Project description:Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) induced by the endosymbiont Wolbachia pipientis causes complex patterns of crossing sterility between populations of the Culex pipiens group of mosquitoes. The molecular basis of the phenotype is yet to be defined. In order to investigate what host changes may underlie CI at the molecular level, we examined the transcription of a homolog of the Drosophila melanogaster gene grauzone that encodes a zinc finger protein and acts as a regulator of female meiosis, in which mutations can cause sterility. Upregulation was observed in Wolbachia-infected C. pipiens group individuals relative to Wolbachia-cured lines and the level of upregulation differed between lines that were reproductively incompatible. Knockdown analysis of this gene using RNAi showed an effect on hatch rates in a Wolbachia infected Culex molestus line. Furthermore, in later stages of development an effect on developmental progression in CI embryos occurs in bidirectionally incompatible crosses. The genome of a wPip Wolbachia strain variant from Culex molestus was sequenced and compared with the genome of a wPip variant with which it was incompatible. Three genes in inserted or deleted regions were newly identified in the C. molestus wPip genome, one of which is a transcriptional regulator labelled wtrM. When this gene was transfected into adult Culex mosquitoes, upregulation of the grauzone homolog was observed. These data suggest that Wolbachia-mediated regulation of host gene expression is a component of the mechanism of cytoplasmic incompatibility.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Wolbachia are obligate endosymbiotic bacteria maternally transmitted through the egg cytoplasm that are responsible for several reproductive disorders in their insect hosts, such as cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) in infected mosquitoes. Species in the Culex pipiens complex display an unusually high number of Wolbachia-induced crossing types, and based on present data, only the wPip strain is present.<h4>Results</h4>The sequencing of the wPip strain of Wolbachia revealed the presence of 60 ankyrin repeat domain (ANK) encoding genes and expression studies of these genes were carried out in adult mosquitoes. One of these ANK genes, pk2, is shown to be part of an operon of three prophage-associated genes with sex-specific expression, and is present in two identical copies in the genome. Another homolog of pk2 is also present that is differentially expressed in different Cx. pipiens group strains. A further two ANK genes showed sex-specific regulation in wPip-infected Cx. pipiens group adults.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The high number, variability and differential expression of ANK genes in wPip suggest an important role in Wolbachia biology, and the gene family provides both markers and promising candidates for the study of reproductive manipulation.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Wolbachia are common intracellular bacteria that infect different groups of arthropods including mosquitoes. These bacteria modify host biology and may induce feminization, parthenogenesis, male killing and cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). Recently Wolbachia is being nominated as a bio-agent and paratransgenic candidate to control mosquito borne diseases. METHODS:Here we report the results of a survey for presence, frequency, and phylogenetic congruence of these endosymbiont bacteria in Culex pipiens populations in Northern, Central, and Southern parts of Iran using nested-PCR amplification of wsp gene. RESULTS:Wolbachia DNA were found in 227 (87.3%) out of 260 wild-caught mosquitoes. The rate of infection in adult females ranged from 61.5% to 100%, while in males were from 80% to 100%. The Blast search and phylogenetic analysis of the wsp gene sequence revealed that the Wolbachia strain from Iranian Cx. pipiens was identical to the Wolbachia strains of supergroup B previously reported in members of the Cx. pipiens complex. They had also identical sequence homology with the Wolbachia strains from a group of distinct arthropods including lepidopteran, wasps, flies, damselfly, thrips, and mites from remote geographical areas of the world. CONCLUSION:It is suggested that Wolbachia strains horizontally transfer between unrelated host organisms over evolutionary time. Also results of this study indicates that Wolbachia infections were highly prevalent infecting all Cx. pipiens populations throughout the country, however further study needs to define Wolbachia inter-population reproductive incompatibility pattern and its usefulness as a bio-agent control measure.
