Endosymbiotic Rickettsiella causes cytoplasmic incompatibility in a spider host.
ABSTRACT: Many arthropod hosts are infected with bacterial endosymbionts that manipulate host reproduction, but few bacterial taxa have been shown to cause such manipulations. Here, we show that a bacterial strain in the genus Rickettsiella causes cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) between infected and uninfected hosts. We first surveyed the bacterial community of the agricultural spider Mermessus fradeorum (Linyphiidae) using high throughput sequencing and found that individual spiders can be infected with up to five different strains of maternally inherited symbiont from the genera Wolbachia, Rickettsia, and Rickettsiella. The Rickettsiella strain was pervasive, found in all 23 tested spider matrilines. We used antibiotic curing to generate uninfected matrilines that we reciprocally crossed with individuals infected only with Rickettsiella. We found that only 13% of eggs hatched when uninfected females were mated with Rickettsiella-infected males; in contrast, at least 83% of eggs hatched in the other cross types. This is the first documentation of Rickettsiella, or any Gammaproteobacteria, causing CI. We speculate that induction of CI may be much more widespread among maternally inherited bacteria than previously appreciated. Further, our results reinforce the importance of thoroughly characterizing and assessing the inherited microbiome before attributing observed host phenotypes to well-characterized symbionts such as Wolbachia.
Project description:Heritable symbionts play an essential role in many aspects of host ecology in a temperature-dependent manner. However, how temperature impacts the host and their interaction with endosymbionts remains largely unknown. Here, we investigated the impact of moderate (20°C) and high (30 and 35°C) temperatures on symbioses between the spider mite <i>Tetranychus truncatus</i> and two maternally inherited endosymbionts (<i>Wolbachia</i> and <i>Spiroplasma</i>). We found that the thermal tolerance of mites (as measured by survival after heat exposure) was lower for mites that were singly infected with either <i>Wolbachia</i> or <i>Spiroplasma</i> than it was for co-infected or uninfected mites. Although a relatively high temperature (30°C) is thought to promote bacterial replication, rearing at high temperature (35°C) resulted in losses of <i>Wolbachia</i> and particularly <i>Spiroplasma</i>. Exposing the mites to 20°C reduced the density and transmission of <i>Spiroplasma</i> but not <i>Wolbachia</i>. The four spider mite strains tested differed in the numbers of heat shock genes (<i>Hsps</i>) induced under moderate or high temperature exposure. In thermal preference (Tp) assays, the two <i>Wolbachia</i>-infected spider mite strains preferred a lower temperature than strains without <i>Wolbachia</i>. Our results show that endosymbiont-mediated spider mite responses to temperature stress are complex, involving a combination of changing endosymbiont infection patterns, altered thermoregulatory behavior, and transcription responses.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Maternally inherited bacteria that reside obligatorily or facultatively in arthropods can increase their prevalence in the population by altering their hosts' reproduction. Such reproductive manipulations have been reported from the major arthropod groups such as insects (in particular hymenopterans, butterflies, dipterans and beetles), crustaceans (isopods) and mites. Despite the observation that endosymbiont bacteria are frequently encountered in spiders and that the sex ratio of particular spider species is strongly female biased, a direct relationship between bacterial infection and sex ratio variation has not yet been demonstrated for this arthropod order. RESULTS: Females of the dwarf spider Oedothorax gibbosus exhibit considerable variation in the sex ratio of their clutches and were infected with at least three different endosymbiont bacteria capable of altering host reproduction i.e. Wolbachia, Rickettsia and Cardinium. Breeding experiments show that sex ratio variation in this species is primarily maternally inherited and that removal of the bacteria by antibiotics restores an unbiased sex ratio. Moreover, clutches of females infected with Wolbachia were significantly female biased while uninfected females showed an even sex ratio. As female biased clutches were of significantly smaller size compared to non-distorted clutches, killing of male embryos appears to be the most likely manipulative effect. CONCLUSIONS: This represents to our knowledge the first direct evidence that endosymbiont bacteria, and in particular Wolbachia, might induce sex ratio variation in spiders. These findings are pivotal to further understand the diversity of reproductive phenotypes observed in this arthropod order.
Project description:Wolbachia are maternally inherited intracellular bacteria that infect a wide range of arthropods and cause an array of effects on host reproduction, fitness and mating behavior. Although our understanding of the Wolbachia-associated effects on hosts is rapidly expanding, our knowledge of the host factors that mediate Wolbachia dynamics is rudimentary. Here, we explore the interactions between Wolbachia and its host, the two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae Koch. Our results indicate that Wolbachia induces strong cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), increases host fecundity, but has no effects on the longevity of females and the mating competitiveness of males in T. urticae. Most importantly, host mating pattern was found to affect Wolbachia density dynamics during host aging. Mating of an uninfected mite of either sex with an infected mite attenuates the Wolbachia density in the infected mite. According to the results of Wolbachia localization, this finding may be associated with the tropism of Wolbachia for the reproductive tissue in adult spider mites. Our findings describe a new interaction between Wolbachia and their hosts.
