Wolbachia segregation dynamics and levels of cytoplasmic incompatibility in Drosophila sechellia

Heredity (Edinb). 2003 Feb;90(2):157-61. doi: 10.1038/sj.hdy.6800211.


In Drosophila sechellia, the endocellular bacterium Wolbachia induces cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI): in crosses involving infected males, a partial or complete embryonic mortality occurs unless the female bears the same Wolbachia. D. sechellia is known to harbour two Wolbachia variants, namely wSh and wSn, closely related to wHa and wNo, respectively, two strains infecting the populations of D. simulans from the Seychelles archipelago and New Caledonia. Strikingly, the two species show similar infection patterns: in D. sechellia, wSh can be present on its own or in double infection with wSn, but individuals carrying wSn only do not occur; in D. simulans, wHa can be present on its own or in double infection with wNo, but individuals carrying wNo only do not occur, or occur at very low frequency. Previous experiments on D. simulans showed that lines singly infected by wNo can be obtained by segregation, and stably maintained. Here we investigate this issue in D. sechellia through an 18 generation experiment, and show that wSn and wSh singly infected lines can arise by segregation. Using singly infected lines obtained in this experiment, we estimate the CI intensities of wSh and wSn in D. sechellia, and compare these to the CI intensities of the same Wolbachia injected into D. simulans. Our results do not suggest any consistent effect of the host species on the CI induced by wSh. On the contrary, it seems that wSn expression is repressed by host factors in D. sechellia.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytoplasm
  • Drosophila / microbiology*
  • Drosophila / physiology
  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Male
  • Species Specificity
  • Wolbachia / physiology*