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Genome sequencing and assembly of Candidatus Skilesia alterna

posted on 2024-06-11, 05:46 authored by University of Texas at Austin
One of the most prominent examples of obligate symbiosis is the relationship between aphids and their bacterial endosymbiont Buchnera aphidicola (Gammaproteobacteria). Almost all aphids host the anciently acquired symbiont Buchnera, but we find that Geopemphigus species have lost Buchnera and rather contain a maternally transmitted bacterial symbiont from the phylum Bacteroidetes. In this study we characterize this new bacterial endosymbiont by sequencing the complete genome of the novel symbiont and show that the symbiont has lost many ancestral genes, resulting in a genome size intermediate between that of free-living and symbiotic Bacteroidetes species. Many of the genes retained in the Geopemphigus symbiont genome are involved in biosynthetic pathways for amino acids and vitamins, as in Buchnera and other insect symbionts. We use FISH microscopy to localize the Bacteroidetes symbiont of Geopemphigus and show symbionts housed within maternal bacteriocytes and within developing embryos. We propose the name “Candidatus Skilesia alterna” for the novel symbiont, which is evolutionarily distinct from any known bacterial species. This case of evolutionary replacement of Buchnera provides an opportunity to further understand the evolution and functional genomics of symbiosis.


National Science Foundation, 1551092

U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2016-67012-24676


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BioProject Curation Staff


National Center for Biotechnology Information

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  • Non-geospatial

ISO Topic Category

  • biota

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

genomics; sequence analysis; genome assembly

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public

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It is recommended to cite the accession numbers that are assigned to data submissions, e.g. the GenBank, WGS or SRA accession numbers. If individual BioProjects need to be referenced, state that "The data have been deposited with links to BioProject accession number PRJNA414766 in the NCBI BioProject database ("

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