisits plastid inheritance and focuses on the mechanistic viewpoint. Particularly, we focus on a recent finding demonstrating that both low temperature and plastid DNA degradation mediated by the organelle exonuclease DPD1 influence the degree of paternal leakage significantly in tobacco. Given these findings, we also highlight the emerging role of DPD1 in organelle DNA degradation.

RevDate: 2023-09-11

Kryukova NA, Kryukov VY, Polenogova OV, et al (2023)

The endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia (Rickettsiales) alters larval metabolism of the parasitoid Habrobracon hebetor (Hymenoptera: Braconidae).

Archives of insect biochemistry and physiology [Epub ahead of print].

Infection of intestinal tissues with Wolbachia has been found in Habrobracon hebetor. There are not many studies on the relationship between Habrobracon and Wolbachia, and they focus predominantly on the sex index of an infected parasitoid, its fertility, and behavior. The actual role of Wolbachia in the biology of Habrobracon is not yet clear. The method of complete eradication of Wolbachia in the parasitoid was developed here, and effects of the endosymbiont on the host's digestive metabolism were compared between two lines of the parasitoid (Wolbachia-positive and Wolbachia-negative). In the gut of Wolbachia[+] larvae, lipases' activity was higher almost twofold, and activities of acid proteases, esterases, and trehalase were 1.5-fold greater than those in the Wolbachia[-] line. Analyses of larval homogenates revealed that Wolbachia[+] larvae accumulate significantly more lipids and have a lower amount of pyruvate as compared to Wolbachia[-] larvae. The presented results indicate significant effects of the intracellular symbiotic bacterium Wolbachia on the metabolism of H. hebetor larvae and on the activity of its digestive enzymes.

RevDate: 2023-09-10

Manzano-Marn A, Kvist S, A Oceguera-Figueroa (2023)

Evolution of an alternative genetic code in the Providencia symbiont of the haematophagous leech Haementeria acuecueyetzin.

Genome biology and evolution pii:7266794 [Epub ahead of print].

Strict blood-feeding animals are confronted with a strong B vitamin de_ciency. Blood-feeding leeches from the Glossiphoniidae family, similarly to haematophagous insects, have evolved specialised organs called bacteriomes to harbour symbiotic bacteria. Leeches of the Haementeria genus have two pairs of globular bacteriomes attached to the oesophagus which house intracellular 'Candidatus Providencia siddallii' bacteria. Previous work analysing a draft genome of the Providencia symbiont of the Mexican leech Haementeria officinalis showed that, in this species, the bacteria hold a reduced genome capable of synthesising B vitamins. In this work, we aimed to expand our knowledge on the diversity and evolution of Providencia symbionts of Haementeria. For this purpose, we sequenced the symbiont genomes of three selected leech species. We found that all genomes are highly syntenic and have kept a stable genetic repertoire, mirroring ancient insect endosymbionts. Additionally, we found B vitamin pathways to be conserved among these symbionts, pointing to a conserved symbiotic role. Lastly and most notably, we found that the symbiont of Haementeria acuecueyetzin has evolved an alternative genetic code, affecting a portion of its proteome and showing evidence of a lineage-specific and likely intermediate stage of genetic code reassignment.

RevDate: 2023-09-09

Zhang Z, Zhang J, Chen Q, et al (2023)

Complete De Novo Assembly of Wolbachia Endosymbiont of Frankliniella intonsa.

International journal of molecular sciences, 24(17): pii:ijms241713245.

As an endosymbiont, Wolbachia exerts significant effects on the host, including on reproduction, immunity, and metabolism. However, the study of Wolbachia in Thysanopteran insects, such as flower thrips Frankliniella intonsa, remains limited. Here, we assembled a gap-free looped genome assembly of Wolbachia strain wFI in a length of 1,463,884 bp (GC content 33.80%), using Nanopore long reads and Illumina short reads. The annotation of wFI identified a total of 1838 protein-coding genes (including 85 pseudogenes), 3 ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs), 35 transfer RNAs (tRNAs), and 1 transfer-messenger RNA (tmRNA). Beyond this basic description, we identified mobile genetic elements, such as prophage and insertion sequences (ISs), which make up 17% of the entire wFI genome, as well as genes involved in riboflavin and biotin synthesis and metabolism. This research lays the foundation for understanding the nutritional mutualism between Wolbachia and flower thrips. It also serves as a valuable resource for future studies delving into the intricate interactions between Wolbachia and its host.

RevDate: 2023-09-06

Harumoto T (2023)

Self-stabilization mechanism encoded by a bacterial toxin facilitates reproductive parasitism.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(23)01075-8 [Epub ahead of print].

A wide variety of maternally transmitted endosymbionts in insects are associated with reproductive parasitism, whereby they interfere with host reproduction to increase the ratio of infected females and spread within populations.[1][,][2] Recent successes in identifying bacterial factors responsible for reproductive parasitism[3][,][4][,][5][,][6][,][7] as well as further omics approaches[8][,][9][,][10][,][11][,][12] have highlighted the common appearance of deubiquitinase domains, although their biological roles-in particular, how they link to distinct manipulative phenotypes-remain poorly defined. Spiroplasma poulsonii is a helical and motile bacterial endosymbiont of Drosophila,[13][,][14] which selectively kills male progeny with a male-killing toxin Spaid (S. poulsonii androcidin), which encodes an ovarian tumor (OTU) deubiquitinase domain.[6] Artificial expression of Spaid in flies reproduces male-killing-associated pathologies that include abnormal apoptosis and neural defects during embryogenesis[6][,][15][,][16][,][17][,][18][,][19]; moreover, it highly accumulates on the dosage-compensated male X chromosome,[20] congruent with cellular defects such as the DNA damage/chromatin bridge breakage specifically induced upon that chromosome.[6][,][21][,][22][,][23] Here, I show that without the function of OTU, Spaid is polyubiquitinated and degraded through the host ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, leading to the attenuation of male-killing activity as shown previously.[6] Furthermore, I find that Spaid utilizes its OTU domain to deubiquitinate itself in an intermolecular manner. Collectively, the deubiquitinase domain of Spaid serves as a self-stabilization mechanism to facilitate male killing in flies, optimizing a molecular strategy of endosymbionts that enables the efficient manipulation of the host at a low energetic cost.

RevDate: 2023-09-05

Lau MJ, Dutra HLC, Jones MJ, et al (2023)

Jamestown Canyon virus is transmissible by Aedes aegypti and is only moderately blocked by Wolbachia co-infection.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 17(9):e0011616 pii:PNTD-D-23-00701 [Epub ahead of print].

Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV), a negative-sense arbovirus, is increasingly common in the upper Midwest of the USA. Transmitted by a range of mosquito genera, JCV's primary amplifying host is white-tailed deer. Aedes aegypti is responsible for transmitting various positive-sense viruses globally including dengue (DENV), Zika, chikungunya, and Yellow Fever. Ae. aegypti's distribution, once confined to the tropics, is expanding, in part due to climate change. Wolbachia, an insect endosymbiont, limits the replication of co-infecting viruses inside insects. The release and spread of the symbiont into Ae. aegypti populations have been effective in reducing transmission of DENV to humans, although the mechanism of Wolbachia-mediated viral blocking is still poorly understood. Here we explored JCV infection potential in Ae. aegypti, the nature of the vector's immune response, and interactions with Wolbachia infection. We show that Ae. aegypti is highly competent for JCV, which grows to high loads and rapidly reaches the saliva after an infectious blood meal. The mosquito immune system responds with strong induction of RNAi and JAK/STAT. Neither the direct effect of viral infection nor the energetic investment in immunity appears to affect mosquito longevity. Wolbachia infection blocked JCV only in the early stages of infection. Wolbachia-induced immunity was small compared to that of JCV, suggesting innate immune priming does not likely explain blocking. We propose two models to explain why Wolbachia's blocking of negative-sense viruses like JCV may be less than that of positive-sense viruses, relating to the slowdown of host protein synthesis and the triggering of interferon-like factors like Vago. In conclusion, we highlight the risk for increased human disease with the predicted future overlap of Ae. aegypti and JCV ranges. We suggest that with moderate Wolbachia-mediated blocking and distinct biology, negative-sense viruses represent a fruitful comparator model to other viruses for understanding blocking mechanisms in mosquitoes.

RevDate: 2023-09-05

Lin C, Li LJ, Ren K, et al (2023)

Phagotrophic protists preserve antibiotic-resistant opportunistic human pathogens in the vegetable phyllosphere.

ISME communications, 3(1):94.

Food safety of leafy greens is an emerging public health issue as they can harbor opportunistic human pathogens (OHPs) and expose OHPs to consumers. Protists are an integral part of phyllosphere microbial ecosystems. However, our understanding of protist-pathogen associations in the phyllosphere and their consequences on public health remains poor. Here, we examined phyllosphere protists, human pathogen marker genes (HPMGs), and protist endosymbionts from four species of leafy greens from major supermarkets in Xiamen, China. Our results showed that Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae were the dominant human pathogens in the vegetable phyllosphere. The distribution of HPMGs and protistan communities differed between vegetable species, of which Chinese chive possessed the most diverse protists and highest abundance of HPMGs. HPMGs abundance positively correlated with the diversity and relative abundance of phagotrophic protists. Whole genome sequencing further uncovered that most isolated phyllosphere protists harbored multiple OHPs which carried antibiotic resistance genes, virulence factors, and metal resistance genes and had the potential to HGT. Colpoda were identified as key phagotrophic protists which positively linked to OHPs and carried diverse resistance and virulence potential endosymbiont OHPs including Pseudomonas nitroreducens, Achromobacter xylosoxidans, and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. We highlight that phyllosphere protists contribute to the transmission of resistant OHPs through internalization and thus pose risks to the food safety of leafy greens and human health. Our study provides insights into the protist-OHP interactions in the phyllosphere, which will help in food safety surveillance and human health.

RevDate: 2023-09-02

Owashi Y, Minami T, Kikuchi T, et al (2023)

Microbiome of Zoophytophagous Biological Control Agent Nesidiocoris tenuis.

Microbial ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Many insects are associated with endosymbionts that influence the feeding, reproduction, and distribution of their hosts. Although the small green mirid, Nesidiocoris tenuis (Reuter) (Hemiptera: Miridae), a zoophytophagous predator that feeds on plants as well as arthropods, is a globally important biological control agent, its microbiome has not been sufficiently studied. In the present study, we assessed the microbiome variation in 96 N. tenuis individuals from 14 locations throughout Japan, based on amplicon sequencing of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene. Nine major bacteria associated with N. tenuis were identified: Rickettsia, two strains of Wolbachia, Spiroplasma, Providencia, Serratia, Pseudochrobactrum, Lactococcus, and Stenotrophomonas. Additionally, a diagnostic PCR analysis for three typical insect reproductive manipulators, Rickettsia, Wolbachia, and Spiroplasma, was performed on a larger sample size (n = 360) of N. tenuis individuals; the most prevalent symbiont was Rickettsia (69.7%), followed by Wolbachia (39.2%) and Spiroplasma (6.1%). Although some symbionts were co-infected, their prevalence did not exhibit any specific tendency, such as a high frequency in specific infection combinations. The infection frequency of Rickettsia was significantly correlated with latitude and temperature, while that of Wolbachia and Spiroplasma was significantly correlated with host plants. The predominance of these bacteria and the absence of obligate symbionts suggested that the N. tenuis microbiome is typical for predatory arthropods rather than sap-feeding insects. Rickettsia and Wolbachia were vertically transmitted rather than horizontally transmitted from the prey. The functional validation of each symbiont would be warranted to develop N. tenuis as a biological control agent.

RevDate: 2023-09-02

Duong Thi Hue K, da Silva Goncalves D, Tran Thuy V, et al (2023)

Wolbachia wMel strain-mediated effects on dengue virus vertical transmission from Aedes aegypti to their offspring.

Parasites & vectors, 16(1):308.

BACKGROUND: Dengue virus serotypes (DENV-1 to -4) can be transmitted vertically in Aedes aegpti mosquitoes. Whether infection with the wMel strain of the endosymbiont Wolbachia can reduce the incidence of vertical transmission of DENV from infected females to their offspring is not well understood.

METHODS: A laboratory colony of Vietnamese Ae. aegypti, both with and without wMel infection, were infected with DENV-1 by intrathoracic injection (IT) to estimate the rate of vertical transmission (VT) of the virus. VT in the DENV-infected mosquitoes was calculated via the infection rate estimation from mosquito pool data using maximum likelihood estimation (MLE).

RESULTS: In 6047 F1 Vietnamese wild-type Ae. aegypti, the MLE of DENV-1 infection was 1.49 per 1000 mosquitoes (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.73-2.74). In 5500 wMel-infected Ae. aegypti, the MLE infection rate was 0 (95% CI 0-0.69). The VT rates between mosquito lines showed a statistically significant difference.

CONCLUSIONS: The results reinforce the view that VT is a rare event in wild-type mosquitoes and that infection with wMel is effective in reducing VT.

RevDate: 2023-08-31

Takahashi K, Kuwahara H, Horikawa Y, et al (2023)

Emergence of putative energy parasites within Clostridia revealed by genome analysis of a novel endosymbiotic clade.

The ISME journal [Epub ahead of print].

The Clostridia is a dominant bacterial class in the guts of various animals and are considered to nutritionally contribute to the animal host. Here, we discovered clostridial endosymbionts of cellulolytic protists in termite guts, which have never been reported with evidence. We obtained (near-)complete genome sequences of three endosymbiotic Clostridia, each associated with a different parabasalid protist species with various infection rates: Trichonympha agilis, Pseudotrichonympha grassii, and Devescovina sp. All these protists are previously known to harbor permanently-associated, mutualistic Endomicrobia or Bacteroidales that supplement nitrogenous compounds. The genomes of the endosymbiotic Clostridia were small in size (1.0-1.3 Mbp) and exhibited signatures of an obligately-intracellular parasite, such as an extremely limited capability to synthesize amino acids, cofactors, and nucleotides and a disrupted glycolytic pathway with no known net ATP-generating system. Instead, the genomes encoded ATP/ADP translocase and, interestingly, regulatory proteins that are unique to eukaryotes in general and are possibly used to interfere with host cellular processes. These three genomes formed a clade with metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) derived from the guts of other animals, including human and ruminants, and the MAGs shared the characteristics of parasites. Gene flux analysis suggested that the acquisition of the ATP/ADP translocase gene in a common ancestor was probably key to the emergence of this parasitic clade. Taken together, we provide novel insights into the multilayered symbiotic system in the termite gut by adding the presence of parasitism and present an example of the emergence of putative energy parasites from a dominant gut bacterial clade.

RevDate: 2023-08-31

Ho HVN, Dunigan DD, Salsbery ME, et al (2023)

Viral Chemotaxis of Paramecium Bursaria Altered by Algal Endosymbionts.

