Phylogenetic Placement of Pentatomid Stink Bug Gut Symbionts

Curr Microbiol. 2009 Jan;58(1):64-9. doi: 10.1007/s00284-008-9267-9. Epub 2008 Sep 23.


Insect bacterial symbionts are ubiquitous, however, only a few groups of host families have been well studied in relation to their associations with microbes. The determination of the phylogenetic relationships among bacteria associated with different species within an insect family can provide insights into the biology and evolution of these interactions. We studied the phylogenetic placement of vertically transmitted bacterial symbionts associated with the posterior midgut (crypt-bearing) region of pentatomid stink bugs (Hemiptera, Pentatomidae). Our results demonstrate that different host species carried one major bacterium in their midgut. Phylogenetic analyses of the 16S rRNA gene sequences obtained from the midgut of stink bugs placed all symbionts in a clade with Erwinia and Pantoea species, both plant-associated bacteria. Results indicate that symbiont monophyly occurs among recently diverged taxa (e.g., within a genus) but does not occur in the Pentatomidae. Results suggest that these vertically transmitted symbionts are occasionally replaced by other taxonomically similar bacteria over evolutionary time. Our findings highlight how the evolutionary history of hemipteran symbionts in unexplored host families may have unpredictable levels of complexity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • DNA, Ribosomal / chemistry
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Erwinia / classification*
  • Erwinia / genetics
  • Erwinia / isolation & purification*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Genes, rRNA
  • Heteroptera / microbiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pantoea / classification*
  • Pantoea / genetics
  • Pantoea / isolation & purification*
  • Phylogeny*
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S

Associated data

  • GENBANK/EU072495
  • GENBANK/EU072496
  • GENBANK/EU072497
  • GENBANK/EU072498
  • GENBANK/EU072499
  • GENBANK/EU072500
  • GENBANK/EU072501
  • GENBANK/EU072502
  • GENBANK/EU072503