Project description:Maternally inherited Wolbachia endosymbionts manipulate arthropod reproduction in various ways. In the butterfly Eurema mandarina, a cytoplasmic incompatibility-inducing Wolbachia strain wCI and the associated mtDNA haplotypes are known to originate from the sister species Eurema hecabe, which offered a good case study for microbe-mediated hybrid introgression. Besides wCI, some females with the Z0 karyotype harbour a distinct Wolbachia strain wFem, which causes all-female production by meiotic drive and feminization. We report that a considerable proportion of E. mandarina females (65.7%) were infected with both wCI and wFem (CF) on Tanegashima Island. While females singly infected with wCI (C) produced offspring at a 1 : 1 sex ratio, CF females produced only females. Although Z-linked sequence polymorphism showed no signs of divergence between C and CF females, mtDNA split into two discrete clades; one consisted of C females and the other CF females, both of which formed a clade with E. hecabe but not with uninfected E. mandarina This suggests that CF matrilines also, but independently, experienced a selective sweep after hybrid introgression from E. hecabe Distinct evolutionary forces were suggested to have caused C and CF matrilines to diverge, which would be irreversible because of the particular phenotype of wFem.
Project description:In many arthropods, maternally inherited endosymbiotic bacteria can increase infection frequency by manipulating host reproduction. Multiple infections of different bacteria in a single host population are common, yet few studies have documented concurrent endosymbiont phenotypes or explored their potential interactions. We hypothesized that spiders might be a particularly useful taxon for investigating endosymbiont interactions, because they are host to a plethora of endosymbiotic bacteria and frequently exhibit multiple infections. We established two matrilines from the same population of the linyphiid spider Mermessus fradeorum and then used antibiotic curing and controlled mating assays to demonstrate that each matriline was subject to a distinct endosymbiotic reproductive manipulation. One matriline was co-infected with Rickettsia and Wolbachia and produced offspring with a radical female bias. Antibiotic treatment eliminated both endosymbionts and restored an even sex ratio to subsequent generations. Chromosomal and fecundity observations suggest a feminization mechanism. In the other matriline, a separate factorial mating assay of cured and infected spiders demonstrated strong cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) induced by a different strain of Wolbachia. However, males with this Wolbachia induced only mild CI when mated with the Rickettsia-Wolbachia females. In a subsequent survey of a field population of M. fradeorum, we detected these same three endosymbionts infecting 55% of the spiders in almost all possible combinations, with nearly half of the infected spiders exhibiting multiple infection. Our results suggest that a dynamic network of endosymbionts may interact both within multiply infected hosts and within a population subject to multiple strong reproductive manipulations.
Project description:The genus Wolbachia is an archetype of maternally inherited intracellular bacteria that infect the germline of numerous invertebrate species worldwide. They can selfishly alter arthropod sex ratios and reproductive strategies to increase the proportion of the infected matriline in the population. The most common reproductive manipulation is cytoplasmic incompatibility, which results in embryonic lethality in crosses between infected males and uninfected females. Females infected with the same Wolbachia strain rescue this lethality. Despite more than 40 years of research and relevance to symbiont-induced speciation, as well as control of arbovirus vectors and agricultural pests, the bacterial genes underlying cytoplasmic incompatibility remain unknown. Here we use comparative and transgenic approaches to demonstrate that two differentially transcribed, co-diverging genes in the eukaryotic association module of prophage WO from Wolbachia strain wMel recapitulate and enhance cytoplasmic incompatibility. Dual expression in transgenic, uninfected males of Drosophila melanogaster crossed to uninfected females causes embryonic lethality. Each gene additively augments embryonic lethality in crosses between infected males and uninfected females. Lethality associates with embryonic defects that parallel those of wild-type cytoplasmic incompatibility and is notably rescued by wMel-infected embryos in all cases. The discovery of cytoplasmic incompatibility factor genes cifA and cifB pioneers genetic studies of prophage WO-induced reproductive manipulations and informs the continuing use of Wolbachia to control dengue and Zika virus transmission to humans.
Project description:Patterns of mtDNA variation within a species reflect long-term population structure, but may also be influenced by maternally inherited endosymbionts, such as Wolbachia. These bacteria often alter host reproductive biology and can drive particular mtDNA haplotypes through populations. We investigated the impacts of Wolbachia infection and geography on mtDNA variation in the diamondback moth, a major global pest whose geographic distribution reflects both natural processes and transport via human agricultural activities.The mtDNA phylogeny of 95 individuals sampled from 10 countries on four continents revealed two major clades. One contained only Wolbachia-infected individuals from Malaysia and Kenya, while the other contained only uninfected individuals, from all countries including Malaysia and Kenya. Within the uninfected group was a further clade containing all individuals from Australasia and displaying very limited sequence variation. In contrast, a biparental nuclear gene phylogeny did not have infected and uninfected clades, supporting the notion that maternally-inherited Wolbachia are responsible for the mtDNA pattern. Only about 5% (15/306) of our global sample of individuals was infected with the plutWB1 isolate and even within infected local populations, many insects were uninfected. Comparisons of infected and uninfected isofemale lines revealed that plutWB1 is associated with sex ratio distortion. Uninfected lines have a 1:1 sex ratio, while infected ones show a 2:1 female bias.The main correlate of mtDNA variation in P. xylostella is presence or absence of the plutWB1 infection. This is associated with substantial sex ratio distortion and the underlying mechanisms deserve further study. In contrast, geographic origin is a poor predictor of moth mtDNA sequences, reflecting human activity in moving the insects around the globe. The exception is a clade of Australasian individuals, which may reflect a bottleneck during their recent introduction to this region.
Project description:Wolbachia is a maternally inherited bacterium that manipulates the reproduction of its host. Recent studies have shown that male-killing strains can induce cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) when introgressed into a resistant host. Phylogenetic studies suggest that transitions between CI and other Wolbachia phenotypes have also occurred frequently, raising the possibility that latent CI may be widespread among Wolbachia. Here, we investigate whether a parthenogenesis-inducing Wolbachia strain can also induce CI. Parthenogenetic females of the parasitoid wasp Asobara japonica regularly produce a small number of males that may be either infected or not. Uninfected males were further obtained through removal of the Wolbachia using antibiotics and from a naturally uninfected strain. Uninfected females that had mated with infected males produced a slightly, but significantly more male-biased sex ratio than uninfected females that had mated with uninfected males. This effect was strongest in females that mated with males that had a relatively high Wolbachia titer. Quantitative PCR indicated that infected males did not show higher ratios of nuclear versus mitochondrial DNA content. Wolbachia therefore does not cause diploidization of cells in infected males. While these results are consistent with CI, other alternatives such as production of abnormal sperm by infected males cannot be completely ruled out. Overall, the effect was very small (9%), suggesting that if CI is involved it may have degenerated through the accumulation of mutations.
Project description:Due to cytoplasmic inheritance, spread of maternally inherited Wolbachia symbionts can result in reduction of mitochondrial variation in populations. We examined sequence diversity of the mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase subunit 4 (ND4) gene in Wolbachia-infected (South Africa (SA), California and Thailand) and uninfected (SA) Culex pipiens complex populations. In total, we identified 12 haplotypes (A-L). In infected populations, 99% of individuals had haplotype K. In the uninfected SA population, 11 haplotypes were present, including K. Nuclear allozyme diversity was similar between infected and uninfected SA populations. Analysis of nuclear DNA sequences suggested that haplotype K presence in uninfected SA Cx. pipiens was probably due to a shared ancestral polymorphism rather than hybrid introgression. These data indicate that Wolbachia spread has resulted in drastic reduction of mitochondrial variability in widely separated Cx. pipiens complex populations. In contrast, the uninfected SA population is probably a cryptic species where Wolbachia introgression has been prevented by reproductive isolation, maintaining ancestral levels of mitochondrial diversity. Molecular clock analyses suggest that the Wolbachia sweep occurred within the last 47000 years. The effect of Wolbachia on mitochondrial dynamics can provide insight on the potential for Wolbachia to spread transgenes into mosquito populations to control vector-borne diseases.
Project description:Many studies have revealed the ability of the endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia to protect its arthropod hosts against diverse pathogens. However, as Wolbachia may also increase the susceptibility of its host to infection, predicting the outcome of a particular Wolbachia-host-pathogen interaction remains elusive. Yet, understanding such interactions and their eco-evolutionary consequences is crucial for disease and pest control strategies. Moreover, how natural Wolbachia infections affect artificially introduced pathogens for biocontrol has never been studied. Tetranychus urticae spider mites are herbivorous crop pests, causing severe damage on numerous economically important crops. Due to the rapid evolution of pesticide resistance, biological control strategies using entomopathogenic fungi are being developed. However, although spider mites are infected with various Wolbachia strains worldwide, whether this endosymbiont protects them from fungi is as yet unknown. Here, we compared the survival of two populations, treated with antibiotics or naturally harboring different Wolbachia strains, after exposure to the fungal biocontrol agents Metarhizium brunneum and Beauveria bassiana. To control for potential effects of the bacterial community of spider mites, we also compared the susceptibility of two populations naturally uninfected by Wolbachia, treated with antibiotics or not. In one population, Wolbachia-infected mites had a better survival than uninfected ones in absence of fungi but not in their presence, whereas in the other population Wolbachia increased the mortality induced by B. bassiana. In one naturally Wolbachia-uninfected population, the antibiotic treatment increased the susceptibility of spider mites to M. brunneum, but it had no effect in the other treatments. These results suggest that natural Wolbachia infections may not hamper and may even improve the success of biological control using entomopathogenic fungi. However, they also draw caution on the generalization of such effects, given the complexity of within-host-pathogens interaction and the potential eco-evolutionary consequences of the use of biocontrol agents for Wolbachia-host associations.