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22 Apr 2024 at 01:52
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Bibliography on: Endosymbiosis


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 22 Apr 2024 at 01:52 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: 2024-04-18

Abresch H, Bell T, SR Miller (2024)

Diurnal transcriptional variation is reduced in a nitrogen-fixing diatom endosymbiont.

The ISME journal pii:7651117 [Epub ahead of print].

Many organisms have formed symbiotic relationships with nitrogen (N)-fixing bacteria to overcome N limitation. Diatoms in the family Rhopalodiaceae host unicellular, N-fixing cyanobacterial endosymbionts called spheroid bodies (SBs). Although this relationship is relatively young, SBs share many key features with older endosymbionts, including coordinated cell division and genome reduction. Unlike free-living relatives that fix N exclusively at night, SBs fix N largely during the day; however, how SB metabolism is regulated and coordinated with the host is not yet understood. We compared four SB genomes, including those from two new host species (Rhopalodia gibba and Epithemia adnata), to build a genome-wide phylogeny which provides a better understanding of SB evolutionary origins. Contrary to models of endosymbiotic genome reduction, the SB chromosome is unusually stable for an endosymbiont genome, likely due to the early loss of all mobile elements. Transcriptomic data for the R. gibba SB and host organelles addressed whether and how the allocation of transcriptional resources depends on light and nitrogen availability. Whereas allocation to the SB was high under all conditions, relative expression of chloroplast photosynthesis genes increased in the absence of nitrate, but this pattern was suppressed by nitrate addition. SB expression of catabolism genes was generally greater during daytime rather than at night, although the magnitude of diurnal changes in expression was modest compared to free-living cyanobacteria. We conclude that SB daytime catabolism likely supports N-fixation by linking the process to host photosynthetic carbon fixation.

RevDate: 2024-04-18

Deore P, Tsang Min Ching SJ, Nitschke MR, et al (2024)

Unique photosynthetic strategies employed by closely related Breviolum minutum strains under rapid short-term cumulative heat stress.

Journal of experimental botany pii:7651021 [Epub ahead of print].

The thermal tolerance of symbiodiniacean photo-endosymbionts largely underpins the thermal bleaching resilience of their cnidarian hosts such as corals and the coral model, Exaiptasia diaphana. While variation in thermal tolerance between species is well documented, variation between conspecific strains is understudied. We compared the thermal tolerance of three closely related strains of Breviolum minutum represented by two internal transcribed spacer region 2 profiles (one strain B1-B1o-B1g-B1p and the other two strains B1-B1a-B1b-1g) and differences in photochemical and non-photochemical quenching, de-epoxidation state of photopigments, and accumulation of reactive oxygen species under rapid short-term cumulative temperature stress (26-40°C). We found that B. minutum strains employ distinct photoprotective strategies, resulting in different upper thermal tolerances. We provide evidence for previously unknown interdependencies between thermal tolerance traits and photoprotective mechanisms which include a delicate balancing of excitation energy and its dissipation through fast relaxing and state transition components of non-photochemical quenching. The more thermally tolerant B. minutum strain (B1-B1o-B1g-B1p) exhibited an enhanced de-epoxidation that is strongly linked to the thylakoid membrane melting point and possibly membrane rigidification minimising oxidative damage. This study provides an in-depth understanding of photoprotective mechanisms underpinning thermal tolerance in closely related strains of B. minutum.

RevDate: 2024-04-17

Alkathiry HA, Alghamdi SQ, Sinha A, et al (2024)

Microbiome and mitogenomics of the chigger mite Pentidionis agamae: potential role as an Orientia vector and associations with divergent clades of Wolbachia and Borrelia.

BMC genomics, 25(1):380.

BACKGROUND: Trombiculid mites are globally distributed, highly diverse arachnids that largely lack molecular resources such as whole mitogenomes for the elucidation of taxonomic relationships. Trombiculid larvae (chiggers) parasitise vertebrates and can transmit bacteria (Orientia spp.) responsible for scrub typhus, a zoonotic febrile illness. Orientia tsutsugamushi causes most cases of scrub typhus and is endemic to the Asia-Pacific Region, where it is transmitted by Leptotrombidium spp. chiggers. However, in Dubai, Candidatus Orientia chuto was isolated from a case of scrub typhus and is also known to circulate among rodents in Saudi Arabia and Kenya, although its vectors remain poorly defined. In addition to Orientia, chiggers are often infected with other potential pathogens or arthropod-specific endosymbionts, but their significance for trombiculid biology and public health is unclear.

RESULTS: Ten chigger species were collected from rodents in southwestern Saudi Arabia. Chiggers were pooled according to species and screened for Orientia DNA by PCR. Two species (Microtrombicula muhaylensis and Pentidionis agamae) produced positive results for the htrA gene, although Ca. Orientia chuto DNA was confirmed by Sanger sequencing only in P. agamae. Metagenomic sequencing of three pools of P. agamae provided evidence for two other bacterial associates: a spirochaete and a Wolbachia symbiont. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA and multi-locus sequence typing genes placed the spirochaete in a clade of micromammal-associated Borrelia spp. that are widely-distributed globally with no known vector. For the Wolbachia symbiont, a genome assembly was obtained that allowed phylogenetic localisation in a novel, divergent clade. Cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) barcodes for Saudi Arabian chiggers enabled comparisons with global chigger diversity, revealing several cases of discordance with classical taxonomy. Complete mitogenome assemblies were obtained for the three P. agamae pools and almost 50 SNPs were identified, despite a common geographic origin.

CONCLUSIONS: P. agamae was identified as a potential vector of Ca. Orientia chuto on the Arabian Peninsula. The detection of an unusual Borrelia sp. and a divergent Wolbachia symbiont in P. agamae indicated links with chigger microbiomes in other parts of the world, while COI barcoding and mitogenomic analyses greatly extended our understanding of inter- and intraspecific relationships in trombiculid mites.

RevDate: 2024-04-17

Arai H, Legeai F, Kageyama D, et al (2024)

Genomic insights into Spiroplasma endosymbionts that induce male-killing and protective phenotypes in the pea aphid.

FEMS microbiology letters pii:7649363 [Epub ahead of print].

The endosymbiotic bacteria Spiroplasma (Mollicutes) infect diverse plants and arthropods, and some of which induce male killing, where male hosts are killed during development. Male-killing Spiroplasma strains belong to either the phylogenetically distant Citri-Poulsonii or Ixodetis groups. In Drosophila flies, Spiroplasma poulsonii induces male killing via the Spaid toxin. While Spiroplasma ixodetis infects a wide range of insects and arachnids, little is known about the genetic basis of S. ixodetis-induced male killing. Here, we analyzed the genome of S. ixodetis strains in the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum (Aphididae, Hemiptera). Genome sequencing constructed a complete genome of a male-killing strain, sAp269, consisting of a 1.5 Mb circular chromosome and an 80 Kb plasmid. sAp269 encoded putative virulence factors containing either ankyrin repeat, ovarian tumor-like deubiquitinase, or ribosome inactivating protein domains, but lacked the Spaid toxin. Further comparative genomics of Spiroplasma strains in A. pisum biotypes adapted to different host plants revealed their phylogenetic associations and the diversity of putative virulence factors. Although the mechanisms of S. ixodetis-induced male killing in pea aphids remain elusive, this study underlines the dynamic genome evolution of S. ixodetis and proposes independent acquisition events of male-killing mechanisms in insects.

RevDate: 2024-04-17

Pilgrim J (2024)

Comparative genomics of a novel Erwinia species associated with the Highland midge (Culicoides impunctatus).

Microbial genomics, 10(4):.

Erwinia (Enterobacterales: Erwiniaceae) are a group of cosmopolitan bacteria best known as the causative agents of various plant diseases. However, other species in this genus have been found to play important roles as insect endosymbionts supplementing the diet of their hosts. Here, I describe Candidatus Erwinia impunctatus (Erwimp) associated with the Highland midge Culicoides impunctatus (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae), an abundant biting pest in the Scottish Highlands. The genome of this new Erwinia species was assembled using hybrid long and short read techniques, and a comparative analysis was undertaken with other members of the genus to understand its potential ecological niche and impact. Genome composition analysis revealed that Erwimp is similar to other endophytic and ectophytic species in the genus and is unlikely to be restricted to its insect host. Evidence for an additional plant host includes the presence of a carotenoid synthesis operon implicated as a virulence factor in plant-associated members in the sister genus Pantoea. Unique features of Erwimp include several copies of intimin-like proteins which, along with signs of genome pseudogenization and a loss of certain metabolic pathways, suggests an element of host restriction seen elsewhere in the genus. Furthermore, a screening of individuals over two field seasons revealed the absence of the bacteria in Culicoides impunctatus during the second year indicating this microbe-insect interaction is likely to be transient. These data suggest that Culicoides impunctatus may have an important role to play beyond a biting nuisance, as an insect vector transmitting Erwimp alongside any conferred impacts to surrounding biota.

RevDate: 2024-04-17

Nakajima H, Fukui A, Suzuki K, et al (2024)


The Journal of parasitology, 110(2):159-169.

Dicyemids (phylum Dicyemida) are the most common and most characteristic endosymbionts in the renal sacs of benthic cephalopod molluscs: octopuses and cuttlefishes. Typically, 2 or 3 dicyemid species are found in a single specimen of the host, and most dicyemids have high host specificity. Host-specific parasites are restricted to a limited range of host species by ecological barriers that impede dispersal and successful establishment; therefore, phylogenies of interacting groups are often congruent due to repeated co-speciation. Most frequently, however, host and parasite phylogenies are not congruent, which can be explained by processes such as host switching and other macro-evolutionary events. Here, the history of dicyemids and their host cephalopod associations were studied by comparing their phylogenies. Dicyemid species were collected from 8 decapodiform species and 12 octopodiform species in Japanese waters. Using whole mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) sequences, a phylogeny of 37 dicyemid species, including 4 genera representing the family Dicyemidae, was reconstructed. Phylogenetic trees derived from analyses of COI genes consistently suggested that dicyemid species should be separated into 3 major clades and that the most common genera, Dicyema and Dicyemennea, are not monophyletic. Thus, morphological classification does not reflect the phylogenetic relationships of these 2 genera. Divergence (speciation) of dicyemid species seems to have occurred within a single host species. Possible host-switching events may have occurred between the Octopodiformes and Decapodiformes or within the Octopodiformes or the Decapodiformes. Therefore, the mechanism of dicyemid speciation may be a mixture of host switching and intra-host speciation. This is the first study in which the process of dicyemid diversification involving cephalopod hosts has been evaluated with a large number of dicyemid species and genera.

RevDate: 2024-04-17

Bard NW, Cronk QCB, TJ Davies (2024)

Fungal endophytes can modulate plant invasion.

Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society [Epub ahead of print].

Symbiotic organisms may contribute to a host plant's success or failure to grow, its ability to maintain viable populations, and potentially, its probability of establishment and spread outside its native range. Intercellular and intracellular microbial symbionts that are asymptomatic in their plant host during some or all of their life cycle - endophytes - can form mutualistic, commensal, or pathogenic relationships, and sometimes novel associations with alien plants. Fungal endophytes are likely the most common endosymbiont infecting plants, with life-history, morphological, physiological, and plant-symbiotic traits that are distinct from other endophytic guilds. Here, we review the community dynamics of fungal endophytes during the process of plant invasion, and how their functional role may shift during the different stages of invasion: transport, introduction (colonisation), establishment, and spread. Each invasion stage presents distinct ecological filters that an alien plant must overcome to advance to the subsequent stage of invasion. Endophytes can alternately aid the host in overcoming stage-specific filters, or contribute to the barriers imposed by filters (e.g. biotic resistance), thereby affecting invasion pathways. A few fungi can be transported as seed endophytes from their native range and be vertically transmitted to future generations in the non-native range, especially in graminoids. In other plant groups, alien plants mostly acquire endophytes via horizontal transmission from the invaded plant community, and the host endophyte community is shaped by host filtering and biogeographic factors (e.g. dispersal limitation, environmental filtering). Endophytes infecting alien plants (both those transported with their host and those accumulated in the non-native range) may influence invasion success by affecting plant growth, reproduction, environmental tolerance, and pathogen and herbivory defences; however, the direction and magnitude of these effects can be contingent upon the host identity, life stage, ecological conditions, and invasion stage. This context dependence may cause endophytic fungi to shift to a non-endophytic (e.g. pathogenic) functional life stage in the same or different hosts, which can modify alien-native plant community dynamics. We conclude by identifying paths in which alien hosts can exploit the context dependency of endophyte function in novel abiotic and biotic conditions and at the different stages of invasion.

RevDate: 2024-04-17

Rooney T, Fèvre EM, Villinger J, et al (2024)

Coxiella burnetii serostatus in dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) is associated with the presence of C. burnetii DNA in attached ticks in Laikipia County, Kenya.

Zoonoses and public health [Epub ahead of print].

AIMS: Q fever is a globally distributed, neglected zoonotic disease of conservation and public health importance, caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii. Coxiella burnetii normally causes subclinical infections in livestock, but may also cause reproductive pathology and spontaneous abortions in artiodactyl species. One such artiodactyl, the dromedary camel (Camelus dromedarius), is an increasingly important livestock species in semi-arid landscapes. Ticks are naturally infected with C. burnetii worldwide and are frequently found on camels in Kenya. In this study, we assessed the relationship between dromedary camels' C. burnetii serostatus and whether the camels were carrying C. burnetii PCR-positive ticks in Kenya. We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between camel seropositivity and carrying C. burnetii PCR-positive ticks.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Blood was collected from camels (N = 233) from three herds, and serum was analysed using commercial ELISA antibody test kits. Ticks were collected (N = 4354), divided into pools of the same species from the same camel (N = 397) and tested for C. burnetii and Coxiella-like endosymbionts. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize seroprevalence by camel demographic and clinical variables. Univariate logistic regression analyses were used to assess relationships between serostatus (outcome) and tick PCR status, camel demographic variables, and camel clinical variables (predictors). Camel C. burnetii seroprevalence was 52%. Across tick pools, the prevalence of C. burnetii was 15% and Coxiella-like endosymbionts was 27%. Camel seropositivity was significantly associated with the presence of a C. burnetii PCR-positive tick pool (OR: 2.58; 95% CI: 1.4-5.1; p = 0.0045), increasing age class, and increasing total solids.

CONCLUSIONS: The role of ticks and camels in the epidemiology of Q fever warrants further research to better understand this zoonotic disease that has potential to cause illness and reproductive losses in humans, livestock, and wildlife.

RevDate: 2024-04-16

McCutcheon JP, Garber AI, Spencer N, et al (2024)

How do bacterial endosymbionts work with so few genes?.

PLoS biology, 22(4):e3002577 pii:PBIOLOGY-D-23-03181.

The move from a free-living environment to a long-term residence inside a host eukaryotic cell has profound effects on bacterial function. While endosymbioses are found in many eukaryotes, from protists to plants to animals, the bacteria that form these host-beneficial relationships are even more diverse. Endosymbiont genomes can become radically smaller than their free-living relatives, and their few remaining genes show extreme compositional biases. The details of how these reduced and divergent gene sets work, and how they interact with their host cell, remain mysterious. This Unsolved Mystery reviews how genome reduction alters endosymbiont biology and highlights a "tipping point" where the loss of the ability to build a cell envelope coincides with a marked erosion of translation-related genes.

RevDate: 2024-04-16

Marulanda-Moreno SM, Saldamando-Benjumea CI, Vivero Gomez R, et al (2024)

Comparative analysis of Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae) corn and rice strains microbiota revealed minor changes across life cycle and strain endosymbiont association.

PeerJ, 12:e17087 pii:17087.

BACKGROUND: Spodoptera frugiperda (FAW) is a pest that poses a significant threat to corn production worldwide, causing millions of dollars in losses. The species has evolved into two strains (corn and rice) that differ in their genetics, reproductive isolation, and resistance to insecticides and Bacillus thuringiensis endotoxins. The microbiota plays an important role in insects' physiology, nutrient acquisition, and response to chemical and biological controls. Several studies have been carried out on FAW microbiota from larvae guts using laboratory or field samples and a couple of studies have analyzed the corn strain microbiota across its life cycle. This investigation reveals the first comparison between corn strain (CS) and rice strain (RS) of FAW during different developmental insect stages and, more importantly, endosymbiont detection in both strains, highlighting the importance of studying both FAW populations and samples from different stages.

METHODS: The composition of microbiota during the life cycle of the FAW corn and rice strains was analyzed through high-throughput sequencing of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene using the MiSeq system. Additionally, culture-dependent techniques were used to isolate gut bacteria and the Transcribed Internal Spacer-ITS, 16S rRNA, and gyrB genes were examined to enhance bacterial identification.

RESULTS: Richness, diversity, and bacterial composition changed significantly across the life cycle of FAW. Most diversity was observed in eggs and males. Differences in gut microbiota diversity between CS and RS were minor. However, Leuconostoc, A2, Klebsiella, Lachnoclostridium, Spiroplasma, and Mucispirilum were mainly associated with RS and Colidextribacter, Pelomonas, Weissella, and Arsenophonus to CS, suggesting that FAW strains differ in several genera according to the host plant. Firmicutes and Proteobacteria were the dominant phyla during FAW metamorphosis. Illeobacterium, Ralstonia, and Burkholderia exhibited similar abundancies in both strains. Enterococcus was identified as a conserved taxon across the entire FAW life cycle. Microbiota core communities mainly consisted of Enterococcus and Illeobacterium. A positive correlation was found between Spiroplasma with RS (sampled from eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults) and Arsenophonus (sampled from eggs, larvae, and adults) with CS. Enterococcus mundtii was predominant in all developmental stages. Previous studies have suggested its importance in FAW response to B. thuringensis. Our results are relevant for the characterization of FAW corn and rice strains microbiota to develop new strategies for their control. Detection of Arsenophonus in CS and Spiroplasma in RS are promising for the improvement of this pest management, as these bacteria induce male killing and larvae fitness reduction in other Lepidoptera species.

RevDate: 2024-04-16

Vancaester E, ML Blaxter (2024)

MarkerScan: Separation and assembly of cobionts sequenced alongside target species in biodiversity genomics projects.

Wellcome open research, 9:33.

Contamination of public databases by mislabelled sequences has been highlighted for many years and the avalanche of novel sequencing data now being deposited has the potential to make databases difficult to use effectively. It is therefore crucial that sequencing projects and database curators perform pre-submission checks to remove obvious contamination and avoid propagating erroneous taxonomic relationships. However, it is important also to recognise that biological contamination of a target sample with unexpected species' DNA can also lead to the discovery of fascinating biological phenomena through the identification of environmental organisms or endosymbionts. Here, we present a novel, integrated method for detection and generation of high-quality genomes of all non-target genomes co-sequenced in eukaryotic genome sequencing projects. After performing taxonomic profiling of an assembly from the raw data, and leveraging the identity of small rRNA sequences discovered therein as markers, a targeted classification approach retrieves and assembles high-quality genomes. The genomes of these cobionts are then not only removed from the target species' genome but also available for further interrogation. Source code is available from https://github.com/CobiontID/MarkerScan. MarkerScan is written in Python and is deployed as a Docker container.

RevDate: 2024-04-15

Mallikaarachchi KS, Huang JL, Madras S, et al (2024)

Sinorhizobium meliloti BR-bodies promote fitness during host colonization.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2024.04.05.588320.

