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      Contrasting levels of variability between cytoplasmic genomes and incompatibility types in the mosquito Culex pipiens.

      Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

      Animals, Culex, genetics, DNA, Mitochondrial, Molecular Sequence Data

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          Reproductive incompatibilities called cytoplasmic incompatibilities are known to affect a large number of arthropod species and are mediated by Wolbachia, a maternally transmitted microorganism. The crossing relationships between strains of potential hosts define their incompatibility types and it is generally assumed that differences between strains of Wolbachia induce different crossing types. Among all the described host species, the mosquito, Culex pipiens, displays the greatest variability of cytoplasmic incompatibility crossing types. We analysed mitochondrial and bacterial DNA variability in Culex pipiens in order to investigate some possible causes of incompatibility crossing type variability. We sequenced fragments of the ftsZ gene, and the A + T-rich control region of the mtDNA. We also sequenced the second subunit of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase (COII) gene, in Culex pipiens and a closely related species, C. torrentium, in order to verify the usefulness of the A + T-rich region for the present purposes. No variability was found in the Wolbachia ftsZ gene fragment, and very limited variation of the mitochondrial marker whatever the compatibility type or the origin of the host. A low variability was found in the A + T-rich region and comparison of divergence of the A + T-rich region and COII gene between C. pipiens and C. torrentium did not reveal any special constraints affecting this region. In contrast to observations in other host species, variability of incompatibility crossing types is not due to multiple infections by distantly related Wolbachia strains.

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