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J Mol Evol. 1999 Jan;48(1):49-58.

Concordant evolution of a symbiont with its host insect species: molecular phylogeny of genus Glossina and its bacteriome-associated endosymbiont, Wigglesworthia glossinidia.

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Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, 60 College Street, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


Many arthropods with restricted diets rely on symbiotic associations for full nutrition and fecundity. Tsetse flies (Diptera: Glossinidae) harbor three symbiotic organisms in addition to the parasitic African trypanosomes they transmit. Two of these microorganisms reside in different gut cells, while the third organism is harbored in reproductive tissues and belongs to the genus Wolbachia. The primary symbiont (genus Wigglesworthia glossinidia) lives in differentiated epithelial cells (bacteriocytes) which form an organ (bacteriome) in the anterior gut, while the secondary (S) symbionts are present in midgut cells. Here we have characterized the phylogeny of Wigglesworthia based on their 16S rDNA sequence analysis from eight species representing the three subgenera of Glossina: Austenina (=fusca group), Nemorhina (=palpalis group), and Glossina (=morsitans group). Independently, the ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer-2 (ITS-2) regions from these species were analyzed. The analysis of Wigglesworthia indicated that they form a distinct lineage in the gamma subdivision of Proteobacteria and display concordance with their host insect species. The trees generated by parsimony confirmed the monophyletic taxonomic placement of Glossina, where fusca group species formed the deepest branch followed by morsitans and palpalis groups, respectively. The placement of the species Glossina austeni by both the traditional morphological and biochemical criteria has been controversial. Results presented here, based on both the ITS-2 and the symbiont 16S rDNA sequence analysis, suggest that Glossina austeni should be placed into a separate fourth subgenus, Machadomyia, which forms a sister-group relationship with the morsitans group species.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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