UNLABELLED: Biomolecular condensates, such as the nucleoli or P-bodies, are non-membrane-bound assemblies of proteins and nucleic acids that facilitate specific cellular processes. Like eukaryotic P-bodies, the recently discovered bacterial ribonucleoprotein bodies (BR-bodies) organize the mRNA decay machinery, yet the similarities in molecular and cellular functions across species have been poorly explored. Here, we examine the functions of BR-bodies in the nitrogen-fixing endosymbiont Sinorhizobium meliloti , which colonizes the roots of compatible legume plants. Assembly of BR-bodies into visible foci in S. meliloti cells requires the C-terminal intrinsically disordered region (IDR) of RNase E, and foci fusion is readily observed in vivo , suggesting they are liquid-like condensates that form via mRNA sequestration. Using Rif-seq to measure mRNA lifetimes, we found a global slowdown in mRNA decay in a mutant deficient in BR-bodies, indicating that compartmentalization of the degradation machinery promotes efficient mRNA turnover. While BR-bodies are constitutively present during exponential growth, the abundance of BR-bodies increases upon cell stress, whereby they promote stress resistance. Finally, using Medicago truncatula as host, we show that BR-bodies enhance competitiveness during colonization and appear to be required for effective symbiosis, as mutants without BR-bodies failed to stimulate plant growth. These results suggest that BR-bodies provide a fitness advantage for bacteria during infection, perhaps by enabling better resistance against the host immune response.

SIGNIFICANCE: While eukaryotes often organize their biochemical pathways in membrane-bound organelles, bacteria generally lack such subcellular structures. Instead, membraneless compartments called biomolecular condensates have recently been found in bacteria to enhance biochemical activities. Bacterial ribonucleoprotein bodies (BR-bodies), as one of the most widespread biomolecular condensates identified to date, assemble the mRNA decay machinery via the intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) of proteins. However, the implications of such assemblies are unclear. Using a plant-associated symbiont, we show that the IDR of its mRNA degradation protein is necessary for condensate formation. Absence of BR-bodies results in slower mRNA decay and ineffective symbiosis, suggesting that BR-bodies play critical roles in regulating biochemical pathways and promoting fitness during host colonization.

RevDate: 2024-04-15
CmpDate: 2024-04-15

Mowery MA, Rosenwald LC, Chapman E, et al (2024)

Endosymbiont diversity across native and invasive brown widow spider populations.

Scientific reports, 14(1):8556.

The invasive brown widow spider, Latrodectus geometricus (Araneae: Theridiidae), has spread in multiple locations around the world and, along with it, brought associated organisms such as endosymbionts. We investigated endosymbiont diversity and prevalence across putative native and invasive populations of this spider, predicting lower endosymbiont diversity across the invasive range compared to the native range. First, we characterized the microbial community in the putative native (South Africa) and invasive (Israel and the United States) ranges via high throughput 16S sequencing of 103 adult females. All specimens were dominated by reads from only 1-3 amplicon sequence variants (ASV), and most individuals were infected with an apparently uniform strain of Rhabdochlamydia. We also found Rhabdochlamydia in spider eggs, indicating that it is a maternally-inherited endosymbiont. Relatively few other ASV were detected, but included two variant Rhabdochlamydia strains and several Wolbachia, Spiroplasma and Enterobacteriaceae strains. We then diagnostically screened 118 adult female spiders from native and invasive populations specifically for Rhabdochlamydia and Wolbachia. We found Rhabdochlamydia in 86% of individuals and represented in all populations, which suggests that it is a consistent and potentially important associate of L. geometricus. Wolbachia was found at lower overall prevalence (14%) and was represented in all countries, but not all populations. In addition, we found evidence for geographic variation in endosymbiont prevalence: spiders from Israel were more likely to carry Rhabdochlamydia than those from the US and South Africa, and Wolbachia was geographically clustered in both Israel and South Africa. Characterizing endosymbiont prevalence and diversity is a first step in understanding their function inside the host and may shed light on the process of spread and population variability in cosmopolitan invasive species.

RevDate: 2024-04-12

Trznadel M, Holt CC, Livingston SJ, et al (2024)

Coral-infecting parasites in cold marine ecosystems.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(24)00323-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Coral reefs are a biodiversity hotspot,[1][,][2] and the association between coral and intracellular dinoflagellates is a model for endosymbiosis.[3][,][4] Recently, corals and related anthozoans have also been found to harbor another kind of endosymbiont, apicomplexans called corallicolids.[5] Apicomplexans are a diverse lineage of obligate intracellular parasites[6] that include human pathogens such as the malaria parasite, Plasmodium.[7] Global environmental sequencing shows corallicolids are tightly associated with tropical and subtropical reef environments,[5][,][8][,][9] where they infect diverse corals across a range of depths in many reef systems, and correlate with host mortality during bleaching events.[10] All of this points to corallicolids being ecologically significant to coral reefs, but it is also possible they are even more widely distributed because most environmental sampling is biased against parasites that maintain a tight association with their hosts throughout their life cycle. We tested the global distribution of corallicolids using a more direct approach, by specifically targeting potential anthozoan host animals from cold/temperate marine waters outside the coral reef context. We found that corallicolids are in fact common in such hosts, in some cases at high frequency, and that they infect the same tissue as parasites from topical coral reefs. Parasite phylogeny suggests corallicolids move between hosts and habitats relatively frequently, but that biogeography is more conserved. Overall, these results greatly expand the range of corallicolids beyond coral reefs, suggesting they are globally distributed parasites of marine anthozoans, which also illustrates significant blind spots that result from strategies commonly used to sample microbial biodiversity.

RevDate: 2024-04-12

Partida-Martínez LP (2024)

Fungal holobionts as blueprints for synthetic endosymbiotic systems.

PLoS biology, 22(4):e3002587 pii:PBIOLOGY-D-24-00045.

Rhizopus microsporus is an example of a fungal holobiont. Strains of this species can harbor bacterial and viral endosymbionts inherited by the next generation. These microbial allies increase pathogenicity and defense and control asexual and sexual reproduction.

RevDate: 2024-04-11

Massana R (2024)

The nitroplast: A nitrogen-fixing organelle.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 384(6692):160-161.

A bacterial endosymbiont of marine algae evolved to an organelle.

RevDate: 2024-04-11

Coale TH, Loconte V, Turk-Kubo KA, et al (2024)

Nitrogen-fixing organelle in a marine alga.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 384(6692):217-222.

Symbiotic interactions were key to the evolution of chloroplast and mitochondria organelles, which mediate carbon and energy metabolism in eukaryotes. Biological nitrogen fixation, the reduction of abundant atmospheric nitrogen gas (N2) to biologically available ammonia, is a key metabolic process performed exclusively by prokaryotes. Candidatus Atelocyanobacterium thalassa, or UCYN-A, is a metabolically streamlined N2-fixing cyanobacterium previously reported to be an endosymbiont of a marine unicellular alga. Here we show that UCYN-A has been tightly integrated into algal cell architecture and organellar division and that it imports proteins encoded by the algal genome. These are characteristics of organelles and show that UCYN-A has evolved beyond endosymbiosis and functions as an early evolutionary stage N2-fixing organelle, or "nitroplast."

RevDate: 2024-04-11

Zytynska SE, Sturm S, Hawes C, et al (2023)

Floral presence and flower identity alter cereal aphid endosymbiont communities on adjacent crops.

The Journal of applied ecology, 60(7):1409-1423.

Floral plantings adjacent to crops fields can recruit populations of natural enemies by providing flower nectar and non-crop prey to increase natural pest regulation. Observed variation in success rates might be due to changes in the unseen community of endosymbionts hosted by many herbivorous insects, of which some can confer resistance to natural enemies, for example, parasitoid wasps. Reduced insect control may occur if highly protective symbiont combinations increase in frequency via selection effects, and this is expected to be stronger in lower diversity systems.We used a large-scale field trial to analyse the bacterial endosymbiont communities hosted by cereal aphids Sitobion avenae collected along transects into strip plots of barley plants managed by either conventional or integrated (including floral field margins and reduced inputs) methods. In addition, we conducted an outdoor pot experiment to analyse endosymbionts in S. avenae aphids collected on barley plants that were either grown alone or alongside one of three flowering plants, across three time points.In the field, aphids hosted up to four symbionts. The abundance of aphids and parasitoid wasps was reduced towards the middle of all fields while aphid symbiont species richness and diversity decreased into the field in conventional, but not integrated, field-strips. The proportion of aphids hosting different symbiont combinations varied across cropping systems, with distances into the fields, and were correlated with parasitoid wasp abundances.In the pot experiment, aphids hosted up to six symbionts. Flower presence increased natural enemy abundance and diversity, and decreased aphid abundance. The proportion of aphids hosting different symbiont combinations varied across the flower treatment and time, and were correlated with varying abundances of the different specialist parasitoid wasp species recruited by different flowers. Synthesis and applications. Floral plantings and flower identity had community-wide impacts on the combinations of bacterial endosymbionts hosted by herbivorous insects, which correlated with natural enemy diversity and abundance. We recommend that integrated management practices incorporate floral resources within field areas to support a more functionally diverse and resilient natural enemy community to mitigate selection for symbiont-mediated pest resistance throughout the cropping area.

RevDate: 2024-04-10

Wang H, Marucci G, Munke A, et al (2024)

High-resolution comparative atomic structures of two Giardiavirus prototypes infecting G. duodenalis parasite.

PLoS pathogens, 20(4):e1012140 pii:PPATHOGENS-D-23-01960 [Epub ahead of print].

The Giardia lamblia virus (GLV) is a non-enveloped icosahedral dsRNA and endosymbiont virus that infects the zoonotic protozoan parasite Giardia duodenalis (syn. G. lamblia, G. intestinalis), which is a pathogen of mammals, including humans. Elucidating the transmission mechanism of GLV is crucial for gaining an in-depth understanding of the virulence of the virus in G. duodenalis. GLV belongs to the family Totiviridae, which infects yeast and protozoa intracellularly; however, it also transmits extracellularly, similar to the phylogenetically, distantly related toti-like viruses that infect multicellular hosts. The GLV capsid structure is extensively involved in the longstanding discussion concerning extracellular transmission in Totiviridae and toti-like viruses. Hence, this study constructed the first high-resolution comparative atomic models of two GLV strains, namely GLV-HP and GLV-CAT, which showed different intracellular localization and virulence phenotypes, using cryogenic electron microscopy single-particle analysis. The atomic models of the GLV capsids presented swapped C-terminal extensions, extra surface loops, and a lack of cap-snatching pockets, similar to those of toti-like viruses. However, their open pores and absence of the extra crown protein resemble those of other yeast and protozoan Totiviridae viruses, demonstrating the essential structures for extracellular cell-to-cell transmission. The structural comparison between GLV-HP and GLV-CAT indicates the first evidence of critical structural motifs for the transmission and virulence of GLV in G. duodenalis.

RevDate: 2024-04-10

Fox T, Sguassero Y, Chaplin M, et al (2024)

Wolbachia-carrying Aedes mosquitoes for preventing dengue infection.

The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 4:CD015636.

BACKGROUND: Dengue is a global health problem of high significance, with 3.9 billion people at risk of infection. The geographic expansion of dengue virus (DENV) infection has resulted in increased frequency and severity of the disease, and the number of deaths has increased in recent years. Wolbachia,an intracellular bacterial endosymbiont, has been under investigation for several years as a novel dengue-control strategy. Some dengue vectors (Aedes mosquitoes) can be transinfected with specific strains of Wolbachia, which decreases their fitness (ability to survive and mate) and their ability to reproduce, inhibiting the replication of dengue. Both laboratory and field studies have demonstrated the potential effect of Wolbachia deployments on reducing dengue transmission, and modelling studies have suggested that this may be a self-sustaining strategy for dengue prevention, although long-term effects are yet to be elucidated.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the efficacy of Wolbachia-carrying Aedes speciesdeployments (specifically wMel-, wMelPop-, and wAlbB- strains of Wolbachia) for preventing dengue virus infection.

SEARCH METHODS: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, four other databases, and two trial registries up to 24 January 2024.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs), including cluster-randomized controlled trials (cRCTs), conducted in dengue endemic or epidemic-prone settings were eligible. We sought studies that investigated the impact of Wolbachia-carrying Aedes deployments on epidemiological or entomological dengue-related outcomes, utilizing either the population replacement or population suppression strategy.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently selected eligible studies, extracted data, and assessed the risk of bias using the Cochrane RoB 2 tool. We used odds ratios (OR) with the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI) as the effect measure for dichotomous outcomes. For count/rate outcomes, we planned to use the rate ratio with 95% CI as the effect measure. We used adjusted measures of effect for cRCTs. We assessed the certainty of evidence using GRADE.

MAIN RESULTS: One completed cRCT met our inclusion criteria, and we identified two further ongoing cRCTs. The included trial was conducted in an urban setting in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It utilized a nested test-negative study design, whereby all participants aged three to 45 years who presented at healthcare centres with a fever were enrolled in the study provided they had resided in the study area for the previous 10 nights. The trial showed that wMel-Wolbachia infected Ae aegypti deployments probably reduce the odds of contracting virologically confirmed dengue by 77% (OR 0.23, 95% CI 0.15 to 0.35; 1 trial, 6306 participants; moderate-certainty evidence). The cluster-level prevalence of wMel Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes remained high over two years in the intervention arm of the trial, reported as 95.8% (interquartile range 91.5 to 97.8) across 27 months in clusters receiving wMel-Wolbachia Ae aegypti deployments, but there were no reliable comparative data for this outcome. Other primary outcomes were the incidence of virologically confirmed dengue, the prevalence of dengue ribonucleic acid in the mosquito population, and mosquito density, but there were no data for these outcomes. Additionally, there were no data on adverse events.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: The included trial demonstrates the potential significant impact of wMel-Wolbachia-carrying Ae aegypti mosquitoes on preventing dengue infection in an endemic setting, and supports evidence reported in non-randomized and uncontrolled studies. Further trials across a greater diversity of settings are required to confirm whether these findings apply to other locations and country settings, and greater reporting of acceptability and cost are important.

RevDate: 2024-04-08

Mirchandani C, Wang P, Jacobs J, et al (2024)

Mixed Wolbachia infections resolve rapidly during in vitro evolution.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2024.03.27.586911.

UNLABELLED: The intracellular symbiont Wolbachia pipientis evolved after the divergence of arthropods and nematodes, but it reached high prevalence in many of these taxa through its abilities to infect new hosts and their germlines. Some strains exhibit long-term patterns of co-evolution with their hosts, while other strains are capable of switching hosts. This makes strain selection an important factor in symbiont-based biological control. However, little is known about the ecological and evolutionary interactions that occur when a promiscuous strain colonizes an infected host. Here, we study what occurs when two strains come into contact in host cells following horizontal transmission and infection. We focus on the faithful w Mel strain from Drosophila melanogaster and the promiscuous w Ri strain from Drosophila simulans using an in vitro cell culture system with multiple host cell types and combinatorial infection states. Mixing D. melanogaster cell lines stably infected with w Mel and w Ri revealed that wMel outcompetes w Ri quickly and reproducibly. Furthermore, w Mel was able to competitively exclude w Ri even from minuscule starting quantities, indicating that this is a nearly deterministic outcome, independent of the starting infection frequency. This competitive advantage was not exclusive to wM el's native D. melanogaster cell background, as w Mel also outgrew w Ri in D. simulans cells. Overall, w Ri is less adept at i n vitro growth and survival than w Mel and its in vivo state, revealing differences between cellular and humoral regulation. These attributes may underlie the observed low rate of mixed infections in nature and the relatively rare rate of host-switching in most strains. Our in vitro experimental framework for estimating cellular growth dynamics of Wolbachia strains in different host species, tissues, and cell types provides the first strategy for parameterizing endosymbiont and host cell biology at high resolution. This toolset will be crucial to our application of these bacteria as biological control agents in novel hosts and ecosystems.

AUTHOR SUMMARY: Wolbachia pipientis is one of the most common bacterial endosymbionts due to its ability to manipulate host reproduction, and it has become a useful biological control tool for mosquito populations. Wolbachia is passed from mother to offspring, however the bacterium can also "jump" to new hosts via horizontal transmission. When a Wolbachia strain successfully infects a new host, it often encounters a resident strain that it must either replace or co-exist with as a superinfection. Here, we use a Drosophila melanogaster cell culture system to study the dynamics of mixed Wolbachia infections consisting of the high-fidelity w Mel and promiscuous w Ri strains. The w Mel strain consistently outcompetes the w Ri strain, regardless of w Mel's initial frequency in D. melanogaster cells. This competitive advantage is independent of host species. While both strains significantly impede host cell division, only the w Mel strain is able to rapidly expand into uninfected cells. Our results suggest that the w Ri strain is pathogenic in nature and a poor cellular symbiont, and it is retained in natural infections because cell lineages are not expendable or replaceable in development. These findings provide insights into mixed infection outcomes, which are crucial for the use of the bacteria in biological control.

RevDate: 2024-04-08

Gasser MT, Liu A, Altamia M, et al (2024)

Outer membrane vesicles can contribute to cellulose degradation in Teredinibacter turnerae, a cultivable intracellular endosymbiont of shipworms.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2024.03.27.587001.

Teredinibacter turnerae is a cultivable cellulolytic Gammaproeteobacterium (Cellvibrionaceae) that commonly occurs as an intracellular endosymbiont in the gills of wood-eating bivalves of the family Teredinidae (shipworms). The genome of T. turnerae encodes a broad range of enzymes that deconstruct cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectin and contribute to lignocellulose digestion in the shipworm gut. However, the mechanism by which symbiont-made enzymes are secreted by T. turnerae and subsequently transported to the site of lignocellulose digestion in the shipworm gut is incompletely understood. Here, we show that T. turnerae cultures grown on carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) produce outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) that contain a variety of proteins identified by LC-MS/MS as carbohydrate-active enzymes with predicted activities against cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectin. Reducing sugar assays and zymography confirm that these OMVs retain cellulolytic activity, as evidenced by hydrolysis of CMC. Additionally, these OMVs were enriched with TonB -dependent receptors, which are essential to carbohydrate and iron acquisition by free-living bacteria. These observations suggest potential roles for OMVs in lignocellulose utilization by T. turnerae in the free-living state, in enzyme transport and host interaction during symbiotic association, and in commercial applications such as lignocellulosic biomass conversion.

RevDate: 2024-04-05

Garber AI, Garcia de la Filia Molina A, Vea I, et al (2024)

Retention of an endosymbiont for the production of a single molecule.

Genome biology and evolution pii:7641101 [Epub ahead of print].

Sap-feeding insects often maintain two or more nutritional endosymbionts which act in concert to produce compounds essential for insect survival. Many mealybugs have endosymbionts in a nested configuration: one or two bacterial species reside within the cytoplasm of another bacterium, and together these bacteria have genomes which encode interdependent sets of genes needed to produce key nutritional molecules. Here we show that the mealybug Pseudococcus viburni has three endosymbionts, one of which contributes only two unique genes that produce the host nutrition-related molecule chorismate. All three bacterial endosymbionts have tiny genomes, suggesting that they have been co-evolving inside their insect host for millions of years.

RevDate: 2024-04-03

Amala M, Nagarajan H, Ahila M, et al (2024)

Unveiling the intricacies of allosteric regulation in aspartate kinase from the Wolbachia endosymbiont of Brugia Malayi: Mechanistic and therapeutic insights.

International journal of biological macromolecules pii:S0141-8130(24)02131-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Aspartate kinase (AK), an enzyme from the Wolbachia endosymbiont of Brugia malayi (WBm), plays a pivotal role in the bacterial cell wall and amino acid biosynthesis, rendering it an attractive candidate for therapeutic intervention. Allosteric inhibition of aspartate kinase is a prevalent mode of regulation across microorganisms and plants, often modulated by end products such as lysine, threonine, methionine, or meso-diaminopimelate. The intricate and diverse nature of microbial allosteric regulation underscores the need for rigorous investigation. This study employs a combined experimental and computational approach to decipher the allosteric regulation of WBmAK. Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations elucidate that ATP (cofactor) and ASP (substrate) binding induce a closed conformation, promoting enzymatic activity. In contrast, the binding of lysine (allosteric inhibitor) leads to enzyme inactivation and an open conformation. The enzymatic assay demonstrates the optimal activity of WBmAK at 28 °C and a pH of 8.0. Notably, the allosteric inhibition study highlights lysine as a more potent inhibitor compared to threonine. Importantly, this investigation sheds light on the allosteric mechanism governing WBmAK and imparts novel insights into structure-based drug discovery, paving the way for the development of effective inhibitors against filarial pathogens.

