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.
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