About | BLOGS | Portfolio | Misc | Recommended | What's New | What's Hot

About | BLOGS | Portfolio | Misc | Recommended | What's New | What's Hot


Bibliography Options Menu

05 Jun 2023 at 01:46
Hide Abstracts   |   Hide Additional Links
Long bibliographies are displayed in blocks of 100 citations at a time. At the end of each block there is an option to load the next block.

Bibliography on: Endosymbiosis


Robert J. Robbins is a biologist, an educator, a science administrator, a publisher, an information technologist, and an IT leader and manager who specializes in advancing biomedical knowledge and supporting education through the application of information technology. More About:  RJR | OUR TEAM | OUR SERVICES | THIS WEBSITE

RJR: Recommended Bibliography 05 Jun 2023 at 01:46 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.

Created with PubMed® Query: endosymbiont NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2023-06-02

Spencer N, Łukasik P, Meyer M, et al (2023)

No Transcriptional Compensation for Extreme Gene Dosage Imbalance in Fragmented Bacterial Endosymbionts of Cicadas.

Genome biology and evolution pii:7189782 [Epub ahead of print].

Bacteria that form long-term intracellular associations with host cells lose many genes, a process that often results in tiny, gene-dense, and stable genomes. Paradoxically, the same evolutionary processes that drive genome reduction and simplification may sometimes cause genome expansion and complexification. A bacterial endosymbiont of cicadas, Hodgkinia cicadicola, exemplifies this paradox. In many cicada species, a single Hodgkinia lineage with a tiny, gene-dense genome has split into several interdependent cell and genome lineages. Each new Hodgkinia lineage encodes a unique subset of the ancestral unsplit genome in a complementary way, such that the collective gene contents of all lineages match the total found in the ancestral single genome. This splitting creates genetically distinct Hodgkinia cells that must function together to carry out basic cellular processes. It also creates a gene dosage problem where some genes are encoded by only a small fraction of cells while others are much more abundant. Here, by sequencing DNA and RNA of Hodgkinia from different cicada species with different amounts of splitting - along with its structurally stable, unsplit partner endosymbiont Sulcia muelleri - we show that Hodgkinia does not transcriptionally compensate to rescue the wildly unbalanced gene and genome ratios that result from lineage splitting. We also find that Hodgkinia has a reduced capacity for basic transcriptional control independent of the splitting process. Our findings reveal another layer of degeneration further pushing the limits of canonical molecular and cell biology in Hodgkinia and may partially explain its propensity to go extinct through symbiont replacement.

RevDate: 2023-06-01

Armstrong EJ, Lê-Hoang J, Carradec Q, et al (2023)

Host transcriptomic plasticity and photosymbiotic fidelity underpin Pocillopora acclimatization across thermal regimes in the Pacific Ocean.

Nature communications, 14(1):3056.

Heat waves are causing declines in coral reefs globally. Coral thermal responses depend on multiple, interacting drivers, such as past thermal exposure, endosymbiont community composition, and host genotype. This makes the understanding of their relative roles in adaptive and/or plastic responses crucial for anticipating impacts of future warming. Here, we extracted DNA and RNA from 102 Pocillopora colonies collected from 32 sites on 11 islands across the Pacific Ocean to characterize host-photosymbiont fidelity and to investigate patterns of gene expression across a historical thermal gradient. We report high host-photosymbiont fidelity and show that coral and microalgal gene expression respond to different drivers. Differences in photosymbiotic association had only weak impacts on host gene expression, which was more strongly correlated with the historical thermal environment, whereas, photosymbiont gene expression was largely determined by microalgal lineage. Overall, our results reveal a three-tiered strategy of thermal acclimatization in Pocillopora underpinned by host-photosymbiont specificity, host transcriptomic plasticity, and differential photosymbiotic association under extreme warming.

RevDate: 2023-06-01

Kim SJ, Jo J, KS Ko (2023)

Lipid A modification-induced colistin-resistant Klebsiella variicola from healthy adults.

Journal of medical microbiology, 72(6):.

Background. Klebsiella variicola was once recognised as a benign plant-endosymbiont but recent case reports suggest that it is a newly emerging Gram-negative pathogen related to opportunistic infection of multiple sites in humans.Methods. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed using broth microdilution method. To identify colistin resistance mechanisms, phoPQ, pmrAB, and mgrB were sequenced and their mRNA expression was analysed using quantitative real-time PCR. In addition, we tried to detect crrAB and mcr. The lipid A moieties of colistin-susceptible and -resistant isolates were analysed using MALDI-TOF.Results. Among the two K. variicola isolates, one is colistin-resistant, and another is colistin-susceptible. The colistin-resistant K. variicola isolate showed no mutations in phoPQ, pmrAB, and mgrB, and crrAB and mcr were not identified. However, its phoQ and pbgP expression was significantly higher and amino-arabinosylated lipid A with hexa-acylated species in lipopolysaccharide was identified.Conclusions. We found that colistin resistance in K. variicola was mediated by the modification of lipid A. Although the isolate was obtained from faecal samples of healthy adults, colistin-resistant K. variicola challenges public health as an opportunistic pathogen.

RevDate: 2023-05-31

Liu M, Hong G, Li H, et al (2023)

Sakuranetin protects rice from brown planthopper attack by depleting its beneficial endosymbionts.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120(23):e2305007120.

Plants produce chemical defenses that poison insect herbivores or deter their feeding, but herbivores are also accompanied by microbial endosymbionts crucial for their nutrition, reproduction, and fitness. Hence, plant defenses could target a herbivore's beneficial endosymbionts, but this has not yet been demonstrated. Here, we studied flavonoids that are induced when rice is attacked by a phloem-feeding pest, the brown planthopper (BPH), which harbors beneficial yeast-like symbionts (YLS) essential for insect nutrition, such as by remedying deficiencies in sterols. BPH attack dramatically increased sakuranetin accumulations in leaf sheaths and phloem exudates. Sakuranetin is an antifungal phytoalexin derived from the antibacterial precursor, naringenin, via catalysis of naringenin-O-methyltransferase (NOMT). When added to artificial diets, sakuranetin decreased BPH survivorship, suggesting that it functions as an induced defense. Mutation of NOMT abolished sakuranetin accumulation and increased BPH oviposition and hatching rates. High-throughput amplicon sequencing revealed that BPH fed on sakuranetin-deficient nomt lines were enriched in YLS with only minor changes in the bacterial endosymbionts, compared to those feeding on sakuranetin-rich wild-type (WT) plants. In-vitro feeding of sakuranetin suggested that this flavonoid directly inhibited the growth of YLS. BPH feeding on nomt lines accumulated higher cholesterol levels, which might be attributed to increases in the supply of sterol precursors from the YLS, while nomt lines suffered more damage than WT plants did from BPH herbivory. BPH-elicited accumulation of sakuranetin requires intact jasmonate (JA) signaling. This study reveals that rice uses a JA-induced antifungal flavonoid phytoalexin in defense against BPH by inhibiting its beneficial endosymbionts.

RevDate: 2023-05-30

Arai H, Anbutsu H, Nishikawa Y, et al (2023)

Combined actions of bacteriophage-encoded genes in Wolbachia-induced male lethality.

iScience, 26(6):106842.

Some Wolbachia endosymbionts induce male killing, whereby male offspring of infected females are killed during development; however, the origin and diversity of the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, we identified a 76 kbp prophage region specific to male-killing Wolbachia hosted by the moth Homona magnanima. The prophage encoded a homolog of the male-killing gene oscar in Ostrinia moths and the wmk gene that induces various toxicities in Drosophila melanogaster. Upon overexpressing these genes in D. melanogaster, wmk-1 and wmk-3 killed all males and most females, whereas Hm-oscar, wmk-2, and wmk-4 had no impact on insect survival. Strikingly, co-expression of tandemly arrayed wmk-3 and wmk-4 killed 90% of males and restored 70% of females, suggesting their conjugated functions for male-specific lethality. While the male-killing gene in the native host remains unknown, our findings highlight the role of bacteriophages in male-killing evolution and differences in male-killing mechanisms among insects.

RevDate: 2023-05-29

Oladipupo SO, Laidoudi Y, Beckmann JF, et al (2023)

The prevalence of Wolbachia in multiple cockroach species and its implication for urban insect management.

Journal of economic entomology pii:7185653 [Epub ahead of print].

Cockroach management relies heavily on the use of conventional insecticides in urban settings, which no longer provide the anticipated level of control. Knowledge of cockroach endosymbionts, like Wolbachia, might provide novel avenues for control. Therefore, we screened 16 cockroach species belonging to 3 families (Ectobiidae, Blattidae, and Blaberidae) for the presence of Wolbachia. We mapped the evolution of Wolbachia-cockroach relationships based on maximum likelihood phylogeny and phylogenetic species clustering on a multi-loci sequence dataset (i.e., coxA, virD4, hcpA, and gatB) of Wolbachia genes. We confirmed the previous report of Wolbachia in 1 Ectobiid species; Supella longipalpa (Fab.), and detected the presence of Wolbachia in 2 Ectobiid species; Balta notulata (Stål) and Pseudomops septentrionalis Hebard, and 1 Blaberid species; Gromphadorhina portentosa (Schaum). All cockroach-associated Wolbachia herein detected were clustered with the ancestor of F clade Wolbachia of Cimex lectularius L. (bed bugs). Since Wolbachia provision C. lectularius with biotin vitamins that confer reproductive fitness, we screened the cockroach-associated Wolbachia for the presence of biotin genes. In toto, our results reveal 2 important findings: (i) Wolbachia is relatively uncommon among cockroach species infecting about 25% of species investigated, and (ii) cockroach-associated Wolbachia have biotin genes that likely provide nutritional benefits to their hosts. Thus, we discuss the potential of exploring Wolbachia as a tool for urban insect management.

RevDate: 2023-05-27

Mohammad Aslam S, Vass I, M Szabó (2023)

Characterization of the Flash-Induced Fluorescence Wave Phenomenon in the Coral Endosymbiont Algae, Symbiodiniaceae.

International journal of molecular sciences, 24(10): pii:ijms24108712.

The dinoflagellate algae, Symbiodiniaceae, are significant symbiotic partners of corals due to their photosynthetic capacity. The photosynthetic processes of the microalgae consist of linear electron transport, which provides the energetic balance of ATP and NADPH production for CO2 fixation, and alternative electron transport pathways, including cyclic electron flow, which ensures the elevated ATP requirements under stress conditions. Flash-induced chlorophyll fluorescence relaxation is a non-invasive tool to assess the various electron transport pathways. A special case of fluorescence relaxation, the so-called wave phenomenon, was found to be associated with the activity of NAD(P)H dehydrogenase (NDH) in microalgae. We showed previously that the wave phenomenon existed in Symbiodiniaceae under acute heat stress and microaerobic conditions, however, the electron transport processes related to the wave phenomenon remained unknown. In this work, using various inhibitors, we show that (i) the linear electron transport has a crucial role in the formation of the wave, (ii) the inhibition of the donor side of Photosystem II did not induce the wave, whereas inhibition of the Calvin-Benson cycle accelerated it, (iii) the wave phenomenon was related to the operation of type II NDH (NDH-2). We therefore propose that the wave phenomenon is an important marker of the regulation of electron transport in Symbiodiniaceae.

RevDate: 2023-05-27

Pomahač O, Méndez-Sánchez D, Poláková K, et al (2023)

Rediscovery of Remarkably Rare Anaerobic Tentaculiferous Ciliate Genera Legendrea and Dactylochlamys (Ciliophora: Litostomatea).

Biology, 12(5): pii:biology12050707.

Free-living anaerobic ciliates are of considerable interest from an ecological and an evolutionary standpoint. Extraordinary tentacle-bearing predatory lineages have evolved independently several times within the phylum Ciliophora, including two rarely encountered anaerobic litostomatean genera, Legendrea and Dactylochlamys. In this study, we significantly extend the morphological and phylogenetic characterization of these two poorly known groups of predatory ciliates. We provide the first phylogenetic analysis of the monotypic genus Dactylochlamys and the three valid species of Legendrea based on the 18S rRNA gene and ITS-28S rRNA gene sequences. Prior to this study, neither group had been studied using silver impregnation methods. We provide the first protargol-stained material and also a unique video material including documentation, for the first time, of the hunting and feeding behavior of a Legendrea species. We briefly discuss the identity of methanogenic archaeal and bacterial endosymbionts of both genera based on 16S rRNA gene sequences, and the importance of citizen science for ciliatology from a historical and contemporary perspective.

RevDate: 2023-05-26

Tillmann U, Wietkamp S, Kretschmann J, et al (2023)

Spatial fragmentation in the distribution of diatom endosymbionts from the taxonomically clarified dinophyte Kryptoperidinium triquetrum (= Kryptoperidinium foliaceum, Peridiniales).

Scientific reports, 13(1):8593.

Among the photosynthetically active dinophytes, the Kryptoperidiniaceae are unique in having a diatom as endosymbiont instead of the widely present peridinin chloroplast. Phylogenetically, it is unresolved at present how the endosymbionts are inherited, and the taxonomic identities of two iconic dinophyte names, Kryptoperidinium foliaceum and Kryptoperidinium triquetrum, are also unclear. Multiple strains were newly established from the type locality in the German Baltic Sea off Wismar and inspected using microscopy as well as molecular sequence diagnostics of both host and endosymbiont. All strains were bi-nucleate, shared the same plate formula (i.e., po, X, 4', 2a, 7'', 5c, 7s, 5''', 2'''') and exhibited a narrow and characteristically L-shaped precingular plate 7''. Within the molecular phylogeny of Bacillariaceae, endosymbionts were scattered over the tree in a highly polyphyletic pattern, even if they were gained from different strains of a single species, namely K. triquetrum. Notably, endosymbionts from the Baltic Sea show molecular sequences distinct from the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea, which is the first report of such a spatial fragmentation in a planktonic species of dinophytes. The two names K. foliaceum and K. triquetrum are taxonomically clarified by epitypification, with K. triquetrum having priority over its synonym K. foliaceum. Our study underlines the need of stable taxonomy for central questions in evolutionary biology.

RevDate: 2023-05-25

Bruner-Montero G, FM Jiggins (2023)

Wolbachia protects Drosophila melanogaster against two naturally occurring and virulent viral pathogens.

Scientific reports, 13(1):8518.

Wolbachia is a common endosymbiont that can protect insects against viral pathogens. However, whether the antiviral effects of Wolbachia have a significant effect on fitness remains unclear. We have investigated the interaction between Drosophila melanogaster, Wolbachia and two viruses that we recently isolated from wild flies, La Jolla virus (LJV; Iflaviridae) and Newfield virus (NFV; Permutotetraviridae). Flies infected with these viruses have increased mortality rates, and NFV partially sterilizes females. These effects on fitness were reduced in Wolbachia-infected flies, and this was associated with reduced viral titres. However, Wolbachia alone also reduces survival, and under our experimental conditions these costs of the symbiont can outweigh the benefits of antiviral protection. In contrast, protection against the sterilizing effect of NFV leads to a net benefit of Wolbachia infection after exposure to the virus. These results support the hypothesis that Wolbachia is an important defense against the natural pathogens of D. melanogaster. Furthermore, by reducing the cost of Wolbachia infection, the antiviral effects of Wolbachia may aid its invasion into populations and help explain why it is so common in nature.

RevDate: 2023-05-25

Medina JM, Queller DC, Strassmann JE, et al (2023)

The social amoeba dictyostelium discoideum rescues paraburkholderia hayleyella, but not P. agricolaris, from interspecific competition.

FEMS microbiology ecology pii:7179410 [Epub ahead of print].

Bacterial endosymbionts can provide benefits for their eukaryotic hosts, but it is often unclear if endosymbionts benefit from these relationships. The social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum associates with three species of Paraburkholderia endosymbionts, including P. agricolaris and P. hayleyella. These endosymbionts can be costly to host but are beneficial in certain contexts because they allow D. discoideum to carry prey bacteria through the dispersal stage. In experiments where no other species are present, P. hayleyella benefits from D. discoideum while P. agricolaris does not. However, the presence of other species may influence this symbiosis. We tested if P. agricolaris and P. hayleyella benefit from D. discoideum in the context of resource competition with Klebsiella pneumoniae, the typical laboratory prey of D. discoideum. Without D. discoideum, K. pneumoniae depressed the growth of both Paraburkholderia symbionts, consistent with competition. P. hayleyella was more harmed by interspecific competition than P. agricolaris. We found that P. hayleyella was rescued from competition by D. discoideum while P. agricolaris was not. This may be because P. hayleyella is more specialized as an endosymbiont; it has a highly reduced genome compared to P. agricolaris and may have lost genes relevant for resource competition outside of its host.

RevDate: 2023-05-24

Marra A, Masson F, B Lemaitre (2021)

The iron transporter Transferrin 1 mediates homeostasis of the endosymbiotic relationship between Drosophila melanogaster and Spiroplasma poulsonii.

microLife, 2:uqab008.

Iron is involved in numerous biological processes in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes and is therefore subject to a tug-of-war between host and microbes upon pathogenic infections. In the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, the iron transporter Transferrin 1 (Tsf1) mediates iron relocation from the hemolymph to the fat body upon infection as part of the nutritional immune response. The sequestration of iron in the fat body renders it less available for pathogens, hence limiting their proliferation and enhancing the host ability to fight the infection. Here we investigate the interaction between host iron homeostasis and Spiroplasma poulsonii, a facultative, vertically transmitted, endosymbiont of Drosophila. This low-pathogenicity bacterium is devoid of cell wall and is able to thrive in the host hemolymph without triggering pathogen-responsive canonical immune pathways. However, hemolymph proteomics revealed an enrichment of Tsf1 in infected flies. We find that S. poulsonii induces tsf1 expression and triggers an iron sequestration response similarly to pathogenic bacteria. We next demonstrate that free iron cannot be used by Spiroplasma while Tsf1-bound iron promotes bacterial growth, underlining the adaptation of Spiroplasma to the intra-host lifestyle where iron is mostly protein-bound. Our results show that Tsf1 is used both by the fly to sequester iron and by Spiroplasma to forage host iron, making it a central protein in endosymbiotic homeostasis.

RevDate: 2023-05-22

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

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

Research square pii:rs.3.rs-2902767.

Background Tsetse flies are cyclical vectors of African trypanosomiasis. They have established symbiotic associations with different bacteria, which influence certain aspects of their physiology. The vector competence of tsetse flies for different trypanosome species is highly variable and is suggested to be affected by various factors, amongst which are bacterial endosymbionts. Symbiotic interactions may provide an avenue for the disease control. The current study provided the prevalence of 3 tsetse symbionts in Glossina species from Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria. Results Tsetse flies were collected from five different locations and dissected. DNA was extracted and polymerase chain reaction PCR was used to detect the presence of Sodalis glossinidius , Spiroplasma sp and Wolbachia using specific primers. A total of 848 tsetse samples were analysed: Glossina morsitans submorsitans (47.52%), Glossina palpalis palpalis (37.26%), Glossina fuscipes fuscipes (9.08%) and Glossina tachinoides (6.13%). Only 95 (11.20%) were infected with at least one of the 3 symbionts. Among the infected, 6 (6.31%) were carrying mixed infection (Wolbachia and Spiroplasma). The overall symbiont prevalence was 0.88%, 3.66% and 11.00% respectively, for Sodalis , Spiroplasma and Wolbachia . Prevalence varied between countries and tsetse species. No Spiroplasma was detected in samples from Cameroon and no Sodalis was found in samples from Nigeria. Conclusion The present study revealed for the first time, the presence of infection by Spiroplasma in tsetse in Chad and Nigeria. These findings provide useful information to the repertoire of bacterial flora of tsetse flies and incite to more investigations to understand their implication in the vector competence of tsetse flies.

RevDate: 2023-05-22

Jackson R, Patapiou PA, Golding G, et al (2023)

Evidence of phylosymbiosis in Formica ants.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1044286.

