skip to main content

Title: Testing the potential contribution of Wolbachia to speciation when cytoplasmic incompatibility becomes associated with host‐related reproductive isolation

Endosymbiont‐induced cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) may play an important role in arthropod speciation. However, whether CI consistently becomes associated or coupled with other host‐related forms of reproductive isolation (RI) to impede the transfer of endosymbionts between hybridizing populations and further the divergence process remains an open question. Here, we show that varying degrees of pre‐ and postmating RI exist among allopatric populations of two interbreeding cherry‐infesting tephritid fruit flies (Rhagoletis cingulataandR.indifferens) across North America. These flies display allochronic and sexual isolation among populations, as well as unidirectional reductions in egg hatch in hybrid crosses involving southwestern USA males. All populations are infected by aWolbachiastrain,wCin2, whereas a second strain,wCin3, only co‐infects flies from the southwest USA and Mexico. StrainwCin3 is associated with a unique mitochondrial DNA haplotype and unidirectional postmating RI, implicating the strain as the cause of CI. When coupled with nonendosymbiont RI barriers, we estimate the strength of CI associated withwCin3 would not prevent the strain from introgressing from infected southwestern to uninfected populations elsewhere in the USA if populations were to come into secondary contact and hybridize. In contrast, cytoplasmic–nuclear coupling may impede the transfer ofwCin3 if Mexican and USA populations were to come into contact. We discuss our results in the context of the general paucity of examples demonstrating stableWolbachiahybrid zones and whether the spread ofWolbachiaamong taxa can be constrained in natural hybrid zones long enough for the endosymbiont to participate in speciation.

more » « less
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Molecular Ecology
Medium: X Size: p. 2935-2950
["p. 2935-2950"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Ascertaining the causes of adaptive radiation is central to understanding how new species arise and come to vary with their resources. The ecological theory posits adaptive radiation via divergent natural selection associated with novel resource use; an alternative suggests character displacement following speciation in allopatry and then secondary contact of reproductively isolated but ecologically similar species. Discriminating between hypotheses, therefore, requires the establishment of a key role for ecological diversification in initiating speciation versus a secondary role in facilitating co-existence. Here, we characterize patterns of genetic variation and postzygotic reproductive isolation for tephritid fruit flies in the Rhagoletis cingulata sibling species group to assess the significance of ecology, geography, and non-adaptive processes for their divergence. Our results support the ecological theory: no evidence for intrinsic postzygotic reproductive isolation was found between two populations of allopatric species, while nuclear-encoded microsatellites implied strong ecologically based reproductive isolation among sympatric species infesting different host plants. Analysis of mitochondrial DNA suggested, however, that cytoplasmic-related reproductive isolation may also exist between two geographically isolated populations within R cingulata. Thus, ecology associated with sympatric host shifts and cytoplasmic effects possibly associated with an endosymbiont may be the key initial drivers of the radiation of the R. cingulata group. 
    more » « less
  2. Dubilier, Nicole (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Endosymbionts can influence host reproduction and fitness to favor their maternal transmission. For example, endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria often cause cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) that kills uninfected embryos fertilized by Wolbachia -modified sperm. Infected females can rescue CI, providing them a relative fitness advantage. Wolbachia -induced CI strength varies widely and tends to decrease as host males age. Since strong CI drives Wolbachia to high equilibrium frequencies, understanding how fast and why CI strength declines with male age is crucial to explaining age-dependent CI’s influence on Wolbachia prevalence. Here, we investigate if Wolbachia densities and/or CI gene ( cif ) expression covary with CI-strength variation and explore covariates of age-dependent Wolbachia -density variation in two classic CI systems. w Ri CI strength decreases slowly with Drosophila simulans male age (6%/day), but w Mel CI strength decreases very rapidly (19%/day), yielding statistically insignificant CI after only 3 days of Drosophila melanogaster adult emergence. Wolbachia densities and cif expression in testes decrease as w Ri-infected males age, but both surprisingly increase as w Mel-infected males age, and CI strength declines. We then tested if phage lysis, Octomom copy number (which impacts w Mel density), or host immune expression covary with age-dependent w Mel densities. Only host immune expression correlated with density. Together, our results identify how fast CI strength declines with male age in two model systems and reveal unique relationships between male age, Wolbachia densities, cif expression, and host immunity. We discuss new hypotheses about the basis of age-dependent CI strength and its contributions to Wolbachia prevalence. IMPORTANCE Wolbachia bacteria are the most common animal-associated endosymbionts due in large part to their manipulation of host reproduction. Many Wolbachia cause cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) that kills uninfected host eggs. Infected eggs are protected from CI, favoring Wolbachia spread in natural systems and in transinfected mosquito populations where vector-control groups use strong CI to maintain pathogen-blocking Wolbachia at high frequencies for biocontrol of arboviruses. CI strength varies considerably in nature and declines as males age for unknown reasons. Here, we determine that CI strength weakens at different rates with age in two model symbioses. Wolbachia density and CI gene expression covary with w Ri-induced CI strength in Drosophila simulans , but neither explain rapidly declining w Mel-induced CI in aging D. melanogaster males. Patterns of host immune gene expression suggest a candidate mechanism behind age-dependent w Mel densities. These findings inform how age-dependent CI may contribute to Wolbachia prevalence in natural systems and potentially in transinfected systems. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    An important criterion for understanding speciation is the geographic context of population divergence. Three major modes of allopatric, parapatric, and sympatric speciation define the extent of spatial overlap and gene flow between diverging populations. However, mixed modes of speciation are also possible, whereby populations experience periods of allopatry, parapatry, and/or sympatry at different times as they diverge. Here, we report clinal patterns of variation for 21 nuclear‐encoded microsatellites and a wing spot phenotype for cherry‐infestingRhagoletis(Diptera: Tephritidae) across North America consistent with these flies having initially diverged in parapatry followed by a period of allopatric differentiation in the early Holocene. However, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) displays a different pattern; cherry flies at the ends of the clines in the eastern USA and Pacific Northwest share identical haplotypes, while centrally located populations in the southwestern USA and Mexico possess a different haplotype. We hypothesize that the mitochondrial difference could be due to lineage sorting but more likely reflects a selective sweep of a favorable mtDNA variant or the spread of an endosymbiont. The estimated divergence time for mtDNA suggests possible past allopatry, secondary contact, and subsequent isolation between USA and Mexican fly populations initiated before the Wisconsin glaciation. Thus, the current genetics of cherry flies may involve different mixed modes of divergence occurring in different portions of the fly's range. We discuss the need for additional DNA sequencing and quantification of prezygotic and postzygotic reproductive isolation to verify the multiple mixed‐mode hypothesis for cherry flies and draw parallels from other systems to assess the generality that speciation may commonly involve complex biogeographies of varying combinations of allopatric, parapatric, and sympatric divergence.

