Document Detail

Sexual acquisition of beneficial symbionts in aphids.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16908834     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
A noted cost of mating is the risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections that are detrimental to the recipient. But many microbial associates of eukaryotes are mutualistic, raising the possibility that sexual contact provides the opportunity to acquire symbionts that are beneficial. In aphids, facultative bacterial symbionts, which benefit hosts by conferring resistance to natural enemies or to heat, are transmitted maternally with high fidelity and are maintained stably throughout hundreds of parthenogenetic generations in the laboratory. Data from field populations indicate that horizontal transfer of these facultative symbionts is frequent, and transfections are readily achieved by microinjection or ingestion in artificial diet. However, no natural mechanism for the horizontal transfer of these symbionts has been identified. Here we demonstrate that during sexual reproduction, male-borne symbionts can be acquired by females and subsequently transferred to sexually and parthenogenetically produced progeny, establishing stable, maternally transmitted associations. In our experiments, sexually transmitted symbionts resulted in (i) infection of previously uninfected matrilines, (ii) a double infection in a matriline already bearing a different symbiont, and (iii) replacement of the maternal symbiont. We also observed some cases in which maternal symbionts failed to become established in sexually produced progeny. Microscopy indicated that symbionts were abundant in the male reproductive system, which demonstrates a natural route of nonmaternal transfer of insect symbionts. Because such transfer can generate coinfections, thereby creating opportunities for symbiont competition and recombination, paternal inheritance has major consequences for expectations regarding symbiont evolution.
Nancy A Moran; Helen E Dunbar
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.     Date:  2006-08-14
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America     Volume:  103     ISSN:  0027-8424     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.     Publication Date:  2006 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-08-30     Completed Date:  2006-09-29     Revised Date:  2009-11-18    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505876     Medline TA:  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  12803-6     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Aphids / anatomy & histology,  microbiology*,  physiology*
Oocytes / growth & development
Reproduction / physiology
Symbiosis / physiology*

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