Multiple Wolbachia Infections in Rhagoletis pomonella (Diptera, Tephritidae)

Schuler H., Arthofer W., Riegler M., Bertheau C., Krumböck S., Köppler K., Vogt H., Teixeira L.A.F. and Stauffer C.

Rhagoletis pomonella Walsh (Diptera: Tephritidae) is a model species for sympatric speciation through host race formation on apple and hawthorn. The bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia, a manipulator of arthropod reproduction, has been considered to contribute to speciation in several species. A potential role of Wolbachia in sympatric speciation of R. pomonella remains to be tested despite an earlier detection by PCR. In this study, we isolated Wolbachia from R. pomonella individuals from both host species using multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) and the surface protein wsp. By cloning and sequencing of 311 plasmids, we found sequence types of at least four wPom strains. A complete MLST profile was obtained only for wPom1, whereas MLST loci of the other putative strains were difficult to assign because of multiple infections and low sample numbers. wPom1 occurs in both host races, whereas different sequence types were found at low frequencies only in apple-infesting R. pomonella. This warrants further investigation as it cannot be excluded that Wolbachia plays a part in this model of sympatric speciation.

Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 139, 138-144.

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