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Int Microbiol. 2008 Mar;11(1):41-8.

Massive presence of insertion sequences in the genome of SOPE, the primary endosymbiont of the rice weevil Sitophilus oryzae.

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Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, Department of Genetics, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain.


Bacteria that establish an obligate intracellular relationship with eukaryotic hosts undergo an evolutionary genomic reductive process. Recent studies have shown an increase in the number of mobile elements in the first stage of the adaptive process towards intracellular life, although these elements are absent in ancient endosymbionts. Here, the genome of SOPE, the obligate mutualistic endosymbiont of rice weevils, was used as a model to analyze the initial events that occur after symbiotic integration. During the first phases of the SOPE genome project, four different types of insertion sequence (IS) elements, belonging to well-characterized IS families from gamma-proteobacteria, were identified. In the present study, these elements, which may represent more than 20% of the complete genome, were completely characterized; their relevance as a source of gene inactivation, chromosomal rearrangements, and as participants in the genome reductive process are discussed herein.

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