Male-killing Wolbachia and mitochondrial selective sweep in a migratory African insect

Robert I. Graham, Kenneth Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Numerous recent studies have shown that resident symbiotic microorganisms of insects play a fundamental role in host ecology and evolution. The lepidopteran pest, African armyworm (Spodoptera exempta), is a highly migratory and destructive species found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, that can experience eruptive outbreaks within the space of a single generation, making predicting population dynamics and pest control forecasting extremely difficult. Three strains of Wolbachia have recently been identified infecting this species in populations sampled from Tanzania. In this study, we examined the interaction between Wolbachia pipiensis infections and the co-inherited marker, mtDNA, within populations of armyworm, as a means to investigate the population biology and evolutionary history of Wolbachia and its host. RESULTS: A Wolbachia-infected isofemale line was established in the laboratory. Phenotypic studies confirmed the strain wExe1 as a male-killer. Partial sequencing of the mitochondrial COI gene from 164 individual field-collected armyworm of known infection status revealed 17 different haplotypes. There was a strong association between Wolbachia infection status and mtDNA haplotype, with a single dominant haplotype, haplo1 (90.2% prevalence), harbouring the endosymbiont. All three Wolbachia strains were associated with this haplotype. This indicates that Wolbachia may be driving a selective sweep on armyworm haplotype diversity. Despite very strong biological and molecular evidence that the samples represent a single species (including from nuclear 28S gene markers), the 17 haplotypes did not fall into a monophyletic clade within the Spodoptera genus; with six haplotypes (2 each from 3 geographically separate populations) differing by >11% in their nucleotide sequence to the other eleven. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that three strains of Wolbachia may be driving a selective sweep on armyworm haplotype diversity, and that based on COI sequence data, S. exempta is not a monophyletic group within the Spodoptera genus. This has clear implications for the use of mtDNA as neutral genetic markers in insects, and also demonstrates the impact of Wolbachia infections on host evolutionary genetics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number204
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Evolutionary Biology
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

male-killing
Wolbachia
haplotypes
insect
insects
Spodoptera exempta
Spodoptera
endosymbiont
gene
genetic marker
mitochondrial DNA
pest control
infection
population dynamics
microorganism
ecology
microsymbionts
genetic markers
history
endosymbionts

Keywords

  • African armyworm
  • COI
  • Cytochrome Oxidase I
  • Evolutionary genetics
  • Spodoptera exempta
  • Wolbachia
  • mtDNA

Cite this

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title = "Male-killing Wolbachia and mitochondrial selective sweep in a migratory African insect",
abstract = "ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Numerous recent studies have shown that resident symbiotic microorganisms of insects play a fundamental role in host ecology and evolution. The lepidopteran pest, African armyworm (Spodoptera exempta), is a highly migratory and destructive species found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, that can experience eruptive outbreaks within the space of a single generation, making predicting population dynamics and pest control forecasting extremely difficult. Three strains of Wolbachia have recently been identified infecting this species in populations sampled from Tanzania. In this study, we examined the interaction between Wolbachia pipiensis infections and the co-inherited marker, mtDNA, within populations of armyworm, as a means to investigate the population biology and evolutionary history of Wolbachia and its host. RESULTS: A Wolbachia-infected isofemale line was established in the laboratory. Phenotypic studies confirmed the strain wExe1 as a male-killer. Partial sequencing of the mitochondrial COI gene from 164 individual field-collected armyworm of known infection status revealed 17 different haplotypes. There was a strong association between Wolbachia infection status and mtDNA haplotype, with a single dominant haplotype, haplo1 (90.2{\%} prevalence), harbouring the endosymbiont. All three Wolbachia strains were associated with this haplotype. This indicates that Wolbachia may be driving a selective sweep on armyworm haplotype diversity. Despite very strong biological and molecular evidence that the samples represent a single species (including from nuclear 28S gene markers), the 17 haplotypes did not fall into a monophyletic clade within the Spodoptera genus; with six haplotypes (2 each from 3 geographically separate populations) differing by >11{\%} in their nucleotide sequence to the other eleven. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that three strains of Wolbachia may be driving a selective sweep on armyworm haplotype diversity, and that based on COI sequence data, S. exempta is not a monophyletic group within the Spodoptera genus. This has clear implications for the use of mtDNA as neutral genetic markers in insects, and also demonstrates the impact of Wolbachia infections on host evolutionary genetics.",
keywords = "African armyworm, COI, Cytochrome Oxidase I, Evolutionary genetics, Spodoptera exempta, Wolbachia, mtDNA",
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Male-killing Wolbachia and mitochondrial selective sweep in a migratory African insect. / Graham, Robert I.; Wilson, Kenneth.

