How to get what you need from your partner: deciphering bacteria-insect interactions in a nutritional mutualistic endosymbiosis
Nutritional mutualistic endosymbiosis is widespread in insects and allows them to thrive on nutritionally poor habitats. Using the nascent endosymbiotic association between the cereal weevils Sitophilus sp. and the Gram-negative bacterium Sodalis pierantonius, we have previously provided evidence on how the host immune regulations control and coordinate the bacterial load and location along the insect development. Our recent data now demonstrate the active role of bacteria in this partnership, from establishing their niche inside host bacteriocytes, to retrieving nutrients from the host. The study of this association highlights the importance of a complex, active dialogue between the two partners, involving both host immune responses and bacterial virulence factors, in the shaping of a mutualistic relationship.
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