Convergent patterns in the evolution of mealybug symbioses involving different intrabacterial symbionts

Gitta Szabó*, Frederik Schulz, Elena R. Toenshoff, Jean Marie Volland, Omri M. Finkel, Shimshon Belkin, Matthias Horn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mealybugs (Insecta: Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) maintain obligatory relationships with bacterial symbionts, which provide essential nutrients to their insect hosts. Most pseudococcinae mealybugs harbor a unique symbiosis setup with enlarged betaproteobacterial symbionts ('Candidatus Tremblaya princeps'), which themselves contain gammaproteobacterial symbionts. Here we investigated the symbiosis of the manna mealybug, Trabutina mannipara, using a metagenomic approach. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that the intrabacterial symbiont of T. mannipara represents a novel lineage within the Gammaproteobacteria, for which we propose the tentative name 'Candidatus Trabutinella endobia'. Combining our results with previous data available for the nested symbiosis of the citrus mealybug Planococcus citri, we show that synthesis of essential amino acids and vitamins and translation-related functions partition between the symbiotic partners in a highly similar manner in the two systems, despite the distinct evolutionary origin of the intrabacterial symbionts. Bacterial genes found in both mealybug genomes and complementing missing functions in both symbioses were likely integrated in ancestral mealybugs before T. mannipara and P. citri diversified. The high level of correspondence between the two mealybug systems and their highly intertwined metabolic pathways are unprecedented. Our work contributes to a better understanding of the only known intracellular symbiosis between two bacteria and suggests that the evolution of this unique symbiosis included the replacement of intrabacterial symbionts in ancestral mealybugs.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)715-726
Number of pages12
JournalISME Journal
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 International Society for Microbial Ecology All rights reserved 1751-7362/17.

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