Showing posts from 2016

What's in a name? Would a Wolbachia by any other name, block RNA viruses as sweetly?

I've ranted about bacterial nomenclature in the past (see here), but this post is specifically about Wolbachia pipientis, and how we should name strain-level variants within a particular host-associated clade (such as wMel, for example).  Currently, there seem to be multiple ways to write these names and to present them in databases or the literature.  For example:

For variants within wMel, we find examples of the following types of strain names:

wMelPop-<insert specific substrain here after the dash>
The stuff that comes after the strain name (wMelPop) sometimes refers to the host insect from which the strain was isolated, or where it currently resides (such as in wMelPop-PYGP) or sometimes refers to how the strain was altered, through sequential passage (such as in wMelPop-CLA).  This variability in the naming schemas used in Wolbachia could lead to confusion down the road.

We are currently adding strain level information to some of the stocks that are now housed in the Bl…

The Wolbachia Holy Grail: loci behind CI

This obscure alpha-proteobacterium, named Wolbachia, was first discovered because of the weird ways in which it messed with insect reproduction - everything from parthenogenesis induction to male killing to the most common of effects, so-called "cytoplasmic incompatibility." In this case, Wolbachia somehow prevents uninfected females and infected males from mating. Ever since it was first described by Hertig and Wolbach back in 1924, folks have been trying to figure out the how of CI.  At the Wolbachia 2016 meetings, it seems like someone(s) has finally cracked that nut.  <DISCLAIMER: I am actually sitting on my ass in my home office and not at the #Wolb2016 meetings as they are in Australia and I'm allergic to traveling to Australia. However, I heard on the twitter that> Seth Bordenstein + Daniel LePage and John Beckman presented data on two loci - WD0631 and WD0632 - which  may be behind CI. It seems like these loci, when co-expressed in an uninfected male backgr…

Learning to fly, with microbes

It's summer and that means time for research and reading groups here at IU Bloomington.  Given the interest in Drosophila across the department, I thought it might be fun to start a fly microbiome reading group this summer. We've got a really dynamic and diverse group -- everyone from stock center folks to genomics gurus and graduate students working in flies.  If you're already working in the fly, and haven't thought about the effect of the microbial community - shame on you!; seriously, have you had your head in a hole for the last decade? Beyond ignoring Wolbachia infection and effects on host phenotypes (such as insulin signaling, oogenesis, and others), ignoring the entire microbial community is really not defendable any more. 

If you haven't been interested in the fly microbiome, because it's depauperate (what a nasty word, aye?) and generally inconstant, I hope to change your mind.

Here are some of the papers we've been reading lately:

Chandler JA, Morg…