Journal of RNA and Genomics

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Research Article - Journal of RNA and Genomics (2019) Volume 15, Issue 1

Detection of phage and in-silico analysis of WO phage associated cif genes from Wolbachia: A study based on Drosophila model

Wolbachia are endosymbiotic bacteria infecting the arthropod and nematode population inducing various reproductive manipulations in the host to enhance their transmission. 90% of the arthropod infecting Wolbachia is known to possess a bacteriophage named WO phage. Together the WO phage, Wolbachia and host form a unique tripartite association. Bacteriophages contain mobile genetic elements and play a crucial role in horizontal gene transfer. Also, WO phage is known to assist Wolbachia in inducing Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) in the host, as the two cytoplasmic incompatibility factor genes i.e., CifA and CifB are present in the eukaryotic association model of the WO phage. In the present study, we detected the presence of WO phage in Indian Drosophila host from five different eco-geographic locations using the Orf7 gene marker and found their presence to be limited to the Wolbachia infecting host. The multiple sequence alignment of Orf7 gene from two Wolbachia strains reveals a conserved sequence throughout. We also compared the Cif genes across six Wolbachia genomes and found interesting strain-specific variations. These single nucleotide differences in Cif genes can be explored functionally to understand their role in inducing CI. This can also explain the variations in the CI levels across the different Wolbachia strains. The present study is a preliminary work to understand phage distribution and Cif genes across the Indian Wolbachia genomes. Functional validation of the key findings in the study can help in establishing Wolbachia as a robust model for vector borne disease control.

Author(s): Kopal Singhal and Sujata Mohanty

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