Microbial ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Chemotaxis is widespread across many taxa and often aids resource acquisition or predator avoidance. Species interactions can modify the degree of movement facilitated by chemotaxis. In this study, we investigated the influence of symbionts on Paramecium bursaria's chemotactic behavior toward chloroviruses. To achieve this, we performed choice experiments using chlorovirus and control candidate attractors (virus stabilization buffer and pond water). We quantified the movement of Paramecia grown with or without algal and viral symbionts toward each attractor. All Paramecia showed some chemotaxis toward viruses, but cells without algae and viruses showed the most movement toward viruses. Thus, the endosymbiotic algae (zoochlorellae) appeared to alter the movement of Paramecia toward chloroviruses, but it was not clear that ectosymbiotic viruses (chlorovirus) also had this effect. The change in behavior was consistent with a change in swimming speed, but a change in attraction remains possible. The potential costs and benefits of chemotactic movement toward chloroviruses for either the Paramecia hosts or its symbionts remain unclear.

RevDate: 2023-08-31

Ehinger F, Niehs S, Dose B, et al (2023)

Analysis of Rhizonin Biosynthesis Reveals Origin of Pharmacophoric Furylalanine Moieties in Diverse Cyclopeptides.

Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English) [Epub ahead of print].

Rhizonin A and B are hepatotoxic cyclopeptides produced by bacterial endosymbionts (Mycetohabitans endofungorum) of the fungus Rhizopus microsporus. Their toxicity critically depends on the presence of 3-furylalanine (Fua) residues, which also occur in pharmaceutically relevant cyclopeptides of the endolide and bingchamide families. The biosynthesis and incorporation of Fua by non-ribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPS), however, has remained elusive. By genome sequencing and gene inactivation we elucidated the gene cluster responsible for rhizonin biosynthesis. A suite of isotope labeling experiments identified tyrosine and l-DOPA as Fua precursors and provided the first mechanistic insights. Bioinformatics, mutational analysis and heterologous reconstitution identified dioxygenase RhzB as necessary and sufficient for Fua formation. RhzB is a novel type of heme-dependent aromatic oxygenases (HDAO) that enabled the discovery of the bingchamide biosynthesis gene cluster through genome mining.

RevDate: 2023-08-30

Wenzel M, CF Aquadro (2023)

Wolbachia infection at least partially rescues the fertility and ovary defects of several new Drosophila melanogaster bag of marbles protein-coding mutants.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2023.03.20.532813.

UNLABELLED: The D. melanogaster protein coding gene bag of marbles (bam) plays a key role in early male and female reproduction by forming complexes with partner proteins to promote differentiation in gametogenesis. Like another germline gene, Sex lethal , bam genetically interacts with the endosymbiont Wolbachia , as Wolbachia rescues the reduced fertility of a bam hypomorphic mutant. Here, we explored the specificity of the bam-Wolbachia interaction by generating 22 new bam mutants, with ten mutants displaying fertility defects. Nine of these mutants trend towards rescue by the w Mel Wolbachia variant, with eight statistically significant at the fertility and/or cytological level. In some cases, fertility was increased a striking 20-fold. There is no specificity between the rescue and the known binding regions of bam , suggesting w Mel does not interact with one singular bam partner to rescue the reproductive phenotype. We further tested if w Mel interacts with bam in a non-specific way, by increasing bam transcript levels or acting upstream in germline stem cells. A fertility assessment of a bam RNAi knockdown mutant reveals that w Mel rescue is specific to functionally mutant bam alleles and we find no obvious evidence of w Mel interaction with germline stem cells in bam mutants.

AUTHOR SUMMARY: Reproduction in the Drosophila melanogaster fruit fly is dependent on the bag of marbles (bam) gene, which acts early in the process of generating eggs and sperm. Mutations to this gene negatively impact the fertility of the fly, causing it to be sterile or have fewer progeny. Interestingly, we find that the bacteria Wolbachia , which resides within reproductive cells across a wide range of insects, partially restores the fertility and ovary phenotype of several bam mutants of which the resultant Bam protein is altered from wildtype. The protein function of Bam is further suggested to be important by the lack of rescue for a fly that has a fertility defect due to low expression of a non-mutated bam gene. Previous work makes similar conclusions about Wolbachia with another reproductive gene, Sex lethal (Sxl), highlighting the potential for rescue of fertility mutants to occur in a similar way across different genes. An understanding of the ways in which Wolbachia can affect host reproduction provides us with context with which to frame Wolbachia 's impact on host genes, such as bam and Sxl, and consider the evolutionary implications of Wolbachia 's infection in D. melanogaster fruit flies.

RevDate: 2023-08-29

Sheibani P, Jamshidi M, Khakvar R, et al (2023)

Genomic Characterization of Endosymbiotic Bacteria Associated With Helicoverpa armigera in Iran Using Next-Generation Sequencing.

Bioinformatics and biology insights, 17:11779322231195457.

Several species of the Helicoverpa genus have been recognized as major agricultural pests from different regions of the world, among which Helicoverpa armigera species has been reported as the most destructive and cosmopolitan species in most regions of the world, including Iran. This pest is a polyphagous species and can cause damage to more than 120 plant species. Studying the internal microbiome of pests is very important in identifying species' weaknesses and natural enemies and potential biological control agents. For genomic characterization of the microbial community associated with H armigera, the whole genome of insect larvae collected from vegetable fields in the northwest of Iran was sequenced using next-generation sequencing Illumina platform. Finally, about 2 GB of raw data were obtained. Using the MetaPhlAn2 pipeline, it was predicted that 2 endosymbiont bacterial species including Buchnera aphidicola and Serratia symbiotica were associated with H armigera. Alignment of reference strains sequences related to both endosymbiotic bacteria with raw data and subsequently, assembly analyses resulted in 2 genomes with 657 623 bp length with GC content of 27.4% for B aphidicola and 1 595 135 bp length with GC content of 42.90% for S symbiotica. This research is the first report on the association of B aphidicola and S symbiotica as endosymbiotic bacteria with H armigera worldwide.

RevDate: 2023-08-26

Treitli SC, Hanousková P, Beneš V, et al (2023)

Hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis is the key process in the obligately syntrophic consortium of the anaerobic ameba Pelomyxa schiedti.

The ISME journal [Epub ahead of print].

Pelomyxa is a genus of anaerobic amoebae that live in consortia with multiple prokaryotic endosymbionts. Although the symbionts represent a large fraction of the cellular biomass, their metabolic roles have not been investigated. Using single-cell genomics and transcriptomics, we have characterized the prokaryotic community associated with P. schiedti, which is composed of two bacteria, Candidatus Syntrophus pelomyxae (class Deltaproteobacteria) and Candidatus Vesiculincola pelomyxae (class Clostridia), and a methanogen, Candidatus Methanoregula pelomyxae. Fluorescence in situ hybridization and electron microscopy showed that Ca. Vesiculincola pelomyxae is localized inside vesicles, whereas the other endosymbionts occur freely in the cytosol, with Ca. Methanoregula pelomyxae enriched around the nucleus. Genome and transcriptome-based reconstructions of the metabolism suggests that the cellulolytic activity of P. schiedti produces simple sugars that fuel its own metabolism and the metabolism of a Ca. Vesiculincola pelomyxae, while Ca. Syntrophus pelomyxae energy metabolism relies on degradation of butyrate and isovalerate from the environment. Both species of bacteria and the ameba use hydrogenases to transfer the electrons from reduced equivalents to hydrogen, a process that requires a low hydrogen partial pressure. This is achieved by the third endosymbiont, Ca. Methanoregula pelomyxae, which consumes H2 and formate for methanogenesis. While the bacterial symbionts can be successfully eliminated by vancomycin treatment without affecting the viability of the amoebae, treatment with 2-bromoethanesulfonate, a specific inhibitor of methanogenesis, killed the amoebae, indicating the essentiality of the methanogenesis for this consortium.

RevDate: 2023-08-26

Mancuso E, Di Domenico M, Di Gialleonardo L, et al (2023)

Tick Species Diversity and Molecular Identification of Spotted Fever Group Rickettsiae Collected from Migratory Birds Arriving from Africa.

Microorganisms, 11(8):.

The role of migratory birds in the spread of ticks and tick-borne pathogens along their routes from Africa to Europe is increasingly emerging. Wild birds can host several tick species, often infected by bacteria responsible for zoonoses. The aim of the study is to assess the possible introduction of exotic ticks carried by migratory birds into Italy from Africa and to detect the presence of Rickettsia species and Coxiella burnetii they may harbor. During a two-year survey, we collected ticks from migratory birds captured during their short stop-over on Ventotene Island. Specimens were first identified by morphology or sequencing molecular targets when needed, and then tested by real-time PCR for the presence of selected pathogens. A total of 91% of the collection consisted of sub-Saharan ticks, more than 50% of which were infected by Rickettsia species belonging to the spotted fever group, mainly represented by R. aeschlimannii. In contrast, the suspected C. burnetii detected in two soft ticks were confirmed as Coxiella-like endosymbionts and not the pathogen. Although there are still gaps in the knowledge of this dispersal process, our findings confirm the role of migratory birds in the spread of ticks and tick-borne pathogens, suggesting the need for a continuous surveillance to monitor the potential emergence of new diseases in Europe.

RevDate: 2023-08-26

Namina A, Kazarina A, Lazovska M, et al (2023)

Comparative Microbiome Analysis of Three Epidemiologically Important Tick Species in Latvia.

Microorganisms, 11(8): pii:microorganisms11081970.

(1) Background: Amplicon-based 16S rRNA profiling is widely used to study whole communities of prokaryotes in many niches. Here, we comparatively examined the microbial composition of three tick species, Ixodes ricinus, Ixodes persulcatus and Dermacentor reticulatus, which were field-collected in Latvia. (2) Methods: Tick DNA samples were used for microbiome analysis targeting bacterial 16S rDNA using next-generation sequencing (NGS). (3) Results: The results showed significant differences in microbial species diversity and composition by tick species and life stage. A close similarity between microbiomes of I. ricinus and I. persulcatus ticks was observed, while the D. reticulatus microbiome composition appeared to be more distinct. Significant differences in alpha and beta microbial diversity were observed between Ixodes tick life stages and sexes, with lower taxa richness indexes obtained for female ticks. The Francisella genus was closely associated with D. reticulatus ticks, while endosymbionts Candidatus Midichlorii and Candidatus Lariskella were associated with I. ricinus and I. persulcatus females, respectively. In I. ricinus females, the endosymbiont load negatively correlated with the presence of the Rickettsia genus. (4) Conclusions: The results of this study revealed important associations between ticks and their microbial community and highlighted the microbiome features of three tick species in Latvia.

RevDate: 2023-08-26

Chao LL, CM Shih (2023)

First Detection and Genetic Identification of Wolbachia Endosymbiont in Field-Caught Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) Mosquitoes Collected from Southern Taiwan.

Microorganisms, 11(8): pii:microorganisms11081911.

The prevalence and genetic character of Wolbachia endosymbionts in field-collected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes were examined for the first time in Taiwan. A total of 665 Ae. aegypti were screened for Wolbachia infection using a PCR assay targeting the Wolbachia surface protein (wsp) gene. In general, the prevalence of Wolbachia infection was detected in 3.3% Ae. aegypti specimens (2.0% female and 5.2% male). Group-specific Wolbachia infection was detected with an infection rate of 1.8%, 0.8% and 0.8% in groups A, B and A&B, respectively. Genetic analysis demonstrated that all Wolbachia strains from Taiwan were phylogenetically affiliated with Wolbachia belonging to the supergroups A and B, with high sequence similarities of 99.4-100% and 99.2-100%, respectively. Phylogenetic relationships can be easily distinguished by maximum likelihood (ML) analysis and were congruent with the unweighted pair group with the arithmetic mean (UPGMA) method. The intra- and inter-group analysis of genetic distance (GD) values revealed a lower level within the Taiwan strains (GD < 0.006 for group A and GD < 0.008 for group B) and a higher level (GD > 0.498 for group A and GD > 0.286 for group B) as compared with other Wolbachia strains. Our results describe the first detection and molecular identification of Wolbachia endosymbiont in field-caught Ae. aegypti mosquitoes collected from Taiwan, and showed a low Wolbachia infection rate belonging to supergroups A and B in Ae. aegypti mosquitoes.

RevDate: 2023-08-26

Corpuz RL, Bellinger MR, Veillet A, et al (2023)

The Transmission Patterns of the Endosymbiont Wolbachia within the Hawaiian Drosophilidae Adaptive Radiation.

Genes, 14(8): pii:genes14081545.

The evolution of endosymbionts and their hosts can lead to highly dynamic interactions with varying fitness effects for both the endosymbiont and host species. Wolbachia, a ubiquitous endosymbiont of arthropods and nematodes, can have both beneficial and detrimental effects on host fitness. We documented the occurrence and patterns of transmission of Wolbachia within the Hawaiian Drosophilidae and examined the potential contributions of Wolbachia to the rapid diversification of their hosts. Screens for Wolbachia infections across a minimum of 140 species of Hawaiian Drosophila and Scaptomyza revealed species-level infections of 20.0%, and across all 399 samples, a general infection rate of 10.3%. Among the 44 Wolbachia strains we identified using a modified Wolbachia multi-locus strain typing scheme, 30 (68.18%) belonged to supergroup B, five (11.36%) belonged to supergroup A, and nine (20.45%) had alleles with conflicting supergroup assignments. Co-phylogenetic reconciliation analysis indicated that Wolbachia strain diversity within their endemic Hawaiian Drosophilidae hosts can be explained by vertical (e.g., co-speciation) and horizontal (e.g., host switch) modes of transmission. Results from stochastic character trait mapping suggest that horizontal transmission is associated with the preferred oviposition substrate of the host, but not the host's plant family or island of occurrence. For Hawaiian Drosophilid species of conservation concern, with 13 species listed as endangered and 1 listed as threatened, knowledge of Wolbachia strain types, infection status, and potential for superinfection could assist with conservation breeding programs designed to bolster population sizes, especially when wild populations are supplemented with laboratory-reared, translocated individuals. Future research aimed at improving the understanding of the mechanisms of Wolbachia transmission in nature, their impact on the host, and their role in host species formation may shed light on the influence of Wolbachia as an evolutionary driver, especially in Hawaiian ecosystems.

RevDate: 2023-08-25

Moriyama M, Nishide Y, Toyoda A, et al (2023)

Complete genomes of mutualistic bacterial co-symbionts "Candidatus Sulcia muelleri" and "Candidatus Nasuia deltocephalinicola" of the rice green leafhopper Nephotettix cincticeps.

Microbiology resource announcements [Epub ahead of print].

The genomes of obligate bacterial co-symbionts of the green rice leafhopper Nephotettix cincticeps, which is notorious as an agricultural pest, were determined. The streamlined genomes of "Candidatus Sulcia muelleri" and "Candidatus Nasuia deltocephalinicola" exhibited complementary metabolic pathways for synthesizing essential nutrients that contribute to host adaptation.

RevDate: 2023-08-25

Ciocchetta S, Frentiu FD, Montarsi F, et al (2023)

Investigation on key aspects of mating biology in the mosquito Aedes koreicus.

Medical and veterinary entomology [Epub ahead of print].

