Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tiny bugs in mealybugs have smaller bugs inside them

28.08.2002


Like tiny Russian dolls, the mealybugs that infest your houseplants carry bacteria inside their cells that are themselves infected with another type of bacteria. A new study by researchers at the University of California, Davis, shows that instead of spreading from bug to bug, the second set of bacteria infected the first several times in the past and are now being passed along and evolving with them.



The knowledge could be useful for working out how the insect species are related to each other, aiding pest control efforts.

Scientists had previously known that mealybugs carry two different types of bacteria. In 2001, researchers at Utah State University led by Carol von Dohlen showed that one type, called the secondary or S-endosymbiont, was actually inside the other, called the primary or P-endosymbiont. The P-endosymbionts were themselves inside specialized cells in the mealybug’s body.


The P-endosymbionts seem to benefit mealybugs by making essential amino acids not found in their diet of plant sap, said UC Davis microbiology professor Paul Baumann.

"The insect has domesticated a bacterium for its own use," Baumann said. So far, no one knows what benefits flow to the insect or the P-endosymbiont from the S-endosymbionts, he said.

Baumann, with postgraduate researcher My Lo Thao and entomology professor Penny Gullan studied DNA sequences of P-and S-endosymbionts from several different species of mealybugs to see how they were related to each other.

The P-endosymbionts are all descended from an infection of an ancestor bug 150 to 250 million years ago, Baumann said. The S-endosymbionts had infected P-endosymbionts at least four times. Since then, the bacteria have been passed down through generations of bugs and split into new species at the same time as their hosts.

Because the evolutionary trees of the bugs, their bacteria and their bacteria’s bacteria are so similar, the bacterial DNA sequences can be used to identify the insects and work out how the different species of mealybug are related to each other. Bacterial DNA is easier to work with than insect DNA, Baumann said.

Mealybugs belong to the same group of insects as aphids and psyllids. Many members of the group are significant pests on farms, gardens and houseplants.

Andy Fell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucdavis.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Protein linked to cancer acts as a viscous glue in cell division
08.07.2020 | Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

nachricht Enzymes as double agents: new mechanism discovered in protein modification
08.07.2020 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Excitation of robust materials

Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class

In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

Im Focus: The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.

Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...

Im Focus: Gentle wall contact – the right scenario for a fusion power plant

Quasi-continuous power exhaust developed as a wall-friendly method on ASDEX Upgrade

A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...

Im Focus: ILA Goes Digital – Automation & Production Technology for Adaptable Aircraft Production

Live event – July 1, 2020 - 11:00 to 11:45 (CET)
"Automation in Aerospace Industry @ Fraunhofer IFAM"

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM l Stade is presenting its forward-looking R&D portfolio for the first time at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Shock-dissipating fractal cubes could forge high-tech armor

08.07.2020 | Materials Sciences

Scientists use nanoparticle-delivered gene therapy to inhibit blinding eye disease in rodents

08.07.2020 | Health and Medicine

'Growing' active sites on quantum dots for robust H2 photogeneration

08.07.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>