Evolution and phylogeny of insect endogenous retroviruses.
BACKGROUND: The genome of invertebrates is rich in retroelements which are structurally reminiscent of the retroviruses of vertebrates. Those containing three open reading frames (ORFs), including an env-like gene, may well be considered as endogenous retroviruses. Further support to this similarity has been provided by the ability of the env-like gene of DmeGypV (the Gypsy endogenous retrovirus of Drosophila melanogaster) to promote infection of Drosophila cells by a pseudotyped vertebrate retrovirus vector. RESULTS: To gain insights into their evolutionary story, a sample of thirteen insect endogenous retroviruses, which represents the largest sample analysed until now, was studied by computer-assisted comparison of the translated products of their gag, pol and env genes, as well as their LTR structural features. We found that the three phylogenetic trees based respectively on Gag, Pol and Env common motifs are congruent, which suggest a monophyletic origin for these elements. CONCLUSIONS: We showed that most of the insect endogenous retroviruses belong to a major clade group which can be further divided into two main subgroups which also differ by the sequence of their primer binding sites (PBS). We propose to name IERV-K and IERV-S these two major subgroups of Insect Endogenous Retro Viruses (or Insect ERrantiVirus, according to the ICTV nomenclature) which respectively use Lys and Ser tRNAs to prime reverse transcription. (+info)
Supine behaviour predicts the time to death in male Mediterranean fruitflies (Ceratitis capitata).
Over 97% of the 203 male medflies monitored in a lifetime study of their behaviour exhibited what we term supine behaviour (temporary upside-down orientation) starting an average of 16.1 days prior to their death (mean lifespan of 61.7 days). Supine onset increased the mortality risk by 39.5-fold and a unit increase in supine level increased mortality by 26.3%. The discovery that behavioural traits in insects can be used as biomarkers of their health and to predict their time to death has important implications regarding research on morbidity dynamics, behavioural neuroethology and gerontology, and the interpretation of longevity extension in model organisms. (+info)
Sexual selection on multivariate phenotype in wild and mass-reared Ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae).
Males with a larger thorax and narrower face were found to be favoured by directional sexual selection in a previous field cage experiment where Ceratitis capitata males from the Seib 6-96 genetic sexing strain competed with wild males from Alto Valle (Patagonia) for the possession of wild females. Targets of sexual selection, however, might differ between wild and laboratory females as a response to adaptation to mass-rearing conditions. To evaluate possible divergences on the targets of sexual selection as a by-product of adaptation to mass-rearing conditions, field cage tests were performed with both wild and laboratory females. To avoid possible bias due to correlation among the measured traits (eye length [EL], face width [FW], head width [HW], and thorax length [TL]), a multivariate analysis was applied. Consistent with the previous experiment, the results indicated that TL and FW are probable targets of directional sexual selection independently of female strain. However, laboratory females were less selective than wild ones. Additionally, correlational sexual selection was detected acting on the multivariate phenotype. The effects of correlational selection overlap with those of directional selection on each single trait. The analysis of mating pair characteristics showed patterns that do not match the expectations for a random mating system. The current analysis indicates that during mating pair formation two processes overlap. On the one hand, sexual selection favours males with larger size (TL) and narrower faces (FW). This effect occurs in both wild and laboratory females. In addition, assortative mating based on both phenotype and origin was also observed. (+info)
The ceratotoxin gene family in the medfly Ceratitis capitata and the Natal fruit fly Ceratitis rosa (Diptera: Tephritidae).