RevDate: 2024-04-04

Park E, B Leander (2024)

Coinfection of slime feather duster worms (Annelida, Myxicola) by different gregarine apicomplexans (Selenidium) and astome ciliates reflects spatial niche partitioning and host specificity.

Parasitology pii:S0031182024000209 [Epub ahead of print].

Individual organisms can host multiple species of parasites (or symbionts), and one species of parasite can infect different host species, creating complex interactions among multiple hosts and parasites. When multiple parasite species coexist in a host, they may compete or use strategies, such as spatial niche partitioning, to reduce competition. Here, we present a host–symbiont system with two species of Selenidium (Apicomplexa, Gregarinida) and one species of astome ciliate co-infecting two different species of slime feather duster worms (Annelida, Sabellidae, Myxicola) living in neighbouring habitats. We examined the morphology of the endosymbionts with light and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and inferred their phylogenetic interrelationships using small subunit (SSU) rDNA sequences. In the host ‘Myxicola sp. Quadra’, we found two distinct species of Selenidium; S. cf. mesnili exclusively inhabited the foregut, and S. elongatum n. sp. inhabited the mid to hindgut, reflecting spatial niche partitioning. Selenidium elongatum n. sp. was also present in the host M. aesthetica, which harboured the astome ciliate Pennarella elegantia n. gen. et sp. Selenidium cf. mesnili and P. elegantia n. gen. et sp. were absent in the other host species, indicating host specificity. This system offers an intriguing opportunity to explore diverse aspects of host–endosymbiont interactions and competition among endosymbionts.

RevDate: 2024-04-02

Lehman SS, Verhoeve VI, Driscoll TP, et al (2024)

Metagenome diversity illuminates the origins of pathogen effectors.

mBio [Epub ahead of print].

Recent metagenome-assembled genome (MAG) analyses have profoundly impacted Rickettsiology systematics. The discovery of basal lineages (novel families Mitibacteraceae and Athabascaceae) with predicted extracellular lifestyles exposed an evolutionary timepoint for the transition to host dependency, which seemingly occurred independent of mitochondrial evolution. Notably, these basal rickettsiae carry the Rickettsiales vir homolog (rvh) type IV secretion system and purportedly use rvh to kill congener microbes rather than parasitize host cells as described for later-evolving rickettsial pathogens. MAG analysis also substantially increased diversity for the genus Rickettsia and delineated a sister lineage (the novel genus Tisiphia) that stands to inform on the emergence of human pathogens from protist and invertebrate endosymbionts. Herein, we probed Rickettsiales MAG and genomic diversity for the distribution of Rickettsia rvh effectors to ascertain their origins. A sparse distribution of most Rickettsia rvh effectors outside of Rickettsiaceae lineages illuminates unique rvh evolution from basal extracellular species and other rickettsial families. Remarkably, nearly every effector was found in multiple divergent forms with variable architectures, indicating profound roles for gene duplication and recombination in shaping effector repertoires in Rickettsia pathogens. Lateral gene transfer plays a prominent role in shaping the rvh effector landscape, as evinced by the discovery of many effectors on plasmids and conjugative transposons, as well as pervasive effector gene exchange between Rickettsia and Legionella species. Our study exemplifies how MAGs can yield insight into pathogen effector origins, particularly how effector architectures might become tailored to the discrete host cell functions of different eukaryotic hosts.IMPORTANCEWhile rickettsioses are deadly vector-borne human diseases, factors distinguishing Rickettsia pathogens from the innumerable bevy of environmental rickettsial endosymbionts remain lacking. Recent metagenome-assembled genome (MAG) studies revealed evolutionary timepoints for rickettsial transitions to host dependency. The rvh type IV secretion system was likely repurposed from congener killing in basal extracellular species to parasitizing host cells in later-evolving pathogens. Our analysis of MAG diversity for over two dozen rvh effectors unearthed their presence in some non-pathogens. However, most effectors were found in multiple divergent forms with variable architectures, indicating gene duplication and recombination-fashioned effector repertoires of Rickettsia pathogens. Lateral gene transfer substantially shaped pathogen effector arsenals, evinced by the discovery of effectors on plasmids and conjugative transposons, as well as pervasive effector gene exchanges between Rickettsia and Legionella species. Our study exemplifies how MAGs yield insight into pathogen effector origins and evolutionary processes tailoring effectors to eukaryotic host cell biology.

RevDate: 2024-04-01

Ferguson LF, Ross PA, B van Heerwaarden (2024)

Wolbachia infection negatively impacts Drosophila simulans heat tolerance in a strain- and trait-specific manner.

Environmental microbiology, 26(4):e16609.

The susceptibility of insects to rising temperatures has largely been measured by their ability to survive thermal extremes. However, the capacity for maternally inherited endosymbionts to influence insect heat tolerance has been overlooked. Further, while some studies have addressed the impact of heat on traits like fertility, which can decline at temperatures below lethal thermal limits, none have considered the impact of endosymbionts. Here, we assess the impact of three Wolbachia strains (wRi, wAu and wNo) on the survival and fertility of Drosophila simulans exposed to heat stress during development or as adults. The effect of Wolbachia infection on heat tolerance was generally small and trait/strain specific. Only the wNo infection significantly reduced the survival of adult males after a heat shock. When exposed to fluctuating heat stress during development, the wRi and wAu strains reduced egg-to-adult survival but only the wNo infection reduced male fertility. Wolbachia densities of all three strains decreased under developmental heat stress, but reductions occurred at temperatures above those that reduced host fertility. These findings emphasize the necessity to account for endosymbionts and their effect on both survival and fertility when investigating insect responses to heat stress.

RevDate: 2024-04-01

Cho A, Lax G, Livingston SJ, et al (2024)

Genomic analyses of Symbiomonas scintillans show no evidence for endosymbiotic bacteria but does reveal the presence of giant viruses.

PLoS genetics, 20(4):e1011218 pii:PGENETICS-D-23-01338 [Epub ahead of print].

Symbiomonas scintillans Guillou et Chrétiennot-Dinet, 1999 is a tiny (1.4 μm) heterotrophic microbial eukaryote. The genus was named based on the presence of endosymbiotic bacteria in its endoplasmic reticulum, however, like most such endosymbionts neither the identity nor functional association with its host were known. We generated both amplification-free shotgun metagenomics and whole genome amplification sequencing data from S. scintillans strains RCC257 and RCC24, but were unable to detect any sequences from known lineages of endosymbiotic bacteria. The absence of endobacteria was further verified with FISH analyses. Instead, numerous contigs in assemblies from both RCC24 and RCC257 were closely related to prasinoviruses infecting the green algae Ostreococcus lucimarinus, Bathycoccus prasinos, and Micromonas pusilla (OlV, BpV, and MpV, respectively). Using the BpV genome as a reference, we assembled a near-complete 190 kbp draft genome encoding all hallmark prasinovirus genes, as well as two additional incomplete assemblies of closely related but distinct viruses from RCC247, and three similar draft viral genomes from RCC24, which we collectively call SsVs. A multi-gene tree showed the three SsV genome types branched within highly supported clades with each of BpV2, OlVs, and MpVs, respectively. Interestingly, transmission electron microscopy also revealed a 190 nm virus-like particle similar the morphology and size of the endosymbiont originally reported in S. scintillans. Overall, we conclude that S. scintillans currently does not harbour an endosymbiotic bacterium, but is associated with giant viruses.

RevDate: 2024-04-01
CmpDate: 2024-04-01

Konecka E, P Szymkowiak (2024)

Wolbachia supergroup A in Enoplognatha latimana (Araneae: Theridiidae) in Poland as an example of possible horizontal transfer of bacteria.

Scientific reports, 14(1):7486.

Wolbachia (phylum Pseudomonadota, class Alfaproteobacteria, order Rickettsiales, family Ehrlichiaceae) is a maternally inherited bacterial symbiont infecting more than half of arthropod species worldwide and constituting an important force in the evolution, biology, and ecology of invertebrate hosts. Our study contributes to the limited knowledge regarding the presence of intracellular symbiotic bacteria in spiders. Specifically, we investigated the occurrence of Wolbachia infection in the spider species Enoplognatha latimana Hippa and Oksala, 1982 (Araneae: Theridiidae) using a sample collected in north-western Poland. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of Wolbachia infection in E. latimana. A phylogeny based on the sequence analysis of multiple genes, including 16S rRNA, coxA, fbpA, ftsZ, gatB, gltA, groEL, hcpA, and wsp revealed that Wolbachia from the spider represented supergroup A and was related to bacterial endosymbionts discovered in other spider hosts, as well as insects of the orders Diptera and Hymenoptera. A sequence unique for Wolbachia supergroup A was detected for the ftsZ gene. The sequences of Wolbachia housekeeping genes have been deposited in publicly available databases and are an important source of molecular data for comparative studies. The etiology of Wolbachia infection in E. latimana is discussed.

RevDate: 2024-03-29

Cholvi M, Trelis M, Bueno-Marí R, et al (2024)

Wolbachia Infection through Hybridization to Enhance an Incompatible Insect Technique-Based Suppression of Aedes albopictus in Eastern Spain.

Insects, 15(3):.

The emergence of insecticide resistance in arbovirus vectors is putting the focus on the development of new strategies for control. In this regard, the exploitation of Wolbachia endosymbionts is receiving increasing attention due to its demonstrated effectiveness in reducing the vectorial capacity of Aedes mosquitoes. Here, we describe the establishment of a naïve Wolbachia infection in a wild Aedes albopictus population of eastern Spain through a hybridization approach to obtain males capable of sterilizing wild females. The obtained lines were compared with the Wolbachia donor, Ae. albopictus ARwP, previously artificially infected with Wolbachia wPip, regarding immature and adult survival, female fecundity, egg fertility, and level of induced sterility. Our results did not show significant differences between lines in any of the biological parameters analyzed, indicating the full suitability of the hybrids to be used as a control tool against Ae. albopictus. In particular, hybrid males induced 99.9% sterility in the eggs of wild females without the need for any preliminary treatment. Being harmless to non-target organisms and the environment, the use of this bacterium for the control of Ae. albopictus deserves further exploration. This is especially relevant in areas such as eastern Spain, where this mosquito species has recently spread and may represent a serious threat due to its competence as a vector for dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses.

RevDate: 2024-03-27

Hyder M, Lodhi AM, Wang Z, et al (2024)

Wolbachia Interactions with Diverse Insect Hosts: From Reproductive Modulations to Sustainable Pest Management Strategies.

Biology, 13(3): pii:biology13030151.

Effective in a variety of insect orders, including dipteran, lepidopteran, and hemipteran, Wolbachia-based control tactics are investigated, noting the importance of sterile and incompatible insect techniques. Encouraging approaches for controlling Aedes mosquitoes are necessary, as demonstrated by the evaluation of a new SIT/IIT combination and the incorporation of SIT into Drosophila suzukii management. For example, Wolbachia may protect plants from rice pests, demonstrating its potential for agricultural biological vector management. Maternal transmission and cytoplasmic incompatibility dynamics are explored, while Wolbachia phenotypic impacts on mosquito and rice pest management are examined. The importance of host evolutionary distance is emphasised in recent scale insect research that addresses host-shifting. Using greater information, a suggested method for comprehending Wolbachia host variations in various contexts emphasises ecological connectivity. Endosymbionts passed on maternally in nematodes and arthropods, Wolbachia are widely distributed around the world and have evolved both mutualistic and parasitic traits. Wolbachia is positioned as a paradigm for microbial symbiosis due to advancements in multiomics, gene functional assays, and its effect on human health. The challenges and opportunities facing Wolbachia research include scale issues, ecological implications, ethical conundrums, and the possibility of customising strains through genetic engineering. It is thought that cooperative efforts are required to include Wolbachia-based therapies into pest management techniques while ensuring responsible and sustainable ways.

RevDate: 2024-03-27

Berrabah F, Benaceur F, Yin C, et al (2024)

Defense and senescence interplay in legume nodules.

Plant communications pii:S2590-3462(24)00130-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Immunity and senescence play a crucial role in the functioning of the legume symbiotic nodules. The miss-regulation of one of these processes compromises the symbiosis leading to death of the endosymbiont and the arrest of the nodule functioning. The relationship between immunity and senescence is highly studied in plant organs where a synergistic response can be observed. However, the interplay between immunity and senescence in the symbiotic organ is poorly discussed in the literature and these phenomena are often mixed up. Recent studies revealed that the cooperation between immunity and senescence is not always observed in the nodule, suggesting complex interactions between these two processes within the symbiotic organ. Here, we discussed recent results on the interplay between immunity and senescence in the nodule and the specificities of this relationship during legume-rhizobium symbiosis.

RevDate: 2024-03-26
CmpDate: 2024-03-26

Guse K, JE Pietri (2024)

Endosymbiont and gut bacterial communities of the brown-banded cockroach, Supella longipalpa.

PeerJ, 12:e17095.

The brown-banded cockroach (Supella longipalpa) is a widespread nuisance and public health pest. Like the German cockroach (Blattella germanica), this species is adapted to the indoor biome and completes the entirety of its life cycle in human-built structures. Recently, understanding the contributions of commensal and symbiotic microbes to the biology of cockroach pests, as well as the applications of targeting these microbes for pest control, have garnered significant scientific interest. However, relative to B. germanica, the biology of S. longipalpa, including its microbial associations, is understudied. Therefore, the goal of the present study was to quantitatively examine and characterize both the endosymbiont and gut bacterial communities of S. longipalpa for the first time. To do so, bacterial 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing was conducted on DNA extracts from whole adult females and males, early instar nymphs, and late instar nymphs. The results demonstrate that the gut microbiome is dominated by two genera of bacteria known to have beneficial probiotic effects in other organisms, namely Lactobacillus and Akkermansia. Furthermore, our data show a significant effect of nymphal development on diversity and variation in the gut microbiome. Lastly, we reveal significant negative correlations between the two intracellular endosymbionts, Blattabacterium and Wolbachia, as well as between Blattabacterium and the gut microbiome, suggesting that Blattabacterium endosymbionts could directly or indirectly influence the composition of other bacterial populations. These findings have implications for understanding the adaptation of S. longipalpa to the indoor biome, its divergence from other indoor cockroach pest species such as B. germanica, the development of novel control approaches that target the microbiome, and fundamental insect-microbe interactions more broadly.

RevDate: 2024-03-22

Bai J, Zuo Z, DuanMu H, et al (2024)

Endosymbiont Tremblaya phenacola influences the reproduction of cotton mealybugs by regulating the mTOR pathway.

The ISME journal pii:7633914 [Epub ahead of print].

The intricate evolutionary dynamics of endosymbiotic relationships result in unique characteristics among the genomes of symbionts, which profoundly influence host insect phenotypes. Here, we investigated an endosymbiotic system in Phenacoccus solenopsis, a notorious pest of the subfamily Phenacoccinae. The endosymbiont, "Candidatus Tremblaya phenacola" (T. phenacola PSOL), persisted throughout the complete life cycle of female hosts and was more active during oviposition, whereas there was a significant decline in abundance after pupation in males. Genome sequencing yielded an endosymbiont genome of 221.1 kb in size, comprising seven contigs and originating from a chimeric arrangement between betaproteobacteria and gammaproteobacteria. A comprehensive analysis of amino acid metabolic pathways demonstrated complementarity between the host and endosymbiont metabolism. Elimination of T. phenacola PSOL through antibiotic treatment significantly decreased P. solenopsis fecundity. Weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) demonstrated a correlation between genes associated with essential amino acid synthesis and those associated with host meiosis and oocyte maturation. Moreover, altering endosymbiont abundance activated the host mTOR pathway, suggesting that changes in amino acid abundance affected host reproductive capabilities via this signal pathway. Taken together, these findings demonstrate a mechanism by which the endosymbiont T. phenacola PSOL contributed to high fecundity in P. solenopsis and provide new insights into nutritional compensation and coevolution of the endosymbiotic system.

RevDate: 2024-03-21

Ang'ang'o LM, Waweru JW, Makhulu EE, et al (2024)

Draft genome of Microsporidia sp. MB-a malaria-blocking microsporidian symbiont of the Anopheles arabiensis.

Microbiology resource announcements [Epub ahead of print].

We report the draft whole-genome assembly of Microsporidia sp. MB, a symbiotic malaria-transmission-blocking microsporidian isolated from Anopheles arabiensis in Kenya. The whole-genome sequence of Microsporidia sp. MB has a length of 5,908,979 bp, 2,335 contigs, and an average GC content of 31.12%.

RevDate: 2024-03-20

Torp MK, Stensløkken KO, J Vaage (2024)

When Our Best Friend Becomes Our Worst Enemy: The Mitochondrion in Trauma, Surgery, and Critical Illness.

Journal of intensive care medicine [Epub ahead of print].

Common for major surgery, multitrauma, sepsis, and critical illness, is a whole-body inflammation. Tissue injury is able to trigger a generalized inflammatory reaction. Cell death causes release of endogenous structures termed damage associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) that initiate a sterile inflammation. Mitochondria are evolutionary endosymbionts originating from bacteria, containing molecular patterns similar to bacteria. These molecular patterns are termed mitochondrial DAMPs (mDAMPs). Mitochondrial debris released into the extracellular space or into the circulation is immunogenic and damaging secondary to activation of the innate immune system. In the circulation, released mDAMPS are either free or exist in extracellular vesicles, being able to act on every organ and cell in the body. However, the role of mDAMPs in trauma and critical care is not fully clarified. There is a complete lack of knowledge how they may be counteracted in patients. Among mDAMPs are mitochondrial DNA, cardiolipin, N-formyl peptides, cytochrome C, adenosine triphosphate, reactive oxygen species, succinate, and mitochondrial transcription factor A. In this overview, we present the different mDAMPs, their function, release, targets, and inflammatory potential. In light of present knowledge, the role of mDAMPs in the pathophysiology of major surgery and trauma as well as sepsis, and critical care is discussed.

RevDate: 2024-03-19

Füssy Z, M Oborník (2024)

Complex Endosymbioses I: From Primary to Complex Plastids, Serial Endosymbiotic Events.

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2776:21-41.

A considerable part of the diversity of eukaryotic phototrophs consists of algae with plastids that evolved from endosymbioses between two eukaryotes. These complex plastids are characterized by a high number of envelope membranes (more than two) and some of them contain a residual nucleus of the endosymbiotic alga called a nucleomorph. Complex plastid-bearing algae are thus chimeric cell assemblies, eukaryotic symbionts living in a eukaryotic host. In contrast, the primary plastids of the Archaeplastida (plants, green algae, red algae, and glaucophytes) possibly evolved from a single endosymbiosis with a cyanobacterium and are surrounded by two membranes. Complex plastids have been acquired several times by unrelated groups of eukaryotic heterotrophic hosts, suggesting that complex plastids are somewhat easier to obtain than primary plastids. Evidence suggests that complex plastids arose twice independently in the green lineage (euglenophytes and chlorarachniophytes) through secondary endosymbiosis, and four times in the red lineage, first through secondary endosymbiosis in cryptophytes, then by higher-order events in stramenopiles, alveolates, and haptophytes. Engulfment of primary and complex plastid-containing algae by eukaryotic hosts (secondary, tertiary, and higher-order endosymbioses) is also responsible for numerous plastid replacements in dinoflagellates. Plastid endosymbiosis is accompanied by massive gene transfer from the endosymbiont to the host nucleus and cell adaptation of both endosymbiotic partners, which is related to the trophic switch to phototrophy and loss of autonomy of the endosymbiont. Such a process is essential for the metabolic integration and division control of the endosymbiont in the host. Although photosynthesis is the main advantage of acquiring plastids, loss of photosynthesis often occurs in algae with complex plastids. This chapter summarizes the essential knowledge of the acquisition, evolution, and function of complex plastids.

RevDate: 2024-03-19

Singh AS, Pathak D, Devi MS, et al (2024)

Antibiotic alters host's gut microbiota, fertility, and antimicrobial peptide gene expression vis-à-vis ampicillin treatment on model organism Drosophila melanogaster.

