Establishment of a new continuous cell line of Drosophila melanogaster strain infected by the intracellular endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia pipientis under natural conditions

Russian Journal of Genetics (Impact Factor: 0.45). 01/2010; 46(1):9-12. DOI: 10.1134/S1022795410010023


Wolbachia pipientis is an obligately intracellular bacterium infecting a number of arthropod and nematode species. At the body level, Wolbachia infection may cause parthenogenesis, feminization of genetic males, male killing, or cytoplasmic incompatibility; it may
also be asymptomatic. Of special interest is DNA transfer from Wolbachia to the host insect genome, which was discovered recently. At the cellular level, the effects caused by Wolbachia have been studied more poorly. Only one of the known insect cell lines has been obtained from an insect species (the mosquito
Aedes albopictus) infected by Wolbachia. In this study, a continuous cell line Dm2008Wb1 has been obtained from embryos of Drosophila melanogaster infected under natural conditions. Wolbachia both persists in a primary cell culture and is retained upon its transformation into a continuous culture. The presence of
this bacterium in cells in a free form is evidenced by the fact that tetracycline treatment can cure the cells of Wolbachia and by successful transfer of Wolbachia to another cell line (S2), where it has not been detected before.

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    ABSTRACT: The maternally inherited intracellular symbiont Wolbachia pipientis is well known for inducing a variety of reproductive abnormalities in the diverse arthropod hosts it infects. It has been implicated in causing cytoplasmic incompatibility, parthenogenesis, and the feminization of genetic males in different hosts. The molecular mechanisms by which this fastidious intracellular bacterium causes these reproductive and developmental abnormalities have not yet been determined. In this paper, we report on (i) the purification of one of the most abundantly expressed Wolbachia proteins from infected Drosophila eggs and (ii) the subsequent cloning and characterization of the gene (wsp) that encodes it. The functionality of the wsp promoter region was also successfully tested in Escherichia coli. Comparison of sequences of this gene from different strains of Wolbachia revealed a high level of variability. This sequence variation correlated with the ability of certain Wolbachia strains to induce or rescue the cytoplasmic incompatibility phenotype in infected insects. As such, this gene will be a very useful tool for Wolbachia strain typing and phylogenetic analysis, as well as understanding the molecular basis of the interaction of Wolbachia with its host.
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    ABSTRACT: Recent accumulation of microbial genome data has demonstrated that lateral gene transfers constitute an important and universal evolutionary process in prokaryotes, while those in multicellular eukaryotes are still regarded as unusual, except for endosymbiotic gene transfers from mitochondria and plastids. Here we thoroughly investigated the bacterial genes derived from a Wolbachia endosymbiont on the nuclear genome of the beetle Callosobruchus chinensis. Exhaustive PCR detection and Southern blot analysis suggested that approximately 30% of Wolbachia genes, in terms of the gene repertoire of wMel, are present on the insect nuclear genome. Fluorescent in situ hybridization located the transferred genes on the proximal region of the basal short arm of the X chromosome. Molecular evolutionary and other lines of evidence indicated that the transferred genes are probably derived from a single lateral transfer event. The transferred genes were, for the length examined, structurally disrupted, freed from functional constraints, and transcriptionally inactive. Hence, most, if not all, of the transferred genes have been pseudogenized. Notwithstanding this, the transferred genes were ubiquitously detected from Japanese and Taiwanese populations of C. chinensis, while the number of the transferred genes detected differed between the populations. The transferred genes were not detected from congenic beetle species, indicating that the transfer event occurred after speciation of C. chinensis, which was estimated to be one or several million years ago. These features of the laterally transferred endosymbiont genes are compared with the evolutionary patterns of mitochondrial and plastid genome fragments acquired by nuclear genomes through recent endosymbiotic gene transfers.
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    ABSTRACT: A continuous cell line, Aa23, was established from eggs of a strain of the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, naturally infected with the intracellular symbiont Wolbachia pipientis. The resulting cell line was shown to be persistently infected with the bacterial endosymbiont. Treatment with antibiotics cured the cells of the infection. In the course of establishing this cell line it was noticed that RFLPs in the PCR products of two Wolbachia genes from the parental mosquitoes were fixed in the infected cell line. This indicates that the mosquito host was naturally superinfected with different Wolbachia strains, whereas the infected cell line derived from these mosquitoes only contained one of the original Wolbachia strains. The development of an in vitro culture system for this fastidious microorganism should facilitate molecular analysis of the reproduction distorting phenotypes it induces in natural arthropod hosts.
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