Interacting host modifier systems control Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility in a haplodiploid mite
Wybouw, Nicky (2022), Interacting host modifier systems control Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility in a haplodiploid mite, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.b2rbnzshz
Reproductive parasites such as Wolbachia spread within host populations by inducing cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). CI occurs when parasite-modified sperm fertilizes uninfected eggs and is typified by great variation in strength across biological systems. In haplodiploid hosts, CI has different phenotypic outcomes depending on whether the fertilized eggs die or develop into males. Genetic conflict theories predict the evolution of host modulation of CI, which in turn influences the stability of reproductive parasitism. Yet, despite the ubiquity of CI-inducing parasites in nature, there is scarce evidence for intraspecific host modulation of CI strength and phenotype. Here, we tested for intraspecific host modulation of Wolbachia-induced CI in haplodiploid Tetranychus urticae mites. Using a single CI-inducing Wolbachia variant and mitochondrion, a nuclear panel was created that consisted of infected and cured near-isogenic lines. We performed a highly replicated age-synchronized full diallel cross comprised of incompatible and compatible control crosses. We uncovered host modifier systems that cause striking variation in CI strength when carried by infected T. urticae males. We observed a continuum of CI phenotypes in our crosses and identified strong intraspecific female modulation of CI phenotype. Crosses established a recessive genetic basis for the maternal effect and were consistent with polygenic Mendelian inheritance. Both male and female modulation interacted with the genotype of the mating partner. Our findings identify spermatogenesis as an important target of selection for host modulation of CI strength and underscore the importance of maternal genetic effects for the CI phenotype. Our findings reveal that intraspecific host modulation of CI is underpinned by complex genetic architectures and confirm that the evolution of reproductive parasitism is contingent on host genetics.