The complexity of virus systems: the case of endosymbionts.

Metcalf JA, Bordenstein SR
Curr Opin Microbiol. 2012 15 (4): 546-52

PMID: 22609369 · PMCID: PMC3424318 · DOI:10.1016/j.mib.2012.04.010

Host-microbe symbioses involving bacterial endosymbionts comprise some of the most intimate and long-lasting interactions on the planet. While restricted gene flow might be expected due to their intracellular lifestyle, many endosymbionts, especially those that switch hosts, are rampant with mobile DNA and bacteriophages. One endosymbiont, Wolbachia pipientis, infects a vast number of arthropod and nematode species and often has a significant portion of its genome dedicated to prophage sequences of a virus called WO. This phage has challenged fundamental theories of bacteriophage and endosymbiont evolution, namely the phage Modular Theory and bacterial genome stability in obligate intracellular species. WO has also opened up exciting windows into the tripartite interactions between viruses, bacteria, and eukaryotes.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

MeSH Terms (8)

Animals Arthropods Bacteriophages DNA, Viral Evolution, Molecular Host-Pathogen Interactions Symbiosis Wolbachia

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