Wolbachia symbiont infections induce strong cytoplasmic incompatibility in the tsetse fly Glossina morsitans.
ABSTRACT: Tsetse flies are vectors of the protozoan parasite African trypanosomes, which cause sleeping sickness disease in humans and nagana in livestock. Although there are no effective vaccines and efficacious drugs against this parasite, vector reduction methods have been successful in curbing the disease, especially for nagana. Potential vector control methods that do not involve use of chemicals is a genetic modification approach where flies engineered to be parasite resistant are allowed to replace their susceptible natural counterparts, and Sterile Insect technique (SIT) where males sterilized by chemical means are released to suppress female fecundity. The success of genetic modification approaches requires identification of strong drive systems to spread the desirable traits and the efficacy of SIT can be enhanced by identification of natural mating incompatibility. One such drive mechanism results from the cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) phenomenon induced by the symbiont Wolbachia. CI can also be used to induce natural mating incompatibility between release males and natural populations. Although Wolbachia infections have been reported in tsetse, it has been a challenge to understand their functional biology as attempts to cure tsetse of Wolbachia infections by antibiotic treatment damages the obligate mutualistic symbiont (Wigglesworthia), without which the flies are sterile. Here, we developed aposymbiotic (symbiont-free) and fertile tsetse lines by dietary provisioning of tetracycline supplemented blood meals with yeast extract, which rescues Wigglesworthia-induced sterility. Our results reveal that Wolbachia infections confer strong CI during embryogenesis in Wolbachia-free (Gmm(Apo)) females when mated with Wolbachia-infected (Gmm(Wt)) males. These results are the first demonstration of the biological significance of Wolbachia infections in tsetse. Furthermore, when incorporated into a mathematical model, our results confirm that Wolbachia can be used successfully as a gene driver. This lays the foundation for new disease control methods including a population replacement approach with parasite resistant flies. Alternatively, the availability of males that are reproductively incompatible with natural populations can enhance the efficacy of the ongoing sterile insect technique (SIT) applications by eliminating the need for chemical irradiation.
Project description:Tsetse flies, the sole vectors of African trypanosomes, have coevolved with mutualistic endosymbiont Wigglesworthia glossinidiae. Elimination of Wigglesworthia renders tsetse sterile and increases their trypanosome infection susceptibility. We show that a tsetse peptidoglycan recognition protein (PGRP-LB) is crucial for symbiotic tolerance and trypanosome infection processes. Tsetse pgrp-lb is expressed in the Wigglesworthia-harboring organ (bacteriome) in the midgut, and its level of expression correlates with symbiont numbers. Adult tsetse cured of Wigglesworthia infections have significantly lower pgrp-lb levels than corresponding normal adults. RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated depletion of pgrp-lb results in the activation of the immune deficiency (IMD) signaling pathway and leads to the synthesis of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which decrease Wigglesworthia density. Depletion of pgrp-lb also increases the host's susceptibility to trypanosome infections. Finally, parasitized adults have significantly lower pgrp-lb levels than flies, which have successfully eliminated trypanosome infections. When both PGRP-LB and IMD immunity pathway functions are blocked, flies become unusually susceptible to parasitism. Based on the presence of conserved amidase domains, tsetse PGRP-LB may scavenge the peptidoglycan (PGN) released by Wigglesworthia and prevent the activation of symbiont-damaging host immune responses. In addition, tsetse PGRP-LB may have an anti-protozoal activity that confers parasite resistance. The symbiotic adaptations and the limited exposure of tsetse to foreign microbes may have led to the considerable differences in pgrp-lb expression and regulation noted in tsetse from that of closely related Drosophila. A dynamic interplay between Wigglesworthia and host immunity apparently is influential in tsetse's ability to transmit trypanosomes.
