Population genomics of the Wolbachia endosymbiont in Drosophila melanogaster.
ABSTRACT: Wolbachia are maternally inherited symbiotic bacteria, commonly found in arthropods, which are able to manipulate the reproduction of their host in order to maximise their transmission. The evolutionary history of endosymbionts like Wolbachia can be revealed by integrating information on infection status in natural populations with patterns of sequence variation in Wolbachia and host mitochondrial genomes. Here we use whole-genome resequencing data from 290 lines of Drosophila melanogaster from North America, Europe, and Africa to predict Wolbachia infection status, estimate relative cytoplasmic genome copy number, and reconstruct Wolbachia and mitochondrial genome sequences. Overall, 63% of Drosophila strains were predicted to be infected with Wolbachia by our in silico analysis pipeline, which shows 99% concordance with infection status determined by diagnostic PCR. Complete Wolbachia and mitochondrial genomes show congruent phylogenies, consistent with strict vertical transmission through the maternal cytoplasm and imperfect transmission of Wolbachia. Bayesian phylogenetic analysis reveals that the most recent common ancestor of all Wolbachia and mitochondrial genomes in D. melanogaster dates to around 8,000 years ago. We find evidence for a recent global replacement of ancestral Wolbachia and mtDNA lineages, but our data suggest that the derived wMel lineage arose several thousand years ago, not in the 20th century as previously proposed. Our data also provide evidence that this global replacement event is incomplete and is likely to be one of several similar incomplete replacement events that have occurred since the out-of-Africa migration that allowed D. melanogaster to colonize worldwide habitats. This study provides a complete genomic analysis of the evolutionary mode and temporal dynamics of the D. melanogaster-Wolbachia symbiosis, as well as important resources for further analyses of the impact of Wolbachia on host biology.
Project description:Wolbachia are maternally inherited bacteria, which typically spread in the host population by inducing cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). In Drosophila melanogaster, Wolbachia is quite common but CI is variable, with most of the studies reporting low levels of CI. Surveying mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation and infection status in a worldwide D. melanogaster collection, we found that the Wolbachia infection was not randomly distributed among flies with different mtDNA haplotypes. This preferential infection of some mtDNA haplotypes could be caused by a recent spread of mtDNA haplotypes associated with the infection. The comparison of contemporary D. melanogaster samples with lines collected more than 50 years ago shows that indeed one haplotype with a high incidence of Wolbachia infection has increased in frequency. Consistent with this observation, we found that the acquisition of a Wolbachia infection in a population from Crete was accompanied with an almost complete mtDNA replacement, with the Wolbachia-associated haplotype becoming abundant. Although it is difficult to identify the evolutionary forces causing the global increase of wMel, the parallel sweep of Wolbachia and an mtDNA haplotype suggests a fitness advantage of the Wolbachia infection.
Project description:Wolbachia is an endosymbiotic Alphaproteobacteria that can suppress insect-borne diseases through decreasing host virus transmission (population replacement) or through decreasing host population density (population suppression). We contrast natural Wolbachia infections in insect populations with Wolbachia transinfections in mosquitoes to gain insights into factors potentially affecting the long-term success of Wolbachia releases. Natural Wolbachia infections can spread rapidly, whereas the slow spread of transinfections is governed by deleterious effects on host fitness and demographic factors. Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) generated by Wolbachia is central to both population replacement and suppression programs, but CI in nature can be variable and evolve, as can Wolbachia fitness effects and virus blocking. Wolbachia spread is also influenced by environmental factors that decrease Wolbachia titer and reduce maternal Wolbachia transmission frequency. More information is needed on the interactions between Wolbachia and host nuclear/mitochondrial genomes, the interaction between invasion success and local ecological factors, and the long-term stability of Wolbachia-mediated virus blocking.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Wolbachia wMel is the most commonly used strain in rear and release strategies for Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that aim to inhibit the transmission of arboviruses such as dengue, Zika, Chikungunya and yellow fever. However, the long-term establishment of wMel in natural Ae. aegypti populations raises concerns that interactions between Wolbachia wMel and Ae. aegypti may lead to changes in the host genome, which could affect useful attributes of Wolbachia that allow it to invade and suppress disease transmission. RESULTS:We applied an evolve-and-resequence approach to study genome-wide genetic changes in Ae. aegypti from the Cairns region, Australia, where Wolbachia wMel was first introduced more than 10 years ago. Mosquito samples were collected at three different time points in Gordonvale, Australia, covering the phase before (2010) and after (2013 and 2018) Wolbachia releases. An additional three locations where Wolbachia replacement happened at different times across the last decade were also sampled in 2018. We found that the genomes of mosquito populations mostly remained stable after Wolbachia release, with population differences tending to reflect the geographic location of the populations rather than Wolbachia infection status. However, outlier analysis suggests that Wolbachia may have had an influence on some genes related to immune response, development, recognition and behavior. CONCLUSIONS:Ae. aegypti populations remained geographically distinct after Wolbachia wMel releases in North Australia despite their Wolbachia infection status. At some specific genomic loci, we found signs of selection associated with Wolbachia, suggesting potential evolutionary impacts can happen in the future and further monitoring is warranted.
