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The origin of intraspecific variation of virulence in an eukaryotic immune suppressive parasite.

Colinet D, Schmitz A, Cazes D, Gatti JL, PoiriƩ M - PLoS Pathog. (2010)

Bottom Line: In contrast, a much higher level of both mRNA and protein is found in venom-producing tissues of virulent parasitoids.Altogether, our results demonstrate that the major virulence factor in the wasp L. boulardi differs only quantitatively between virulent and avirulent strains, and suggest the existence of a threshold effect of this molecule on parasitoid virulence.Understanding this variation would improve our knowledge of the mechanisms of transcriptional evolution currently under active investigation.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Sophia Antipolis, France. dominique.colinet@sophia.inra.fr

ABSTRACT
Occurrence of intraspecific variation in parasite virulence, a prerequisite for coevolution of hosts and parasites, has largely been reported. However, surprisingly little is known of the molecular bases of this variation in eukaryotic parasites, with the exception of the antigenic variation used by immune-evading parasites of mammals. The present work aims to address this question in immune suppressive eukaryotic parasites. In Leptopilina boulardi, a parasitic wasp of Drosophila melanogaster, well-defined virulent and avirulent strains have been characterized. The success of virulent females is due to a major immune suppressive factor, LbGAP, a RacGAP protein present in the venom and injected into the host at oviposition. Here, we show that an homologous protein, named LbGAPy, is present in the venom of the avirulent strain. We then question whether the difference in virulence between strains originates from qualitative or quantitative differences in LbGAP and LbGAPy proteins. Results show that the recombinant LbGAPy protein has an in vitro GAP activity equivalent to that of recombinant LbGAP and similarly targets Drosophila Rac1 and Rac2 GTPases. In contrast, a much higher level of both mRNA and protein is found in venom-producing tissues of virulent parasitoids. The F1 offspring between virulent and avirulent strains show an intermediate level of LbGAP in their venom but a full success of parasitism. Interestingly, they express almost exclusively the virulent LbGAP allele in venom-producing tissues. Altogether, our results demonstrate that the major virulence factor in the wasp L. boulardi differs only quantitatively between virulent and avirulent strains, and suggest the existence of a threshold effect of this molecule on parasitoid virulence. We propose that regulation of gene expression might be a major mechanism at the origin of intraspecific variation of virulence in immune suppressive eukaryotic parasites. Understanding this variation would improve our knowledge of the mechanisms of transcriptional evolution currently under active investigation.

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LbGAP amount in ISm females is higher than LbGAPy amount in ISy females.(A) Dot blot experiments on serial dilutions of the recombinant proteins GST-LbGAP and GST-LbGAPy using a LbGAP-specific polyclonal antibody. GST-tag alone was used as a control. (B) Slot blot on serial dilution of protein extract starting from twenty ISm and twenty ISy venom apparatus. (C) Slot blot on serial dilution of protein extract starting from five ISm and five F1 hybrid venom apparatus.
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ppat-1001206-g006: LbGAP amount in ISm females is higher than LbGAPy amount in ISy females.(A) Dot blot experiments on serial dilutions of the recombinant proteins GST-LbGAP and GST-LbGAPy using a LbGAP-specific polyclonal antibody. GST-tag alone was used as a control. (B) Slot blot on serial dilution of protein extract starting from twenty ISm and twenty ISy venom apparatus. (C) Slot blot on serial dilution of protein extract starting from five ISm and five F1 hybrid venom apparatus.

Mentions: In previous Western blot experiments using a specific polyclonal antibody against the recombinant LbGAP protein, no signal was observed in ISy venom-producing tissues, possibly because the technique employed was not sensitive enough or because the antibody does not recognize LbGAPy [23]. These hypotheses were tested by producing both LbGAP and LbGAPy as GST-fusion proteins in Escherichia coli and using them to perform dot blot experiments on serial dilutions starting from the same quantity of these proteins. Our results show that the antibody recognizes specifically the LbGAP and LbGAPy recombinant proteins with the same efficiency (Figure 6A).


