A Wolbachia infection from Drosophila that causes cytoplasmic incompatibility despite low prevalence and densities in males

Richardson, Kelly M., Griffin, Philippa C., Lee, Siu F., Ross, Perran A., Endersby-hHarshman, Nancy M., Schiffer, Michele, and Hoffmann, Ary A. (2019) A Wolbachia infection from Drosophila that causes cytoplasmic incompatibility despite low prevalence and densities in males. Heredity, 122 (4). pp. 428-440.

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Abstract

Wolbachia bacteria are common insect endosymbionts transmitted maternally and capable of spreading through insect populations by cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) when infected males cause embryo death after mating with uninfected females. Selection in the Wolbachia endosymbiont occurs on female hosts and is expected to favour strong maternal transmission to female offspring, even at the cost of reduced CI. With maternal leakage, nuclear genes are expected to be selected to suppress cytoplasmic incompatibility caused by males while also reducing any deleterious effects associated with the infection. Here we describe a new type of Wolbachia strain from Drosophila pseudotakahashii likely to have arisen from evolutionary processes on host and/or Wolbachia genomes. This strain is often absent from adult male offspring, but always transmitted to females. It leads to males with low or non-detectable Wolbachia that nevertheless show CI. When detected in adult males, the infection has a low density relative to that in females, a phenomenon not previously seen in Wolbachia infections of Drosophila. This Wolbachia strain is common in natural populations, and shows reduced CI when older (infected) males are crossed. These patterns highlight that endosymbionts can have strong sex-specific effects and that high frequency Wolbachia strains persist through effects on female reproduction. Female-limited Wolbachia infections may be of applied interest if the low level of Wolbachia in males reduces deleterious fitness effects on the host.

Item ID: 57838
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2540
Copyright Information: © The Genetics Society 2018.
Funders: National Institute of Health (NIH), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: NIH 1R01GM104325-01, NHMRC Fellowship
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2019 07:52
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1108 Medical Microbiology > 110803 Medical Parasitology @ 100%
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