Bacterial Endosymbionts in Animals

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2000 Jun;3(3):270-5. doi: 10.1016/s1369-5274(00)00088-6.


Molecular phylogenetic studies reveal that many endosymbioses between bacteria and invertebrate hosts result from ancient infections followed by strict vertical transmission within host lineages. Endosymbionts display a distinctive constellation of genetic properties including AT-biased base composition, accelerated sequence evolution, and, at least sometimes, small genome size; these features suggest increased genetic drift. Molecular genetic characterization also has revealed adaptive, host-beneficial traits such as amplification of genes underlying nutrient provision.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Plasmids / physiology
  • Symbiosis / physiology*