INTRODUCTION: Insects share intimate relationships with microbes that play important roles in their biology. Yet our understanding of how host-bound microbial communities assemble and perpetuate over evolutionary time is limited. Ants host a wide range of microbes with diverse functions and are an emerging model for studying the evolution of insect microbiomes. Here, we ask whether phylogenetically related ant species have formed distinct and stable microbiomes.

METHODS: To answer this question, we investigated the microbial communities associated with queens of 14 Formica species from five clades, using deep coverage 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing.

RESULTS: We reveal that Formica species and clades harbor highly defined microbial communities that are dominated by four bacteria genera: Wolbachia, Lactobacillus, Liliensternia, and Spiroplasma. Our analysis reveals that the composition of Formica microbiomes mirrors the phylogeny of the host, i.e., phylosymbiosis, in that related hosts harbor more similar microbial communities. In addition, we find there are significant correlations between microbe co-occurrences.

DISCUSSION: Our results demonstrate Formica ants carry microbial communities that recapitulate the phylogeny of their hosts. Our data suggests that the co-occurrence of different bacteria genera may at least in part be due to synergistic and antagonistic interactions between microbes. Additional factors potentially contributing to the phylosymbiotic signal are discussed, including host phylogenetic relatedness, host-microbe genetic compatibility, modes of transmission, and similarities in host ecologies (e.g., diets). Overall, our results support the growing body of evidence that microbial community composition closely depends on the phylogeny of their hosts, despite bacteria having diverse modes of transmission and localization within the host.

RevDate: 2023-05-19

Russo N, Floridia V, D'Alessandro E, et al (2023)

Influence of olive cake dietary supplementation on fecal microbiota of dairy cows.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1137452.

Olive by-products represent a valuable low-price feed supplement for animal nutrition. In the present study, the effect of the dietary destoned olive cake supplementation, on both composition and dynamics of the fecal bacterial biota of cow, was assessed by Illumina MiSeq analysis of the 16S rRNA gene. In addition, metabolic pathways were predicted by using the PICRUSt2 bioinformatic tool. Eighteen lactating cows, according to the body condition score, the days from calving, and the daily milk production were homogeneously allocated into two groups, control or experimental, and subjected to different dietary treatments. In detail, the experimental diet contained, along with the components of the control one, 8% of destoned olive cake. Metagenomics data revealed significant differences in abundance rather than in richness between the two groups. Results showed that Bacteroidota and Firmicutes were identified as the dominant phyla, accounting for over 90% of the total bacterial population. The Desulfobacterota phylum, able to reduce sulfur compounds, was detected only in fecal samples of cows allocated to the experimental diet whereas the Elusimicrobia phylum, a common endosymbiont or ectosymbiont of various flagellated protists, was detected only in cows subjected to the control diet. In addition, both Oscillospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae families were mainly found in the experimental group whereas fecal samples of control cows showed the presence of Rikenellaceae and Bacteroidaceae families, usually associated with the high roughage or low concentrate diet. Based on the PICRUSt2 bioinformatic tool, pathways related to carbohydrate, fatty acid, lipid, and amino acids biosynthesis were mainly up regulated in the experimental group. On the contrary, in the control group, the metabolic pathways detected with the highest occurrence were associated with amino acids biosynthesis and degradation, aromatic compounds degradation, nucleosides and nucleotides biosynthesis. Hence, the present study confirms that the destoned olive cake is a valuable feed supplement able to modulate the fecal microbiota of cows. Further studies will be conducted in order to deepen the inter-relationships between the GIT microbiota and the host.

RevDate: 2023-05-19

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

Diversity of the bacterial and viral communities in the tropical horse tick, Dermacentor nitens in Colombia.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2023.05.04.539352.

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

RevDate: 2023-05-18

Zakharova A, Tashyreva D, Butenko A, et al (2023)

A neo-functionalized homolog of host transmembrane protein controls localization of bacterial endosymbionts in the trypanosomatid Novymonas esmeraldas.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(23)00542-0 [Epub ahead of print].

The stability of endosymbiotic associations between eukaryotes and bacteria depends on a reliable mechanism ensuring vertical inheritance of the latter. Here, we demonstrate that a host-encoded protein, located at the interface between the endoplasmic reticulum of the trypanosomatid Novymonas esmeraldas and its endosymbiotic bacterium Ca. Pandoraea novymonadis, regulates such a process. This protein, named TMP18e, is a product of duplication and neo-functionalization of the ubiquitous transmembrane protein 18 (TMEM18). Its expression level is increased at the proliferative stage of the host life cycle correlating with the confinement of bacteria to the nuclear vicinity. This is important for the proper segregation of bacteria into the daughter host cells as evidenced from the TMP18e ablation, which disrupts the nucleus-endosymbiont association and leads to greater variability of bacterial cell numbers, including an elevated proportion of aposymbiotic cells. Thus, we conclude that TMP18e is necessary for the reliable vertical inheritance of endosymbionts.

RevDate: 2023-05-17

Moggioli G, Panossian B, Sun Y, et al (2023)

Distinct genomic routes underlie transitions to specialised symbiotic lifestyles in deep-sea annelid worms.

Nature communications, 14(1):2814.

Bacterial symbioses allow annelids to colonise extreme ecological niches, such as hydrothermal vents and whale falls. Yet, the genetic principles sustaining these symbioses remain unclear. Here, we show that different genomic adaptations underpin the symbioses of phylogenetically related annelids with distinct nutritional strategies. Genome compaction and extensive gene losses distinguish the heterotrophic symbiosis of the bone-eating worm Osedax frankpressi from the chemoautotrophic symbiosis of deep-sea Vestimentifera. Osedax's endosymbionts complement many of the host's metabolic deficiencies, including the loss of pathways to recycle nitrogen and synthesise some amino acids. Osedax's endosymbionts possess the glyoxylate cycle, which could allow more efficient catabolism of bone-derived nutrients and the production of carbohydrates from fatty acids. Unlike in most Vestimentifera, innate immunity genes are reduced in O. frankpressi, which, however, has an expansion of matrix metalloproteases to digest collagen. Our study supports that distinct nutritional interactions influence host genome evolution differently in highly specialised symbioses.

RevDate: 2023-05-17

Ward MCE, Barrios MC, AM Fallon (2023)

Paraquat is toxic to the soil-dwelling arthropod, Folsomia candida (Collembola: Isotomidae), and has potential effects on its Wolbachia endosymbiont.

Journal of invertebrate pathology pii:S0022-2011(23)00053-8 [Epub ahead of print].

The springtail, Folsomia candida, is a soil arthropod commonly used to evaluate environmental toxins. Conflicting data on the toxicity of the herbicide paraquat prompted re-evaluation of its effects on F. candida survival and reproduction. Paraquat has an LC50 of about 80 μM when tested in the absence of charcoal; charcoal, often used in test arenas to facilitate visualization of the white Collembola, has a protective effect. Survivors of paraquat treatment fail to resume molting and oviposition, suggesting an irreversible effect on the Wolbachia symbiont that restores diploidy during parthenogenetic reproduction of this species.

RevDate: 2023-05-17

Maire J, Tandon K, Collingro A, et al (2023)

Colocalization and potential interactions of Endozoicomonas and chlamydiae in microbial aggregates of the coral Pocillopora acuta.

Science advances, 9(20):eadg0773.

Corals are associated with a variety of bacteria, which occur in the surface mucus layer, gastrovascular cavity, skeleton, and tissues. Some tissue-associated bacteria form clusters, termed cell-associated microbial aggregates (CAMAs), which are poorly studied. Here, we provide a comprehensive characterization of CAMAs in the coral Pocillopora acuta. Combining imaging techniques, laser capture microdissection, and amplicon and metagenome sequencing, we show that (i) CAMAs are located in the tentacle tips and may be intracellular; (ii) CAMAs contain Endozoicomonas (Gammaproteobacteria) and Simkania (Chlamydiota) bacteria; (iii) Endozoicomonas may provide vitamins to its host and use secretion systems and/or pili for colonization and aggregation; (iv) Endozoicomonas and Simkania occur in distinct, but adjacent, CAMAs; and (v) Simkania may receive acetate and heme from neighboring Endozoicomonas. Our study provides detailed insight into coral endosymbionts, thereby improving our understanding of coral physiology and health and providing important knowledge for coral reef conservation in the climate change era.

RevDate: 2023-05-16

Kulkarni A, Ewen-Campen B, Terao K, et al (2023)

oskar acts with the transcription factor Creb to regulate long-term memory in crickets.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120(21):e2218506120.

Novel genes have the potential to drive the evolution of new biological mechanisms, or to integrate into preexisting regulatory circuits and contribute to the regulation of older, conserved biological functions. One such gene, the novel insect-specific gene oskar, was first identified based on its role in establishing the Drosophila melanogaster germ line. We previously showed that this gene likely arose through an unusual domain transfer event involving bacterial endosymbionts and played a somatic role before evolving its well-known germ line function. Here, we provide empirical support for this hypothesis in the form of evidence for a neural role for oskar. We show that oskar is expressed in the adult neural stem cells of a hemimetabolous insect, the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. In these stem cells, called neuroblasts, oskar is required together with the ancient animal transcription factor Creb to regulate long-term (but not short-term) olfactory memory. We provide evidence that oskar positively regulates Creb, which plays a conserved role in long-term memory across animals, and that oskar in turn may be a direct target of Creb. Together with previous reports of a role for oskar in nervous system development and function in crickets and flies, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that oskar's original somatic role may have been in the insect nervous system. Moreover, its colocalization and functional cooperation with the conserved pluripotency gene piwi in the nervous system may have facilitated oskar's later co-option to the germ line in holometabolous insects.

RevDate: 2023-05-15

Martoni F, Bulman SR, Piper AM, et al (2023)

Insect phylogeny structures the bacterial communities in the microbiome of psyllids (Hemiptera: Psylloidea) in Aotearoa New Zealand.

PloS one, 18(5):e0285587 pii:PONE-D-23-09245.

The bacterial microbiome of psyllids has been studied for decades, with a strong focus on the primary and secondary endosymbionts capable of providing essential amino acids for the insects' diet and therefore playing a key role in the insects' ability to radiate on novel plant hosts. Here, we combine metabarcoding analysis of the bacterial communities hosted by psyllids with a multi-gene phylogenetic analysis of the insect hosts to determine what factors influence the bacterial diversity of the psyllids' microbiomes, especially in the context of the dispersal and evolutionary radiation of these insects in Aotearoa New Zealand. Using multi-gene phylogenetics with COI, 18S and EF-1α sequences from 102 psyllid species, we confirmed for the first time monophyly for all the six genera of native/endemic Aotearoa New Zealand psyllids, with indications that they derive from at least six dispersal events to the country. This also revealed that, after its ancestral arrival, the genus Powellia has radiated onto a larger and more diverse range of plants than either Psylla or Ctenarytaina, which is uncommon amongst monophyletic psyllids globally. DNA metabarcoding of the bacterial 16S gene here represents the largest dataset analysed to date from psyllids, including 246 individuals from 73 species. This provides novel evidence that bacterial diversity across psyllid species is strongly associated with psyllid phylogenetic structure, and to a lesser degree to their host plant association and geographic distribution. Furthermore, while the strongest co-phylogenetic signals were derived from the primary and secondary symbionts, a signal of phylosymbiosis was still retained among the remaining taxa of the bacterial microbiome, suggesting potential vertical transmission of bacterial lineages previously unknown to have symbiotic roles.

RevDate: 2023-05-15

Paulson AR, Lougheed SC, Huang D, et al (2023)

Multiomics Reveals Symbionts, Pathogens, and Tissue-Specific Microbiome of Blacklegged Ticks (Ixodes scapularis) from a Lyme Disease Hot Spot in Southeastern Ontario, Canada.

Microbiology spectrum [Epub ahead of print].

Ticks in the family Ixodidae are important vectors of zoonoses, including Lyme disease (LD), which is caused by spirochete bacteria from the Borreliella (Borrelia) burgdorferi sensu lato complex. The blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) continues to expand across Canada, creating hot spots of elevated LD risk at the leading edge of its expanding range. Current efforts to understand the risk of pathogen transmission associated with I. scapularis in Canada focus primarily on targeted screens, while natural variation in the tick microbiome remains poorly understood. Using multiomics consisting of 16S metabarcoding and ribosome-depleted, whole-shotgun RNA transcriptome sequencing, we examined the microbial communities associated with adult I. scapularis (n = 32), sampled from four tissue types (whole tick, salivary glands, midgut, and viscera) and three geographical locations within a LD hot spot near Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The communities consisted of both endosymbiotic and known or potentially pathogenic microbes, including RNA viruses, bacteria, and a Babesia sp. intracellular parasite. We show that β-diversity is significantly higher between the bacterial communities of individual tick salivary glands and midguts than that of whole ticks. Linear discriminant analysis effect size (LEfSe) determined that the three potentially pathogenic bacteria detected by V4 16S rRNA sequencing also differed among dissected tissues only, including a Borrelia strain from the B. burgdorferi sensu lato complex, Borrelia miyamotoi, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum. Importantly, we find coinfection of I. scapularis by multiple microbes, in contrast to diagnostic protocols for LD, which typically focus on infection from a single pathogen of interest (B. burgdorferi sensu stricto). IMPORTANCE As a vector of human health concern, blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) transmit pathogens that cause tick-borne diseases (TBDs), including Lyme disease (LD). Several hot spots of elevated LD risk have emerged across Canada as I. scapularis expands its range. Focusing on a hot spot in southeastern Ontario, we used high-throughput sequencing to characterize the microbiome of whole ticks and dissected salivary glands and midguts. Compared with whole ticks, salivary glands and midguts were more diverse and associated with distinct bacterial communities that are less dominated by Rickettsia endosymbiont bacteria and are enriched for pathogenic bacteria, including a B. burgdorferi sensu lato-associated Borrelia sp., Borrelia miyamotoi, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum. We also found evidence of coinfection of I. scapularis by multiple pathogens. Overall, our study highlights the challenges and opportunities associated with the surveillance of the microbiome of I. scapularis for pathogen detection using metabarcoding and metatranscriptome approaches.

RevDate: 2023-05-13

Yuan F, Su M, Li T, et al (2023)

Functional and evolutionary implications of protein and metal content of leafhopper brochosomes.

Insect biochemistry and molecular biology pii:S0965-1748(23)00056-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Brochosomes derived from the specialized glandular segments of the Malpighian tubules (MTs) form superhydrophobic coatings for insects of Membracoidea, and have multiple hypothetical functions. However, the constituents, biosynthesis and evolutionary origin of brochosomes remain poorly understood. We investigated general chemical and physical characteristics of the integumental brochosomes (IBs) of the leafhopper Psammotettix striatus, determined the constituents of IBs, identified the unigenes involved in brochosomal protein synthesis, and investigated the potential associations among brochosomal protein synthesis, amino acid composition of food source, and the possible roles of endosymbionts in brochosome production. The results show that IBs are mainly composed of glycine- and tyrosine-rich proteins and some metal elements, which contain both essential and non-essential amino acids (EAAs and NEAAs) for insects, including EAAs deficient in the sole food source. All 12 unigenes involved in synthesizing the 12 brochosomal proteins (BPs) with high confidence are exclusively highly expressed in the glandular segment of MTs, confirming that brochosomes are synthesized by this segment. The synthesis of BPs is one of the key synapomorphies of Membracoidea but may be lost secondarily in a few lineages. The synthesis of BPs might be related to the symbiosis of leafhoppers/treehoppers with endosymbionts that provide these insects with EAAs, including those are deficient in the sole diet (i.e., plant sap) and could only be made available by the symbionts. We hypothesize that the functional modification of MTs have combined with the application of BPs enabling Membracoidea to colonize and adapt to novel ecological niches, and evolve to the dramatic diversification of this hemipteran group (in particular the family Cicadellidae). This study highlights the importance of evolutionary plasticity and multiple functions of MTs in driving the adaptations and evolution of sap-sucking insects of Hemiptera.

RevDate: 2023-05-12

Becker NS, Rollins RE, Stephens R, et al (2023)

Candidatus Lariskella arthopodarum endosymbiont is the main factor differentiating the microbiome communities of female and male Borrelia-positive Ixodes persulcatus ticks.

Ticks and tick-borne diseases, 14(4):102183 pii:S1877-959X(23)00064-X [Epub ahead of print].

Ixodes persulcatus, a hard-bodied tick species primarily found in Asia and Eastern Europe, is a vector of pathogens to human and livestock hosts. Little research has been done on the microbiome of this species, especially using individual non-pooled samples and comparing different geographical locations. Here, we use 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing to determine the individual microbial composition of 85 Borrelia-positive I. persulcatus from the Japanese islands of Hokkaido and Honshu. The resulting data (164 unique OTUs) were further analyzed to compare the makeup and diversity of the microbiome by sex and location, as well as to determine the presence of human pathogens. We found that, while location had little influence, the diversity of I. persulcatus microbiome was predominantly dependent on sex. Males were seen to have higher microbiome diversity than females, likely due to the high presence of endosymbiotic Candidatus Lariskella arthropodarum within the female microbial communities. Furthermore, high read counts for five genera containing potentially human pathogenic species were detected among both male and female microbiomes: Ehrlichia, Borrelia, Rickettsia, Candidatus Neoehrlichia and Burkholderia and co-infections between different pathogens were frequent. We conclude that the microbiome of I. persulcatus depends mainly on sex and not geographical location and that the major difference between sexes is due to the high abundance of Ca. L. arthropodarum in females. We also stress the importance of this tick species as a vector of potential human pathogens frequently found in co-infections.

RevDate: 2023-05-11

Serra V, D'Alessandro A, Nitla V, et al (2021)

The neotypification of Frontonia vernalis (Ehrenberg, 1833) Ehrenberg, 1838 and the description of Frontonia paravernalis sp. nov. trigger a critical revision of frontoniid systematics.

BMC zoology, 6(1):4.

BACKGROUND: Among Oligohymenophorea (Ciliophora, Alveolata) the subclass Peniculia stands as one of the most well-known groups. Frontonia is the largest genus of Peniculia, and its representatives are spread in any type of water bodies as well as in soil. At a first glance, Frontonia species exhibit an overall similar morphology, and form a well-recognizable taxon of ciliates. Despite the general morphological homogeneity, the phylogenetic analysis based on the 18S rDNA sequencing showed that Frontonia is a non-monophyletic group. The systematics of this genus should be deeply reviewed, although additional issues complicate the task solving. First, type species of the genus is not yet clearly established, and no type material is available. In this context, the situation of F. vernalis, one of the first Frontonia ever described, is somehow puzzled: the description of this ciliate made by Ehrenberg (in 1833 and 1838) contains several inaccuracies and subsequent misidentifications by other authors occurred. Moreover, the 18S rDNA sequence of a putative F. vernalis is available on GenBank, but no morphological description of the correspondent specimens is provided; thus, in our opinion, it should be only prudently associated with F. vernalis or at least indicated as "F. vernalis".

RESULTS: In the present work, we provide the neotypification of F. vernalis newly found in Italy, presenting its multidisciplinary description and its neotype material. Similarly, we describe a novel species bearing Chlorella-like endosymbionts, Frontonia paravernalis sp. nov., retrieved in two far distant locations (Italy, Russia). A critical discussion on the status of Frontonia taxonomy and phylogeny is also presented, based on the 18S rDNA sequencing of both these two newly collected species and other 14 frontoniids isolated in different parts of the world. Finally, in the present study F. leucas was neotypified and proposed as the type species of the genus.

CONCLUSIONS: Green frontoniids form a monophyletic clade of freshwater organisms characterized by having a single contractile vacuole and bearing intracytoplasmatic Chlorella-like symbionts. With the neotypification of F. vernalis and F. leucas a fundamental step in Frontonia systematics was taken, and the bases for further taxonomic studies were laid.

RevDate: 2023-05-10

Yang B, Xu C, Cheng Y, et al (2023)

Research progress on the biosynthesis and delivery of iron-sulfur clusters in the plastid.