Project description:The tsetse fly Glossina is the vector of the protozoan Trypanosoma brucei spp., which causes Human and Animal African Trypanosomiasis in sub-Saharan African countries. To supplement their unbalanced vertebrate bloodmeal diet, flies permanently harbor the obligate bacterium Wigglesworthia glossinidia, which resides in bacteriocytes in the midgut bacteriome organ as well as in milk gland organ. Tsetse flies also harbor the secondary facultative endosymbionts (S-symbiont) Sodalis glossinidius that infects various tissues and Wolbachia that infects germ cells. Tsetse flies display viviparous reproductive biology where a single embryo hatches and completes its entire larval development in utero and receives nourishments in the form of milk secreted by mother's accessory glands (milk glands). To analyze the precise tissue distribution of the three endosymbiotic bacteria and to infer the way by which each symbiotic partner is transmitted from parent to progeny, we conducted a Fluorescence In situ Hybridization (FISH) study to survey bacterial spatial distribution across the fly tissues. We show that bacteriocytes are mono-infected with Wigglesworthia, while both Wigglesworthia and Sodalis are present in the milk gland lumen. Sodalis was further seen in the uterus, spermathecae, fat body, milk and intracellular in the milk gland cells. Contrary to Wigglesworthia and Sodalis, Wolbachia were the only bacteria infecting oocytes, trophocytes, and embryos at early embryonic stages. Furthermore, Wolbachia were not seen in the milk gland and in the fat body. This work further highlights the diversity of symbiont interactions in multipartner associations and supports two maternal routes of symbiont inheritance in the tsetse fly: Wolbachia through oocytes, and, Wigglesworthia and Sodalis by means of milk gland bacterial infection at early post-embryonic stages.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Tsetse flies (Diptera: Glossinidae) are solely responsible for the transmission of African trypanosomes, causative agents of sleeping sickness in humans and nagana in livestock. Due to the lack of efficient vaccines and the emergence of drug resistance, vector control approaches such as the sterile insect technique (SIT), remain the most effective way to control disease. SIT is a species-specific approach and therefore requires accurate identification of natural pest populations at the species level. However, the presence of morphologically similar species (species complexes and sub-species) in tsetse flies challenges the successful implementation of SIT-based population control. RESULTS:In this study, we evaluate different molecular tools that can be applied for the delimitation of different Glossina species using tsetse samples derived from laboratory colonies, natural populations and museum specimens. The use of mitochondrial markers, nuclear markers (including internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) and different microsatellites), and bacterial symbiotic markers (Wolbachia infection status) in combination with relatively inexpensive techniques such as PCR, agarose gel electrophoresis, and to some extent sequencing provided a rapid, cost effective, and accurate identification of several tsetse species. CONCLUSIONS:The effectiveness of SIT benefits from the fine resolution of species limits in nature. The present study supports the quick identification of large samples using simple and cost effective universalized protocols, which can be easily applied by countries/laboratories with limited resources and expertise.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Tsetse flies (Diptera: Glossinidae) are the cyclical vectors of the causative agents of African Trypanosomosis, which has been identified as a neglected tropical disease in both humans and animals in many regions of sub-Saharan Africa. The sterile insect technique (SIT) has shown to be a powerful method to manage tsetse fly populations when used in the frame of an area-wide integrated pest management (AW-IPM) program. To date, the release of sterile males to manage tsetse fly populations has only been implemented in areas to reduce transmission of animal African Trypanosomosis (AAT). The implementation of the SIT in areas with Human African Trypanosomosis (HAT) would require additional measures to eliminate the potential risk associated with the release of sterile males that require blood meals to survive and hence, might contribute to disease transmission. Paratransgenesis offers the potential to develop tsetse flies that are refractory to trypanosome infection by modifying their associated bacteria (Sodalis glossinidius) here after referred to as Sodalis. Here we assessed the feasibility of combining the paratransgenesis approach with SIT by analyzing the impact of ionizing radiation on the copy number of Sodalis and the vectorial capacity of sterilized tsetse males. RESULTS:Adult Glossina morsitans morsitans that emerged from puparia irradiated on day 22 post larviposition did not show a significant decline in Sodalis copy number as compared with non-irradiated flies. Conversely, the Sodalis copy number was significantly reduced in adults that emerged from puparia irradiated on day 29 post larviposition and in adults irradiated on day 7 post emergence. Moreover, irradiating 22-day old puparia reduced the copy number of Wolbachia and Wigglesworthia in emerged adults as compared with non-irradiated controls, but the radiation treatment had no significant impact on the vectorial competence of the flies. CONCLUSION:Although the radiation treatment significantly reduced the copy number of some tsetse fly symbionts, the copy number of Sodalis recovered with time in flies irradiated as 22-day old puparia. This recovery offers the opportunity to combine a paratransgenesis approach - using modified Sodalis to produce males refractory to trypanosome infection - with the release of sterile males to minimize the risk of disease transmission, especially in HAT endemic areas. Moreover, irradiation did not increase the vector competence of the flies for trypanosomes.
