Genomic Characterization of Endosymbiotic Bacteria Associated With Helicoverpa armigera in Iran Using Next-Generation Sequencing

Bioinform Biol Insights. 2023 Aug 23:17:11779322231195457. doi: 10.1177/11779322231195457. eCollection 2023.


Several species of the Helicoverpa genus have been recognized as major agricultural pests from different regions of the world, among which Helicoverpa armigera species has been reported as the most destructive and cosmopolitan species in most regions of the world, including Iran. This pest is a polyphagous species and can cause damage to more than 120 plant species. Studying the internal microbiome of pests is very important in identifying species' weaknesses and natural enemies and potential biological control agents. For genomic characterization of the microbial community associated with H armigera, the whole genome of insect larvae collected from vegetable fields in the northwest of Iran was sequenced using next-generation sequencing Illumina platform. Finally, about 2 GB of raw data were obtained. Using the MetaPhlAn2 pipeline, it was predicted that 2 endosymbiont bacterial species including Buchnera aphidicola and Serratia symbiotica were associated with H armigera. Alignment of reference strains sequences related to both endosymbiotic bacteria with raw data and subsequently, assembly analyses resulted in 2 genomes with 657 623 bp length with GC content of 27.4% for B aphidicola and 1 595 135 bp length with GC content of 42.90% for S symbiotica. This research is the first report on the association of B aphidicola and S symbiotica as endosymbiotic bacteria with H armigera worldwide.

Keywords: Buchnera aphidicola; Helicoverpa armigera; Iran; NGS; Serratia symbiotica.