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Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2005 Jul;55(Pt 4):1581-7.

Novel chlamydiae in whiteflies and scale insects: endosymbionts 'Candidatus Fritschea bemisiae' strain Falk and 'Candidatus Fritschea eriococci' strain Elm.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-5325, USA. kdeeverett@hotmail.com


Bacteria called 'Fritschea' are endosymbionts of the plant-feeding whitefly Bemisia tabaci and scale insect Eriococcus spurius. In the gut of B. tabaci, these bacteria live within bacteriocyte cells that are transmitted directly from the parent to oocytes. Whiteflies cause serious economic damage to many agricultural crops; B. tabaci fecundity and host range are less than those of Bemisia argentifolii, possibly due to the presence of this endosymbiont. The B. tabaci endosymbiont has been characterized using electron microscopy and DNA analysis but has not been isolated or propagated outside of insects. The present study compared sequences for 11 endosymbiont genes to genomic data for chlamydial families Parachlamydiaceae, Chlamydiaceae and Simkaniaceae and to 16S rRNA gene signature sequences from 330 chlamydiae. We concluded that it was appropriate to propose 'Candidatus Fritschea bemisiae' strain Falk and 'Candidatus Fritschea eriococci' strain Elm as members of the family Simkaniaceae in the Chlamydiales.

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