Insight into the Transmission Biology and Species-Specific Functional Capabilities of Tsetse (Diptera: Glossinidae) Obligate Symbiont Wigglesworthia

Rita V M Rio, Rebecca E. Symula, Jingwen Wang, Claudia Lohs, Yi neng Wu, Anna K. Snyder, Robert D. Bjornson, Kenshiro Oshima, Bryan S. Biehl, Nicole T. Perna, Masahira Hattori, Serap Aksoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ancient endosymbionts have been associated with extreme genome structural stability with little differentiation in gene inventory between sister species. Tsetse flies (Diptera: Glossinidae) harbor an obligate endosymbiont, Wigglesworthia, which has coevolved with the Glossina radiation. We report on the ~720-kb Wigglesworthia genome and its associated plasmid from Glossina morsitans morsitans and compare them to those of the symbiont from Glossina brevipalpis. While there was overall high synteny between the two genomes, a large inversion was noted. Furthermore, symbiont transcriptional analyses demonstrated host tissue and development-specific gene expression supporting robust transcriptional regulation in Wigglesworthia, an unprecedented observation in other obligate mutualist endosymbionts. Expression and immunohistochemistry confirmed the role of flagella during the vertical transmission process from mother to intrauterine progeny. The expression of nutrient provisioning genes (thiC and hemH) suggests that Wigglesworthia may function in dietary supplementation tailored toward host development. Furthermore, despite extensive conservation, unique genes were identified within both symbiont genomes that may result in distinct metabolomes impacting host physiology. One of these differences involves the chorismate, phenylalanine, and folate biosynthetic pathways, which are uniquely present in Wigglesworthia morsitans. Interestingly, African trypanosomes are auxotrophs for phenylalanine and folate and salvage both exogenously. It is possible that W. morsitans contributes to the higher parasite susceptibility of its host species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalmBio
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Insight into the Transmission Biology and Species-Specific Functional Capabilities of Tsetse (Diptera: Glossinidae) Obligate Symbiont Wigglesworthia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Rio, R. V. M., Symula, R. E., Wang, J., Lohs, C., Wu, Y. N., Snyder, A. K., Bjornson, R. D., Oshima, K., Biehl, B. S., Perna, N. T., Hattori, M., & Aksoy, S. (2012). Insight into the Transmission Biology and Species-Specific Functional Capabilities of Tsetse (Diptera: Glossinidae) Obligate Symbiont Wigglesworthia. mBio, 3(1), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.00240-11