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Parasitoids as vectors of facultative bacterial endosymbionts in aphids


Gehrer, Lukas; Vorburger, Christoph (2012). Parasitoids as vectors of facultative bacterial endosymbionts in aphids. Biology Letters, 8(4):613-615.

Abstract

Heritable bacterial endosymbionts play an important role in aphid ecology. Sequence-based evidence suggests that facultative symbionts such as Hamiltonella defensa or Regiella insecticola also undergo horizontal transmission. Other than through male-to-female transfer during the sexual generation in autumn, the routes by which this occurs remain largely unknown. Here, we tested if parasitoids or ectoparasitic mites can act as vectors for horizontal transfer of facultative symbionts. Using symbiont-specific primers for diagnostic PCR, we demonstrate for the first time, to our knowledge, that parasitoids can indeed transfer H. defensa and R. insecticola by sequentially stabbing infected and uninfected individuals of their host, Aphis fabae, establishing new, heritable infections. Thus, a natural route of horizontal symbiont transmission is also available during the many clonal generations of the aphid life cycle. No transmissions by ectoparasitic mites were observed, nor did parasitoids that emerged from symbiont-infected aphids transfer any symbionts in our experiments.

Abstract

Heritable bacterial endosymbionts play an important role in aphid ecology. Sequence-based evidence suggests that facultative symbionts such as Hamiltonella defensa or Regiella insecticola also undergo horizontal transmission. Other than through male-to-female transfer during the sexual generation in autumn, the routes by which this occurs remain largely unknown. Here, we tested if parasitoids or ectoparasitic mites can act as vectors for horizontal transfer of facultative symbionts. Using symbiont-specific primers for diagnostic PCR, we demonstrate for the first time, to our knowledge, that parasitoids can indeed transfer H. defensa and R. insecticola by sequentially stabbing infected and uninfected individuals of their host, Aphis fabae, establishing new, heritable infections. Thus, a natural route of horizontal symbiont transmission is also available during the many clonal generations of the aphid life cycle. No transmissions by ectoparasitic mites were observed, nor did parasitoids that emerged from symbiont-infected aphids transfer any symbionts in our experiments.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:12 Feb 2013 09:04
Last Modified:10 Dec 2017 06:14
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing
ISSN:1744-9561
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2012.0144
PubMed ID:22417790

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