In: BMC Evolutionary Biology, Vol. 12, No. 1, 204, 15.10.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article

TY - JOUR

T1 - Male-killing Wolbachia and mitochondrial selective sweep in a migratory African insect

AU - Graham, Robert I.

AU - Wilson, Kenneth

PY - 2012/10/15

Y1 - 2012/10/15

N2 - ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Numerous recent studies have shown that resident symbiotic microorganisms of insects play a fundamental role in host ecology and evolution. The lepidopteran pest, African armyworm (Spodoptera exempta), is a highly migratory and destructive species found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, that can experience eruptive outbreaks within the space of a single generation, making predicting population dynamics and pest control forecasting extremely difficult. Three strains of Wolbachia have recently been identified infecting this species in populations sampled from Tanzania. In this study, we examined the interaction between Wolbachia pipiensis infections and the co-inherited marker, mtDNA, within populations of armyworm, as a means to investigate the population biology and evolutionary history of Wolbachia and its host. RESULTS: A Wolbachia-infected isofemale line was established in the laboratory. Phenotypic studies confirmed the strain wExe1 as a male-killer. Partial sequencing of the mitochondrial COI gene from 164 individual field-collected armyworm of known infection status revealed 17 different haplotypes. There was a strong association between Wolbachia infection status and mtDNA haplotype, with a single dominant haplotype, haplo1 (90.2% prevalence), harbouring the endosymbiont. All three Wolbachia strains were associated with this haplotype. This indicates that Wolbachia may be driving a selective sweep on armyworm haplotype diversity. Despite very strong biological and molecular evidence that the samples represent a single species (including from nuclear 28S gene markers), the 17 haplotypes did not fall into a monophyletic clade within the Spodoptera genus; with six haplotypes (2 each from 3 geographically separate populations) differing by >11% in their nucleotide sequence to the other eleven. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that three strains of Wolbachia may be driving a selective sweep on armyworm haplotype diversity, and that based on COI sequence data, S. exempta is not a monophyletic group within the Spodoptera genus. This has clear implications for the use of mtDNA as neutral genetic markers in insects, and also demonstrates the impact of Wolbachia infections on host evolutionary genetics.

AB - ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Numerous recent studies have shown that resident symbiotic microorganisms of insects play a fundamental role in host ecology and evolution. The lepidopteran pest, African armyworm (Spodoptera exempta), is a highly migratory and destructive species found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, that can experience eruptive outbreaks within the space of a single generation, making predicting population dynamics and pest control forecasting extremely difficult. Three strains of Wolbachia have recently been identified infecting this species in populations sampled from Tanzania. In this study, we examined the interaction between Wolbachia pipiensis infections and the co-inherited marker, mtDNA, within populations of armyworm, as a means to investigate the population biology and evolutionary history of Wolbachia and its host. RESULTS: A Wolbachia-infected isofemale line was established in the laboratory. Phenotypic studies confirmed the strain wExe1 as a male-killer. Partial sequencing of the mitochondrial COI gene from 164 individual field-collected armyworm of known infection status revealed 17 different haplotypes. There was a strong association between Wolbachia infection status and mtDNA haplotype, with a single dominant haplotype, haplo1 (90.2% prevalence), harbouring the endosymbiont. All three Wolbachia strains were associated with this haplotype. This indicates that Wolbachia may be driving a selective sweep on armyworm haplotype diversity. Despite very strong biological and molecular evidence that the samples represent a single species (including from nuclear 28S gene markers), the 17 haplotypes did not fall into a monophyletic clade within the Spodoptera genus; with six haplotypes (2 each from 3 geographically separate populations) differing by >11% in their nucleotide sequence to the other eleven. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that three strains of Wolbachia may be driving a selective sweep on armyworm haplotype diversity, and that based on COI sequence data, S. exempta is not a monophyletic group within the Spodoptera genus. This has clear implications for the use of mtDNA as neutral genetic markers in insects, and also demonstrates the impact of Wolbachia infections on host evolutionary genetics.

KW - African armyworm

KW - COI

KW - Cytochrome Oxidase I

KW - Evolutionary genetics

KW - Spodoptera exempta

KW - Wolbachia

KW - mtDNA

U2 - 10.1186/1471-2148-12-204

DO - 10.1186/1471-2148-12-204

M3 - Journal Article

VL - 12

JO - BMC Evolutionary Biology

JF - BMC Evolutionary Biology

SN - 1471-2148

IS - 1

M1 - 204

ER -