Bioinformatic analysis suggests potential mechanisms underlying parasitoid venom evolution and function

Genomics. 2020 Mar;112(2):1096-1104. doi: 10.1016/j.ygeno.2019.06.022. Epub 2019 Jun 24.


Hymenopteran parasitoid wasps are a diverse collection of species that infect arthropod hosts and use factors found in their venoms to manipulate host immune responses, physiology, and behaviour. Whole parasitoid venoms have been profiled using proteomic approaches, and here we present a bioinformatic characterization of the venom protein content from Ganaspis sp. 1, a parasitoid that infects flies of the genus Drosophila. We find evidence that diverse evolutionary processes including multifunctionalization, co-option, gene duplication, and horizontal gene transfer may be acting in concert to drive venom gene evolution in Ganaspis sp.1. One major role of parasitoid wasp venom is host immune evasion. We previously demonstrated that Ganaspis sp. 1 venom inhibits immune cell activation in infected Drosophila melanogaster hosts, and our current analysis has uncovered additional predicted virulence functions. Overall, this analysis represents an important step towards understanding the composition and activity of parasitoid wasp venoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthropod Venoms / genetics*
  • Arthropod Venoms / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / immunology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / parasitology
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Duplication
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal
  • Immune Evasion
  • Proteome / genetics
  • Proteome / metabolism
  • Wasps / genetics*
  • Wasps / pathogenicity


  • Arthropod Venoms
  • Proteome