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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2000 Jul;66(7):2748-58.

The secondary endosymbiotic bacterium of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum (Insecta: homoptera).

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  • 1National Institute of Bioscience and Human-Technology, Agency of Industrial Science and Technology, Tsukuba, 305-8566, Japan.


The secondary intracellular symbiotic bacterium (S-symbiont) of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum was investigated to determine its prevalence among strains, its phylogenetic position, its localization in the host insect, its ultrastructure, and the cytology of the endosymbiotic system. A total of 14 aphid strains were examined, and the S-symbiont was detected in 4 Japanese strains by diagnostic PCR. Two types of eubacterial 16S ribosomal DNA sequences were identified in disymbiotic strains; one of these types was obtained from the primary symbiont Buchnera sp., and the other was obtained from the S-symbiont. In situ hybridization and electron microscopy revealed that the S-symbiont was localized not only in the sheath cells but also in a novel type of cells, the secondary mycetocytes (S-mycetocytes), which have not been found previously in A. pisum. The size and shape of the S-symbiont cells were different when we compared the symbionts in the sheath cells and the symbionts in the S-mycetocytes, indicating that the S-symbiont is pleomorphic under different endosymbiotic conditions. Light microscopy, electron microscopy, and diagnostic PCR revealed unequivocally that the hemocoel is also a normal location for the S-symbiont. Occasional disordered localization of S-symbionts was also observed in adult aphids, suggesting that there has been imperfect host-symbiont coadaptation over the short history of coevolution of these organisms.

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