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

Antibiotics are commonly used to treat infectious diseases; however, persistence is often expressed by the pathogenic bacteria and their long-term relative effect on the host have been neglected. The present study investigated the impact of antibiotics in gut microbiota (GM) and metabolism of host. The effect of ampicillin antibiotics on GM of Drosophila melanogaster was analyzed through deep sequencing of 16S rRNA amplicon gene. The dominant phyla consisted of Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, Planctomycetes, Chloroflexi, Euryarchaeota, Acedobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, and Cyanobacteria. It was found that the composition of GM was significantly altered on administration of antibiotics. On antibiotic treatments, there were decline in relative abundance of Proteobacteria and Firmicutes, while there were increase in relative abundance of Chlorophyta and Bacteroidota. High abundance of 14 genera, viz., Wolbachia, Lactobacillus, Bacillus, Pseudomonas, Thiolamprovum, Pseudoalteromonas, Vibrio, Romboutsia, Staphylococcus, Alteromonas, Clostridium, Lysinibacillus, Litoricola, and Cellulophaga were significant (p ≤ 0.05) upon antibiotic treatment. Particularly, the abundance of Acetobacter was significantly (p ≤ 0.05) declined but increased for Wolbachia. Further, a significant (p ≤ 0.05) increase in Wolbachia endosymbiont of D. melanogaster, Wolbachia endosymbiont of Curculio okumai, and Wolbachia pipientis and a decrease in the Acinetobacter sp. were observed. We observed an increase in functional capacity for biosynthesis of certain nucleotides and the enzyme activities. Further, the decrease in antimicrobial peptide production in the treated group and potential effects on the host's defense mechanisms were observed. This study helps shed light on an often-overlooked dimension, namely the persistence of antibiotics' effects on the host.

RevDate: 2024-03-19

Novák Vanclová AM, Nef C, Füssy Z, et al (2024)

New plastids, old proteins: repeated endosymbiotic acquisitions in kareniacean dinoflagellates.

EMBO reports [Epub ahead of print].

Dinoflagellates are a diverse group of ecologically significant micro-eukaryotes that can serve as a model system for plastid symbiogenesis due to their susceptibility to plastid loss and replacement via serial endosymbiosis. Kareniaceae harbor fucoxanthin-pigmented plastids instead of the ancestral peridinin-pigmented ones and support them with a diverse range of nucleus-encoded plastid-targeted proteins originating from the haptophyte endosymbiont, dinoflagellate host, and/or lateral gene transfers (LGT). Here, we present predicted plastid proteomes from seven distantly related kareniaceans in three genera (Karenia, Karlodinium, and Takayama) and analyze their evolutionary patterns using automated tree building and sorting. We project a relatively limited (~ 10%) haptophyte signal pointing towards a shared origin in the family Chrysochromulinaceae. Our data establish significant variations in the functional distributions of these signals, emphasizing the importance of micro-evolutionary processes in shaping the chimeric proteomes. Analysis of plastid genome sequences recontextualizes these results by a striking finding the extant kareniacean plastids are in fact not all of the same origin, as two of the studied species (Karlodinium armiger, Takayama helix) possess plastids from different haptophyte orders than the rest.

RevDate: 2024-03-18

Tang X-F, Sun Y-F, Liang Y-S, et al (2024)

Metabolism, digestion, and horizontal transfer: potential roles and interaction of symbiotic bacteria in the ladybird beetle Novius pumilus and their prey Icerya aegyptiaca.

Microbiology spectrum [Epub ahead of print].

In this study, we first time sequenced and analyzed the 16S rRNA gene data of predator ladybird beetles Novius pumilus and globally distributed invasive pest Icerya aegyptiaca at different stages, and combined data with bacterial genome sequences in N. pumilus to explored the taxonomic distribution, alpha and beta diversity, differentially abundant bacteria, co-occurrence network, and putative functions of their microbial community. Our finding revealed that Candidatus Walczuchella, which exhibited a higher abundance in I. aegyptiaca, possessed several genes in essential amino acid biosynthesis and seemed to perform roles in providing nutrients to the host, similar to other obligate symbionts in scale insects. Lactococcus, Serratia, and Pseudomonas, more abundant in N. pumilus, were predicted to have genes related to hydrocarbon, fatty acids, and chitin degradation, which may assist their hosts in digesting the wax shell covering the scale insects. Notably, our result showed that Lactococcus had relatively higher abundances in adults and eggs compared to other stages in N. pumilus, indicating potential vertical transmission. Additionally, we found that Arsenophonus, known to influence sex ratios in whitefly and wasp, may also function in I. aegyptiaca, probably by influencing nutrient metabolism as it similarly had many genes corresponding to vitamin B and essential amino acid biosynthesis. Also, we observed a potential horizontal transfer of Arsenophonus between the scale insect and its predator, with a relatively high abundance in the ladybirds compared to other bacteria from the scale insects.IMPORTANCEThe composition and dynamic changes of microbiome in different developmental stages of ladybird beetles Novius pumilus with its prey Icerya aegyptiaca were detected. We found that Candidatus Walczuchella, abundant in I. aegyptiaca, probably provide nutrients to their host based on their amino acid biosynthesis-related genes. Abundant symbionts in N. pumilus, including Lactococcus, Serratia, and Pseudophonus, may help the host digest the scale insects with their hydrocarbon, fatty acid, and chitin degrading-related genes. A key endosymbiont Arsenophonus may play potential roles in the nutrient metabolisms and sex determination in I. aegyptiaca, and is possibly transferred from the scale insect to the predator.

RevDate: 2024-03-18

Galambos N, Vincent-Monegat C, Vallier A, et al (2024)

Cereal weevils' antimicrobial peptides: at the crosstalk between development, endosymbiosis and immune response.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 379(1901):20230062.

Interactions between animals and microbes are ubiquitous in nature and strongly impact animal physiology. These interactions are shaped by the host immune system, which responds to infections and contributes to tailor the associations with beneficial microorganisms. In many insects, beneficial symbiotic associations not only include gut commensals, but also intracellular bacteria, or endosymbionts. Endosymbionts are housed within specialized host cells, the bacteriocytes, and are transmitted vertically across host generations. Host-endosymbiont co-evolution shapes the endosymbiont genome and host immune system, which not only fights against microbial intruders, but also ensures the preservation of endosymbionts and the control of their load and location. The cereal weevil Sitophilus spp. is a remarkable model in which to study the evolutionary adaptation of the immune system to endosymbiosis owing to its binary association with a unique, relatively recently acquired nutritional endosymbiont, Sodalis pierantonius. This Gram-negative bacterium has not experienced the genome size shrinkage observed in long-term endosymbioses and has retained immunogenicity. We focus here on the sixteen antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) identified in the Sitophilus oryzae genome and their expression patterns in different tissues, along host development or upon immune challenges, to address their potential functions in the defensive response and endosymbiosis homeostasis along the insect life cycle. This article is part of the theme issue 'Sculpting the microbiome: how host factors determine and respond to microbial colonization'.

RevDate: 2024-03-18

Hague MTJ, Wheeler TB, BS Cooper (2024)

Comparative analysis of Wolbachia maternal transmission and localization in host ovaries.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2024.03.03.583170.

Many insects and other animals carry microbial endosymbionts that influence their reproduction and fitness. These relationships only persist if endosymbionts are reliably transmitted from one host generation to the next. Wolbachia are maternally transmitted endosymbionts found in most insect species, but transmission rates can vary across environments. Maternal transmission of w Mel Wolbachia depends on temperature in natural Drosophila melanogaster hosts and in transinfected Aedes aegypti , where w Mel is used to block pathogens that cause human disease. In D. melanogaster , w Mel transmission declines in the cold as Wolbachia become less abundant in host ovaries and at the posterior pole plasm (the site of germline formation) in mature oocytes. Here, we assess how temperature affects maternal transmission and underlying patterns of Wolbachia localization across 10 Wolbachia strains diverged up to 50 million years-including strains closely related to w Mel-and their natural Drosophila hosts. Many Wolbachia maintain high transmission rates across temperatures, despite highly variable (and sometimes low) levels of Wolbachia in the ovaries and at the developing germline in late-stage oocytes. Identifying strains like closely related w Mel-like Wolbachia with stable transmission across variable environmental conditions may improve the efficacy of Wolbachia -based biocontrol efforts as they expand into globally diverse environments.

RevDate: 2024-03-18
CmpDate: 2024-03-18

Zhao LS, Wang N, Li K, et al (2024)

Architecture of symbiotic dinoflagellate photosystem I-light-harvesting supercomplex in Symbiodinium.

Nature communications, 15(1):2392.

Symbiodinium are the photosynthetic endosymbionts for corals and play a vital role in supplying their coral hosts with photosynthetic products, forming the nutritional foundation for high-yield coral reef ecosystems. Here, we determine the cryo-electron microscopy structure of Symbiodinium photosystem I (PSI) supercomplex with a PSI core composed of 13 subunits including 2 previously unidentified subunits, PsaT and PsaU, as well as 13 peridinin-Chl a/c-binding light-harvesting antenna proteins (AcpPCIs). The PSI-AcpPCI supercomplex exhibits distinctive structural features compared to their red lineage counterparts, including extended termini of PsaD/E/I/J/L/M/R and AcpPCI-1/3/5/7/8/11 subunits, conformational changes in the surface loops of PsaA and PsaB subunits, facilitating the association between the PSI core and peripheral antennae. Structural analysis and computational calculation of excitation energy transfer rates unravel specific pigment networks in Symbiodinium PSI-AcpPCI for efficient excitation energy transfer. Overall, this study provides a structural basis for deciphering the mechanisms governing light harvesting and energy transfer in Symbiodinium PSI-AcpPCI supercomplexes adapted to their symbiotic ecosystem, as well as insights into the evolutionary diversity of PSI-LHCI among various photosynthetic organisms.

RevDate: 2024-03-16

Duan L, Zhang L, Hou X, et al (2024)

Surveillance of tick-borne bacteria infection in ticks and forestry populations in Inner Mongolia, China.

Frontiers in public health, 12:1302133.

Ticks are one of the most important vectors that can transmit pathogens to animals and human beings. This study investigated the dominant tick-borne bacteria carried by ticks and tick-borne infections in forestry populations in Arxan, Inner Mongolia, China. Ticks were collected by flagging from May 2020 to May 2021, and blood samples were collected from individuals at high risk of acquiring tick-borne diseases from March 2022 to August 2023. The pooled DNA samples of ticks were analyzed to reveal the presence of tick-borne bacteria using high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rDNA V3-V4 region, and species-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) related to sequencing was performed to confirm the presence of pathogenic bacteria in individual ticks and human blood samples. All sera samples were examined for anti-SFGR using ELISA and anti-B. burgdorferi using IFA and WB. A total of 295 ticks (282 Ixodes persulcatus and 13 Dermacentor silvarum) and 245 human blood samples were collected. Rickettsia, Anaplasma, Borrelia miyamotoi, and Coxiella endosymbiont were identified in I. persulcatus by high-throughput sequencing, while Candidatus R. tarasevichiae (89.00%, 89/100), B. garinii (17.00%, 17/100), B. afzelii (7.00%, 7/100), and B. miyamotoi (7.00%, 7/100) were detected in I. persulcatus, as well the dual co-infection with Candidatus R. tarasevichiae and B. garinii were detected in 13.00% (13/100) of I. persulcatus. Of the 245 individuals, B. garinii (4.90%, 12/245), R. slovaca (0.82%, 2/245), and C. burnetii (0.41%, 1/245) were detected by PCR, and the sequences of the target genes of B. garinii detected in humans were identical to those detected in I. persulcatus. The seroprevalence of anti-SFGR and anti-B. burgdorferi was 5.71% and 13.47%, respectively. This study demonstrated that Candidatus R. tarasevichiae and B. garinii were the dominant tick-borne bacteria in I. persulcatus from Arxan, and that dual co-infection with Candidatus R. tarasevichiae and B. garinii was frequent. This is the first time that B. miyamotoi has been identified in ticks from Arxan and R. solvaca has been detected in humans from Inner Mongolia. More importantly, this study demonstrated the transmission of B. garinii from ticks to humans in Arxan, suggesting that long-term monitoring of tick-borne pathogens in ticks and humans is important for the prevention and control of tick-borne diseases.

RevDate: 2024-03-15

Liu XL, Zhao H, Wang YX, et al (2024)

Detecting and characterizing new endofungal bacteria in new hosts: Pandoraea sputorum and Mycetohabitans endofungorum in Rhizopus arrhizus.

Frontiers in microbiology, 15:1346252.

The fungus Rhizopus arrhizus (=R. oryzae) is commonly saprotrophic, exhibiting a nature of decomposing organic matter. Additionally, it serves as a crucial starter in food fermentation and can act as a pathogen causing mucormycosis in humans and animals. In this study, two distinct endofungal bacteria (EFBs), associated with individual strains of R. arrhizus, were identified using live/dead staining, fluorescence in situ hybridization, transmission electron microscopy, and 16S rDNA sequencing. The roles of these bacteria were elucidated through antibiotic treatment, pure cultivation, and comparative genomics. The bacterial endosymbionts, Pandoraea sputorum EFB03792 and Mycetohabitans endofungorum EFB03829, were purified from the host fungal strains R. arrhizus XY03792 and XY03829, respectively. Notably, this study marks the first report of Pandoraea as an EFB genus. Compared to its free-living counterparts, P. sputorum EFB03792 exhibited 28 specific virulence factor-related genes, six specific CE10 family genes, and 74 genes associated with type III secretion system (T3SS), emphasizing its pivotal role in invasion and colonization. Furthermore, this study introduces R. arrhizus as a new host for EFB M. endofungorum, with EFB contributing to host sporulation. Despite a visibly reduced genome, M. endofungorum EFB03829 displayed a substantial number of virulence factor-related genes, CE10 family genes, T3SS genes, mobile elements, and significant gene rearrangement. While EFBs have been previously identified in R. arrhizus, their toxin-producing potential in food fermentation has not been explored until this study. The discovery of these two new EFBs highlights their potential for toxin production within R. arrhizus, laying the groundwork for identifying suitable R. arrhizus strains for fermentation processes.

RevDate: 2024-03-14

Del Carmen Guarneros Martínez T, Cáceres-Martínez J, Cruz-Flores R, et al (2024)

Prevalence and intensity of a rickettsiales-like organism in cultured pleasure oyster, crassostrea corteziensis, from nayarit, mexico.

Journal of invertebrate pathology, 204:108093 pii:S0022-2011(24)00036-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Fastidious endosymbiotic Rickettsiales-like organisms (RLOs) have been observed in the digestive diverticula of the cultured pleasure oyster (Crassostrea corteziensis) from Nayarit, Mexico since 2007. In a few mollusk species, these bacteria have been associated with mortality events and production losses. The type of relationship between the RLOs and the pleasure oyster is largely unknown and further investigations are needed to determine if these bacteria warrant management concern in C. corteziensis. In this study, the morphological characteristics of the RLOs were studied by histology and SEM, and the taxonomic affiliations of the bacteria were evaluated by 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing. In addition, the prevalence and intensity of the RLOs was recorded from 2007 to 2017 by histology. The RLOs were observed inside circular basophilic cytoplasmic membrane bound vacuoles (MBVs) that had an average length and width of 15.70 ± 15.24 µm and 15.42 ± 14.95 µm respectively. Apart from cellular hypertrophy, no tissue alterations were observed in the areas adjacent to the RLOs. Individual bacteria within the MBVs were coccoid in shape with an average length of 0.65 ± 0.12 µm and an average width of 0.38 ± 0.09 µm. The bacterial microbiota of a selected number of samples (one sample without RLOs and two samples with RLOs) showed the presence of intracellular parasite OTUs corresponding to the families Rickettsiaceae and Anaplasmataceae, suggesting that the RLOs from the pleasure oyster is associated with the order Rickettsiales. A mean prevalence of 5 % was observed throughout the study period and the majority of the organisms (89 %) presented low intensity of Grade 1 (30-61 RLOs) of the MBVs. A higher prevalence of the RLOs was observed during warmer months. The lack of tissue alterations, the low prevalence and the low intensity of the MBVs suggest that the RLOs from C. corteziensis is a commensal endosymbiont that presents little risk for oyster production in Nayarit, México. However, regular monitoring is needed to detect if any variation in this relationship occurs, mainly in a scenario where extreme environmental fluctuations may occur.

RevDate: 2024-03-13

Walters LJ, Busch SJ, Vermeulen S, et al (2024)

Entanglement and ingestion of microfibers by the oyster pea crab Zaops ostreum, an endosymbiont of the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica.

Marine pollution bulletin, 201:116251 pii:S0025-326X(24)00228-5 [Epub ahead of print].

The kleptoparasitic pea crab Zaops ostreum lives within the gills of bivalves, including the economically important eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica. Previous research along the east coast of central Florida has found an average of 2.3 pieces of plastic per oyster. The goals of our research were to determine if filter-feeding oysters transfer microfibers to Z. ostreum via the crab: 1) actively consuming plastic particles, or 2) passively becoming entangled in microfibers. Our results show that both occur. While only 11.6 % of Z. ostreum (total n = 122) consumed microfibers, those that did had up to 14 pieces in their soft tissues. Similarly, only 7.4 % of Z. ostreum had microfibers entangled around their appendages. Mean lengths of consumed and entangled fibers were similar, 1.9 and 2.7 mm, respectively. Additional research is needed to understand the positive and negative impacts of microfibers associated with pea crabs on both species.

RevDate: 2024-03-13

Ezhova OV, Lukinykh AI, VV Malakhov (2024)

Nemertodermatida-Endosymbionts of Deep-Sea Acorn Worms (Hemichordata, Torquaratoridae).

Doklady biological sciences : proceedings of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Biological sciences sections [Epub ahead of print].

Worm-like endosymbionts were found in the hepatic region of the digestive tract of the deep-sea acorn worm Quatuoralisia malakhovi Ezhova et Lukinykh, 2022 (family Torquaratoridae) from the Bering Sea. The symbionts were assigned to the taxon Nemertodermatida on the basis of histological examination. Torquaratoridae are similar in feeding type to holothuroids, which have also been found to have Xenacoelomorpha endosymbionts.

RevDate: 2024-03-12

Cornejo-Castillo FM, Inomura K, Zehr JP, et al (2024)

Metabolic trade-offs constrain the cell size ratio in a nitrogen-fixing symbiosis.

Cell pii:S0092-8674(24)00182-X [Epub ahead of print].

Biological dinitrogen (N2) fixation is a key metabolic process exclusively performed by prokaryotes, some of which are symbiotic with eukaryotes. Species of the marine haptophyte algae Braarudosphaera bigelowii harbor the N2-fixing endosymbiotic cyanobacteria UCYN-A, which might be evolving organelle-like characteristics. We found that the size ratio between UCYN-A and their hosts is strikingly conserved across sublineages/species, which is consistent with the size relationships of organelles in this symbiosis and other species. Metabolic modeling showed that this size relationship maximizes the coordinated growth rate based on trade-offs between resource acquisition and exchange. Our findings show that the size relationships of N2-fixing endosymbionts and organelles in unicellular eukaryotes are constrained by predictable metabolic underpinnings and that UCYN-A is, in many regards, functioning like a hypothetical N2-fixing organelle (or nitroplast).

RevDate: 2024-03-12

Arinanto LS, Hoffmann AA, Ross PA, et al (2024)

Hormetic effect induced by Beauveria bassiana in Myzus persicae.

Pest management science [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Myzus persicae, a serious sap-sucking pest of a large variety of host plants in agriculture, is traditionally controlled using chemical insecticides but there is interest in using biopesticides as restrictions are increasingly placed on the use of broad-spectrum pesticides.

RESULTS: Here we show that in petri dish experiments high concentrations of the fungal entomopathogen Beauveria bassiana lead to rapid mortality of M. persicae but at a low concentration (1 × 10[4] conidia mL[-1]) there is a hormetic effect where survival and fecundity are enhanced. Hormetic effects persisted across a generation with reduced development times and increased fecundity in the offspring of M. persicae exposed to B. bassiana. Whole plant experiments point to a hormetic effect being detected in two out of three tested lines. The impact of these effects might also depend on whether M. persicae was transinfected with the endosymbiont Rickettsiella viridis, which decreases fecundity and survival compared to aphids lacking this endosymbiont. This fecundity cost was ameliorated in the generation following exposure to the entomopathogen.

