Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Laura R. Serbus

Abstract

Wolbachia pipientis are bacterial endosymbionts carried by millions of invertebrate species, including ~40% of insect species and some filarial nematodes. In insects, basic Wolbachia research has potential applications in controlling vector borne disease. Conversely, Wolbachia of filarial nematodes are causative agents of neglected tropical diseases such as lymphatic filariasis and African river blindness. However, remarkably little is known about how Wolbachia interact with their hosts at the molecular level. Understanding this is important to inform the basis for symbiosis and help prevent human disease. I used a high-throughput proteomics approach to study how Drosophila host cells are modified by Wolbachia infection. This analysis identified 23 Drosophila proteins that significantly changed in amount as a result of Wolbachia infection. A subset of differentially abundant host proteins were consistent with Wolbachia-associated phenotypes reported previously. This study also provides the first ever discovery-based evidence for a Wolbachia-associated change in maternal germline histone loads, which has possible implications in Rescue of a common Wolbachia-induced reproductive manipulation known as Cytoplasmic Incompatibility.

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