Aedes koreicus Edwards, 1917 (Hulecoetomyia koreica) is a mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae) from Northeast Asia with a rapidly expanding presence outside its original native range. Over the years, the species has been discovered in several new countries, either spreading after first introduction or remaining localised to limited areas. Notably, recent studies have demonstrated the ability of the species to transmit zoonotic parasites and viruses both in the field and in laboratory settings. Combined with its invasive potential, the possible role of Ae. koreicus in pathogen transmission highlights the public health risks resulting from its invasion. In this study, we used a recently established population from Italy to investigate aspects of biology that influence reproductive success in Ae. koreicus: autogeny, mating behaviour, mating disruption by the sympatric invasive species Aedes albopictus Skuse, 1894, and the presence of the endosymbiont Wolbachia pipientis Hertig, 1936. Our laboratory population did not exhibit autogenic behaviour and required a bloodmeal to complete its ovarian cycle. When we exposed Ae. koreicus females to males of Ae. albopictus, we observed repeated attempts at insemination and an aggressive, disruptive mating behaviour initiated by male Ae. albopictus. Despite this, no sperm was identified in Ae. koreicus spermathecae. Wolbachia, an endosymbiotic bacterium capable of influencing mosquito reproductive behaviour, was not detected in this Ae. koreicus population and, therefore, had no effect on Ae. koreicus reproduction.

RevDate: 2023-08-24

Lanzoni O, Szokoli F, Schrallhammer M, et al (2023)

"Candidatus Intestinibacterium parameciiphilum"-member of the "Candidatus Paracaedibacteraceae" family (Alphaproteobacteria, Holosporales) inhabiting the ciliated protist Paramecium.

International microbiology : the official journal of the Spanish Society for Microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Protists frequently host diverse bacterial symbionts, in particular those affiliated with the order Holosporales (Alphaproteobacteria). All characterised members of this bacterial lineage have been retrieved in obligate association with a wide range of eukaryotes, especially multiple protist lineages (e.g. amoebozoans, ciliates, cercozoans, euglenids, and nucleariids), as well as some metazoans (especially arthropods and related ecdysozoans). While the genus Paramecium and other ciliates have been deeply investigated for the presence of symbionts, known members of the family "Candidatus Paracaedibacteraceae" (Holosporales) are currently underrepresented in such hosts. Herein, we report the description of "Candidatus Intestinibacterium parameciiphilum" within the family "Candidatus Paracaedibacteraceae", inhabiting the cytoplasm of Paramecium biaurelia. This novel bacterium is almost twice as big as its relative "Candidatus Intestinibacterium nucleariae" from the opisthokont Nuclearia and does not present a surrounding halo. Based on phylogenetic analyses of 16S rRNA gene sequences, we identified six further potential species-level lineages within the genus. Based on the provenance of the respective samples, we investigated the environmental distribution of the representatives of "Candidatus Intestinibacterium" species. Obtained results are consistent with an obligate endosymbiotic lifestyle, with protists, in particular freshwater ones, as hosts. Thus, available data suggest that association with freshwater protists could be the ancestral condition for the members of the "Candidatus Intestinibacterium" genus.

RevDate: 2023-08-23

Archer J, Hurst GDD, EA Hornett (2023)

Male-killer symbiont screening reveals novel associations in Adalia ladybirds.

Access microbiology, 5(7):.

While male-killing bacteria are known to infect across arthropods, ladybird beetles represent a hotspot for these symbioses. In some host species, there are multiple different symbionts that vary in presence and frequency between populations. To further our understanding of spatial and frequency variation, we tested for the presence of three male-killing bacteria: Wolbachia , Rickettsia and Spiroplasma , in two Adalia ladybird species from a previously unexplored UK population. The two-spot ladybird, A. bipunctata, is known to harbour all three male-killers, and we identified Spiroplasma infection in the Merseyside population for the first time. However, in contrast to previous studies on two-spot ladybirds from continental Europe, evidence from egg-hatch rates indicates the Spiroplasma strain present in the Merseyside population does not cause embryonic male-killing. In the related ten-spot ladybird, A. decempunctata, there is only one previous record of a male-killing symbiont, a Rickettsia , which we did not detect in the Merseyside sample. However, PCR assays indicated the presence of a Spiroplasma in a single A. decempunctata specimen. Marker sequence indicated that this Spiroplasma was divergent from that found in sympatric A. bipunctata. Genome sequencing of the Spiroplasma -infected A. decempunctata additionally revealed the presence of cobionts in the form of a Centistes parasitoid wasp and the parasitic fungi Beauveria. Further study of A. decempunctata from this population is needed to resolve whether it is the ladybird or wasp cobiont that harbours Spiroplasma , and to establish the phenotype of this strain. These data indicate first that microbial symbiont phenotype should not be assumed from past studies conducted in different locations, and second that cobiont presence may confound screening studies aimed to detect the frequency of a symbiont in field collected material from a focal host species.

RevDate: 2023-08-18

Scott TJ, Larsen TJ, Brock DA, et al (2023)

Symbiotic bacteria, immune-like sentinel cells, and the response to pathogens in a social amoeba.

Royal Society open science, 10(8):230727.

Some endosymbionts living within a host must modulate their hosts' immune systems in order to infect and persist. We studied the effect of a bacterial endosymbiont on a facultatively multicellular social amoeba host. Aggregates of the amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum contain a subpopulation of sentinel cells that function akin to the immune systems of more conventional multicellular organisms. Sentinel cells sequester and discard toxins from D. discoideum aggregates and may play a central role in defence against pathogens. We measured the number and functionality of sentinel cells in aggregates of D. discoideum infected by bacterial endosymbionts in the genus Paraburkholderia. Infected D. discoideum produced fewer and less functional sentinel cells, suggesting that Paraburkholderia may interfere with its host's immune system. Despite impaired sentinel cells, however, infected D. discoideum were less sensitive to ethidium bromide toxicity, suggesting that Paraburkholderia may also have a protective effect on its host. By contrast, D. discoideum infected by Paraburkholderia did not show differences in their sensitivity to two non-symbiotic pathogens. Our results expand previous work on yet another aspect of the complicated relationship between D. discoideum and Paraburkholderia, which has considerable potential as a model for the study of symbiosis.

RevDate: 2023-07-05
CmpDate: 2023-07-05

Beliavskaia A, Tan KK, Sinha A, et al (2023)

Metagenomics of culture isolates and insect tissue illuminate the evolution of Wolbachia, Rickettsia and Bartonella symbionts in Ctenocephalides spp. fleas.

Microbial genomics, 9(7):.

While fleas are often perceived simply as a biting nuisance and a cause of allergic dermatitis, they represent important disease vectors worldwide, especially for bacterial zoonoses such as plague (transmitted by rodent fleas) and some of the rickettsioses and bartonelloses. The cosmopolitan cat (Ctenocephalides felis) and dog (Ctenocephalides canis) fleas, as well as Ctenocephalides orientis (restricted to tropical and subtropical Asia), breed in human dwellings and are vectors of cat-scratch fever (caused by Bartonella spp.) and Rickettsia spp., including Rickettsia felis (agent of flea-borne spotted fever) and Rickettsia asembonensis , a suspected pathogen. These Rickettsia spp. are members of a phylogenetic clade known as the ‘transitional group’, which includes both human pathogens and arthropod-specific endosymbionts. The relatively depauperate flea microbiome can also contain other endosymbionts, including a diverse range of Wolbachia strains. Here, we present circularized genome assemblies for two C. orientis-derived pathogens (Bartonella clarridgeiae and R. asembonensis) from Malaysia, a novel Wolbachia strain (wCori), and the C. orientis mitochondrion; all were obtained by direct metagenomic sequencing of flea tissues. Moreover, we isolated two Wolbachia strains from Malaysian C. felis into tick cell culture and recovered circularized genome assemblies for both, one of which (wCfeF) is newly sequenced. We demonstrate that the three Wolbachia strains are representatives of different major clades (‘supergroups’), two of which appear to be flea-specific. These Wolbachia genomes exhibit unique combinations of features associated with reproductive parasitism or mutualism, including prophage WO, cytoplasmic incompatibility factors and the biotin operon of obligate intracellular microbes. The first circularized assembly for R. asembonensis includes a plasmid with a markedly different structure and gene content compared to the published plasmid; moreover, this novel plasmid was also detected in cat flea metagenomes from the USA. Analysis of loci under positive selection in the transitional group revealed genes involved in host–pathogen interactions that may facilitate host switching. Finally, the first B. clarridgeiae genome from Asia exhibited large-scale genome stability compared to isolates from other continents, except for SNPs in regions predicted to mediate interactions with the vertebrate host. These findings highlight the paucity of data on the genomic diversity of Ctenocephalides-associated bacteria and raise questions regarding how interactions between members of the flea microbiome might influence vector competence.

RevDate: 2023-08-16

Shao Y, Mason CJ, GW Felton (2023)

Toward an Integrated Understanding of the Lepidoptera Microbiome.

Annual review of entomology [Epub ahead of print].

Research over the past 30 years has led to a widespread acceptance that insects establish widespread and diverse associations with microorganisms. More recently, microbiome research has been accelerating in lepidopteran systems, leading to a greater understanding of both endosymbiont and gut microorganisms and how they contribute to integral aspects of the host. Lepidoptera are associated with a robust assemblage of microorganisms, some of which may be stable and routinely detected in larval and adult hosts, while others are ephemeral and transient. Certain microorganisms that populate Lepidoptera can contribute significantly to the hosts' performance and fitness, while others are inconsequential. We emphasize the context-dependent nature of the interactions between players. While our review discusses the contemporary literature, there are major avenues yet to be explored to determine both the fundamental aspects of host-microbe interactions and potential applications for the lepidopteran microbiome; we describe these avenues after our synthesis. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Entomology, Volume 69 is January 2024. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.

RevDate: 2023-08-16

Perles L, Otranto D, Barreto WTG, et al (2023)

Mansonella sp. and associated Wolbachia endosymbionts in ring-tailed coatis (Nasua nasua) in periurban areas from Midwestern Brazil.

International journal for parasitology. Parasites and wildlife, 22:14-19.

Coatis (Nasua nasua) are wild carnivorous well adapted to anthropized environments especially important because they act as reservoirs hosts for many arthropod-borne zoonotic pathogens. Information about filarioids from coatis and associated Wolbachia spp. in Brazil is scant. To investigate the diversity of filarial nematodes, blood samples (n = 100 animals) were obtained from two urban areas in midwestern Brazil and analyzed using blood smears and buffy coats and cPCR assays based on the cox1, 12S rRNA, 18S rRNA, hsp70 and myoHC genes for nematodes and 16S rRNA for Wolbachia. When analyzing coati blood smears and buffy coats, 30% and 80% of the samples presented at least one microfilaria, respectively. Twenty-five cox1 sequences were obtained showing 89% nucleotide identity with Mansonella ozzardi. Phylogenetic analyses clustered cox1 sequences herein obtained within the Mansonella spp. clade. Sequences of both myoHC and two hsp70 genes showed 99.8% nucleotide identity with Mansonella sp. and clustered into a clade within Mansonella sp., previously detected in coatis from Brazil. Two blood samples were positive for Wolbachia, with a 99% nucleotide identity with Wolbachia previously found in Mansonella perstans, Mansonella ozzardi and Mansonella atelensis and in ectoparasites of the genus Pseudolynchia, Melophagus and Cimex. The study showed a high prevalence of Mansonella sp. in the coati population examined, suggesting that this animal species play a role as reservoirs of a novel, yet to be described, species within the Onchocercidae family.

RevDate: 2023-08-16

Travers-Cook TJ, Jokela J, CC Buser (2023)

The evolutionary ecology of fungal killer phenotypes.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 290(2005):20231108.

Ecological interactions influence evolutionary dynamics by selecting upon fitness variation within species. Antagonistic interactions often promote genetic and species diversity, despite the inherently suppressive effect they can have on the species experiencing them. A central aim of evolutionary ecology is to understand how diversity is maintained in systems experiencing antagonism. In this review, we address how certain single-celled and dimorphic fungi have evolved allelopathic killer phenotypes that engage in antagonistic interactions. We discuss the evolutionary pathways to the production of lethal toxins, the functions of killer phenotypes and the consequences of competition for toxin producers, their competitors and toxin-encoding endosymbionts. Killer phenotypes are powerful models because many appear to have evolved independently, enabling across-phylogeny comparisons of the origins, functions and consequences of allelopathic antagonism. Killer phenotypes can eliminate host competitors and influence evolutionary dynamics, yet the evolutionary ecology of killer phenotypes remains largely unknown. We discuss what is known and what remains to be ascertained about killer phenotype ecology and evolution, while bringing their model system properties to the reader's attention.

RevDate: 2023-08-14

He LS, Qi Y, Allard CA, et al (2023)

Molecular tuning of sea anemone stinging.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2023.06.15.545144.

Jellyfish and sea anemones fire single-use, venom-covered barbs to immobilize prey or predators. We previously showed that the anemone Nematostella vectensis uses a specialized voltage-gated calcium (Ca V) channel to trigger stinging in response to synergistic prey-derived chemicals and touch (Weir et al., 2020). Here we use experiments and theory to find that stinging behavior is suited to distinct ecological niches. We find that the burrowing anemone Nematostella uses uniquely strong Ca V inactivation for precise control of predatory stinging. In contrast, the related anemone Exaiptasia diaphana inhabits exposed environments to support photosynthetic endosymbionts. Consistent with its niche, Exaiptasia indiscriminately stings for defense and expresses a Ca V splice variant that confers weak inactivation. Chimeric analyses reveal that Ca V β subunit adaptations regulate inactivation, suggesting an evolutionary tuning mechanism for stinging behavior. These findings demonstrate how functional specialization of ion channel structure contributes to distinct organismal behavior.

RevDate: 2023-08-14

Ali A, Obaid MK, Almutairi MM, et al (2023)

Molecular detection of Coxiella spp. in ticks (Ixodidae and Argasidae) infesting domestic and wild animals: with notes on the epidemiology of tick-borne Coxiella burnetii in Asia.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1229950.

Tick-borne Coxiella spp. are emerging in novel regions infecting different hosts, but information regarding their occurrence is limited. The purpose of this study was the molecular screening of Coxiella spp. in various ticks infesting goats, sheep, camels, cattle, wild mice, and domestic fowls (Gallus gallus domesticus) in various districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Morphologically identified tick species were confirmed by obtaining their cox1 sequences and were molecularly screened for Coxiella spp. by sequencing GroEL fragments. Almost 345 out of 678 (50.9%) hosts were infested by nine tick species. Regarding the age groups, the hosts having an age >3 years were highly infested (192/345, 55.6%), while gender-wise infestation was higher in female hosts (237/345, 68.7%). In collected ticks, the nymphs were outnumbered (613/1,119, 54.8%), followed by adult females (293/1,119, 26.2%) and males (213/1,119, 19.7%). A total of 227 ticks were processed for molecular identification and detection of Coxiella spp. The obtained cox1 sequences of nine tick species such as Hyalomma dromedarii, Hyalomma anatolicum, Haemaphysalis cornupunctata, Haemaphysalis bispinosa, Haemaphysalis danieli, Haemaphysalis montgomeryi, Rhipicephalus haemaphysaloides, Rhipicephalus microplus, and Argas persicus showed maximum identities between 99.6% and 100% with the same species and in the phylogenetic tree, clustered to the corresponding species. All the tick species except Ha. danieli and R. microplus were found positive for Coxiella spp. (40/227, 17.6%), including Coxiella burnetii (15/40, 6.7%), Coxiella endosymbionts (14/40, 6.3%), and different Coxiella spp. (11/40, 4.9%). By the BLAST results, the GroEL fragments of Coxiella spp. showed maximum identity to C. burnetii, Coxiella endosymbionts, and Coxiella sp., and phylogenetically clustered to the corresponding species. This is the first comprehensive report regarding the genetic characterization of Coxiella spp. in Pakistan's ticks infesting domestic and wild hosts. Proper surveillance and management measures should be undertaken to avoid health risks.

