Molecular identification of Wolbachia, the agent of cytoplasmic incompatibility in Drosophila simulans, and variability in relation with host mitochondrial types

Proc Biol Sci. 1992 Mar 23;247(1320):163-8. doi: 10.1098/rspb.1992.0023.


Sequences of a segment of the 16S ribosomal DNA of Wolbachia, a rickettsia-like microorganism responsible for cytoplasmic incompatibility in Drosophila simulans, have been obtained after polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification. Their comparison with other eubacterial sequences allows us to assign these endosymbionts to the alpha subdivision of purple bacteria. Four related sequences have been obtained for microorganisms carried by eight isofemale lines representative of the three mitochondrial types of D. simulans. Their phylogeny and level of divergence do not parallel that of the mitochondrial DNA, suggesting that several independent infections occurred. There is no direct relation between bacterial phylogeny and formerly identified incompatibility types.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cytoplasm / microbiology
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Rickettsiaceae / genetics*
  • Rickettsiaceae / isolation & purification
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Symbiosis


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S