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Molecular characterization, ultrastructure, and transovarial transmission of Tremblaya phenacola in six mealybugs of the Phenacoccinae subfamily (Insecta, Hemiptera, Coccomorpha)

Michalik, Anna, Michalik, Katarzyna, Grzywacz, Beata, Kalandyk-Kołodziejczyk, Małgorzata, Szklarzewicz, Teresa
Protoplasma 2019 v.256 no.6 pp. 1597-1608
Peliococcus, Phenacoccus aceris, bacteria, bacteriocytes, genes, histology, insects, neck, reproduction, ribosomal RNA, transovarial transmission, ultrastructure
Mealybugs (Hemiptera, Coccomorpha: Pseudococcidae) are plant sap-sucking insects which require close association with nutritional microorganisms for their proper development and reproduction. Here, we present the results of histological, ultrastructural, and molecular analyses of symbiotic systems of six mealybugs belonging to the Phenacoccinae subfamily: Phenacoccus aceris, Rhodania porifera, Coccura comari, Mirococcus clarus, Peliococcus calluneti, and Ceroputo pilosellae. Molecular analyses based on bacterial 16S rRNA genes have revealed that all the investigated species of Phenacoccinae are host to only one type of symbiotic bacteria—a large pleomorphic betaproteobacteria—Tremblaya phenacola. In all the species examined, bacteria are localized in the specialized cells of the host-insect termed bacteriocytes and are transovarially transmitted between generations. The mode of transovarial transmission is similar in all of the species investigated. Infection takes place in the neck region of the ovariole, between the tropharium and vitellarium. The co-phylogeny between mealybugs and bacteria Tremblaya has been also analyzed.