Genetic Structure of the Bacterial Endosymbiont Buchnera aphidicola from Its Host Aphid Schlechtendalia chinensis and Evolutionary Implications
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Buchnera aphidicola is a primary symbiotic bacterium which provides essential amino acids to aphids. In this study, we sequenced nuclear 16s rDNA and atpAGD genes for 156 individuals of B. aphidicola from eight geographically distant populations to investigate the genetic diversity and structure of B. aphidicola associated to the sumac gall aphid Schlechtendalia chinensis in central and southern China. Our analyses of the combined sequences showed that B. aphidicola from S. chinensis had high haplotype and nucleotide diversity (h = 0.893; π = 0.00164). One of the 16 haplotypes detected had a wide geographic distribution across the central and southern China and was probably the ancestral haplotype of B. aphidicola from S. chinensis. A network and phylogenetic analysis revealed a geographic structure in which the 16 haplotypes of B. aphidicola were divided into the northern and southern clades separated by the Yangtze River. The two clades diverged from each other at 22.1 ± 3.7 Mya according to our divergence time estimations. Therefore, the modern genetic structure in B. aphidicola from S. chinensis has been probably impacted by historical geological events. Combined with the data from GenBank, we also reconstructed the phylogenetic relationships of three aphid subfamilies and their symbiont bacteria. The results indicated significant topological correlations between the aphid and bacterial phylogenies at interspecific levels.
We thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions on revision. This study was funded by the National High Technology Research and Development “863” Program (2014AA021802), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31170359), Shanxi Scholarship Council of China (2013-020), the Hundred-Talent Project in Shanxi Province, the Endowment Program of the Smithsonian Institution, and the Laboratory of Analytical Biology, the Small Grants Program, and the Global Genome Initiative of the National Museum of Natural History.
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