McCutcheon, John P.


Repeated replacement of an intrabacterial symbiont in the tripartite nested mealybug symbiosis

Husnik, McCutcheon (2016). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113 (37)
“Doolittlea endobia”
Significance Mealybugs are plant sap-sucking insects with a nested symbiotic arrangement, where one bacterium lives inside another bacterium, which together live inside insect cells. These two bacteria, along with genes transferred from other bacteria to the insect genome, allow the insect to survive on its nutrient-poor diet. Here, we show that the innermost bacterium in this nested symbiosis was replaced several times over evolutionary history. These results show that highly integrat