Accidental genetic engineers: horizontal sequence transfer from parasitoid wasps to their Lepidopteran hosts.
ABSTRACT: We show here that 105 regions in two Lepidoptera genomes appear to derive from horizontally transferred wasp DNA. We experimentally verified the presence of two of these sequences in a diverse set of silkworm (Bombyx mori) genomes. We hypothesize that these horizontal transfers are made possible by the unusual strategy many parasitoid wasps employ of injecting hosts with endosymbiotic polydnaviruses to minimize the host's defense response. Because these virus-like particles deliver wasp DNA to the cells of the host, there has been much interest in whether genetic information can be permanently transferred from the wasp to the host. Two transferred sequences code for a BEN domain, known to be associated with polydnaviruses and transcriptional regulation. These findings represent the first documented cases of horizontal transfer of genes between two organisms by a polydnavirus. This presents an interesting evolutionary paradigm in which host species can acquire new sequences from parasitoid wasps that attack them. Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera diverged ?300 MYA, making this type of event a source of novel sequences for recipient species. Unlike many other cases of horizontal transfer between two eukaryote species, these sequence transfers can be explained without the need to invoke the sequences 'hitchhiking' on a third organism (e.g. retrovirus) capable of independent reproduction. The cellular machinery necessary for the transfer is contained entirely in the wasp genome. The work presented here is the first such discovery of what is likely to be a broader phenomenon among species affected by these wasps.
Project description:Polydnaviruses (PDVs) are essential for the parasitism success of tens of thousands of species of parasitoid wasps. PDVs are present in wasp genomes as proviruses, which serve as the template for the production of double-stranded circular viral DNA carrying virulence genes that are injected into lepidopteran hosts. PDV circles do not contain genes coding for particle production, thereby impeding viral replication in caterpillar hosts during parasitism. Here, we investigated the fate of PDV circles of Cotesia congregata bracovirus during parasitism of the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta, by the wasp Cotesia congregata Sequences sharing similarities with host integration motifs (HIMs) of Microplitis demolitor bracovirus (MdBV) circles involved in integration into DNA could be identified in 12 CcBV circles, which encode PTP and VANK gene families involved in host immune disruption. A PCR approach performed on a subset of these circles indicated that they persisted in parasitized M. sexta hemocytes as linear forms, possibly integrated in host DNA. Furthermore, by using a primer extension capture method based on these HIMs and high-throughput sequencing, we could show that 8 out of 9 circles tested were integrated in M. sexta hemocyte genomic DNA and that integration had occurred specifically using the HIM, indicating that an HIM-mediated specific mechanism was involved in their integration. Investigation of BV circle insertion sites at the genome scale revealed that certain genomic regions appeared to be enriched in BV insertions, but no specific M. sexta target site could be identified.IMPORTANCE The identification of a specific and efficient integration mechanism shared by several bracovirus species opens the question of its role in braconid parasitoid wasp parasitism success. Indeed, results obtained here show massive integration of bracovirus DNA in somatic immune cells at each parasitism event of a caterpillar host. Given that bracoviruses do not replicate in infected cells, integration of viral sequences in host DNA might allow the production of PTP and VANK virulence proteins within newly dividing cells of caterpillar hosts that continue to develop during parasitism. Furthermore, this integration process could serve as a basis to understand how PDVs mediate the recently identified gene flux between parasitoid wasps and Lepidoptera and the frequency of these horizontal transfer events in nature.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Polydnaviruses, double-stranded DNA viruses with segmented genomes, have evolved as obligate endosymbionts of parasitoid wasps. Virus particles are replication deficient and produced by female wasps from proviral sequences integrated into the wasp genome. These particles are co-injected with eggs into caterpillar hosts, where viral gene expression facilitates parasitoid survival and, thereby, survival of proviral DNA. Here we characterize and compare the encapsidated viral genome sequences of bracoviruses in the family Polydnaviridae associated with Glyptapanteles gypsy moth parasitoids, along with near complete proviral sequences from which both viral genomes are derived.<h4>Results</h4>The encapsidated Glyptapanteles indiensis and Glyptapanteles flavicoxis bracoviral genomes, each composed of 29 different size segments, total approximately 517 and 594 kbp, respectively. They are generated from a minimum of seven distinct loci in the wasp genome. Annotation of these sequences revealed numerous novel features for polydnaviruses, including insect-like sugar transporter genes and transposable elements. Evolutionary analyses suggest that positive selection is widespread among bracoviral genes.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The structure and organization of G. indiensis and G. flavicoxis bracovirus proviral segments as multiple loci containing one to many viral segments, flanked and separated by wasp gene-encoding DNA, is confirmed. Rapid evolution of bracovirus genes supports the hypothesis of bracovirus genes in an 'arms race' between bracovirus and caterpillar. Phylogenetic analyses of the bracoviral genes encoding sugar transporters provides the first robust evidence of a wasp origin for some polydnavirus genes. We hypothesize transposable elements, such as those described here, could facilitate transfer of genes between proviral segments and host DNA.
