Mutualistic Wolbachia infection in Aedes albopictus: Accelerating cytoplasmic drive

Stephen L. Dobson, Eric J. Marsland, Wanchai Rattanadechakul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations

Abstract

Maternally inherited rickettsial symbionts of the genus Wolbachia occur commonly in arthropods, often behaving as reproductive parasites by manipulating host reproduction to enhance the vertical transmission of infections. One manipulation is cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), which causes a significant reduction in brood hatch and promotes the spread of the maternally inherited Wolbachia infection into the host population (i.e., cytoplasmic drive). Here, we have examined a Wolbachia superinfection in the mosquito Aedes albopictus and found the infection to be associated with both cytoplasmic incompatibility and increased host fecundity. Relative to uninfected females, infected females live longer, produce more eggs, and have higher hatching rates in compatible crosses. A model describing Wolbachia infection dynamics predicts that increased fecundity will accelerate cytoplasmic drive rates. To test this hypothesis, we used population cages to examine the rate at which Wolbachia invades an uninfected Ae. albopictus population. The observed cytoplasmic drive rates were consistent with model predictions for a CI-inducing Wolbachia infection that increases host fecundity. We discuss the relevance of these results to both the evolution of Wolbachia symbioses and proposed applied strategies for the use of Wolbachia infections to drive desired transgenes through natural populations (i.e., population replacement strategies).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1087-1094
Number of pages8
JournalGenetics
Volume160
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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