You can't keep a good parasite down: Evolution of a male-killer suppressor uncovers cytoplasmic incompatibility

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Maternally inherited parasites are known to impose a wide variety of reproductive manipulations upon their host. These often produce strong selection on the host to suppress the parasite, resulting in a reduction in the frequency of the parasite. However, in the butterfly Hypolimnas bolina, infected with a Wolbachia bacterium, field data demonstrate that suppression of the male-killing phenotype does not depress parasite frequency. Here we test and verify one hypothesis to explain this apparent paradox - Wolbachia induces a second phenotype, Cytoplasmic Incompatibility (CI), in populations where host suppression has evolved. We further demonstrate that the capacity to induce CI has not evolved de novo, but instead is instantaneously expressed upon the survival of infected males. The significance of these results is threefold: (1) multiple phenotypes can provide Wolbachia with the means to maintain itself in a host following suppression of a single manipulative phenotype; (2) the ability to induce CI can remain hidden in systems in which male-killing is observed, just as the ability to induce male-killing may be obscured in strains exhibiting CI; (3) the evolutionary maintenance of CI in a system in which it is not expressed suggests a functional link with male-killing or other traits under selection.

Details

Authors
  • Emily A. Hornett
  • Anne M R Duplouy
  • Neil Davies
  • George K. Roderick
  • Nina Wedell
  • Gregory D D Hurst
  • Sylvain Charlat
External organisations
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of Exeter
  • Université Claude Bernard
  • University of Queensland
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Evolutionary Biology

Keywords

  • Hypolimnas bolina, Male-killing, Suppression, Wolbachia
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1258-1263
JournalEvolution
Volume62
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008 May 1
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
Externally publishedYes