Plant cell reports [Epub ahead of print].

Iron-sulfur (Fe-S) clusters are ancient protein cofactors ubiquitously exist in organisms. They are involved in many important life processes. Plastids are semi-autonomous organelles with a double membrane and it is believed to originate from a cyanobacterial endosymbiont. By learning form the research in cyanobacteria, a Fe-S cluster biosynthesis and delivery pathway has been proposed and partly demonstrated in plastids, including iron uptake, sulfur mobilization, Fe-S cluster assembly and delivery. Fe-S clusters are essential for the downstream Fe-S proteins to perform their normal biological functions. Because of the importance of Fe-S proteins in plastid, researchers have made a lot of research progress on this pathway in recent years. This review summarizes the detail research progress made in recent years. In addition, the scientific problems remained in this pathway are also discussed.

RevDate: 2023-05-10

Gimmi E, Wallisch J, C Vorburger (2023)

Defensive symbiosis in the wild: Seasonal dynamics of parasitism risk and symbiont-conferred resistance.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Parasite-mediated selection can rapidly drive up resistance levels in host populations, but fixation of resistance traits may be prevented by costs of resistance. Black bean aphids (Aphis fabae) benefit from increased resistance to parasitoids when carrying the defensive bacterial endosymbiont Hamiltonella defensa. However, due to fitness costs that come with symbiont infection, symbiont-conferred resistance may result in either a net benefit or a net cost to the aphid host, depending on parasitoid presence as well as on the general ecological context. Balancing selection may therefore explain why in natural aphid populations, H. defensa is often found at intermediate frequencies. Here we present a 2-year field study where we set out to look for signatures of balancing selection in natural aphid populations. We collected temporally well-resolved data on the prevalence of H. defensa in A. f. fabae and estimated the risk imposed by parasitoids using sentinel hosts. Despite a marked and consistent early-summer peak in parasitism risk, and significant changes in symbiont prevalence over time, we found just a weak correlation between parasitism risk and H. defensa frequency dynamics. H. defensa prevalence in the populations under study was, in fact, better explained by the number of heat days that previous aphid generations were exposed to. Our study grants an unprecedentedly well-resolved insight into the dynamics of endosymbiont and parasitoid communities of A. f. fabae populations, and it adds to a growing body of empirical evidence suggesting that not only parasitism risk, but rather multifarious selection is shaping H. defensa prevalence in the wild.

RevDate: 2023-05-06

Zhang Y, Tian L, C Lu (2023)

Chloroplast Gene Expression: Recent Advances and Perspectives.

Plant communications pii:S2590-3462(23)00122-0 [Epub ahead of print].

Chloroplasts evolved from an ancient cyanobacterial endosymbiont more than 1.5 billion years ago. During subsequent coevolution with the nuclear genome, the chloroplast genome has remained independent, albeit strongly reduced, with its own transcriptional machinery and distinct features, such as chloroplast-specific innovations to gene expression and complicated post-transcriptional processing. Light activates the expression of chloroplast genes via mechanisms that optimize photosynthesis, minimize photodamage, and prioritize energy investments. Over the past few years, studies have moved the stage of describing phases of chloroplast gene expression to explore the underlying mechanisms. In this review, we focus on recent advances and emerging principles that govern chloroplast gene expression in land plants. We discuss the PPR protein engineering and its biotechnological impacts on chloroplast RNA research, new techniques for elucidating the molecular mechanisms of chloroplast gene expression, and some important aspects of chloroplast gene expression for improving crop yield and stress tolerance. We also discuss the remaining biological and mechanistic questions to be answered in the future.

RevDate: 2023-05-04

Tan Y, Gong B, Zhang Q, et al (2023)

Diversity of endosymbionts in camellia spiny whitefly, Aleurocanthus camelliae (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae), estimated by 16S rRNA analysis and their biological implications.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1124386.

Camellia spiny whitefly, Aleurocanthus camelliae (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae), is a major pest in tea, which poses a serious threat to tea production. Similar to many insects, various bacterial symbioses inside A. camelliae may participate in the reproduction, metabolism, and detoxification of the host. However, few reports included research on the microbial composition and influence on A. camelliae growth. We first applied high-throughput sequencing of the V4 region in the 16S rRNA of symbiotic bacteria to study its component and effect on the biological trait of A. camelliae by comparing it with the antibiotic treatment group. The population parameters, survival rate, and fecundity rate of A. camelliae were also analyzed using the age-stage two-sex life table. Our results demonstrated that phylum Proteobacteria (higher than 96.15%) dominated the whole life cycle of A. camelliae. It unveiled the presence of Candidatus Portiera (primary endosymbiont) (67.15-73.33%), Arsenophonus (5.58-22.89%), Wolbachia (4.53-11.58%), Rickettsia (0.75-2.59%), and Pseudomonas (0.99-1.88%) genus. Antibiotic treatment caused a significant decrease in the endosymbiont, which negatively affected the host's biological properties and life process. For example, 1.5% rifampicin treatment caused a longer preadult stage in the offspring generation (55.92 d) compared to the control (49.75d) and a lower survival rate (0.36) than the control (0.60). The decreased intrinsic rate of increase (r), net reproductive rate (R 0), and prolonged mean generation time (T) were signs of all disadvantageous effects associated with symbiotic reduction. Our findings confirmed the composition and richness of symbiotic bacteria in larva and adult of A. camelliae by an Illumina NovaSeq 6000 analysis and their influence on the development of the host by demographic research. Together, the results suggested that symbiotic bacteria play an important role in manipulating the biological development of their hosts, which might help us for developing new pest control agents and technologies for better management of A. camelliae.

RevDate: 2023-05-03

DeLong JP, Van Etten JL, DD Dunigan (2023)

Lessons from Chloroviruses: the Complex and Diverse Roles of Viruses in Food Webs.

Journal of virology [Epub ahead of print].

Viruses can have large effects on the ecological communities in which they occur. Much of this impact comes from the mortality of host cells, which simultaneously alters microbial community composition and causes the release of matter that can be used by other organisms. However, recent studies indicate that viruses may be even more deeply integrated into the functioning of ecological communities than their effect on nutrient cycling suggests. In particular, chloroviruses, which infect chlorella-like green algae that typically occur as endosymbionts, participate in three types of interactions with other species. Chlororviruses (i) can lure ciliates from a distance, using them as a vector; (ii) depend on predators for access to their hosts; and (iii) get consumed as a food source by, at least, a variety of protists. Therefore, chloroviruses both depend on and influence the spatial structures of communities as well as the flows of energy through those communities, driven by predator-prey interactions. The emergence of these interactions are an eco-evolutionary puzzle, given the interdependence of these species and the many costs and benefits that these interactions generate.

RevDate: 2023-04-30

Biney C, Graham GE, Asiedu E, et al (2023)

Wolbachia Ferrochelatase as a potential drug target against filarial infections.

Journal of molecular graphics & modelling, 122:108490 pii:S1093-3263(23)00088-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Filarial infections are among the world's most disturbing diseases caused by 3 major parasitic worms; Onchocerca volvulus, Wuchereria bancrofti, and Brugia malayi, affecting more than 500 million people worldwide. Currently used drugs for mass drug administration (MDA) have been met with several challenges including the development of complications in individuals with filaria co-infections and parasitic drug resistance. The filarial endosymbiont, Wolbachia, has emerged as an attractive therapeutic target for filariasis elimination, due to the dependence of the filaria on this endosymbiont for survival. Here, we target an important enzyme in the Wolbachia heme biosynthetic pathway (ferrochelatase), using high-throughput virtual screening and molecular dynamics with MM-PBSA calculations. We identified four drug candidates; Nilotinib, Ledipasvir, 3-benzhydryloxy-8-methyl-8-azabicyclo[3.2.1]octane, and 2-(4-Amino-piperidin-1-yl)-ethanol as potential small molecules inhibitors as they could compete with the enzyme's natural substrate (Protoporphyrin IX) for active pocket binding. This prevents the worm from receiving the heme molecule from Wolbachia for their growth and survival, resulting in their death. This study which involved targeting enzymes in biosynthetic pathways of the parasitic worms' endosymbiont (Wolbachia), has proven to be an alternative therapeutic option leading to the discovery of new drugs, which will help facilitate the elimination of parasitic infections.

RevDate: 2023-04-28

Ghousein A, Tutagata J, Schrieke H, et al (2023)

pWCP is a widely distributed and highly conserved Wolbachia plasmid in Culex pipiens and Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes worldwide.

ISME communications, 3(1):40.

Mosquitoes represent the most important pathogen vectors and are responsible for the spread of a wide variety of poorly treatable diseases. Wolbachia are obligate intracellular bacteria that are widely distributed among arthropods and collectively represents one of the most promising solutions for vector control. In particular, Wolbachia has been shown to limit the transmission of pathogens, and to dramatically affect the reproductive behavior of their host through its phage WO. While much research has focused on deciphering and exploring the biocontrol applications of these WO-related phenotypes, the extent and potential impact of the Wolbachia mobilome remain poorly appreciated. Notably, several Wolbachia plasmids, carrying WO-like genes and Insertion Sequences (IS), thus possibly interrelated to other genetic units of the endosymbiont, have been recently discovered. Here we investigated the diversity and biogeography of the first described plasmid of Wolbachia in Culex pipiens (pWCP) in several islands and continental countries around the world-including Cambodia, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Thailand, and Mexico-together with mosquito strains from colonies that evolved for 2 to 30 years in the laboratory. We used PCR and qPCR to determine the presence and copy number of pWCP in individual mosquitoes, and highly accurate Sanger sequencing to evaluate potential variations. Together with earlier observation, our results show that pWCP is omnipresent and strikingly conserved among Wolbachia populations within mosquitoes from distant geographies and environmental conditions. These data suggest a critical role for the plasmid in Wolbachia ecology and evolution, and the potential of a great tool for further genetic dissection and possible manipulation of this endosymbiont.

RevDate: 2023-04-28

Řezáč M, Řezáčová V, Gloríková N, et al (2023)

Food provisioning to Pardosa spiders decreases the levels of tissue-resident endosymbiotic bacteria.

Scientific reports, 13(1):6943.

The diversity, host specificity, and physiological effects of endosymbiotic bacteria in spiders (Araneae) are poorly characterized. We used 16S rDNA sequencing to evaluate endosymbionts in the cephalothorax and legs of a wolf spider Pardosa agrestis. We tested the effects of feeding once or twice daily with fruit flies, aphids, or starved and compared them to those of syntopically occurring Pardosa palustris. The feeding increased traveled distance up to five times in some of the groups provisioned with food relative to the starved control. The Shannon diversity t-test revealed significant differences between these component communities of the two spider species. The increased frequency of feeding with fruit flies, but not aphids, increased the dominance and decreased the alpha diversity of OTUs. The obligate or facultative endosymbionts were present in all analyzed spider individuals and were represented mostly by Rickettsiella, Rhabdochlamydia, Spiroplasma, and the facultative intracellular parasite Legionella. Vertically transmitted endosymbionts were less common, represented by Wolbachia pipientis and Rickettsia sp. H820. The relative abundance of Mycoplasma spp. was negatively correlated with provisioned or killed aphids. In conclusion, the tissues of Pardosa spiders host tremendously diverse assemblages of bacteria, including obligate or facultative endosymbionts, with yet unknown phenotypic effects.

RevDate: 2023-04-28

George EE, Barcytė D, Lax G, et al (2023)

A single cryptomonad cell harbors a complex community of organelles, bacteria, a phage, and selfish elements.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(23)00458-X [Epub ahead of print].

Symbiosis between prokaryotes and microbial eukaryotes (protists) has broadly impacted both evolution and ecology. Endosymbiosis led to mitochondria and plastids, the latter spreading across the tree of eukaryotes by subsequent rounds of endosymbiosis. Present-day endosymbionts in protists remain both common and diverse, although what function they serve is often unknown. Here, we describe a highly complex community of endosymbionts and a bacteriophage (phage) within a single cryptomonad cell. Cryptomonads are a model for organelle evolution because their secondary plastid retains a relict endosymbiont nucleus, but only one previously unidentified Cryptomonas strain (SAG 25.80) is known to harbor bacterial endosymbionts. We carried out electron microscopy and FISH imaging as well as genomic sequencing on Cryptomonas SAG 25.80, which revealed a stable, complex community even after over 50 years in continuous cultivation. We identified the host strain as Cryptomonas gyropyrenoidosa, and sequenced genomes from its mitochondria, plastid, and nucleomorph (and partially its nucleus), as well as two symbionts, Megaira polyxenophila and Grellia numerosa, and one phage (MAnkyphage) infecting M. polyxenophila. Comparing closely related endosymbionts from other hosts revealed similar metabolic and genomic features, with the exception of abundant transposons and genome plasticity in M. polyxenophila from Cryptomonas. We found an abundance of eukaryote-interacting genes as well as many toxin-antitoxin systems, including in the MAnkyphage genome that also encodes several eukaryotic-like proteins. Overall, the Cryptomonas cell is an endosymbiotic conglomeration with seven distinct evolving genomes that all show evidence of inter-lineage conflict but nevertheless remain stable, even after more than 4,000 generations in culture.

RevDate: 2023-04-28

Van Houten J (2023)

A Review for the Special Issue on Paramecium as a Modern Model Organism.

Microorganisms, 11(4): pii:microorganisms11040937.

This review provides background and perspective for the articles contributing to the Special Issue of MDPI Micro-organisms on Paramecium as a Modern Model Organism. The six articles cover a variety of topics, each taking advantage of an important aspect of Paramecium biology: peripheral surface proteins that are developmentally regulated, endosymbiont algae and bacteria, ion channel regulation by calmodulin, regulation of cell mating reactivity and senescence, and the introns that dwell in the large genome. Each article highlights a significant aspect of Paramecium and its versatility.

RevDate: 2023-04-27

Lv N, Peng J, He ZQ, et al (2023)

The Dynamic Distribution of Wolbachia and Rickettsia in AsiaII1 Bemisia tabaci.

Insects, 14(4): pii:insects14040401.

Wolbachia and Rickettsia are bacterial endosymbionts that can induce a number of reproductive abnormalities in their arthropod hosts. We screened and established the co-infection of Wolbachia and Rickettsia in Bemisia tabaci and compared the spatial and temporal distribution of Wolbachia and Rickettsia in eggs (3-120 h after spawning), nymphs, and adults of B. tabaci by qPCR quantification and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). The results show that the titer of Wolbachia and Rickettsia in the 3-120 h old eggs showed a "w" patterned fluctuation, while the titers of Wolbachia and Rickettsia had a "descending-ascending descending-ascending" change process. The titers of Rickettsia and Wolbachia nymphal and the adult life stages of Asia II1 B. tabaci generally increased with the development of whiteflies. However, the location of Wolbachia and Rickettsia in the egg changed from egg stalk to egg base, and then from egg base to egg posterior, and finally back to the middle of the egg. These results will provide basic information on the quantity and localization of Wolbachia and Rickettsia within different life stages of B. tabaci. These findings help to understand the dynamics of the vertical transmission of symbiotic bacteria.

RevDate: 2023-04-27

Li J, An Z, Luo J, et al (2023)

Parasitization of Aphis gossypii Glover by Binodoxys communis Gahan Causes Shifts in the Ovarian Bacterial Microbiota.

Insects, 14(4): pii:insects14040314.

BACKGROUND: Aphis gossypii Glover is an important agricultural pest distributed worldwide. Binodoxys communis Gahan is the main parasitoid wasp of A. gossypii. Previous studies have shown that parasitization causes reduced egg production in A. gossypii, but the effects of parasitism on the symbiotic bacteria in the host ovaries are unknown.

RESULTS: In this study, we analyzed the microbial communities in the ovaries of A. gossypii without and after parasitization. Whether parasitized or not, Buchnera was the dominant genus of symbiotic bacteria in the ovaries, followed by facultative symbionts including Arsenophonus, Pseudomonas, and Acinetobacter. The relative abundance of Buchnera in the aphid ovary increased after parasitization for 1 d in both third-instar nymph and adult stages, but decreased after parasitization for 3 d. The shifts in the relative abundance of Arsenophonus in both stages were the same as those observed for Buchnera. In addition, the relative abundance of Serratia remarkably decreased after parasitization for 1 d and increased after parasitization for 3 d. A functional predictive analysis of the control and parasitized ovary microbiomes revealed that pathways primarily enriched in parasitization were "amino acid transport and metabolism" and "energy production and conversion." Finally, RT-qPCR analysis was performed on Buchnera, Arsenophonus, and Serratia. The results of RT-qPCR were the same as the results of 16S rDNA sequencing.

CONCLUSIONS: These results provide a framework for investigating shifts in the microbial communities in host ovaries, which may be responsible for reduced egg production in aphids. These findings also broaden our understanding of the interactions among aphids, parasitoid wasps, and endosymbionts.

RevDate: 2023-04-26

Mosquera KD, Martínez Villegas LE, Rocha Fernandes G, et al (2023)

Egg-laying by female Aedes aegypti shapes the bacterial communities of breeding sites.

BMC biology, 21(1):97.

BACKGROUND: Aedes aegypti, the main arboviral mosquito vector, is attracted to human dwellings and makes use of human-generated breeding sites. Past research has shown that bacterial communities associated with such sites undergo compositional shifts as larvae develop and that exposure to different bacteria during larval stages can have an impact on mosquito development and life-history traits. Based on these facts, we hypothesized that female Ae. aegypti shape the bacteria communities of breeding sites during oviposition as a form of niche construction to favor offspring fitness.

RESULTS: To test this hypothesis, we first verified that gravid females can act as mechanical vectors of bacteria. We then elaborated an experimental scheme to test the impact of oviposition on breeding site microbiota. Five different groups of experimental breeding sites were set up with a sterile aqueous solution of larval food, and subsequently exposed to (1) the environment alone, (2) surface-sterilized eggs, (3) unsterilized eggs, (4) a non-egg laying female, or (5) oviposition by a gravid female. The microbiota of these differently treated sites was assessed by amplicon-oriented DNA sequencing once the larvae from the sites with eggs had completed development and formed pupae. Microbial ecology analyses revealed significant differences between the five treatments in terms of diversity. In particular, between-treatment shifts in abundance profiles were detected, showing that females induce a significant decrease in microbial alpha diversity through oviposition. In addition, indicator species analysis pinpointed bacterial taxa with significant predicting values and fidelity coefficients for the samples in which single females laid eggs. Furthermore, we provide evidence regarding how one of these indicator taxa, Elizabethkingia, exerts a positive effect on the development and fitness of mosquito larvae.

CONCLUSIONS: Ovipositing females impact the composition of the microbial community associated with a breeding site, promoting certain bacterial taxa over those prevailing in the environment. Among these bacteria, we found known mosquito symbionts and showed that they can improve offspring fitness if present in the water where eggs are laid. We deem this oviposition-mediated bacterial community shaping as a form of niche construction initiated by the gravid female.

RevDate: 2023-04-26

Jaffe AL, Castelle CJ, JF Banfield (2023)

Habitat Transition in the Evolution of Bacteria and Archaea.

Annual review of microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Related groups of microbes are widely distributed across Earth's habitats, implying numerous dispersal and adaptation events over evolutionary time. However, relatively little is known about the characteristics and mechanisms of these habitat transitions, particularly for populations that reside in animal microbiomes. Here, we review the literature concerning habitat transitions among a variety of bacterial and archaeal lineages, considering the frequency of migration events, potential environmental barriers, and mechanisms of adaptation to new physicochemical conditions, including the modification of protein inventories and other genomic characteristics. Cells dependent on microbial hosts, particularly bacteria from the Candidate Phyla Radiation, have undergone repeated habitat transitions from environmental sources into animal microbiomes. We compare their trajectories to those of both free-living cells-including the Melainabacteria, Elusimicrobia, and methanogenic archaea-and cellular endosymbionts and bacteriophages, which have made similar transitions. We conclude by highlighting major related topics that may be worthy of future study. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Microbiology, Volume 77 is September 2023. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.

