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Proc Biol Sci. 2006 Mar 7;273(1586):603-10.

Costs and benefits of symbiont infection in aphids: variation among symbionts and across temperatures.

Author information

  • 1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA. jrussell@oeb.harvard.edu

Abstract

Symbiosis is prevalent throughout the tree of life and has had a significant impact on the ecology and evolution of many bacteria and eukaryotes. The benevolence of symbiotic interactions often varies with the environment, and such variation is expected to play an important role in shaping the prevalence and distributions of symbiosis throughout nature. In this study, we examine how the fitness of aphids is influenced by infection with one of three maternally transmitted bacteria, 'Candidatus Serratia symbiotica', 'Candidatus Hamiltonella defensa' and 'Candidatus Regiella insecticola', addressing how symbiont benevolence varies with temperature. We find that the effects of these 'secondary' symbionts on Acyrthosiphon pisum depend on when and whether aphids are exposed to a brief period of heat shock. We also demonstrate that symbionts--even closely related isolates--vary in their effects on hosts. Our results indicate similar effects of S. symbiotica and H. defensa in conferring tolerance to high temperatures and a liability of R. insecticola under these same conditions. These findings reveal a role for heritable symbionts in the adaptation of aphids to their abiotic environments and add to an expanding body of knowledge on the adaptive significance of symbiosis.

PMID:
16537132
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1560055
Free PMC Article

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