Presenter Information

Chelsey N. CaldwellFollow

Presentation Type

Poster

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Brandon Cooper

Faculty Mentor’s Department

DBS

Abstract

Maternally transmitted Wolbachia bacteria infect most insect species and other arthropods. Wolbachia that naturally infect the fly Drosophila melanogaster (wMel) have the ability to block transmission of deadly viruses like Zika and dengue when transinfected into Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Researchers have transformed Ae. aegypti populations with wMel on several continents, reducing human disease transmission. Despite the global prevalence of Wolbachia and its potential as a tool for biocontrol of human disease, we have limited understanding of how Wolbachia affect physiology and behavior of their natural Drosophila hosts. Research suggests the wMel strain modifies the temperature preference of D. melanogaster, but it remains unknown if Wolbachia generally influence host temperature preference. Using a thermal gradient apparatus, I determined the temperature preference of six Drosophila-host species in the presence and absence of their naturally co-occurring Wolbachia infections. Wolbachia infection significantly altered temperature preference for hosts infected with wRi (infecting D. simulans), wHa (D. simulans), wTei (D. teissieri), wSn and wSh (doubly infecting D. sechellia), and wMau (D. mauritiana). On average, infected flies preferred about a 0.5°C cooler temperature than uninfected flies. These results suggest Wolbachia effects on host temperature preference are not limited to wMel in D. melanogaster. Other data in our laboratory suggest that cool temperatures reduce Wolbachia titer in host bodies. We hypothesize that infected hosts choose lower temperatures to reduce Wolbachia abundance in their tissues. To test this, our lab is currently assessing Wolbachia titer in hosts reared in cool versus warm temperatures. Our work contributes to gaps in knowledge about Wolbachia effects on host behavior and motivates future analysis of additional systems, including transinfected mosquito vectors.

Category

Life Sciences

WOL Poster.m4a (10717 kB)
Audio

Share

COinS
 

The endosymbiont Wolbachia modifies temperature preference in insect host species

Maternally transmitted Wolbachia bacteria infect most insect species and other arthropods. Wolbachia that naturally infect the fly Drosophila melanogaster (wMel) have the ability to block transmission of deadly viruses like Zika and dengue when transinfected into Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Researchers have transformed Ae. aegypti populations with wMel on several continents, reducing human disease transmission. Despite the global prevalence of Wolbachia and its potential as a tool for biocontrol of human disease, we have limited understanding of how Wolbachia affect physiology and behavior of their natural Drosophila hosts. Research suggests the wMel strain modifies the temperature preference of D. melanogaster, but it remains unknown if Wolbachia generally influence host temperature preference. Using a thermal gradient apparatus, I determined the temperature preference of six Drosophila-host species in the presence and absence of their naturally co-occurring Wolbachia infections. Wolbachia infection significantly altered temperature preference for hosts infected with wRi (infecting D. simulans), wHa (D. simulans), wTei (D. teissieri), wSn and wSh (doubly infecting D. sechellia), and wMau (D. mauritiana). On average, infected flies preferred about a 0.5°C cooler temperature than uninfected flies. These results suggest Wolbachia effects on host temperature preference are not limited to wMel in D. melanogaster. Other data in our laboratory suggest that cool temperatures reduce Wolbachia titer in host bodies. We hypothesize that infected hosts choose lower temperatures to reduce Wolbachia abundance in their tissues. To test this, our lab is currently assessing Wolbachia titer in hosts reared in cool versus warm temperatures. Our work contributes to gaps in knowledge about Wolbachia effects on host behavior and motivates future analysis of additional systems, including transinfected mosquito vectors.