Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unique adaptations to a symbiotic lifestyle reveal novel targets for aphid insecticides

Date:
April 18, 2012
Source:
University of York
Summary:
Biologists have potential new targets for aphid-specific insecticides. Aphids' diet of plants' sugary sap is limited in nitrogenous essential amino acids. To solve this problem, the aphid must use a bacterial symbiont, Buchnera, that lives inside special insect cells and supplements the animal's diet with the required nutrients.

Colony of Elder aphids, Aphis sambuci.
Credit: © PiLensPhoto / Fotolia

Aphids are pests that cause millions of pounds of damage to crops in the UK, but new research led by biologists at the University of York reveals potential new targets for aphid-specific insecticides.

Because it lives exclusively on the sugary sap of plants, aphids' diet is limited in nitrogenous essential amino acids. To solve this problem, the aphid must use a bacterial symbiont, Buchnera, that lives inside special insect cells and supplements the animal's diet with the required nutrients.

Researchers funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) in the Department of Biology at the University of York and Cornell University in the USA, have just published a significant advance in our understanding of how this symbiosis works by studying the specific adaptations in the specialised bacteriocyte cells that have evolved to house the bacteria.

By using computational modelling of the metabolism of the aphid bacteriocytes, combined with experimental data, the scientists have revealed an unexpected twist in the metabolic basis of the symbiosis, namely that it is the insect cells that recycle nitrogen to build essential amino acids, rather than the bacterial cells themselves as previously thought. The work also demonstrates that the overall metabolism of the bacteriocyte has evolved to provide for the metabolic demands of its partner and also to recycle waste products produced by Buchnera metabolism.

Project lead at the University of York, Dr Gavin Thomas said: "The research reveals enzymes that are needed by the aphid to manage its bacterial symbionts, thus also providing potential targets for aphid-specific insecticides.

On the approach that was used, he added: "The project is a great example of the possibilities of systems biology, integrating transcriptomic, proteomics, metabolic models and flux balance analysis to propose and test novel hypotheses about the way these two organisms interact."

The work is published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Science and was led by Dr Sandy Macdonald, a postdoctoral researcher in Dr Thomas's laboratory at York working with collaborators led by Professor Angela Douglas at Cornell University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of York. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. J. Macdonald, G. G. Lin, C. W. Russell, G. H. Thomas, A. E. Douglas. The central role of the host cell in symbiotic nitrogen metabolism. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.0414

Cite This Page:

University of York. "Unique adaptations to a symbiotic lifestyle reveal novel targets for aphid insecticides." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120418135136.htm>.
University of York. (2012, April 18). Unique adaptations to a symbiotic lifestyle reveal novel targets for aphid insecticides. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120418135136.htm
University of York. "Unique adaptations to a symbiotic lifestyle reveal novel targets for aphid insecticides." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120418135136.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The best canine surfers gathered for Huntington Beach's annual dog surfing competition, "Surf City, Surf Dog." Duration: 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins