Large-Scale Identification of Wolbachia pipientis Effectors

Wolbachia pipientis is an intracellular symbiont of arthropods well known for the reproductive manipulations induced in the host and, more recently, for the ability of Wolbachia to block virus replication in insect vectors. Since Wolbachia cannot yet be genetically manipulated, and due to the constraints imposed when working with an intracellular symbiont, little is known about mechanisms used by Wolbachia for host interaction. Here we employed a bioinformatics pipeline and identified 163 candidate effectors, potentially secreted by Wolbachia into the host cell. A total of 84 of these candidates were then subjected to a screen of growth defects induced in yeast upon heterologous expression which identified 14 top candidates likely secreted by Wolbachia. These predicted secreted effectors may function in concert as we find that their native expression is correlated and is highly upregulated at specific time points during Drosophila development. In addition, the evolutionary histories of some of these predicted effectors are also correlated, suggesting they may function together, or in the same pathway, during host infection. Similarly, most of these predicted effectors are limited to one or two Wolbachia strains—perhaps reflecting shared evolutionary history and strain specific functions in host manipulation. Identification of these Wolbachia candidate effectors is the first step in dissecting the mechanisms of symbiont–host interaction in this important system.

Publication Date:
Jul 19 2017
Date Submitted:
Aug 10 2018
Genome biology and evolution
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 Record created 2018-08-10, last modified 2019-04-03

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