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Phylogenomic analyses of Snodgrassella isolates from honeybees and bumblebees reveal taxonomic and functional diversity

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Snodgrassella is a genus of Betaproteobacteria that lives in the gut of honeybees (Apis spp.) and bumblebees (Bombus spp). It is part of a conserved microbiome that is composed of a few core phylotypes and is essential for bee health and metabolism. Phylogenomic analyses using whole-genome sequences of 75 Snodgrassella strains from 4 species of honeybees and 14 species of bumblebees showed that these strains formed a monophyletic lineage within the Neisseriaceae family, that Snodgrassella isolates from Asian honeybees diverged early from the other species in their evolution, that isolates from honeybees and bumblebees were well separated, and that this genus consists of at least seven species. We propose to formally name two new Snodgrassella species that were isolated from bumblebees: i.e., Snodgrassella gandavensis sp. nov. and Snodgrassella communis sp. nov. Possible evolutionary scenarios for 107 species- or group-specific genes revealed very limited evidence for horizontal gene transfer. Functional analyses revealed the importance of small proteins, defense mechanisms, amino acid transport and metabolism, inorganic ion transport and metabolism and carbohydrate transport and metabolism among these 107 specific genes. IMPORTANCE The microbiome of honeybees (Apis spp.) and bumblebees (Bombus spp.) is highly conserved and represented by few phylotypes. This simplicity in taxon composition makes the bee's microbiome an emergent model organism for the study of gut microbial communities. Since the description of the Snodgrassella genus, which was isolated from the gut of honeybees and bumblebees in 2013, a single species (i.e, Snodgrassella air), has been named. Here, we demonstrate that this genus is actually composed of at least seven species, two of which (Snodgrassella gandavensis sp. nov. and Snodgrassella communis sp. nov.) are formally described and named in the present publication. We also report the presence of 107 genes specific to Snodgrassella species, showing notably the importance of small proteins and defense mechanisms in this genus.
Tijdschrift: MSYSTEMS
ISSN: 2379-5077
Issue: 3
Volume: 7
Jaar van publicatie:2022