RevDate: 2023-08-14

Garrido M, Veiga J, Garrigós M, et al (2023)

The interplay between vector microbial community and pathogen transmission on the invasive Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus: current knowledge and future directions.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1208633.

The invasive Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus is nowadays broadly distributed with established populations in all continents except Antarctica. In the invaded areas, this species represents an important nuisance for humans and, more relevant, it is involved in the local transmission of pathogens relevant under a public health perspective. Aedes albopictus is a competent vector of parasites such as Dirofilaria and viruses including dengue virus, Zika virus, and chikungunya virus, among others. The mosquito microbiota has been identified as one of the major drivers of vector competence, acting upon relevant vector functions as development or immunity. Here, we review the available literature on the interaction between Ae. albopictus microbiota and pathogen transmission and identify the knowledge gaps on the topic. Most studies are strictly focused on the interplay between pathogens and Wolbachia endosymbiont while studies screening whole microbiota are still scarce but increasing in recent years, supported on Next-generation sequencing tools. Most experimental trials use lab-reared mosquitoes or cell lines, exploring the molecular mechanisms of the microbiota-pathogen interaction. Yet, correlational studies on wild populations are underrepresented. Consequently, we still lack sufficient evidence to reveal whether the microbiota of introduced populations of Ae. albopictus differ from those of native populations, or how microbiota is shaped by different environmental and anthropic factors, but especially, how these changes affect the ability of Ae. albopictus to transmit pathogens and favor the occurrence of outbreaks in the colonized areas. Finally, we propose future research directions on this research topic.

RevDate: 2023-08-12

Pacheco PJ, Cabrera JJ, Jiménez-Leiva A, et al (2023)

The copper-responsive regulator CsoR is indirectly involved in Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens denitrification.

FEMS microbiology letters pii:7241810 [Epub ahead of print].

The soybean endosymbiont Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens harbours the complete denitrification pathway that is catalysed by a periplasmic nitrate reductase (Nap), a copper (Cu)-containing nitrite reductase (NirK), a c-type nitric oxide reductase (cNor), and a nitrous oxide reductase (Nos), encoded by the napEDABC, nirK, norCBQD and nosRZDFYLX genes, respectively. Induction of denitrification genes requires low oxygen and nitric oxide, both signals integrated into a complex regulatory network comprised by two interconnected cascades, FixLJ-FixK2-NnrR and RegSR-NifA. Copper is a cofactor of NirK and Nos, but it has also a role in denitrification gene expression and protein synthesis. In fact, Cu limitation triggers a substantial down-regulation of nirK, norCBQD, and nosRZDFYLX gene expression under denitrifying conditions. B. diazoefficiens genome possesses a gene predicted to encode a Cu-responsive repressor of the CsoR family, which is located adjacent to copA, a gene encoding a putative Cu+-ATPase transporter. To investigate the role of CsoR in the control of denitrification gene expression in response to Cu, a csoR deletion mutant was constructed in this work. Mutation of csoR did not affect the capacity of B. diazoefficiens to grow under denitrifying conditions. However, by using qRT-PCR analyses, we showed that nirK and norCBQD expression was much lower in the csoR mutant compared to wild-type levels under Cu-limiting denitrifying conditions. On the contrary, copA expression was significantly increased in the csoR mutant. The results obtained suggest that CsoR acts as a repressor of copA. Under Cu limitation, CsoR has also an indirect role in the expression of nirK and norCBQD genes.

RevDate: 2023-08-12

Kamkong P, Jitsamai W, Thongmeesee K, et al (2023)

Genetic diversity and characterization of Wolbachia endosymbiont in canine filariasis.

Acta tropica, 246:107000 pii:S0001-706X(23)00187-0 [Epub ahead of print].

Canine filariasis is caused by nematodes from the family Onchocercidae, which is transmitted by arthropod vectors. The disease is commonly found in Southeast Asia and exists worldwide. Some filarial nematodes are associated with intracellular bacteria of the genus Wolbachia, which plays an important role in embryogenesis, molting, and the long-term survival of adult worms. This study aims to characterize Wolbachia sp. and determine the association between Wolbachia and canine filarial nematode species in Thailand. A total of 46 dog blood samples that were naturally infected with filarial nematodes were obtained to identify filarial nematode species by Giemsa stained under a light microscope and confirmed using the molecular technique. In order to characterize Wolbachia sp., the nested PCR assay targeting the 16S rRNA gene showed that all samples of Dirofilaria immitis and fifteen samples of Candidatus Dirofilaria hongkongensis were grouped into Wolbachia supergroup C. In addition, all samples of Brugia spp. and five samples of Candidatus Dirofilaria hongkongensis were classified into Wolbachia supergroup D. The genetic diversity analysis conducted using the 16S rRNA gene revealed a similar result when analyzed through phylogenetic tree analysis. This is the first genetic diversity study of Wolbachia of Candidatus Dirofilaria hongkongensis in infected dogs in Thailand.

RevDate: 2023-08-11

Salem H, Biedermann PHW, T Fukatsu (2023)

Editorial: Diversity of beetles and associated microorganisms.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1252736.

RevDate: 2023-08-09

Zhang R, Shen Y, He J, et al (2023)

Nodule-Specific Cysteine-Rich Peptide 343 is required for symbiotic nitrogen fixation in Medicago truncatula.

Plant physiology pii:7239777 [Epub ahead of print].

Symbiotic interactions between legumes and rhizobia lead to development of root nodules and nitrogen fixation by differentiated bacteroids within nodules. Differentiation of the endosymbionts is reversible or terminal, determined by plant effectors. In IRLC legumes, Nodule-Specific Cysteine-Rich Peptides (NCRs) control the terminal differentiation of bacteroids. Medicago truncatula contains ∼700 NCR-coding genes. However, the role of few NCRs has been demonstrated. Here, we report characterization of FN2106 (Fast Neutron 2106), a symbiotic nitrogen fixation defective (fix-) mutant of M. truncatula. Using a transcript-based approach, together with linkage and complementation tests, we showed that loss-of-function of NCR343 results in impaired bacteroid differentiation and/or maintenance and premature nodule senescence of the FN2106 mutant. NCR343 was specifically expressed in nodules. Subcellular localization studies showed that the functional NCR343-YFP fusion protein colocalizes with bacteroids in symbiosomes in infected nodule cells. Transcriptomic analyses identified senescence-, but not defense-related genes, as being significantly upregulated in ncr343 (FN2106) nodules. Taken together, results from our phenotypic and transcriptomic analyses of a loss-of-function ncr343 mutant demonstrate an essential role of NCR343 in bacteroid differentiation and/or maintenance required for symbiotic nitrogen fixation.

RevDate: 2023-08-09

Zhang R, Shen Y, He J, et al (2023)

Nodule-Specific Cysteine-Rich Peptide 343 is required for symbiotic nitrogen fixation in Medicago truncatula.

Plant physiology pii:7239777 [Epub ahead of print].

Symbiotic interactions between legumes and rhizobia lead to development of root nodules and nitrogen fixation by differentiated bacteroids within nodules. Differentiation of the endosymbionts is reversible or terminal, determined by plant effectors. In IRLC legumes, Nodule-Specific Cysteine-Rich Peptides (NCRs) control the terminal differentiation of bacteroids. Medicago truncatula contains ∼700 NCR-coding genes. However, the role of few NCRs has been demonstrated. Here, we report characterization of FN2106 (Fast Neutron 2106), a symbiotic nitrogen fixation defective (fix-) mutant of M. truncatula. Using a transcript-based approach, together with linkage and complementation tests, we showed that loss-of-function of NCR343 results in impaired bacteroid differentiation and/or maintenance and premature nodule senescence of the FN2106 mutant. NCR343 was specifically expressed in nodules. Subcellular localization studies showed that the functional NCR343-YFP fusion protein colocalizes with bacteroids in symbiosomes in infected nodule cells. Transcriptomic analyses identified senescence-, but not defense-related genes, as being significantly upregulated in ncr343 (FN2106) nodules. Taken together, results from our phenotypic and transcriptomic analyses of a loss-of-function ncr343 mutant demonstrate an essential role of NCR343 in bacteroid differentiation and/or maintenance required for symbiotic nitrogen fixation.

RevDate: 2023-08-07

Dzul-Rosado KR, Arroyo-Solís KA, Torres-Monroy AJ, et al (2023)

Tick-associated diseases identified from hunting dogs during the COVID-19 pandemic in a Mayan community in Yucatan, Mexico.

Open veterinary journal, 13(6):794-800.

BACKGROUND: Hunting activity in the Mayan communities has increased due to COVID-19 and domestic dogs have gained more importance. Due to their proximity to humans, domestic dogs are a bridge between tick-borne diseases (TBDs) and humans and their peri-domestic environment. In Mexico, and especially in rural regions, there were not adequate records of TBDs during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

AIM: Identify TBD of ticks collected during the COVID-19 pandemic in a rural community.

METHODS: Tick capture was carried out in March 2021, in Teabo, Yucatan. Ticks were removed using from domestic dogs and placed in ethanol. Collected ticks were morphologically identified and underwent DNA extraction and a partial segment of the mitochondrial 16S-rDNA gene was amplified to corroborate the tick species. The DNA was screened for the presence of Anaplasma spp., Borrelia spp., Ehrlichia spp., and Rickettsia spp. Purified amplification products were submitted for sequencing and the results were compared to those deposited in GenBank using BLAST.

RESULTS: We collected 33 ectoparasites, Ixodes affinis, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, Rhipicephalus microplus, and Amblyomma mixtum on 11 hunting dogs. The most frequent ectoparasite was R. sanguineus (66%). We detected the presence of DNA of Rickettsia endosymbiont in I. affinis and Anaplasma platys in R. sanguineus. Rickettsia endosymbiont presented a similarity of 100% with the partial sequence of R. endosymbiont of I. affinis isolate IACACTM001 16S ribosomal RNA gene and the sequence of A. platys had a similarity of 100% with the partial sequence of the isolate 23-33TX 16S ribosomal RNA gene of A. platys from dogs from Texas, USA and with the partial sequence of the isolate L134 16S ribosomal RNA gene of Ehrlichia canis from dogs from Piura, Peru.

CONCLUSION: We confirmed for the first time the presence of A. platys in R. sanguineus and R. endosymbiont in I. affinis ticks from dogs in the state of Yucatan.

RevDate: 2023-08-05

Li Q, Fu D, Zhou Y, et al (2023)

Individual and combined effects of herbicide prometryn and nitrate enrichment at environmentally relevant concentrations on photosynthesis, oxidative stress, and endosymbiont community diversity of coral Acropora hyacinthus.

Chemosphere pii:S0045-6535(23)01996-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Nitrogen pollution and pesticides such as photosystem II (PSII) inhibitor herbicides have several detrimental impacts on coral reefs, including breakdown of the symbiosis between host corals and photosynthetic symbionts. Although nitrogen and PSII herbicide pollution separately cause coral bleaching, the combined effects of these stressors at environmentally relevant concentrations on corals have not been assessed. Here, we report the combined effects of nitrate enrichment and PSII herbicide (prometryn) exposure on photosynthesis, oxidative status and endosymbiont community diversity of the reef-building coral Acropora hyacinthus. Coral fragments were exposed in a mesocosm system to nitrate enrichment (9 μmol/L) and two prometryn concentrations (1 and 5 μg/L). The results showed that sustained prometryn exposure in combination with nitrate enrichment stress had significant detrimental impacts on photosynthetic apparatus [the maximum quantum efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm), nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ)] and oxidative status in the short term. Nevertheless, the adaptive mechanism of corals allowed the normal physiological state to be recovered following 1 μg/L prometryn and 9 μmol/L nitrate enrichment individual exposure. Moreover, exposure for 9 days was insufficient to trigger a shift in Symbiodiniaceae community. Most importantly, the negative impact of exposure to the combined environmental concentrations of 1 μg/L prometryn and 9 μmol/L nitrate enrichment was found to be significantly greater on the Fv/Fm, quantum yield of non-regulated energy dissipation [Y(NO)], NPQ, and oxidative status of corals compared to the impact of individual stressors. Our results show that interactions between prometryn stress and nitrate enrichment have a synergistic impact on the photosynthetic and oxidative stress responses of corals. This study provides valuable insights into combined effects of nitrate enrichment and PSII herbicides pollution for coral's physiology. Environmental concentrations of PSII herbicides may be more harmful to photosystems and antioxidant systems of corals under nitrate enrichment stress. Thus, future research and management of seawater quality stressors should consider combined impacts rather than just the impacts of individual stressors alone.

RevDate: 2023-08-01

Kolasa M, Kajtoch Ł, Michalik A, et al (2023)

Till evolution do us part: The diversity of symbiotic associations across populations of Philaenus spittlebugs.

Environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Symbiotic bacteria have played crucial roles in the evolution of sap-feeding insects and can strongly affect host function. However, their diversity and distribution within species are not well understood; we do not know to what extent environmental factors or associations with other species may affect microbial community profiles. We addressed this question in Philaenus spittlebugs by surveying both insect and bacterial marker gene amplicons across multiple host populations. Host mitochondrial sequence data confirmed morphology-based identification of six species and revealed two divergent clades of Philaenus spumarius. All of them hosted the primary symbiont Sulcia that was almost always accompanied by Sodalis. Interestingly, populations and individuals often differed in the presence of Sodalis sequence variants, suggestive of intra-genome 16S rRNA variant polymorphism combined with rapid genome evolution and/or recent additional infections or replacements of the co-primary symbiont. The prevalence of facultative endosymbionts, including Wolbachia, Rickettsia, and Spiroplasma, varied among populations. Notably, cytochrome I oxidase (COI) amplicon data also showed that nearly a quarter of P. spumarius were infected by parasitoid flies (Verralia aucta). One of the Wolbachia operational taxonomic units (OTUs) was exclusively present in Verralia-parasitized specimens, suggestive of parasitoids as their source and highlighting the utility of host gene amplicon sequencing in microbiome studies.

RevDate: 2023-07-31

Dong AZ, Cokcetin N, Carter DA, et al (2023)

Unique antimicrobial activity in honey from the Australian honeypot ant (Camponotus inflatus).

PeerJ, 11:e15645.

Honey produced by the Australian honeypot ant (Camponotus inflatus) is valued nutritionally and medicinally by Indigenous peoples, but its antimicrobial activity has never been formally studied. Here, we determine the activity of honeypot ant honey (HPAH) against a panel of bacterial and fungal pathogens, investigate its chemical properties, and profile the bacterial and fungal microbiome of the honeypot ant for the first time. We found HPAH to have strong total activity against Staphylococcus aureus but not against other bacteria, and strong non-peroxide activity against Cryptococcus and Aspergillus sp. When compared with therapeutic-grade jarrah and manuka honey produced by honey bees, we found HPAH to have a markedly different antimicrobial activity and chemical properties, suggesting HPAH has a unique mode of antimicrobial action. We found the bacterial microbiome of honeypot ants to be dominated by the known endosymbiont genus Candidatus Blochmannia (99.75%), and the fungal microbiome to be dominated by the plant-associated genus Neocelosporium (92.77%). This study demonstrates that HPAH has unique antimicrobial characteristics that validate its therapeutic use by Indigenous peoples and may provide a lead for the discovery of novel antimicrobial compounds.