Project description:Obligate symbioses occur when organisms require symbiotic relationships to survive. Some parasitic wasps of caterpillars possess obligate mutualistic viruses called "polydnaviruses." Along with eggs, wasps inject polydnavirus inside their caterpillar hosts where the hatching larvae develop inside the caterpillar. Polydnaviruses suppress the immune systems of their caterpillar hosts, which enables egg hatch and wasp larval development. It is unknown whether polydnaviruses also manipulate the salivary proteins of the caterpillar, which may affect the elicitation of plant defenses during feeding by the caterpillar. Here, we show that a polydnavirus of the parasitoid Microplitis croceipes, and not the parasitoid larva itself, drives the regulation of salivary enzymes of the caterpillar Helicoverpa zea that are known to elicit tomato plant-defense responses to herbivores. The polydnavirus suppresses glucose oxidase, which is a primary plant-defense elicitor in the saliva of the H. zea caterpillar. By suppressing plant defenses, the polydnavirus allows the caterpillar to grow at a faster rate, thus improving the host suitability for the parasitoid. Remarkably, polydnaviruses manipulate the phenotypes of the wasp, caterpillar, and host plant, demonstrating that polydnaviruses play far more prominent roles in shaping plant-herbivore interactions than ever considered.
Project description:Bracoviruses are symbiotic viruses associated with tens of thousands of species of parasitic wasps that develop within the body of lepidopteran hosts and that collectively parasitize caterpillars of virtually every lepidopteran species. Viral particles are produced in the wasp ovaries and injected into host larvae with the wasp eggs. Once in the host body, the viral DNA circles enclosed in the particles integrate into lepidopteran host cell DNA. Here we show that bracovirus DNA sequences have been inserted repeatedly into lepidopteran genomes, indicating this viral DNA can also enter germline cells. The original mode of Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) unveiled here is based on the integrative properties of an endogenous virus that has evolved as a gene transfer agent within parasitic wasp genomes for ?100 million years. Among the bracovirus genes thus transferred, a phylogenetic analysis indicated that those encoding C-type-lectins most likely originated from the wasp gene set, showing that a bracovirus-mediated gene flux exists between the 2 insect orders Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera. Furthermore, the acquisition of bracovirus sequences that can be expressed by Lepidoptera has resulted in the domestication of several genes that could result in adaptive advantages for the host. Indeed, functional analyses suggest that two of the acquired genes could have a protective role against a common pathogen in the field, baculovirus. From these results, we hypothesize that bracovirus-mediated HGT has played an important role in the evolutionary arms race between Lepidoptera and their pathogens.
Project description:Bracoviruses associate symbiotically with thousands of parasitoid wasp species in the family Braconidae, working as virulence gene vectors, and allowing the development of wasp larvae within hosts. These viruses are composed of multiple DNA circles that are packaged into infective particles, and injected together with wasp's eggs during parasitization. One of the viral segments of <i>Cotesia vestalis</i> bracovirus contains a gene that has been previously described as a helicase of unknown origin. Here, we demonstrate that this gene is a Rep/Helicase from an intact Helitron transposable element that covers the viral segment almost entirely. We also provide evidence that this element underwent at least two horizontal transfers, which appear to have occurred consecutively: first from a <i>Drosophila</i> host ancestor to the genome of the parasitoid wasp <i>C. vestalis</i> and its bracovirus, and then from <i>C. vestalis</i> to a lepidopteran host (<i>Bombyx mori</i>). Our results reinforce the idea of parasitoid wasps as frequent agents of horizontal transfers in eukaryotes. Additionally, this Helitron-bracovirus segment is the first example of a transposable element that effectively became a whole viral circle.
Project description:To gain insight into wasp factors that might be involved in the initial induction of galls on woody plants, we performed high throughput (454) transcriptome analysis of ovaries and venom glands of two cynipid gall wasps, Biorhiza pallida and Diplolepis rosae, inducing galls on oak and rose, respectively. De novo assembled and annotated contigs were compared to sequences from phylogenetically related parasitoid wasps. The relative expression levels of contigs were estimated to identify the most expressed gene sequences in each tissue. We identify for the first time a set of maternally expressed gall wasp proteins potentially involved in the interaction with the plant. Some genes highly expressed in venom glands and ovaries may act to suppress early plant defense signaling. We also identify gall wasp cellulases that could be involved in observed local lysis of plant tissue following oviposition, and which may have been acquired from bacteria by horizontal gene transfer. We find no evidence of virus-related gene expression, in contrast to many non-cynipid parasitoid wasps. By exploring gall wasp effectors, this study is a first step toward understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying cynipid gall induction in woody plants, and the recent sequencing of oak and rose genomes will enable study of plant responses to these factors.
Project description:The relationship between parasitoid wasps and polydnaviruses constitutes one of the few known mutualisms between viruses and eukaryotes. Viral particles are injected with the wasp eggs into parasitized larvae, and the viral genes thus introduced are used to manipulate lepidopteran host physiology. The genome packaged in the particles is composed of 35 double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) circles produced in wasp ovaries by amplification of viral sequences from proviral segments integrated in tandem arrays in the wasp genome. These segments and their flanking regions within the genome of the wasp Cotesia congregata were recently isolated, allowing extensive mapping of amplified sequences. The bracovirus DNAs packaged in the particles were found to be amplified within more than 12 replication units. Strikingly, the nudiviral cluster, the genes of which encode particle structural components, was also amplified, although not encapsidated. Amplification of bracoviral sequences was shown to involve successive head-to-head and tail-to-tail concatemers, which was not expected given the nudiviral origin of bracoviruses.
Project description:Polydnaviruses are essential components mediating host-parasitoid relationships between some braconid wasps and their caterpillar hosts largely by suppressing or misdirecting the host immune systems. The polydnavirus-wasp relationship is an unusual apparent mutualism between viruses and eukaryotes and remarkably has evolved to the stage where the two entities no longer can be considered separate. Estimations of the age of the polydnavirus-bearing clade of braconid wasps based on separate calculations from the mitochondrial 16S rRNA and COI genes and the nuclear 28S rRNA gene, calibrated using fossil data, converge to indicate a date of origin of approximately 73.7 +/- 10 million years ago. This range provides an upper bound on the time during which these wasps and viruses have been functionally associated.
Project description:Parasitoid wasps of the order Hymenoptera, the most diverse groups of animals, are important natural enemies of arthropod hosts in natural ecosystems and can be used in biological control. To date, only one neuropeptidome of a parasitoid wasp, Nasonia vitripennis, has been identified. This study aimed to identify more neuropeptides of parasitoid wasps, by using a well-established workflow that was previously adopted for predicting insect neuropeptide sequences. Based on publicly accessible databases, totally 517 neuropeptide precursors from 24 parasitoid wasp species were identified; these included five neuropeptides (CNMamide, FMRFamide-like, ITG-like, ion transport peptide-like and orcokinin B) that were identified for the first time in parasitoid wasps, to our knowledge. Next, these neuropeptides from parasitoid wasps were compared with those from other insect species. Phylogenetic analysis suggested the divergence of AST-CCC within Hymenoptera. Further, the encoding patterns of CAPA/PK family genes were found to be different between Hymenoptera species and other insect species. Some neuropeptides that were not found in some parasitoid superfamilies (e.g., sulfakinin), or considerably divergent between different parasitoid superfamilies (e.g., sNPF) might be related to distinct physiological processes in the parasitoid life. Information of neuropeptide sequences in parasitoid wasps can be useful for better understanding the phylogenetic relationships of Hymenoptera and further elucidating the physiological functions of neuropeptide signaling systems in parasitoid wasps.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Female endoparasitic ichneumonid wasps inject virus-like particles into their caterpillar hosts to suppress immunity. These particles are classified as ichnovirus virions and resemble ascovirus virions, which are also transmitted by parasitic wasps and attack caterpillars. Ascoviruses replicate DNA and produce virions. Polydnavirus DNA consists of wasp DNA replicated by the wasp from its genome, which also directs particle synthesis. Structural similarities between ascovirus and ichnovirus particles and the biology of their transmission suggest that ichnoviruses evolved from ascoviruses, although molecular evidence for this hypothesis is lacking. RESULTS: Here we show that a family of unique pox-D5 NTPase proteins in the Glypta fumiferanae ichnovirus are related to three Diadromus pulchellus ascovirus proteins encoded by ORFs 90, 91 and 93. A new alignment technique also shows that two proteins from a related ichnovirus are orthologs of other ascovirus virion proteins. CONCLUSION: Our results provide molecular evidence supporting the origin of ichnoviruses from ascoviruses by lateral transfer of ascoviral genes into ichneumonid wasp genomes, perhaps the first example of symbiogenesis between large DNA viruses and eukaryotic organisms. We also discuss the limits of this evidence through complementary studies, which revealed that passive lateral transfer of viral genes among polydnaviral, bacterial, and wasp genomes may have occurred repeatedly through an intimate coupling of both recombination and replication of viral genomes during evolution. The impact of passive lateral transfers on evolutionary relationships between polydnaviruses and viruses with large double-stranded genomes is considered in the context of the theory of symbiogenesis.