CONCLUSION: While B. bassiana is effective in controlling M. persicae especially at higher spore concentrations, utilization of this entomopathogen requires careful consideration of hormetic effects at lower spore concentrations, and further research to optimize its application for sustainable agriculture is recommended. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2024-03-12

Ahouandjinou MJ, Sovi A, Sidick A, et al (2024)

First report of natural infection of Anopheles gambiae s.s. and Anopheles coluzzii by Wolbachia and Microsporidia in Benin: a cross-sectional study.

Malaria journal, 23(1):72.

BACKGROUND: Recently, bacterial endosymbiont, including Wolbachia and Microsporidia were found to limit the infection of Anopheles mosquitoes with Plasmodium falciparum. This study aimed to investigate the natural presence of key transmission-blocking endosymbionts in Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles coluzzii in Southern Benin.

METHODS: The present study was conducted in seven communes (Cotonou, Porto-Novo, Aguégués, Ifangni, Pobè Athiémé, and Grand-Popo) of Southern Benin. Anopheles were collected using indoor/outdoor Human Landing Catches (HLCs) and Pyrethrum Spray Catches (PSCs). Following morphological identification, PCR was used to identify An. gambiae sensu lato (s.l.) to species level and to screen for the presence of both Wolbachia and Microsporidia. Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite infection was also assessed using ELISA.

RESULTS: Overall, species composition in An. gambiae s.l. was 53.7% An. coluzzii, while the remainder was An. gambiae sensu stricto (s.s.). Combined data of the two sampling techniques revealed a mean infection prevalence with Wolbachia of 5.1% (95% CI 0.90-18.6) and 1.3% (95% CI 0.07-7.8) in An. gambiae s.s. and An. coluzzii, respectively. The mean infection prevalence with Microsporidia was 41.0% (95% CI 25.9-57.8) for An. gambiae s.s. and 57.0% (95% CI 45.4-67.9) for An. coluzzii. Wolbachia was only observed in Ifangni, Pobè, and Cotonou, while Microsporidia was detected in all study communes. Aggregated data for HLCs and PSCs showed a sporozoite rate (SR) of 0.80% (95% CI 0.09-2.87) and 0.69% (95% CI 0.09-2.87) for An. gambiae and An. coluzzii, respectively, with a mean of 0.74% (95% CI 0.20-1.90). Of the four individual mosquitoes which harboured P. falciparum, none were also infected with Wolbachia and one contained Microsporidia.

CONCLUSIONS: The present study is the first report of natural infections of field-collected An. gambiae s.l. populations from Benin with Wolbachia and Microsporidia. Sustained efforts should be made to widen the spectrum of bacteria identified in mosquitoes, with the potential to develop endosymbiont-based control tools; such interventions could be the game-changer in the control of malaria and arboviral disease transmission.

RevDate: 2024-03-10

Beasley-Hall PG, Kinjo Y, Rose HA, et al (2024)

Shrinking in the dark: Parallel endosymbiont genome erosions are associated with repeated host transitions to an underground life.

Insect science [Epub ahead of print].

Microbial symbioses have had profound impacts on the evolution of animals. Conversely, changes in host biology may impact the evolutionary trajectory of symbionts themselves. Blattabacterium cuenoti is present in almost all cockroach species and enables hosts to subsist on a nutrient-poor diet. To investigate if host biology has impacted Blattabacterium at the genomic level, we sequenced and analyzed 25 genomes from Australian soil-burrowing cockroaches (Blaberidae: Panesthiinae), which have undergone at least seven separate subterranean, subsocial transitions from above-ground, wood-feeding ancestors. We find at least three independent instances of genome erosion have occurred in Blattabacterium strains exclusive to Australian soil-burrowing cockroaches. These shrinkages have involved the repeated inactivation of genes involved in amino acid biosynthesis and nitrogen recycling, the core role of Blattabacterium in the host-symbiont relationship. The most drastic of these erosions have occurred in hosts thought to have transitioned underground the earliest relative to other lineages, further suggestive of a link between gene loss in Blattabacterium and the burrowing behavior of hosts. As Blattabacterium is unable to fulfill its core function in certain host lineages, these findings suggest soil-burrowing cockroaches must acquire these nutrients from novel sources. Our study represents one of the first cases, to our knowledge, of parallel host adaptations leading to concomitant parallelism in their mutualistic symbionts, further underscoring the intimate relationship between these two partners.

RevDate: 2024-03-12

Fernández MB, Bleidorn C, LA Calcaterra (2022)

Wolbachia Infection in Native Populations of the Invasive Tawny Crazy Ant Nylanderia fulva.

Frontiers in insect science, 2:905803.

Antagonistic interactions can affect population growth and dispersal of an invasive species. Wolbachia are intracellular endosymbiont bacteria that infect arthropod and nematode hosts and are able to manipulate reproduction, which in some cases leads to cocladogenesis. Moreover, the presence of the strictly maternally transferred Wolbachia in a population can indirectly induce selective sweeps on the hosts' mitochondria. Ants have a Wolbachia infection rate of about 34%, which makes phylogenetic studies using mitochondrial markers vulnerable of being confounded by the effect of the endosymbiont. Nylanderia fulva is an invasive ant native to South America, considered a pest in the United States. Its distribution and biology are poorly known in its native range, and the taxonomic identity of this and its closely related species, Nylanderia pubens, has only recently been understood with the aid of molecular phylogenies. Aiming at estimating robust phylogenetic relationships of N. fulva in its native range, we investigated the presence and pattern of Wolbachia infection in populations of N. fulva from Argentina, part of its native range, to account for its possible effect on the host population structure. Using the ftsZ gene, 30 nests of N. fulva and four from sympatric Nylanderia species were screened for the presence of Wolbachia. We sequenced the MLST genes, the highly variable gene wsp, as well as glyQ, a novel target gene for which new primers were designed. Phylogeny of the ants was estimated using mtDNA (COI). We found supergroup A Wolbachia strains infecting 73% of N. fulva nests and two nests of Nylanderia sp. 1. Wolbachia phylogenetic tree inferred with MLST genes is partially congruent with the host phylogeny topology, with the exception of a lineage of strains shared by ants from different N. fulva clades. Furthermore, by comparing with Wolbachia sequences infecting other ants, we found that the strains infecting different N. fulva clades are not monophyletic. Our findings suggest there are three recent independent horizontally transmitted Wolbachia infections in N. fulva, and we found no evidence of influence of Wolbachia in the host mtDNA based phylogeny.

RevDate: 2024-03-09

Donner SH, Slingerland M, Beekman MM, et al (2024)

Aphid populations are frequently infected with facultative endosymbionts.

Environmental microbiology, 26(3):e16599.

The occurrence of facultative endosymbionts has been studied in many commercially important crop pest aphids, but their occurrence and effects in non-commercial aphid species in natural populations have received less attention. We screened 437 aphid samples belonging to 106 aphid species for the eight most common facultative aphid endosymbionts. We found one or more facultative endosymbionts in 53% (56 of 106) of the species investigated. This likely underestimates the situation in the field because facultative endosymbionts are often present in only some colonies of an aphid species. Oligophagous aphid species carried facultative endosymbionts significantly more often than monophagous species. We did not find a significant correlation between ant tending and facultative endosymbiont presence. In conclusion, we found that facultative endosymbionts are common among aphid populations. This study is, to our knowledge, the first of its kind in the Netherlands and provides a basis for future research in this field. For instance, it is still unknown in what way many of these endosymbionts affect their hosts, which is important for determining the importance of facultative endosymbionts to community dynamics.

RevDate: 2024-03-08

Lintner M, Schagerl M, Lintner B, et al (2024)

Impact of pesticides on marine coral reef foraminifera.

Marine pollution bulletin, 201:116237 pii:S0025-326X(24)00214-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Our laboratory study looked into how pesticides affect the foraminifera species Heterostegina depressa and their obligatory algal endosymbionts. We incubated the foraminifera separately with different types of pesticides at varying concentrations (1 %, 0.01 % and 0.0001 %); we included the insecticide Confidor© (active substance: imidacloprid), the fungicide Pronto©Plus (tebuconazole), and the herbicide Roundup© (glyphosate). Our evaluation focused on the symbiont's photosynthetically active area (PA), and the uptake of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and nitrogen (nitrate) to determine the vitality of the foraminifera. Our findings showed that even the lowest doses of the fungicide and herbicide caused irreparable damage to the foraminifera and their symbionts. While the insecticide only deactivated the symbionts (PA = 0) at the highest concentration (1 %), the fungicide, and herbicide caused complete deactivation even at the lowest levels provided (0.0001 %). The fungicide had the strongest toxic effect on the foraminiferal host regarding reduced isotope uptake. In conclusion, all pesticides had a negative impact on the holosymbiont, with the host showing varying degrees of sensitivity towards different types of pesticides.

RevDate: 2024-03-08

Malandrakis AA, Varikou K, Kavroulakis Ν, et al (2024)

Copper nanoparticles interfere with insecticide sensitivity, fecundity and endosymbiont abundance in olive fruit fly Bactrocera oleae (Diptera: Tephritidae).

Pest management science [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: The potential of copper nanoparticles (NPs) to be used as an alternative control strategy against olive fruit flies (Bactrocera oleae) with reduced sensitivity to the pyrethroid deltamethrin and the impact of both nanosized and bulk copper [Cu(OH)2 ] on the insect's reproductive and endosymbiotic parameters were investigated.

RESULTS: The application of nanosized and bulk copper applied by feeding resulted in significant levels of adult mortality, comparable to or surpassing those achieved with deltamethrin at recommended doses. Combinations of Cu-NPs or CuO-NPs with deltamethrin significantly enhanced the insecticide's efficacy against B. oleae adults. When combined with deltamethrin, Cu-NPs significantly reduced the mean total number of offspring compared with the control, and the number of stings, pupae, female and total number of offspring compared with the insecticide alone. Both bulk and nanosized copper negatively affected the abundance of the endosymbiotic bacterium Candidatus Erwinia dacicola which is crucial for the survival of B. oleae larvae.

CONCLUSION: Cu-NPs can aid the control of B. oleae both by reducing larval survival and by enhancing deltamethrin performance in terms of toxicity and reduced fecundity, providing an effective anti-resistance tool and minimizing the environmental footprint of synthetic pesticides by reducing the required doses for the control of the pest.

RevDate: 2024-03-08

Kumar V, Subramanian J, Marimuthu M, et al (2024)

Diversity and functional characteristics of culturable bacterial endosymbionts from cassava whitefly biotype Asia II-5, Bemisia tabaci.

3 Biotech, 14(4):100.

UNLABELLED: Whitefly Bemisia tabaci, a carrier of cassava mosaic disease (CMD), poses a significant threat to cassava crops. Investigating culturable bacteria and their impact on whiteflies is crucial due to their vital role in whitefly fitness and survival. The whitefly biotype associated with cassava and transmitting CMD in India has been identified as Asia II 5 through partial mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I gene sequencing. In this study, bacteria associated with adult B. tabaci feeding on cassava were extracted using seven different media. Nutrient Agar (NA), Soyabean Casein Digest Medium (SCDM), Luria Bertani agar (LBA), and Reasoner's 2A agar (R2A) media resulted in 19, 6, 4, and 4 isolates, respectively, producing a total of 33 distinct bacterial isolates. Species identification through 16SrRNA gene sequencing revealed that all isolates belonged to the Bacillota and Pseudomonadota phyla, encompassing 11 genera: Bacillus, Cytobacillus, Exiguobacterium, Terribacillus, Brevibacillus, Enterococcus, Staphylococcus, Brucella, Novosphingobium, Lysobacter, and Pseudomonas. All bacterial isolates were tested for chitinase, protease, siderophore activity, and antibiotic sensitivity. Nine isolates exhibited chitinase activity, 28 showed protease activity, and 23 displayed siderophore activity. Most isolates were sensitive to antibiotics such as Vancomycin, Streptomycin, Erythromycin, Kanamycin, Doxycycline, Tetracycline, and Ciprofloxacin, while they demonstrated resistance to Bacitracin and Colistin. Understanding the culturable bacteria associated with cassava whitefly and their functional significance could contribute to developing effective cassava whitefly and CMD control in agriculture.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s13205-024-03949-0.

RevDate: 2024-03-08

Hafer-Hahmann N, C Vorburger (2024)

Parasitoid species diversity has no effect on protective symbiont diversity in experimental host-parasitoid populations.

Ecology and evolution, 14(3):e11090 pii:ECE311090.

How does diversity in nature come about? One factor contributing to this diversity are species interactions; diversity on one trophic level can shape diversity on lower or higher trophic levels. For example, parasite diversity enhances host immune diversity. Insect protective symbionts mediate host resistance and are, therefore, also engaged in reciprocal selection with their host's parasites. Here, we applied experimental evolution in a well-known symbiont-aphid-parasitoid system to study whether parasitoid diversity contributes to maintaining symbiont genetic diversity. We used caged populations of black bean aphids (Aphis fabae), containing uninfected individuals and individuals infected with different strains of the bacterial endosymbiont Hamiltonella defensa, which protects aphids against parasitoids. Over multiple generations, these populations were exposed to three different species of parasitoid wasps (Aphidius colemani, Binodoxys acalephae or Lysiphlebus fabarum), simultaneous or sequential mixtures of these species or no wasps. Surprisingly, we observed little selection for H. defensa in most treatments, even when it clearly provided protection against a fatal parasitoid infection. This seemed to be caused by high induced costs of resistance: aphids surviving parasitoid attacks suffered an extreme reduction in fitness. In marked contrast to previous studies looking at the effect of different genotypes of a single parasitoid species, we found little evidence for a diversifying effect of multiple parasitoid species on symbiont diversity in hosts.

RevDate: 2024-03-07

Kaur R, McGarry A, Shropshire JD, et al (2024)

Prophage proteins alter long noncoding RNA and DNA of developing sperm to induce a paternal-effect lethality.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 383(6687):1111-1117.

The extent to which prophage proteins interact with eukaryotic macromolecules is largely unknown. In this work, we show that cytoplasmic incompatibility factor A (CifA) and B (CifB) proteins, encoded by prophage WO of the endosymbiont Wolbachia, alter long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) and DNA during Drosophila sperm development to establish a paternal-effect embryonic lethality known as cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). CifA is a ribonuclease (RNase) that depletes a spermatocyte lncRNA important for the histone-to-protamine transition of spermiogenesis. Both CifA and CifB are deoxyribonucleases (DNases) that elevate DNA damage in late spermiogenesis. lncRNA knockdown enhances CI, and mutagenesis links lncRNA depletion and subsequent sperm chromatin integrity changes to embryonic DNA damage and CI. Hence, prophage proteins interact with eukaryotic macromolecules during gametogenesis to create a symbiosis that is fundamental to insect evolution and vector control.

RevDate: 2024-03-06

Manentzos AN, Pahl AMC, Melloh P, et al (2024)

Low prevalence of secondary endosymbionts in aphids sampled from rapeseed crops in Germany.

Bulletin of entomological research pii:S0007485324000063 [Epub ahead of print].

Peach-potato aphids, Myzus persicae Sulzer (Hemiptera:Aphididae), and cabbage aphids, Brevicoryne brassicae Linnaeus (Hemiptera:Aphididae), are herbivorous insects of significant agricultural importance. Aphids can harbour a range of non-essential (facultative) endosymbiotic bacteria that confer multiple costs and benefits to the host aphid. A key endosymbiont-derived phenotype is protection against parasitoid wasps, and this protective phenotype has been associated with several defensive enodsymbionts. In recent years greater emphasis has been placed on developing alternative pest management strategies, including the increased use of natural enemies such as parasitoids wasps. For the success of aphid control strategies to be estimated the presence of defensive endosymbionts that can potentially disrupt the success of biocontrol agents needs to be determined in natural aphid populations. Here, we sampled aphids and mummies (parasitised aphids) from an important rapeseed production region in Germany and used multiplex PCR assays to characterise the endosymbiont communities. We found that aphids rarely harboured facultative endosymbionts, with 3.6% of M. persicae and 0% of B. brassicae populations forming facultative endosymbiont associations. This is comparable with endosymbiont prevalence described for M. persicae populations surveyed in Australia, Europe, Chile, and USA where endosymbiont infection frequencies range form 0-2%, but is in contrast with observations from China where M. persicae populations have more abundant and diverse endosymbiotic communities (endosymbionts present in over 50% of aphid populations).

RevDate: 2024-03-05

Molina-Garza ZJ, Cuesy-León M, Baylón-Pacheco L, et al (2024)

Diversity of midgut microbiota in ticks collected from white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) from northern Mexico.

Parasites, hosts and diseases, 62(1):117-130.

Ticks host different pathogens as endosymbiont and nonpathogenic microorganisms and play an important role in reproductive fitness and nutrient provision. However, the bacterial microbiomes of white-tailed deer ticks have received minimal attention. This study aimed to examine the bacterial microbiome of ticks collected from Odocoileus virginianus on the Mexico-United States border to assess differences in microbiome diversity in ticks of different species, sexes, and localities. Five different tick species were collected: Rhipicephalus microplus, Dermacentor nitens, Otobius megnini, Amblyomma cajennense, and A. maculatum. The tick microbiomes were analyzed using next-generation sequencing. Among all tick species, the most predominant phylum was Proteobacteria, followed by Actinobacteria and Firmicutes. The ticks from Tamaulipas and Nuevo León presented the highest bacterial species diversity. Acinetobacter johnsonii and A. lwoffii were the common bacterial species in the microbiome of all ticks, Coxiella were present in R. microplus, and Dermacentor nitens also exhibited a Francisella-like endosymbiont. The microbiome of most females in D. nitens was less diverse than that of males, whereas R. microplus occurs in females, suggesting that microbiome diversity is influenced by sex. In the bacterial communities of A. maculatum and O. megnini, Candidatus Midichloria massiliensis, and Candidatus Endoecteinascidia fumentensis were the most predominant endosymbionts. These results constitute the initial report on these bacteria, and this is also the first study to characterize the microbiome of O. megnini.

RevDate: 2024-03-05

González Porras MÁ, Pons I, García-Lozano M, et al (2024)

Extracellular symbiont colonizes insect during embryo development.

ISME communications, 4(1):ycae005.

Insects typically acquire their beneficial microbes early in development. Endosymbionts housed intracellularly are commonly integrated during oogenesis or embryogenesis, whereas extracellular microbes are only known to be acquired after hatching by immature instars such as larvae or nymphs. Here, however, we report on an extracellular symbiont that colonizes its host during embryo development. Tortoise beetles (Chrysomelidae: Cassidinae) host their digestive bacterial symbiont Stammera extracellularly within foregut symbiotic organs and in ovary-associated glands to ensure its vertical transmission. We outline the initial stages of symbiont colonization and observe that although the foregut symbiotic organs develop 3 days prior to larval emergence, they remain empty until the final 24 h of embryo development. Infection by Stammera occurs during that timeframe and prior to hatching. By experimentally manipulating symbiont availability to embryos in the egg, we describe a 12-h developmental window governing colonization by Stammera. Symbiotic organs form normally in aposymbiotic larvae, demonstrating that these Stammera-bearing structures develop autonomously. In adults, the foregut symbiotic organs are already colonized following metamorphosis and host a stable Stammera population to facilitate folivory. The ovary-associated glands, however, initially lack Stammera. Symbiont abundance subsequently increases within these transmission organs, thereby ensuring sufficient titers at the onset of oviposition ~29 days following metamorphosis. Collectively, our findings reveal that Stammera colonization precedes larval emergence, where its proliferation is eventually decoupled in adult beetles to match the nutritional and reproductive requirements of its host.