RevDate: 2023-04-26

Arai H, Takamatsu T, Lin SR, et al (2023)

Diverse Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Microbe-Inducing Male Killing in the Moth Homona magnanima.

Applied and environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Male killing (MK) is a type of reproductive manipulation induced by microbes, where sons of infected mothers are killed during development. MK is a strategy that enhances the fitness of the microbes, and the underlying mechanisms and the process of their evolution have attracted substantial attention. Homona magnanima, a moth, harbors two embryonic MK bacteria, namely, Wolbachia (Alphaproteobacteria) and Spiroplasma (Mollicutes), and a larval MK virus, Osugoroshi virus (OGV; Partitiviridae). However, whether the three distantly related male killers employ similar or different mechanisms to accomplish MK remains unknown. Here, we clarified the differential effects of the three male killers on the sex-determination cascades and development of H. magnanima males. Reverse transcription-PCR demonstrated that Wolbachia and Spiroplasma, but not OGVs, disrupted the sex-determination cascade of males by inducing female-type splice variants of doublesex (dsx), a downstream regulator of the sex-determining gene cascade. We also found that MK microbes altered host transcriptomes in different manners; Wolbachia impaired the host dosage compensation system, whereas Spiroplasma and OGVs did not. Moreover, Wolbachia and Spiroplasma, but not OGVs, triggered abnormal apoptosis in male embryos. These findings suggest that distantly related microbes employ distinct machineries to kill males of the identical host species, which would be the outcome of the convergent evolution. IMPORTANCE Many microbes induce male killing (MK) in various insect species. However, it is not well understood whether microbes adopt similar or different MK mechanisms. This gap in our knowledge is partly because different insect models have been examined for each MK microbe. Here, we compared three taxonomically distinct male killers (i.e., Wolbachia, Spiroplasma, and a partiti-like virus) that infect the same host. We provided evidence that microbes can cause MK through distinct mechanisms that differ in the expression of genes involved in sex determination, dosage compensation, and apoptosis. These results imply independent evolutionary scenarios for the acquisition of their MK ability.

RevDate: 2023-04-25

da Moura AJF, Valadas V, Da Veiga Leal S, et al (2023)

Screening of natural Wolbachia infection in mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) from the Cape Verde islands.

Parasites & vectors, 16(1):142.

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia pipientis is an endosymbiont bacterium that induces cytoplasmic incompatibility and inhibits arboviral replication in mosquitoes. This study aimed to assess Wolbachia prevalence and genetic diversity in different mosquito species from Cape Verde.

METHODS: Mosquitoes were collected on six islands of Cape Verde and identified to species using morphological keys and PCR-based assays. Wolbachia was detected by amplifying a fragment of the surface protein gene (wsp). Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) was performed with five housekeeping genes (coxA, gatB, ftsZ, hcpA, and fbpA) and the wsp hypervariable region (HVR) for strain identification. Identification of wPip groups (wPip-I to wPip-V) was performed using PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) assay on the ankyrin domain gene pk1.

RESULTS: Nine mosquito species were collected, including the major vectors Aedes aegypti, Anopheles arabiensis, Culex pipiens sensu stricto, and Culex quinquefasciatus. Wolbachia was only detected in Cx. pipiens s.s. (100% prevalence), Cx. quinquefasciatus (98.3%), Cx. pipiens/quinquefasciatus hybrids (100%), and Culex tigripes (100%). Based on the results of MLST and wsp hypervariable region typing, Wolbachia from the Cx. pipiens complex was assigned to sequence type 9, wPip clade, and supergroup B. PCR/RFLP analysis revealed three wPip groups in Cape Verde, namely wPip-II, wPip-III, and wPip-IV. wPip-IV was the most prevalent, while wPip-II and wPip-III were found only on Maio and Fogo islands. Wolbachia detected in Cx. tigripes belongs to supergroup B, with no attributed MLST profile, indicating a new strain of Wolbachia in this mosquito species.

CONCLUSIONS: A high prevalence and diversity of Wolbachia was found in species from the Cx. pipiens complex. This diversity may be related to the mosquito's colonization history on the Cape Verde islands. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to detect Wolbachia in Cx. tigripes, which may provide an additional opportunity for biocontrol initiatives.

RevDate: 2023-04-24

Goldstein EB, de Anda Acosta Y, Henry LM, et al (2023)

Variation in density, immune gene suppression, and co-infection outcomes among strains of the aphid endosymbiont Regiella insecticola.

Evolution; international journal of organic evolution pii:7140353 [Epub ahead of print].

Many insects harbor heritable microbes that influence host phenotypes. Symbiont strains establish at different densities within hosts. This variation is important evolutionarily because within-host density has been linked to the costs and benefits of the symbiosis for both partners. Studying the factors shaping within-host density is important to our broader understanding of host-microbe coevolution. Here we focused on different strains of Regiella insecticola, a facultative symbiont of aphids. We first showed that strains of Regiella establish in pea aphids at drastically different densities. We then found that variation in density is correlated with the expression levels of two key insect immune system genes (phenoloxidase and hemocytin), with the suppression of immune gene expression correlating with higher Regiella density. We then performed an experiment where we established co-infections of a higher- and a lower-density Regiella strain, and we showed that the higher-density strain is better able to persist in co-infections than the lower-density strain. Together, our results point to a potential mechanism that contributes to strain-level variation in symbiont density in this system, and our data suggest that symbiont fitness may be increased by establishing at higher density within hosts. Our work highlights the importance of within-host dynamics shaping symbiont evolution.

RevDate: 2023-04-24

Gu X, Ross PA, Gill A, et al (2023)

A rapidly spreading deleterious aphid endosymbiont that uses horizontal as well as vertical transmission.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120(18):e2217278120.

Endosymbiotic bacteria that live inside the cells of insects are typically only transmitted maternally and can spread by increasing host fitness and/or modifying reproduction in sexual hosts. Transinfections of Wolbachia endosymbionts are now being used to introduce useful phenotypes into sexual host populations, but there has been limited progress on applications using other endosymbionts and in asexual populations. Here, we develop a unique pathway to application in aphids by transferring the endosymbiont Rickettsiella viridis to the major crop pest Myzus persicae. Rickettsiella infection greatly reduced aphid fecundity, decreased heat tolerance, and modified aphid body color, from light to dark green. Despite inducing host fitness costs, Rickettsiella spread rapidly through caged aphid populations via plant-mediated horizontal transmission. The phenotypic effects of Rickettsiella were sensitive to temperature, with spread only occurring at 19 °C and not 25 °C. Body color modification was also lost at high temperatures despite Rickettsiella maintaining a high density. Rickettsiella shows the potential to spread through natural M. persicae populations by horizontal transmission and subsequent vertical transmission. Establishment of Rickettsiella in natural populations could reduce crop damage by modifying population age structure, reducing population growth and providing context-dependent effects on host fitness. Our results highlight the importance of plant-mediated horizontal transmission and interactions with temperature as drivers of endosymbiont spread in asexual insect populations.

RevDate: 2023-04-21

Kiefer JST, Bauer E, Okude G, et al (2023)

Cuticle supplementation and nitrogen recycling by a dual bacterial symbiosis in a family of xylophagous beetles.

The ISME journal [Epub ahead of print].

Many insects engage in stable nutritional symbioses with bacteria that supplement limiting essential nutrients to their host. While several plant sap-feeding Hemipteran lineages are known to be simultaneously associated with two or more endosymbionts with complementary biosynthetic pathways to synthesize amino acids or vitamins, such co-obligate symbioses have not been functionally characterized in other insect orders. Here, we report on the characterization of a dual co-obligate, bacteriome-localized symbiosis in a family of xylophagous beetles using comparative genomics, fluorescence microscopy, and phylogenetic analyses. Across the beetle family Bostrichidae, most investigated species harbored the Bacteroidota symbiont Shikimatogenerans bostrichidophilus that encodes the shikimate pathway to produce tyrosine precursors in its severely reduced genome, likely supplementing the beetles' cuticle biosynthesis, sclerotisation, and melanisation. One clade of Bostrichid beetles additionally housed the co-obligate symbiont Bostrichicola ureolyticus that is inferred to complement the function of Shikimatogenerans by recycling urea and provisioning the essential amino acid lysine, thereby providing additional benefits on nitrogen-poor diets. Both symbionts represent ancient associations within the Bostrichidae that have subsequently experienced genome erosion and co-speciation with their hosts. While Bostrichicola was repeatedly lost, Shikimatogenerans has been retained throughout the family and exhibits a perfect pattern of co-speciation. Our results reveal that co-obligate symbioses with complementary metabolic capabilities occur beyond the well-known sap-feeding Hemiptera and highlight the importance of symbiont-mediated cuticle supplementation and nitrogen recycling for herbivorous beetles.

RevDate: 2023-04-20

Choubdar N, Karimian F, Koosha M, et al (2023)

Wolbachia infection in native populations of Blattella germanica and Periplaneta americana.

PloS one, 18(4):e0284704 pii:PONE-D-23-02444.

Cockroaches are significant pests worldwide, being important in medical, veterinary, and public health fields. Control of cockroaches is difficult because they have robust reproductive ability and high adaptability and are resistant to many insecticides. Wolbachia is an endosymbiont bacterium that infects the reproductive organs of approximately 70% of insect species and has become a promising biological agent for controlling insect pests. However, limited data on the presence or strain typing of Wolbachia in cockroaches are available. PCR amplification and sequencing of the wsp and gltA genes were used to study the presence, prevalence and molecular typing of Wolbachia in two main cockroach species, Blattella germanica (German cockroach) and Periplaneta americana (American cockroach), from different geographical locations of Iran. The Wolbachia endosymbiont was found only in 20.6% of German cockroaches while it was absent in American cockroach samples. Blast search and phylogenetic analysis revealed that the Wolbachia strain found in the German cockroach belongs to Wolbachia supergroup F. Further studies should investigate the symbiotic role of Wolbachia in cockroaches and determine whether lack of Wolbachia infection may increase this insect's ability to tolerate or acquire various pathogens. Results of our study provide a foundation for continued work on interactions between cockroaches, bacterial endosymbionts, and pathogens.

RevDate: 2023-04-19

Che Lah EF, Ahamad M, Dmitry A, et al (2023)

Metagenomic profile of the bacterial communities associated with Ixodes granulatus (Acari: Ixodidae): a potential vector of tick-borne diseases.

Journal of medical entomology pii:7131392 [Epub ahead of print].

Ixodes granulatus Supino, 1897 (Acari: Ixodida) is one of Malaysia's most common hard ticks and is a potential vector for tick-borne diseases (TBDs). Despite its great public health importance, research on I. granulatus microbial communities remains largely unexplored. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the bacterial communities of on-host I. granulatus collected from three different recreational areas on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia using high throughput Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). A total of 9 females on-host I. granulatus were subjected to metabarcoding analysis targeting V3-V4 regions of 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) using the Illumina MiSeq platform. This study identified 15 bacterial phyla corresponding to 19 classes, 54 orders, and 90 families from 435 amplicon sequence variants (ASVs), revealing a diverse bacterial community profile. Together with 130 genera assigned, local I. granulatus harbored 4 genera of pathogens, i.e., Rickettsia da Rocha Lima, 1916 (Rickettsiales: Rickettsiaceae) (58.6%), Borrelia Swellengrebel 1907 (Spirochaetales: Borreliaceae) (31.6%), Borreliella Adeolu and Gupta 2015 (Spirochaetales: Borreliaceae) (0.6%), and Ehrlichia Cowdria Moshkovski 1947 (Rickettsiales: Ehrlichiaceae) (39.9%). Some endosymbiont bacteria, such as Coxiella (Philip, 1943) (Legionellales: Coxiellaceae), Wolbachia Hertig 1936 (Rickettsiales: Ehrlichiaceae), and Rickettsiella Philip, 1956 (Legionellales: Coxiellaceae), were also detected at very low abundance. Interestingly, this study reported the co-infection of Borrelia and Ehrlichia for the first time, instilling potential health concerns in the context of co-transmission to humans, especially in areas with a high population of I. granulatus. This study successfully characterized the tick microbiome and provided the first baseline data of I. granulatus bacterial communities in Malaysia. These results support the need for way-forward research on tick-associated bacteria using NGS, focusing on medically important species toward TBD prevention.

RevDate: 2023-04-18

Libby E, Kempes CP, JG Okie (2023)

Metabolic compatibility and the rarity of prokaryote endosymbioses.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120(17):e2206527120.

The evolution of the mitochondria was a significant event that gave rise to the eukaryotic lineage and most large complex life. Central to the origins of the mitochondria was an endosymbiosis between prokaryotes. Yet, despite the potential benefits that can stem from a prokaryotic endosymbiosis, their modern occurrence is exceptionally rare. While many factors may contribute to their rarity, we lack methods for estimating the extent to which they constrain the appearance of a prokaryotic endosymbiosis. Here, we address this knowledge gap by examining the role of metabolic compatibility between a prokaryotic host and endosymbiont. We use genome-scale metabolic flux models from three different collections (AGORA, KBase, and CarveMe) to assess the viability, fitness, and evolvability of potential prokaryotic endosymbioses. We find that while more than half of host-endosymbiont pairings are metabolically viable, the resulting endosymbioses have reduced growth rates compared to their ancestral metabolisms and are unlikely to gain mutations to overcome these fitness differences. In spite of these challenges, we do find that they may be more robust in the face of environmental perturbations at least in comparison with the ancestral host metabolism lineages. Our results provide a critical set of null models and expectations for understanding the forces that shape the structure of prokaryotic life.

RevDate: 2023-04-17

Chakraborty A, Šobotník J, Votýpková K, et al (2023)

Impact of Wood Age on Termite Microbial Assemblages.

Applied and environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

The decomposition of wood and detritus is challenging to most macroscopic organisms due to the recalcitrant nature of lignocellulose. Moreover, woody plants often protect themselves by synthesizing toxic or nocent compounds which infuse their tissues. Termites are essential wood decomposers in warmer terrestrial ecosystems and, as such, they have to cope with high concentrations of plant toxins in wood. In this paper, we evaluated the influence of wood age on the gut microbial (bacterial and fungal) communities associated with the termites Reticulitermes flavipes (Rhinotermitidae) (Kollar, 1837) and Microcerotermes biroi (Termitidae) (Desneux, 1905). We confirmed that the secondary metabolite concentration decreased with wood age. We identified a core microbial consortium maintained in the gut of R. flavipes and M. biroi and found that its diversity and composition were not altered by the wood age. Therefore, the concentration of secondary metabolites had no effect on the termite gut microbiome. We also found that both termite feeding activities and wood age affect the wood microbiome. Whether the increasing relative abundance of microbes with termite activities is beneficial to the termites is unknown and remains to be investigated. IMPORTANCE Termites can feed on wood thanks to their association with their gut microbes. However, the current understanding of termites as holobiont is limited. To our knowledge, no studies comprehensively reveal the influence of wood age on the termite-associated microbial assemblage. The wood of many tree species contains high concentrations of plant toxins that can vary with their age and may influence microbes. Here, we studied the impact of Norway spruce wood of varying ages and terpene concentrations on the microbial communities associated with the termites Reticulitermes flavipes (Rhinotermitidae) and Microcerotermes biroi (Termitidae). We performed a bacterial 16S rRNA and fungal ITS2 metabarcoding study to reveal the microbial communities associated with R. flavipes and M. biroi and their impact on shaping the wood microbiome. We noted that a stable core microbiome in the termites was unaltered by the feeding substrate, while termite activities influenced the wood microbiome, suggesting that plant secondary metabolites have negligible effects on the termite gut microbiome. Hence, our study shed new insights into the termite-associated microbial assemblage under the influence of varying amounts of terpene content in wood and provides a groundwork for future investigations for developing symbiont-mediated termite control measures.

RevDate: 2023-04-17

Moulin SLY, Frail S, Doenier J, et al (2023)

The endosymbiont of Epithemia clementina is specialized for nitrogen fixation within a photosynthetic eukaryote.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2023.03.08.531752.

Epithemia spp. diatoms contain obligate, nitrogen-fixing endosymbionts, or "diazoplasts", derived from cyanobacteria. These algae are a rare example of photosynthetic eukaryotes that have successfully coupled oxygenic photosynthesis with oxygen-sensitive nitrogenase activity. Here, we report a newly-isolated species, E. clementina , as a model to investigate endosymbiotic acquisition of nitrogen fixation. To detect the metabolic changes associated with endosymbiotic specialization, we compared nitrogen fixation, associated carbon and nitrogen metabolism, and their regulatory pathways in the Epithemia diazoplast with its close, free-living cyanobacterial relative, Crocosphaera subtropica . Unlike C. subtropica , we show that nitrogenase activity in the diazoplast is concurrent with, and even dependent on, host photosynthesis and no longer associated with cyanobacterial glycogen storage suggesting carbohydrates are imported from the host diatom. Carbohydrate catabolism in the diazoplast indicates that the oxidative pentose pathway and oxidative phosphorylation, in concert, generates reducing equivalents and ATP and consumes oxygen to support nitrogenase activity. In contrast to expanded nitrogenase activity, the diazoplast has diminished ability to utilize alternative nitrogen sources. Upon ammonium repletion, negative feedback regulation of nitrogen fixation was conserved, however ammonia assimilation showed paradoxical responses in the diazoplast compared with C. subtropica . The altered nitrogen regulation likely favors nitrogen transfer to the host. Our results suggest that the diazoplast is specialized for endosymbiotic nitrogen fixation. Altogether, we establish a new model for studying endosymbiosis, perform the first functional characterization of this diazotroph endosymbiosis, and identify metabolic adaptations for endosymbiotic acquisition of a critical biological function.

RevDate: 2023-04-13

Xu J, Tan JB, Li YD, et al (2023)

Diversity and dynamics of endosymbionts in a single population of sweet potato weevil, Cylas formicarius (Coleoptera: Brentidae): a preliminary study.

Journal of insect science (Online), 23(2):.

Endosymbionts live symbiotically with insect hosts and play important roles in the evolution, growth, development, reproduction, and environmental fitness of hosts. Weevils are one of the most abundant insect groups that can be infected by various endosymbionts, such as Sodalis, Nardonella, and Wolbachia. The sweet potato weevil, Cylas formicarius (Coleoptera: Brentidae), is a notorious pest in sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) cultivation. Currently, little is known about the presence of endosymbionts in C. formicarius. Herein, we assessed the endosymbiont load of a single geographic population of C. formicarius. The results showed that Nardonella and Rickettsia could infect C. formicarius at different rates, which also varied according to the developmental stages of C. formicarius. The relative titer of Nardonella was significantly related to C. formicarius developmental stages. The Nardonella-infecting sweet potato weevils were most closely related to the Nardonella in Sphenophorus levis (Coleoptera, Curculionidae). The Rickettsia be identified in bellii group. These results preliminarily revealed the endosymbionts in C. formicarius and helped to explore the diversity of endosymbionts in weevils and uncover the physiological roles of endosymbionts in weevils.

RevDate: 2023-04-12

Lu M, Chen S, Meng C, et al (2023)

A novel Rickettsia species closely related to Rickettsia felis in Anopheles mosquitoes from Yingkou City, Northeast China.

Zoonoses and public health [Epub ahead of print].

