Do variable compensatory mechanisms explain the polymorphism of the dependence phenotype in the Asobara tabida-wolbachia association?

Abstract : Wolbachia are symbiotic intracellular bacteria, which are classified as reproductive parasites. Although generally facultative, Wolbachia is necessary for Asobara tabida (Hymenoptera), because aposymbiotic females do not produce any offspring. Interestingly, the ovarian phenotype of aposymbiotic females is variable: some females do not produce any eggs, whereas others do produce some eggs, but these are aborted. Here, we show that the ovarian phenotype of aposymbiotic females is highly polymorphic within populations, although dependence remains complete in both cases. We also identified some lines in which aposymbiotic females were able to produce a very few viable offspring, further extending the range of variation observed. These results suggest that various factors actively maintain polymorphism. We demonstrated that Wolbachia is necessary to trigger oogenetic processes, but that the ovarian phenotype was determined by the host only. Phenotypic variation was also correlated with the differential expression of genes controlling iron homeostasis and oxidative stress, which are potentially involved in the evolution of dependence. This suggests that variation in the ovarian phenotype could reflect selection for different levels of compensatory mechanisms in response to Wolbachia infection, and that polymorphism is maintained through selection on different antagonist traits influenced by oxidative stress.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - 12:54:59 PM
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Natacha Kremer, Franck Dedeine, Delphine Charif, Cédric Finet, Roland Allemand, et al.. Do variable compensatory mechanisms explain the polymorphism of the dependence phenotype in the Asobara tabida-wolbachia association?. Evolution, Wiley, 2010, 64 (10), pp.2969-79. ⟨10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.01034.x⟩. ⟨hal-00850365⟩

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