Discovery and molecular characterization of a plasmid localized in Buchnera sp. bacterial endosymbiont of the aphid Rhopalosiphum padi

J Mol Evol. 1995 Jul;41(1):67-73. doi: 10.1007/BF00174042.


We have identified and completely sequenced a novel plasmid isolated from the aphid Rhopalosiphum padi. Evidence which suggests that the plasmid occurs localized within the bacterial endosymbionts is presented. The plasmid contains the four genes that constitute the entire leucine operon. This fact makes it really unique since most plasmids are dispensable and lack genes that encode essential anabolic functions. Four more phloem-feeding aphid species also seem to contain homologous plasmids. Although further work is necessary, we hypothesize that this plasmid has appeared during the evolution of the symbiotic association between the aphid and the bacterial endosymbiont. The fact that this plasmid contains the entire leucine operon can be related to physiological evidence showing that the aphid host's diet of plant phloem is deficient in essential amino acids.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Aphids / genetics
  • Aphids / microbiology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Conserved Sequence
  • DNA, Circular / chemistry
  • DNA, Circular / genetics
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / genetics*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmids*
  • Replicon
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Species Specificity
  • Symbiosis*


  • DNA, Circular

Associated data

  • GENBANK/X71612