Methods in Molecular Biology

Use of Drosophila Transgenics to Identify Functions for Symbiont Effectors

Cortez, C.T., Murphy, R.O., Owens, I.M., Beckmann, J.F.,  Methods in Molecular Biology,  2739. 2023.

Wolbachia, one of the most successful and studied insect symbionts, and Drosophila, one of the most understood model insects, can be exploited as complementary tools to unravel mechanisms of insect symbiosis. Although Wolbachia itself cannot be grown axenically as clonal isolates or genetically manipulated by standard methods, its reproductive phenotypes, including cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), have been elucidated using well-developed molecular tools and precise transgenic manipulations available for Drosophila melanogaster. Current research only scratches the surface of how Drosophila can provide a tool for understanding Wolbachia’s evolutionary success and the molecular roles of its genetic elements. Here, we briefly outline basic methodologies inherent to transgenic Drosophila systems that have already contributed significant advances in understanding CI, but may be unfamiliar to those who lack experience in Drosophila genetics. In the future, these approaches will continue providing significant insights into Wolbachia that undoubtedly will be extended to other insect symbionts and their biological capabilities.


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