Wolbachia Symbiont Infections Induce Strong Cytoplasmic Incompatibility in the Tsetse Fly Glossina morsitans

Stanford University, United States of America
PLoS Pathogens (Impact Factor: 7.56). 12/2011; 7(12):e1002415. DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002415
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Tsetse flies are vectors of the protozoan parasite African trypanosomes, which cause sleeping sickness disease in humans and nagana in livestock. Although there are no effective vaccines and efficacious drugs against this parasite, vector reduction methods have been successful in curbing the disease, especially for nagana. Potential vector control methods that do not involve use of chemicals is a genetic modification approach where flies engineered to be parasite resistant are allowed to replace their susceptible natural counterparts, and Sterile Insect technique (SIT) where males sterilized by chemical means are released to suppress female fecundity. The success of genetic modification approaches requires identification of strong drive systems to spread the desirable traits and the efficacy of SIT can be enhanced by identification of natural mating incompatibility. One such drive mechanism results from the cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) phenomenon induced by the symbiont Wolbachia. CI can also be used to induce natural mating incompatibility between release males and natural populations. Although Wolbachia infections have been reported in tsetse, it has been a challenge to understand their functional biology as attempts to cure tsetse of Wolbachia infections by antibiotic treatment damages the obligate mutualistic symbiont (Wigglesworthia), without which the flies are sterile. Here, we developed aposymbiotic (symbiont-free) and fertile tsetse lines by dietary provisioning of tetracycline supplemented blood meals with yeast extract, which rescues Wigglesworthia-induced sterility. Our results reveal that Wolbachia infections confer strong CI during embryogenesis in Wolbachia-free (Gmm(Apo)) females when mated with Wolbachia-infected (Gmm(Wt)) males. These results are the first demonstration of the biological significance of Wolbachia infections in tsetse. Furthermore, when incorporated into a mathematical model, our results confirm that Wolbachia can be used successfully as a gene driver. This lays the foundation for new disease control methods including a population replacement approach with parasite resistant flies. Alternatively, the availability of males that are reproductively incompatible with natural populations can enhance the efficacy of the ongoing sterile insect technique (SIT) applications by eliminating the need for chemical irradiation.

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    • "Sodalis has a broad tissular tropism and can also be found in the hemolymph, salivary glands, etc. (Cheng and Aksoy, 1999). The third symbiont, Wolbachia (O'Neill et al., 1993), belongs to the Rickettsiaceae family and causes cytoplasmic incompatibility in tsetse flies (Alam et al., 2011). S. glossinidius has been suspected of being involved in the trypanosome establishment process (Maudlin and Ellis, 1985; Welburn et al., 1993). "
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    ABSTRACT: Tsetse flies (Glossina sp.) that transmit trypanosomes causing human (and animal) African trypanosomiasis (HAT and AAT, respectively) harbor symbiotic microorganisms, including the obligate primary symbiont Wigglesworthia glossinidia. A relationship between Wigglesworthia and tsetse fly infection by trypanosomes has been suggested, as removal of the symbiont results in a higher susceptibility to midgut infection in adult flies. To investigate this relationship and to decipher the role of W. glossinidia in the fly's susceptibility to trypanosome infection, we challenged flies with trypanosomes and subsequently analyzed and compared the transcriptomes of W. glossinidia from susceptible and refractory tsetse flies at three time points (3, 10, and 20 days). More than 200 W. glossinidia genes were found to be differentially expressed between susceptible and refractory flies. The high specificity of these differentially expressed genes makes it possible to distinguish Wigglesworthia inhabiting these two distinct groups of flies. Furthermore, gene expression patterns were observed to evolve during the infection time course, such that very few differentially expressed genes were found in common in Wigglesworthia from the 3-, 10- and 20-day post-feeding fly samples. The overall results clearly demonstrate that the taking up of trypanosomes by flies, regardless of whether flies proceed with the developmental program of Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, strongly alters gene expression in Wigglesworthia. These results therefore provide a novel framework for studies that aim to decrease or even abolish tsetse fly vector competence.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Frontiers in Microbiology
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    • "S. glossinidius, originally classified as a rickettsia-like organism [3], has no clear role within the tsetse but is thought to play a part in susceptibility to trypanosome infection [4–6]. Wolbachia has recently been shown to be involved in cytoplasmic incompatibility in tsetse [7]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Tsetse flies are the biological vectors of African trypanosomes, the causative agents of sleeping sickness in humans and nagana in animals. The tsetse endosymbiont Sodalis glossinidius has been suggested to play a role in tsetse susceptibility to infection. Here we investigate the prevalence of African trypanosomes within tsetse from the Luambe National Park, Zambia and if there is an association between S. glossinidius and presence of trypanosomes within the tsetse examined. Methods Tsetse representing three species (Glossina brevipalpis, Glossina morsitans morsitans and Glossina pallidipes), were sampled from Luambe National Park, Zambia. Following DNA extraction, PCR was used to examine the tsetse for presence of trypanosomes and the secondary endosymbiont S. glossinidius. Results S. glossinidius infection rates varied significantly between tsetse species, with G. brevipalpis (93.7%) showing the highest levels of infection followed by G. m. morsitans (17.5%) and G. pallidipes (1.4%). ITS-PCR detected a wide variety of trypanosomes within the tsetse that were analysed. Significant differences were found in terms of trypanosome presence between the three tsetse species. A high proportion of G. m. morsitans were shown to carry T. brucei s.l. DNA (73.7%) and of these around 50% were positive for Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense. T. vivax, T. godfreyi, T. simiae, T. simiae Tsavo and T. congolense were also detected. No association was found between the occurrence of S. glossinidius and the presence of trypanosome DNA in any of the three tsetse species tested. Conclusion The current work shows that T. b. rhodesiense was circulating in Luambe National Park, representing a risk for people living in the park or surrounding area and for tourists visiting the park. The differences in trypanosome DNA presence observed between the different tsetse species tested may indicate host feeding preferences, as the PCR will not discriminate between a fly with an active/resident infection compared to a refractory fly that has fed on an infected animal. This makes it difficult to establish if S. glossinidius may play a role in the susceptibility of tsetse flies to trypanosome infection.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Parasites & Vectors
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    • "In G. morsitans laboratory colonies, Wolbachia induces CI when Wolbachia-cured females mate with wild-type Wolbachia-infected males. Offspring from these crosses perish during early embryogenesis while the reciprocal cross survives and produces viable progeny (Alam et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Tsetse flies are the primary vectors of African trypanosomes, which cause Human and Animal African trypanosomiasis in 36 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. These flies have also established symbiotic associations with bacterial and viral microorganisms. Laboratory-reared tsetse flies harbor up to four vertically transmitted organisms-obligate Wigglesworthia, commensal Sodalis, parasitic Wolbachia and Salivary Gland Hypertrophy Virus (SGHV). Field-captured tsetse can harbor these symbionts as well as environmentally acquired commensal bacteria. This microbial community influences several aspects of tsetse's physiology, including nutrition, fecundity and vector competence. This review provides a detailed description of tsetse's microbiome, and describes the physiology underlying host-microbe, and microbe-microbe, interactions that occur in this fly.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
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