Rapid fluorescence-based screening for Wolbachia endosymbionts in Drosophila germ line and somatic tissues.
ABSTRACT: Wolbachia is a globally distributed bacterial endosymbiont present in arthropods and nematodes. The advent of sensitive PCR-based approaches has greatly facilitated the identification of Wolbachia-infected individuals and analysis of population infection levels. Here, a complementary visual fluorescence-based Wolbachia screening approach is described. Through the use of the fluorescent dye Syto-11, Wolbachia can be efficiently detected in various Drosophila tissues, including ovaries. Syto-11 also stains Wolbachia in other insects. Because Wolbachia is inherited through the maternal germ line, bacteria reside in the ovaries of flies in infected populations. An advantage of this staining approach is that it informs about Wolbachia titer as well as its tissue and cellular distribution. Using this method, the infection status of insect populations in two central California locations was determined, and variants with unusually low or high Wolbachia titers were isolated. In addition, a variant with ovarioles containing both infected and uninfected egg chambers was identified. Syto-11 staining of Cardinium- and Spiroplasma-infected insects was also analyzed.
Project description:Although heritable microorganisms are increasingly recognized as widespread in insects, no systematic screens for such symbionts have been conducted in Drosophila species (the primary insect genetic models for studies of evolution, development, and innate immunity). Previous efforts screened relatively few Drosophila lineages, mainly for Wolbachia. We conducted an extensive survey of potentially heritable endosymbionts from any bacterial lineage via PCR screens of mature ovaries in 181 recently collected fly strains representing 35 species from 11 species groups. Due to our fly sampling methods, however, we are likely to have missed fly strains infected with sex ratio-distorting endosymbionts. Only Wolbachia and Spiroplasma, both widespread in insects, were confirmed as symbionts. These findings indicate that in contrast to some other insect groups, other heritable symbionts are uncommon in Drosophila species, possibly reflecting a robust innate immune response that eliminates many bacteria. A more extensive survey targeted these two symbiont types through diagnostic PCR in 1225 strains representing 225 species from 32 species groups. Of these, 19 species were infected by Wolbachia while only 3 species had Spiroplasma. Several new strains of Wolbachia and Spiroplasma were discovered, including ones divergent from any reported to date. The phylogenetic distribution of Wolbachia and Spiroplasma in Drosophila is discussed.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Various endosymbiotic bacteria, including Wolbachia of the Alphaproteobacteria, infect a wide range of insects and are capable of inducing reproductive abnormalities to their hosts such as cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), parthenogenesis, feminization and male-killing. These extended phenotypes can be potentially exploited in enhancing environmentally friendly methods, such as the sterile insect technique (SIT), for controlling natural populations of agricultural pests. The goal of the present study is to investigate the presence of Wolbachia, Spiroplasma, Arsenophonus and Cardinium among Bactrocera, Dacus and Zeugodacus flies of Southeast Asian populations, and to genotype any detected Wolbachia strains. RESULTS:A specific 16S rRNA PCR assay was used to investigate the presence of reproductive parasites in natural populations of nine different tephritid species originating from three Asian countries, Bangladesh, China and India. Wolbachia infections were identified in Bactrocera dorsalis, B. correcta, B. scutellaris and B. zonata, with 12.2-42.9% occurrence, Entomoplasmatales in B. dorsalis, B. correcta, B. scutellaris, B. zonata, Zeugodacus cucurbitae and Z. tau (0.8-14.3%) and Cardinium in B. dorsalis and Z. tau (0.9-5.8%), while none of the species tested, harbored infections with Arsenophonus. Infected populations showed a medium (between 10 and 90%) or low (<?10%) prevalence, ranging from 3 to 80% for Wolbachia, 2 to 33% for Entomoplasmatales and 5 to 45% for Cardinium. Wolbachia and Entomoplasmatales infections were found both in tropical and subtropical populations, the former mostly in India and the latter in various regions of India and Bangladesh. Cardinium infections were identified in both countries but only in subtropical populations. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the presence of Wolbachia with some strains belonging either to supergroup B or supergroup A. Sequence analysis revealed deletions of variable length and nucleotide variation in three Wolbachia genes. Spiroplasma strains were characterized as citri-chrysopicola-mirum and ixodetis strains while the remaining Entomoplasmatales to the Mycoides-Entomoplasmataceae clade. Cardinium strains were characterized as group A, similar to strains infecting Encarsia pergandiella. CONCLUSIONS:Our results indicated that in the Southeast natural populations examined, supergroup A Wolbachia strain infections were the most common, followed by Entomoplasmatales and Cardinium. In terms of diversity, most strains of each bacterial genus detected clustered in a common group. Interestingly, the deletions detected in three Wolbachia genes were either new or similar to those of previously identified pseudogenes that were integrated in the host genome indicating putative horizontal gene transfer events in B. dorsalis, B. correcta and B. zonata.
