Blattabacterium, an obligate bacterial endosymbiont, functions as a mechanism of nitrogen recycling and nutrient synthesis within the Order Blattaria (cockroaches). Through genome annotation and the application of bioinformatics, the function of Blattabacterium within the cockroach Nauphoeta cinerea was described. Results of analyses indicate that the Blattabacterium genome, comprised of ~620,000 base pairs and ~620 individual genes, is drastically reduced when compared Flavobacterium, Blattabacterium’s closest free-living relative. However, the Blattabacterium genome retained functionality vital to host survival and fecundity and functions as a source of additional nutrient biosynthesis within its host. Like other intracellular endosymbionts, the Blattabacterium genome has a G+C content of ~27%. Synteny within the Blattabacterium genome is well conserved. In addition, results of genetic drift analyses indicate that Blattabacterium is experiencing elevated rates of functional genome evolution, when compared to free-living bacterial relatives, resulting from the unique evolutionary constraints of an intracellular lifestyle.

Date of publication

Spring 6-5-2014

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