Aphids maintain an obligate, endosymbiotic association with Buchnera sp., a bacterium closely related to Escherichia coli. Bacteria are housed in specialized cells of organ-like structures called bacteriomes in the hemocoel of the aphid and are maternally transmitted. Phylogenetic studies have shown that the association had a single origin, dated about 200-250 million years ago, and that host and endosymbiont lineages have evolved in parallel since then. However, the pattern of deepest branching within the aphid family remains unsolved, which thereby hampers tin appraisal of, for example, the role played by horizontal gene transfer in the early evolution of Buchnera. The main role of Buchnera in this association is the biosynthesis and provisioning of essential amino acids to its aphid host. Physiological and metabolic studies have recently substantiated such nutritional role. In addition, genetic studies of Buchnera from several aphids have shown additional modifications, such as strong genome reduction, high A+T content compared to free-living bacteria, differential evolutionary rates, a relative increase in the number of non-synonymous substitutions, and gene amplification mediated by plasmids. Symbiosis is an active process in insect evolution cis revealed by the intermediate values of the previous characteristics showed by secondary symbionts compared to free-living bacteria and Buchnera.
|Publication status||Published - 2001|
- leucine biosynthesis