Transition of symbiotic lifestyles by gene loss or gain: Blattabacterium in cockroaches-lower termites and spirochetes in higher termites
Aug 20, 2018
Prof. Dr. Gaku Tokuda
University of the Ryukyus, Center of Molecular Biosciences, Japan
MPI for Terrestrial Microbiology
Prof. Dr. Andreas Brune
Evolution of symbiosis in Dictyopyteran insects experienced multiple losses of their essential symbionts. Nevertheless, these insects succeed in the world. This talk introduces two examples related to these events. The endosymbiont Blattabacterium showed parallel genome erosions in lineages to woodroaches and the primitive termites. Following this event, termites lost the endosymbiont and depend on the cellulolytic flagellates and their bacterial symbionts for nutrition. However, these flagellates were lost in higher termites, which disabled them for wood digestion. Intriguingly, termites again developed xylophagy multiple times without these flagellates, where a horizontal gene transfer to spirochetes was likely involved in this event.