Good fences make good neighbors

December 27, 2022

Symbiotic bacteria live in separate habitats in a single cell in insects

The University of Toyama, Gunma University, and the RIKEN CSRS, in collaboration with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, have discovered that two species of symbiotic bacteria, which play essential roles in the survival and reproduction of Sweet potato whitefly and its relatives, a well-known agricultural pest, does “habitat segregation” in a tiny space of a single cell within the whitefly body.

Many insects are known to harbor multiple species of symbiotic bacteria that play essential roles in their survival and reproduction. However, these bacteria are generally housed in separate cells and tissues of insects, and the phenomenon of their segregation within the same cell has been completely unknown. This discovery provides a new perspective on understanding microbial ecology and the evolution of symbiosis.

Original article
Microbiology Spectrum doi:10.1128/spectrum.04684-22
A. Fujiwara, X.-Y. Meng, Y. Kamagata, T. Tsuchida,
"Subcellular niche segregation of co-obligate symbionts in whiteflies".
Akiko Fujiwara
Visiting Scientist
Chemical Genomics Research Group