Biological Communications <p>Biological Communications is a rebranded new title of the former journal «Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Series 3. Biology». The journal was founded as «Vestnik of Leningrad University» in 1946.&nbsp;Since 1953, it was published under several series. In 1956 the series «Biology» was first established.&nbsp;As its predecessors, Biological Communications is published at a quarterly&nbsp;basis.</p> Saint Petersburg State University en-US Biological Communications 2542-2154 <p>Articles of <em>Biological Communications</em> are open access distributed under the terms of the <a title="License Agreement" href="/about/submissions#LicenseAgreement" target="_blank" rel="noopener">License Agreement</a> with Saint Petersburg State University, which permits to the authors unrestricted distribution and self-archiving free of charge.</p> Symbiogenetics underway: from genetic analysis to genetic synthesis Nikolay Provorov Igor Tikhonovich Copyright (c) 2021 Nikolay Provorov, Igor Tikhonovich 2021-03-31 2021-03-31 66 1 3–5 3–5 10.21638/spbu03.2021.101 Hereditary symbionts and mitochondria: distribution in insect populations and quasi-linkage of genetic markers <p>Maternal transmission ensures the joint transmission and simultaneous presence in populations of individuals with certain variants of the bacterial symbiont and host mitochondrial DNA. Such “quasi-linkage” of cytoplasmic genomes among insects and other arthropods is widespread. The symbiont acts as a “driver” of mitochondria and the obvious biological consequence is the spread of the “linked” mitochondrial haplotype in the population, which itself does not have increased selective value to the organism. Examples of such indirect selective mitochondrial sweep in insects are discussed, as well as biological consequences of this phenomenon and mechanisms of increasing the frequency of symbiont-infected individuals in the population.</p> Ilya Zakharov Elena Shaikevich Copyright (c) 2021 Ilya Zakharov, Elena Shaikevich 2021-03-31 2021-03-31 66 1 6–16 6–16 10.21638/spbu03.2021.102 Reproductive parasitism in insects. The interaction of host and bacteria <p>Reproductive parasitism is a specific form of symbiosis in which a microorganism alters the reproduction of the host by interfering with the mechanisms of sex development. The review considers four changes in reproduction — male killing, parthenogenesis, feminization, and cytoplasmic incompatibility — determined by cytoplasmic bacteria. The cytogenetic and molecular genetic mechanisms of interaction between partners in the symbiotic system are discussed, including the comparative analysis of molecular-genetic factors responsible for reproductive parasitism. The features of the interaction between an insect and bacteria in symbiosis with various systems for determining the sex of the host, male and female heterogamy and haplodiploidy, are considered. Studies of cytoplasmic incompatibility are of great practical importance, since they open up prospects for non-invasive engineering on natural insect populations for biocontrol.</p> Irina Goryacheva Boris Andrianov Copyright (c) 2021 Irina Goryacheva, Boris Andrianov 2021-03-31 2021-03-31 66 1 17–27 17–27 10.21638/spbu03.2021.103 Variability of the Russian populations of <em>Puccinia triticina</em> under the influence of the host plant <p>The article analyzes our own data and data from the literature on the study of plant–pathogen interactions in the pathosystem of <em>Puccinia triticina</em> and host plants of the genera <em>Triticum</em> and <em>Aegilops</em> with different ploidy and genomes. We characterize the long-term variability of the Russian populations of the pathogen, caused by the cultivation of genetically protected cultivars of common wheat (<em>T. aestivum</em>). Differences of the pathogen’s virulence on hexaploid species <em>T. aestivum</em> and tetraploid wheat (<em>T. durum</em>) are shown. Data on the pathogen’s virulence on other hexaploid, tetraploid, and diploid relative species <em>Triticum</em> sp. and <em>Aegilops</em> sp. are presented. Adaptation and specificity to the host plant were shown as the key driving factors in the evolution and divergence of clonally propagating phytopathogens, which include leaf rust.</p> Elena Gultyaeva Mark Levitin Ekaterina Shaydayuk Copyright (c) 2021 Elena Gultyaeva, Mark Levitin, Ekaterina Shaydayuk 2021-03-31 2021-03-31 66 1 28–35 28–35 10.21638/spbu03.2021.104 New naturally transgenic plants: 2020 update <p><em>Agrobacterium</em>-mediated gene transfer leads to crown gall or hairy roots disease, due to expression of transferred T-DNA genes. Spontaneous plant regeneration from the transformed tissues can produce natural transformants carrying cellular T-DNA (cT-DNA) sequences of agrobacterial origin. In 2019, based on genomic sequencing data, cT-DNA horizontally transferred from <em>Agrobacterium</em> were found in two dozen species of angiosperms. This made it possible to evaluate the spread of this phenomenon, as well as make some generalizations regarding the diversity of horizontally transferred genes. The presented research is a continuation of work in this field. It resulted in the description of new naturally occurring transgenic species <em>Aeschynomene evenia</em> C. Wright, <em>Eperua falcata</em> Aubl., <em>Eucalyptus cloeziana</em> F.Muell., <em>Boswellia sacra</em> Flueck., <em>Kewa caespitosa</em> (Friedrich) Christenh., <em>Pharnaceum exiguum</em> Adamson, <em>Silene noctiflora</em> L., <em>Nyssa sinensis</em> Oliv., <em>Vaccinium corymbosum</em> L., <em>Populus alba</em> L. × <em>Populus glandulosa</em> Moench. The previously identified patterns regarding the frequency of the occurrence of natural transformants and the general properties of the cT-DNAs were confirmed in this study.</p> Tatiana Matveeva Copyright (c) 2021 Tatiana Matveeva 2021-03-31 2021-03-31 66 1 36–46 36–46 10.21638/spbu03.2021.105 Legume tasters: symbiotic rhizobia host preference and smart inoculant formulations <p>Mutualistic interactions have great importance in ecology, with genetic information that takes shape through interactions within the symbiotic partners and between the partners and the environment. It is known that variation of the host-associated microbiome contributes to buffer adaptation challenges of the host’s physiology when facing varying environmental conditions. In agriculture, pivotal examples are symbiotic nitrogen-fixing rhizobia, known to contribute greatly to host (legume plants) adaptation and host productivity. A holistic view of increasing crop yield and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses is that of microbiome engineering, the exploitation of a host-associated microbiome through its rationally designed manipulation with synthetic microbial communities. However, several studies highlighted that the expression of the desired phenotype in the host resides in species-specific, even genotype-specific interactions between the symbiotic partners. Consequently, there is a need to dissect such an intimate level of interaction, aiming to identify the main genetic components in both partners playing a role in symbiotic differences/host preferences. In the present paper, while briefly reviewing the knowledge and the challenges in plant–microbe interaction and rhizobial studies, we aim to promote research on genotype x genotype interaction between rhizobia and host plants for a rational design of synthetic symbiotic nitrogen-fixing microbial communities to be used for sustainably improving leguminous plants yield.</p> Lisa Cangioli Alice Checcucci Alessio Mengoni Camilla Fagorzi Copyright (c) 2021 Lisa Cangioli, Alice Checcucci, Alessio Mengoni, Camilla Fagorzi 2021-03-31 2021-03-31 66 1 47–54 47–54 10.21638/spbu03.2021.106 Some aspects of metal ion transport and <em>in silico</em> gene expression analysis of potassium/sodium ion transporters, channels and exchangers in root nodules <p>Rhizobia establish a symbiotic relationship with legumes, which results in the formation of root nodules, the ecological niche for intracellular rhizobia. The infected cell of a root nodule is a special integral unit of plant and nitrogen fixing rhizobia. Nodules tend to be very sensitive to ionic stresses, such as salt stress. High vulnerability toward ionic stresses might be due to defects in ion balance and transport in the infected tissue. The purpose of this minireview is to summarize the current data regarding metal ion transport in the root nodule, with particular emphasis on potassium/sodium ion transport. A bioinformatic approach and <em>in silico</em> gene expression analysis have been used to obtain some insight for K<sup>+</sup>/Na<sup>+</sup> transportеr channels and exchangers in root nodule developmental zones.</p> Natalia Trifonova Maria Koroleva Elena Fedorova Copyright (c) 2021 Natalia Trifonova, Maria Koroleva, Elena Fedorova 2021-03-31 2021-03-31 66 1 55–65 55–65 10.21638/spbu03.2021.107 Genetic individuality and interspecies altruism: modelling symbiogenesis using different types of symbiotic bacteria <p>In this minireview, we address the trade-off between biological altruism (group adaptation result-ing from the ability of an organism to improve the fitness of an associate at the expense of its own fitness) and symbiogenesis — the evolutionary pathway based on genetic integration of non-related species. We address symbiogenesis as a multi-stage process, which involves for-mation of superspecific hereditary systems — functionally integral symbiogenomes (under the facultative partners’ interactions) reorganized into the structurally integral hologenomes (in the obligatory symbioses). The best studied case of symbiogenesis is represented by the evolution of the eukaryotic cell based on transformation of symbiotic bacteria into cellular organelles. This evolution is associated with the deep reduction of microsymbionts’ genomes and with allocation of their genes into the hosts. As a result, microsymbionts lost their Genetic INdividuality (GIN), characterized by an ability to implement DNA- and RNA-based template syntheses required for genome maintenance and expression. Under facultative symbiotic dependence on hosts, the par-tial loss of GIN is due to a “symbiont → host” altruism which in the N2-fixing microbe–plant symbioses results in formation of non-reproducible bacterial forms (e.g., intracellular bacteroids in rhizobia or multiple heterocysts in <em>Nostoc</em>). If micro-symbionts lose their ability of autonomous existence (e.g., in the vertically transmitted intracellular symbionts), they are switched to the “forced altruism” in which the GIN reduction is required for the stable persistence of symbionts in hosts. Therefore, organellogenesis involves the sequential increase of the symbionts’ de-pendency on hosts: conditional → facultative → obligatory → absolute. It is associated with the reorganization of microbes into semi-autonomous cellular components, which may be completely devoid of their own genomes.</p> Nikolay Provorov Copyright (c) 2021 Nikolay Provorov 2021-03-31 2021-03-31 66 1 66–72 66–72 10.21638/spbu03.2021.108 Rhizobial isolates in active layer samples of permafrost soil of Spitsbergen, Arctic <p>Twenty-nine strains were isolated from two samples of the permafrost active layer of the Spitsbergen archipelago. The estimated number of bacteria ranged from 4.0⋅10<sup>4</sup> to 1.7⋅10<sup>7</sup> CFU∙g<sup>-1</sup>. As a result of sequencing of the 16S rRNA (rrs) genes, the isolates were assigned to 13 genera belonging to the phyla Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria (classes α, β, and γ), Bacteroidetes, and Firmicutes. Six isolates belonged to the rhizobial genus <em>Mesorhizobium</em> (order Rhizobiales). A plant nodulation assay with seedlings of legume plants <em>Astragalus norvegicus, A. frigidus, A. subpolaris</em> and <em>Oxytropis sordida</em>, originated from Khibiny (Murmansk region, Russia) and inoculated with <em>Mesorhizobium</em> isolates, showed the inability of these strains to form nodules on plant roots. Symbiotic (<em>sym</em>) genes <em>nodC</em> and <em>nodD</em> were not detected in <em>Mesorhizobium</em> strains either.</p> Denis Karlov Anna Sazanova Irina Kuznetsova Nina Tikhomirova Zhanna Popova Yuriy Osledkin Nikita Demidov Andrey Belimov Vera Safronova Copyright (c) 2021 Denis Karlov, Anna Sazanova, Irina Kuznetsova, Nina Tikhomirova, Zhanna Popova, Yuriy Osledkin, Nikita Demidov, Andrey Belimov, Vera Safronova 2021-03-31 2021-03-31 66 1 73–82 73–82 10.21638/spbu03.2021.109