    more » « less
  4. Malik, Harmit S. (Ed.)
    Bacteria that live inside the cells of insect hosts (endosymbionts) can alter the reproduction of their hosts, including the killing of male offspring (male killing, MK). MK has only been described in a few insects, but this may reflect challenges in detecting MK rather than its rarity. Here, we identify MK Wolbachia at a low frequency (around 4%) in natural populations of Drosophila pseudotakahashii . MK Wolbachia had a stable density and maternal transmission during laboratory culture, but the MK phenotype which manifested mainly at the larval stage was lost rapidly. MK Wolbachia occurred alongside a second Wolbachia strain expressing a different reproductive manipulation, cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). A genomic analysis highlighted Wolbachia regions diverged between the 2 strains involving 17 genes, and homologs of the wmk and cif genes implicated in MK and CI were identified in the Wolbachia assembly. Doubly infected males induced CI with uninfected females but not females singly infected with CI-causing Wolbachia . A rapidly spreading dominant nuclear suppressor genetic element affecting MK was identified through backcrossing and subsequent analysis with ddRAD SNPs of the D . pseudotakahashii genome. These findings highlight the complexity of nuclear and microbial components affecting MK endosymbiont detection and dynamics in populations and the challenges of making connections between endosymbionts and the host phenotypes affected by them. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Globally invasiveAedes aegyptidisseminate numerous arboviruses that impact human health. One promising method to controlAe. aegyptipopulations is transinfection withWolbachia pipientis, which naturally infects ~40–52% of insects but notAe. aegypti. Transinfection ofAe. aegyptiwith the wMelWolbachiastrain induces cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), allows infected individuals to invade native populations, and inhibits transmission of medically relevant arboviruses by females. Female insects undergo post-mating physiological and behavioral changes—referred to as the female post-mating response (PMR)—required for optimal fertility. PMRs are typically elicited by male seminal fluid proteins (SFPs) transferred with sperm during mating but can be modified by other factors, including microbiome composition.Wolbachiahas modest effects onAe. aegyptifertility, but its influence on other PMRs is unknown. Here, we show thatWolbachiainfluences female fecundity, fertility, and re-mating incidence and significantly extends the longevity of virgin females. Using proteomic methods to examine the seminal proteome of infected males, we found thatWolbachiamoderately affects SFP composition. However, we identified 125 paternally transferredWolbachiaproteins, but the CI factor proteins (Cifs) were not among them. Our findings indicate thatWolbachiainfection ofAe. aegyptialters female PMRs, potentially influencing control programs that utilizeWolbachia-infected individuals.

    more » « less