Analysis of gene expression from the Wolbachia genome of a filarial nematode supports both metabolic and defensive roles within the symbiosis [RESEARCH]

The α-proteobacterium Wolbachia is probably the most prevalent, vertically transmitted symbiont on Earth. In contrast with its wide distribution in arthropods, Wolbachia is restricted to one family of animal-parasitic nematodes, the Onchocercidae. This includes filarial pathogens such as Onchocerca volvulus, the cause of human onchocerciasis, or river blindness. The symbiosis between filariae and Wolbachia is obligate, although the basis of this dependency is not fully understood. Previous studies suggested that Wolbachia may provision metabolites (e.g., haem, riboflavin, and nucleotides) and/or contribute to immune defense. Importantly, Wolbachia is restricted to somatic tissues in adult male worms, whereas females also harbor bacteria in the germline. We sought to characterize the …
Source: Blindness