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Genome size of Pachypsylla venusta (Hemiptera: Psyllidae) and the ploidy of its bacteriocyte, the symbiotic host cell that harbors intracellular mutualistic bacteria with the smallest cellular genome

  • A. Nakabachi (a1), S. Koshikawa (a2), T. Miura (a2) and S. Miyagishima (a1)


Psyllids harbor the primary symbiont, Carsonella ruddii (γ-Proteobacteria), within the cytoplasm of specialized cells called bacteriocytes. Carsonella has the smallest known cellular genome (160 kb), lacking numerous genes that appear to be essential for bacterial life. This raises the question regarding the genetic mechanisms of the host which supports the survival of Carsonella. Our preceding analyses have indicated that some of the genes that are encoded in the psyllid genome and which are highly expressed in the bacteriocyte are of bacterial origin. This implies that psyllids acquired genes from bacteria by lateral gene transfer (LGT) and are using these genes to maintain the primary symbiont, Carsonella. To reveal the complete picture of LGT from symbiotic bacteria to the genome of psyllids, whole genome analysis of psyllids is essential. In order to assess the feasibility of whole genome analysis of the host psyllid, the genome size of the hackberry petiole gall psyllid, Pachypsylla venusta, was estimated. Feulgen image analysis densitometry and flow cytometry demonstrated that the haploid genome size of P. venusta is 0.74 pg (724 Mb), verifying the feasibility of whole genome analysis. Feulgen image analysis densitometry further revealed that bacteriocytes of P. venusta are invariably 16-ploid. This higher ploidy may be essential to facilitate the symbiotic relationship with bacteria, as it appears to be a feature common to insect bacteriocytes. These results provide a foundation for genomics-based research into host-symbiont interactions.


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Genome size of Pachypsylla venusta (Hemiptera: Psyllidae) and the ploidy of its bacteriocyte, the symbiotic host cell that harbors intracellular mutualistic bacteria with the smallest cellular genome

  • A. Nakabachi (a1), S. Koshikawa (a2), T. Miura (a2) and S. Miyagishima (a1)


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