Aphid-Symbiotic Bacteria Cultured in Insect Cell Lines

Darby et al. (2005). Applied and Environmental Microbiology 71 (8)
Names (2)
“Consessor aphidicola” “Adiacens aphidicola”
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology Biotechnology Ecology Food Science
ABSTRACT The cells and tissues of many aphids contain bacteria known as “secondary symbionts,” which under specific environmental circumstances may be beneficial to the host insect. Such symbiotic bacteria are traditionally described as intractable to cultivation in vitro. Here we show that two types of aphid secondary symbionts, known informally as T type and U type, can be cultured and maintained in three insect cell lines. The identities of the cultured bacteria were confirmed by PCR with sequencing of 16S rRNA gene fragments and fluorescence in situ hybridization. In cell lines infected with bacteria derived from aphids harboring both T type and U type, the U type persisted, while the T type was lost. We suggest that the two bacteria persist in aphids because competition between them is limited by differences in tropism for insect tissues or cell types. The culture of these bacteria in insect cell lines provides a new and unique research opportunity, offering a source of unibacterial material for genomic studies and a model system to investigate the interactions between animal cells and bacteria. We propose the provisional taxon names “ Candidatus Consessoris aphidicola” for T type and “ Candidatus Adiaceo aphidicola” for U type.
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