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  • P-ISSN2733-7243
  • E-ISSN2734-1372

Endosymbionts and Phage WO Infections in Korean ant Species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Proceedings of the National Institute of Ecology of the Republic of Korea, (P)2733-7243; (E)2734-1372
2020, v.1 no.1, pp.52-57
https://doi.org/10.22920/PNIE.2020.1.1.52
Soyeon Park (Evolutionary Ecology Research Team, National Institute of Ecology)
Pureum Noh (Herbal Medicine, Research Center, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine)
Jae-Yeon Kang (Evolutionary Ecology Research Team, National Institute of Ecology)

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Abstract

Bacterial symbionts are common across insects, including ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Reproduction-manipulating endosymbionts, such as Wolbachia, Spiroplasma, Rickettsia, and Cardinium, are closely associated with many aspects of host-insect life. In addition, phage WO plays an essential role in the phenotypic effects of Wolbachia. Although endosymbionts are possible biological control agents, there is a lack of knowledge of their rate of infection of ants in Korea. We tested a range of Korean ant species for the presence of Wolbachia, Spiroplasma, Rickettsia, Cardinium, and phage WO by extracting DNA from the ants and using specific primer sets to test the status of infections. In addition, the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) gene of the host ants was amplified to confirm the molecular identification and phylogenetic relationship between the hosts. We found that infection with Wolbachia (29.6% of species) is relatively common when compared with that of other endosymbionts. Only one species was infected with Spiroplasma. Infection with Rickettsia and Cardinium was not detected in the examined ants. Most Wolbachia in ants were infected with phage WO. Although the phenotypic effects of endosymbionts in ants are still unknown, this first survey of endosymbionts in Korea is the first step toward the use of reproduction-manipulating endosymbionts.

keywords
Ants Bacteriophages Infections Symbiosis Wolbachia
Submission Date
2020-09-18
Revised Date
2020-09-27
Accepted Date
2020-10-07

Proceedings of the National Institute of Ecology of the Republic of Korea