Intracellular bacteria that are mainly transmitted maternally affect their arthropod hosts’ biology in various ways. One such effect is known as cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), and three bacterial species are known to induce CI: Wolbachia, Cardinium hertigii, and a recently found alphaproteobacterial symbiont. To clarify the taxonomic status and provide the foundation for future studies to reveal CI mechanisms and other phenotypes, we investigated genetic and morphological properties of the third CI inducer that we have previously reported inducing CI in the coconut beetle Brontispa longissima. The draft genome of the bacteria was obtained from the oocytes of two isofemale lines of B. longissima infected with the bacteria: one from Japan (GL2) and the other from Vietnam (L5). Genome features of the symbionts (sGL2 and sL5) were highly similar, showing 1.3 Mb in size, 32.1% GC content, and 99.83% average nucleotide sequence. A phylogenetic study based on 43 universal and single-copy phylogenetic marker genes indicates that they formed a distinct clade in the family Anaplasmataceae. 16S rRNA gene sequences indicate that they are different from the closest known relatives, at least at the genus level. Therefore, we propose a new genus and species, “Candidatus Mesenet longicola”, for the symbionts of B. longissima. Morphological analyses showed that Ca. M. longicola is an intracellular bacterium that is ellipsoidal to rod-shaped and 0.94 ± 0.26 μm (mean ± SD) in length, and accumulated in the anterior part of the oocyte. Candidates for the Ca. M. longicola genes responsible for CI induction are also described.
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