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      Abundance and dynamics of filamentous fungi in the complex ambrosia gardens of the primitively eusocial beetleXyleborinus saxeseniiRatzeburg (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae)

      , , 1 , 2
      FEMS Microbiology Ecology
      Wiley

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          Abstract

          Insect fungus gardens consist of a community of interacting microorganisms that can have either beneficial or detrimental effects to the farmers. In contrast to fungus-farming ants and termites, the fungal communities of ambrosia beetles and the effects of particular fungal species on the farmers are largely unknown. Here, we used a laboratory rearing technique for studying the filamentous fungal garden community of the ambrosia beetle, Xyleborinus saxesenii, which cultivates fungi in tunnels excavated within dead trees. Raffaelea sulfurea and Fusicolla acetilerea were transmitted in spore-carrying organs by gallery founding females and established first in new gardens. Raffaelea sulfurea had positive effects on egg-laying and larval numbers. Over time, four other fungal species emerged in the gardens. Prevalence of one of them, Paecilomyces variotii, correlated negatively with larval numbers and can be harmful to adults by forming biofilms on their bodies. It also comprised the main portion of garden material removed from galleries by adults. Our data suggest that two mutualistic, several commensalistic and one to two pathogenic filamentous fungi are associated with X. saxesenii. Fungal diversity in gardens of ambrosia beetles appears to be much lower than that in gardens of fungus-culturing ants, which seems to result from essential differences in substrates and behaviours.

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          Two divergent intragenomic rDNA ITS2 types within a monophyletic lineage of the fungus Fusarium are nonorthologous.

          The evolutionary history of the phytopathogenic Gibberella fujikuroi complex of Fusarium and related species was investigated by cladistic analysis of DNA sequences obtained from multiple unlinked loci. Gene phylogenies inferred from the mitochondrial small subunit (mtSSU) rDNA, nuclear 28S rDNA, and beta-tubulin gene were generally concordant, providing strong support for a fully resolved phylogeny of all biological and most morphological species. Discordance of the nuclear rDNA internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) gene tree is due to paralogous or xenologous ITS2 sequences. PCR and sequence analysis demonstrated that every strain of the ingroup species tested possesses two highly divergent nonorthologous ITS2 types designated type I and type II. Only the major ITS2 type, however, is discernable when PCR products are amplified and sequenced directly with conserved primers. The minor ITS2 type was recovered using ITS2 type-specific PCR primers. Distribution of the major ITS2 type within the species lineages exhibits a homoplastic pattern of evolution, thus obscuring true phylogenetic relationships. The results suggest that the ancestral ITS2 types may have arisen following an ancient interspecific hybridization or gene duplication which occurred prior to the evolutionary radiation of the Gibberella fujikuroi complex and related species of Fusarium. The results also indicate that current morphological-based taxonomic schemes for these fungi are unnatural and a new classification is required.
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            The Evolution of Agriculture in Insects

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              Bacterial protection of beetle-fungus mutualism.

              Host-microbe symbioses play a critical role in the evolution of biological diversity and complexity. In a notably intricate system, southern pine beetles use symbiotic fungi to help overcome host-tree defenses and to provide nutrition for their larvae. We show that this beetle-fungal mutualism is chemically mediated by a bacterially produced polyunsaturated peroxide. The molecule's selective toxicity toward the beetle's fungal antagonist, combined with the prevalence and localization of its bacterial source, indicates an insect-microbe association that is both mutualistic and coevolved. This unexpected finding in a well-studied system indicates that mutualistic associations between insects and antibiotic-producing bacteria are more common than currently recognized and that identifying their small-molecule mediators can provide a powerful search strategy for therapeutically useful antimicrobial compounds.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                FEMS Microbiology Ecology
                FEMS Microbiol Ecol
                Wiley
                01686496
                March 2013
                March 2013
                November 27 2012
                : 83
                : 3
                : 711-723
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Behavioural Ecology; Institute of Ecology and Evolution; University of Bern; Bern; Switzerland
                [2 ]Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences; College of Forestry and Conservation; The University of Montana; Missoula; MT; USA
                Article
                10.1111/1574-6941.12026
                23057948
                7dc351fd-98b7-4076-a7a8-06bea7392c61
                © 2012
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