Bacteriocyte cell death in the pea aphid/ Buchnera symbiotic system

Abstract : Symbiotic associations play a pivotal role in multicellular life by facilitating acquisition of new traits and expanding the ecological capabilities of organisms. In insects that are obligatorily dependent on intracellular bacterial symbionts, novel host cells (bacteriocytes) or organs (bacteriomes) have evolved for harboring beneficial microbial partners. The processes regulating the cellular life cycle of these endosymbiont-bearing cells, such as the cell-death mechanisms controlling their fate and elimination in response to host physiology, are fundamental questions in the biology of symbiosis. Here we report the discovery of a cell-death process involved in the degeneration of bacteriocytes in the hemipteran insect Acyrthosiphon pisum This process is activated progressively throughout aphid adulthood and exhibits morphological features distinct from known cell-death pathways. By combining electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry, and molecular analyses, we demonstrated that the initial event of bacteriocyte cell death is the cytoplasmic accumulation of nonautophagic vacuoles, followed by a sequence of cellular stress responses including the formation of autophagosomes in intervacuolar spaces, activation of reactive oxygen species, and Buchnera endosymbiont degradation by the lysosomal system. We showed that this multistep cell-death process originates from the endoplasmic reticulum, an organelle exhibiting a unique reticular network organization spread throughout the entire cytoplasm and surrounding Buchnera aphidicola endosymbionts. Our findings provide insights into the cellular and molecular processes that coordinate eukaryotic host and endosymbiont homeostasis and death in a symbiotic system and shed light on previously unknown aspects of bacteriocyte biological functioning.
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Pierre Simonet, Karen Gaget, Severine Balmand, Mélanie Ribeiro Lopes, Nicolas Parisot, et al.. Bacteriocyte cell death in the pea aphid/ Buchnera symbiotic system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , National Academy of Sciences, 2018, 115 (8), pp.E1819 - E1828. ⟨10.1073/pnas.1720237115⟩. ⟨hal-01768487⟩

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