Insect vectors transmit viruses and bacteria that can cause severe diseases in plants and economic losses due to a decrease in crop production. Insect vectors, like all other organisms, are colonized by a community of various microorganisms, which can influence their physiology, ecology, evolution, and also their competence as vectors. The important ecological meaning of bacteriophages in various ecosystems and their role in microbial communities has emerged in the past decade. However, only a few phages have been described so far in insect microbiomes. The leafhopper Euscelidius variegatus is a laboratory vector of the phytoplasma causing Flavescence doree, a severe grapevine disease that threatens viticulture in Europe. Here, the presence of a temperate bacteriophage in E. variegatus (named Euscelidius variegatus phage 1, EVP-1) was revealed through both insect transcriptome analyses and electron microscopic observations. The bacterial host was isolated in axenic culture and identified as the bacterial endosymbiont of E. variegatus (BEV), recently assigned to the genus Candidatus Symbiopectobacterium. BEV harbors multiple prophages that become active in culture, suggesting that different environments can trigger different mechanisms, finely regulating the interactions among phages. Understanding the complex relationships within insect vector microbiomes may help in revealing possible microbe influences on pathogen transmission, and it is a crucial step toward innovative sustainable strategies for disease management in agriculture.

Bacteriophage-Host Association in the Phytoplasma Insect Vector Euscelidius variegatus

Vallino, Marta;Rossi, Marika;Ottati, Sara;Martino, Gabriele;Galetto, Luciana;
2021-01-01

Abstract

Insect vectors transmit viruses and bacteria that can cause severe diseases in plants and economic losses due to a decrease in crop production. Insect vectors, like all other organisms, are colonized by a community of various microorganisms, which can influence their physiology, ecology, evolution, and also their competence as vectors. The important ecological meaning of bacteriophages in various ecosystems and their role in microbial communities has emerged in the past decade. However, only a few phages have been described so far in insect microbiomes. The leafhopper Euscelidius variegatus is a laboratory vector of the phytoplasma causing Flavescence doree, a severe grapevine disease that threatens viticulture in Europe. Here, the presence of a temperate bacteriophage in E. variegatus (named Euscelidius variegatus phage 1, EVP-1) was revealed through both insect transcriptome analyses and electron microscopic observations. The bacterial host was isolated in axenic culture and identified as the bacterial endosymbiont of E. variegatus (BEV), recently assigned to the genus Candidatus Symbiopectobacterium. BEV harbors multiple prophages that become active in culture, suggesting that different environments can trigger different mechanisms, finely regulating the interactions among phages. Understanding the complex relationships within insect vector microbiomes may help in revealing possible microbe influences on pathogen transmission, and it is a crucial step toward innovative sustainable strategies for disease management in agriculture.
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Euscelidius variegatus; Flavescence doreé; bacteriophages; electron microscopy; insect vectors; microbiome; phytoplasma; transcriptome
Vallino, Marta; Rossi, Marika; Ottati, Sara; Martino, Gabriele; Galetto, Luciana; Marzachì, Cristina; Abbà, Simona
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1876559
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