Our team studies multiple aspects of microbial symbioses in stinkbugs (Heteroptera:
Pentatomomorpha). A number of phytophagous species of stinkbugs possess
sac-like tissues, called crypts, at the posterior end of the midgut, wherein
a dense population of symbiotic bacteria colonizes. To elucidate the molecular
basis of the insect-microbe gut symbiosis, we focus especially on the symbiotic
association between the bean bug Riptortus pedestris and the Burkholderia
symbiont. While most insects that harbor endosymbiotic bacteria transmit
their symbionts vertically, the bean bug does not; instead, R. pedestris
acquires the symbiont from surrounding environments every generation. The
stinkbug-Burkholderia symbiosis is, therefore, thought to be an insect
analogue of the well-studied legume-Rhizobium and squid-Vibrio symbioses.
Since the host bean bug is capable for RNA interference and the Burkholderia
symbiont is culturable and genetically manipulatable, the stinkbug-Burkholderia
symbiosis is an ideal model to comprehensively understand genetic and molecular
bases of insect-microbe symbiotic associations.
Biographic Information of Y Kikuchi
Yoshitomo Kikuchi is a Senior Scientist of the Bioproduction Research Institute at AIST Hokkaido, where he has been since 2013. From 2015, he is also a Visiting Associate Professor of the Graduate School of Agriculture at Hokkaido University. He received his undergraduate degree from Ibaraki University in 2000 and his Ph.D. from Ibaraki University in 2005. From 2005 to 2007 he was a postdoctoral research fellow at University of Connecticut. Following a postdoctoral research fellow at AIST Tsukuba, he moved in 2010 to AIST Hokkaido as Researcher, and from 2013 he is a Senior Scientist. From 2010 to 2015 he was a Visiting Assistant Professor of the Graduate School of Agriculture at Hokkaido University. He has received awards for his research excellence (including Young Scientist Award of the Japanese Society of Applied Entomology and Zoology, Young Scientist Award of the Japanese Society of Evolutionary biology) and was awarded Japan Academy Medal in 2013.