Candidatus Mesenet longicola”: Novel Endosymbionts of Brontispa longissima that Induce Cytoplasmic Incompatibility


Intracellular bacteria that are mainly transmitted maternally affect their arthropod hosts’ biology in various ways. One such effect is known as cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), and three bacterial species are known to induce CI: Wolbachia, Cardinium hertigii, and a recently found alphaproteobacterial symbiont. To clarify the taxonomic status and provide the foundation for future studies to reveal CI mechanisms and other phenotypes, we investigated genetic and morphological properties of the third CI inducer that we have previously reported inducing CI in the coconut beetle Brontispa longissima. The draft genome of the bacteria was obtained from the oocytes of two isofemale lines of B. longissima infected with the bacteria: one from Japan (GL2) and the other from Vietnam (L5). Genome features of the symbionts (sGL2 and sL5) were highly similar, showing 1.3 Mb in size, 32.1% GC content, and 99.83% average nucleotide sequence. A phylogenetic study based on 43 universal and single-copy phylogenetic marker genes indicates that they formed a distinct clade in the family Anaplasmataceae. 16S rRNA gene sequences indicate that they are different from the closest known relatives, at least at the genus level. Therefore, we propose a new genus and species, “Candidatus Mesenet longicola”, for the symbionts of B. longissima. Morphological analyses showed that Ca. M. longicola is an intracellular bacterium that is ellipsoidal to rod-shaped and 0.94 ± 0.26 μm (mean ± SD) in length, and accumulated in the anterior part of the oocyte. Candidates for the Ca. M. longicola genes responsible for CI induction are also described.

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Data Availability

The draft genomes of Ca. M. longicola have been deposited in the DNA Data Bank of Japan (DDBJ)/European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)/GenBank database with accession number DRR226614-DRR226615.


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We thank Naruto Furuya, Kazuhiko Iiyama, and Chisa Yasunaga-Aoki for their suggestions on the study design; Kazunori Matsuo for the suggestions in the nomenclature; Nguyen Tuan Dat and Tran Van Chien for their help in collecting insects in Vietnam; Katsuya Fukami and the Materials Management Center of Kyushu University for arranging transfer of the materials used in this study; Yataro So, Kenji So, Sun Green Co., Ltd., and Futamigaura Cemetery for providing food plants for insect rearing.


This study was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science KAKENHI Grant 18H02207 (ST) and 16H06279 (PAGS).

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S. T, Y. G., and T. H. designed the experiments. S. T. and Y. G. performed the experiments and data analyses. S. T. and Y. G. wrote the original draft of the manuscript. All authors reviewed the manuscript and agreed with the final version.

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Correspondence to Shun-ichiro Takano.

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Takano, Si., Gotoh, Y. & Hayashi, T. “Candidatus Mesenet longicola”: Novel Endosymbionts of Brontispa longissima that Induce Cytoplasmic Incompatibility. Microb Ecol (2021).

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  • Anaplasmataceae
  • Biological control
  • Symbiont
  • Wolbachia