Navigation Links
Beetles get by with a little help from their friends
Date:10/2/2008

Humans living in communities often rely on friends to help get what they need and, according to researchers in the lab of Cameron Currie at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, many microbes, plants and animals benefit from 'friendly' associations too.

The Currie team's study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and published in the Oct. 3, 2008, issue of the journal Science, describes the complex relationship between a beetle, two types of tree fungus and a bacterium that aids in their struggle to survive and thrive.

Research in the Currie lab revealed that adult beetles have a specialized compartment in their bodies used to store two other organisms: a slow-growing beneficial fungus that serves as a food source and a bacterium that produces a unique, newly discovered antibiotic. Interestingly, the antibiotic inhibits the growth of a fast-growing competitor fungus but does not affect the slow-growing beneficial fungus.

Before laying eggs in tree bark, adult female beetles spread the slow-growing, beneficial fungus and bacteria around the area where they will deposit the eggs. The antibiotic from the bacteria prevents growth of the fast-growing competitor fungus but does not harm the slow-growing beneficial fungus, which continues to grow and provide a rich source of nutrition for the developing beetle larvae.

"There are perhaps 10 million species of insects on the planet," says Currie, an evolutionary biologist. "So, if insects associate with bacteria like this more generally, then there's potentially a huge number of new places to explore."

NSF Program Officer Lita Proctor agrees, saying this research, which was co-authored by Jon Clardy of Harvard Medical School, has important implications for the ecosystems these species occupy.

"It may be that some organisms evolved symbioses (cooperative relationships) as a strategy to give them an advantage over others when competing for resources," said Proctor. "These cooperative relationships may be much more common than we thought."

In-depth study of these interactions could also lead to identification of new types of antibiotics or other chemicals which may have agricultural or medicinal uses. Thus in the future, we may get by with help from our little friends.


'/>"/>

Contact: Lisa Van Pay
lvanpay@nsf.gov
703-292-8796
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Novel fungus helps beetles to digest hard wood
2. Entomologists play matchmakers for cerambycid beetles
3. Armed beetles find a mate, whatever their size
4. Sex is thirst-quenching for female beetles
5. Modest CO2 cutbacks may be too little, too late for coral reefs
6. A little nitrogen can go a long way
7. Building a stronger roof over your head: 3 little pigs project begins first tests
8. Little teeth suggest big jump in primate timeline
9. MSU researcher uses grant to study little-known but largely useful microbes
10. Getting better with a little help from our micro friends
11. Too much or too little weight gain poses risks to pregnant mothers, babies
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/4/2016)... The field of Human Microbiome research ... popular hubs of the biotechnology industry. While the ... of human microbiota, have garnered a lot of ... space has literally exploded in terms of both ... focuses on biomedical aspects of research, development, and ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... DUBLIN , Feb. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "Emotion ... NLP, Machine Learning, and Others), Software Tools ... Application Areas, End Users,and Regions - Global ... offering. --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/d8zjcd/emotion_detection ) ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... Technology Enhancements Accelerate Growth of X-ray Imaging ... and computed radiography markets in Thailand ... Indonesia (TIM). It provides an in-depth analysis ... as regional market drivers and restraints. The study offers ... market attractiveness, both for digital and computed radiography. Market ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... Early-career researchers from Indonesia , ... Uganda and Yemen honored ... Indonesia , Nepal , ... are being honored for their accomplishments in nutrition, psychiatry, biotechnology, ... young women scientists who are pursuing careers in agriculture, biology and medicine ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... is introducing a hybrid membership model which will provide ... joining or renewing through an organizational purchasing model. For ... employee in any size association or AMC office can ... benefits.   John H. Graham, IV , ... organizations of any size and their employees to gain ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Feb. 10, 2016  Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN ... Brent Saunders , Allergan,s CEO and President, will ... chat session at the RBC Capital Markets Healthcare Conference ... at The New York Palace Hotel in ... webcast live and can be accessed on Allergan,s Investor ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... 10, 2016 , ... HOLLOWAY AMERICA, a leading custom stainless ... Mountain Chapter 21st Annual Vendor Exhibition on Thursday, February 18, 2016. The Rocky ... its annual event, which will run from 3:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at ...
Breaking Biology Technology: