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Dual oxidase enables insect gut symbiosis by mediating respiratory network formation.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2021-03-03)
Seonghan Jang, Peter Mergaert, Tsubasa Ohbayashi, Kota Ishigami, Shuji Shigenobu, Hideomi Itoh, Yoshitomo Kikuchi

Most animals harbor a gut microbiota that consists of potentially pathogenic, commensal, and mutualistic microorganisms. Dual oxidase (Duox) is a well described enzyme involved in gut mucosal immunity by the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that antagonizes pathogenic bacteria and maintains gut homeostasis in insects. However, despite its nonspecific harmful activity on microorganisms, little is known about the role of Duox in the maintenance of mutualistic gut symbionts. Here we show that, in the bean bug Riptortus pedestris, Duox-dependent ROS did not directly contribute to epithelial immunity in the midgut in response to its mutualistic gut symbiont, Burkholderia insecticola Instead, we found that the expression of Duox is tracheae-specific and its down-regulation by RNAi results in the loss of dityrosine cross-links in the tracheal protein matrix and a collapse of the respiratory system. We further demonstrated that the establishment of symbiosis is a strong oxygen sink triggering the formation of an extensive network of tracheae enveloping the midgut symbiotic organ as well as other organs, and that tracheal breakdown by Duox RNAi provokes a disruption of the gut symbiosis. Down-regulation of the hypoxia-responsive transcription factor Sima or the regulators of tracheae formation Trachealess and Branchless produces similar phenotypes. Thus, in addition to known roles in immunity and in the formation of dityrosine networks in diverse extracellular matrices, Duox is also a crucial enzyme for tracheal integrity, which is crucial to sustain mutualistic symbionts and gut homeostasis. We expect that this is a conserved function in insects.

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