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Genetic characterization of Wolbachia from Great Salt Lake brine flies

Truong, Amanda, Sondossi, Mohammad, Clark, Jonathan B.
Symbiosis 2017 v.72 no.2 pp. 95-102
Ephydra, Nematoda, Wolbachia, arthropods, endosymbionts, genetic variation, host range, hosts, immunity, monophyly, mutualism, nucleotide sequences, parasitism, reproduction, ribosomal RNA, Great Salt Lake
Wolbachia are intracellular prokaryotic endosymbionts associated with a wide distribution of arthropod and nematode hosts. Their association ranges from parasitism to mutualism, and there is growing evidence that Wolbachia can have dramatic effects on host reproduction, physiology, and immunity. Although all Wolbachia are currently considered as single species, W. pipientis, phylogenetic studies reveal about a dozen monophyletic groups, each designated as a supergroup. This study uses 16S rRNA gene sequences to examine the genetic diversity of Wolbachia present in three species of Great Salt Lake brine flies, Cirrula hians, Ephydra gracilis, and Mosillus bidentatus. The brine fly Wolbachia sequences are highly similar, with an average nucleotide sequence divergence among the three species of 0.00174. The brine fly Wolbachia form a monophyletic group that is affiliated with a subset of supergroup B, indicating that this supergroup may be more diverse than previously thought. These findings expand the phylogenetic diversity of Wolbachia and extend their host range to taxa adapted to a hypersaline environment.