I am interested in determining how the maternally inherited endosymbiont, Wolbachia pipientis, rescues the germline stem cell gene, bag of marbles (bam), mutant fertility phenotype in Drosophila. There are many variants of Wolbachia pipientis that can be categorized into two groups: wMel-like and wMelCS-like Wolbachia variants. wMel-like variants typically have a low Wolbachia titer and longer life span while wMelCS-like variants typically have a high Wolbachia titer and shorter life span. Our lab determined that wMelCS-like variants typically result in higher fertility rescue of our bam mutant compared to wMel-like variants. However, we’re unsure of the functional mechanisms behind the differential rescue of the bam mutant fertility phenotype by different Wolbachia genotypes.
As a result, I aim to determine 1) whether variation in Wolbachia variant genotype and titer influence the mutant bam phenotype at different ages in adult females using a time interval fertility assay, 2) whether Wolbachia variants cause differential rescue of the bam mutant phenotype at the transcriptional level as the host fly ages, 3) whether Wolbachia rescues the bam mutant phenotype by manipulating Bam’s protein levels via translation or protein degradation and 4) whether stage and tissue localization influence the degree of rescue of the bam mutant.