Terrestrial arthropods, including insects, commonly harbor maternally inherited intracellular symbionts that confer benefits to the host or manipulate host reproduction to favor infected female progeny. These symbionts may be especially vulnerable to thermal stress, potentially leading to destabilization of the symbiosis and imposing costs to the host. For example, increased temperatures can reduce the density of a common reproductive manipulator, Wolbachia, and the strength of its crossing incompatibility (cytoplasmic incompatibility, or CI) phenotype. Another manipulative symbiont, Cardinium hertigii, infects ~ 6-10% of Arthropods, and also can induce CI, but there is little homology between the molecular mechanisms of CI induced by Cardinium and Wolbachia. Here we investigated whether temperature disrupts the CI phenotype of Cardinium in a parasitic wasp host, Encarsia suzannae. We examined the effects of both warm (32°C day/ 29°C night) and cool (20°C day/ 17°C night) temperatures on Cardinium CI and found that both types of temperature stress modified aspects of this symbiosis. Warm temperatures reduced symbiont density, pupal developmental time, vertical transmission rate, and the strength of both CI modification and rescue. Cool temperatures also reduced symbiont density, however this resulted in stronger CI, likely due to cool temperatures prolonging the host pupal stage. The opposing effects of cool and warm-mediated reductions in symbiont density on the resulting CI phenotype indicates that CI strength may be independent of density in this system. Temperature stress also modified the CI phenotype only if it occurred during the pupal stage, highlighting the likely importance of this stage for CI induction in this symbiosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology