The 2005 ESA Annual Meeting and Exhibition
December 15-18, 2005
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

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Saturday, December 17, 2005 - 8:36 AM

Phylogenetic identification of symbiotic bacteria in the gut of the termite Reticulitermes flavipes

Marc L. Fisher, ento_mlf@mstar2.net1, Dini M. Miller, dinim@vt.edu1, Carlyle C. Brewster, carlyleb@vt.edu1, Allan Dickerman, adickerm@vt.edu2, and Claudia Husseneder, chusseneder@agcenter.lsu.edu3. (1) Virginia Tech, Department of Entomology, 216 Price Hall, Blacksburg, VA, (2) Virginia Tech, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Bioinformatics I, Washington Street, Blacksburg, VA, (3) Louisiana State University, Entomology, 404 Life Sciences Building, Department of Entomology, Baton Rouge, LA

The phylogenetic diversity of the gut bacterial symbionts of the termite Reticulitermes flavipes was analyzed using 16S rRNA gene sequences. The genes were amplified directly from a mixed population of bacteria from the termite gut by PCR and isolated using cloning techniques. Analysis of the sequences from 42 clones identified a variety of phylotypes from a broad taxonomical range within the domain Bacteria. All phylotypes grouped into one of six bacterial phyla: Proteobacteria, Spirochaeta, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, and the recently proposed Endomicrobia. Spirochaetes formed the largest group, accounting for 29% (12 out of 42) of all clones, and clustered closely with clones previously defined as Treponema. A relatively large proportion (17%) of clones corresponded to Endomicrobia. The 16S rRNA gene sequence data from R. flavipes indicates that the termite intestinal microflora is populated by many yet undescribed species of bacteria.

Species 1: Isoptera Rhinotermitidae Reticulitermes flavipes (Eastern subterranean termite)
Keywords: 16S rRNA, diversity