Mosquitoes are generally recognized as the most important vector of many zoonotic pathogens. In this study, seven mosquitoes species were identified (Anopheles pullus, Anopheles sinensis, Anopheles lesteri, Anopheles kleini, Ochlerotatus dorsalis, Aedes koreicus and Culex inatomii) in samples collected from Yingkou City, Liaoning Province, Northeastern China. A novel Rickettsia species was detected in Anopheles sinensis (two of 71, 2.82%) and Anopheles pullus (one of 106, 0.94%) mosquitoes. Genetic analysis indicated that the rrs and ompB genes have highest 99.60% and 97.88%-98.14% identities to Rickettsia felis, an emerging human pathogen of global concern mainly harboured by fleas, mosquitoes and booklice. The gltA sequences of these strains have 99.72% of nucleotide similarity with Rickettsia endosymbiont of Medetera jacula. The groEL sequences have 98.37% similarity to both Rickettsia tillamookensis and Rickettsia australis. The htrA sequences have 98.77% similarity to Rickettsia lusitaniae. In the phylogenetic tree based on concatenated nucleotide sequences of rrs, gltA, groEL, ompB and htrA genes, these strains are closely related to R. felis. Herein, we name it 'Candidatus Rickettsia yingkouensis'. Its human pathogenicity to humans and animals is still to be determined.

RevDate: 2023-04-10

Ferrarini MG, Vallier A, Dell'Aglio E, et al (2023)

Endosymbiont-containing germarium transcriptional survey in a cereal weevil depicts downregulation of immune effectors at the onset of sexual maturity.

Frontiers in physiology, 14:1142513.

Insects often establish long-term relationships with intracellular symbiotic bacteria, i.e., endosymbionts, that provide them with essential nutrients such as amino acids and vitamins. Endosymbionts are typically confined within specialized host cells called bacteriocytes that may form an organ, the bacteriome. Compartmentalization within host cells is paramount for protecting the endosymbionts and also avoiding chronic activation of the host immune system. In the cereal weevil Sitophilus oryzae, bacteriomes are present as a single organ at the larval foregut-midgut junction, and in adults, at the apex of midgut mesenteric caeca and at the apex of the four ovarioles. While the adult midgut endosymbionts experience a drastic proliferation during early adulthood followed by complete elimination through apoptosis and autophagy, ovarian endosymbionts are maintained throughout the weevil lifetime by unknown mechanisms. Bacteria present in ovarian bacteriomes are thought to be involved in the maternal transmission of endosymbionts through infection of the female germline, but the exact mode of transmission is not fully understood. Here, we show that endosymbionts are able to colonize the germarium in one-week-old females, pinpointing a potential infection route of oocytes. To identify potential immune regulators of ovarian endosymbionts, we have analyzed the transcriptomes of the ovarian bacteriomes through young adult development, from one-day-old adults to sexually mature ones. In contrast with midgut bacteriomes, immune effectors are downregulated in ovarian bacteriomes at the onset of sexual maturation. We hypothesize that relaxation of endosymbiont control by antimicrobial peptides might allow bacterial migration and potential oocyte infection, ensuring endosymbiont transmission.

RevDate: 2023-04-10

Michalik A, Franco DC, Deng J, et al (2023)

Variable organization of symbiont-containing tissue across planthoppers hosting different heritable endosymbionts.

Frontiers in physiology, 14:1135346.

Sap-feeding hemipteran insects live in associations with diverse heritable symbiotic microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) that provide essential nutrients deficient in their hosts' diets. These symbionts typically reside in highly specialized organs called bacteriomes (with bacterial symbionts) or mycetomes (with fungal symbionts). The organization of these organs varies between insect clades that are ancestrally associated with different microbes. As these symbioses evolve and additional microorganisms complement or replace the ancient associates, the organization of the symbiont-containing tissue becomes even more variable. Planthoppers (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha) are ancestrally associated with bacterial symbionts Sulcia and Vidania, but in many of the planthopper lineages, these symbionts are now accompanied or have been replaced by other heritable bacteria (e.g., Sodalis, Arsenophonus, Purcelliella) or fungi. We know the identity of many of these microbes, but the symbiont distribution within the host tissues and the bacteriome organization have not been systematically studied using modern microscopy techniques. Here, we combine light, fluorescence, and transmission electron microscopy with phylogenomic data to compare symbiont tissue distributions and the bacteriome organization across planthoppers representing 15 families. We identify and describe seven primary types of symbiont localization and seven types of the organization of the bacteriome. We show that Sulcia and Vidania, when present, usually occupy distinct bacteriomes distributed within the body cavity. The more recently acquired gammaproteobacterial and fungal symbionts generally occupy separate groups of cells organized into distinct bacteriomes or mycetomes, distinct from those with Sulcia and Vidania. They can also be localized in the cytoplasm of fat body cells. Alphaproteobacterial symbionts colonize a wider range of host body habitats: Asaia-like symbionts often colonize the host gut lumen, whereas Wolbachia and Rickettsia are usually scattered across insect tissues and cell types, including cells containing other symbionts, bacteriome sheath, fat body cells, gut epithelium, as well as hemolymph. However, there are exceptions, including Gammaproteobacteria that share bacteriome with Vidania, or Alphaproteobacteria that colonize Sulcia cells. We discuss how planthopper symbiont localization correlates with their acquisition and replacement patterns and the symbionts' likely functions. We also discuss the evolutionary consequences, constraints, and significance of these findings.

RevDate: 2023-04-10

Gong W, S Zhang (2023)

YB1 participated in regulating mitochondrial activity through RNA replacement.

Frontiers in oncology, 13:1145379.

As a relic of ancient bacterial endosymbionts, mitochondria play a central role in cell metabolism, apoptosis, autophagy, and other processes. However, the function of mitochondria-derived nucleic acids in cellular signal transduction has not been fully elucidated. Here, our work has found that Y-box binding protein 1 (YB1) maintained cellular autophagy at a moderate level to inhibit mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. In addition, mitochondrial RNA was leaked into cytosol under starvation, accompanied by YB1 mitochondrial relocation, resulting in YB1-bound RNA replacement. The mRNAs encoded by oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS)-associated genes and oncogene HMGA1 (high-mobility group AT-hook 1) were competitively replaced by mitochondria-derived tRNAs. The increase of free OXPHOS mRNAs released from the YB1 complex enhanced mitochondrial activity through facilitating translation, but the stability of HMGA1 mRNA was impaired without the protection of YB1, both contributing to breast cancer cell apoptosis and reactive oxygen species production. Our finding not only provided a new potential target for breast cancer therapy but also shed new light on understanding the global landscape of cellular interactions between RNA-binding proteins and different RNA species.

RevDate: 2023-04-06

Arras SD, Sibaeva N, Catchpole RJ, et al (2023)

Characterisation of an Escherichia coli line that completely lacks ribonucleotide reduction yields insights into the evolution of parasitism and endosymbiosis.

eLife, 12: pii:83845 [Epub ahead of print].

All life requires ribonucleotide reduction for de novo synthesis of deoxyribonucleotides. A handful of obligate intracellular species are known to lack ribonucleotide reduction and are instead dependent on their host for deoxyribonucleotide synthesis. As ribonucleotide reduction has on occasion been lost in obligate intracellular parasites and endosymbionts, we reasoned that it should in principle be possible to knock this process out entirely under conditions where deoxyribonucleosides are present in the growth media. We report here the creation of a strain of E. coli where all three ribonucleotide reductase operons have been fully deleted following introduction of a broad spectrum deoxyribonucleoside kinase from Mycoplasma mycoides. Our strain is able to grow in the presence of deoxyribonucleosides and shows slowed but substantial growth. Under limiting deoxyribonucleoside levels, we observe a distinctive filamentous cell morphology, where cells grow but do not appear to divide regularly. Finally, we examined whether our lines are able to adapt to limited supplies of deoxyribonucleosides, as might occur in the evolutionary switch from de novo synthesis to dependence on host production during the evolution of parasitism or endosymbiosis. Over the course of an evolution experiment, we observe a 25-fold reduction in the minimum concentration of exogenous deoxyribonucleosides necessary for growth. Genome analysis of replicate lines reveals that several lines carry mutations in deoB and cdd. deoB codes for phosphopentomutase, a key part of the deoxyriboaldolase pathway, which has been hypothesised as an alternative to ribonucleotide reduction for deoxyribonucleotide synthesis. Rather than synthesis via this pathway complementing the loss of ribonucleotide reduction, our experiments reveal that mutations appear that reduce or eliminate the capacity for this pathway to catabolise deoxyribonucleotides, thus preventing their loss via central metabolism. Mutational inactivation of both deoB and cdd is also observed in a number of obligate intracellular bacteria that have lost ribonucleotide reduction. We conclude that our experiments recapitulate key evolutionary steps in the adaptation to intracellular life without ribonucleotide reduction.

RevDate: 2023-04-06

Rutagarama VP, Ireri PM, Sibomana C, et al (2023)

African Queens find mates when males are rare.

Ecology and evolution, 13(4):e9956.

In butterflies and moths, male-killing endosymbionts are transmitted from infected females via their eggs, and the male progeny then perish. This means that successful transmission of the parasite relies on the successful mating of the host. Paradoxically, at the population level, parasite transmission also reduces the number of adult males present in the final population for infected females to mate with. Here we investigate if successful female mating when males are rare is indeed a likely rate-limiting step in the transmission of male-killing Spiroplasma in the African Monarch, Danaus chrysippus. In Lepidoptera, successful pairings are hallmarked by the transfer of a sperm-containing spermatophore from the male to the female during copulation. Conveniently, this spermatophore remains detectable within the female upon dissection, and thus, spermatophore counts can be used to assess the frequency of successful mating in the field. We used such spermatophore counts to examine if altered sex ratios in the D. chrysippus do indeed affect female mating success. We examined two different field sites in East Africa where males were often rare. Surprisingly, mated females carried an average of 1.5 spermatophores each, regardless of male frequency, and importantly, only 10-20% remained unmated. This suggests that infected females will still be able to mate in the face of either Spiroplasma-mediated male killing and/or fluctuations in adult sex ratio over the wet-dry season cycle. These observations may begin to explain how the male-killing mollicute can still be successfully transmitted in a population where males are rare.

RevDate: 2023-04-04

Junghare M, Manavalan T, Fredriksen L, et al (2023)

Biochemical and structural characterisation of a family GH5 cellulase from endosymbiont of shipworm P. megotara.

Biotechnology for biofuels and bioproducts, 16(1):61.

BACKGROUND: Cellulases play a key role in the enzymatic conversion of plant cell-wall polysaccharides into simple and economically relevant sugars. Thus, the discovery of novel cellulases from exotic biological niches is of great interest as they may present properties that are valuable in the biorefining of lignocellulosic biomass.

RESULTS: We have characterized a glycoside hydrolase 5 (GH5) domain of a bi-catalytic GH5-GH6 multi-domain enzyme from the unusual gill endosymbiont Teredinibacter waterburyi of the wood-digesting shipworm Psiloteredo megotara. The catalytic GH5 domain, was cloned and recombinantly produced with or without a C-terminal family 10 carbohydrate-binding module (CBM). Both variants showed hydrolytic endo-activity on soluble substrates such as β-glucan, carboxymethylcellulose and konjac glucomannan, respectively. However, low activity was observed towards the crystalline form of cellulose. Interestingly, when co-incubated with a cellulose-active LPMO, a clear synergy was observed that boosted the overall hydrolysis of crystalline cellulose. The crystal structure of the GH5 catalytic domain was solved to 1.0 Å resolution and revealed a substrate binding cleft extension containing a putative + 3 subsite, which is uncommon in this enzyme family. The enzyme was active in a wide range of pH, temperatures and showed high tolerance for NaCl.

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides significant knowledge in the discovery of new enzymes from shipworm gill endosymbionts and sheds new light on biochemical and structural characterization of cellulolytic cellulase. Study demonstrated a boost in the hydrolytic activity of cellulase on crystalline cellulose when co-incubated with cellulose-active LPMO. These findings will be relevant for the development of future enzyme cocktails that may be useful for the biotechnological conversion of lignocellulose.

RevDate: 2023-04-04

Nielsen DA, K Petrou (2023)

Lipid stores reveal the state of the coral-algae symbiosis at the single-cell level.

ISME communications, 3(1):29.

Coral reefs worldwide are threatened by environmental stress. The observable decline in coral cover, is principally due to the intensifying breakdown of the coral symbiosis, a process known as 'bleaching'. Overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is considered a key driver of coral bleaching, where environmental stress leads to increased ROS expression. To explore the link between ROS damage and symbiont status, we measured lipid peroxidation (LPO), a ubiquitous form of ROS damage, in the lipid stores of individual endo- and ex-symbiotic algal cells of three coral species, using confocal microscopy and a lipid hydroperoxide sensitive fluorescent dye. We found LPO was higher in endosymbionts, while lipid volume was greater in ex-symbiotic cells. Cluster analysis revealed three metabolic profiles differentiating endosymbiotic (#1: high LPO, low lipid) and ex-symbiotic cells (#3: low LPO, high lipid), with the intermediate group (#2) containing both cell types. Heat stress caused endosymbionts of Pocillopora acuta to shift away from cluster #1, suggesting this cluster represents cells in healthy/stable symbiosis. Our study delivers a new means to assess the coral symbiosis, demonstrating that symbiont LPO ratio combined with lipid store volume is a robust metabolic marker for the state of the symbiosis at the cellular level.

RevDate: 2023-04-03

Argandona JA, Kim D, AK Hansen (2023)

Comparative transcriptomics of aphid species that diverged > 22 MYA reveals genes that are important for the maintenance of their symbiosis.

Scientific reports, 13(1):5341.

Most plant-sap feeding insects have obligate relationships with maternally transmitted bacteria. Aphids require their nutritional endosymbiont, Buchnera aphidicola, for the production of essential amino acids. Such endosymbionts are harbored inside of specialized insect cells called bacteriocytes. Here, we use comparative transcriptomics of bacteriocytes between two recently diverged aphid species, Myzus persicae and Acyrthosiphon pisum, to identify key genes that are important for the maintenance of their nutritional mutualism. The majority of genes with conserved expression profiles in M. persicae and A. pisum are for orthologs previously identified in A. pisum to be important for the symbiosis. However, asparaginase which produces aspartate from asparagine was significantly up-regulated only in A. pisum bacteriocytes, potentially because Buchnera of M. persicae encodes its own asparaginase enzyme unlike Buchnera of A. pisum resulting in Buchnera of A. pisum to be dependent on its aphid host for aspartate. One-to-one orthologs that explained the most amount of variation for bacteriocyte specific mRNA expression for both species includes a collaborative gene for methionine biosynthesis, multiple transporters, a horizontally transmitted gene, and secreted proteins. Finally, we highlight species-specific gene clusters which may contribute to host adaptations and/or accommodations in gene regulation to changes in the symbiont or the symbiosis.

RevDate: 2023-03-31

Romano DMM, Pereira TN, Almeida IB, et al (2023)

First molecular evidence of Wolbachia occurrence in Amblyomma sculptum (Acari: Ixodidae).

Veterinary parasitology, 317:109907 pii:S0304-4017(23)00038-9 [Epub ahead of print].

As the main vector for the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii in Brazil, the tick Amblyomma sculptum is a parasite of great public health importance in this country. Wolbachia is an endosymbiont bacterium highly widespread among invertebrates and because of its impact on its hosts' biology, form a powerful alternative for pests and disease control. The aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence of this bacterium in A. sculptum. For this, 187 adult ticks collected in two municipalities in the interior of the state of São Paulo, Brazil, were analyzed using molecular techniques and bioinformatics tools. A total of 15 ticks were positive for the presence of Wolbachia. Phylogenetic analysis on the 16S rRNA gene indicated that the Wolbachia DNA sequences obtained in this investigation belonged to different clades, probably in supergroups B and F. This was the first study to report the occurrence of Wolbachia in A. sculptum and it enriches knowledge about the susceptibility of ticks to this bacterium. Now that we know that Wolbachia can be found in A. sculptum, the objective for a next study must be to investigate Wolbachia's possible origin in this tick.

RevDate: 2023-03-31

Newman LE, GS Shadel (2023)

Mitochondrial DNA Release in Innate Immune Signaling.

Annual review of biochemistry [Epub ahead of print].

According to the endosymbiotic theory, most of the DNA of the original bacterial endosymbiont has been lost or transferred to the nucleus, leaving a much smaller (∼16 kb in mammals), circular molecule that is the present-day mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The ability of mtDNA to escape mitochondria and integrate into the nuclear genome was discovered in budding yeast, along with genes that regulate this process. Mitochondria have emerged as key regulators of innate immunity, and it is now recognized that mtDNA released into the cytoplasm, outside of the cell, or into circulation activates multiple innate immune signaling pathways. Here, we first review the mechanisms through which mtDNA is released into the cytoplasm, including several inducible mitochondrial pores and defective mitophagy or autophagy. Next, we cover how the different forms of released mtDNA activate specific innate immune nucleic acid sensors and inflammasomes. Finally, we discuss how intracellular and extracellular mtDNA release, including circulating cell-free mtDNA that promotes systemic inflammation, are implicated in human diseases, bacterial and viral infections, and senescence and aging. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Biochemistry, Volume 92 is June 2023. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.

RevDate: 2023-03-30

Beckmann J, Gillespie J, D Tauritz (2023)

Modelling Emergence of Wolbachia Toxin-Antidote Protein Functions with an Evolutionary Algorithm.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2023.03.23.533954.

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

RevDate: 2023-03-29

Weisse T, Scheffel U, P Stadler (2023)

Temperature-dependent resistance to starvation of three contrasting freshwater ciliates.

European journal of protistology, 88:125973 pii:S0932-4739(23)00018-4 [Epub ahead of print].

We investigated the temperature-dependent response to starvation of three contrasting freshwater ciliates (Ciliophora). The cyst-forming algivorous species Meseres corlissi and the bactivorous species Glaucomides bromelicola, which cannot form cysts, co-occur in the reservoirs (tanks) of tree bromeliads. The mixotrophic species Coleps spetai is common in many lakes. We hypothesized that the ciliates' different traits and life strategies would affect their survival rates and temperature sensitivity under food depleted conditions. We measured the decline of the ciliate populations in microcosm experiments at different temperatures for several days. We used an imaging flow cytometer to size the ciliates and documented their morphological and physiological changes in response to starvation. We found that the cyst-forming species had the highest mortality rates but may endure long-term starvation by encystment. The sympatric, non-encysting species suffered the lowest mortality rates and could survive for more than three weeks without food. The mixotrophic species had intermediate mortality rates but showed the highest phenotypic plasticity in response to starvation. A significant fraction of the C. spetai population appeared unaffected by starvation, suggesting that the endosymbionts provided some resources to the host cells. The mean mortality rate per day of all three species increased with temperature by 0.09 °C[-1].

RevDate: 2023-03-29

Moore C, Lashnits E, Neupane P, et al (2023)

Feeding on a Bartonella henselae Infected Host Triggers Temporary Changes in the Ctenocephalides felis Microbiome.

Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland), 12(3): pii:pathogens12030366.

The effect of Bartonella henselae on the microbiome of its vector, Ctenocephalides felis (the cat flea) is largely unknown, as the majority of C. felis microbiome studies have utilized wild-caught pooled fleas. We surveyed the microbiome of laboratory-origin C. felis fed on B. henselae-infected cats for 24 h or 9 days to identify changes to microbiome diversity and microbe prevalence compared to unfed fleas, and fleas fed on uninfected cats. Utilizing Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) on the Illumina platform, we documented an increase in microbial diversity in C. felis fed on Bartonella-infected cats for 24 h. These changes returned to baseline (unfed fleas or fleas fed on uninfected cats) after 9 days on the host. Increased diversity in the C. felis microbiome when fed on B. henselae-infected cats may be related to the mammalian, flea, or endosymbiont response. Poor B. henselae acquisition was documented with only one of four infected flea pools having B. henselae detected by NGS. We hypothesize this is due to the use of adult fleas, flea genetic variation, or lack of co-feeding with B. henselae-infected fleas. Future studies are necessary to fully characterize the effect of endosymbionts and C. felis diversity on B. henselae acquisition.

RevDate: 2023-03-29

Huynh LN, Diarra AZ, Pham QL, et al (2023)

Identification of Vietnamese Flea Species and Their Associated Microorganisms Using Morphological, Molecular, and Protein Profiling.

Microorganisms, 11(3): pii:microorganisms11030716.

