Germ cells colonized by endosymbiotic bacteria

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Wolbachia (Rickettsiaceae) is a genus of maternally inherited endosymbiotic bac-teria commonly found in the reproductive tissues of arthropods. These bacteria manipulate host reproduction to increase the number of infected individuals within the population, erecting intraspecific fertility barriers, causing parthenogenesis or resulting in the feminization of genetic males1. They are usually transmitted vertically, so we predicted that they should have evolved a mechanism to target the host's germ cells during development. Here we show that Wolbachia become concentrated in the germ plasm of the Drosophila egg. Mutations in developmental patterning genes2 demonstrate that this localization is dependent on the assembly of germ plasm.

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Figure 1: Colonization of Drosophila germ cells by Wolbachia.


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Correspondence to J. Myles Axton.

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Hadfield, S., Axton, J. Germ cells colonized by endosymbiotic bacteria. Nature 402, 482 (1999) doi:10.1038/45002

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