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J Cell Sci. 2009 Dec 15;122(Pt 24):4570-83. doi: 10.1242/jcs.054981. Epub 2009 Nov 24.

Symmetric and asymmetric mitotic segregation patterns influence Wolbachia distribution in host somatic tissue.

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Biology Department, Albion College, Albion, MI 49224, USA.


Wolbachia are maternally inherited bacterial endosymbionts that occupy many but not all tissues of adult insects. During the initial mitotic divisions in Drosophila embryogenesis, Wolbachia exhibit a symmetric pattern of segregation. Wolbachia undergo microtubule-dependent and cell-cycle-regulated movement between centrosomes. Symmetric segregation occurs during late anaphase when Wolbachia cluster around duplicated and separating centrosomes. This centrosome association is microtubule-dependent and promotes an even Wolbachia distribution throughout the host embryo. By contrast, during the later embryonic and larval neuroblast divisions, Wolbachia segregate asymmetrically with the apical self-renewing neuroblast. During these polarized asymmetric neuroblast divisions, Wolbachia colocalize with the apical centrosome and apically localized Par complex. This localization depends on microtubules, but not the cortical actin-based cytoskeleton. We also found that Wolbachia concentrate in specific regions of the adult brain, which might be a direct consequence of the asymmetric Wolbachia segregation in the earlier neuroblast divisions. Finally, we demonstrate that the fidelity of asymmetric segregation to the self-renewing neuroblast is lower in the virulent Popcorn strain of Wolbachia.

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