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Abstract Detail

Symbioses: Plant, Animal, and Microbe Interactions

Berkov, Amy [1], Calderon, Olga [2], Vaughan, Joshua [1], Rodriguez, Nelson A.  [1], Phillips, Tahlia [1], Roddick, Christopher [3].

Gut yeasts and bacteria from Neotropical cerambycid beetles.

A wood-boring beetle feeding on a fallen tree in the Brazil nut family (Lecythidaceae) faces a daunting challenge. As wood and bark from some tree species senesce, they release volatile compounds that should pose a hazard to feeding larvae: the insect neurotoxin dimethyl disulfide or the mutagenic compound N-methylpyrrole. Some temperate cerambycid larvae harbor intracellular gut yeasts believed to augment host nutrition and / or detoxify host plant toxins. The yeasts are transmitted from parent to progeny during oviposition. Thus far, our studies of the gut microbiota of Neotropical cerambycid beetles suggest that their gut yeasts are part of an interacting guild: although there is no evidence of strict vertical transmission, they do not appear to be a random subset of yeasts from the external environment. Although budding yeast cells have been observed within the gut lumen, thus far we have not found evidence of intracellular yeast. When bait branches are cut during the dry season, the gut microbial community appears to be more heterogeneous. Both yeast and bacteria are isolated, and transmission electron microscope studies of cells adjacent to the larval gut lumen have revealed the presence of intracellular, dividing prokaryotic cells. Nothing is known about the outcome of any of these interactions, but if the gut microbes are in fact mutualists, community heterogeneity could differentially affect the fitness of beetles reproducing at different times of the year.

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1 - City College of New York, Biology, Marshak J526, Convent Avenue @ 138 Street, New York, NY, 10031, USA
2 - LaGuardia Community College, Biology, 31-10 Thomson Ave., Long Island City, NY, 11101, USA
3 - Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11225, USA


Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 59
Location: Wasatch B/Cliff Lodge - Level C
Date: Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
Time: 9:00 AM
Number: 59005
Abstract ID:693