We investigated seed bugs of the genus Nysius (Insecta: Hemiptera: Lygaeidae) for their symbiotic bacteria. From all the samples representing 4 species, 18 populations and 281 individuals, specific bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences were consistently identified, which formed a distinct clade in the Gammaproteobacteria. In situ hybridization showed that the bacterium was endocellularly localized in a pair of large bacteriomes that were amorphous in shape, deep red in color, and in association with gonads. In the ovary of adult females, the endosymbiont was also localized in the 'infection zone' in the middle of each germarium and in the 'symbiont ball' at the anterior pole of each oocyte, indicating vertical transmission of the endosymbiont through the ovarial passage. Phylogenetic analyses based on bacterial 16S rRNA, groEL and gyrB genes consistently supported a coherent monophyly of the Nysius endosymbionts. The possibility of a sister relationship to 'Candidatus Kleidoceria schneideri', the bacteriome-associated endosymbiont of a lygaeid bug Kleidocerys resedae, was statistically rejected, indicating independent evolutionary origins of the endosymbionts in the Lygaeidae. The endosymbiont genes consistently exhibited AT-biased nucleotide compositions and accelerated rates of molecular evolution, and the endosymbiont genome was only 0.6 Mb in size. The endosymbiont phylogeny was congruent with the host insect phylogeny, suggesting strict vertical transmission and host-symbiont co-speciation over evolutionary time. Based on these results, we discuss the evolution of bacteriomes and endosymbionts in the Heteroptera, most members of which are associated with gut symbiotic bacteria. The designation Candidatus Schneideria nysicola is proposed for the endosymbiont clade.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics