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Diversity and phylogenetic analyses of bacterial symbionts in three whitefly species from Southeast Europe

: Skaljac, M.; Kanakala, S.; Zanic, K.; Puizina, J.; Pleic, I.L.; Ghanim, M.

Volltext ()

Insects 8 (2017), Nr.4, Art. 113, 19 S.
ISSN: 2075-4450
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IME ()
bacterial symbionts; phylogenetic analyses; mtCOI; diversity; whiteflies

Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius), Trialeurodes vaporariorum (Westwood), and Siphoninus phillyreae (Haliday) are whitefly species that harm agricultural crops in many regions of the world. These insects live in close association with bacterial symbionts that affect host fitness and adaptation to the environment. In the current study, we surveyed the infection of whitefly populations in Southeast Europe by various bacterial symbionts and performed phylogenetic analyses on the different symbionts detected. Arsenophonus and Hamiltonella were the most prevalent symbionts in all three whitefly species. Rickettsia was found to infect mainly B. tabaci, while Wolbachia mainly infected both B. tabaci and S. phillyreae. Furthermore, Cardinium was rarely found in the investigated whitefly populations, while Fritschea was never found in any of the whitefly species tested. Phylogenetic analyses revealed a diversity of several symbionts (e.g., Hamiltonella, Arsenophonus, Rickettsia), which appeared in several clades. Reproductively isolated B. tabaci and T. vaporariorum shared the same (or highly similar) Hamiltonella and Arsenophonus, while these symbionts were distinctive in S. phillyreae. Interestingly, Arsenophonus from S. phillyreae did not cluster with any of the reported sequences, which could indicate the presence of Arsenophonus, not previously associated with whiteflies. In this study, symbionts (Wolbachia, Rickettsia, and Cardinium) known to infect a wide range of insects each clustered in the same clades independently of the whitefly species. These results indicate horizontal transmission of bacterial symbionts between reproductively isolated whitefly species, a mechanism that can establish new infections that did not previously exist in whiteflies.