Fleas are obligatory blood-sucking ectoparasites of medical and veterinary importance. The identification of fleas and associated flea-borne microorganisms, therefore, plays an important role in controlling and managing these vectors. Recently, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) has been reported as an innovative and effective approach to the identification of arthropods, including fleas. This study aims to use this technology to identify ethanol-preserved fleas collected in Vietnam and to use molecular biology to search for microorganisms associated with these fleas. A total of 502 fleas were collected from wild and domestic animals in four provinces in Vietnam. Morphological identification led to the recognition of five flea species, namely Xenopsylla cheopis, Xenopsylla astia, Pulex irritans, Ctenocephalides canis, and Ctenocephalides felis. The cephalothoraxes of 300 individual, randomly selected fleas were tested using MALDI-TOF MS and molecular analysis for the identification and detection of microorganisms. A total of 257/300 (85.7%) of the obtained spectra from the cephalothoraxes of each species were of good enough quality to be used for our analyses. Our laboratory MALDI-TOF MS reference database was upgraded with spectra achieved from five randomly selected fleas for every species of Ctenocephalides canis and Ctenocephalides felis. The remaining spectra were then queried against the upgraded MALDI-TOF MS database, which showed 100% correspondence between morphology and MALDI-TOF MS identification for two flea species (Ctenocephalides canis and Ctenocephalides felis). The MS spectra of the remaining species (three P. irritans, five X. astia, and two X. cheopis) were visually generated low-intensity MS profiles with high background noise that could not be used to update our database. Bartonella and Wolbachia spp. were detected in 300 fleas from Vietnam using PCR and sequencing with primers derived from the gltA gene for Bartonella and the 16S rRNA gene for Wolbachia, including 3 Bartonella clarridgeiae (1%), 3 Bartonella rochalimae (1%), 1 Bartonella coopersplainsensis (0.3%), and 174 Wolbachia spp. endosymbionts (58%).

RevDate: 2023-03-29

Cossu CA, Collins NE, Oosthuizen MC, et al (2023)

Distribution and Prevalence of Anaplasmataceae, Rickettsiaceae and Coxiellaceae in African Ticks: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Microorganisms, 11(3): pii:microorganisms11030714.

In Africa, ticks continue to be a major hindrance to the improvement of the livestock industry due to tick-borne pathogens that include Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Rickettsia and Coxiella species. A systemic review and meta-analysis were conducted here and highlighted the distribution and prevalence of these tick-borne pathogens in African ticks. Relevant publications were searched in five electronic databases and selected using inclusion/exclusion criteria, resulting in 138 and 78 papers included in the qualitative and quantitative analysis, respectively. Most of the studies focused on Rickettsia africae (38 studies), followed by Ehrlichia ruminantium (27 studies), Coxiella burnetii (20 studies) and Anaplasma marginale (17 studies). A meta-analysis of proportions was performed using the random-effects model. The highest prevalence was obtained for Rickettsia spp. (18.39%; 95% CI: 14.23-22.85%), R. africae (13.47%; 95% CI: 2.76-28.69%), R. conorii (11.28%; 95% CI: 1.77-25.89%), A. marginale (12.75%; 95% CI: 4.06-24.35%), E. ruminantium (6.37%; 95% CI: 3.97-9.16%) and E. canis (4.3%; 95% CI: 0.04-12.66%). The prevalence of C. burnetii was low (0%; 95% CI: 0-0.25%), with higher prevalence for Coxiella spp. (27.02%; 95% CI: 10.83-46.03%) and Coxiella-like endosymbionts (70.47%; 95% CI: 27-99.82%). The effect of the tick genera, tick species, country and other variables were identified and highlighted the epidemiology of Rhipicephalus ticks in the heartwater; affinity of each Rickettsia species for different tick genera; dominant distribution of A. marginale, R. africae and Coxiella-like endosymbionts in ticks and a low distribution of C. burnetii in African hard ticks.

RevDate: 2023-03-29

Djondji Kamga FM, Mugenzi LMJ, Tchouakui M, et al (2023)

Contrasting Patterns of Asaia Association with Pyrethroid Resistance Escalation between the Malaria Vectors Anopheles funestus and Anopheles gambiae.

Microorganisms, 11(3): pii:microorganisms11030644.

Microbiome composition has been associated with insecticide resistance in malaria vectors. However, the contribution of major symbionts to the increasingly reported resistance escalation remains unclear. This study explores the possible association of a specific endosymbiont, Asaia spp., with elevated levels of pyrethroid resistance driven by cytochrome P450s enzymes and voltage-gated sodium channel mutations in Anopheles funestus and Anopheles gambiae. Molecular assays were used to detect the symbiont and resistance markers (CYP6P9a/b, 6.5 kb, L1014F, and N1575Y). Overall, genotyping of key mutations revealed an association with the resistance phenotype. The prevalence of Asaia spp. in the FUMOZ_X_FANG strain was associated with the resistance phenotype at a 5X dose of deltamethrin (OR = 25.7; p = 0.002). Mosquitoes with the resistant allele for the markers tested were significantly more infected with Asaia compared to those possessing the susceptible allele. Furthermore, the abundance correlated with the resistance phenotype at 1X concentration of deltamethrin (p = 0.02, Mann-Whitney test). However, for the MANGOUM_X_KISUMU strain, findings rather revealed an association between Asaia load and the susceptible phenotype (p = 0.04, Mann-Whitney test), demonstrating a negative link between the symbiont and permethrin resistance. These bacteria should be further investigated to establish its interactions with other resistance mechanisms and cross-resistance with other insecticide classes.

RevDate: 2023-03-29

Stączek S, Cytryńska M, A Zdybicka-Barabas (2023)

Unraveling the Role of Antimicrobial Peptides in Insects.

International journal of molecular sciences, 24(6): pii:ijms24065753.

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are short, mainly positively charged, amphipathic molecules. AMPs are important effectors of the immune response in insects with a broad spectrum of antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic activity. In addition to these well-known roles, AMPs exhibit many other, often unobvious, functions in the host. They support insects in the elimination of viral infections. AMPs participate in the regulation of brain-controlled processes, e.g., sleep and non-associative learning. By influencing neuronal health, communication, and activity, they can affect the functioning of the insect nervous system. Expansion of the AMP repertoire and loss of their specificity is connected with the aging process and lifespan of insects. Moreover, AMPs take part in maintaining gut homeostasis, regulating the number of endosymbionts as well as reducing the number of foreign microbiota. In turn, the presence of AMPs in insect venom prevents the spread of infection in social insects, where the prey may be a source of pathogens.

RevDate: 2023-03-28

Li H, Jiang Z, Zhou J, et al (2023)

Ecological Factors Associated with the Distribution of Bemisia tabaci Cryptic Species and Their Facultative Endosymbionts.

Insects, 14(3): pii:insects14030252.

The sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci species complex, comprises at least 44 morphologically indistinguishable cryptic species, whose endosymbiont infection patterns often varied at the spatial and temporal dimension. However, the effects of ecological factors (e.g., climatic or geographical factors) on the distribution of whitefly and the infection frequencies of their endosymbionts have not been fully elucidated. We, here, analyzed the associations between ecological factors and the distribution of whitefly and their three facultative endosymbionts (Candidatus Cardinium hertigii, Candidatus Hamiltonella defensa, and Rickettsia sp.) by screening 665 individuals collected from 29 geographical localities across China. The study identified eight B. tabaci species via mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (mtCOI) gene sequence alignment: two invasive species, MED (66.9%) and MEAM1 (12.2%), and six native cryptic species (20.9%), which differed in distribution patterns, ecological niches, and high suitability areas. The infection frequencies of the three endosymbionts in different cryptic species were distinct and multiple infections were relatively common in B. tabaci MED populations. Furthermore, the annual mean temperature positively affected Cardinium sp. and Rickettsia sp. infection frequencies in B. tabaci MED but negatively affected the quantitative distribution of B. tabaci MED, which indicates that Cardinium sp. and Rickettsia sp. maybe play a crucial role in the thermotolerance of B. tabaci MED, although the host whitefly per se exhibits no resistance to high temperature. Our findings revealed the complex effects of ecological factors on the expansion of the invasive whitefly.

RevDate: 2023-03-25

Speijer D (2023)

How mitochondria showcase evolutionary mechanisms and the importance of oxygen.

BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology [Epub ahead of print].

Darwinian evolution can be simply stated: natural selection of inherited variations increasing differential reproduction. However, formulated thus, links with biochemistry, cell biology, ecology, and population dynamics remain unclear. To understand interactive contributions of chance and selection, higher levels of biological organization (e.g., endosymbiosis), complexities of competing selection forces, and emerging biological novelties (such as eukaryotes or meiotic sex), we must analyze actual examples. Focusing on mitochondria, I will illuminate how biology makes sense of life's evolution, and the concepts involved. First, looking at the bacterium - mitochondrion transition: merging with an archaeon, it lost its independence, but played a decisive role in eukaryogenesis, as an extremely efficient aerobic ATP generator and internal ROS source. Second, surveying later mitochondrion adaptations and diversifications illustrates concepts such as constructive neutral evolution, dynamic interactions between endosymbionts and hosts, the contingency of life histories, and metabolic reprogramming. Without oxygen, mitochondria disappear; with (intermittent) oxygen diversification occurs in highly complex ways, especially upon (temporary) phototrophic substrate supply. These expositions show the Darwinian model to be a highly fruitful paradigm.

RevDate: 2023-03-23

Verhulst EC, Pannebakker BA, E Geuverink (2023)

Variation in sex determination mechanisms may constrain parthenogenesis-induction by endosymbionts in haplodiploid systems.

Current opinion in insect science pii:S2214-5745(23)00020-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Endosymbionts are maternally transmitted, and therefore benefit from maximizing female offspring numbers. Parthenogenesis-induction (PI) is the most effective type of manipulation for transmission, but has solely been detected in haplodiploid species, whereas cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) is detected frequently across the arthropod phylum, including haplodiploids. This puzzling observation led us to hypothesize that the molecular sex-determination mechanism of the haplodiploid host may be a constraining factor in the ability of endosymbionts to induce parthenogenesis. Recent insights indicate that PI-endosymbionts may be able to directly manipulate sex-determination genes to induce the necessary steps required for PI in haplodiploids. However, sex-determination cascades vary extensively, so PI-induction would require a specialized and host-dependent tool set. Contrastingly, CI-related genes target conserved cell-cycle mechanisms, are located on mobile elements, and spread easily. Finally, endosymbiont-manipulations may have a strong impact on the effectiveness of haplodiploid biocontrol agents, but can also be used to enhance their efficacy.

RevDate: 2023-03-23

Moore C, Breitschwerdt EB, Kim L, et al (2023)

The association of host and vector characteristics with Ctenocephalides felis pathogen and endosymbiont infection.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1137059.

Surveillance of the fleas and flea-borne pathogens infecting cats is important for both human and animal health. Multiple zoonotic Bartonella and Rickettsia species are known to infect the most common flea infesting cats and dogs worldwide: Ctenocephalides felis, the cat flea. The ability of other flea species to transmit pathogens is relatively unexplored. We aimed to determine cat host and flea factors independently associated with flea Bartonella and Rickettsia infection. We also assessed flea and cat infection by flea-host pair and location. To accomplish these aims, we performed qPCR for the detection of Bartonella, hemotropic Mycoplasma, Rickettsia, and Wolbachia DNA using paired cat and flea samples obtained from free-roaming cats presenting for spay or neuter across four locations in the United States. A logistic regression model was employed to identify the effect of cat (sex, body weight, geographic location, and Bartonella, hemotropic Mycoplasma, and Rickettsia spp., infection) and flea (clade and Rickettsia and Wolbachia infection) factors on C. felis Bartonella clarridgeiae infection. From 189 free roaming cats, we collected 84 fleas: Ctenocephalides felis (78/84), Cediopsylla simplex (4/84), Orchopeas howardi (1/84), and Nosopsyllus fasciatus (1/84). Ctenocephalides felis were phylogenetically assigned to Clades 1, 4, and 6 by cox1 gene amplification. Rickettsia asembonensis (52/84) and B. clarridgeiae (16/84) were the most common pathogenic bacteria detected in fleas. Our model identified host cat sex and weight as independently associated with B. clarridgeiae infection in fleas. Rickettsia asembonensis (52/84), Rickettsia felis (7/84) and Bartonella henselae (7/84) were detected in specific clades: R. felis was detected only in Clades 1 and 6 while B. henselae and R. asembonensis were detected only in Clade 4. Wolbachia spp., also displayed clade specificity with strains other than Wolbachia wCfeT only infecting fleas from Clade 6. There was poor flea and host agreement for Bartonella spp., infection; however, there was agreement in the Bartonella species detected in cats and fleas by geographic location. These findings reinforce the importance of considering reservoir host attributes and vector phylogenetic diversity in epidemiological studies of flea-borne pathogens. Widespread sampling is necessary to identify the factors driving flea-borne pathogen presence and transmission.

RevDate: 2023-03-23

Ou D, Qiu JH, Su ZQ, et al (2023)

The phylogeny and distribution of Wolbachia in two pathogen vector insects, Asian citrus psyllid and Longan psyllid.

Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 13:1121186.

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia is the most abundant bacterial endosymbiont among insects. It can play a prominent role in the development, reproduction and immunity of its given insect host. To date, Wolbachia presence is well studied within aphids, whiteflies and planthoppers, but relatively few studies have investigated its presence in psyllids.

METHODS: Here, the infection status of Wolbachia in five species of psyllid, including Asian citrus psyllid Diaphorina citri and longan psyllid Cornegenapsylla sinica was investigated. The phylogenetic relationships of different Wolbachia lines and their infection density and patterns in D. citri and C. sinica from different countries was also examined.

RESULTS: The infection rates of Wolbachia in D. citri and C. sinica were both 100%, and their sequencing types are ST173 and ST532 respectively. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the Wolbachia lines in D. citri and C. sinica both belong to the Con subgroup of Wolbachia supergroup B. In addition, Wolbachia displayed a scattered localization pattern in the 5th instar nymphs and in the reproductive organs of both D. citri and C. sinica but differed in other tissues; it was highest in the midgut, lowest in the salivary glands and medium in both the testes and ovaries.

CONCLUSION: Our findings assist in further understanding the coevolution of Wolbachia and its psyllid hosts. Given that Wolbachia could play an important role in insect pest control and pathogen transmission inhibition, our findings may also provide new insights for development of control strategies for D. citri and C. sinica.

RevDate: 2023-03-22

Richardson KM, Ross PA, Cooper BS, et al (2023)

A male-killing Wolbachia endosymbiont is concealed by another endosymbiont and a nuclear suppressor.

PLoS biology, 21(3):e3001879 pii:PBIOLOGY-D-22-02180 [Epub ahead of print].

Bacteria that live inside the cells of insect hosts (endosymbionts) can alter the reproduction of their hosts, including the killing of male offspring (male killing, MK). MK has only been described in a few insects, but this may reflect challenges in detecting MK rather than its rarity. Here, we identify MK Wolbachia at a low frequency (around 4%) in natural populations of Drosophila pseudotakahashii. MK Wolbachia had a stable density and maternal transmission during laboratory culture, but the MK phenotype which manifested mainly at the larval stage was lost rapidly. MK Wolbachia occurred alongside a second Wolbachia strain expressing a different reproductive manipulation, cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). A genomic analysis highlighted Wolbachia regions diverged between the 2 strains involving 17 genes, and homologs of the wmk and cif genes implicated in MK and CI were identified in the Wolbachia assembly. Doubly infected males induced CI with uninfected females but not females singly infected with CI-causing Wolbachia. A rapidly spreading dominant nuclear suppressor genetic element affecting MK was identified through backcrossing and subsequent analysis with ddRAD SNPs of the D. pseudotakahashii genome. These findings highlight the complexity of nuclear and microbial components affecting MK endosymbiont detection and dynamics in populations and the challenges of making connections between endosymbionts and the host phenotypes affected by them.

RevDate: 2023-03-20

Macher JN, Coots NL, Poh YP, et al (2023)

Single-Cell Genomics Reveals the Divergent Mitochondrial Genomes of Retaria (Foraminifera and Radiolaria).

mBio [Epub ahead of print].

Mitochondria originated from an ancient bacterial endosymbiont that underwent reductive evolution by gene loss and endosymbiont gene transfer to the nuclear genome. The diversity of mitochondrial genomes published to date has revealed that gene loss and transfer processes are ongoing in many lineages. Most well-studied eukaryotic lineages are represented in mitochondrial genome databases, except for the superphylum Retaria-the lineage comprising Foraminifera and Radiolaria. Using single-cell approaches, we determined two complete mitochondrial genomes of Foraminifera and two nearly complete mitochondrial genomes of radiolarians. We report the complete coding content of an additional 14 foram species. We show that foraminiferan and radiolarian mitochondrial genomes contain a nearly fully overlapping but reduced mitochondrial gene complement compared to other sequenced rhizarians. In contrast to animals and fungi, many protists encode a diverse set of proteins on their mitochondrial genomes, including several ribosomal genes; however, some aerobic eukaryotic lineages (euglenids, myzozoans, and chlamydomonas-like algae) have reduced mitochondrial gene content and lack all ribosomal genes. Similar to these reduced outliers, we show that retarian mitochondrial genomes lack ribosomal protein and tRNA genes, contain truncated and divergent small and large rRNA genes, and contain only 14 or 15 protein-coding genes, including nad1, -3, -4, -4L, -5, and -7, cob, cox1, -2, and -3, and atp1, -6, and -9, with forams and radiolarians additionally carrying nad2 and nad6, respectively. In radiolarian mitogenomes, a noncanonical genetic code was identified in which all three stop codons encode amino acids. Collectively, these results add to our understanding of mitochondrial genome evolution and fill in one of the last major gaps in mitochondrial sequence databases. IMPORTANCE We present the reduced mitochondrial genomes of Retaria, the rhizarian lineage comprising the phyla Foraminifera and Radiolaria. By applying single-cell genomic approaches, we found that foraminiferan and radiolarian mitochondrial genomes contain an overlapping but reduced mitochondrial gene complement compared to other sequenced rhizarians. An alternative genetic code was identified in radiolarian mitogenomes in which all three stop codons encode amino acids. Collectively, these results shed light on the divergent nature of the mitochondrial genomes from an ecologically important group, warranting further questions into the biological underpinnings of gene content variability and genetic code variation between mitochondrial genomes.

RevDate: 2023-03-20

Xiong Q, Fung CS, Xiao X, et al (2023)

Endogenous Plasmids and Chromosomal Genome Reduction in the Cardinium Endosymbiont of Dermatophagoides farinae.

mSphere [Epub ahead of print].

Cardinium bacteria are well known as endosymbionts that infect a wide range of arthropods and can manipulate host reproduction to promote their vertical transmission. As intracellular bacteria, Cardinium species undergo dramatic genome evolution, especially their chromosomal genome reduction. Although Cardinium plasmids have been reported to harbor important genes, the role of these plasmids in the genome evolution is yet to be fully understood. In this study, 2 genomes of Cardinium endosymbiont bacteria in astigmatic mites were de novo assembled, including the complete circular chromosomal genome of Cardinium sp. DF that was constructed in high quality using high-coverage long-read sequencing data. Intriguingly, 2 circular plasmids were assembled in Cardinium sp. DF and were identified to be endogenous for over 10 homologous genes shared with the chromosomal genome. Comparative genomics analysis illustrated an outline of the genome evolution of Cardinium bacteria, and the in-depth analysis of Cardinium sp. DF shed light on the multiple roles of endogenous plasmids in the molecular process of the chromosomal genome reduction. The endogenous plasmids of Cardinium sp. DF not only harbor massive homologous sequences that enable homologous recombination with the chromosome, but also can provide necessary functional proteins when the coding genes decayed in the chromosomal genome. IMPORTANCE As bacterial endosymbionts, Cardinium typically undergoes genome reduction, but the molecular process is still unclear, such as how plasmids get involved in chromosome reduction. Here, we de novo assembled 2 genomes of Cardinium in astigmatic mites, especially the chromosome of Cardinium sp. DF was assembled in a complete circular DNA using high-coverage long-read sequencing data. In the genome assembly of Cardinium sp. DF, 2 circular endogenous plasmids were identified to share at least 10 homologous genes with the chromosomal genome. In the comparative analysis, we identified a range of genes decayed in the chromosomal genome of Cardinium sp. DF but preserved in the 2 plasmids. Taken together with in-depth analyses, our results unveil that the endogenous plasmids harbor homologous sequences of chromosomal genome and can provide a structural basis of homologous recombination. Overall, this study reveals that endogenous plasmids participate in the ongoing chromosomal genome reduction of Cardinium sp. DF.

