, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 126-133
Date: 24 Jan 2005

Characterization of a Facultative Endosymbiotic Bacterium of the Pea Aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum

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The pea aphid U-type symbiont (PAUS) was investigated to characterize its microbiological properties. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and electron microscopy revealed that PAUS was a rod-shaped bacterium found in three different locations in the body of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum: sheath cells, secondary mycetocytes, and hemolymph. Artificial transfer experiments revealed that PAUS could establish stable infection and vertical transmission when introduced into uninfected pea aphids. When 28 aphid species collected in Japan were subjected to a diagnostic PCR assay, four species of the subfamily Aphidinae (Aphis citricola, Aphis nerii, Macrosiphum avenae, and Uroleucon giganteus) and a species of the subfamily Pemphiginae (Colopha kansugei) were identified to be PAUS-positive. The sporadic incidences of PAUS infection without reflecting the aphid phylogeny can be best explained by occasional horizontal transfers of the symbiont across aphid lineages.