Document Detail

Phage loss and the breakdown of a defensive symbiosis in aphids.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23193123     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Terrestrial arthropods are often infected with heritable bacterial symbionts, which may themselves be infected by bacteriophages. However, what role, if any, bacteriophages play in the regulation and maintenance of insect-bacteria symbioses is largely unknown. Infection of the aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum by the bacterial symbiont Hamiltonella defensa confers protection against parasitoid wasps, but only when H. defensa is itself infected by the phage A. pisum secondary endosymbiont (APSE). Here, we use a controlled genetic background and correlation-based assays to show that loss of APSE is associated with up to sevenfold increases in the intra-aphid abundance of H. defensa. APSE loss is also associated with severe deleterious effects on aphid fitness: aphids infected with H. defensa lacking APSE have a significantly delayed onset of reproduction, lower weight at adulthood and half as many total offspring as aphids infected with phage-harbouring H. defensa, indicating that phage loss can rapidly lead to the breakdown of the defensive symbiosis. Our results overall indicate that bacteriophages play critical roles in both aphid defence and the maintenance of heritable symbiosis.
S R Weldon; M R Strand; K M Oliver
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society     Volume:  280     ISSN:  1471-2954     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Biol. Sci.     Publication Date:  2013 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-11-29     Completed Date:  2013-05-06     Revised Date:  2014-01-23    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101245157     Medline TA:  Proc Biol Sci     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  20122103     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Analysis of Variance
Aphids / microbiology*,  physiology
DNA Primers / genetics
Enterobacteriaceae / virology*
Genetic Fitness / genetics*
Population Dynamics
Reproduction / physiology
Vicia faba
Viral Proteins / genetics,  metabolism
Reg. No./Substance:
0/DNA Primers; 0/Viral Proteins

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