Endosymbiosis with microorganisms is common in insects, with more than 10% of species requiring the metabolic capabilities of intracellular bacteria for their nutrient acquisition. Aphids harbor an obligate mutualism with the vertically transferred endosymbiont, Buchnera aphidicola, which produces key nutrients lacking in the aphid's phloem-based diet that are necessary for normal development and reproduction. It is thought that, in some groups of insects, bacterial symbionts may play key roles in biotype evolution against host-plant resistance. The genome of Buchnera has been sequenced in several aphid strains but little genomic data is currently available for the soybean aphid (Aphis glycines), one of the most important pests of soybean in North America. In this study, DNA sequencing was used to assemble and annotate the genome sequence of the Buchnera A. glycines strain and to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships among different strains. In addition, we identified several fixed Buchnera SNPs between Aphis glycines biotypes that were avirulent or virulent to a soybean aphid resistance gene (Rag1). The results of this study describe the genetic and evolutionary relationships of the Buchnera A. glycines strain, and begin to define the roles of an aphid symbiont in host-plant resistance.
Keywords: DNA sequencing; de novo assembly Aphis glycines; host-plant resistance.