The genome of “
Portiera aleyrodidarum,” the primary endosymbiont of the whitefly
(Mediterranean species), is reported. It presents a reduced genome (357 kb) encoding the capability to synthetize, or participate in the synthesis of, several amino acids and carotenoids, being the first insect endosymbiont capable of supplying carotenoids.
Previously, analysis of 16S rDNA sequences placed a newly discovered lineage of bacterial symbionts of arthropods in the ‘Bacteroidetes’. This symbiont lineage is associated with a number of diverse host reproductive manipulations, including induction of parthenogenesis in severalEncarsiaparasitoid wasps (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae). In this study, electron microscopy and phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA andgyrBgenes of symbionts fromEncarsia hispidaandEncarsia pergandiellaare used to describe and further characterize these bacteria. Phylogenetic analyses based on these two genes showed that theEncarsiasymbionts are allied with theCytophaga aurantiacalineage within the ‘Bacteroidetes’, with their closest described relative being the acanthamoeba symbiont ‘CandidatusAmoebophilus asiaticus’. TheEncarsiasymbionts share 97 % 16S rDNA sequence similarity withBrevipalpusmite andIxodestick symbionts and 88 % sequence similarity with ‘CandidatusA. asiaticus’. Electron microscopy revealed that many of the bacteria found in the ovaries of the twoEncarsiaspecies contained a regular, brush-like array of microfilament-like structures that appear to be characteristic of the symbiont. Finally, the role of this bacterium in parthenogenesis induction inE. hispidawas confirmed. Based on phylogenetic analyses and electron microscopy, classification of the symbionts fromEncarsiaas ‘CandidatusCardinium hertigii’ is proposed.