Send to

Choose Destination
Genome Biol Evol. 2014 Jun 19;6(7):1683-98. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evu133.

Settling down: the genome of Serratia symbiotica from the aphid Cinara tujafilina zooms in on the process of accommodation to a cooperative intracellular life.

Author information

Institut Cavanilles de Biodiversitat i Biologia Evolutiva, Universitat de València, Spain.
Institut Cavanilles de Biodiversitat i Biologia Evolutiva, Universitat de València, SpainUnidad Mixta de Investigación en Genómica y Salud, Centro Superior de Investigación en Salud Pública, Valencia, Spain


Particularly interesting cases of mutualistic endosymbioses come from the establishment of co-obligate associations of more than one species of endosymbiotic bacteria. Throughout symbiotic accommodation from a free-living bacterium, passing through a facultative stage and ending as an obligate intracellular one, the symbiont experiences massive genomic losses and phenotypic adjustments. Here, we scrutinized the changes in the coevolution of Serratia symbiotica and Buchnera aphidicola endosymbionts in aphids, paying particular attention to the transformations undergone by S. symbiotica to become an obligate endosymbiont. Although it is already known that S. symbiotica is facultative in Acyrthosiphon pisum, in Cinara cedri it has established a co-obligate endosymbiotic consortium along with B. aphidicola to fulfill the aphid's nutritional requirements. The state of this association in C. tujafilina, an aphid belonging to the same subfamily (Lachninae) that C. cedri, remained unknown. Here, we report the genome of S. symbiotica strain SCt-VLC from the aphid C. tujafilina. While being phylogenetically and genomically very closely related to the facultative endosymbiont S. symbiotica from the aphid A. pisum, it shows a variety of metabolic, genetic, and architectural features, which point toward this endosymbiont being one step closer to an obligate intracellular one. We also describe in depth the process of genome rearrangements suffered by S. symbiotica and the role mobile elements play in gene inactivations. Finally, we postulate the supply to the host of the essential riboflavin (vitamin B2) as key to the establishment of S. symbiotica as a co-obligate endosymbiont in the aphids belonging to the subfamily Lachninane.


Buchnera aphidicola; Serratia symbiotica; aphid endosymbiont; co-obligate; genome reduction; riboflavin

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center