RevDate: 2024-03-04

Tan KXY, S Shigenobu (2024)

In vivo interference of pea aphid endosymbiont Buchnera groEL gene by synthetic peptide nucleic acids.

Scientific reports, 14(1):5378.

The unculturable nature of intracellular obligate symbionts presents a significant challenge for elucidating gene functionality, necessitating the development of gene manipulation techniques. One of the best-studied obligate symbioses is that between aphids and the bacterial endosymbiont Buchnera aphidicola. Given the extensive genome reduction observed in Buchnera, the remaining genes are crucial for understanding the host-symbiont relationship, but a lack of tools for manipulating gene function in the endosymbiont has significantly impeded the exploration of the molecular mechanisms underlying this mutualism. In this study, we introduced a novel gene manipulation technique employing synthetic single-stranded peptide nucleic acids (PNAs). We targeted the critical Buchnera groEL using specially designed antisense PNAs conjugated to an arginine-rich cell-penetrating peptide (CPP). Within 24 h of PNA administration via microinjection, we observed a significant reduction in groEL expression and Buchnera cell count. Notably, the interference of groEL led to profound morphological malformations in Buchnera, indicative of impaired cellular integrity. The gene knockdown technique developed in this study, involving the microinjection of CPP-conjugated antisense PNAs, provides a potent approach for in vivo gene manipulation of unculturable intracellular symbionts, offering valuable insights into their biology and interactions with hosts.

RevDate: 2024-03-04

Dye D, JW Cain (2024)

Efficacy of Wolbachia-based mosquito control: Predictions of a spatially discrete mathematical model.

PloS one, 19(3):e0297964 pii:PONE-D-23-27458.

Wolbachia is an endosymbiont bacterium present in many insect species. When Wolbachia-carrying male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes mate with non-carrier females, their embryos are not viable due to cytoplasmic incompatibility. This phenomenon has been exploited successfully for the purpose of controlling mosquito populations and the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses: Wolbachia carriers are bred and released into the environment. Because Wolbachia is not harmful to humans, this method of mosquito control is regarded as a safer alternative to pesticide spraying. In this article, we introduce a mathematical framework for exploring (i) whether a one-time release of Wolbachia carriers can elicit a sustained presence of carriers near the release site, and (ii) the extent to which spatial propagation of carriers may allow them to establish fixation in other territories. While some prior studies have formulated mosquito dispersal models using advection-reaction-diffusion PDEs, the predictive power of such models requires careful ecological mapping: advection and diffusion coefficients exhibit significant spatial dependence due to heterogeneity of resources and topography. Here, we adopt a courser-grained view, regarding the environment as a network of discrete, diffusively-coupled "habitats"-distinct zones of high mosquito density such as stagnant ponds. We extend two previously published single-habitat mosquito models to multiple habitats, and calculate rates of migration between pairs of habitats using dispersal kernels. Our primary results are quantitative estimates regarding how the success of carrier fixation in one or more habitats is determined by: the number of carriers released, sizes of habitats, distances between habitats, and the rate of migration between habitats. Besides yielding sensible and potentially useful predictions regarding the success of Wolbachia-based control, our framework applies to other approaches (e.g., gene drives) and contexts beyond the realm of insect pest control.

RevDate: 2024-03-02

Walt HK, King JG, Sheele JM, et al (2024)

Do bed bugs transmit human viruses, or do humans spread bed bugs and their viruses? A worldwide survey of the bed bug RNA virosphere.

Virus research pii:S0168-1702(24)00042-X [Epub ahead of print].

BED BUGS (HEMIPTERA: : Cimicidae) are a globally distributed hematophagous pest that routinely feed on humans. Unlike many blood-sucking arthropods, they have never been linked to pathogen transmission in a natural setting, and despite increasing interest in their role as disease vectors, little is known about the viruses that bed bugs naturally harbor. Here, we present a global-scale survey of the bed bug RNA virosphere. We sequenced the metatranscriptomes of 22 individual bed bugs (Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus) from 8 locations around the world. We detected sequences from two known bed bug viruses (Shuangao bedbug virus 1 and Shuangao bedbug virus 2) which extends their geographical range. We identified three novel bed bug virus sequences from a tenui-like virus (Bunyavirales), a toti-like virus (Ghabrivirales), and a luteo-like virus (Tolivirales). Interestingly, some of the bed bug viruses branch near to insect-transmitted plant-infecting viruses, opening questions regarding the evolution of plant virus infection. When we analyzed the viral sequences by their host's collection location, we found unexpected patterns of geographical diversity that may reflect humans' role in bed bug dispersal. Additionally, we investigated the effect that Wolbachia, the primary bed bug endosymbiont, may have on viral abundance and found that Wolbachia infection neither promotes nor inhibits viral infection. Finally, our results provide no evidence that bed bugs transmit any known human pathogenic viruses.

RevDate: 2024-03-02

Cantin LJ, Dunning Hotopp JC, JM Foster (2024)

Improved metagenome assemblies through selective enrichment of bacterial genomic DNA from eukaryotic host genomic DNA using ATAC-seq.

Frontiers in microbiology, 15:1352378.

Genomics can be used to study the complex relationships between hosts and their microbiota. Many bacteria cannot be cultured in the laboratory, making it difficult to obtain adequate amounts of bacterial DNA and to limit host DNA contamination for the construction of metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs). For example, Wolbachia is a genus of exclusively obligate intracellular bacteria that live in a wide range of arthropods and some nematodes. While Wolbachia endosymbionts are frequently described as facultative reproductive parasites in arthropods, the bacteria are obligate mutualistic endosymbionts of filarial worms. Here, we achieve 50-fold enrichment of bacterial sequences using ATAC-seq (Assay for Transposase-Accessible Chromatin using sequencing) with Brugia malayi nematodes, containing Wolbachia (wBm). ATAC-seq uses the Tn5 transposase to cut and attach Illumina sequencing adapters to accessible DNA lacking histones, typically thought to be open chromatin. Bacterial and mitochondrial DNA in the lysates are also cut preferentially since they lack histones, leading to the enrichment of these sequences. The benefits of this include minimal tissue input (<1 mg of tissue), a quick protocol (<4 h), low sequencing costs, less bias, correct assembly of lateral gene transfers and no prior sequence knowledge required. We assembled the wBm genome with as few as 1 million Illumina short paired-end reads with >97% coverage of the published genome, compared to only 12% coverage with the standard gDNA libraries. We found significant bacterial sequence enrichment that facilitated genome assembly in previously published ATAC-seq data sets from human cells infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and C. elegans contaminated with their food source, the OP50 strain of E. coli. These results demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of using ATAC-seq to easily obtain bacterial genomes to aid in symbiosis, infectious disease, and microbiome research.

RevDate: 2024-02-29

Ffrench-Constant RH, Bennie J, Gordon IJ, et al (2024)

Penetrance interactions of colour pattern loci in the African Monarch and their implications for the evolution of dominance.

Ecology and evolution, 14(2):e11024.

Scoring the penetrance of heterozygotes in complex phenotypes, like colour pattern, is difficult and complicates the analysis of systems in which dominance is incomplete or evolving. The African Monarch (Danaus chrysippus) represents an example where colour pattern heterozygotes, formed in the contact zone between the different subspecies, show such intermediate dominance. Colour pattern in this aposematic butterfly is controlled by three loci A, B and C. The B and C loci are closely linked in a B/C supergene and significant interaction of B and C phenotypes is therefore expected via linkage alone. The A locus, however, is not linked to B/C and is found on a different chromosome. To study interactions between these loci we generated colour pattern heterozygotes by crossing males and females bearing different A and B/C genotypes, collected from different parts of Africa. We derived a novel scoring system for the expressivity of the heterozygotes and, as predicted, we found significant interactions between the genotypes of the closely linked B and C loci. Surprisingly, however, we also found highly significant interactions between C and the unlinked A locus, modifications that generally increased the resemblance of heterozygotes to homozygous ancestors. In contrast, we found no difference in the penetrance of any of the corresponding heterozygotes from crosses conducted either in allopatry or sympatry, in reciprocal crosses of males and females, or in the presence or absence of endosymbiont mediated male-killing or its associated neoW mediated sex-linkage of colour pattern. Together, this data supports the idea that the different colour morphs of the African Monarch meet transiently in the East African contact zone and that genetic modifiers act to mask inappropriate expression of colour patterns in the incorrect environments.

RevDate: 2024-02-26

Paddock CD, Zambrano ML, Clover JR, et al (2024)

Rickettsia species identified in adult, host-seeking Dermacentor occidentalis (Acari: Ixodidae) from Baja California, Mexico, and Oregon and Washington, United States.

Journal of medical entomology pii:7614296 [Epub ahead of print].

The Pacific Coast tick (Dermacentor occidentalis Marx, 1892) is a frequently encountered and commonly reported human-biting tick species that has been recorded from most of California and parts of southwestern Oregon, southcentral Washington, and northwestern Mexico. Although previous investigators have surveyed populations of D. occidentalis for the presence of Rickettsia species across several regions of California, populations of this tick have not been surveyed heretofore for rickettsiae from Baja California, Oregon, or Washington. We evaluated 1,367 host-seeking, D. occidentalis adults collected from 2015 to 2022 by flagging vegetation at multiple sites in Baja California, Mexico, and Oregon and Washington, United States, using genus- and species-specific assays for spotted fever group rickettsiae. DNA of Rickettsia 364D, R. bellii, and R. tillamookensis was not detected in specimens from these regions. DNA of R. rhipicephali was detected in D. occidentalis specimens obtained from Ensenada Municipality in Baja California and southwestern Oregon, but not from Washington. All ompA sequences of R. rhipichephali that were amplified from individual ticks in southwestern Oregon were represented by a single genotype. DNA of the Ixodes pacificus rickettsial endosymbiont was amplified from specimens collected in southwestern Oregon and Klickitat County, Washington; to the best of our knowledge, this Rickettsia species has never been identified in D. occidentalis. Collectively, these data are consistent with a relatively recent introduction of Pacific Coast ticks in the northernmost extension of its recognized range.

RevDate: 2024-02-26

Lastovetsky OA, Caruso T, Brennan FP, et al (2024)

Spores of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi host surprisingly diverse communities of endobacteria.

The New phytologist [Epub ahead of print].

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are ubiquitous plant root symbionts, which can house two endobacteria: Ca. Moeniiplasma glomeromycotorum (CaMg) and Ca. Glomeribacter gigasporarum (CaGg). However, little is known about their distribution and population structure in natural AMF populations and whether AMF can harbour other endobacteria. We isolated AMF from two environments and conducted detailed analyses of endobacterial communities associated with surface-sterilised AMF spores. Consistent with the previous reports, we found that CaMg were extremely abundant (80%) and CaGg were extremely rare (2%) in both environments. Unexpectedly, we discovered an additional and previously unknown level of bacterial diversity within AMF spores, which extended beyond the known endosymbionts, with bacteria belonging to 10 other phyla detected across our spore data set. Detailed analysis revealed that: CaGg were not limited in distribution to the Gigasporaceae family of AMF, as previously thought; CaMg population structure was driven by AMF host genotype; and a significant inverse correlation existed between the diversity of CaMg and diversity of all other endobacteria. Based on these data, we generate novel testable hypotheses regarding the function of CaMg in AMF biology by proposing that they might act as conditional mutualists of AMF.

RevDate: 2024-02-24

Cameirão C, Costa D, Rufino J, et al (2024)

Diversity, Composition, and Specificity of the Philaenus spumarius Bacteriome.

Microorganisms, 12(2):.

Philaenus spumarius (Linnaeus, 1758) (Hemiptera, Aphrophoridae) was recently classified as a pest due to its ability to act as a vector of the phytopathogen Xylella fastidiosa. This insect has been reported to harbour several symbiotic bacteria that play essential roles in P. spumarius health and fitness. However, the factors driving bacterial assemblages remain largely unexplored. Here, the bacteriome associated with different organs (head, abdomen, and genitalia) of males and females of P. spumarius was characterized using culturally dependent and independent methods and compared in terms of diversity and composition. The bacteriome of P. spumarius is enriched in Proteobacteria, Bacteroidota, and Actinobacteria phyla, as well as in Candidatus Sulcia and Cutibacterium genera. The most frequent isolates were Curtobacterium, Pseudomonas, and Rhizobiaceae sp.1. Males display a more diverse bacterial community than females, but no differences in diversity were found in distinct organs. However, the organ shapes the bacteriome structure more than sex, with the Microbacteriaceae family revealing a high level of organ specificity and the Blattabacteriaceae family showing a high level of sex specificity. Several symbiotic bacterial genera were identified in P. spumarius for the first time, including Rhodococcus, Citrobacter, Halomonas, Streptomyces, and Providencia. Differences in the bacterial composition within P. spumarius organs and sexes suggest an adaptation of bacteria to particular insect tissues, potentially shaped by their significance in the life and overall fitness of P. spumarius. Although more research on the bacteria of P. spumarius interactions is needed, such knowledge could help to develop specific bacterial-based insect management strategies.

RevDate: 2024-02-24

Cheng Y, Yang J, Li T, et al (2024)

Endosymbiotic Fungal Diversity and Dynamics of the Brown Planthopper across Developmental Stages, Tissues, and Sexes Revealed Using Circular Consensus Sequencing.

Insects, 15(2):.

Endosymbiotic fungi play an important role in the growth and development of insects. Understanding the endosymbiont communities hosted by the brown planthopper (BPH; Nilaparvata lugens Stål), the most destructive pest in rice, is a prerequisite for controlling BPH rice infestations. However, the endosymbiont diversity and dynamics of the BPH remain poorly studied. Here, we used circular consensus sequencing (CCS) to obtain 87,131 OTUs (operational taxonomic units), which annotated 730 species of endosymbiotic fungi in the various developmental stages and tissues. We found that three yeast-like symbionts (YLSs), Polycephalomyces prolificus, Ophiocordyceps heteropoda, and Hirsutella proturicola, were dominant in almost all samples, which was especially pronounced in instar nymphs 4-5, female adults, and the fat bodies of female and male adult BPH. Interestingly, honeydew as the only in vitro sample had a unique community structure. Various diversity indices might indicate the different activity of endosymbionts in these stages and tissues. The biomarkers analyzed using LEfSe suggested some special functions of samples at different developmental stages of growth and the active functions of specific tissues in different sexes. Finally, we found that the incidence of occurrence of three species of Malassezia and Fusarium sp. was higher in males than in females in all comparison groups. In summary, our study provides a comprehensive survey of symbiotic fungi in the BPH, which complements the previous research on YLSs. These results offer new theoretical insights and practical implications for novel pest management strategies to understand the BPH-microbe symbiosis and devise effective pest control strategies.

RevDate: 2024-02-23

Budrys E, Orlovskytė S, A Budrienė (2024)

Ecological Speciation without Morphological Differentiation? A New Cryptic Species of Diodontus Curtis (Hymenoptera, Pemphredonidae) from the Centre of Europe.

Insects, 15(2): pii:insects15020086.

Upon exploring the mitotype diversity of the aphid-hunting wasp, Diodontus tristis, we revealed specimens with highly divergent mitotypes from two localities in Lithuania and nesting in clayey substrate, while the specimens with typical mitotypes were found nesting in sandy sites. The comparison of inter- and intra-specific distances and application of delimitation algorithms supported the species status of the clay-nesting populations. Using a set of DNA markers that included complete or partial sequences of six mitochondrial genes, three markers of ribosomal operon, two homeobox genes, and four other nuclear genes, we clarified the phylogenetic relationships of the new cryptic species. The endosymbiotic bacteria infestation was checked, considering the option that the divergent populations may represent clades isolated by Wolbachia infection; however, it did not demonstrate any specificity. We found only subtle morphological differences in the new clay-nesting species, D. argillicola sp. nov.; the discriminant analysis of morphometric measurements did not reliably segregate it as well. Thus, we provide the molecular characters of the cryptic species, which allow confident identification, its phylogenetic position within the genus, and an updated identification key for the D. tristis species group.

RevDate: 2024-02-23

Reese C, Graber LC, Ramalho MO, et al (2024)

The Diversity of Wolbachia across the Turtle Ants (Formicidae: Cephalotes spp.).

Biology, 13(2): pii:biology13020121.

Wolbachia is a widespread and well-known bacterium that can induce a wide range of changes within its host. Ants specifically harbor a great deal of Wolbachia diversity and are useful systems to study endosymbiosis. The turtle ants (Cephalotes) are a widespread group of tropical ants that rely on gut microbes to support their herbivorous diet for their survival, yet little is known of the extent of this diversity. Therefore, studying their endosymbionts and categorizing the diversity of bacteria within Cephalotes hosts could help to delimit species and identify new strains and can help lead to a further understanding of how the microbiome leads to survival and speciation in the wild. In our study, 116 individual samples were initially tested for positive infection with the wsp gene. Of the initial 116 samples, 9 samples were infected with only one strain of Wolbachia, and 7 were able to be used successfully for multilocus sequence typing (MLST). We used the new MLST data to infer a phylogeny with other Formicidae samples from the MLST online database to identify new Wolbachia strains and related genes, of which only one came back as an exact match. The 18 Wolbachia-positive samples ranged across 15 different species and 7 different countries, which we further test for species identity and geographic correlation. This study is the first comprehensive look into the diversity of Wolbachia in the turtle ants, providing insight into how endosymbionts are oriented in widespread species and providing a strong foundation for further research in host-microbe interactions.

RevDate: 2024-02-23

Baruah N, Haajanen R, Rahman MT, et al (2024)

Biosynthesis of polyhydroxybutyrate by Methylorubrum extorquens DSM13060 is essential for intracellular colonization in plant endosymbiosis.

Frontiers in plant science, 15:1302705.

Methylorubrum extorquens DSM13060 is an endosymbiont that lives in the cells of shoot tip meristems. The bacterium is methylotrophic and consumes plant-derived methanol for the production of polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB). The PHB provides protection against oxidative stress for both host and endosymbiont cells through its fragments, methyl-esterified 3-hydroxybutyrate (ME-3HB) oligomers. We evaluated the role of the genes involved in the production of ME-3HB oligomers in the host colonization by the endosymbiont M. extorquens DSM13060 through targeted genetic mutations. The strains with deletions in PHB synthase (phaC), PHB depolymerase (phaZ1), and a transcription factor (phaR) showed altered PHB granule characteristics, as ΔphaC had a significantly low number of granules, ΔphaR had a significantly increased number of granules, and ΔphaZ1 had significantly large PHB granules in the bacterial cells. When the deletion strains were exposed to oxidative stress, the ΔphaC strain was sensitive to 10 mM HO· and 20 mM H2O2. The colonization of the host, Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), by the deletion strains varied greatly. The deletion strain ΔphaR colonized the host mainly intercellularly, whereas the ΔphaZ1 strain was a slightly poorer colonizer than the control. The deletion strain ΔphaC lacked the colonization potential, living mainly on the surfaces of the epidermis of pine roots and shoots in contrast to the control, which intracellularly colonized all pine tissues within the study period. In earlier studies, deletions within the PHB metabolic pathway have had a minor effect on plant colonization by rhizobia. We have previously shown the association between ME-3HB oligomers, produced by PhaC and PhaZ1, and the ability to alleviate host-generated oxidative stress during plant infection by the endosymbiont M. extorquens DSM13060. Our current results show that the low capacity for PHB synthesis leads to poor tolerance of oxidative stress and loss of colonization potential by the endosymbiont. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that the metabolism of PHB in M. extorquens DSM13060 is an important trait in the non-rhizobial endosymbiosis.

RevDate: 2024-02-21

Mendoza-Roldan JA, Perles L, Filippi E, et al (2024)

Parasites and microorganisms associated with the snakes collected for the "festa Dei serpari" in Cocullo, Italy.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 18(2):e0011973 pii:PNTD-D-23-01442 [Epub ahead of print].

