Acetobacter tropicalis is a major symbiont of the olive fruit fly (Bactrocera oleae).
ABSTRACT Following cultivation-dependent and -independent techniques, we investigated the microbiota associated with Bactrocera oleae, one of the major agricultural pests in olive-producing countries. Bacterial 16S rRNA gene libraries and ultrastructural analyses revealed the presence of several bacterial taxa associated with this insect, among which Acetobacter tropicalis was predominant. The recent increased detection of acetic acid bacteria as symbionts of other insect model organisms, such as Anopheles stephensi (G. Favia et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104:9047-9051, 2007) or Drosophila melanogaster (C. R. Cox and M. S. Gilmore, Infect. Immun. 75:1565-1576, 2007), prompted us to investigate the association established between A. tropicalis and B. oleae. Using an A. tropicalis-specific PCR assay, the symbiont was detected in all insects tested originating from laboratory stocks or field-collected from different locations in Greece. This acetic acid bacterium was successfully established in cell-free medium, and typing analyses, carried out on a collection of isolates, revealed that different A. tropicalis strains are present in fly populations. The capability to colonize and lodge in the digestive system of both larvae and adults and in Malpighian tubules of adults was demonstrated by using a strain labeled with a green fluorescent protein.
Article: The olive fly endosymbiont, "Candidatus Erwinia dacicola," switches from an intracellular existence to an extracellular existence during host insect development.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: As polyphagous, holometabolous insects, tephritid fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) provide a unique habitat for endosymbiotic bacteria, especially those microbes associated with the digestive system. Here we examine the endosymbiont of the olive fly [Bactrocera oleae (Rossi) (Diptera: Tephritidae)], a tephritid of great economic importance. "Candidatus Erwinia dacicola" was found in the digestive systems of all life stages of wild olive flies from the southwestern United States. PCR and microscopy demonstrated that "Ca. Erwinia dacicola" resided intracellularly in the gastric ceca of the larval midgut but extracellularly in the lumen of the foregut and ovipositor diverticulum of adult flies. "Ca. Erwinia dacicola" is one of the few nonpathogenic endosymbionts that transitions between intracellular and extracellular lifestyles during specific stages of the host's life cycle. Another unique feature of the olive fly endosymbiont is that unlike obligate endosymbionts of monophagous insects, "Ca. Erwinia dacicola" has a G+C nucleotide composition similar to those of closely related plant-pathogenic and free-living bacteria. These two characteristics of "Ca. Erwinia dacicola," the ability to transition between intracellular and extracellular lifestyles and a G+C nucleotide composition similar to those of free-living relatives, may facilitate survival in a changing environment during the development of a polyphagous, holometabolous host. We propose that insect-bacterial symbioses should be classified based on the environment that the host provides to the endosymbiont (the endosymbiont environment).Applied and environmental microbiology 09/2009; 75(22):7097-106. · 3.69 Impact Factor
Article: Horizontal transmission of the symbiotic bacterium Asaia sp. in the leafhopper Scaphoideus titanus Ball (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae).[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Bacteria of the genus Asaia have been recently recognized as secondary symbionts of different sugar-feeding insects, including the leafhopper Scaphoideus titanus, vector of Flavescence dorée phytoplasmas. Asaia has been shown to be localized in S. titanus gut, salivary glands and gonoducts and to be maternally transmitted to the progeny by an egg smearing mechanism. It is currently not known whether Asaia in S. titanus is transmitted by additional routes. We performed a study to evaluate if Asaia infection is capable of horizontal transmission via co-feeding and venereal routes. RESULTS: A Gfp-tagged strain of Asaia was provided to S. titanus individuals to trace the transmission pathways of the symbiotic bacterium. Co-feeding trials showed a regular transfer of bacterial cells from donors to recipients, with a peak of frequency after 72 hours of exposure, and with concentrations of the administrated strain growing over time. Venereal transmission experiments were first carried out using infected males paired with uninfected females. In this case, female individuals acquired Gfp-labelled Asaia, with highest infection rates 72-96 hours after mating and with increasing abundance of the tagged symbiont over time. When crosses between infected females and uninfected males were conducted, the occurrence of "female to male" transmission was observed, even though the transfer occurred unevenly. CONCLUSIONS: The data presented demonstrate that the acetic acid bacterial symbiont Asaia is horizontally transmitted among S. titanus individuals both by co-feeding and venereal transmission, providing one of the few direct demonstrations of such a symbiotic transfer in Hemiptera. This study contributes to the understanding of the bacterial ecology in the insect host, and indicates that Asaia evolved multiple pathways for the colonization of S. titanus body.BMC Microbiology 01/2012; 12 Suppl 1:S4. · 3.04 Impact Factor