Alejandro Manzano Marín

Alejandro Manzano Marín

AgreenSkills session, year: 1st session, 2016

Receiving laboratory: UMR CBGP Centre for Biology and Management of Populations, Montpellier

Country of origin : Spain




Mobility project

MicroDiver: Role of endosymbiotic bacteria in the diversification of a globally-distributed aphid genus: a Phylogenomic Analysis

Endosymbiotic bacteria of eukaryotes provide an expanded metabolic repertoire which confer an evolutionary advantage to their hosts when facing environmental challenges. As many insects, aphids keep an obligate nutritional symbiont, Buchnera, which provides essential nutrients, enabling the aphid to feed on their nutritionally-unbalanced diet. In the Lachninae subfamily, the loss of a symbiotic function in the Buchnera genome has triggered the establishment of a co-obligate secondary endosymbiont. Within this subfamily, the genus Cinara is the most diverse, and expanded throughout the Holoartic by colonising a large set of conifer species. Most Cinara species harbour the endosymbiont Serratia symbiotica, however, different Serratia strains present contrasting tissue tropisms in different hosts and vary greatly in their genomic content and morphological traits. Furthermore, in some lineages of Cinara, Serratia has been replaced by other bacterial lineages. The aim of this project is to understand the role of these endosymbiotic bacterial partners in the diversification of their hosts. It is expected that the similarities and differences among the symbionts’ metabolic capabilities and aphid niches will elucidate the symbionts role in the diversification of their hosts. Through whole-genome sequencing and annotation of the different endosymbionts from Cinara species, we aim to both infer the metabolic contributions of the symbionts and their phylogenetic relationships. Cospeciation analyses will be conducted, in order to infer the history of the association of the symbionts with Cinara. Using comparative genomics, in combination with phylogenetic methods, we will evaluate the contribution of Cinara’s endosymbiotic consortia to the diversification of their hosts.

Biography & research interests

I did my undergraduate in Genomic Sciences at the LCG – UNAM ( in Cuernavaca (México) and subsequently moved to València (Spain) to work on the genomics and evolution of Serratia symbiotica, a secondary endosymbiont of aphids, under a Marie Curie PhD Fellowship ( From here my interest in symbiosis grew strong and have since then worked with endosymbiont genomes from a diverse set of aphids, ants, and leeches. Also, I had the opportunity to perform two short stays at the Division of Microbial Ecology in Vienna ( under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Matthias Horn, were I worked on the FISH imaging of bacteria inhabiting the bacteriocytes of Lachninae aphids. During my PhD, I was involved in the teaching of R and basic bioinformatics for genome analysis. I obtained my PhD degree in July 2016 and have now moved to Montpellier to continue my work on co-obligate symbioses of aphids.
I am interested in the evolution of mutualistic symbioses, genome evolution, host-symbiont interactions, and metabolic complementarity of host-symbionts.

Selected publications

Meseguer A. S., Manzano-Marín A., Coeur d’Acier A., Clamens A.-L., Godefroid M., and Jousselin E. (2016). Buchnera has changed flatmate but the repeated replacement of co-obligate symbionts is not associated with the ecological expansions of their aphid hosts. Molecular Ecology, In Press.
Latorre A. and Manzano-Marín A. (2016). Dissecting genome reduction and trait loss in insect endosymbionts. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. In Press.
Manzano-Marín A., Szabó G., Simon J.-C., Horn M., and Latorre A. (2016). Happens in the best of subfamilies: Replacement and internalisation of co-obligate Serratia endosymbionts in Lachninae aphids. Environmental Microbiology, In Press.
Manzano-Marín A., and Latorre A. (2016). Snapshots of a shrinking partner: Genome reduction in Serratia symbiotica. Scientific Reports, 6, 32590.
Oceguera-Figueroa A., Manzano-Marín A., Kvist S., Moya A., Siddall M. E., and Latorre A. (2016). Comparative Mitogenomics of Leeches (Annelida: Clitellata): Genome Conservation and Placobdella-Specific trnD Gene Duplication. PLoS ONE, 11(5), e0155441.
Manzano-Marín A., Simon J.-C., and Latorre A. (2016). Reinventing the Wheel and Making It Round Again: Evolutionary Convergence in BuchneraSerratia Symbiotic Consortia between the Distantly Related Lachninae Aphids Tuberolachnus salignus and Cinara cedri. Genome Biology and Evolution, 8(5), 1440–1458.
Klein A., Schrader L., Gil R., Manzano-Marín A., Flórez L., Wheeler D., Werren J. H., Latorre A., Heinze J., Kaltenpoth M., Moya A. and Oettler, J. (2016). A novel intracellular mutualistic bacterium in the invasive ant Cardiocondyla obscurior. The ISME Journal, 10(2), 376–388.
Manzano-Marín A., Oceguera-Figueroa A., Latorre A., Jiménez-García L. F., and Moya A. (2015). Solving a Bloody Mess: B-Vitamin Independent Metabolic Convergence among Gammaproteobacterial Obligate Endosymbionts from Blood-Feeding Arthropods and the Leech Haementeria officinalis. Genome Biology and Evolution, 7(10), 2871–2884.
Manzano-Marín A. and Latorre A. (2014). Settling Down: The Genome of Serratia symbiotica from the Aphid Cinara tujafilina Zooms in on the Process of Accommodation to a Cooperative Intracellular Life. Genome Biology and Evolution, 6(7), 1683–1698.
Manzano-Marín A., Lamelas A., Moya A., and Latorre A. (2012). Comparative Genomics of Serratia spp.: Two Paths towards Endosymbiotic Life. PLoS ONE, 7(10), e47274.
Lamelas A., Gosalbes M. J., Manzano-Marín A., Peretó J., Moya A., and Latorre A. (2011). Serratia symbiotica from the Aphid Cinara cedri: A Missing Link from Facultative to Obligate Insect Endosymbiont. PLoS Genetics, 7(11), e1002357.



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