Project description:Maternally transmitted bacteria have been important players in the evolution of insects and other arthropods, affecting their nutrition, defense, development, and reproduction. Wolbachia are the best studied among these and typically the most prevalent. While several other bacteria have independently evolved a heritable lifestyle, less is known about their host ranges. Moreover, most groups of insects have not had their heritable microflora systematically surveyed across a broad range of their taxonomic diversity. To help remedy these shortcomings we used diagnostic PCR to screen for five groups of heritable symbionts-Arsenophonus spp., Cardinium hertigii, Hamiltonella defensa, Spiroplasma spp., and Wolbachia spp.-across the ants and lepidopterans (focusing, in the latter case, on two butterfly families-the Lycaenidae and Nymphalidae). We did not detect Cardinium or Hamiltonella in any host. Wolbachia were the most widespread, while Spiroplasma (ants and lepidopterans) and Arsenophonus (ants only) were present at low levels. Co-infections with different Wolbachia strains appeared especially common in ants and less so in lepidopterans. While no additional facultative heritable symbionts were found among ants using universal bacterial primers, microbes related to heritable enteric bacteria were detected in several hosts. In summary, our findings show that Wolbachia are the dominant heritable symbionts of ants and at least some lepidopterans. However, a systematic review of symbiont frequencies across host taxa revealed that this is not always the case across other arthropods. Furthermore, comparisons of symbiont frequencies revealed that the prevalence of Wolbachia and other heritable symbionts varies substantially across lower-level arthropod taxa. We discuss the correlates, potential causes, and implications of these patterns, providing hypotheses on host attributes that may shape the distributions of these influential bacteria.
Project description:Heritable bacterial endosymbionts can alter the biology of numerous arthropods. They can influence the reproductive outcome of infected hosts, thus affecting the ecology and evolution of various arthropod species. The spruce bark beetle Pityogenes chalcographus (L.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) was reported to express partial, unidirectional crossing incompatibilities among certain European populations. Knowledge on the background of these findings is lacking; however, bacterial endosymbionts have been assumed to manipulate the reproduction of this beetle. Previous work reported low-density and low-frequency Wolbachia infections of P. chalcographus but found it unlikely that this infection results in reproductive alterations. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis of an endosymbiont-driven incompatibility, other than Wolbachia, reflected by an infection pattern on a wide geographic scale. We performed a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) screening of 226 individuals from 18 European populations for the presence of the endosymbionts Cardinium, Rickettsia, and Spiroplasma, and additionally screened these individuals for Wolbachia. Positive PCR products were sequenced to characterize these bacteria. Our study shows a low prevalence of these four endosymbionts in P. chalcographus. We detected a yet undescribed Spiroplasma strain in a single individual from Greece. This is the first time that this endosymbiont has been found in a bark beetle. Further, Wolbachia was detected in three beetles from two Scandinavian populations and two new Wolbachia strains were described. None of the individuals analyzed were infected with Cardinium and Rickettsia. The low prevalence of bacteria found here does not support the hypothesis of an endosymbiont-driven reproductive incompatibility in P. chalcographus.