Project description:Wolbachia pipientis is one of the most widely studied endosymbionts today, yet we know little about its short-term adaptation and evolution. Here, using a set of 91 inbred Drosophila melanogaster lines from five populations, we explore patterns of diversity and recent evolution in the Wolbachia strain wMel. Within the D. melanogaster lines, we identify six major mitochondrial clades and four wMel clades. Concordant with past studies, the Wolbachia haplotypes contain an overall low level of nucleotide diversity, yet they still display geographic structuring. Using Bayesian analysis informed with demographic estimates of colonization times, we estimate that all extant D. melanogaster mitochondrial haplotypes coalesce to a Wolbachia-infected ancestor approximately 2200 years ago. Finally, we measure wMel titre within the infected flies and find that titre varies across populations, an effect attributable to host genetic factors. This demonstration of local phenotypic divergence suggests that intraspecific host genetic variation plays a key role in shaping this model symbiotic system.
Project description:Maternally transmitted Wolbachia infect about half of insect species, yet the predominant mode(s) of Wolbachia acquisition remains uncertain. Species-specific associations could be old, with Wolbachia and hosts codiversifying (i.e., cladogenic acquisition), or relatively young and acquired by horizontal transfer or introgression. The three Drosophila yakuba-clade hosts [(D. santomea, D. yakuba) D. teissieri] diverged ?3 MYA and currently hybridize on the West African islands Bioko and São Tomé. Each species is polymorphic for nearly identical Wolbachia that cause weak cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI)-reduced egg hatch when uninfected females mate with infected males. D. yakuba-clade Wolbachia are closely related to wMel, globally polymorphic in D. melanogaster We use draft Wolbachia and mitochondrial genomes to demonstrate that D. yakuba-clade phylogenies for Wolbachia and mitochondria tend to follow host nuclear phylogenies. However, roughly half of D. santomea individuals, sampled both inside and outside of the São Tomé hybrid zone, have introgressed D. yakuba mitochondria. Both mitochondria and Wolbachia possess far more recent common ancestors than the bulk of the host nuclear genomes, precluding cladogenic Wolbachia acquisition. General concordance of Wolbachia and mitochondrial phylogenies suggests that horizontal transmission is rare, but varying relative rates of molecular divergence complicate chronogram-based statistical tests. Loci that cause CI in wMel are disrupted in D. yakuba-clade Wolbachia; but a second set of loci predicted to cause CI are located in the same WO prophage region. These alternative CI loci seem to have been acquired horizontally from distantly related Wolbachia, with transfer mediated by flanking Wolbachia-specific ISWpi1 transposons.
Project description:Estimates of Wolbachia density in the eggs, testes and whole flies of drosophilid hosts have been unable to predict the lack of cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) expression in so-called mod(-) variants. Consequently, the working hypothesis has been that CI expression, although related to Wolbachia density, is also governed by unknown factors that are influenced by both host and bacterial genomes. Here, we compare the behaviour of the mod(-) over-replicating Wolbachia popcorn strain in its native Drosophila melanogaster host to the same strain transinfected into a novel host, namely Drosophila simulans. We report that (i) the popcorn strain is a close relative of other D. melanogaster infections, (ii) the mod(-) status of popcorn in D. melanogaster appears to result from its inability to colonize sperm bundles, (iii) popcorn is present in the bundles in D. simulans and induces strong CI expression, which demonstrates that the bacterial strain does not lack the genetic machinery for inducing CI and that there is host-species-specific control over Wolbachia tissue tropism, and (iv) infection of sperm bundles by the mod(-) D. simulans wCof strain indicates that there are several independent routes by which a strain can be a CI non-expressor.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The role of Wolbachia endosymbionts in shaping the mitochondrial diversity of their arthropod host depends on the effects they have on host reproduction and on the mode of transmission of the bacteria. We have compared the sequence diversity of wsp (Wolbachia surface protein gene) and the host mtDNA in a group of Formica ant species that have diverged approximately 0.5 million years ago (MYA). The aim was to study the relationship of Wolbachia and its ant hosts in terms of vertical and horizontal transmission of the bacteria. RESULTS: All studied ant species were doubly infected with two Wolbachia strains (wFex1 and wFex4) all over their geographical distribution area in Eurasia. The most common haplotypes of these strains were identical with strains previously described from a more distantly related Formica ant, with an estimated divergence time of 3.5 - 4 MYA. Some strain haplotypes were associated to the same or closely related mtDNA haplotypes as expected under vertical transmission. However, in several cases the wsp haplotypes coexisted with distant mtDNA haplotypes, a pattern which is more compatible with horizontal transmission of the