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16S rRNA Sequencing Detected Profftella, Liberibacter, Wolbachia, and Diplorickettsia from Relatives of the Asian Citrus Psyllid


The Asian citrus psyllid Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera: Psylloidea) is a serious pest of citrus species worldwide because it transmits Candidatus Liberibacter spp. (Alphaproteobacteria: Rhizobiales), the causative agents of the incurable citrus disease, huanglongbing or greening disease. Diaphorina citri possesses a specialized organ called a bacteriome, which harbors vertically transmitted intracellular mutualists, Ca. Carsonella ruddii (Gammaproteobacteria: Oceanospirillales) and Ca. Profftella armatura (Gammaproteobacteria: Betaproteobacteriales). Whereas Carsonella is a typical nutritional symbiont, Profftella is an unprecedented type of toxin-producing defensive symbiont, unusually sharing organelle-like features with nutritional symbionts. Additionally, many D. citri strains are infected with Wolbachia, which manipulate reproduction in various arthropod hosts. In the present study, in an effort to obtain insights into the evolution of symbioses between Diaphorina and bacteria, microbiomes of psyllids closely related to D. citri were investigated. Bacterial populations of Diaphorina cf. continua and Diaphorina lycii were analyzed using Illumina sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons and compared with data obtained from D. citri. The analysis revealed that all three Diaphorina spp. harbor Profftella as well as Carsonella lineages, implying that Profftella is widespread within the genus Diaphorina. Moreover, the analysis identified Ca. Liberibacter europaeus and Diplorickettsia sp. (Gammaproteobacteria: Diplorickettsiales) in D. cf. continua, and a total of four Wolbachia (Alphaproteobacteria: Rickettsiales) lineages in the three psyllid species. These results provide deeper insights into the interactions among insects, bacteria, and plants, which would eventually help to better manage horticulture.

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We thank Václav Čermák (Central Institute for Supervising and Testing in Agriculture, Olomouc, Czech Republic) for his help to IM in acquiring the sample of Diaphorina cf. continua. This work was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science ( KAKENHI grant number 26292174 and research grants from Tatematsu Foundation and Nagase Science and Technology Foundation to AN. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Atsushi Nakabachi.

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The nucleotide sequence data are available in the DDBJ/EMBL/GenBank databases under the accession numbers DRR190968–DRR190970 (MiSeq output) and TAAA01000001–TAAA01000013 (dereplicated sequence variants).

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Nakabachi, A., Malenovský, I., Gjonov, I. et al. 16S rRNA Sequencing Detected Profftella, Liberibacter, Wolbachia, and Diplorickettsia from Relatives of the Asian Citrus Psyllid. Microb Ecol (2020).

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  • Diaphorina
  • Sternorrhyncha
  • Insect
  • Bacterial endosymbiont
  • Microbiome
  • Molecular phylogeny