Ceratotoxins (Ctxs) are a family of antibacterial sex-specific peptides expressed in the female reproductive accessory glands of the Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata. As a first step in the study of molecular evolution of Ctx genes in Ceratitis, partial genomic sequences encoding four distinct Ctx precursors have been determined. In addition, anti-Escherichia coli activity very similar to that of the accessory gland secretion from C. capitata was found in the accessory gland secretion from Ceratitis (Pterandrus) rosa. SDS-PAGE analysis of the female reproductive accessory glands from C. rosa showed a band with a molecular mass (3 kDa) compatible with that of Ctx peptides, also slightly reacting with an anti-Ctx serum. Four nucleotide sequences encoding Ctx-like precursors in C. rosa were determined. Sequence and phylogenetic analyses show that Ctxs from C. rosa fall into different groups as C. capitata Ctxs. Our results suggest that the evolution of the ceratotoxin gene family might be viewed as a combination of duplication events that occurred prior to and following the split between C. capitata and C. rosa. Genomic hybridization demonstrated the presence of multiple Ctx-like sequences in C. rosa, but low-stringency Southern blot analyses failed to recover members of this gene family in other tephritid flies. (+info)
Cc RNase: the Ceratitis capitata ortholog of a novel highly conserved protein family in metazoans.
Complementary DNA encoding a protein, designated Cc RNase, was isolated from the insect Ceratitis capitata. Deduced amino acid sequence analysis demonstrates that the Cc RNase has strong sequence homology with other uncharacterized proteins predicted from EST sequences belonging to different animal species, therefore defining a new protein family, which is conserved from Caenorhabditis elegans to humans. Phylogenetic analysis data in addition to extensive homolog searches in all available complete genomes suggested that all family members are true orthologs. Proteins belonging to this family are composed of 95-101 amino acids. The C.capitata orthologous protein was expressed in Escherichia coli. Despite the fact that the amino acid sequence of Cc RNase does not share any significant similarities with other known ribonucleases, our data give strong evidence in support of the assignment of enzymatic activity to the recombinant protein. The expressed molecule exhibits ribonucleolytic activity against poly(C) and poly(U) synthetic substrates, as well as rRNA. It is also demonstrated that expression of Cc RNase in E.coli inhibits growth of the host cells. (+info)
High sexual signalling rates of young individuals predict extended life span in male Mediterranean fruit flies.
In a laboratory study, we monitored the lifetime sexual signalling (advertisement) of wild male Mediterranean fruit flies, and we tested the hypothesis that high lifetime intensity of sexual signalling indicates high survival probabilities. Almost all males exhibited signalling and individual signalling rates were highly variable from the beginning of the adults' maturity and throughout their life span (average life span 62.3 days). Sexual signalling rates after day 10 (peak maturity) were consistently high until about 1 week before death. There was a positive relationship between daily signalling rates and life span, and an increase in signalling level by one unit over all times was associated with an approximately 50% decrease in mortality rate. Signalling rates early in adult life (day 6-20) were higher in the longest-lived than in the shortest-lived flies. These results support the hypothesis that intense sexual signalling indicates longer life span. We discuss the importance of age-specific behavioural studies for understanding the evolution of male life histories. (+info)
Effects of male sterility on female remating in the mediterranean fruitfly, Ceratitis capitata.
Mating-induced reductions in female receptivity are common in insects. These responses are of interest because of their utility in insect pest control. In addition, the control of receptivity is likely to be the subject of sexual conflict over remating frequency. We investigated the specific effect of male sterility on female receptivity in an important pest species, the Mediterranean fruitfly (medfly), in which sterile males are often used for population suppression. Sterile males performed less courtship, obtained significantly fewer first and second matings than fertile males, and reduced female receptivity significantly less effectively than did fertile males. We modelled the likelihood of fertile matings and show that the low mating success of sterile males represents a significant problem for medfly sterile insect technique (SIT) programmes. (+info)
The impact of diet switching on resource allocation to reproduction and longevity in Mediterranean fruitflies.
Understanding the factors that determine the allocation and utilization of organism resources may provide an insight into the mechanisms of adaptation, ageing and reproduction. Resource allocation, which is regarded as a method of adaptation, increases fitness and is genetically controlled. Experiments with variable diet feeding of female Mediterranean fruitflies (Ceratitis capitata) demonstrated that the feeding regime dramatically influences lifespan, mortality and the reproduction of flies. An analysis of experimental data and numerical experiments reveals that resource allocation could explain lifespan increase when females are switched from a sugar-only to a protein-containing diet. The heterogeneity of the initial female cohort in terms of the total amount of resources and its allocation to the processes of maintenance and reproduction plays a significant role in this. (+info)