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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Charleston, South Carolina » Vegetable Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #309648

Research Project: Characterization, Etiology, and Disease Management for Vegetable Crops

Location: Vegetable Research

Title: Metabolic coevolution in the bacterial symbiosis of whiteflies and related plant sap-feeding insects

Author
item LUAN, JUN-BO - Cornell University - New York
item CHEN, WENBO - Boyce Thompson Institute
item HASEGAWA, DANIEL - Boyce Thompson Institute
item Simmons, Alvin
item Wintermantel, William - Bill
item Ling, Kai-Shu
item FEI, ZHANGJUN - Boyce Thompson Institute
item LIU, SHU-SHENG - Zhejiang University
item DOUGLAS, ANGELA - Cornell University - New York

Submitted to: Genome Biology and Evolution
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/26/2015
Publication Date: 9/16/2015
Citation: Luan, J., Chen, W., Hasegawa, D.K., Simmons, A.M., Wintermantel, W.M., Ling, K., Fei, Z., Liu, S., Douglas, A.E. 2015. Metabolic coevolution in the bacterial symbiosis of whiteflies and related plant sap-feeding insects. Genome Biology and Evolution. 7(9):2635-2647. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evv170.

Interpretive Summary: Insects, like other animals, have developed a system to support the functions of endosymbiont bacteria, which have only limited number of genes. In study molecular co-evolution between whitefly and its endosymbiont bacterium Portiera, genomic and transcriptomic analysis showed the integration of bacterial gene sequences integrated into host genome. This study indicates that host acquisition of foreign genes can trigger evolutionary change in the host-symbiont relationship involving the net transfer of metabolic function from symbiont to host.

Technical Abstract: In animals dependent on intracellular bacteria with very small genomes, the host cell is adapted to support the function of its bacterial symbionts, but the molecular basis of these adaptations is poorly understood. We investigated the metabolic coevolution between the whitefly Bemisia tabaci and the bacterium Portiera, which provides essential amino acids. Parallel genomic and transcriptomic analysis of the host cell and Portiera revealed multiple genes of bacterial origin in the Bemisia genome that are selectively expressed in the host cell. These bacterial-derived genes and genes of insect origin mediate reactions in essential amino acid synthesis that are either missing from the Portiera genome or are represented by Portiera pseudogenes or by structurally intact Portiera genes with reduced expression. This study indicates that host acquisition of foreign genes can trigger evolutionary change in the host-symbiont relationship involving the net transfer of metabolic function from symbiont to host.