bacteria. CONCLUSION: Two lines of evidence suggest that the sharing of Wolbachia strains by all F. rufa species is rather due to horizontal than vertical transmission. First, the fact that endosymbiont strains identical to those of F. rufa ants have been found in another species that diverged 3.5-4 MYA strongly suggests that horizontal transfer can and does occur between Formica ants. Second, the frequent sharing of identical Wolbachia strains by distant mitochondrial lineages within the F. rufa group further shows that horizontal transmission has occurred repeatedly. Nevertheless, our dataset also provides some evidence for longer-term persistence of infection, indicating that Wolbachia infection within this host clade has been shaped by both horizontal and vertical transmission of symbionts. The fact that all the ants were infected irrespective of the family structure of their societies gives no support to the proposed hypotheses that the spreading of Wolbachia in ants might be associated to the types of their societies.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia pipientis has been shown to increase host resistance to viral infection in native Drosophila hosts and in the normally Wolbachia-free heterologous host Aedes aegypti when infected by Wolbachia from Drosophila melanogaster or Aedes albopictus. Wolbachia infection has not yet been demonstrated to increase viral resistance in a native Wolbachia-mosquito host system. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:In this study, we investigated Wolbachia-induced resistance to West Nile virus (WNV; Flaviviridae) by measuring infection susceptibility in Wolbachia-infected and Wolbachia-free D. melanogaster and Culex quinquefasciatus, a natural mosquito vector of WNV. Wolbachia infection of D. melanogaster induces strong resistance to WNV infection. Wolbachia-infected flies had a 500-fold higher ID50 for WNV and produced 100,000-fold lower virus titers compared to flies lacking Wolbachia. The resistance phenotype was transmitted as a maternal, cytoplasmic factor and was fully reverted in flies cured of Wolbachia. Wolbachia infection had much less effect on the susceptibility of D. melanogaster to Chikungunya (Togaviridae) and La Crosse (Bunyaviridae) viruses. Wolbachia also induces resistance to WNV infection in Cx. quinquefasciatus. While Wolbachia had no effect on the overall rate of peroral infection by WNV, Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes produced lower virus titers and had 2 to 3-fold lower rates of virus transmission compared to mosquitoes lacking Wolbachia. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:This is the first demonstration that Wolbachia can increase resistance to arbovirus infection resulting in decreased virus transmission in a native Wolbachia-mosquito system. The results suggest that Wolbachia reduces vector competence in Cx. quinquefasciatus, and potentially in other Wolbachia-infected mosquito vectors.
Project description:Maternally transmitted Wolbachia bacteria infect about half of all insect species. Many Wolbachia cause cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) and reduced egg hatch when uninfected females mate with infected males. Although CI produces a frequency-dependent fitness advantage that leads to high equilibrium Wolbachia frequencies, it does not aid Wolbachia spread from low frequencies. Indeed, the fitness advantages that produce initial Wolbachia spread and maintain non-CI Wolbachia remain elusive. wMau Wolbachia infecting Drosophila mauritiana do not cause CI, despite being very similar to CI-causing wNo from Drosophila simulans (0.068% sequence divergence over 682,494 bp), suggesting recent CI loss. Using draft wMau genomes, we identify a deletion in a CI-associated gene, consistent with theory predicting that selection within host lineages does not act to increase or maintain CI. In the laboratory, wMau shows near-perfect maternal transmission; but we find no significant effect on host fecundity, in contrast to published data. Intermediate wMau frequencies on the island of Mauritius are consistent with a balance between unidentified small, positive fitness effects and imperfect maternal transmission. Our phylogenomic analyses suggest that group-B Wolbachia, including wMau and wPip, diverged from group-A Wolbachia, such as wMel and wRi, 6-46 million years ago, more recently than previously estimated.
Project description:Wolbachia is an iconic example of a successful intracellular bacterium. Despite its importance as a manipulator of invertebrate biology, its evolutionary dynamics have been poorly studied from a genomic viewpoint. To expand the number of Wolbachia genomes, we screen over 30,000 publicly available shotgun DNA sequencing samples from 500 hosts. By assembling over 1000 Wolbachia genomes, we provide a substantial increase in host representation. Our phylogenies based on both core-genome and gene content provide a robust reference for future studies, support new strains in model organisms, and reveal recent horizontal transfers amongst distantly related hosts. We find various instances of gene function gains and losses in different super-groups and in cytoplasmic incompatibility inducing strains. Our Wolbachia-host co-phylogenies indicate that horizontal transmission is widespread at the host intraspecific level and that there is no support for a general Wolbachia-mitochondrial synchronous divergence.