While in much of the Western world snakes are feared, in the small, rural, mountainous town of Cocullo, in the middle of central Italy, snakes are annually collected and celebrated in a sacro-profane ritual. Every 1st of May, Serpari (snake catchers) capture and showcase dozens of non-venomous snakes to celebrate the ritual of San Domenico. In order to detect potential zoonotic pathogens within this unique epidemiological context, parasites and microorganisms of snakes harvested for the "festa dei serpari" ritual was investigated. Snakes (n = 112) were examined and ectoparasites collected, as well as blood and feces sampled. Ectoparasites were identified morpho-molecularly, and coprological examination conducted through direct smear and flotation. Molecular screenings were performed to identify parasites and microorganisms in collected samples (i.e., Mesostigmata mites, Anaplasma/Ehrlichia spp., Rickettsia spp., Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Coxiella burnetii, Babesia/Theileria spp., Cryptosporidium spp., Giardia spp., Leishmania spp. and helminths). Overall, 28.5% (32/112) of snakes were molecularly positive for at least one parasite and/or microorganism. Endosymbiont Wolbachia bacteria were identified from Macronyssidae mites and zoonotic vector-borne bacteria (e.g., Rickettsia, Leishmania), as well as orally transmitted pathogens (i.e., Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonas), were detected from blood and feces. Thus, given the central role of the snakes in the tradition of Cocullo, surveys of their parasitic fauna and associated zoonotic pathogens may aid to generate conservation policies to benefit the human-snake interactions, whilst preserving the cultural patrimony of this event.

RevDate: 2024-02-20

Šibanc N, Clark DR, Helgason T, et al (2024)

Extreme environments simplify reassembly of communities of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.

mSystems [Epub ahead of print].

The ecological impacts of long-term (press) disturbance on mechanisms regulating the relative abundance (i.e., commonness or rarity) and temporal dynamics of species within a community remain largely unknown. This is particularly true for the functionally important arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi; obligate plant-root endosymbionts that colonize more than two-thirds of terrestrial plant species. Here, we use high-resolution amplicon sequencing to examine how AM fungal communities in a specific extreme ecosystem-mofettes or natural CO2 springs caused by geological CO2 exhalations-are affected by long-term stress. We found that in mofettes, specific and temporally stable communities form as a subset of the local metacommunity. These communities are less diverse and dominated by adapted, "stress tolerant" taxa. Those taxa are rare in control locations and more benign environments worldwide, but show a stable temporal pattern in the extreme sites, consistently dominating the communities in grassland mofettes. This pattern of lower diversity and high dominance of specific taxa has been confirmed as relatively stable over several sampling years and is independently observed across multiple geographic locations (mofettes in different countries). This study implies that the response of soil microbial community composition to long-term stress is relatively predictable, which can also reflect the community response to other anthropogenic stressors (e.g., heavy metal pollution or land use change). Moreover, as AM fungi are functionally differentiated, with different taxa providing different benefits to host plants, changes in community structure in response to long-term environmental change have the potential to impact terrestrial plant communities and their productivity.IMPORTANCEArbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi form symbiotic relationships with more than two-thirds of plant species. In return for using plant carbon as their sole energy source, AM fungi improve plant mineral supply, water balance, and protection against pathogens. This work demonstrates the importance of long-term experiments to understand the effects of long-term environmental change and long-term disturbance on terrestrial ecosystems. We demonstrated a consistent response of the AM fungal community to a long-term stress, with lower diversity and a less variable AM fungal community over time under stress conditions compared to the surrounding controls. We have also identified, for the first time, a suite of AM fungal taxa that are consistently observed across broad geographic scales in stressed and anthropogenically heavily influenced ecosystems. This is critical because global environmental change in terrestrial ecosystems requires an integrative approach that considers both above- and below-ground changes and examines patterns over a longer geographic and temporal scale, rather than just single sampling events.

RevDate: 2024-02-20

Mazel F, Pitteloud C, Guisan A, et al (2024)

Contrasted host specificity of gut and endosymbiont bacterial communities in alpine grasshoppers and crickets.

ISME communications, 4(1):ycad013.

Bacteria colonize the body of macroorganisms to form associations ranging from parasitic to mutualistic. Endosymbiont and gut symbiont communities are distinct microbiomes whose compositions are influenced by host ecology and evolution. Although the composition of horizontally acquired symbiont communities can correlate to host species identity (i.e. harbor host specificity) and host phylogeny (i.e. harbor phylosymbiosis), we hypothesize that the microbiota structure of vertically inherited symbionts (e.g. endosymbionts like Wolbachia) is more strongly associated with the host species identity and phylogeny than horizontally acquired symbionts (e.g. most gut symbionts). Here, using 16S metabarcoding on 336 guts from 24 orthopteran species (grasshoppers and crickets) in the Alps, we observed that microbiota correlated to host species identity, i.e. hosts from the same species had more similar microbiota than hosts from different species. This effect was ~5 times stronger for endosymbionts than for putative gut symbionts. Although elevation correlated with microbiome composition, we did not detect phylosymbiosis for endosymbionts and putative gut symbionts: closely related host species did not harbor more similar microbiota than distantly related species. Our findings indicate that gut microbiota of studied orthopteran species is more correlated to host identity and habitat than to the host phylogeny. The higher host specificity in endosymbionts corroborates the idea that-everything else being equal-vertically transmitted microbes harbor stronger host specificity signal, but the absence of phylosymbiosis suggests that host specificity changes quickly on evolutionary time scales.

RevDate: 2024-02-20

Thimmappa BC, Salhi LN, Forget L, et al (2024)

A biofertilizing fungal endophyte of cranberry plants suppresses the plant pathogen Diaporthe.

Frontiers in microbiology, 15:1327392.

Fungi colonizing plants are gaining attention because of their ability to promote plant growth and suppress pathogens. While most studies focus on endosymbionts from grasses and legumes, the large and diverse group of ericaceous plants has been much neglected. We recently described one of the very few fungal endophytes promoting the growth of the Ericaceae Vaccinium macrocarpon (American cranberry), notably the Codinaeella isolate EC4. Here, we show that EC4 also suppresses fungal pathogens, which makes it a promising endophyte for sustainable cranberry cultivation. By dual-culture assays on agar plates, we tested the potential growth suppression (or biocontrol) of EC4 on other microbes, notably 12 pathogenic fungi and one oomycete reported to infect not only cranberry but also blueberry, strawberry, tomato plants, rose bushes and olive trees. Under greenhouse conditions, EC4 protects cranberry plantlets infected with one of the most notorious cranberry-plant pathogens, Diaporthe vaccinii, known to cause upright dieback and berry rot. The nuclear genome sequence of EC4 revealed a large arsenal of genes potentially involved in biocontrol. About ∼60 distinct clusters of genes are homologs of secondary metabolite gene clusters, some of which were shown in other fungi to synthesize nonribosomal peptides and polyketides, but in most cases, the exact compounds these clusters may produce are unknown. The EC4 genome also encodes numerous homologs of hydrolytic enzymes known to degrade fungal cell walls. About half of the nearly 250 distinct glucanases and chitinases are likely involved in biocontrol because they are predicted to be secreted outside the cell. Transcriptome analysis shows that the expression of about a quarter of the predicted secondary-metabolite gene clusters and glucan and chitin-degrading genes of EC4 is stimulated when it is co-cultured with D. vaccinii. Some of the differentially expressed EC4 genes are alternatively spliced exclusively in the presence of the pathogen, altering the proteins' domain content and subcellular localization signal, thus adding a second level of proteome adaptation in response to habitat competition. To our knowledge, this is the first report of Diaporthe-induced alternative splicing of biocontrol genes.

RevDate: 2024-02-19
CmpDate: 2024-02-19

Gimmi E, C Vorburger (2024)

High specificity of symbiont-conferred resistance in an aphid-parasitoid field community.

Journal of evolutionary biology, 37(2):162-170.

Host-parasite coevolution is mediated by genetic interactions between the antagonists and may lead to reciprocal adaptation. In the black bean aphid, Aphis fabae fabae, resistance to parasitoids can be conferred by the heritable bacterial endosymbiont Hamiltonella defensa. H. defensa has been shown to be variably protective against different parasitoid species, and different genotypes of the black bean aphid's main parasitoid Lysiphlebus fabarum. However, these results were obtained using haphazard combinations of laboratory-reared insect lines with different origins, making it unclear how representative they are of natural, locally (co)adapted communities. We therefore comprehensively sampled the parasitoids of a natural A. f. fabae population and measured the ability of the five most abundant species to parasitize aphids carrying the locally prevalent H. defensa haplotypes. H. defensa provided resistance only against the dominant parasitoid L. fabarum (70% of all parasitoids), but not against less abundant parasitoids, and resistance to L. fabarum acted in a genotype-specific manner (G × G interactions between H. defensa and L. fabarum). These results confirm that strong species- and genotype-specificity of symbiont-conferred resistance is indeed a hallmark of wild A. f. fabae populations, and they are consistent with symbiont-mediated adaptation of aphids to the parasitoids posing the highest risk.

RevDate: 2024-02-16

Zhang H, Hellweger FL, H Luo (2024)

Genome reduction occurred in early Prochlorococcus with an unusually low effective population size.

The ISME journal, 18(1):.

In the oligotrophic sunlit ocean, the most abundant free-living planktonic bacterial lineages evolve convergently through genome reduction. The cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus responsible for 10% global oxygen production is a prominent example. The dominant theory known as "genome streamlining" posits that they have extremely large effective population sizes (Ne) such that selection for metabolic efficiency acts to drive genome reduction. Because genome reduction largely took place anciently, this theory builds on the assumption that their ancestors' Ne was similarly large. Constraining Ne for ancient ancestors is challenging because experimental measurements of extinct organisms are impossible and alternatively reconstructing ancestral Ne with phylogenetic models gives large uncertainties. Here, we develop a new strategy that leverages agent-based modeling to simulate the changes in the genome-wide ratio of radical to conservative nonsynonymous nucleotide substitution rate (dR/dC) in a possible range of Ne in ancestral populations. This proxy shows expected increases with decreases of Ne only when Ne falls to about 10 k - 100 k or lower, magnitudes characteristic of Ne of obligate endosymbiont species where drift drives genome reduction. Our simulations therefore strongly support a scenario where the primary force of Prochlorococcus genome reduction is drift rather than selection.

RevDate: 2024-02-16
CmpDate: 2024-02-15

Goodbody-Gringley G, Martinez S, Bellworthy J, et al (2024)

Irradiance driven trophic plasticity in the coral Madracis pharensis from the Eastern Mediterranean.

Scientific reports, 14(1):3646.

The distribution of symbiotic scleractinian corals is driven, in part, by light availability, as host energy demands are partially met through translocation of photosynthate. Physiological plasticity in response to environmental conditions, such as light, enables the expansion of resilient phenotypes in the face of changing environmental conditions. Here we compared the physiology, morphology, and taxonomy of the host and endosymbionts of individual Madracis pharensis corals exposed to dramatically different light conditions based on colony orientation on the surface of a shipwreck at 30 m depth in the Bay of Haifa, Israel. We found significant differences in symbiont species consortia, photophysiology, and stable isotopes, suggesting that these corals can adjust multiple aspects of host and symbiont physiology in response to light availability. These results highlight the potential of corals to switch to a predominantly heterotrophic diet when light availability and/or symbiont densities are too low to sustain sufficient photosynthesis, which may provide resilience for corals in the face of climate change.

RevDate: 2024-02-13

Kumar MPS, Keerthana A, Priya , et al (2024)

Exploration of culturable bacterial associates of aphids and their interactions with entomopathogens.

Archives of microbiology, 206(3):96.

Aphids shelter several bacteria that benefit them in various ways. The associates having an obligatory relationship are non-culturable, while a few of facultative associates are culturable in insect cell lines, axenic media or standard microbiology media. In the present investigation, isolation, and characterization of the culturable bacterial associates of various aphid species, viz., Rhopalosiphum maidis, Rhopalosiphum padi, Sitobion avenae, Schizaphis graminum, and Lipaphis erysimi pseudobrassicae were carried out. A total of 42 isolates were isolated using different growth media, followed by their morphological, biochemical, and molecular characterization. The isolated culturable bacterial associates were found to belong to the genera Acinetobacter, Bacillus, Brevundimonas, Cytobacillus, Fictibacillus, Planococcus, Priestia, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus, Sutcliffiella, and Tumebacillus which were grouped under seven families of four different orders of phyla Bacillota (Firmicutes) and Pseudomonata (Proteobacteria). Symbiont-entomopathogen interaction study was also conducted, in which the quantification of colony forming units of culturable bacterial associates of entomopathogenic fungal-treated aphids led us to the assumption that the bacterial load in aphid body can be altered by the application of entomopathogens. Whereas, the mycelial growth of entomopathogens Akanthomyces lecanii and Metarhizium anisopliae was found uninhibited by the bacterial associates obtained from Sitobion avenae and Rhopalosiphum padi. Analyzing persistent aphid microflora and their interactions with entomopathogens enhances our understanding of aphid resistance. It also fosters the development of innovative solutions for agricultural pest management, highlighting the intricate dynamics of symbiotic relationships in pest management strategies.

RevDate: 2024-02-12

Garrido-Bautista J, Cláudia Norte A, Moreno-Rueda G, et al (2024)

Ecological determinants of prevalence of the male-killing bacterium Arsenophonus nasoniae.

Journal of invertebrate pathology pii:S0022-2011(24)00016-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Male-killing bacteria are found in a broad range of arthropods. Arsenophonus nasoniae is a male-killing bacterium, causing a 80% reduction of the male progeny in infected Nasonia vitripennis wasps. Although the discovery of A. nasoniae dates from the early 80's, knowledge about the biology and ecology of this endosymbiont is still scarce. One of these poorly studied features is the ecological factors underlying A. nasoniae incidence on its Nasonia spp. hosts in different geographical locations. Here, we studied the prevalence of A. nasoniae in Iberian wild populations of its host N. vitripennis. This wasp species is a common parasitoid of the blowfly Protocalliphora azurea pupae, which in turn is a parasite of hole-nesting birds, such as the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). We also examined the effects of bird rearing conditions on the prevalence of A. nasoniae through a brood size manipulation experiment (creating enlarged, control and reduced broods). Both the wasp and bacterium presence were tested through PCR assays in blowfly pupae. We found A. nasoniae in almost half (47%) of nests containing blowflies parasitized by N. vitripennis. The prevalence of A. nasoniae was similar in the two geographical areas examined (central Portugal and southeastern Spain) and the probability of infection by A. nasoniae was independent of the number of blowfly pupae in the nest. Experimental manipulation of brood size did not affect the prevalence of A. nasoniae nor the prevalence of its host, N. vitripennis. These results suggest that the incidence of A. nasoniae in natural populations of N. vitripennis is high in the Iberian Peninsula, and the infestation frequency of nests by N. vitripennis carrying A. nasoniae is spatially stable in this geographical region independently of bird rearing conditions.

RevDate: 2024-02-09

Wang R, Meng Q, Wang X, et al (2024)

Comparative genomic analysis of symbiotic and free-living Fluviibacter phosphoraccumulans strains provides insights into the evolutionary origins of obligate Euplotes-bacterial endosymbioses.

Applied and environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Endosymbiosis is a widespread and important phenomenon requiring diverse model systems. Ciliates are a widespread group of protists that often form symbioses with diverse microorganisms. Endosymbioses between the ciliate Euplotes and heritable bacterial symbionts are common in nature, and four essential symbionts were described: Polynucleobacter necessarius, "Candidatus Protistobacter heckmanni," "Ca. Devosia symbiotica," and "Ca. Devosia euplotis." Among them, only the genus Polynucleobacter comprises very close free-living and symbiotic representatives, which makes it an excellent model for investigating symbiont replacements and recent symbioses. In this article, we characterized a novel endosymbiont inhabiting the cytoplasm of Euplotes octocarinatus and found that it is a close relative of the free-living bacterium Fluviibacter phosphoraccumulans (Betaproteobacteria and Rhodocyclales). We present the complete genome sequence and annotation of the symbiotic Fluviibacter. Comparative analyses indicate that the genome of symbiotic Fluviibacter is small in size and rich in pseudogenes when compared with free-living strains, which seems to fit the prediction for recently established endosymbionts undergoing genome erosion. Further comparative analysis revealed reduced metabolic capacities in symbiotic Fluviibacter, which implies that the symbiont relies on the host Euplotes for carbon sources, organic nitrogen and sulfur, and some cofactors. We also estimated substitution rates between symbiotic and free-living Fluviibacter pairs for 233 genes; the results showed that symbiotic Fluviibacter displays higher dN/dS mean value than free-living relatives, which suggested that genetic drift is the main driving force behind molecular evolution in endosymbionts.IMPORTANCEIn the long history of symbiosis research, most studies focused mainly on organelles or bacteria within multicellular hosts. The single-celled protists receive little attention despite harboring an immense diversity of symbiotic associations with bacteria and archaea. One subgroup of the ciliate Euplotes species is strictly dependent on essential symbionts for survival and has emerged as a valuable model for understanding symbiont replacements and recent symbioses. However, almost all of our knowledge about the evolution and functions of Euplotes symbioses comes from the Euplotes-Polynucleobacter system. In this article, we report a novel essential symbiont, which also has very close free-living relatives. Genome analysis indicated that it is a recently established endosymbiont undergoing genome erosion and relies on the Euplotes host for many essential molecules. Our results provide support for the notion that essential symbionts of the ciliate Euplotes evolve from free-living progenitors in the natural water environment.

RevDate: 2024-02-09
CmpDate: 2024-02-09

Burger NFV, Nicolis VF, AM Botha (2024)

Host-specific co-evolution likely driven by diet in Buchnera aphidicola.

BMC genomics, 25(1):153.

BACKGROUND: Russian wheat aphid (Diuraphis noxia Kurd.) is a severe pest to wheat, and even though resistance varieties are available to curb this pest, they are becoming obsolete with the development of new virulent aphid populations. Unlike many other aphids, D noxia only harbours a single endosymbiont, Buchnera aphidicola. Considering the importance of Buchnera, this study aimed to elucidate commonalities and dissimilarities between various hosts, to better understand its distinctiveness within its symbiotic relationship with D. noxia. To do so, the genome of the D. noxia's Buchnera was assembled and compared to those of other aphid species that feed on diverse host species.

RESULTS: The overall importance of several features such as gene length and percentage GC content was found to be critical for the maintenance of Buchnera genes when compared to their closest free-living relative, Escherichia coli. Buchnera protein coding genes were found to have percentage GC contents that tended towards a mean of ~ 26% which had strong correlation to their identity to their E. coli homologs. Several SNPs were identified between different aphid populations and multiple isolates of Buchnera were confirmed in single aphids.

CONCLUSIONS: Establishing the strong correlation of percentage GC content of protein coding genes and gene identity will allow for identifying which genes will be lost in the continually shrinking Buchnera genome. This is also the first report of a parthenogenically reproducing aphid that hosts multiple Buchnera strains in a single aphid, raising questions regarding the benefits of maintaining multiple strains. We also found preliminary evidence for post-transcriptional regulation of Buchnera genes in the form of polyadenylation.

RevDate: 2024-02-07

Hollender M, Sałek M, Karlicki M, et al (2024)

Single-cell genomics revealed Candidatus Grellia alia sp. nov. as an endosymbiont of Eutreptiella sp. (Euglenophyceae).

Protist, 175(2):126018 pii:S1434-4610(24)00010-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Though endosymbioses between protists and prokaryotes are widespread, certain host lineages have received disproportionate attention what may indicate either a predisposition to such interactions or limited studies on certain protist groups due to lack of cultures. The euglenids represent one such group in spite of microscopic observations showing intracellular bacteria in some strains. Here, we perform a comprehensive molecular analysis of a previously identified endosymbiont in the Eutreptiella sp. CCMP3347 using a single cell approach and bulk culture sequencing. The genome reconstruction of this endosymbiont allowed the description of a new endosymbiont Candidatus Grellia alia sp. nov. from the family Midichloriaceae. Comparative genomics revealed a remarkably complete conjugative type IV secretion system present in three copies on the plasmid sequences of the studied endosymbiont, a feature missing in the closely related Grellia incantans. This study addresses the challenge of limited host cultures with endosymbionts by showing that the genomes of endosymbionts reconstructed from single host cells have the completeness and contiguity that matches or exceeds those coming from bulk cultures. This paves the way for further studies of endosymbionts in euglenids and other protist groups. The research also provides the opportunity to study the diversity of endosymbionts in natural populations.

