Disruption of the Wolbachia surface protein gene wspB by a transposable element in mosquitoes of the Culex pipiens complex (Diptera, Culicidae).

Sanogo YO, Dobson SL, Bordenstein SR, Novak RJ
Insect Mol Biol. 2007 16 (2): 143-54

PMID: 17298560 · DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2583.2006.00707.x

Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus Say and Culex pipiens pipiens Linnaeus are sibling species incriminated as important vectors of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases worldwide. The two forms differ little morphologically and are differentiated mainly based upon ecological, behavioural, physiological and genetic traits. Within the North American zone of sympatry, populations of Cx. p. quinquefasciatus and Cx. p. pipiens undergo extensive introgression and hybrid forms have been reported in nature. Both Cx. p. quinquefasciatus and Cx. p. pipiens are infected with the endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia pipientis. Here, we report the presence of a transposable element belonging to the IS256 family (IS256wPip) associated with Wolbachia in both Cx. p. quinquefasciatus and Cx. p. pipiens populations. Using reverse transcriptase PCR and sequence analysis, we show that IS256wPip has disrupted the wspB locus, a paralogue of the Wolbachia outer membrane protein (wspA) gene. The inactivation of the wspB appears to be specific to Cx. p. quinquefasciatus and to hybrids of the two forms, and was not observed in the surveyed Cx. p. pipiens mosquitoes. Our results support the hypothesis of a different origin of North American Cx. p. quinquefasciatus and Cx. p. pipiens populations. The flux of mobile genetic elements in the Wolbachia wPip genome could explain the high level of crossing types observed among different Culex populations. The insertion of IS256wPip into wspB may comprise a genetic candidate for discriminating Wolbachia symbionts in Culex.

MeSH Terms (17)

Animals Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins Base Sequence Culex DNA Transposable Elements Female Gene Silencing Geography Male Molecular Sequence Data Polymerase Chain Reaction Sequence Alignment Sequence Analysis, DNA Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid Symbiosis United States Wolbachia

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