Project description:The viviparous tsetse fly utilizes proline as a hemolymph-borne energy source. In tsetse, biosynthesis of proline from alanine involves the enzyme alanine-glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGAT), which requires pyridoxal phosphate (vitamin B6) as a cofactor. This vitamin can be synthesized by tsetse's obligate symbiont, Wigglesworthia glossinidia. In this study, we examined the role of Wigglesworthia-produced vitamin B6 for maintenance of proline homeostasis, specifically during the energetically expensive lactation period of the tsetse's reproductive cycle. We found that expression of agat, as well as genes involved in vitamin B6 metabolism in both host and symbiont, increases in lactating flies. Removal of symbionts via antibiotic treatment of flies (aposymbiotic) led to hypoprolinemia, reduced levels of vitamin B6 in lactating females, and decreased fecundity. Proline homeostasis and fecundity recovered partially when aposymbiotic tsetse were fed a diet supplemented with either yeast or Wigglesworthia extracts. RNA interference-mediated knockdown of agat in wild-type flies reduced hemolymph proline levels to that of aposymbiotic females. Aposymbiotic flies treated with agat short interfering RNA (siRNA) remained hypoprolinemic even upon dietary supplementation with microbial extracts or B vitamins. Flies infected with parasitic African trypanosomes display lower hemolymph proline levels, suggesting that the reduced fecundity observed in parasitized flies could result from parasite interference with proline homeostasis. This interference could be manifested by competition between tsetse and trypanosomes for vitamins, proline, or other factors involved in their synthesis. Collectively, these results indicate that the presence of Wigglesworthia in tsetse is critical for the maintenance of proline homeostasis through vitamin B6 production.
Project description:Tsetse flies (Diptera: Glossinidae) have medical significance as the obligate vectors of African trypanosomes. In addition, tsetse harbor a simple gut microbiota. A predominant gut microbiota member, the Gammaproteobacterium Wigglesworthia spp., has coevolved with tsetse for a significant portion of Glossina radiation proving critical to tsetse fitness. Although multiple roles have been described for Wigglesworthia within colony flies, little research has been dedicated towards functional characterization within wild tsetse. Here, dual RNA-Seq was performed to characterize the tsetse-Wigglesworthia symbiosis within flies captured in Nguruman, Kenya. A significant correlation in Gene Ontology (GO) distribution between tsetse and Wigglesworthia was observed, with homogeneous enrichment in metabolic and transport categories, likely supporting a hallmark of the symbiosis-bidirectional metabolic exchange. Within field flies, highly transcribed Wigglesworthia loci included those involved in B vitamin synthesis and in substrate translocation, including amino acid transporters and multidrug efflux pumps, providing a molecular means for interaction. The universal expression of several Wigglesworthia and G. pallidipes orthologs, putatively involved in nutrient provisioning and resource allocation, was confirmed in sister tsetse species. These transcriptional profiles varied through host age and mating status likely addressing varying symbiont demands and also confirming their global importance within Glossina. This study, not only supports symbiont nutrient provisioning roles, but also serves as a foundation for insight into novel roles and molecular mechanisms associated with vector-microbiota interactions. The role of symbiont B vitamin provisioning towards impacting host epigenetics is discussed. Knowledge of vector-microbiota interactions may lead to the discovery of novel targets in pest control.
Project description:Tsetse flies (Glossina sp.) that transmit trypanosomes causing human (and animal) African trypanosomiasis (HAT and AAT, respectively) harbor symbiotic microorganisms, including the obligate primary symbiont Wigglesworthia glossinidia. A relationship between Wigglesworthia and tsetse fly infection by trypanosomes has been suggested, as removal of the symbiont results in a higher susceptibility to midgut infection in adult flies. To investigate this relationship and to decipher the role of W. glossinidia in the fly's susceptibility to trypanosome infection, we challenged flies with trypanosomes and subsequently analyzed and compared the transcriptomes of W. glossinidia from susceptible and refractory tsetse flies at three time points (3, 10, and 20 days). More than 200 W. glossinidia genes were found to be differentially expressed between susceptible and refractory flies. The high specificity of these differentially expressed genes makes it possible to distinguish Wigglesworthia inhabiting these two distinct groups of flies. Furthermore, gene expression patterns were observed to evolve during the infection time course, such that very few differentially expressed genes were found in common in Wigglesworthia from the 3-, 10- and 20-day post-feeding fly samples. The overall results clearly demonstrate that the taking up of trypanosomes by flies, regardless of whether flies proceed with the developmental program of Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, strongly alters gene expression in Wigglesworthia. These results therefore provide a novel framework for studies that aim to decrease or even abolish tsetse fly vector competence.