Project description:Profiling of wild and laboratory tsetse populations using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing allowed us to examine whether the "Wigglesworthia-Sodalis-Wolbachia dogma" operates across species and populations. The most abundant taxa, in wild and laboratory populations, were Wigglesworthia (the primary endosymbiont), Sodalis and Wolbachia as previously characterized. The species richness of the microbiota was greater in wild than laboratory populations. Spiroplasma was identified as a new symbiont exclusively in Glossina fuscipes fuscipes and G. tachinoides, members of the palpalis sub-group, and the infection prevalence in several laboratory and natural populations was surveyed. Multi locus sequencing typing (MLST) analysis identified two strains of tsetse-associated Spiroplasma, present in G. f. fuscipes and G. tachinoides. Spiroplasma density in G. f. fuscipes larva guts was significantly higher than in guts from teneral and 15-day old male and female adults. In gonads of teneral and 15-day old insects, Spiroplasma density was higher in testes than ovaries, and was significantly higher density in live versus prematurely deceased females indicating a potentially mutualistic association. Higher Spiroplasma density in testes than in ovaries was also detected by fluorescent in situ hybridization in G. f. fuscipes.
Project description:We undertook the issue of the distribution of intracellular bacteria among Oribatida (Acari). Six genera of bacteria were detected by PCR and Sanger DNA sequencing: Wolbachia, Cardinium, Rickettsia, Spiroplasma, Arsenophonus, and Hamiltonella. Our research, for the first time, revealed the presence of Cardinium in Microzetorchestes emeryi in two subpopulations separated from each other by 300 m. The percentages of infected animals were the same in both subpopulations-ca. 20%. The identity of 16S rDNA sequences of Cardinium between these two subpopulations of M. emeryi was 97%. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the Cardinium in M. emeryi was clustered into the group A. The occurrence of M. emeryi in Poland has not been reported before and our report is the first one. Cardinium maybe help the thermophilic M. emeryi to adapt to low temperatures in the Central Europe.
Project description:Maternally transmitted Wolbachia, Spiroplasma, and Cardinium bacteria are common in insects , but their interspecific spread is poorly understood. Endosymbionts can spread rapidly within host species by manipulating host reproduction, as typified by the global spread of wRi Wolbachia observed in Drosophila simulans [2, 3]. However, because Wolbachia cannot survive outside host cells, spread between distantly related host species requires horizontal transfers that are presumably rare [4-7]. Here, we document spread of wRi-like Wolbachia among eight highly diverged Drosophila hosts (10-50 million years) over only about 14,000 years (5,000-27,000). Comparing 110 wRi-like genomes, we find ?0.02% divergence from the wRi variant that spread rapidly through California populations of D. simulans. The hosts include both globally invasive species (D. simulans, D. suzukii, and D. ananassae) and narrowly distributed Australian endemics (D. anomalata and D. pandora) . Phylogenetic analyses that include mtDNA genomes indicate introgressive transfer of wRi-like Wolbachia between closely related species D. ananassae, D. anomalata, and D. pandora but no horizontal transmission within species. Our analyses suggest D. ananassae as the Wolbachia source for the recent wRi invasion of D. simulans and D. suzukii as the source of Wolbachia in its sister species D. subpulchrella. Although six of these wRi-like variants cause strong cytoplasmic incompatibility, two cause no detectable reproductive effects, indicating that pervasive mutualistic effects [9, 10] complement the reproductive manipulations for which Wolbachia are best known. "Super spreader" variants like wRi may be particularly useful for controlling insect pests and vector-borne diseases with Wolbachia transinfections .
