is an obligate, maternally transmitted endosymbiont of tsetse flies. The ancient association between these two organisms accounts for many of their unique physiological adaptations. Similar to other obligate mutualists, ’s genome is dramatically reduced in size, yet it has retained the capacity to produce many B-vitamins that are found at inadequate quantities in the fly’s vertebrate blood-specific diet. These -derived B-vitamins play essential nutritional roles to maintain tsetse’s physiological homeostasis as well as that of other members of the fly’s microbiota. In addition to its nutritional role, contributes towards the development of tsetse’s immune system during the larval period. Tsetse produce amidases that degrade symbiotic peptidoglycans and prevent activation of antimicrobial responses that can damage . These amidases in turn exhibit antiparasitic activity and decrease tsetse’s ability to be colonized with parasitic trypanosomes, which reduce host fitness. Thus, the symbiosis represents a fine-tuned association in which both partners actively contribute towards achieving optimal fitness outcomes.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. This article was made open access via a Publish and Read agreement between the Microbiology Society and the corresponding author’s institution.

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