Some symbiotic bacteria in insects manipulate the reproduction of their host to spread. Spiroplasma poulsonii is a motile symbiotic bacterium of Drosophila that kills the sons of infected females during development, but how it does this is unclear. Toshiyuki Harumoto and Bruno Lemaitre have identified the bacterium protein, designated Spaid, that is responsible for this effect and show that it induces cell death and neural defects, and also targets the dosage compensation complex responsible for sex determination.
- Male-killing toxin in a bacterial symbiont of Drosophila (Letter p252, doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0086-2)
Recent Hot Topics
Sign up for Nature Research e-alerts to get the lastest research in your inbox every week.