A bacterial symbiont in the Bacteroidetes induces cytoplasmic incompatibility in the parasitoid wasp Encarsia pergandiella

Proc Biol Sci. 2003 Oct 22;270(1529):2185-90. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2003.2475.


Vertically transmitted symbionts of arthropods have been implicated in several reproductive manipulations of their hosts. These include cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), parthenogenesis induction in haplodiploid species (PI), feminization and male killing. One symbiont lineage in the alpha-Proteobacteria, Wolbachia, is the only bacterium known to cause all of these effects, and has been thought to be unique in causing CI, in which the fecundity of uninfected females is reduced after mating with infected males. Here, we provide evidence that an undescribed symbiont in the Bacteroidetes group causes CI in a sexual population of the parasitic wasp Encarsia pergandiella. Wasps were crossed in all four possible combinations of infected and uninfected individuals. In the cross predicted to be incompatible, infected (I) males x uninfected (U) females, progeny production was severely reduced, with these females producing only 12.6% of the number of progeny in other crosses. The incompatibility observed in this haplodiploid species was the female mortality type; dissections showed that most progeny from the incompatible cross died as eggs. The 16S rDNA sequence of this symbiont is 99% identical to a parthenogenesis-inducing symbiont in other Encarsia, and 96% identical to a feminizing symbiont in haplodiploid Brevipalpus mites. Thus, this recently discovered symbiont lineage is capable of inducing three of the four principal manipulations of host reproduction known to be caused by Wolbachia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteroidaceae / physiology*
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Cytoplasm / physiology*
  • Fertility / physiology
  • Parthenogenesis / physiology
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sex Ratio
  • Symbiosis / physiology*
  • Wasps / microbiology*