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  1. The worldwide endosymbiosis between arthropods and Wolbachia bacteria is an archetype for reproductive parasitism. This parasitic strategy rapidly increases the proportion of symbiont-transmitting mothers, and the most common form, cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), impacts insect evolution and arboviral control strategies. During CI, sperms from symbiotic males kill embryos of aposymbiotic females via two nuclear-targeting proteins, CifA and CifB, that alter sperm chromatin organization in Drosophila melanogaster. Here we hypothesize that Cif proteins metabolize nucleic acids of developing sperm to initiate genome integrity changes. Using in vitro and in situ transgenic, mutant, enzymatic, and cytochemical assays, we show that CifA is a previously-unrecognized DNase and RNase, and CifB is a DNase. Notably, in vitro nuclease activity translates to in situ spermatid DNA damage at the canoe stage of spermiogenesis. Evolution-guided mutations ablate Cif enzymatic activity. Nucleic acid metabolism by Cif enzymes expands a fundamental understanding of the mechanism of symbiont-mediated reproductive parasitism.
  2. Animal gastrointestinal tracts harbor a microbiome that is integral to host function, yet species from diverse phyla have evolved a reduced digestive system or lost it completely. Whether such changes are associated with alterations in the diversity and/or abundance of the microbiome remains an untested hypothesis in evolutionary symbiosis. Here, using the life history transition from planktotrophy (feeding) to lecithotrophy (nonfeeding) in the sea urchinHeliocidaris, we demonstrate that the lack of a functional gut corresponds with a reduction in microbial community diversity and abundance as well as the association with a diet-specific microbiome. We also determine that the lecithotroph vertically transmits a Rickettsiales that may complement host nutrition through amino acid biosynthesis and influence host reproduction. Our results indicate that the evolutionary loss of a functional gut correlates with a reduction in the microbiome and the association with an endosymbiont. Symbiotic transitions can therefore accompany life history transitions in the evolution of developmental strategies.

  3. ABSTRACT Phage Cr39582 was induced by mitomycin C from Pseudoalteromonas sp. strain Cr6751, isolated from a marine invertebrate gut. Pseudoalteromonas phage Cr39582 has 85% pairwise nucleotide identity with phage PM2 but lacks sequence homology in the spike protein. This report supports previous bioinformatic identification of corticoviral sequences within aquatic bacterial genomes.