RevDate: 2023-07-29

Holguin-Rocha AF, Calle-Tobon A, Vásquez GM, et al (2023)

Diversity of the Bacterial and Viral Communities in the Tropical Horse Tick, Dermacentor nitens, in Colombia.

Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland), 12(7): pii:pathogens12070942.

Ticks are obligatory hematophagous ectoparasites that transmit pathogens among various vertebrates, including humans. The microbial and viral communities of ticks, including pathogenic microorganisms, are known to be highly diverse. However, the factors driving this diversity are not well understood. The tropical horse tick, Dermacentor nitens, is distributed throughout the Americas and it is recognized as a natural vector of Babesia caballi and Theileria equi, the causal agents of equine piroplasmosis. In this study, we characterized the bacterial and viral communities associated with partially fed Dermacentor nitens females collected using a passive survey on horses from field sites representing three distinct geographical areas in the country of Colombia (Bolivar, Antioquia, and Cordoba). RNA-seq and sequencing of the V3 and V4 hypervariable regions of the 16S rRNA gene were performed using the Illumina-Miseq platform (Illumina, San Diego, CA, USA). A total of 356 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were identified, in which the presumed endosymbiont, Francisellaceae/Francisella spp., was predominantly found. Nine contigs corresponding to six different viruses were identified in three viral families: Chuviridae, Rhabdoviridae, and Flaviviridae. Differences in the relative abundance of the microbial composition among the geographical regions were found to be independent of the presence of Francisella-like endosymbiont (FLE). The most prevalent bacteria found in each region were Corynebacterium in Bolivar, Staphylococcus in Antioquia, and Pseudomonas in Cordoba. Rickettsia-like endosymbionts, mainly recognized as the etiological agent of rickettsioses in Colombia, were detected in the Cordoba samples. Metatranscriptomics revealed 13 contigs containing FLE genes, suggesting a trend of regional differences. These findings suggest regional distinctions among the ticks and their bacterial compositions.

RevDate: 2023-07-29

Cazzaniga M, Domínguez-Santos R, Marín-Miret J, et al (2023)

Exploring Gut Microbial Dynamics and Symbiotic Interaction in Blattella germanica Using Rifampicin.

Biology, 12(7): pii:biology12070955.

Blattella germanica harbours two cohabiting symbiotic systems: an obligate endosymbiont, Blattabacterium, located inside bacteriocytes and vertically transmitted, which is key in nitrogen metabolism, and abundant and complex gut microbiota acquired horizontally (mainly by coprophagy) that must play an important role in host physiology. In this work, we use rifampicin treatment to deepen the knowledge on the relationship between the host and the two systems. First, we analysed changes in microbiota composition in response to the presence and removal of the antibiotic with and without faeces in one generation. We found that, independently of faeces supply, rifampicin-sensitive bacteria are strongly affected at four days of treatment, and most taxa recover after treatment, although some did not reach control levels. Second, we tried to generate an aposymbiotic population, but individuals that reached the second generation were severely affected and no third generation was possible. Finally, we established a mixed population with quasi-aposymbiotic and control nymphs sharing an environment in a blind experiment. The analysis of the two symbiotic systems in each individual after reaching the adult stage revealed that endosymbiont's load does not affect the composition of the hindgut microbiota, suggesting that there is no interaction between the two symbiotic systems in Blattella germanica.

RevDate: 2023-07-27

Kanyile SN, Engl T, Heddi A, et al (2023)

Endosymbiosis allows Sitophilus oryzae to persist in dry conditions.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1199370.

Insects frequently associate with intracellular microbial symbionts (endosymbionts) that enhance their ability to cope with challenging environmental conditions. Endosymbioses with cuticle-enhancing microbes have been reported in several beetle families. However, the ecological relevance of these associations has seldom been demonstrated, particularly in the context of dry environments where high cuticle quality can reduce water loss. Thus, we investigated how cuticle-enhancing symbionts of the rice-weevil, Sitophilus oryzae contribute to desiccation resistance. We exposed symbiotic and symbiont-free (aposymbiotic) beetles to long-term stressful (47% RH) or relaxed (60% RH) humidity conditions and measured population growth. We found that symbiont presence benefits host fitness especially under dry conditions, enabling symbiotic beetles to increase their population size by over 33-fold within 3 months, while aposymbiotic beetles fail to increase in numbers beyond the starting population in the same conditions. To understand the mechanisms underlying this drastic effect, we compared beetle size and body water content and found that endosymbionts confer bigger body size and higher body water content. While chemical analyses revealed no significant differences in composition and quantity of cuticular hydrocarbons after long-term exposure to desiccation stress, symbiotic beetles lost water at a proportionally slower rate than did their aposymbiotic counterparts. We posit that the desiccation resistance and higher fitness observed in symbiotic beetles under dry conditions is due to their symbiont-enhanced thicker cuticle, which provides protection against cuticular transpiration. Thus, we demonstrate that the cuticle enhancing symbiosis of Sitophilus oryzae confers a fitness benefit under drought stress, an ecologically relevant condition for grain pest beetles. This benefit likely extends to many other systems where symbiont-mediated cuticle synthesis has been identified, including taxa spanning beetles and ants that occupy different ecological niches.

RevDate: 2023-07-25

Dijksterhuis J (2023)

Endosymbionts: Bacterial hijacking of fungi?.

Current biology : CB, 33(14):R765-R767.

Bacteria inside fungal hyphae allow the fungus Rhizopus microsporus to form spores and operate via effectors in 'stealth' mode. When the functionality of one effector is taken away, bacteria are captured in septated cells and die.

RevDate: 2023-07-24

Seo Jeon M, Han SI, Ahn JW, et al (2023)

Endophyte Bacillus tequilensis improves the growth of microalgae Haematococcus lacustris by regulating host cell metabolism.

Bioresource technology pii:S0960-8524(23)00974-4 [Epub ahead of print].

This study identified an endosymbiotic bacterium, Bacillus tequilensis, residing within the cells of the microalga Haematococcus lacustris through 16S rRNA analysis. To confirm the optimal interactive conditions between H. lacustris and B. tequilensis, the effects of different ratios of cells using H. lacustris of different growth stages were examined. Under optimized conditions, the cell density, dry weight, chlorophyll content, and astaxanthin content of H. lacustris increased significantly, and the fatty acid content improved 1.99-fold. Microscopy demonstrated the presence of bacteria within the H. lacustris cells. The interaction upregulated amino acid and nucleotide metabolism in H. lacustris. Interestingly, muramic and phenylacetic acids were found exclusively in H. lacustris cells in the presence of B. tequilensis. Furthermore, B. tequilensis delayed pigment degradation in H. lacustris. This study reveals the impact of the endosymbiont B. tequilensis on the metabolism of H. lacustris and offers new perspectives on the symbiotic relationship between them.

RevDate: 2023-07-24

Adams GJ, PA O'Brien (2023)

The unified theory of sleep: Eukaryotes endosymbiotic relationship with mitochondria and REM the push-back response for awakening.

Neurobiology of sleep and circadian rhythms, 15:100100.

The Unified Theory suggests that sleep is a process that developed in eukaryotic animals from a relationship with an endosymbiotic bacterium. Over evolutionary time the bacterium evolved into the modern mitochondrion that continues to exert an effect on sleep patterns, e.g. the bacterium Wolbachia establishes an endosymbiotic relationship with Drosophila and many other species of insects and is able to change the host's behaviour by making it sleep. The hypothesis is supported by other host-parasite relationships, e.g., Trypanosoma brucei which causes day-time sleepiness and night-time insomnia in humans and cattle. For eukaryotes such as Monocercomonoids that don't contain mitochondria we find no evidence of them sleeping. Mitochondria produce the neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), and ornithine a precursor of the neurotransmitter GABA, together with substances such as 3,4dihydroxy phenylalanine (DOPA) a precursor for the neurotransmitter dopamine: These substances have been shown to affect the sleep/wake cycles in animals such as Drosophilia and Hydra. Eukaryote animals have traded the very positive side of having mitochondria providing aerobic respiration for them with the negative side of having to sleep. NREM (Quiet sleep) is the process endosymbionts have imposed upon their host eukaryotes and REM (Active sleep) is the push-back adaptation of eukaryotes with brains, returning to wakefulness.

RevDate: 2023-07-21

Pan Q, Yu SJ, Lei S, et al (2023)

Effects of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus infection on metagenome of Diaphorina citri gut endosymbiont.

Scientific data, 10(1):478.

Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri, D. citri) is the important vector of "Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus" (CLas), associated with Huanglongbing, the most devastating citrus disease worldwide. CLas can affect endosymbiont abundance of D. citri. Here, we generated the high-quality gut endosymbiont metagenomes of Diaphorina citri on the condition of CLas infected and uninfected. The dataset comprised 6616.74 M and 6586.04 M raw reads, on overage, from CLas uninfected and infected psyllid strains, respectively. Taxonomic analysis revealed that a total of 1046 species were annotated with 10 Archaea, 733 Bacteria, 234 Eukaryota, and 69 Viruses. 80 unique genera in CLas infected D. citri were identified. DIAMOND software was used for complement function research against various functional databases, including Nr, KEGG, eggNOG, and CAZy, which annotated 84543 protein-coding genes. These datasets provided an avenue for further study of the interaction mechanism between CLas and D. citri.

RevDate: 2023-07-21

Ferreira MU, Crainey JL, FG Gobbi (2023)

The search for better treatment strategies for mansonellosis: An expert perspective.

Expert opinion on pharmacotherapy [Epub ahead of print].

INTRODUCTION: Four species of the Mansonella genus infect millions of people across sub-Saharan Africa and Central and South America. Most infections are asymptomatic, but mansonellosis can be associated with unspecific clinical manifestations such as fever, headache, arthralgia, and ocular lesions (M. ozzardi); pruritus, arthralgia, abdominal pain, angioedema, skin rash, and fatigue (M. perstans and perhaps Mansonella sp 'DEUX'); and pruritic dermatitis and chronic lymphadenitis (M. perstans).

AREAS COVERED: We searched the PubMed and SciELO databases for publications on mansonelliasis in English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French that appeared until 1 May 2023. Literature data show that anthelmintics - single-dose ivermectin for M. ozzardi, repeated doses of mebendazole alone or in combination with diethylcarbamazine (DEC) for M. perstans, and DEC alone for M. streptocerca - are effective against microfilariae. Antibiotics that target Wolbachia endosymbionts, such as doxycycline, are likely to kill adult worms of most, if not all, Mansonella species, but the currently recommended 6-week regimen is relatively unpractical. New anthelminthics and shorter antibiotic regimens (e.g. with rifampin) have showed promise in experimental filarial infections and may proceed to clinical trials.

EXPERT OPINION: We recommend that human infections with Mansonella species be treated, regardless of any apparent clinical manifestations. We argue that mansonellosis, despite being widely considered a benign infection, may represent a direct or indirect cause of significant morbidity that remains poorly characterized at present.

RevDate: 2023-07-19

Campbell LI, Nwezeobi J, van Brunschot SL, et al (2023)

Comparative evolutionary analyses of eight whitefly Bemisia tabaci sensu lato genomes: cryptic species, agricultural pests and plant-virus vectors.

BMC genomics, 24(1):408.

BACKGROUND: The group of > 40 cryptic whitefly species called Bemisia tabaci sensu lato are amongst the world's worst agricultural pests and plant-virus vectors. Outbreaks of B. tabaci s.l. and the associated plant-virus diseases continue to contribute to global food insecurity and social instability, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Published B. tabaci s.l. genomes have limited use for studying African cassava B. tabaci SSA1 species, due to the high genetic divergences between them. Genomic annotations presented here were performed using the 'Ensembl gene annotation system', to ensure that comparative analyses and conclusions reflect biological differences, as opposed to arising from different methodologies underpinning transcript model identification.

RESULTS: We present here six new B. tabaci s.l. genomes from Africa and Asia, and two re-annotated previously published genomes, to provide evolutionary insights into these globally distributed pests. Genome sizes ranged between 616-658 Mb and exhibited some of the highest coverage of transposable elements reported within Arthropoda. Many fewer total protein coding genes (PCG) were recovered compared to the previously published B. tabaci s.l. genomes and structural annotations generated via the uniform methodology strongly supported a repertoire of between 12.8-13.2 × 10[3] PCG. An integrative systematics approach incorporating phylogenomic analysis of nuclear and mitochondrial markers supported a monophyletic Aleyrodidae and the basal positioning of B. tabaci Uganda-1 to the sub-Saharan group of species. Reciprocal cross-mating data and the co-cladogenesis pattern of the primary obligate endosymbiont 'Candidatus Portiera aleyrodidarum' from 11 Bemisia genomes further supported the phylogenetic reconstruction to show that African cassava B. tabaci populations consist of just three biological species. We include comparative analyses of gene families related to detoxification, sugar metabolism, vector competency and evaluate the presence and function of horizontally transferred genes, essential for understanding the evolution and unique biology of constituent B. tabaci. s.l species.

CONCLUSIONS: These genomic resources have provided new and critical insights into the genetics underlying B. tabaci s.l. biology. They also provide a rich foundation for post-genomic research, including the selection of candidate gene-targets for innovative whitefly and virus-control strategies.

RevDate: 2023-07-19

Muñoz-García CI, Rendón-Franco E, Grostieta E, et al (2023)

Novel Francisella-like endosymbiont and Anaplasma species from Amblyomma nodosum hosted by the anteater Tamandua Mexicana in Mexico.

Experimental & applied acarology [Epub ahead of print].

The microbiome represents a complex network among the various members of the community of microorganisms that are associated with a host. The composition of the bacterial community is essential to supplement multiple metabolic pathways that the host lacks, particularly in organisms with blood-sucking habits such as ticks. On the other hand, some endosymbionts showed some competence with potentially pathogenic microorganisms. Francisella-like endosymbionts (FLEs) encompass a group of gamma-proteobacterias that are closely related to Francisella tularensis, but are usually apathogenic, which brings nutrients like vitamin B and other cofactors to the tick. It has been postulated that the main route of transmission of FLE is vertical; however, evidence has accumulated regarding the possible mechanism of horizontal transmission. Despite growing interest in knowledge of endosymbionts in the Neotropical region, the efforts related to the establishment of their inventory for tick communities are concentrated in South and Central America, with an important gap in knowledge in Mesoamerican countries such as Mexico. For this reason, the aim of this work was to evaluate the presence and diversity of endosymbionts in the highly host-specialized tick Amblyomma nodosum collected from the anteater Tamandua mexicana in Mexico. We analysed 36 A. nodosum for the presence of DNA of endosymbiont (Coxiella and Francisella) and pathogenic (Anaplasma, Borrelia, Ehrlichia and Rickettsia) bacteria. The presence of a member of the genus Francisella and Candidatus Anaplasma brasiliensis was demonstrated. Our findings provide information on the composition of A. nodosum's microbiome, increasing the inventory of bacterial species associated with this hard tick on the American continent.

RevDate: 2023-07-19

Mather RV, Larsen TJ, Brock DA, et al (2023)

Paraburkholderia symbionts isolated from Dictyostelium discoideum induce bacterial carriage in other Dictyostelium species.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 290(2003):20230977.

