Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A colorful combination

10.01.2011
The ability of bacteria to change the body color of aphids has ecological consequences

A bacterium that can live symbiotically inside the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, is able to change the insect’s body color from red to green, a RIKEN-led team of molecular entomologists has found[1].

Because body color affects how other animals are attracted to aphids, infection with the bacterium is expected to impact on interactions with other symbiotic organisms, predators and parasites. Studies of the molecular mechanism behind the color change could lead to technologies for generating pigments more efficiently, and also for changing the appearance of some organisms, the researchers say.

Both red and green forms of pea aphid occur in natural populations. Previous research by other workers has shown that body color is correlated with the presence or absence of a single gene, and that red is dominant. Ecologically, the balance between the colors is maintained because the most important predators, ladybug beetles, preferentially eat red aphids, while parasitoid wasps attack the green form.

While screening aphids collected in France, Tsutomu Tsuchida from the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute in Wako, together with colleagues from France, and from other Japanese research institutions, found several strains of green aphids with red young that turned green as adults.

Studies by Tsuchida and other researchers have demonstrated that symbiotic bacteria play a role in the adaptation of pea aphids to particular varieties of plants and to high temperature, as well as in the development of resistance to natural enemies. On investigating the symbiotic bacteria in Western Europe, the researchers found that about 8% of pea aphids are infected by a previously unrecognized species of Rickettsiella bacteria. Measurements of growth rate, body size and fecundity of infected aphids showed no negative impact on fitness.

By generating separate lines of aphids infected and uninfected by Rickettsiella, Tsuchida and his colleagues were able to show that uninfected red aphids always retained their color, as did all green aphids. Not all infected red aphids turned green, but the color change from red to green was always associated with Rickettsiella (Fig. 1). In fact, the intensity of green color depended on the level of infection. The researchers thus concluded that the color change depended on an interaction between the Rickettsiella and aphid genomes.

“We are now extensively analyzing the genome sequence of the symbiotic bacterium and symbiont-induced gene expression of the host aphid,” Tsuchida says. “These analyses should show us the molecular and metabolic interplay that leads to the body color change.”

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the Molecular Entomology Laboratory, RIKEN Advanced Science Institute

Journal information

[1] Tsuchida, T., Koga, R., Horikawa, M., Tsunoda, T., Maoka, T., Matsumoto, S., Simon, J.-C. & Fukatsu, T. Symbiotic bacterium modifies aphid body color. Science 330, 1102–1104 (2010).

gro-pr | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.riken.jp
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Osaka university researchers make the slipperiest surfaces adhesive

18.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Space radiation won't stop NASA's human exploration

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Los Alamos researchers and supercomputers help interpret the latest LIGO findings

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>