Transcriptome sequencing reveals novel candidate genes for Cardinium hertigii-caused cytoplasmic incompatibility and host-cell interaction

Evelyne Mann, Corinne M. Stouthamer, Suzanne E. Kelly, Monika Dzieciol, Martha S. Hunter, Stephan Schmitz-Esser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) is an intriguing, widespread, symbiontinduced reproductive failure that decreases offspring production of arthropods through crossing incompatibility of infected males with uninfected females or with females infected with a distinct symbiont genotype. For years, the molecular mechanism of CI remained unknown. Recent genomic, proteomic, biochemical, and cell biological studies have contributed to understanding of CI in the alphaproteobacterium Wolbachia and implicate genes associated with the WO prophage. Besides a recently discovered additional lineage of alphaproteobacterial symbionts only moderately related to Wolbachia, Cardinium (Bacteroidetes) is the only other symbiont known to cause CI, and genomic evidence suggests that it has very little homology with Wolbachia and evolved this phenotype independently. Here, we present the first transcriptomic study of the CI Cardinium strain cEper1, in its natural host, Encarsia suzannae, to detect important CI candidates and genes involved in the insect-Cardinium symbiosis. Highly expressed transcripts included genes involved in manipulating ubiquitination, apoptosis, and host DNA. Female-biased genes encoding ribosomal proteins suggest an increase in general translational activity of Cardinium in female wasps. The results confirm previous genomic analyses that indicated that Wolbachia and Cardinium utilize different genes to induce CI, and transcriptome patterns further highlight expression of some common pathways that these bacteria use to interact with the host and potentially cause this enigmatic and fundamental manipulation of host reproduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00141
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017


  • Bacteroidetes
  • Cardinium
  • Cytoplasmic incompatibility
  • Endosymbionts
  • Gene expression
  • Host-microbe interaction
  • RNA sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Computer Science Applications


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