RevDate: 2023-03-19

Allman MJ, Lin YH, Joubert DA, et al (2023)

Enhancing the scalability of Wolbachia-based vector-borne disease management: time and temperature limits for storage and transport of Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti eggs for field releases.

Parasites & vectors, 16(1):108.

BACKGROUND: Introgression of the bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia into Aedes aegypti populations is a biocontrol approach being used to reduce arbovirus transmission. This requires mass release of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes. While releases have been conducted using a variety of techniques, egg releases, using water-soluble capsules containing mosquito eggs and larval food, offer an attractive method due to its potential to reduce onsite resource requirements. However, optimisation of this approach is required to ensure there is no detrimental impact on mosquito fitness and to promote successful Wolbachia introgression.

METHODS: We determined the impact of storage time and temperature on wild-type (WT) and Wolbachia-infected (wMel or wAlbB strains) Ae. aegypti eggs. Eggs were stored inside capsules over 8 weeks at 18 °C or 22 °C and hatch rate, emergence rate and Wolbachia density were determined. We next examined egg quality and Wolbachia density after exposing eggs to 4-40 °C to determine how eggs may be impacted if exposed to extreme temperatures during shipment.

RESULTS: Encapsulating eggs for 8 weeks did not negatively impact egg viability or resulting adult emergence and Wolbachia density compared to controls. When eggs were exposed to temperatures within 4-36 °C for 48 h, their viability and resulting adult Wolbachia density were maintained; however, both were significantly reduced when exposed to 40 °C.

CONCLUSIONS: We describe the time and temperature limits for maintaining viability of Wolbachia-infected Ae. aegypti eggs when encapsulated or exposed to extreme temperatures. These findings could improve the efficiency of mass releases by providing transport and storage constraints to ensure only high-quality material is utilised during field releases.

RevDate: 2023-03-17

Eugénio AT, Marialva MSP, P Beldade (2023)

Effects of Wolbachia on transposable element expression vary between Drosophila melanogaster host genotypes.

Genome biology and evolution pii:7059559 [Epub ahead of print].

Transposable elements (TEs) are repetitive DNA sequences capable of changing position in host genomes, thereby causing mutations. TE insertions typically have deleterious effects but they can also be beneficial. Increasing evidence of the contribution of TEs to adaptive evolution further raises interest in understanding what factors impact TE activity. Based on previous studies associating the bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia to changes in the abundance of piRNAs, a mechanism for TE repression, and to transposition of specific TEs, we hypothesized that Wolbachia infection would interfere with TE activity. We tested this hypothesis by studying expression of 14 TEs in a panel of 25 Drosophila melanogaster host genotypes, naturally infected with Wolbachia and annotated for TE insertions. The host genotypes differed significantly in Wolbachia titers inside individual flies, with broad-sense heritability around 20%, and in the number of TE insertions, which depended greatly on TE identity. By removing Wolbachia from the target host genotypes, we generated a panel of 25 pairs of Wolbachia-positive and Wolbachia-negative lines in which we quantified transcription levels our target TEs. We found variation in TE expression that was dependent on Wolbachia status, TE identity, and host genotype. Comparing between pairs of Wolbachia-positive and Wolbachia-negative flies, we found that Wolbachia removal affected TE expression in 21.1% of the TE-genotype combinations tested, with up to 2.3 times differences in median level of transcript. Our data shows that Wolbachia can impact TE activity in host genomes, underscoring the importance this endosymbiont can have in the generation of genetic novelty in hosts.

RevDate: 2023-03-17

Terretaz K, Horard B, Weill M, et al (2023)

Functional analysis of Wolbachia Cid effectors unravels cooperative interactions to target host chromatin during replication.

PLoS pathogens, 19(3):e1011211 pii:PPATHOGENS-D-22-01532 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia are common bacteria among terrestrial arthropods. These endosymbionts transmitted through the female germline manipulate their host reproduction through several mechanisms whose most prevalent form called Cytoplasmic Incompatibility -CI- is a conditional sterility syndrome eventually favoring the infected progeny. Upon fertilization, the sperm derived from an infected male is only compatible with an egg harboring a compatible Wolbachia strain, this sperm leading otherwise to embryonic death. The Wolbachia Cif factors CidA and CidB responsible for CI and its neutralization function as a Toxin-Antitoxin system in the mosquito host Culex pipiens. However, the mechanism of CidB toxicity and its neutralization by the CidA antitoxin remain unexplored. Using transfected insect cell lines to perform a structure-function analysis of these effectors, we show that both CidA and CidB are chromatin interactors and CidA anchors CidB to the chromatin in a cell-cycle dependent-manner. In absence of CidA, the CidB toxin localizes to its own chromatin microenvironment and acts by preventing S-phase completion, independently of its deubiquitylase -DUB- domain. Experiments with transgenic Drosophila show that CidB DUB domain is required together with CidA during spermatogenesis to stabilize the CidA-CidB complex. Our study defines CidB functional regions and paves the way to elucidate the mechanism of its toxicity.

RevDate: 2023-03-13

Radousky YA, Hague MTJ, Fowler S, et al (2023)

Distinct Wolbachia localization patterns in oocytes of diverse host species reveal multiple strategies of maternal transmission.

Genetics pii:7076391 [Epub ahead of print].

A broad array of endosymbionts radiate through host populations via vertical transmission, yet much remains unknown concerning the cellular basis, diversity and routes underlying this transmission strategy. Here we address these issues, by examining the cellular distributions of Wolbachia strains that diverged up to 50 million years ago in the oocytes of 18 divergent Drosophila species. This analysis revealed three Wolbachia distribution patterns: 1) a tight clustering at the posterior pole plasm (the site of germline formation); 2) a concentration at the posterior pole plasm, but with a significant bacteria population distributed throughout the oocyte; 3) and a distribution throughout the oocyte, with none or very few located at the posterior pole plasm. Examination of this latter class indicates Wolbachia accesses the posterior pole plasm during the interval between late oogenesis and the blastoderm formation. We also find that one Wolbachia strain in this class concentrates in the posterior somatic follicle cells that encompass the pole plasm of the developing oocyte. In contrast, strains in which Wolbachia concentrate at the posterior pole plasm generally exhibit no or few Wolbachia in the follicle cells associated with the pole plasm. Taken together, these studies suggest that for some Drosophila species, Wolbachia invade the germline from neighboring somatic follicle cells. Phylogenomic analysis indicates that closely related Wolbachia strains tend to exhibit similar patterns of posterior localization, suggesting that specific localization strategies are a function of Wolbachia-associated factors. Previous studies revealed that endosymbionts rely on one of two distinct routes of vertical transmission: continuous maintenance in the germline (germline-to-germline) or a more circuitous route via the soma (germline-to-soma-to-germline). Here we provide compelling evidence that Wolbachia strains infecting Drosophila species maintain the diverse arrays of cellular mechanisms necessary for both of these distinct transmission routes. This characteristic may account for its ability to infect and spread globally through a vast range of host insect species.

RevDate: 2023-03-13

Murugesan RK, Balakrishnan R, Natesan S, et al (2022)

Identification of coral endosymbionts of Veedhalai and Mandapam coasts of Palk Bay, India using small subunit rDNA.

Bioinformation, 18(4):318-324.

Coral endosymbionts act as a bio-indicator of coral ecosystem under extreme environmental conditions. The health of the coral ecosystem depends on the endosymbiont cell density of the coral hosts. Therefore, it is of interest to analyze ten coral fragments found to be under the genera Acropora, Favites, Favia, and Porites collected at various locations from Veedhalai to Mandapam, southeast coast of India during January 2019 to March 2019. The zooxanthellae cell count ranged between 4.08 (Porites sp.9) and 13.75x105 cells cm2 -1 (Favites sp.3). This indicates the health of the corals in the region. The genus (clade) level identification of endosymbionts was detected using the host excluding primers of small subunit DNA (nssrDNA). Bidirectional sequencing of 18S nrDNA gene (SSU) of all ten coral fragments show that the Veedhalai corals is associated with the genus Durusdinium (Clade D) but the corals of Mandapam is associated with the genera, Cladocopium (Clade C) and Durusdinium (Clade D). It is known that the thermal stress has negative impact on coral reef ecosystem of the world. The dominance of the genus Durusdinium in the scleractinian corals of Palk Bay may be due to frequent exposure to thermal stress. This thermotolerant endosymbionts is opportunistic. Thus, the corals of Veedhalai and Mandapam coasts, Palk Bay, India are necessarily packed with thermotolerant endosymbionts enabling conservation.

RevDate: 2023-03-13

Verhoeve VI, Lehman SS, Driscoll TP, et al (2023)

Metagenome diversity illuminates origins of pathogen effectors.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2023.02.26.530123.

Recent metagenome assembled genome (MAG) analyses have profoundly impacted Rickettsiology systematics. Discovery of basal lineages (Mitibacteraceae and Athabascaceae) with predicted extracellular lifestyles reveals an evolutionary timepoint for the transition to host dependency, which occurred independent of mitochondrial evolution. Notably, these basal rickettsiae carry the Rickettsiales vir homolog (rvh) type IV secretion system (T4SS) and purportedly use rvh to kill congener microbes rather than parasitize host cells as described for derived rickettsial pathogens. MAG analysis also substantially increased diversity for genus Rickettsia and delineated a basal lineage (Tisiphia) that stands to inform on the rise 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 indicates unique rvh evolution from basal extracellular species and other rickettsial families. Remarkably, nearly every effector was found in multiple divergent forms with variable architectures, illuminating profound roles for gene duplication and recombination in shaping effector repertoires in Rickettsia pathogens. Lateral gene transfer plays a prominent role shaping the rvh effector landscape, as evinced by the discover 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 provide incredible insight on the origins of pathogen effectors and how their architectural modifications become tailored to eukaryotic host cell biology.

RevDate: 2023-03-12

Ruiz A, Gutiérrez-Bugallo G, Rodríguez-Roche R, et al (2023)

First report of natural Wolbachia infections in mosquitoes from Cuba.

Acta tropica pii:S0001-706X(23)00078-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Mosquitoes are extensively responsible for the transmission of pathogens. Novel strategies using Wolbachia could transform that scenario, since these bacteria manipulate mosquito reproduction, and can confer a pathogen transmission-blocking phenotype in culicids. Here, we screened the Wolbachia surface protein region by PCR in eight Cuban mosquito species. We confirmed the natural infections by sequencing and assessed the phylogenetic relationships among the Wolbachia strains detected. We identified four Wolbachia hosts: Aedes albopictus, Culex quinquefasciatus, Mansonia titillans, and Aedes mediovittatus (first report worldwide). Knowledge of Wolbachia strains and their natural hosts is essential for future operationalization of this vector control strategy in Cuba.

RevDate: 2023-03-10

Reich HG, Camp EF, Roger LM, et al (2023)

The trace metal economy of the coral holobiont: supplies, demands and exchanges.

Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 98(2):623-642.

The juxtaposition of highly productive coral reef ecosystems in oligotrophic waters has spurred substantial interest and progress in our understanding of macronutrient uptake, exchange, and recycling among coral holobiont partners (host coral, dinoflagellate endosymbiont, endolithic algae, fungi, viruses, bacterial communities). By contrast, the contribution of trace metals to the physiological performance of the coral holobiont and, in turn, the functional ecology of reef-building corals remains unclear. The coral holobiont's trace metal economy is a network of supply, demand, and exchanges upheld by cross-kingdom symbiotic partnerships. Each partner has unique trace metal requirements that are central to their biochemical functions and the metabolic stability of the holobiont. Organismal homeostasis and the exchanges among partners determine the ability of the coral holobiont to adjust to fluctuating trace metal supplies in heterogeneous reef environments. This review details the requirements for trace metals in core biological processes and describes how metal exchanges among holobiont partners are key to sustaining complex nutritional symbioses in oligotrophic environments. Specifically, we discuss how trace metals contribute to partner compatibility, ability to cope with stress, and thereby to organismal fitness and distribution. Beyond holobiont trace metal cycling, we outline how the dynamic nature of the availability of environmental trace metal supplies can be influenced by a variability of abiotic factors (e.g. temperature, light, pH, etc.). Climate change will have profound consequences on the availability of trace metals and further intensify the myriad stressors that influence coral survival. Lastly, we suggest future research directions necessary for understanding the impacts of trace metals on the coral holobiont symbioses spanning subcellular to organismal levels, which will inform nutrient cycling in coral ecosystems more broadly. Collectively, this cross-scale elucidation of the role of trace metals for the coral holobiont will allow us to improve forecasts of future coral reef function.

RevDate: 2023-03-10

McKnight KS, Gissi F, Adams MS, et al (2023)

The Effects of Nickel and Copper on Tropical Marine and Freshwater Microalgae Using Single and Multispecies Tests.

Environmental toxicology and chemistry [Epub ahead of print].

Microalgae are key components of aquatic food chains and are known to be sensitive to a range of contaminants. Much of the available data on metal toxicity to microalgae have been derived from temperate single-species tests with temperate data used to supplement tropical toxicity data sets to derive guideline values. In the present study, we used single-species and multispecies tests to investigate the toxicity of nickel and copper to tropical freshwater and marine microalgae, including the free-swimming stage of Symbiodinium sp., a worldwide coral endosymbiont. Based on the 10% effect concentration (EC10) for growth rate, copper was two to four times more toxic than nickel to all species tested. The temperate strain of Ceratoneis closterium was eight to 10 times more sensitive to nickel than the two tropical strains. Freshwater Monoraphidium arcuatum was less sensitive to copper and nickel in the multispecies tests compared with the single-species tests (EC10 values increasing from 0.45 to 1.4 µg Cu/L and from 62 to 330 µg Ni/L). The Symbiodinium sp. was sensitive to copper (EC10 of 3.1 µg Cu/L) and less sensitive to nickel (EC50 >1600 µg Ni/L). This is an important contribution of data on the chronic toxicity of nickel to Symbiodinium sp. A key result from the present study was that three microalgal species had EC10 values below the current copper water quality guideline value for 95% species protection in slightly to moderately disturbed systems in Australia and New Zealand, indicating that they may not be adequately protected by the current copper guideline value. By contrast, toxicity of nickel to microalgae is unlikely to occur at exposure concentrations typically found in fresh and marine waters. Environ Toxicol Chem 2023;00:1-13. © 2023 The Authors. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of SETAC.

RevDate: 2023-03-08

Zhu X, Liu T, He A, et al (2023)

Diversity of Wolbachia infection and its influence on mitochondrial DNA variation in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella.

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution pii:S1055-7903(23)00051-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Plutella xylostella is a pest that severely damages cruciferous vegetables worldwide and has been shown to be infected with the maternally inherited bacteria Wolbachia, with the main infected strain was plutWB1. In this study, we performed a large-scale global sampling of P. xylostella and amplified 3 mtDNA genes of P. xylostella and 6 Wolbachia genes to analyze the infection status, diversity of Wolbachia in P. xylostella, and its effect on mtDNA variation in P. xylostella. This study provides a conservative estimate of Wolbachia infection rates in P. xylostella, which was found to be 7% (104/1440). The ST 108 (plutWB1) was shared among butterfly species and the moth species P. xylostella, revealing that Wolbachia strain plutWB1 acquisition in P. xylostella may be through horizontal transmission. The Parafit analyses indicated a significant association between Wolbachia and Wolbachia-infected P. xylostella individuals, and individuals infected with plutWB1 tended to cluster in the basal positions of the phylogenetic tree based on the mtDNA data. Additionally, Wolbachia infections were associated with increased mtDNA polymorphism in the infected P. xylostella population. These data suggest that Wolbachia endosymbionts may have a potential effect on mtDNA variation of P. xylostella.

RevDate: 2023-03-07

Tholl D, Rebholz Z, Morozov AV, et al (2023)

Terpene synthases and pathways in animals: enzymology and structural evolution in the biosynthesis of volatile infochemicals.

Natural product reports [Epub ahead of print].

Covering: up to the beginning of 2023Many animals release volatile or semi-volatile terpenes as semiochemicals in intra- and inter-specific interactions. Terpenes are important constituents of pheromones and serve as chemical defenses to ward off predators. Despite the occurrence of terpene specialized metabolites from soft corals to mammals, the biosynthetic origin of these compounds has largely remained obscure. An increasing number of animal genome and transcriptome resources is facilitating the identification of enzymes and pathways that allow animals to produce terpenes independent of their food sources or microbial endosymbionts. Substantial evidence has emerged for the presence of terpene biosynthetic pathways such as in the formation of the iridoid sex pheromone nepetalactone in aphids. In addition, terpene synthase (TPS) enzymes have been discovered that are evolutionary unrelated to canonical plant and microbial TPSs and instead resemble precursor enzymes called isoprenyl diphosphate synthases (IDSs) in central terpene metabolism. Structural modifications of substrate binding motifs in canonical IDS proteins presumably facilitated the transition to TPS function at an early state in insect evolution. Other arthropods such as mites appear to have adopted their TPS genes from microbial sources via horizontal gene transfer. A similar scenario likely occurred in soft corals, where TPS families with closer resemblance to microbial TPSs have been discovered recently. Together, these findings will spur the identification of similar or still unknown enzymes in terpene biosynthesis in other lineages of animals. They will also help develop biotechnological applications for animal derived terpenes of pharmaceutical value or advance sustainable agricultural practices in pest management.

RevDate: 2023-03-04

Cooper WR, Walker WB, Angelella GM, et al (2023)

Bacterial Endosymbionts Identified From Leafhopper (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) Vectors of Phytoplasmas.

Environmental entomology pii:7069634 [Epub ahead of print].

Insects often harbor bacterial endosymbionts that provide them with nutritional benefit or with protection against natural enemies, plant defenses, insecticides, and abiotic stresses. Certain endosymbionts may also alter acquisition and transmission of plant pathogens by insect vectors. We identified bacterial endosymbionts from four leafhopper vectors (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) of 'Candidatus Phytoplasma' species by direct sequencing 16S rDNA and confirmed endosymbiont presence and identity by species-specific conventional PCR. We examined three vectors of Ca. Phytoplasma pruni, causal agent of cherry X-disease [Colladonus geminatus (Van Duzee), Colladonus montanus reductus (Van Duzee), Euscelidius variegatus (Kirschbaum)] - and a vector of Ca. Phytoplasma trifolii, the causal agent of potato purple top disease [Circulifer tenellus (Baker)]. Direct sequencing of 16S identified the two obligate endosymbionts of leafhoppers, 'Ca. Sulcia' and 'Ca. Nasuia', which are known to produce essential amino acids lacking in the leafhoppers' phloem sap diet. About 57% of C. geminatus also harbored endosymbiotic Rickettsia. We identified 'Ca. Yamatotoia cicadellidicola' in Euscelidius variegatus, providing just the second host record for this endosymbiont. Circulifer tenellus harbored the facultative endosymbiont Wolbachia, although the average infection rate was only 13% and all males were Wolbachia-uninfected. A significantly greater percentage of Wolbachia-infected Ci. tenellus adults than uninfected adults carried Ca. P. trifolii, suggesting that Wolbachia may increase this insect's ability to tolerate or acquire this pathogen. Results of our study provide a foundation for continued work on interactions between leafhoppers, bacterial endosymbionts, and phytoplasma.

RevDate: 2023-03-02

Gossett JM, Porter ML, Vasquez Y, et al (2023)

Genomic comparisons reveal selection pressure and functional variation between nutritional endosymbionts of cave-adapted and epigean Hawaiian planthoppers.

Genome biology and evolution pii:7067397 [Epub ahead of print].

Planthoppers in the family Cixiidae (Hempitera: Auchenorrhyncha: Fulgoromorpha) harbor a diverse set of obligate bacterial endosymbionts that provision essential amino acids and vitamins that are missing from their plant-sap diet. "Candidatus Sulcia muelleri", and "Ca. Vidania fulgoroidea" have been associated with cixiid planthoppers since their origin within the Auchenorrhyncha, while "Ca. Purcelliella pentastirinorum" is a more recent endosymbiotic acquisition. Hawaiian cixiid planthoppers occupy diverse habitats including lava tube caves and shrubby surface landscapes, which offer different nutritional resources and environmental constraints. Genomic studies have focused on understanding the nutritional provisioning roles of cixiid endosymbionts more broadly, yet it is still unclear how selection pressures on endosymbiont genes might differ between cixiid host species inhabiting such diverse landscapes, or how variation in selection might impact symbiont evolution. In this study, we sequenced the genomes of Sulcia, Vidania, and Purcelliella isolated from both surface and cave-adapted planthopper hosts from the genus Oliarus. We found that nutritional biosynthesis genes were conserved in Sulcia and Vidania genomes in inter- and intra-host species comparisons. In contrast, Purcelliella genomes retain different essential nutritional biosynthesis genes between surface- and cave-adapted planthopper species. Finally, we see variation in selection pressures on symbiont genes both within and between host species suggesting that strong coevolution between host and endosymbiont is associated with different patterns of molecular evolution on a fine scale that may be associated with host diet.

RevDate: 2023-02-28

Latrofa MS, Varotto-Boccazzi I, Louzada-Flores VN, et al (2023)

Interaction between Wolbachia pipientis and Leishmania infantum in heartworm infected dogs.

Parasites & vectors, 16(1):77.

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia is a Gram-negative endosymbiont associated with several species of arthropods and filarioid nematodes, including Dirofilaria immitis. This endosymbiont may elicit a Th1 response, which is a component of the immunity against Leishmania infantum.

METHODS: To investigate the interactions between Wolbachia of D. immitis and L. infantum in naturally infected dogs and cytokine circulation, dogs without clinical signs (n = 187) were selected. Dogs were tested for microfilariae (mfs) by Knott, for female antigens of D. immitis by SNAP, and for anti-L. infantum antibodies by IFAT and assigned to four groups. Dogs of group 1 (G1) and 2 (G2) were positive for D. immitis and positive or negative to L. infantum, respectively. Dogs of group 3 (G3) and 4 (G4) were negative to D. immitis and positive or negative to L. infantum, respectively. Wolbachia and L. infantum DNA was quantified by real-time PCR (qPCR) in dog blood samples. A subset of dogs (n = 65) was examined to assess pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine production using an ELISA test.

RESULTS: Of 93 dogs positive to D. immitis with circulating mfs, 85% were positive to Wolbachia, with the highest amount of DNA detected in G1 and the lowest in dogs with low mfs load in G1 and G2. Among dogs positive to L. infantum, 66% from G1 showed low antibody titer, while 48.9% from G3 had the highest antibody titer. Of 37 dogs positive to Wolbachia from G1, 26 (70.3%) had low antibody titers to L. infantum (1:160). Among cytokines, TNFα showed the highest mean concentration in G1 (246.5 pg/ml), IFNγ being the one most represented (64.3%). IL-10 (1809.5 pg/ml) and IL-6 (123.5 pg/ml) showed the highest mean concentration in dogs from G1. A lower percentage of dogs producing IL-4 was observed in all groups examined, with the highest mean concentration (2794 pg/ml) recorded in G2.

CONCLUSION: Results show the association of D. immitis and Wolbachia with the lower antibody titers of L. infantum in co-infected dogs, suggesting the hypothesis that the endosymbiont may affect the development of the patent leishmaniosis. However, due to the limitations associated with the heterogeneity of naturally infected dogs in field conditions, results should be validated by investigation on experimental models.

RevDate: 2023-02-25

Nencioni A, Pastorelli R, Bigiotti G, et al (2023)

Diversity of the Bacterial Community Associated with Hindgut, Malpighian Tubules, and Foam of Nymphs of Two Spittlebug Species (Hemiptera: Aphrophoridae).

Microorganisms, 11(2): pii:microorganisms11020466.

Spittlebugs are xylem-sap feeding insects that can exploit a nutrient-poor diet, thanks to mutualistic endosymbionts residing in various organs of their body. Although obligate symbioses in some spittlebug species have been quite well studied, little is known about their facultative endosymbionts, especially those inhabiting the gut. Recently, the role played by spittlebugs as vectors of the phytopathogenetic bacterium Xylella fastidiosa aroused attention to this insect group, boosting investigations aimed at developing effective yet sustainable control strategies. Since spittlebug nymphs are currently the main target of applied control, the composition of gut bacterial community of the juveniles of Philaenus spumarius and Lepyronia coleoptrata was investigated using molecular techniques. Moreover, bacteria associated with their froth, sampled from different host plants, were studied. Results revealed that Sodalis and Rickettsia bacteria are the predominant taxa in the gut of P. spumarius and L. coleoptrata nymphs, respectively, while Rhodococcus was found in both species. Our investigations also highlighted the presence of recurring bacteria in the froth. Furthermore, the foam hosted several bacterial species depending on the host plant, the insect species, or on soil contaminant. Overall, first findings showed that nymphs harbor a large and diverse bacterial community in their gut and froth, providing new accounts to the knowledge on facultative symbionts of spittlebugs.

RevDate: 2023-02-25

Picciotti U, Araujo Dalbon V, Ciancio A, et al (2023)

"Ectomosphere": Insects and Microorganism Interactions.

Microorganisms, 11(2): pii:microorganisms11020440.

This study focuses on interacting with insects and their ectosymbiont (lato sensu) microorganisms for environmentally safe plant production and protection. Some cases help compare ectosymbiont microorganisms that are insect-borne, -driven, or -spread relevant to endosymbionts' behaviour. Ectosymbiotic bacteria can interact with insects by allowing them to improve the value of their pabula. In addition, some bacteria are essential for creating ecological niches that can host the development of pests. Insect-borne plant pathogens include bacteria, viruses, and fungi. These pathogens interact with their vectors to enhance reciprocal fitness. Knowing vector-phoront interaction could considerably increase chances for outbreak management, notably when sustained by quarantine vector ectosymbiont pathogens, such as the actual Xylella fastidiosa Mediterranean invasion episode. Insect pathogenic viruses have a close evolutionary relationship with their hosts, also being highly specific and obligate parasites. Sixteen virus families have been reported to infect insects and may be involved in the biological control of specific pests, including some economic weevils. Insects and fungi are among the most widespread organisms in nature and interact with each other, establishing symbiotic relationships ranging from mutualism to antagonism. The associations can influence the extent to which interacting organisms can exert their effects on plants and the proper management practices. Sustainable pest management also relies on entomopathogenic fungi; research on these species starts from their isolation from insect carcasses, followed by identification using conventional light or electron microscopy techniques. Thanks to the development of omics sciences, it is possible to identify entomopathogenic fungi with evolutionary histories that are less-shared with the target insect and can be proposed as pest antagonists. Many interesting omics can help detect the presence of entomopathogens in different natural matrices, such as soil or plants. The same techniques will help localize ectosymbionts, localization of recesses, or specialized morphological adaptation, greatly supporting the robust interpretation of the symbiont role. The manipulation and modulation of ectosymbionts could be a more promising way to counteract pests and borne pathogens, mitigating the impact of formulates and reducing food insecurity due to the lesser impact of direct damage and diseases. The promise has a preventive intent for more manageable and broader implications for pests, comparing what we can obtain using simpler, less-specific techniques and a less comprehensive approach to Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

RevDate: 2023-02-25

Mashini AG, Oakley CA, Beepat SS, et al (2023)

The Influence of Symbiosis on the Proteome of the Exaiptasia Endosymbiont Breviolum minutum.

Microorganisms, 11(2): pii:microorganisms11020292.

The cellular mechanisms responsible for the regulation of nutrient exchange, immune response, and symbiont population growth in the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis are poorly resolved. Here, we employed liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to elucidate proteomic changes associated with symbiosis in Breviolum minutum, a native symbiont of the sea anemone Exaiptasia diaphana ('Aiptasia'). We manipulated nutrients available to the algae in culture and to the holobiont in hospite (i.e., in symbiosis) and then monitored the impacts of our treatments on host-endosymbiont interactions. Both the symbiotic and nutritional states had significant impacts on the B. minutum proteome. B. minutum in hospite showed an increased abundance of proteins involved in phosphoinositol metabolism (e.g., glycerophosphoinositol permease 1 and phosphatidylinositol phosphatase) relative to the free-living alga, potentially reflecting inter-partner signalling that promotes the stability of the symbiosis. Proteins potentially involved in concentrating and fixing inorganic carbon (e.g., carbonic anhydrase, V-type ATPase) and in the assimilation of nitrogen (e.g., glutamine synthase) were more abundant in free-living B. minutum than in hospite, possibly due to host-facilitated access to inorganic carbon and nitrogen limitation by the host when in hospite. Photosystem proteins increased in abundance at high nutrient levels irrespective of the symbiotic state, as did proteins involved in antioxidant defences (e.g., superoxide dismutase, glutathione s-transferase). Proteins involved in iron metabolism were also affected by the nutritional state, with an increased iron demand and uptake under low nutrient treatments. These results detail the changes in symbiont physiology in response to the host microenvironment and nutrient availability and indicate potential symbiont-driven mechanisms that regulate the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis.

RevDate: 2023-02-25

Solanki S, Lakshmi GBVS, Dhiman T, et al (2023)

Co-Application of Silver Nanoparticles and Symbiotic Fungus Piriformospora indica Improves Secondary Metabolite Production in Black Rice.

Journal of fungi (Basel, Switzerland), 9(2): pii:jof9020260.

In the current research, unique Nano-Embedded Fungus (NEF), made by the synergic association of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) and endophytic fungus (Piriformospora indica), is studied, and the impact of NEF on black rice secondary metabolites is reported. AgNPs were synthesized by chemical reduction process using the temperature-dependent method and characterized for morphological and structural features through UV visible absorption spectroscopy, zeta potential, XRD, SEM-EDX, and FTIR spectroscopy. The NEF, prepared by optimizing the AgNPs concentration (300 ppm) in agar and broth media, showed better fungal biomass, colony diameter, spore count, and spore size than the control P. indica. Treatment with AgNPs, P. indica, and NEF resulted in growth enhancement in black rice. NEF and AgNPs stimulated the production of secondary metabolites in its leaves. The concentrations of chlorophyll, carotenoids, flavonoids, and terpenoids were increased in plants inoculated with P. indica and AgNPs. The findings of the study highlight the synergistic effect of AgNPs and the fungal symbionts in augmenting the secondary metabolites in leaves of black rice.

RevDate: 2023-02-24

Kallu SA, Ndebe J, Qiu Y, et al (2023)

Prevalence and Association of Trypanosomes and Sodalis glossinidius in Tsetse Flies from the Kafue National Park in Zambia.

Tropical medicine and infectious disease, 8(2): pii:tropicalmed8020080.

Tsetse flies are obligate hematophagous vectors of animal and human African trypanosomosis. They cyclically transmit pathogenic Trypanosoma species. The endosymbiont Sodalis glossinidius is suggested to play a role in facilitating the susceptibility of tsetse flies to trypanosome infections. Therefore, this study was aimed at determining the prevalence of S. glossinidius and trypanosomes circulating in tsetse flies and checking whether an association exists between trypanosomes and Sodalis infections in tsetse flies from Kafue National Park in Zambia. A total of 326 tsetse flies were sampled from the Chunga and Ngoma areas of the national park. After DNA extraction was conducted, the presence of S. glossinidius and trypanosome DNA was checked using PCR. The Chi-square test was carried out to determine whether there was an association between the presence of S. glossinidius and trypanosome infections. Out of the total tsetse flies collected, the prevalence of S. glossinidius and trypanosomes was 21.8% and 19.3%, respectively. The prevalence of S. glossinidius was 22.2% in Glossina morsitans and 19.6% in Glossina pallidipes. In relation to sampling sites, the prevalence of S. glossinidius was 26.0% in Chunga and 21.0% in Ngoma. DNA of trypanosomes was detected in 18.9% of G. morsitans and 21.4% of G. pallidipes. The prevalence of trypanosomes was 21.7% and 6.0% for Ngoma and Chunga, respectively. The prevalences of trypanosome species detected in this study were 6.4%, 4.6%, 4.0%, 3.7%, 3.1%, and 2.5% for T. vivax, T. simiae, T. congolense, T. godfreyi, T. simiae Tsavo, and T. b. brucei, respectively. Out of 63 trypanosome infected tsetse flies, 47.6% of the flies also carried S. glossinidius, and the remaining flies were devoid of S. glossinidius. A statistically significant association was found between S. glossinidius and trypanosomes (p < 0.001) infections in tsetse flies. Our findings indicated that presence of S. glossinidius increases the susceptibility of tsetse flies to trypanosome infections and S. glossinidius could be a potential candidate for symbiont-mediated vector control in these tsetse species.

RevDate: 2023-02-24

Teal E, Herrera C, E Dumonteil (2023)

Metabolomics of developmental changes in Triatoma sanguisuga gut microbiota.

PloS one, 18(2):e0280868 pii:PONE-D-22-29767.

Triatoma sanguisuga is one of the major vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi in the southeastern US, where it sustains a robust zoonotic parasite transmission cycle and occasional human infections. A better understanding of triatomine development may allow for alternative approaches to insecticide-based vector control. Indeed, the role of the gut microbiota and bacterial endosymbionts in triatomine development and in their vectorial capacity is emerging. We investigated here the differences in microbiota among nymph and adult T. sanguisuga, to shed light on the metabolomic interactions occurring during development. Microbiota composition was assessed by 16s gene amplification and deep sequencing from field-caught adult bugs and their laboratory-raised progeny. Significant differences in microbiota bacterial diversity and composition were observed between nymphs and adults. Laboratory-raised nymphs showed a higher taxonomic diversity, and at least seven families predominated. On the other hand, field-caught adults had a lower bacterial diversity and four families comprised most of the microbiota. These differences in compositions were associated with differences in predicted metabolism, with laboratory-raised nymphs microbiota metabolizing a limited diversity of carbon sources, with potential for resource competition between bacterial families, and the production of lactic acid as a predominant fermentation product. On the other hand, field-caught adult microbiota was predicted to metabolize a broader diversity of carbon sources, with complementarity rather than competition among taxa, and produced a diverse range of products in a more balanced manner. The restricted functionality of laboratory-raised nymph microbiota may be associated with their poor development in captivity, and further understanding of the metabolic interactions at play may lead to alternative vector control strategies targeting triatomine microbiota.

RevDate: 2023-02-24

Jiang RX, Shang F, Jiang HB, et al (2023)

Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus: An important factor affecting bacterial community composition and Wolbachia titers in Asian citrus psyllid.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1109803.

Endosymbionts play crucial roles in various physiological activities within insect hosts. The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, is an important vector for Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), a fatal pathogenic bacterial agent causing the disease Huanglongbing in the citrus industry. This study combines high-throughput sequencing of 16S ribosomal RNA amplicons to explore how CLas affects the bacterial community in different color morphs (blue, gray), genders, and tissues (cuticle, gut, mycetome, Malpighian tubule, ovary, and testis) of ACP. We found that there was no significant differences in the bacterial community diversity and CLas acquired ratio between the different color morphs and genders of ACP adults. However, acquiring CLas could promote the adult bacterial community's diversity and richness more than in the uninfected condition. The presence of CLas could increase the Wolbachia and unclassified_Enterobacteriaceae proportions more than in the uninfected condition. The bacterial community diversity in the CLas infected tissues of ovary and cuticle, was lower than the uninfected condition, but the richness of all tissues was not different between the infected and uninfected conditions. CLas could also change the bacterial structure in different tissues and make the bacterial relationship network simpler than it is in an uninfected condition. Furthermore, we used quantitative real-time PCR to assess the dynamic changes of Wolbachia in CLas uninfected and infected color morphs and tissues of ACP. The results showed that Wolbachia titers were significantly higher in CLas infected adults than in uninfected adults. In different tissues, the Wolbachia titers in the testis, ovary, and Malpighian tubule were higher than their uninfected counterparts. Our results provide essential knowledge for understanding the symbionts of the ACP and how CLas affects the bacterial community of the ACP.

RevDate: 2023-02-24

Schultz DL, Selberherr E, Stouthamer CM, et al (2022)

Sex-based de novo transcriptome assemblies of the parasitoid wasp Encarsia suzannae, a host of the manipulative heritable symbiont Cardinium hertigii.

GigaByte (Hong Kong, China), 2022:gigabyte68 pii:68.

Parasitoid wasps in the genus Encarsia are commonly used as biological pest control agents of whiteflies and armored scale insects in greenhouses or the field. They are also hosts of the bacterial endosymbiont Cardinium hertigii, which can cause reproductive manipulation phenotypes, including parthenogenesis, feminization, and cytoplasmic incompatibility (the last is mainly studied in Encarsia suzannae). Despite their biological and economic importance, there are no published Encarsia genomes and only one public transcriptome. Here, we applied a mapping-and-removal approach to eliminate known contaminants from previously-obtained Illumina sequencing data. We generated de novo transcriptome assemblies for both female and male E. suzannae which contain 45,986 and 54,762 final coding sequences, respectively. Benchmarking Single-Copy Orthologs results indicate both assemblies are highly complete. Preliminary analyses revealed the presence of homologs of sex-determination genes characterized in other insects and putative venom proteins. Our male and female transcriptomes will be valuable tools to better understand the biology of Encarsia and their evolutionary relatives, particularly in studies involving insects of only one sex.

RevDate: 2023-02-22

Manoj RRS, Latrofa MS, Louni M, et al (2023)

In vitro maintenance of the endosymbiont Wolbachia of Dirofilaria immitis.

Parasitology research [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia has an obligatory mutualistic relationship with many onchocercid nematodes of the subfamilies Dirofilariinae and Onchocercinae. Till date, no attempts have been made for the in vitro cultivation of this intracellular bacterium from the filarioid host. Hence, the current study attempted cell co-culture method using embryonic Drosophila S2 and the LD cell lines to cultivate Wolbachia from Dirofilaria immitis microfilariae (mfs) harvested from infected dogs. Microfilariae (mfs = 1500) were inoculated in shell vials supplemented with Schneider medium using both cell lines. The establishment and multiplication of the bacterium were observed during the initial inoculation, at day 0 and before every medium change (from days 14 to 115). An aliquot (50 µl) from each time point was tested by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR). Comparing the average of Ct values, obtained by the tested parameters (i.e., LD/S2 cell lines and mfs with/without treatment), the S2 cell line without mechanical disruption of mfs provided the highest Wolbachia cell count by qPCR. Despite the maintenance of Wolbachia within both S2 and LD-based cell co-culture models for up to 115 days, a definitive conclusion is still far. Further trials using fluorescent microscopy and viable staining will help to demonstrate the cell line infection and viability of Wolbachia. Use of considerable amount of untreated mfs to inoculate the Drosophilia S2 cell lines, as well as the supplementation of the culture media with growth stimulants or pre-treated cells to increase their susceptibility for the infection and development of a filarioid-based cell line system are recommended for the future trials.


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.

963 Red Tail Lane
Bellingham, WA 98226


E-mail: RJR8222@gmail.com

Collection of publications by R J Robbins

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

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

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

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

short personal version

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

long standard version

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