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Mol Biol Evol. 2004 Jun;21(6):965-73. Epub 2004 Jan 22.

Endosymbiont phylogenesis in the dryophthoridae weevils: evidence for bacterial replacement.

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Laboratoire de Biologie Fonctionnelle Insectes et Interactions, UMR INRA/INSA de Lyon, Villeurbanne, France.


Intracellular symbiosis is widespread in the insect world where it plays an important role in evolution and adaptation. The weevil family Dryophthoridae (Curculionoidea) is of particular interest in intracellular symbiosis evolution with regard to the great economical and ecological features of these invasive insects, and the potential for comparative studies across a wide range of host plants and environments. Here, we have analyzed the intracellular symbiotic bacteria of 19 Dryophthoridae species collected worldwide, representing a wide range of plant species and tissues. All except one (Sitophilus linearis) harbor symbiotic bacteria within specialized cells (the bacteriocytes) assembled as an organ, the bacteriome. Phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rDNA gene sequence of the Dryophthoridae endosymbionts revealed three endosymbiotic clades belonging to gamma3-Proteobacteria and characterized by different GC contents and evolutionary rate. The genus name Candidatus Nardonella was proposed for the ancestral clade infesting Dryophthoridae 100 MYA and represented by five of nine bacterial genera studied. For this clade showing low GC content (40.5% GC) and high evolutionary rate (0.128 substitutions/site per 100 Myr), a single infection and subsequent cospeciation of the host and the endosymbionts was observed. In the two other insect lineage endosymbionts, with relatively high GC content (53.4% and 53.8% GC), competition with ancestral pathogenic bacteria might have occurred, leading to endosymbiont replacement in present-day last insects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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