The social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum engages in a complex relationship with bacterial endosymbionts in the genus Paraburkholderia, which can benefit their host by imbuing it with the ability to carry prey bacteria throughout its life cycle. The relationship between D. discoideum and Paraburkholderia has been shown to take place across many strains and a large geographical area, but little is known about Paraburkholderia's potential interaction with other dictyostelid species. We explore the ability of three Paraburkholderia species to stably infect and induce bacterial carriage in other dictyostelid hosts. We found that all three Paraburkholderia species successfully infected and induced carriage in seven species of Dictyostelium hosts. While the overall behaviour was qualitatively similar to that previously observed in infections of D. discoideum, differences in the outcomes of different host/symbiont combinations suggest a degree of specialization between partners. Paraburkholderia was unable to maintain a stable association with the more distantly related host Polysphondylium violaceum. Our results suggest that the mechanisms and evolutionary history of Paraburkholderia's symbiotic relationships may be general within Dictyostelium hosts, but not so general that it can associate with hosts of other genera. Our work further develops an emerging model system for the study of symbiosis in microbes.

RevDate: 2023-07-15

Qiao SA, Gao Z, R Roth (2023)

A perspective on cross-kingdom RNA interference in mutualistic symbioses.

The New phytologist [Epub ahead of print].

RNA interference (RNAi) is arguably one of the more versatile mechanisms in cell biology, facilitating the fine regulation of gene expression and protection against mobile genomic elements, whilst also constituting a key aspect of induced plant immunity. More recently, the use of this mechanism to regulate gene expression in heterospecific partners - cross-kingdom RNAi (ckRNAi) - has been shown to form a critical part of bidirectional interactions between hosts and endosymbionts, regulating the interplay between microbial infection mechanisms and host immunity. Here, we review the current understanding of ckRNAi as it relates to interactions between plants and their pathogenic and mutualistic endosymbionts, with particular emphasis on evidence in support of ckRNAi in the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis.

RevDate: 2023-07-12

Uzum Z, Ershov D, Pavia MJ, et al (2023)

Three-dimensional images reveal the impact of the endosymbiont Midichloria mitochondrii on the host mitochondria.

Nature communications, 14(1):4133.

The hard tick, Ixodes ricinus, a main Lyme disease vector, harbors an intracellular bacterial endosymbiont. Midichloria mitochondrii is maternally inherited and resides in the mitochondria of I. ricinus oocytes, but the consequences of this endosymbiosis are not well understood. Here, we provide 3D images of wild-type and aposymbiotic I. ricinus oocytes generated with focused ion beam-scanning electron microscopy. Quantitative image analyses of endosymbionts and oocyte mitochondria at different maturation stages show that the populations of both mitochondrion-associated bacteria and bacterium-hosting mitochondria increase upon vitellogenisation, and that mitochondria can host multiple bacteria in later stages. Three-dimensional reconstructions show symbiosis-dependent morphologies of mitochondria and demonstrate complete M. mitochondrii inclusion inside a mitochondrion. Cytoplasmic endosymbiont located close to mitochondria are not oriented towards the mitochondria, suggesting that bacterial recolonization is unlikely. We further demonstrate individual globular-shaped mitochondria in the wild type oocytes, while aposymbiotic oocytes only contain a mitochondrial network. In summary, our study suggests that M. mitochondrii modulates mitochondrial fragmentation in oogenesis possibly affecting organelle function and ensuring its presence over generations.

RevDate: 2023-07-11

Candelori A, Di Giuseppe G, Villalobo E, et al (2023)

Bipolar Biogeographical Distribution of Parafrancisella Bacteria Carried by the Ciliate Euplotes.

Microbial ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Parafrancisella adeliensis, a Francisella-like endosymbiont, was found to reside in the cytoplasm of an Antarctic strain of the bipolar ciliate species, Euplotes petzi. To inquire whether Euplotes cells collected from distant Arctic and peri-Antarctic sites host Parafrancisella bacteria, wild-type strains of the congeneric bipolar species, E. nobilii, were screened for Parafrancisella by in situ hybridization and 16S gene amplification and sequencing. Results indicate that all Euplotes strains analyzed contained endosymbiotic bacteria with 16S nucleotide sequences closely similar to the P. adeliensis 16S gene sequence. This finding suggests that Parafrancisella/Euplotes associations are not endemic to Antarctica, but are common in both the Antarctic and Arctic regions.

RevDate: 2023-07-10

Porter J, W Sullivan (2023)

The cellular lives of Wolbachia.

Nature reviews. Microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia are successful Gram-negative bacterial endosymbionts, globally infecting a large fraction of arthropod species and filarial nematodes. Efficient vertical transmission, the capacity for horizontal transmission, manipulation of host reproduction and enhancement of host fitness can promote the spread both within and between species. Wolbachia are abundant and can occupy extraordinary diverse and evolutionary distant host species, suggesting that they have evolved to engage and manipulate highly conserved core cellular processes. Here, we review recent studies identifying Wolbachia-host interactions at the molecular and cellular levels. We explore how Wolbachia interact with a wide array of host cytoplasmic and nuclear components in order to thrive in a diversity of cell types and cellular environments. This endosymbiont has also evolved the ability to precisely target and manipulate specific phases of the host cell cycle. The remarkable diversity of cellular interactions distinguishes Wolbachia from other endosymbionts and is largely responsible for facilitating its global propagation through host populations. Finally, we describe how insights into Wolbachia-host cellular interactions have led to promising applications in controlling insect-borne and filarial nematode-based diseases.

RevDate: 2023-07-10

Zhou JC, Dong QJ, Shang D, et al (2023)

Posterior concentration of Wolbachia during the early embryogenesis of the host dynamically shapes the tissue tropism of Wolbachia in host Trichogramma wasps.

Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 13:1198428.

INTRODUCTION: The bacterial endosymbiont, Wolbachia spp. induce thelytokous parthenogenesis in certain parasitoid wasps, such as the egg parasitoid wasps Trichogramma spp. To complete the cycle of vertical transmission, Wolbachia displays efficient transovarial transmission by targeting the reproductive tissues and often exhibits strong tissue-specific tropism in their host.

METHOD: The present study aimed to describe the basic Wolbachia distribution patterns that occur during the development of Wolbachia-infected, thelytokous Trichogramma dendrolimi, and T. pretiosum. We used fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to investigate Wolbachia signal dynamics during early embryogenesis (from 30 to 120 min). Wolbachia titers and distributions from the embryo to adult stages of Trichogramma after early embryogenesis were detected by absolute quantitative polymerase chain reaction (AQ-PCR) and FISH. The symmetry ratios (SR) of the Wolbachia signals were calculated using the SR odds ratios in the anterior and posterior parts of the host. The SR was determined to describe Wolbachia tropism during early embryogenesis and various developmental stages of Trichogramma.

RESULTS: Wolbachia was concentrated in the posterior part of the embryo during early embryogenesis and the various developmental stages of both T. dendrolimi and T. pretiosum. Wolbachia density increased with the number of nuclei and the initial mitotic division frequency during early embryogenesis. The total Wolbachia titer increased with postembryogenesis development in both T. dendrolimi and T. pretiosum. However, the Wolbachia densities relative to body size were significantly lower at the adult and pupal stages than they were at the embryonic stage.

DISCUSSION: The present work revealed that posterior Wolbachia concentration during early host embryogenesis determined Wolbachia localization in adult wasps. By this mechanism, Wolbachia exhibits efficient vertical transmission across generations by depositing only female Wolbachia-infected offspring. The results of this study describe the dynamics of Wolbachia during the development of their Trichogramma host. The findings of this investigation helped clarify Wolbachia tropism in Trichogramma wasps.

RevDate: 2023-07-07

Tharsan A, Sivabalakrishnan K, Arthiyan S, et al (2023)

Wolbachia infection is widespread in brackish and fresh water Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) in the coastal Jaffna peninsula of northern Sri Lanka.

Journal of vector borne diseases, 60(2):172-178.

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES: Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti are important vectors of dengue and many other arboviral diseases in tropical and sub-tropical locations. Both vectors are tolerant of salinity in the dengue-endemic coastal Jaffna peninsula of northern Sri Lanka. Aedes albopictus pre-imaginal stages are found in field brackish water habitats of up to 14 parts per thousand (ppt, gL[-1]) salt in the Jaffna peninsula. Salinity-tolerance in Aedes is characterized by significant genetic and physiological changes. Infection with the wMel strain of the endosymbiont bacterium Wolbachia pipientis reduces dengue transmission in the field by Ae. aegypti, and the same approach is also being considered for Ae. albopictus. In this context, we investigated natural Wolbachia infections in brackish and fresh water field isolates of Ae. albopictus in the Jaffna district.

METHODS: Aedes albopictus collected as pre-imaginal stages using conventional ovitraps in the Jaffna peninsula and adjacent islands of the Jaffna district were screened by PCR utilizing strain-transcending primers for the presence of Wolbachia. Wolbachia strains were then further identified by PCR using strain-specific primers for the Wolbachia surface protein gene wsp. The Jaffna wsp sequences were compared by phylogenetic analysis with other wsp sequences available in Genbank.

RESULTS: Aedes albopictus were found to be widely infected with the wAlbA and wAlbB strains of Wolbachia in Jaffna. The partial wAlbB wsp surface protein gene sequence in Jaffna Ae. albopictus was identical to a corresponding sequence from South India but different from that in mainland Sri Lanka.

Widespread infection of salinity-tolerant Ae. albopictus with Wolbachia is a factor to be considered when developing Wolbachia-based dengue control in coastal areas like the Jaffna peninsula.

RevDate: 2023-07-07

Wenzel M, CF Aquadro (2023)

Wolbachia genetically interacts with the bag of marbles germline stem cell gene in male D. melanogaster.

microPublication biology, 2023:.

The bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia manipulates reproduction of its arthropod hosts to promote its own maternal vertical transmission. In female D. melanogaster , Wolbachia has been shown to genetically interact with three key reproductive genes (bag of marbles (bam) , Sex-lethal, and mei-P26) , as it rescues the reduced female fertility or fecundity phenotype seen in partial loss-of-function mutants of these genes . Here, we show that Wolbachia also partially rescues male fertility in D. melanogaster carrying a new, largely sterile bam allele when in a bam null genetic background. This finding shows that the molecular mechanism of Wolbachia 's influence on its hosts' reproduction involves interaction with genes in males as well as females, at least in D. melanogaster .

RevDate: 2023-07-06

Herrera G, Vieira Lista MC, Páez-Triana L, et al (2023)

Examining the gut microbiota from several human-biting tick species in Northwestern Spain.

Journal of medical entomology pii:7220472 [Epub ahead of print].

Tick-borne diseases have increased significantly in Europe and Spain in recent years. One strategy explored for tick surveillance and control is the study of the microbiota. The focus is on understanding the relationships between pathogens and endosymbionts within the microbiota and how these relationships can alter these arthropods' vectorial capacity. Thus, it is pivotal to depict the bacterial communities composing the microbiota of ticks present in specific territories. This work aimed to describe the microbiota present in 29 adult individuals of 5 tick species collected from 4 provinces of Castilla y Leon in northwestern Spain from 2015 to 2022. DNA extraction and sequencing of the V4 hypervariable region of 16S-rRNA was performed on the tick samples, with subsequent analysis of diversity, taxonomic composition, and correlations between genera of microorganisms. There were no differences in the alpha diversity of microbiota by tick species, nor were compositional changes evident at the phylum level for microorganisms. However, interindividual differences at the microbial genus level allowed spatial differentiation of the 5 tick species included in the study. Correlation analyses showed complex interactions between different genera of microbiota members. These findings provide an initial insight into the composition of the gut microbiota of various tick species in northwestern Spain, which can contribute to establishing surveillance and control measures to reduce diseases such as rickettsiosis, Lyme disease, and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever.

RevDate: 2023-07-05

Moger-Reischer RZ, Glass JI, Wise KS, et al (2023)

Evolution of a minimal cell.

Nature [Epub ahead of print].

Possessing only essential genes, a minimal cell can reveal mechanisms and processes that are critical for the persistence and stability of life[1,2]. Here we report on how an engineered minimal cell[3,4] contends with the forces of evolution compared with the Mycoplasma mycoides non-minimal cell from which it was synthetically derived. Mutation rates were the highest among all reported bacteria, but were not affected by genome minimization. Genome streamlining was costly, leading to a decrease in fitness of greater than 50%, but this deficit was regained during 2,000 generations of evolution. Despite selection acting on distinct genetic targets, increases in the maximum growth rate of the synthetic cells were comparable. Moreover, when performance was assessed by relative fitness, the minimal cell evolved 39% faster than the non-minimal cell. The only apparent constraint involved the evolution of cell size. The size of the non-minimal cell increased by 80%, whereas the minimal cell remained the same. This pattern reflected epistatic effects of mutations in ftsZ, which encodes a tubulin-homologue protein that regulates cell division and morphology[5,6]. Our findings demonstrate that natural selection can rapidly increase the fitness of one of the simplest autonomously growing organisms. Understanding how species with small genomes overcome evolutionary challenges provides critical insights into the persistence of host-associated endosymbionts, the stability of streamlined chassis for biotechnology and the targeted refinement of synthetically engineered cells[2,7-9].

RevDate: 2023-07-01

Deng J, Bennett GM, Franco DC, et al (2023)

Genome comparison reveals inversions and alternative evolutionary history of nutritional endosymbionts in planthoppers (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha).

Genome biology and evolution pii:7216821 [Epub ahead of print].

The evolutionary success of sap-feeding hemipteran insects in the suborder Auchenorrhyncha was enabled by nutritional contributions from their heritable endosymbiotic bacteria. However, the symbiont diversity, functions, and evolutionary origins in this large insect group have not been broadly characterized using genomic tools. In particular, the origins and relationships among ancient betaproteobacterial symbionts Vidania (in Fulgoromorpha) and Nasuia/Zinderia (in Cicadomorpha) are uncertain. Here, we characterized the genomes of Vidania and Sulcia from three Pyrops planthoppers (family Fulgoridae) to understand their metabolic functions and evolutionary histories. We find that, like in previously characterized planthoppers, these symbionts share nutritional responsibilities, with Vidania providing seven out of ten essential amino acids. Sulcia lineages across the Auchenorrhyncha have a highly conserved genome but with multiple independent rearrangements occurring in an early ancestor of Cicadomorpha or Fulgoromorpha and in a few succeeding lineages. Genomic synteny was also observed within each of the betaproteobacterial symbiont genera Nasuia, Zinderia, and Vidania, but not across them, which challenges the expectation of a shared ancestry for these symbionts. The further comparison of other biological traits strongly suggests an independent origin of Vidania early in the planthopper evolution and possibly of Nasuia and Zinderia in their respective host lineages. This hypothesis further links the potential acquisition of novel nutritional endosymbiont lineages with the emergence of auchenorrhynchan superfamilies.

RevDate: 2023-06-30

Yamada N, Lepetit B, Mann DG, et al (2023)

Prey preference in a kleptoplastic dinoflagellate is linked to photosynthetic performance.

The ISME journal [Epub ahead of print].