Project description:Wolbachia are maternally transmitted intracellular bacteria that can naturally and artificially infect arthropods and nematodes. Recently, they were applied to control the spread of mosquito-borne pathogens by causing cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) between germ cells of females and males. The ability of Wolbachia to induce CI is based on the prevalence and polymorphism of Wolbachia in natural populations of mosquitoes. In this study, we screened the natural infection level and diversity of Wolbachia in field-collected mosquitoes from 25 provinces of China based on partial sequence of Wolbachia surface protein (wsp) gene and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Among the samples, 2489 mosquitoes were captured from 24 provinces between July and September, 2014 and the remaining 1025 mosquitoes were collected month-by-month in Yangzhou, Jiangsu province between September 2013 and August 2014. Our results showed that the presence of Wolbachia was observed in mosquitoes of Aedes albopictus (97.1%, 331/341), Armigeres subalbatus (95.8%, 481/502), Culex pipiens (87.0%, 1525/1752), Cx. tritaeniorhynchus (17.1%, 14/82), but not Anopheles sinensis (n = 88). Phylogenetic analysis indicated that high polymorphism of wsp and MLST loci was observed in Ae. albopictus mosquitoes, while no or low polymorphisms were in Ar. subalbatus and Cx. pipiens mosquitoes. A total of 12 unique mutations of deduced amino acid were identified in the wsp sequences obtained in this study, including four mutations in Wolbachia supergroup A and eight mutations in supergroup B. This study revealed the prevalence and polymorphism of Wolbachia in mosquitoes in large-scale regions of China and will provide some useful information when performing Wolbachia-based mosquito biocontrol strategies in China. Author summary The mosquitoes Aedes albopictus, Anopheles sinensis, Armigeres subalbatus, Culex pipiens and Cx. tritaeniorhynchus are native to China and the major vectors in the transmission of arboviruses, protozoans and nematodes. Recently, an innovative biocontrol strategy has been developed and evaluated based on the ability of Wolbachia to induce cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), as well as interfere with the infection and replication of pathogens. Since the ability to induce CI largely depends on the density and diversity of Wolbachia, we investigated and characterized the natural infection of Wolbachia in above-mentioned five species of field-collected mosquitoes in 25 provinces of China. The results showed that the positive rates of Wolbachia infection were high in mosquitoes of Ae. albopictus, Ar. subalbatus and Cx. pipiens in large-scale regions of China and low in Cx. tritaeniorhynchus in Guizhou province. Phylogenetic analysis based on Wolbachia surface protein (wsp) gene and five multilocus sequence typing (MLST) loci indicated the high polymorphism of Wolbachia in Ae. albopictus, and low polymorphisms in Ar. subalbatus and Cx. pipiens. This finding contributes to the understanding of the nationwide distribution of Wolbachia and the potential application of this biocontrol strategy in China.
Project description:Wolbachia are obligate intracellular bacteria that cause cytoplasmic incompatibility in mosquitoes. In an incompatible cross, eggs of uninfected females fail to hatch when fertilized by sperm from infected males. We used polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and tandem mass spectrometry to identify Wolbachia proteins in infected mosquito gonads. These included surface proteins with masses of 25 and 18 kDa and the DNA binding protein, HU beta. Using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, we showed that the HU gene is transcribed in Wolbachia-infected Culex pipiens and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. We sequenced HU genes from four Wolbachia strains and compared deduced protein sequences with additional homologs from the databases. Among the Rickettsiales, Wolbachia HU has distinct N- and C-terminal basic/acidic amino acid motifs as well as a pair of conserved, cysteine residues.
Project description:Wolbachia species are endosymbionts of a wide range of invertebrates, including mosquitoes, fruit flies, and nematodes. The wPip strains can cause cytoplasmic incompatibility in some strains of the Culex mosquito. Here we describe the genome sequence of a Wolbachia strain that was discovered in the whole-genome sequencing data for the mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus strain JHB.
Project description:Wolbachia are maternally inherited endosymbiotic bacteria that infect many arthropod species and may induce cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) resulting in abortive embryonic development. Among all the described host species, mosquitoes of the Culex pipiens complex display the highest variability of CI crossing types. Paradoxically, searches for polymorphism in Wolbachia infecting strains and field populations hitherto failed or produced very few markers. Here, we show that an abundant source of the long-sought polymorphism lies in WO prophage sequences present in multiple copies dispersed in the genome of Wolbachia infecting C. pipiens (wPip). We identified up to 66 different Wolbachia variants in C. pipiens strains and field populations and no occurrence of superinfection was observed. At least 49 different Wolbachia occurred in Southern Europe C. pipiens populations, and up to 10 different Wolbachia were even detected in a single population. This is in sharp contrast with North African and Cretan samples, which exhibited only six variants. The WO polymorphism appeared stable over time, and was exclusively transferred maternally. Interestingly, we found that the CI pattern previously described correlates with the variability of Gp15, a prophage protein similar to a bacterial virulence protein. WO prophage sequences thus represent variable markers that now open routes for approaching the molecular basis of CI, the host effects, the structure and dynamics of Wolbachia populations.
