The endosymbiont (Buchnera sp.) of the aphid Diuraphis noxia contains plasmids consisting of trpEG and tandem repeats of trpEG pseudogenes

Chi Yung Lai, Paul Baumann, Nancy Moran

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Most aphids are dependent for their survival on prokaryotic endosymbionts assigned to the genus Buchnera. Among the functions of Buchnera species is the synthesis of tryptophan, which is required by the aphid host. In Buchnera species from the aphid Diuraphis noxia, the genes for anthranilate synthase (trpEG) were found on a plasmid which consisted of seven tandem repeats of a 3.2-kb unit and one 2.6-kb unit which differed in containing a 0.6-kb deletion. One of the 3.2-kb units contained open reading frames corresponding to trpEG; the remaining units contained trpEG pseudogenes (ψ). The nucleotide sequence upstream of trpE contained a region that has characteristics of an origin of replication (ori). Relative to trpB (a chromosomal gene), there were about two copies of the trpEG-containing plasmid. Comparisons of the nucleotide sequences of the 3.2-kb units containing trpEG and ψtrpEG indicated that must changes occurred in a 700- nucleotide segment that included the region upstream of trpE and the portion of this gene coding for the N terminus. The consequence of these changes was the silencing of trpEG by inactivation of the putative promoter region and premature termination of the TrpE peptide. In contrast, the nucleotide sequence of the segment corresponding to ori was conserved in the units containing trpEG and ψtrpEG. We offer a number of speculations on the evolutionary pressure in this lineage which resulted in the silencing of most of trpEG while still retaining the regions resembling ori.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-339
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1996 Feb 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology

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