Dinoflagellates of the family Kryptoperidiniaceae, known as "dinotoms", possess diatom-derived endosymbionts and contain individuals at three successive evolutionary stages: a transiently maintained kleptoplastic stage; a stage containing multiple permanently maintained diatom endosymbionts; and a further permanent stage containing a single diatom endosymbiont. Kleptoplastic dinotoms were discovered only recently, in Durinskia capensis; until now it has not been investigated kleptoplastic behavior and the metabolic and genetic integration of host and prey. Here, we show D. capensis is able to use various diatom species as kleptoplastids and exhibits different photosynthetic capacities depending on the diatom species. This is in contrast with the prey diatoms in their free-living stage, as there are no differences in their photosynthetic capacities. Complete photosynthesis including both the light reactions and the Calvin cycle remain active only when D. capensis feeds on its habitual associate, the "essential" diatom Nitzschia captiva. The organelles of another edible diatom, N. inconspicua, are preserved intact after ingestion by D. capensis and expresses the psbC gene of the photosynthetic light reaction, while RuBisCO gene expression is lost. Our results indicate that edible but non-essential, "supplemental" diatoms are used by D. capensis for producing ATP and NADPH, but not for carbon fixation. D. capensis has established a species-specifically designed metabolic system allowing carbon fixation to be performed only by its essential diatoms. The ability of D. capensis to ingest supplemental diatoms as kleptoplastids may be a flexible ecological strategy, to use these diatoms as "emergency supplies" while no essential diatoms are available.

RevDate: 2023-06-30

Zając Z, Obregon D, Foucault-Simonin A, et al (2023)

Disparate dynamics of pathogen prevalence in Ixodes ricinus and Dermacentor reticulatus ticks occurring sympatrically in diverse habitats.

Scientific reports, 13(1):10645.

Ixodes ricinus and Dermacentor reticulatus ticks are important reservoirs and vectors of pathogens. The aim of the present study was to investigate the dynamic of the prevalence and genetic diversity of microorganisms detected in these tick species collected from two ecologically diverse biotopes undergoing disparate long-term climate condition. High-throughput real time PCR confirmed high prevalence of microorganisms detected in sympatrically occurring ticks species. D. reticulatus specimens were the most often infected with Francisella-like endosymbiont (FLE) (up to 100.0%) and Rickettsia spp. (up to 91.7%), while in case of I. ricinus the prevalence of Borreliaceae spirochetes reached up to 25.0%. Moreover, pathogens belonging to genera of Bartonella, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia and Babesia were detected in both tick species regardless the biotope. On the other hand, Neoehrlichia mikurensis was conformed only in I. ricinus in the forest biotope, while genetic material of Theileria spp. was found only in D. reticulatus collected from the meadow. Our study confirmed significant impact of biotope type on prevalence of representatives of Borreliaceae and Rickettsiaceae families. The most common co-infection detected in D. reticulatus was Rickettsia spp. + FLE, while Borreliaceae + R. helvetica was the most common in I. ricinus. Additionally, we found significant genetic diversity of R. raoultii gltA gene across studied years, however such relationship was not observed in ticks from studied biotopes. Our results suggest that ecological type of biotope undergoing disparate long-term climate conditions have an impact on prevalence of tick-borne pathogens in adult D. reticulatus and I. ricinus.

RevDate: 2023-06-30

Gao ZM, Xu T, Chen HG, et al (2023)

Early genome erosion and internal phage-symbiont-host interaction in the endosymbionts of a cold-seep tubeworm.

iScience, 26(7):107033 pii:S2589-0042(23)01110-0.

Endosymbiosis with chemosynthetic Gammaproteobacteria is widely recognized as an adaptive mechanism of siboglinid tubeworms, yet evolution of these endosymbionts and their driving forces remain elusive. Here, we report a finished endosymbiont genome (HMS1) of the cold-seep tubeworm Sclerolinum annulatum. The HMS1 genome is small in size, with abundant prophages and transposable elements but lacking gene sets coding for denitrification, hydrogen oxidization, oxidative phosphorylation, vitamin biosynthesis, cell pH and/or sodium homeostasis, environmental sensing, and motility, indicative of early genome erosion and adaptive evolution toward obligate endosymbiosis. Unexpectedly, a prophage embedded in the HMS1 genome undergoes lytic cycle. Highly expressed ROS scavenger and LexA repressor genes indicate that the tubeworm host likely activates the lysogenic phage into lytic cycle through the SOS response to regulate endosymbiont population and harvest nutrients. Our findings indicate progressive evolution of Sclerolinum endosymbionts toward obligate endosymbiosis and expand the knowledge about phage-symbiont-host interaction in deep-sea tubeworms.

RevDate: 2023-06-29

Nieves-Morión M, Camargo S, Bardi S, et al (2023)

Heterologous expression of genes from a cyanobacterial endosymbiont highlights substrate exchanges with its diatom host.

PNAS nexus, 2(6):pgad194.

A few genera of diatoms are widespread and thrive in low-nutrient waters of the open ocean due to their close association with N2-fixing, filamentous heterocyst-forming cyanobacteria. In one of these symbioses, the symbiont, Richelia euintracellularis, has penetrated the cell envelope of the host, Hemiaulus hauckii, and lives inside the host cytoplasm. How the partners interact, including how the symbiont sustains high rates of N2 fixation, is unstudied. Since R. euintracellularis has evaded isolation, heterologous expression of genes in model laboratory organisms was performed to identify the function of proteins from the endosymbiont. Gene complementation of a cyanobacterial invertase mutant and expression of the protein in Escherichia coli showed that R. euintracellularis HH01 possesses a neutral invertase that splits sucrose producing glucose and fructose. Several solute-binding proteins (SBPs) of ABC transporters encoded in the genome of R. euintracellularis HH01 were expressed in E. coli, and their substrates were characterized. The selected SBPs directly linked the host as the source of several substrates, e.g. sugars (sucrose and galactose), amino acids (glutamate and phenylalanine), and a polyamine (spermidine), to support the cyanobacterial symbiont. Finally, transcripts of genes encoding the invertase and SBPs were consistently detected in wild populations of H. hauckii collected from multiple stations and depths in the western tropical North Atlantic. Our results support the idea that the diatom host provides the endosymbiotic cyanobacterium with organic carbon to fuel N2 fixation. This knowledge is key to understanding the physiology of the globally significant H. hauckii-R. euintracellularis symbiosis.

RevDate: 2023-06-29

Goffredi SK, Panossian B, Brzechffa C, et al (2023)

A dynamic epibiont community associated with the bone-eating polychaete genus Osedax.

mBio [Epub ahead of print].

Osedax, the deep-sea annelid found at sunken whalefalls, is known to host Oceanospirillales bacterial endosymbionts intracellularly in specialized roots, which help it feed exclusively on vertebrate bones. Past studies, however, have also made mention of external bacteria on their trunks. During a 14-yr study, we reveal a dynamic, yet persistent, shift of Campylobacterales integrated into the epidermis of Osedax, which change over time as the whale carcass degrades on the sea floor. The Campylobacterales associated with seven species of Osedax, which comprise 67% of the bacterial community on the trunk, appear initially dominated by the genus Arcobacter (at early time points <24 mo), the Sulfurospirillum at intermediate stages (~50 mo), and the Sulfurimonas at later stages (>140 mo) of whale carcass decomposition. Metagenome analysis of the epibiont metabolic capabilities suggests potential for a transition from heterotrophy to autotrophy and differences in their capacity to metabolize oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur. Compared to free-living relatives, the Osedax epibiont genomes were enriched in transposable elements, implicating genetic exchange on the host surface, and contained numerous secretions systems with eukaryotic-like protein (ELP) domains, suggesting a long evolutionary history with these enigmatic, yet widely distributed deep-sea worms. IMPORTANCE Symbiotic associations are widespread in nature and we can expect to find them in every type of ecological niche. In the last twenty years, the myriad of functions, interactions and species comprising microbe-host associations has fueled a surge of interest and appreciation for symbiosis. During this 14-year study, we reveal a dynamic population of bacterial epibionts, integrated into the epidermis of 7 species of a deep-sea worm group that feeds exclusively on the remains of marine mammals. The bacterial genomes provide clues of a long evolutionary history with these enigmatic worms. On the host surface, they exchange genes and appear to undergo ecological succession, as the whale carcass habitat degrades over time, similar to what is observed for some free-living communities. These, and other annelid worms are important keystone species for diverse deep-sea environments, yet the role of attached external bacteria in supporting host health has received relatively little attention.

RevDate: 2023-06-28

Esmael A, Agarkova IV, Dunigan DD, et al (2023)

Viral DNA Accumulation Regulates Replication Efficiency of Chlorovirus OSy-NE5 in Two Closely Related Chlorella variabilis Strains.

Viruses, 15(6): pii:v15061341.

Many chloroviruses replicate in Chlorella variabilis algal strains that are ex-endosymbionts isolated from the protozoan Paramecium bursaria, including the NC64A and Syngen 2-3 strains. We noticed that indigenous water samples produced a higher number of plaque-forming viruses on C. variabilis Syngen 2-3 lawns than on C. variabilis NC64A lawns. These observed differences led to the discovery of viruses that replicate exclusively in Syngen 2-3 cells, named Only Syngen (OSy) viruses. Here, we demonstrate that OSy viruses initiate infection in the restricted host NC64A by synthesizing some early virus gene products and that approximately 20% of the cells produce a small number of empty virus capsids. However, the infected cells did not produce infectious viruses because the cells were unable to replicate the viral genome. This is interesting because all previous attempts to isolate host cells resistant to chlorovirus infection were due to changes in the host receptor for the virus.

RevDate: 2023-06-28

Gheibzadeh MS, Manyumwa CV, Tastan Bishop Ö, et al (2023)

Genome Study of α-, β-, and γ-Carbonic Anhydrases from the Thermophilic Microbiome of Marine Hydrothermal Vent Ecosystems.

Biology, 12(6): pii:biology12060770.

Carbonic anhydrases (CAs) are metalloenzymes that can help organisms survive in hydrothermal vents by hydrating carbon dioxide (CO2). In this study, we focus on alpha (α), beta (β), and gamma (γ) CAs, which are present in the thermophilic microbiome of marine hydrothermal vents. The coding genes of these enzymes can be transferred between hydrothermal-vent organisms via horizontal gene transfer (HGT), which is an important tool in natural biodiversity. We performed big data mining and bioinformatics studies on α-, β-, and γ-CA coding genes from the thermophilic microbiome of marine hydrothermal vents. The results showed a reasonable association between thermostable α-, β-, and γ-CAs in the microbial population of the hydrothermal vents. This relationship could be due to HGT. We found evidence of HGT of α- and β-CAs between Cycloclasticus sp., a symbiont of Bathymodiolus heckerae, and an endosymbiont of Riftia pachyptila via Integrons. Conversely, HGT of β-CA genes from the endosymbiont Tevnia jerichonana to the endosymbiont Riftia pachyptila was detected. In addition, Hydrogenovibrio crunogenus SP-41 contains a β-CA gene on genomic islands (GIs). This gene can be transferred by HGT to Hydrogenovibrio sp. MA2-6, a methanotrophic endosymbiont of Bathymodiolus azoricus, and a methanotrophic endosymbiont of Bathymodiolus puteoserpentis. The endosymbiont of R. pachyptila has a γ-CA gene in the genome. If α- and β-CA coding genes have been derived from other microorganisms, such as endosymbionts of T. jerichonana and Cycloclasticus sp. as the endosymbiont of B. heckerae, through HGT, the theory of the necessity of thermostable CA enzymes for survival in the extreme ecosystem of hydrothermal vents is suggested and helps the conservation of microbiome natural diversity in hydrothermal vents. These harsh ecosystems, with their integral players, such as HGT and endosymbionts, significantly impact the enrichment of life on Earth and the carbon cycle in the ocean.

RevDate: 2023-06-27

Sikorskaya TV (2023)

Coral Lipidome: Molecular Species of Phospholipids, Glycolipids, Betaine Lipids, and Sphingophosphonolipids.

Marine drugs, 21(6): pii:md21060335.

Coral reefs are the most biodiversity-rich ecosystems in the world's oceans. Coral establishes complex interactions with various microorganisms that constitute an important part of the coral holobiont. The best-known coral endosymbionts are Symbiodiniaceae dinoflagellates. Each member of the coral microbiome contributes to its total lipidome, which integrates many molecular species. The present study summarizes available information on the molecular species of the plasma membrane lipids of the coral host and its dinoflagellates (phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), phosphatidylserine (PS), phosphatidylinositol (PI), ceramideaminoethylphosphonate, and diacylglyceryl-3-O-carboxyhydroxymethylcholine), and the thylakoid membrane lipids of dinoflagellates (phosphatidylglycerol (PG) and glycolipids). Alkyl chains of PC and PE molecular species differ between tropical and cold-water coral species, and features of their acyl chains depend on the coral's taxonomic position. PS and PI structural features are associated with the presence of an exoskeleton in the corals. The dinoflagellate thermosensitivity affects the profiles of PG and glycolipid molecular species, which can be modified by the coral host. Coral microbiome members, such as bacteria and fungi, can also be the source of the alkyl and acyl chains of coral membrane lipids. The lipidomics approach, providing broader and more detailed information about coral lipid composition, opens up new opportunities in the study of biochemistry and ecology of corals.

RevDate: 2023-06-27

Bazukyan I, Georgieva-Miteva D, Velikova T, et al (2023)

In Silico Probiogenomic Characterization of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. lactis A4 Strain Isolated from an Armenian Honeybee Gut.

Insects, 14(6): pii:insects14060540.

A Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. lactis strain named A4, isolated from the gut of an Armenian honeybee, was subjected to a probiogenomic characterization because of its unusual origin. A whole-genome sequencing was performed, and the bioinformatic analysis of its genome revealed a reduction in the genome size and the number of the genes-a process typical for the adaptation to endosymbiotic conditions. Further analysis of the genome revealed that Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. lactis strain named A4 could play the role of a probiotic endosymbiont because of the presence of intact genetic sequences determining antioxidant properties, exopolysaccharides synthesis, adhesion properties, and biofilm formation, as well as an antagonistic activity against some pathogens which is not due to pH or bacteriocins production. Additionally, the genomic analysis revealed significant potential for stress tolerance, such as extreme pH, osmotic stress, and high temperature. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a potentially endosymbiotic Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. lactis strain adapted to and playing beneficial roles for its host.

RevDate: 2023-06-26

Macorano L, Binny TM, Spiegl T, et al (2023)

DNA-binding and protein structure of nuclear factors likely acting in genetic information processing in the Paulinella chromatophore.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120(27):e2221595120.

The chromatophores in Paulinella are evolutionary-early-stage photosynthetic organelles. Biological processes in chromatophores depend on a combination of chromatophore and nucleus-encoded proteins. Interestingly, besides proteins carrying chromatophore-targeting signals, a large arsenal of short chromatophore-targeted proteins (sCTPs; <90 amino acids) without recognizable targeting signals were found in chromatophores. This situation resembles endosymbionts in plants and insects that are manipulated by host-derived antimicrobial peptides. Previously, we identified an expanded family of sCTPs of unknown function, named here "DNA-binding (DB)-sCTPs". DB-sCTPs contain a ~45 amino acid motif that is conserved in some bacterial proteins with predicted functions in DNA processing. Here, we explored antimicrobial activity, DNA-binding capacity, and structures of three purified recombinant DB-sCTPs. All three proteins exhibited antimicrobial activity against bacteria involving membrane permeabilization, and bound to bacterial lipids in vitro. A combination of in vitro assays demonstrated binding of recombinant DB-sCTPs to chromatophore-derived genomic DNA sequences with an affinity in the low nM range. Additionally, we report the 1.2 Å crystal structure of one DB-sCTP. In silico docking studies suggest that helix α2 inserts into the DNA major grove and the exposed residues, that are highly variable between different DB-sCTPs, confer interaction with the DNA bases. Identification of photosystem II subunit CP43 as a potential interaction partner of one DB-sCTP, suggests DB-sCTPs to be involved in more complex regulatory mechanisms. We hypothesize that membrane binding of DB-sCTPs is related to their import into chromatophores. Once inside, they interact with the chromatophore genome potentially providing nuclear control over genetic information processing.

