The symbiotic bacteria Buchnera sp. provide aphids with essential amino acids, nutrients in short supply in the aphid diet of plant phloem sap. The contribution of Buchnera-derived amino acids to net protein growth of the aphid Aphis fabae was quantified from the protein growth of aphids reared on chemically defined diets lacking individual amino acids. The amino acid production rates varied among the nine essential amino acids over the range 8–156 pmol microg(−1)protein day(−1) (for tryptophan and leucine, respectively), equivalent to 0.02-0.33 fmol Buchnera(−1)day(−1). In a complementary metabolic analysis, the aphids incorporated radioactivity from dietary [(14)C]glutamic acid into the essential amino acids isoleucine, lysine and threonine. Incorporation into isoleucine was significantly elevated by the omission of dietary isoleucine, indicating that dietary supply may affect the biosynthetic rates of certain amino acids by Buchnera. Aphids experimentally deprived of Buchnera did not synthesize essential amino acids from dietary glutamic acid. The mortality of aposymbionts was high over 7 days on the phenylalanine-free diet, and their assimilation of dietary leucine was depressed on the complete diet, suggesting that both the absence of bacteria-derived amino acids and the low rates of assimilation of certain dietary amino acids may contribute to the poor growth of these insects.
Quantifying nutrient production by the microbial symbionts in an aphid
A.E. Douglas, L.B. Minto, T.L. Wilkinson; Quantifying nutrient production by the microbial symbionts in an aphid. J Exp Biol 15 January 2001; 204 (2): 349–358. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.204.2.349
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New funding schemes for junior faculty staff
In celebration of our 100th anniversary, JEB has launched two new grants to support junior faculty staff working in animal comparative physiology and biomechanics who are within five years of setting up their first lab/research group. Check out our ECR Visiting Fellowships and Research Partnership Kickstart Travel Grants. First deadline for applications is 15 July 2023.
JEB@100: an interview with Monitoring Editor Sanjay Sane
Sanjay Sane tells us about his first experience of publishing with the journal and why he thinks JEB is going to play a key role in our understanding of the current climate crisis and its implications for biodiversity.
The Forest of Biologists
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Celebrating 100 years of discovery
This Special Issue focuses on broad biological questions addressed through the lens of comparative biomechanics. Crosscutting through time, this series of Reviews, Commentaries and Research Articles addresses questions from the vantage points of the history of the field, today’s research, and the future of comparative biomechanics. Read the Editorial by Sheila Patek, Monica Daley and Sanjay Sane.
Centenary Review - Adaptive echolocation behavior
Cynthia F. Moss and colleagues Review the behaviours used by echolocating mammals to track and intercept moving prey, interrogate dynamic sonar scenes, and exploit visual and passive acoustic stimuli.
Crucial DNA at crux of insect wing size evolution
Keity Farfán-Pira and colleagues have revealed that a tiny region of regulatory DNA in the vestigial gene governs whether insect wings are large or small and has played a key role in the evolution of insect wing size.