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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Sep;72(9):6027-33.

Relevance of the endosymbiosis of Blochmannia floridanus and carpenter ants at different stages of the life cycle of the host.

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  • 1Chair of Microbiology, Biocenter of the University of Würzburg, D-97074 Würzburg, Germany.

Abstract

Expression of several genes possibly involved in the symbiotic relationship between the obligate intracellular endosymbiont Blochmannia floridanus and its ant host Camponotus floridanus was investigated at different developmental stages of the host by real-time quantitative PCR. These included a set of genes related to nitrogen metabolism (ureC, ureF, glnA, and speB) as well as genes involved in the synthesis of the aromatic amino acid tyrosine (tyrA, aspC, and hisC). The overall transcriptional activity of Blochmannia was found to be quite low during early developmental stages and to increase steadily with host age. However, a concerted peak of gene expression related to nitrogen recycling could be detected around the entire process of pupation, while expression of biosynthesis pathways for aromatic amino acids was elevated only during a short phase in pupation. These data suggest an important role of certain metabolic functions for the symbiotic interactions of the bacteria and an individual host organism in early phases of development. General relevance of Blochmannia for its ant host was tested in fostering experiments with worker groups of Camponotus floridanus, and their success in raising pupae from first-instar larvae was used as a fitness measure. Groups treated with antibiotics had a significantly reduced success in raising the brood in comparison to untreated control groups, indicating that the symbiosis is relevant for the development of the entire colony.

PMID:
16957225
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1563639
Free PMC Article
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