RevDate: 2023-06-26

Gashururu RS, Maingi N, Githigia SM, et al (2023)

Trypanosomes infection, endosymbionts, and host preferences in tsetse flies (Glossina spp.) collected from Akagera park region, Rwanda: A correlational xenomonitoring study.

One health (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 16:100550 pii:S2352-7714(23)00070-8.

Akagera National Park and its surroundings are home to tsetse flies and a number of their mammalian hosts in Rwanda. A One-health approach is being used in the control and surveillance of both animal and human trypanosomosis in Rwanda. Determination of the infection level in tsetse flies, species of trypanosomes circulating in vectors, the source of tsetse blood meal and endosymbionts is crucial in understanding the epidemiology of the disease in animals and humans in the region. Tsetse flies (n = 1101), comprising Glossina pallidipes (n = 771) and Glossina morsitans centralis (n = 330) were collected from Akagera park and surrounding areas between May 2018 and June 2019. The flies were screened for trypanosomes, vertebrate host DNA to identify sources of blood meal, and endosymbionts by PCR - High Resolution Melting analysis and amplicon sequencing. The feeding frequency and the feeding indices (selection index - W) were calculated to identify the preferred hosts. An overall trypanosome infection rate of 13.9% in the fly's Head and Proboscis (HP) and 24.3% in the Thorax and Abdomen (TA) were found. Eight trypanosome species were identified in the tsetse fly HP and TA, namely: Trypanosoma (T.) brucei brucei, T. congolense Kilifi, T. congolense savannah, T. vivax, T. simiae, T. evansi, T. godfreyi, T. grayi and T. theileri. We found no evidence of human-infective T. brucei rhodesiense. We also identified eighteen species of vertebrate hosts that tsetse flies fed on, and the most frequent one was the buffalo (Syncerus caffer) (36.5%). The frequently detected host by selection index was the rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) (W = 16.2). Most trypanosome infections in tsetse flies were associated with the buffalo blood meal. The prevalence of tsetse endosymbionts Sodalis and Wolbachia was 2.8% and 4.8%, respectively. No Spiroplasma and Salivary Gland Hypertrophy Virus were detected. These findings implicate the buffaloes as the important reservoirs of tsetse-transmitted trypanosomes in the area. This contributes to predicting the main cryptic reservoirs and therefore guiding the effective control of the disease. The study findings provide the key scientific information that supports the current One Health collaboration in the control and surveillance of tsetse-transmitted trypanosomosis in Rwanda.

RevDate: 2023-06-26

Beckmann J, Gillespie J, D Tauritz (2023)

Modeling emergence of Wolbachia toxin-antidote protein functions with an evolutionary algorithm.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1116766.

Evolutionary algorithms (EAs) simulate Darwinian evolution and adeptly mimic natural evolution. Most EA applications in biology encode high levels of abstraction in top-down population ecology models. In contrast, our research merges protein alignment algorithms from bioinformatics into codon based EAs that simulate molecular protein string evolution from the bottom up. We apply our EA to reconcile a problem in the field of Wolbachia induced cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). Wolbachia is a microbial endosymbiont that lives inside insect cells. CI is conditional insect sterility that operates as a toxin antidote (TA) system. Although, CI exhibits complex phenotypes not fully explained under a single discrete model. We instantiate in-silico genes that control CI, CI factors (cifs), as strings within the EA chromosome. We monitor the evolution of their enzymatic activity, binding, and cellular localization by applying selective pressure on their primary amino acid strings. Our model helps rationalize why two distinct mechanisms of CI induction might coexist in nature. We find that nuclear localization signals (NLS) and Type IV secretion system signals (T4SS) are of low complexity and evolve fast, whereas binding interactions have intermediate complexity, and enzymatic activity is the most complex. Our model predicts that as ancestral TA systems evolve into eukaryotic CI systems, the placement of NLS or T4SS signals can stochastically vary, imparting effects that might impact CI induction mechanics. Our model highlights how preconditions and sequence length can bias evolution of cifs toward one mechanism or another.

RevDate: 2023-06-22

Ehlers LP, Slaviero M, De Lorenzo C, et al (2023)

Pathological findings associated with Dipetalonema spp. (Spirurida, Onchocercidae) infection in two species of Neotropical monkeys from Brazil.

Parasitology research [Epub ahead of print].

Among vector-borne helminths, filarioids of the genus Dipetalonema (Spirurida: Onchocercidae) localize in several tissues and body cavities of several animal species, causing mild to moderate lesions. The pathological findings associated with Dipetalonema spp. infection in Neotropical monkeys from southern Brazil are herein described, along with a fatal case due to filarial polyserositis and entrapment of an intestinal segment. At necropsy, nematodes were observed in abdominal and thoracic cavities, or in the pericardium of 37 (31.3%) out of the 118 individuals examined (i.e., 35 Alouatta guariba clamitans and two Sapajus nigritus). In addition, at histology, 27.0% of positive animals presented microfilarie (inside blood vessels of lung, spleen, liver, and brain) and 8.1% presented adult nematodes in the heart, lung, and liver. In two cases, cross-sections of filarioids were associated with areas of epicardial thickening with intense fibrosis and pyogranulomatous inflammation in the brain, heart, liver, lungs, or spleen. The DNA fragment was amplify using the cox1 gene, sequenced and analyzed to identify the nematode species collected; presence of Wolbachia was assessed in the filarioids using the 16S rRNA gene. At BLAST analysis of the cox1 gene, 10 sequences showed 91.7% nucleotide identity with Dipetalonema gracile, and two with D. gracile (98.5%) and Dipetalonema graciliformis (98.3%). Phylogenetic analyses clustered sequences of the cox1 obtained in this study in two clades corresponding with the host species. Wolbachia sp. endosymbiont was detected in four samples. Data herein reported provide a description of pathological lesions associated with the infection by Dipetalonema spp., suggesting that they may cause disease in Neotropical monkeys. In addition, a better understanding of diversity and biology of Dipetalonema spp. in South America is needed to assess the impact they may cause in native non-human primates from Brazil.

RevDate: 2023-06-22

Gao YF, Ren YJ, Chen JC, et al (2023)

Effects of fungicides on fitness and Buchnera endosymbiont density in Aphis gossypii.

Pest management science [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Several agricultural fungicides are known to affect insect pests directly and these effects may be transgenerational and mediated through impacts on endosymbionts, providing opportunities for pest control. The cotton aphid Aphis gossypii is a polyphagous pest that can cause large crop yield losses. Here we tested the effects of three fungicides, pyraclostrobin, trifloxystrobin, and chlorothalonil, on the fitness and Buchnera endosymbiont of A. gossypii.

RESULTS: The formulations of trifloxystrobin and pyraclostrobin, and the active ingredient of pyraclostrobin, produced dose-dependent mortality to A. gossypii, while there was no dose-dependent mortality for chlorothalonil. The formulations of trifloxystrobin and pyraclostrobin significantly reduced the lifespan and fecundity of A. gossypii, and increased the density of Buchnera in the parental generation but not the (unexposed) F1 . When the active ingredient of pyraclostrobin was tested, the lifespan of the F0 generation was also reduced but not the density of Buchnera, indicating that non-insecticidal chemicals in the fungicide formulation may affect density of the endosymbiont of A. gossypii. There was no transgenerational effect of active ingredient of pyraclostrobin on the lifespan and Buchnera of (unexposed) F1 .

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that formulations of two strobilurin fungicides have immediate impacts on the fitness of A. gossypii, and chemicals in the formulation impact the density of the primary Buchnera endosymbiont. Our study highlights the potential effects of non-insecticidal chemicals of fungicides on aphid pests and their primary endosymbionts but direct connections between fitness and Buchnera densities remain unclear. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2023-06-20

Arora J, Buček A, Hellemans S, et al (2023)

Evidence of cospeciation between termites and their gut bacteria on a geological time scale.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 290(2001):20230619.

Termites host diverse communities of gut microbes, including many bacterial lineages only found in this habitat. The bacteria endemic to termite guts are transmitted via two routes: a vertical route from parent colonies to daughter colonies and a horizontal route between colonies sometimes belonging to different termite species. The relative importance of both transmission routes in shaping the gut microbiota of termites remains unknown. Using bacterial marker genes derived from the gut metagenomes of 197 termites and one Cryptocercus cockroach, we show that bacteria endemic to termite guts are mostly transferred vertically. We identified 18 lineages of gut bacteria showing cophylogenetic patterns with termites over tens of millions of years. Horizontal transfer rates estimated for 16 bacterial lineages were within the range of those estimated for 15 mitochondrial genes, suggesting that horizontal transfers are uncommon and vertical transfers are the dominant transmission route in these lineages. Some of these associations probably date back more than 150 million years and are an order of magnitude older than the cophylogenetic patterns between mammalian hosts and their gut bacteria. Our results suggest that termites have cospeciated with their gut bacteria since first appearing in the geological record.

RevDate: 2023-06-16

Awori RM, Waturu CN, Pidot SJ, et al (2023)

Draft genomes, phylogenomic reconstruction and comparative genome analysis of three Xenorhabdus strains isolated from soil-dwelling nematodes in Kenya.

Access microbiology, 5(5):.

As a proven source of potent and selective antimicrobials, Xenorhabdus bacteria are important to an age plagued with difficult-to-treat microbial infections. Yet, only 27 species have been described to date. In this study, a novel Xenorhabdus species was discovered through genomic studies on three isolates from Kenyan soils. Soils in Western Kenya were surveyed for steinernematids and Steinernema isolates VH1 and BG5 were recovered from red volcanic loam soils from cultivated land in Vihiga and clay soils from riverine land in Bungoma respectively. From the two nematode isolates, Xenorhabdus sp. BG5 and Xenorhabdus sp. VH1 were isolated. The genomes of these two, plus that of X. griffiniae XN45 - this was previously isolated from Steinernema sp. scarpo that also originated from Kenyan soils - were sequenced and assembled. Nascent genome assemblies of the three isolates were of good quality with over 70 % of their proteome having known functions. These three isolates formed the X. griffiniae clade in a phylogenomic reconstruction of the genus. Their species were delineated using three overall genome relatedness indices: an unnamed species of the genus, Xenorhabdus sp. BG5, X. griffiniae VH1 and X. griffiniae XN45. A pangenome analysis of this clade revealed that over 70 % of species-specific genes encoded unknown functions. Transposases were linked to genomic islands in Xenorhabdus sp. BG5. Thus, overall genome-related indices sufficiently delineated species of two new Xenorhabdus isolates from Kenya, both of which were closely related to X. griffiniae . The functions encoded by most species-specific genes in the X. griffiniae clade remain unknown.

RevDate: 2023-06-16

Hyams Y, Rubin-Blum M, Rosner A, et al (2023)

Physiological changes during torpor favor association with Endozoicomonas endosymbionts in the urochordate Botrylloides leachii.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1072053.

Environmental perturbations evoke down-regulation of metabolism in some multicellular organisms, leading to dormancy, or torpor. Colonies of the urochordate Botrylloides leachii enter torpor in response to changes in seawater temperature and may survive for months as small vasculature remnants that lack feeding and reproductive organs but possess torpor-specific microbiota. Upon returning to milder conditions, the colonies rapidly restore their original morphology, cytology and functionality while harboring re-occurring microbiota, a phenomenon that has not been described in detail to date. Here we investigated the stability of B. leachii microbiome and its functionality in active and dormant colonies, using microscopy, qPCR, in situ hybridization, genomics and transcriptomics. A novel lineage of Endozoicomonas, proposed here as Candidatus Endozoicomonas endoleachii, was dominant in torpor animals (53-79% read abundance), and potentially occupied specific hemocytes found only in torpid animals. Functional analysis of the metagenome-assembled genome and genome-targeted transcriptomics revealed that Endozoicomonas can use various cellular substrates, like amino acids and sugars, potentially producing biotin and thiamine, but also expressing various features involved in autocatalytic symbiosis. Our study suggests that the microbiome can be linked to the metabolic and physiological states of the host, B. leachii, introducing a model organism for the study of symbioses during drastic physiological changes, such as torpor.


RJR Experience and Expertise


Robbins holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in the life sciences. He served as a tenured faculty member in the Zoology and Biological Science departments at Michigan State University. He is currently exploring the intersection between genomics, microbial ecology, and biodiversity — an area that promises to transform our understanding of the biosphere.


Robbins has extensive experience in college-level education: At MSU he taught introductory biology, genetics, and population genetics. At JHU, he was an instructor for a special course on biological database design. At FHCRC, he team-taught a graduate-level course on the history of genetics. At Bellevue College he taught medical informatics.


Robbins has been involved in science administration at both the federal and the institutional levels. At NSF he was a program officer for database activities in the life sciences, at DOE he was a program officer for information infrastructure in the human genome project. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he served as a vice president for fifteen years.


Robbins has been involved with information technology since writing his first Fortran program as a college student. At NSF he was the first program officer for database activities in the life sciences. At JHU he held an appointment in the CS department and served as director of the informatics core for the Genome Data Base. At the FHCRC he was VP for Information Technology.


While still at Michigan State, Robbins started his first publishing venture, founding a small company that addressed the short-run publishing needs of instructors in very large undergraduate classes. For more than 20 years, Robbins has been operating The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project, a web site dedicated to the digital publishing of critical works in science, especially classical genetics.


Robbins is well-known for his speaking abilities and is often called upon to provide keynote or plenary addresses at international meetings. For example, in July, 2012, he gave a well-received keynote address at the Global Biodiversity Informatics Congress, sponsored by GBIF and held in Copenhagen. The slides from that talk can be seen HERE.


Robbins is a skilled meeting facilitator. He prefers a participatory approach, with part of the meeting involving dynamic breakout groups, created by the participants in real time: (1) individuals propose breakout groups; (2) everyone signs up for one (or more) groups; (3) the groups with the most interested parties then meet, with reports from each group presented and discussed in a subsequent plenary session.


Robbins has been engaged with photography and design since the 1960s, when he worked for a professional photography laboratory. He now prefers digital photography and tools for their precision and reproducibility. He designed his first web site more than 20 years ago and he personally designed and implemented this web site. He engages in graphic design as a hobby.

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E-mail: RJR8222@gmail.com

Collection of publications by R J Robbins

Reprints and preprints of publications, slide presentations, instructional materials, and data compilations written or prepared by Robert Robbins. Most papers deal with computational biology, genome informatics, using information technology to support biomedical research, and related matters.

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

ResearchGate is a social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators. According to a study by Nature and an article in Times Higher Education , it is the largest academic social network in terms of active users.

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

short personal version

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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