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Mol Biol Evol. 2008 May;25(5):859-68. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msn027. Epub 2008 Feb 29.

Long-term evolutionary stability of bacterial endosymbiosis in curculionoidea: additional evidence of symbiont replacement in the dryophthoridae family.

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Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Unité Mixte de Recherche 5553, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France.


Bacterial intracellular symbiosis (endosymbiosis) is well documented in the insect world where it is believed to play a crucial role in adaptation and evolution. However, although Coleopteran insects are of huge ecological and economical interest, endosymbiont molecular analysis is limited to the Dryophthoridae family. Here, we have analyzed the intracellular symbiotic bacteria in 2 Hylobius species belonging to the Molytinae subfamily (Curculionoidea superfamily) that exhibit different features from the Dryophthoridae insects in terms of their ecology and geographical spanning. Fluorescence in situ hybridization has shown that both Hylobius species harbor rod-shaped pleiomorphic symbiotic bacteria in the oocyte and in the bacteria-bearing organ (the bacteriome), with a shape and location similar to those of the Dryophthoridae bacteriome. Phylogenetic analysis of the 16S ribosomal DNA gene sequences, using the heterogeneous model of DNA evolution, has placed the Hylobius spp. endosymbionts (H-group) at the basal position of the ancestral R-clade of Dryophthoridae endosymbionts named Candidatus Nardonella but relatively distant from the S-clade of Sitophilus spp. endosymbionts. Endosymbionts from the H-group and the R-clade evolved more quickly compared with free-living enteric bacteria and endosymbionts from the S- and D-clades of Dryophthoridae. They are AT biased (58.3% A + T), and they exhibit AT-rich insertions at the same position as previously described in the Candidatus Nardonella 16S rDNA sequence. Moreover, the host phylogenetic tree based on the mitochondrial COI gene was shown to be highly congruent with the H-group and the R-clade, the divergence of which was estimated to be around 125 MYA. These new molecular data show that endosymbiosis is old in Curculionids, going back at least to the common ancestor of Molytinae and Dryophthoridae, and is evolutionary stable, except in 2 Dryophthoridae clades, providing additional and independent supplementary evidence for endosymbiont replacement in these taxa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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