Project description:Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) is an intriguing, widespread, symbiont-induced reproductive failure that decreases offspring production of arthropods through crossing incompatibility of infected males with uninfected females or with females infected with a distinct symbiont genotype. For years, the molecular mechanism of CI remained unknown. Recent genomic, proteomic, biochemical, and cell biological studies have contributed to understanding of CI in the alphaproteobacterium Wolbachia and implicate genes associated with the WO prophage. Besides a recently discovered additional lineage of alphaproteobacterial symbionts only moderately related to Wolbachia, Cardinium (Bacteroidetes) is the only other symbiont known to cause CI, and genomic evidence suggests that it has very little homology with Wolbachia and evolved this phenotype independently. Here, we present the first transcriptomic study of the CI Cardinium strain cEper1, in its natural host, Encarsia suzannae, to detect important CI candidates and genes involved in the insect-Cardinium symbiosis. Highly expressed transcripts included genes involved in manipulating ubiquitination, apoptosis, and host DNA. Female-biased genes encoding ribosomal proteins suggest an increase in general translational activity of Cardinium in female wasps. The results confirm previous genomic analyses that indicated that Wolbachia and Cardinium utilize different genes to induce CI, and transcriptome patterns further highlight expression of some common pathways that these bacteria use to interact with the host and potentially cause this enigmatic and fundamental manipulation of host reproduction. IMPORTANCE The majority of insects carry maternally inherited intracellular bacteria that are important in their hosts' biology, ecology, and evolution. Some of these bacterial symbionts cause a reproductive failure known as cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). In CI, the mating of symbiont-infected males and uninfected females produces few or no daughters. The CI symbiont then spreads and can have a significant impact on the insect host population. Cardinium, a bacterial endosymbiont of the parasitoid wasp Encarsia in the Bacteroidetes, is the only bacterial lineage known to cause CI outside the Alphaproteobacteria, where Wolbachia and another recently discovered CI symbiont reside. Here, we sought insight into the gene expression of a CI-inducing Cardinium strain in its natural host, Encarsia suzannae. Our study provides the first insights into the Cardinium transcriptome and provides support for the hypothesis that Wolbachia and Cardinium target similar host pathways with distinct and largely unrelated sets of genes.
Project description:Spider mites are frequently associated with multiple endosymbionts whose infection patterns often exhibit spatial and temporal variation. However, the association between endosymbiont prevalence and environmental factors remains unclear. Here, we surveyed endosymbionts in natural populations of the spider mite, Tetranychus truncatus, in China, screening 935 spider mites from 21 localities and 12 host plant species. Three facultative endosymbiont lineages, Wolbachia, Cardinium, and Spiroplasma, were detected at different infection frequencies (52.5%, 26.3%, and 8.6%, respectively). Multiple endosymbiont infections were observed in most local populations, and the incidence of individuals with the Wolbachia-Spiroplasma coinfection was higher than expected from the frequency of each infection within a population. Endosymbiont infection frequencies exhibited associations with environmental factors: Wolbachia infection rates increased at localities with higher annual mean temperatures, while Cardinium and Spiroplasma infection rates increased at localities from higher altitudes. Wolbachia was more common in mites from Lycopersicon esculentum and Glycine max compared to those from Zea mays This study highlights that host-endosymbiont interactions may be associated with environmental factors, including climate and other geographically linked factors, as well as the host's food plant.IMPORTANCE The aim of this study was to examine the incidence of endosymbiont distribution and the infection patterns in spider mites. The main findings are that multiple endosymbiont infections were more common than expected and that endosymbiont infection frequencies were associated with environmental factors. This work highlights that host-endosymbiont interactions need to be studied within an environmental and geographic context.
Project description:Reproductive endosymbionts have been shown to have wide-ranging effects on many aspects of their hosts' biology. A first step to understanding how these endosymbionts interact with their hosts is to determine their incidences. Here, we screened for four reproductive endosymbionts (Wolbachia, Cardinium, Spiroplasma and Rickettsia) in 28 populations of spider mites (Acari: Tetranychidae) representing 12 species. Each of the four endosymbionts were identified in at least some of the tested specimens, and their infection patterns showed variations at the species-level and population-level, suggesting their distributions can be correlated with both the phylogeny and ecology of the hosts. Co-infections of unrelated bacteria, especially double infections of Wolbachia and Cardinium within the same individuals were common. Spiroplasma and Rickettsia infections were specific to particular host species, respectively. Further, the evolutionary histories of these endosymbionts were inferred by comparing the phylogenies of them and their hosts. These findings can help to clarify the interactions between endosymbionts and arthropods.