The origin of intraspecific variation of virulence in an eukaryotic immune suppressive parasite.

Colinet D, Schmitz A, Cazes D, Gatti JL, PoiriƩ M - PLoS Pathog. (2010)

LbGAP amount in ISm females is higher than LbGAPy amount in ISy females.(A) Dot blot experiments on serial dilutions of the recombinant proteins GST-LbGAP and GST-LbGAPy using a LbGAP-specific polyclonal antibody. GST-tag alone was used as a control. (B) Slot blot on serial dilution of protein extract starting from twenty ISm and twenty ISy venom apparatus. (C) Slot blot on serial dilution of protein extract starting from five ISm and five F1 hybrid venom apparatus.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2991256&req=5

ppat-1001206-g006: LbGAP amount in ISm females is higher than LbGAPy amount in ISy females.(A) Dot blot experiments on serial dilutions of the recombinant proteins GST-LbGAP and GST-LbGAPy using a LbGAP-specific polyclonal antibody. GST-tag alone was used as a control. (B) Slot blot on serial dilution of protein extract starting from twenty ISm and twenty ISy venom apparatus. (C) Slot blot on serial dilution of protein extract starting from five ISm and five F1 hybrid venom apparatus.
Mentions: In previous Western blot experiments using a specific polyclonal antibody against the recombinant LbGAP protein, no signal was observed in ISy venom-producing tissues, possibly because the technique employed was not sensitive enough or because the antibody does not recognize LbGAPy [23]. These hypotheses were tested by producing both LbGAP and LbGAPy as GST-fusion proteins in Escherichia coli and using them to perform dot blot experiments on serial dilutions starting from the same quantity of these proteins. Our results show that the antibody recognizes specifically the LbGAP and LbGAPy recombinant proteins with the same efficiency (Figure 6A).

Bottom Line: In contrast, a much higher level of both mRNA and protein is found in venom-producing tissues of virulent parasitoids.Altogether, our results demonstrate that the major virulence factor in the wasp L. boulardi differs only quantitatively between virulent and avirulent strains, and suggest the existence of a threshold effect of this molecule on parasitoid virulence.Understanding this variation would improve our knowledge of the mechanisms of transcriptional evolution currently under active investigation.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Sophia Antipolis, France. dominique.colinet@sophia.inra.fr

ABSTRACT
Occurrence of intraspecific variation in parasite virulence, a prerequisite for coevolution of hosts and parasites, has largely been reported. However, surprisingly little is known of the molecular bases of this variation in eukaryotic parasites, with the exception of the antigenic variation used by immune-evading parasites of mammals. The present work aims to address this question in immune suppressive eukaryotic parasites. In Leptopilina boulardi, a parasitic wasp of Drosophila melanogaster, well-defined virulent and avirulent strains have been characterized. The success of virulent females is due to a major immune suppressive factor, LbGAP, a RacGAP protein present in the venom and injected into the host at oviposition. Here, we show that an homologous protein, named LbGAPy, is present in the venom of the avirulent strain. We then question whether the difference in virulence between strains originates from qualitative or quantitative differences in LbGAP and LbGAPy proteins. Results show that the recombinant LbGAPy protein has an in vitro GAP activity equivalent to that of recombinant LbGAP and similarly targets Drosophila Rac1 and Rac2 GTPases. In contrast, a much higher level of both mRNA and protein is found in venom-producing tissues of virulent parasitoids. The F1 offspring between virulent and avirulent strains show an intermediate level of LbGAP in their venom but a full success of parasitism. Interestingly, they express almost exclusively the virulent LbGAP allele in venom-producing tissues. Altogether, our results demonstrate that the major virulence factor in the wasp L. boulardi differs only quantitatively between virulent and avirulent strains, and suggest the existence of a threshold effect of this molecule on parasitoid virulence. We propose that regulation of gene expression might be a major mechanism at the origin of intraspecific variation of virulence in immune suppressive eukaryotic parasites. Understanding this variation would improve our knowledge of the mechanisms of transcriptional evolution currently under active investigation.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus