Evolution and ecology of a Drosophila-Spiroplasma defensive symbiosis

Sala 2.2.14, FCUL, Lisboa

By Steve Perlman (University of Victoria, Canada).

Multicellular organisms commonly harbour microbes that protect them against natural enemies, and these defensive symbionts are important players in host-parasite evolution and ecology. We have been studying a symbiosis between Drosophila flies and a maternally inherited bacterial endosymbiont called Spiroplasma that protects against infection by parasitic nematodes and parasitic wasps. Protection appears to involve toxins called ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs). Spiroplasma genomes encode a diverse repertoire of RIP toxins, and we speculate that toxin diversity and evolution play an important role in specificity against different enemies.

cE3c - Centro de Ecologia, Evolução e Alterações Ambientais