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Title

The cockroach Blattella germanica obtains nitrogen from uric acid through a metabolic pathway shared with its bacterial endosymbiont

AuthorsPatiño-Navarrete, Rafael; Piulachs, Maria-Dolors ; Bellés, Xavier ; Moya-Simarro, Andrés; LaTorre, Amparo; Peretó, Juli
KeywordsGlycine
Proline
Asparagine
Glutamine
Blattabacterium
Nitrogen metabolism
Issue DateJul-2014
PublisherRoyal Society (Great Britain)
CitationBiology Letters 10(7) (2014)
AbstractUric acid storedin the fat bodyof cockroaches is a nitrogen reservoirmobilized in times of scarcity. The discovery of urease in Blattabacterium cuenoti, the primary endosymbiont of cockroaches, suggests that the endosymbiont may participate in cockroach nitrogen economy. However, bacterial urease may only be one piece in the entire nitrogen recycling process from insect uric acid. Thus, in addition to the uricolytic pathway to urea, there must be glutamine synthetase assimilating the released ammonia by the urease reaction to enable the stored nitrogen to be metabolically usable. None of the Blattabacterium genomes sequenced to date possess genes encoding for those enzymes. To test the host's contribution to the process, we have sequenced and analysed Blattella germanica transcriptomes fromthe fat body.We identified transcripts corresponding to all genes necessary for the synthesis of uric acid and its catabolismto urea, aswell as for the synthesis of glutamine, asparagine, proline and glycine, i.e. the amino acids required by the endosymbiont. We also explored the changes in gene expression with different dietary protein levels. It appears that the ability to use uric acid as a nitrogen reservoir emerged in cockroaches after its age-old symbiotic association with bacteria.. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2014.0407
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/115709
DOI10.1098/rsbl.2014.0407
Identifiersdoi: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0407
issn: 1744-957X
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