Project description:Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is often used to detect microorganisms, pathogens, or both, including the reproductive parasite Wolbachia pipientis (Rickettsiales: Anaplasmataceae), in mosquitoes. Natural populations of Culex pipiens L. (Diptera: Culicidae) mosquitoes are infected with one or more strains of W. pipientis, and crosses between mosquitoes harboring different Wolbachia strains provide one of the best-known examples of cytoplasmic incompatibililty (CI). When we used PCR to monitor Wolbachia in the Buckeye strain of Culex pipiens, and in a Wolbachia-cured sister colony obtained by tetracycline treatment, we noted false negative PCR reactions with DNA samples from infected mosquitoes; these results were inconsistent with direct microscopic observation of Wolbachia-like particles in gonads dissected from mosquitoes in the same population. Assays with diluted template often improved detection of positive samples, suggesting that DNA prepared from whole mosquitoes contained an inhibitor of the PCR reaction. We reconciled discrepancies between PCR and microscopy by systematic measurement of the PCR reaction in the presence of an internal standard. Mosquito decapitation before DNA extraction restored the reliability of the PCR reaction, allowing accurate determination of Wolbachia infection status in infected and tetracycline-cured mosquito populations, consistent with microscopic examination. Using PCR primers based on the Tr1 gene, we confirmed that the Wolbachia infection in the Buckeye strain of Culex pipiens belongs to the genotype designated wPip1. Finally, to explore more widely the distribution of PCR inhibitors, we demonstrated that DNA isolated from the cricket, Acheta domesticus (L.); the beetle, Tenebrio molitor L.; the honey bee, Apis mellifera L.; and the mosquito, Anopheles punctipennis Say also contained PCR inhibitors. These results underscore the importance of measuring the presence of inhibitors in PCR templates by using a known positive standard, and provide an approach that will facilitate use of PCR to monitor environmental samples of mosquitoes that harbor endosymbionts or pathogenic organisms.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The maternally inherited bacterium Wolbachia often acts as a subtle parasite that manipulates insect reproduction, resulting potentially in reproductive isolation between host populations. Whilst distinct Wolbachia strains are documented in a group of evolutionarily closely related mosquitoes known as the Culex pipiens complex, their impact on mosquito population genetics remains unclear. To this aim, we developed a PCR-RFLP test that discriminates the five known Wolbachia groups found in this host complex. We further examined the Wolbachia genetic diversity, the variability in the coinherited host mitochondria and their partitioning among members of the Cx. pipiens complex, in order to assess the impact of Wolbachia on host population structure. RESULTS: There was a strong association between Wolbachia and mitochondrial haplotypes indicating a stable co-transmission in mosquito populations. Despite evidence that members of the Cx. pipiens complex are genetically distinct on the basis of nuclear DNA, the association of Wolbachia and mtDNA with members of the Cx. pipiens complex were limited. The Wolbachia wPip-I group, by far the most common, was associated with divergent Cx. pipiens members, including Cx. quinquefasciatus, Cx. pipiens pipiens form pipiens and Cx. pipiens pipiens form molestus. Four other wPip groups were also found in mosquito populations and all were shared between diverse Cx. pipiens members. CONCLUSION: This data overall supports the hypothesis that wPip infections, and their allied mitochondria, are associated with regular transfers between Cx. pipiens members rather than specific host associations. Overall, this is suggestive of a recent and likely ongoing cytoplasmic introgression through hybridization events across the Cx. pipiens complex.
Project description:Wolbachia is a genus of obligate intracellular bacteria found in nematodes and arthropods worldwide, including insect vectors that transmit dengue, West Nile, and Zika viruses. Wolbachia's unique ability to alter host reproductive behavior through its temperate bacteriophage WO has enabled the development of new vector control strategies. However, our understanding of Wolbachia's mobilome beyond its bacteriophages is incomplete. Here, we reconstruct near-complete Wolbachia genomes from individual ovary metagenomes of four wild Culex pipiens mosquitoes captured in France. In addition to viral genes missing from the Wolbachia reference genome, we identify a putative plasmid (pWCP), consisting of a 9.23-kbp circular element with 14 genes. We validate its presence in additional Culex pipiens mosquitoes using PCR, long-read sequencing, and screening of existing metagenomes. The discovery of this previously unrecognized extrachromosomal element opens additional possibilities for genetic manipulation of Wolbachia.