Helen E Dunbar

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Previous studies have suggested that the minimal cellular genome could be as small as 400 kilobases. Here, we report the complete genome sequence of the psyllid symbiont Carsonella ruddii, which consists of a circular chromosome of 159,662 base pairs, averaging 16.5% GC content. It is by far the smallest and most AT-rich bacterial genome yet characterized.(More)
Mutualistic intracellular symbiosis between bacteria and insects is a widespread phenomenon that has contributed to the global success of insects. The symbionts, by provisioning nutrients lacking from diets, allow various insects to occupy or dominate ecological niches that might otherwise be unavailable. One such insect is the glassy-winged sharpshooter(More)
Aphids maintain mutualistic symbioses involving consortia of coinherited organisms. All possess a primary endosymbiont, Buchnera, which compensates for dietary deficiencies; many also contain secondary symbionts, such as Hamiltonella defensa, which confers defense against natural enemies. Genome sequences of uncultivable secondary symbionts have been(More)
The leafhoppers (Insecta: Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) are the most species-rich group of invertebrates in which intracellular symbionts are usual. Here we present the first molecular characterization of bacteriome-associates in the leafhoppers, with focus on the subfamily Cicadellinae (sharpshooters). Phylogenetic analyses of 16S rDNA sequences from(More)
Buchnera aphidicola, the obligate symbiont of aphids, has an extremely reduced genome, of which about 10% is devoted to the biosynthesis of essential amino acids needed by its hosts. Most regulatory genes for these pathways are absent, raising the question of whether and how transcription of these genes responds to the major shifts in dietary amino acid(More)
The smallest cellular genomes are found in obligate symbiotic and pathogenic bacteria living within eukaryotic hosts. In comparison with large genomes of free-living relatives, these reduced genomes are rearranged and have lost most regulatory elements. To test whether reduced bacterial genomes incur reduced regulatory capacities, we used full-genome(More)
Symbiosis is a ubiquitous phenomenon generating biological complexity, affecting adaptation, and expanding ecological capabilities. However, symbionts, which can be subject to genetic limitations such as clonality and genomic degradation, also impose constraints on hosts. A model of obligate symbiosis is that between aphids and the bacterium Buchnera(More)
A noted cost of mating is the risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections that are detrimental to the recipient. But many microbial associates of eukaryotes are mutualistic, raising the possibility that sexual contact provides the opportunity to acquire symbionts that are beneficial. In aphids, facultative bacterial symbionts, which benefit hosts by(More)
We found that insertion sequence (IS) elements are unusually abundant in the relatively recently evolved bacterial endosymbionts of maize weevils. Because multicopy elements can facilitate genomic recombination and deletion, this IS expansion may represent an early stage in the genomic reduction that is common in most ancient endosymbionts.
The best studied insect-symbiont system is that of aphids and their primary bacterial endosymbiont Buchnera aphidicola. Buchnera inhabits specialized host cells called bacteriocytes, provides nutrients to the aphid and has co-speciated with its aphid hosts for the past 150 million years. We have used a single microarray to examine gene expression in the pea(More)