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Mitochondria and Wolbachia titers are positively correlated during maternal transmission
- Henry, Lucas P., Newton, Irene L. G.
- Molecular ecology 2018 v.27 no.11 pp. 2634-2646
- Drosophila melanogaster, NADH dehydrogenase, Wolbachia, correlation, female reproductive system, gene expression, genotype, loci, metabolism, mitochondria, mothers, progeny, symbionts, symbiosis
- Mothers provide their offspring with symbionts. Maternally transmitted, intracellular symbionts must disperse from mother to offspring with other cytoplasmic elements, like mitochondria. Here, we investigated how the intracellular symbiont Wolbachia interacts with mitochondria during maternal transmission. Mitochondria and Wolbachia may interact antagonistically and compete as each population tries to ensure its own evolutionary success. Alternatively, mitochondria and Wolbachia may cooperate as both benefit from ensuring the fitness of the mother. We characterized the relationship between mitochondria and Wolbachia titers in ovaries of Drosophila melanogaster. We found that mitochondria and Wolbachia titers are positively correlated in common laboratory genotypes of D. melanogaster. We attempted to perturb this covariation through the introduction of Wolbachia variants that colonize at different titers. We also attempted to perturb the covariation through manipulating the female reproductive tract to disrupt maternal transmission. Finally, we also attempted to disrupt the covariation by knocking down gene expression for two loci involved in mitochondrial metabolism: NADH dehydrogenase and a mitochondrial transporter. Overall, we find that mitochondria and Wolbachia titers are commonly positively correlated, but this positive covariation is disrupted at high titers of Wolbachia. Our results suggest that mitochondria and Wolbachia have likely evolved mechanisms to stably coexist, but the competitive dynamics change at high Wolbachia titers. We provide future directions to better understand how their interaction influences the maintenance of the symbiosis.