Reference Work Entry

The Prokaryotes

pp 403-438

Bacteriocyte-Associated Endosymbionts of Insects

  • Paul Baumann
  • , Nancy A. Moran
  • , Linda Baumann


Intracellular associations between bacteria and insects are widespread in nature (Baumann and Moran, 1997; Buchner, 1965; Dasch et al., 1984; Douglas, 1989; Houk and Griffiths, 1980). Extensive studies of the natural history of such associations have led to the conclusion that they are commonly found in insects that utilize diets containing an excess of one class of compounds but a deficiency of some essential nutrients (Buchner, 1965; Dadd, 1985). It was thought that the function of the endosymbionts was to rectify this imbalance by the synthesis of these essential nutrients for the host. Extensive compilations of the occurrence of endosymbionts in different groups of insects are found in Buchner (1965) and Dasch et al. (1984). Because most of the prokaryotes involved in such associations are not cultivable on common laboratory media, their characterization had to await the development of recombinant DNA methodology. The past 10 years have witnessed the initiat ...

This is an excerpt from the content