Lateral Transfer of Genes from Fungi Underlies Carotenoid Production in Aphids

  title={Lateral Transfer of Genes from Fungi Underlies Carotenoid Production in Aphids},
  author={Nancy A. Moran and Tyler Jarvik},
  pages={624 - 627}
Pink for Me, Green for You Aphids come in different colors, a critical issue when fate is a question of pigmentation: Red aphids tend to be consumed by ladybugs and green ones by parasitic wasps. Aphid color is determined by carotenoids, the same group of chemicals that make flamingos pink. But unlike flamingos, which have to eat colored food to stay pink, aphids make their own pigment. Carotenoids are vital to animals, not only because of their decorative possibilities but also for their… 
Disruption of a horizontally transferred phytoene desaturase abolishes carotenoid accumulation and diapause in Tetranychus urticae
It is shown that mutations in a single horizontally transferred phytoene desaturase result in complete albinism in the two-spotted spider mites, Tetranychus urticae, as well as in the citrus red mite, Panonychus citri, showing a role for this enzyme in provisioning provitamin A carotenoids required for light perception.
Symbiotic Bacterium Modifies Aphid Body Color
It is discovered that infection with a facultative endosymbiont of the genus Rickettsiella changes the insects’ body color from red to green in natural populations of the pea aphid.
Endosymbiotic bacteria as a source of carotenoids in whiteflies
Although carotenoids serve important biological functions, animals are generally unable to synthesize these pigments and instead obtain them from food. However, many animals, such as sap-feeding
Horizontally transferred fungal carotenoid genes in the two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae
The search of available animal transcripts revealed the presence of two related genes in the two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae, indicating the importance of eukaryotic horizontal gene transfer in the ecology and evolution of higher animals.
Parental silencing of a horizontally transferred carotenoid desaturase gene causes a reduction of red pigment and fitness in the pea aphid.
It is demonstrated that CdeB is involved in red color formation and the silencing of this gene by parental RNAi reduced fitness in the pea aphid.
Elucidation of the whole carotenoid biosynthetic pathway of aphids at the gene level and arthropodal food chain involving aphids and the red dragonfly
It is shown that arthropodal food chain can be estimated using the uncommon carotenoids of aphids as ecological indicators and that aphids made significant contributions to the food chain of several predatory arthropods including the red-dragonfly adults.
A Fungal Past to Insect Color
An unexpected layer interwoven under this well-known evolutionary scenario is reported: Genes transferred from a fungus to the aphid genome underlie the red and green coloration.
Diversification of genes for carotenoid biosynthesis in aphids following an ancient transfer from a fungus.
The results indicate that aphid evolution has been accompanied by ongoing evolution of carotenogenic genes, which have undergone duplication, recombination, and occasional positive selection to yield a wide variety ofCarotenoid profiles in different aphid species.
The Evolution and Genetics of Carotenoid Processing in Animals.


The major carotenoid pigments of the grain aphid, Sitobion avenae (F.) (Hemiptera: Aphididae)
Comparison of absorbance maxima with known published values for carotenoids provides strong evidence for the identification of four of the carOTenoid pigments from brown aphids and one from green aphids, and the other carotanoids remain unidentified.
A single gene for lycopene cyclase, phytoene synthase, and regulation of carotene biosynthesis in Phycomyces.
Gene carRA contains separate domains for two enzymes, lycopene cyclase and phytoene synthase, and regulates the overall activity of the pathway and its response to physical and chemical stimuli from the environment.
Aphids acquired symbiotic genes via lateral gene transfer
Several lines of evidence are obtained indicating that aphids acquired genes from bacteria via lateral gene transfer and that these genes are used to maintain the obligately mutualistic bacterium, Buchnera.
Genome sequence of the endocellular bacterial symbiont of aphids Buchnera sp. APS
The results indicate that Buchnera is completely symbiotic and viable only in its limited niche, the bacteriocyte, and indicates complementarity and syntrophy between the host and the symbiont.
Bacterial Genes in the Aphid Genome: Absence of Functional Gene Transfer from Buchnera to Its Host
The results excluded the hypothesis that genome reduction in Buchnera has been accompanied by gene transfer to the host nuclear genome, but suggest that aphids utilize a set of duplicated genes acquired from other bacteria in the context of the BuchnerA–aphid mutualism.
A carotenoid biosynthesis gene cluster in Fusarium fujikuroi: the genes carB and carRA
The function of carRA is determined by gene disruption, suggesting the existence of a feedback regulatory mechanism in the filamentous fungus Fusarium fujikuroi.
Facultative bacterial symbionts in aphids confer resistance to parasitic wasps
Investigation of aphids for vulnerability of the aphid host to a hymenopteran parasitoid, Aphidius ervi, shows that infection confers resistance to parasitoids attack by causing high mortality of developing Parasitoid larvae.
Metabolic Engineering of the Carotenoid Biosynthetic Pathway in the Yeast Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous (Phaffia rhodozyma)
It is shown that in metabolic engineered X. dendrorhous strains, the competition between the enzymes phytoene desaturase and Lycopene cyclase for lycopene governs the metabolic flux either via β-carotene to astaxanthin or via 3,4-didehydrolycopene to 3-hydroxy-3′-4′-didhydro-β-ψ- caroten-4-one.
Horizontal gene transfer of the algal nuclear gene psbO to the photosynthetic sea slug Elysia chlorotica
It is demonstrated that foreign organelle retention generates metabolic novelty (“green animals”) and is explained by anastomosis of distinct branches of the tree of life driven by predation and horizontal gene transfer.
Blakeslea trispora Genes for Carotene Biosynthesis
The results show that these genes are conserved across the zygomycetes and that the B. trispora carB and carRA genes are functional and potentially useable to increase carotenoid production.