Project description:Tsetse flies (Glossina spp.) are the cyclical vectors of Trypanosoma spp., which are unicellular parasites responsible for multiple diseases, including nagana in livestock and sleeping sickness in humans in Africa. Glossina species, including Glossina morsitans morsitans (Gmm), for which the Whole Genome Sequence (WGS) is now available, have established symbiotic associations with three endosymbionts: Wigglesworthia glossinidia, Sodalis glossinidius and Wolbachia pipientis (Wolbachia). The presence of Wolbachia in both natural and laboratory populations of Glossina species, including the presence of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) events in a laboratory colony of Gmm, has already been shown. We herein report on the draft genome sequence of the cytoplasmic Wolbachia endosymbiont (cytWol) associated with Gmm. By in silico and molecular and cytogenetic analysis, we discovered and validated the presence of multiple insertions of Wolbachia (chrWol) in the host Gmm genome. We identified at least two large insertions of chrWol, 527,507 and 484,123 bp in size, from Gmm WGS data. Southern hybridizations confirmed the presence of Wolbachia insertions in Gmm genome, and FISH revealed multiple insertions located on the two sex chromosomes (X and Y), as well as on the supernumerary B-chromosomes. We compare the chrWol insertions to the cytWol draft genome in an attempt to clarify the evolutionary history of the HGT events. We discuss our findings in light of the evolution of Wolbachia infections in the tsetse fly and their potential impacts on the control of tsetse populations and trypanosomiasis.
Project description:UNLABELLED:Ancient endosymbionts have been associated with extreme genome structural stability with little differentiation in gene inventory between sister species. Tsetse flies (Diptera: Glossinidae) harbor an obligate endosymbiont, Wigglesworthia, which has coevolved with the Glossina radiation. We report on the ~720-kb Wigglesworthia genome and its associated plasmid from Glossina morsitans morsitans and compare them to those of the symbiont from Glossina brevipalpis. While there was overall high synteny between the two genomes, a large inversion was noted. Furthermore, symbiont transcriptional analyses demonstrated host tissue and development-specific gene expression supporting robust transcriptional regulation in Wigglesworthia, an unprecedented observation in other obligate mutualist endosymbionts. Expression and immunohistochemistry confirmed the role of flagella during the vertical transmission process from mother to intrauterine progeny. The expression of nutrient provisioning genes (thiC and hemH) suggests that Wigglesworthia may function in dietary supplementation tailored toward host development. Furthermore, despite extensive conservation, unique genes were identified within both symbiont genomes that may result in distinct metabolomes impacting host physiology. One of these differences involves the chorismate, phenylalanine, and folate biosynthetic pathways, which are uniquely present in Wigglesworthia morsitans. Interestingly, African trypanosomes are auxotrophs for phenylalanine and folate and salvage both exogenously. It is possible that W. morsitans contributes to the higher parasite susceptibility of its host species. IMPORTANCE:Genomic stasis has historically been associated with obligate endosymbionts and their sister species. Here we characterize the Wigglesworthia genome of the tsetse fly species Glossina morsitans and compare it to its sister genome within G. brevipalpis. The similarity and variation between the genomes enabled specific hypotheses regarding functional biology. Expression analyses indicate significant levels of transcriptional regulation and support development- and tissue-specific functional roles for the symbiosis previously not observed in obligate mutualist symbionts. Retention of the genetically expensive flagella within these small genomes was demonstrated to be significant in symbiont transmission and tailored to the unique tsetse fly reproductive biology. Distinctions in metabolomes were also observed. We speculate an additional role for Wigglesworthia symbiosis where infections with pathogenic trypanosomes may depend upon symbiont species-specific metabolic products and thus influence the vector competence traits of different tsetse fly host species.
Project description:Tsetse flies (Diptera: Glossinidae) are vectors for African trypanosomes (Euglenozoa: kinetoplastida), protozoan parasites that cause African trypanosomiasis in humans (HAT) and nagana in livestock. In addition to trypanosomes, two symbiotic bacteria (Wigglesworthia glossinidia and Sodalis glossinidius) and two parasitic microbes, Wolbachia and a salivary gland hypertrophy virus (SGHV), have been described in tsetse. Here we determined the prevalence of and coinfection dynamics between Wolbachia, trypanosomes, and SGHV in Glossina fuscipes fuscipes in Uganda over a large geographical scale spanning the range of host genetic and spatial diversity. Using a multivariate analysis approach, we uncovered complex coinfection dynamics between the pathogens and statistically significant associations between host genetic groups and pathogen prevalence. It is important to note that these coinfection dynamics and associations with the host were not apparent by univariate analysis. These associations between host genotype and pathogen are particularly evident for Wolbachia and SGHV where host groups are inversely correlated for Wolbachia and SGHV prevalence. On the other hand, trypanosome infection prevalence is more complex and covaries with the presence of the other two pathogens, highlighting the importance of examining multiple pathogens simultaneously before making generalizations about infection and spatial patterns. It is imperative to note that these novel findings would have been missed if we had employed the standard univariate analysis used in previous studies. Our results are discussed in the context of disease epidemiology and vector control.