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Environ Microbiol Rep. 2016 Oct;8(5):680-688. doi: 10.1111/1758-2229.12425. Epub 2016 Jul 14.

Wolbachia endosymbionts in haplodiploid and diploid scolytine beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae).

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Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Furo, Chikusa, Nagoya, 464-8601, Japan.
Department of Forest and Soil Sciences, Boku, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria.
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Galvin Life Science Building, Notre Dame, IN, 46556, USA.
Institute of Silviculture and Forest Protection, University of West Hungary, Sopron, H-9400, Hungary.


Haplodiploidy is a sex determination system in which fertilized diploid eggs develop into females and unfertilized haploid eggs develop into males. The evolutionary explanations for this phenomenon include the possibility that haplodiploidy can be reinforced by infection with endosymbiotic bacteria, such as Wolbachia. The subfamily Scolytinae contains species with haplodiploid and diploid sex determination systems. Thus, we studied the association with Wolbachia in 12 diploid and 11 haplodiploid scolytine beetles by analyzing wsp and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) of five loci in this endosymbiont. Wolbachia genotypes were compared with mitochondrial (COI) and nuclear (EF) genotypes in the scolytines. Eight of the 23 scolytine species were infected with Wolbachia, with haplodiploids at significantly higher rates than diploid species. Cloning and sequencing detected multiple infections with up to six Wolbachia strains in individual species. Phylogenetic analyses of wsp and five MLST genes revealed different Wolbachia strains in scolytines. Comparisons between the beetle and Wolbachia phylogenies revealed that closely related beetles were infected with genetically different Wolbachia strains. These results suggest the horizontal transmission of multiple Wolbachia strains between scolytines. We discuss these results in terms of the evolution of different sex determination systems in scolytine beetles.


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