RevDate: 2024-02-07

Zhai X, Zhang Y, Zhou J, et al (2024)

Physiological and microbiome adaptation of coral Turbinaria peltata in response to marine heatwaves.

Ecology and evolution, 14(2):e10869 pii:ECE310869.

Against the backdrop of global warming, marine heatwaves are projected to become increasingly intense and frequent. This trend poses a potential threat to the survival of corals and the maintenance of entire coral reef ecosystems. Despite extensive evidence for the resilience of corals to heat stress, their ability to withstand repeated heatwave events has not been determined. In this study, we examined the responses and resilience of Turbinaria peltata to repeated exposure to marine heatwaves, with a focus on physiological parameters and symbiotic microorganisms. In the first heatwave, from a physiological perspective, T. peltata showed decreases in the Chl a content and endosymbiont density and significant increases in GST, caspase-3, CAT, and SOD levels (p < .05), while the effects of repeated exposure on heatwaves were weaker than those of the initial exposure. In terms of bacteria, the abundance of Leptospira, with the potential for pathogenicity and intracellular parasitism, increased significantly during the initial exposure. Beneficial bacteria, such as Achromobacter arsenitoxydans and Halomonas desiderata increased significantly during re-exposure to the heatwave. Overall, these results indicate that T. peltata might adapt to marine heatwaves through physiological regulation and microbial community alterations.

RevDate: 2024-02-07

Koga R, Moriyama M, Nozaki T, et al (2023)

Genome analysis of "Candidatus Aschnera chinzeii," the bacterial endosymbiont of the blood-sucking bat fly Penicillidia jenynsii (Insecta: Diptera: Nycteribiidae).

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1336919.

Insect-microbe endosymbiotic associations are omnipresent in nature, wherein the symbiotic microbes often play pivotal biological roles for their host insects. In particular, insects utilizing nutritionally imbalanced food sources are dependent on specific microbial symbionts to compensate for the nutritional deficiency via provisioning of B vitamins in blood-feeding insects, such as tsetse flies, lice, and bedbugs. Bat flies of the family Nycteribiidae (Diptera) are blood-sucking ectoparasites of bats and shown to be associated with co-speciating bacterial endosymbiont "Candidatus Aschnera chinzeii," although functional aspects of the microbial symbiosis have been totally unknown. In this study, we report the first complete genome sequence of Aschnera from the bristled bat fly Penicillidia jenynsii. The Aschnera genome consisted of a 748,020 bp circular chromosome and a 18,747 bp circular plasmid. The chromosome encoded 603 protein coding genes (including 3 pseudogenes), 33 transfer RNAs, and 1 copy of 16S/23S/5S ribosomal RNA operon. The plasmid contained 10 protein coding genes, whose biological function was elusive. The genome size, 0.77 Mbp, was drastically reduced in comparison with 4-6 Mbp genomes of free-living γ-proteobacteria. Accordingly, the Aschnera genome was devoid of many important functional genes, such as synthetic pathway genes for purines, pyrimidines, and essential amino acids. On the other hand, the Aschnera genome retained complete or near-complete synthetic pathway genes for biotin (vitamin B7), tetrahydrofolate (vitamin B9), riboflavin (vitamin B2), and pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (vitamin B6), suggesting that Aschnera provides these vitamins and cofactors that are deficient in the blood meal of the host bat fly. Similar retention patterns of the synthetic pathway genes for vitamins and cofactors were also observed in the endosymbiont genomes of other blood-sucking insects, such as Riesia of human lice, Arsenophonus of louse flies, and Wigglesworthia of tsetse flies, which may be either due to convergent evolution in the blood-sucking host insects or reflecting the genomic architecture of Arsenophonus-allied bacteria.

RevDate: 2024-02-05

Shi P-Q, Wang L, Chen X-Y, et al (2024)

Rickettsia transmission from whitefly to plants benefits herbivore insects but is detrimental to fungal and viral pathogens.

mBio [Epub ahead of print].

Bacterial endosymbionts play important roles in the life histories of herbivorous insects by impacting their development, survival, reproduction, and stress tolerance. How endosymbionts may affect the interactions between plants and insect herbivores is still largely unclear. Here, we show that endosymbiotic Rickettsia belli can provide mutual benefits also outside of their hosts when the sap-sucking whitefly Bemisia tabaci transmits them to plants. This transmission facilitates the spread of Rickettsia but is shown to also enhance the performance of the whitefly and co-infesting caterpillars. In contrast, Rickettsia infection enhanced plant resistance to several pathogens. Inside the plants, Rickettsia triggers the expression of salicylic acid-related genes and the two pathogen-resistance genes TGA 2.1 and VRP, whereas they repressed genes of the jasmonic acid pathway. Performance experiments using wild type and mutant tomato plants confirmed that Rickettsia enhances the plants' suitability for insect herbivores but makes them more resistant to fungal and viral pathogens. Our results imply that endosymbiotic Rickettsia of phloem-feeding insects affects plant defenses in a manner that facilitates their spread and transmission. This novel insight into how insects can exploit endosymbionts to manipulate plant defenses also opens possibilities to interfere with their ability to do so as a crop protection strategy.IMPORTANCEMost insects are associated with symbiotic bacteria in nature. These symbionts play important roles in the life histories of herbivorous insects by impacting their development, survival, reproduction as well as stress tolerance. Rickettsia is one important symbiont to the agricultural pest whitefly Bemisia tabaci. Here, for the first time, we revealed that the persistence of Rickettsia symbionts in tomato leaves significantly changed the defense pattern of tomato plants. These changes benefit both sap-feeding and leaf-chewing herbivore insects, such as increasing the fecundity of whitefly adults, enhancing the growth and development of the noctuid Spodoptera litura, but reducing the pathogenicity of Verticillium fungi and TYLCV virus to tomato plants distinctively. Our study unraveled a new horizon for the multiple interaction theories among plant-insect-bacterial symbionts.

RevDate: 2024-02-03

Bastide H, Legout H, Dogbo N, et al (2024)

The genome of the blind bee louse fly reveals deep convergences with its social host and illuminates Drosophila origins.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(24)00035-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Social insects' nests harbor intruders known as inquilines,[1] which are usually related to their hosts.[2][,][3] However, distant non-social inquilines may also show convergences with their hosts,[4][,][5] although the underlying genomic changes remain unclear. We analyzed the genome of the wingless and blind bee louse fly Braula coeca, an inquiline kleptoparasite of the western honey bee, Apis mellifera.[6][,][7] Using large phylogenomic data, we confirmed recent accounts that the bee louse fly is a drosophilid[8][,][9] and showed that it had likely evolved from a sap-breeder ancestor associated with honeydew and scale insects' wax. Unlike many parasites, the bee louse fly genome did not show significant erosion or strict reliance on an endosymbiont, likely due to a relatively recent age of inquilinism. However, we observed a horizontal transfer of a transposon and a striking parallel evolution in a set of gene families between the honey bee and the bee louse fly. Convergences included genes potentially involved in metabolism and immunity and the loss of nearly all bitter-tasting gustatory receptors, in agreement with life in a protective nest and a diet of honey, pollen, and beeswax. Vision and odorant receptor genes also exhibited rapid losses. Only genes whose orthologs in the closely related Drosophila melanogaster respond to honey bee pheromone components or floral aroma were retained, whereas the losses included orthologous receptors responsive to the anti-ovarian honey bee queen pheromones. Hence, deep genomic convergences can underlie major phenotypic transitions during the evolution of inquilinism between non-social parasites and their social hosts.

RevDate: 2024-02-03

Manigandan V, Muthukumar C, Shah C, et al (2024)

Phylogenetic affiliation of Pedinomonas noctilucae and green Noctiluca scintillans nutritional dynamics in the Gulf of Mannar, Southeastern Arabian Sea.

Protist, 175(2):126019 pii:S1434-4610(24)00011-7 [Epub ahead of print].

The present investigation focused on studying the phylogenetic position of the green Noctiluca endosymbiont, Pedinomonas noctilucae, collected from the Gulf of Mannar, India. In this study, we re-examined the evolutionary position of this endosymbiotic algae using rbcL sequences. The phylogenetic analysis revealed that P. noctilucae is distantly related to the Pedinomonas species, and formed a monophyletic clade with Marsupiomandaceae. Based on the phylogenetic association of endosymbiont with Maruspiomonadales it was concluded that the endosymbiont belongs to an independent genus within the family Marsupiomonadaceae. At the site of the bloom, Noctiluca scintillans was found to exhibit a dense monospecific proliferation, with an average cell density of 27.l88 × 10[3] cells L[-1]. The investigation revealed that the green Noctiluca during its senescent phase primarily relied on autotrophic nutrition, which was confirmed by the presence of a high number of trophonts, vegetatively reproducing cells (1.45 × 10[3] cells L[-1]) and the absence of food vacuoles.

RevDate: 2024-01-31

Pistán ME, Cook D, Gutiérrez SA, et al (2024)

Identification and distribution of a fungal endosymbiotic Alternaria species (Alternaria section Undifilum sp.) in Astragalus garbancillo tissues.

Mycologia [Epub ahead of print].

Plants belonging to the genera Astragalus, Oxytropis, Ipomoea, Sida, and Swainsona often contain the toxin swainsonine (SW) produced by an associated fungal symbiont. Consumption of SW-containing plants causes a serious neurological disorder in livestock, which can be fatal. In this study, a fungal endophyte, Alternaria section Undifilum, was identified in Astragalus garbancillo seeds, using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) followed by direct sequencing. In seeds, the SW concentrations were about 4 times higher than in other parts of the plant. Furthermore, microscopic examination demonstrated that the fungus mycelium grows inside the petioles and stems, on the outer surface and inside the mesocarp of the fruit, in the mesotesta and endotesta layers of the seed coat, and inside the endosperm of the seeds. Our results support the notion that the SW-producing fungus is vertically transmitted in the host plant A. garbancillo.

RevDate: 2024-01-29

Domínguez-Santos R, Baixeras J, Moya A, et al (2024)

Gut Microbiota Is Not Essential for Survival and Development in Blattella germanica, but Affects Uric Acid Storage.

Life (Basel, Switzerland), 14(1):.

Cockroaches harbor two coexisting symbiotic systems: the obligate endosymbiont Blattabacterium cuenotii, and a complex gut microbiota. Blattabacterium is the only bacterium present in the eggs, as the gut microbiota is acquired by horizontal transmission after hatching, mostly through coprophagy. Blattella germanica, a cosmopolitan omnivorous cockroach living in intimate association with humans, is an appropriate model system for studying whether the gut microbiota is essential for the cockroach's survival, development, or welfare. We obtained a germ-free cockroach population (i.e., containing normal amounts of the endosymbiont, but free of microbes on the insects' surface and digestive tract). Non-significant differences with the controls were detected in most fitness parameters analyzed, except for a slight shortening in the hatching time of the second generation and a reduction in female weight at 10 days after adult ecdysis. The latter is accompanied by a decrease in uric acid reserves. This starvation-like phenotype of germ-free B. germanica suggests that the microbiota is not essential in this species for survival and development throughout its complete life cycle, but it could participate in complementation of host nutrition by helping with food digestion and nutrient absorption.

RevDate: 2024-01-26

Chirgwin E, Yang Q, Umina PA, et al (2023)

Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus Influences Its Vector's Endosymbionts but Not Its Thermotolerance.

Microorganisms, 12(1): pii:microorganisms12010010.

The barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) of cereals is thought to substantially increase the high-temperature tolerance of its aphid vector, Rhopalosiphum padi, which may enhance its transmission efficiency. This is based on experiments with North American strains of BYDV and R. padi. Here, we independently test these by measuring the temperature tolerance, via Critical Thermal Maximum (CTmax) and knockdown time, of Australian R. padi infected with a local BYDV isolate. We further consider the interaction between BYDV transmission, the primary endosymbiont of R. padi (Buchnera aphidicola), and a transinfected secondary endosymbiont (Rickettsiella viridis) which reduces the thermotolerance of other aphid species. We failed to find an increase in tolerance to high temperatures in BYDV-infected aphids or an impact of Rickettsiella on thermotolerance. However, BYDV interacted with R. padi endosymbionts in unexpected ways, suppressing the density of Buchnera and Rickettsiella. BYDV density was also fourfold higher in Rickettsiella-infected aphids. Our findings indicate that BYDV does not necessarily increase the temperature tolerance of the aphid transmission vector to increase its transmission potential, at least for the genotype combinations tested here. The interactions between BYDV and Rickettsiella suggest new ways in which aphid endosymbionts may influence how BYDV spreads, which needs further testing in a field context.

RevDate: 2024-01-25

Butenko A, Lukeš J, Speijer D, et al (2024)

Mitochondrial genomes revisited: why do different lineages retain different genes?.

BMC biology, 22(1):15.

The mitochondria contain their own genome derived from an alphaproteobacterial endosymbiont. From thousands of protein-coding genes originally encoded by their ancestor, only between 1 and about 70 are encoded on extant mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes). Thanks to a dramatically increasing number of sequenced and annotated mitogenomes a coherent picture of why some genes were lost, or relocated to the nucleus, is emerging. In this review, we describe the characteristics of mitochondria-to-nucleus gene transfer and the resulting varied content of mitogenomes across eukaryotes. We introduce a 'burst-upon-drift' model to best explain nuclear-mitochondrial population genetics with flares of transfer due to genetic drift.

RevDate: 2024-01-25

Ivanov S, MJ Harrison (2024)

Receptor-associated kinases control the lipid provisioning program in plant-fungal symbiosis.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 383(6681):443-448.

The mutualistic association between plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi requires intracellular accommodation of the fungal symbiont and maintenance by means of lipid provisioning. Symbiosis signaling through lysin motif (LysM) receptor-like kinases and a leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase DOES NOT MAKE INFECTIONS 2 (DMI2) activates transcriptional programs that underlie fungal passage through the epidermis and accommodation in cortical cells. We show that two Medicago truncatula cortical cell-specific, membrane-bound proteins of a CYCLIN-DEPENDENT KINASE-LIKE (CKL) family associate with, and are phosphorylation substrates of, DMI2 and a subset of the LysM receptor kinases. CKL1 and CKL2 are required for AM symbiosis and control expression of transcription factors that regulate part of the lipid provisioning program. Onset of lipid provisioning is coupled with arbuscule branching and with the REDUCED ARBUSCULAR MYCORRHIZA 1 (RAM1) regulon for complete endosymbiont accommodation.

RevDate: 2024-01-25
CmpDate: 2024-01-25

Tomás-Gallardo L, Cabrera JJ, S Mesa (2024)

Surface Plasmon Resonance as a Tool to Elucidate the Molecular Determinants of Key Transcriptional Regulators Controlling Rhizobial Lifestyles.

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2751:145-163.

Bacteria must be provided with a battery of tools integrated into regulatory networks, in order to respond and, consequently, adapt their physiology to changing environments. Within these networks, transcription factors finely orchestrate the expression of genes in response to a variety of signals, by recognizing specific DNA sequences at their promoter regions. Rhizobia are host-interacting soil bacteria that face severe changes to adapt their physiology from free-living conditions to the nitrogen-fixing endosymbiotic state inside root nodules associated with leguminous plants. One of these cues is the low partial pressure of oxygen within root nodules.Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) constitutes a technique that allows to measure molecular interactions dynamics at real time by detecting changes in the refractive index of a surface. Here, we implemented the SPR methodology to analyze the discriminatory determinants of transcription factors for specific interaction with their target genes. We focused on FixK2, a CRP/FNR-type protein with a central role in the complex oxygen-responsive regulatory network in the soybean endosymbiont Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens. Our study unveiled relevant residues for protein-DNA interaction as well as allowed us to monitor kinetics and stability protein-DNA complex. We believe that this approach can be employed for the characterization of other relevant transcription factors which can assist to the better understanding of the adaptation of bacteria with agronomic or human interest to their different modes of life.

RevDate: 2024-01-24

Chen J (2023)

Editorial: Aphids as plant pests: from biology to green control technology.

Frontiers in plant science, 14:1337558.

RevDate: 2024-01-23

Jia J, SE Lu (2024)

Comparative Genome Analyses Provide Insight into the Antimicrobial Activity of Endophytic Burkholderia.

Microorganisms, 12(1): pii:microorganisms12010100.

Endophytic bacteria are endosymbionts that colonize a portion of plants without harming the plant for at least a part of its life cycle. Bacterial endophytes play an essential role in promoting plant growth using multiple mechanisms. The genus Burkholderia is an important member among endophytes and encompasses bacterial species with high genetic versatility and adaptability. In this study, the endophytic characteristics of Burkholderia species are investigated via comparative genomic analyses of several endophytic Burkholderia strains with pathogenic Burkholderia strains. A group of bacterial genes was identified and predicted as the putative endophytic behavior genes of Burkholderia. Multiple antimicrobial biosynthesis genes were observed in these endophytic bacteria; however, certain important pathogenic and virulence genes were absent. The majority of resistome genes were distributed relatively evenly among the endophytic and pathogenic bacteria. All known types of secretion systems were found in the studied bacteria. This includes T3SS and T4SS, which were previously thought to be disproportionately represented in endophytes. Additionally, questionable CRISPR-Cas systems with an orphan CRISPR array were prevalent, suggesting that intact CRISPR-Cas systems may not exist in symbiotes of Burkholderia. This research not only sheds light on the antimicrobial activities that contribute to biocontrol but also expands our understanding of genomic variations in Burkholderia's endophytic and pathogenic bacteria.

RevDate: 2024-01-23

Chang X, Xue S, Li R, et al (2023)

Episyrphus balteatus symbiont variation across developmental stages, living states, two sexes, and potential horizontal transmission from prey or environment.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1308393.

INTRODUCTION: Episyrphus balteatus is one representative Syrphidae insect which can provide extensive pollination and pest control services. To date, the symbiont composition and potential acquisition approaches in Syrphidae remain unclear.

METHODS: Herein, we investigated microbiota dynamics across developmental stages, different living states, and two sexes in E. balteatus via full-length 16S rRNA genes sequencing, followed by an attempt to explore the possibility of symbiont transmission from prey Megoura crassicauda to the hoverfly.

RESULTS: Overall, Proteobacteria and Firmicutes were the dominant bacteria phyla with fluctuating relative abundances across the life stage. Cosenzaea myxofaciens is dominant in adulthood, while Enterococcus silesiacus and Morganella morganii dominate in larvae and pupae of E. balteatus, respectively. Unexpectedly, Serratia symbiotica, one facultative endosymbiont commonly harbored in aphids, was one of the predominant bacteria in larvae of E. balteatus, just behind Enterococcus silesiacus. In addition, S. symbiotica was also surprisingly most dominated in M. crassicauda aphids (92.1% relative abundance), which are significantly higher than Buchnera aphidicola (4.7% relative abundance), the primary obligate symbiont of most aphid species. Approximately 25% mortality was observed among newly emerged adults, of which microbiota was also disordered, similar to normally dying individuals. Sexually biased symbionts and 41 bacteria species with pairwise co-occurrence in E. balteatus and 23 biomarker species for each group were identified eventually. Functional prediction showed symbionts of hoverflies and aphids, both mainly focusing on metabolic pathways. In brief, we comprehensively explored the microbiome in one Syrphidae hoverfly using E. balteatus reared indoors on M. morganii as the model, revealed its dominated symbiont species, identified sexually biased symbionts, and found an aphid facultative endosymbiont inhabited in the hoverfly. We also found that the dominated symbiotic bacteria in M. crassicauda are S. symbiotica other than Buchnera aphidicola.

DISCUSSION: Taken together, this study provides new valuable resources about symbionts in hoverflies and prey aphids jointly, which will benefit further exploring the potential roles of microbiota in E. balteatus.


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

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Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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RJR Picks from Around the Web (updated 11 MAY 2018 )