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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jun 19;98(13):7546-51. Epub 2001 Jun 12.

A novel application of gene arrays: Escherichia coli array provides insight into the biology of the obligate endosymbiont of tsetse flies.

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1
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Section of Vector Biology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.

Abstract

Symbiotic associations with microorganisms are pivotal in many insects. Yet, the functional roles of obligate symbionts have been difficult to study because it has not been possible to cultivate these organisms in vitro. The medically important tsetse fly (Diptera: Glossinidae) relies on its obligate endosymbiont, Wigglesworthia glossinidia, a member of the Enterobacteriaceae, closely related to Escherichia coli, for fertility and possibly nutrition. We show here that the intracellular Wigglesworthia has a reduced genome size smaller than 770 kb. In an attempt to understand the composition of its genome, we used the gene arrays developed for E. coli. We were able to identify 650 orthologous genes in Wigglesworthia corresponding to approximately 85% of its genome. The arrays were also applied for expression analysis using Wigglesworthia cDNA and 61 gene products were detected, presumably coding for some of its most abundant products. Overall, genes involved in cell processes, DNA replication, transcription, and translation were found largely retained in the small genome of Wigglesworthia. In addition, genes coding for transport proteins, chaperones, biosynthesis of cofactors, and some amino acids were found to comprise a significant portion, suggesting an important role for these proteins in its symbiotic life. Based on its expression profile, we predict that Wigglesworthia may be a facultative anaerobic organism that utilizes ammonia as its major source of nitrogen. We present an application of E. coli gene arrays to obtain broad genome information for a closely related organism in the absence of complete genome sequence data.

PMID:
11404467
PMCID:
PMC34705
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.131057498
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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