Wolbachia in terrestrial isopods in Tunisia

Abstract : Wolbachia is a genus of α-Proteobacteria that represents one of a number of recently identified “reproductive parasites” which manipulate the reproduction of their hosts in ways that enhance their own transmission. These intracellular bacteria are widely distributed among Arthropods, particularly terrestrial Crustaceans. In this study, 60 populations of isopods were sampled at various locations in Tunisia. In total, 21 species, representing 70% of the known terrestrial isopod fauna in Tunisia, were collected. The presence of symbionts in woodlice was checked by a PCR assay using specific wsp primers targeting a region of the gene encoding the Wolbachia pipientis surface protein wsp. Wolbachia presence was detected in 13 of the 21 investigated species, with varying prevalence between species and host populations. All screened individuals of 8 species were free of Wolbachia (Armadillidium vulgare, Armadillidium boukornini, Hemilepistus reaumuri, Agabiformius lentus, Porcellio dominici, Porcellio olivieri, Chaetophiloscia elongata and Tylos europaeus). Species of the genus Porcellio (other than P. dominici and P. olivieri) exhibited the highest prevalence of Wolbachia. Preliminary results of sequencing of wsp gene confirm the presence of these bacteria in Porcellio variabilis, an endemic species at North Africa. All individuals were infected by the same strain of Wolbachia.
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 2, 2009 - 2:12:35 PM
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H. Ben Afia Hatira, F. Charfi-Cheikhrouha, D. Bouchon. Wolbachia in terrestrial isopods in Tunisia. Proceedings of the International Symposium of Terrestrial Isopod Biology, 2008, pp.116-123. ⟨hal-00372793⟩

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