Browsing by Subject "Formica exsecta"

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  • Dhaygude, Kishor Uttam; Johansson, Helena; Kulmuni, Jonna Katharina; Sundström, Liselotte (2019)
    We present the genome organization and molecular characterization of the three Formica exsecta viruses, along with ORF predictions, and functional annotation of genes. The Formica exsecta virus-4 (FeV4; GenBank ID: MF287670) is a newly discovered negative-sense single-stranded RNA virus representing the first identified member of order Mononegavirales in ants, whereas the Formica exsecta virus-1 (FeV1; GenBank ID: KF500001), and the Formica exsecta virus-2 (FeV2; GenBank ID: KF500002) are positive single-stranded RNA viruses initially identified (but not characterized) in our earlier study. The new virus FeV4 was found by re-analyzing data from a study published earlier. The Formica exsecta virus-4 genome is 9,866 bp in size, with an overall G + C content of 44.92%, and containing five predicted open reading frames (ORFs). Our bioinformatics analysis indicates that gaps are absent and the ORFs are complete, which based on our comparative genomics analysis suggests that the genomes are complete. Following the characterization, we validate virus infection for FeV1, FeV2 and FeV4 for the first time in field-collected worker ants. Some colonies were infected by multiple viruses, and the viruses were observed to infect all castes, and multiple life stages of workers and queens. Finally, highly similar viruses were expressed in adult workers and queens of six other Formica species: F. fusca, F. pressilabris, F. pratensis, F. aquilonia, F. truncorum and F. cinerea. This research indicates that viruses can be shared between ant species, but further studies on viral transmission are needed to understand viral infection pathways.
  • Dhaygude, Kishor; Nair, Abhilash; Johansson, Helena; Wurm, Yannick; Sundström, Liselotte (BioMed Central, 2019)
    Abstract Background Adapting to changes in the environment is the foundation of species survival, and is usually thought to be a gradual process. However, transposable elements (TEs), epigenetic modifications, and/or genetic material acquired from other organisms by means of horizontal gene transfer (HGTs), can also lead to novel adaptive traits. Social insects form dense societies, which attract and maintain extra- and intracellular accessory inhabitants, which may facilitate gene transfer between species. The wood ant Formica exsecta (Formicidae; Hymenoptera), is a common ant species throughout the Palearctic region. The species is a well-established model for studies of ecological characteristics and evolutionary conflict. Results In this study, we sequenced and assembled draft genomes for F. exsecta and its endosymbiont Wolbachia. The F. exsecta draft genome is 277.7 Mb long; we identify 13,767 protein coding genes, for which we provide gene ontology and protein domain annotations. This is also the first report of a Wolbachia genome from ants, and provides insights into the phylogenetic position of this endosymbiont. We also identified multiple horizontal gene transfer events (HGTs) from Wolbachia to F. exsecta. Some of these HGTs have also occurred in parallel in multiple other insect genomes, highlighting the extent of HGTs in eukaryotes. Conclusion We present the first draft genome of ant F. exsecta, and its endosymbiont Wolbachia (wFex), and show considerable rates of gene transfer from the symbiont to the host. We expect that especially the F. exsecta genome will be valuable resource in further exploration of the molecular basis of the evolution of social organization.
  • Lindström, Stafva; Rowe, Owen; Timonen, Sari; Sundström, Liselotte; Johansson, Helena (2018)
    Microbes are ubiquitous and often occur in functionally and taxonomically complex communities. Unveiling these community dynamics is one of the main challenges of microbial research. Combining a robust, cost effective and widely used method such as Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (T-RFLP) with a Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) method (Illumina MiSeq), offers a solid alternative for comprehensive assessment of microbial communities. Here, these two methods were combined in a study of complex bacterial and fungal communities in the nest mounds of the ant Formica exsecta, with the aim to assess the degree to which these methods can be used to complement each other. The results show that these methodologies capture similar spatiotemporal variations, as well as corresponding functional and taxonomical detail, of the microbial communities in a challenging medium consisting of soil, decomposing plant litter and an insect inhabitant. Both methods are suitable for the analysis of complex environmental microbial communities, but when combined, they complement each other well and can provide even more robust results. T-RFLP can be trusted to show similar general community patterns as Illumina MiSeq and remains a good option if resources for NGS methods are lacking.