Susceptibility to infection is not explained by sex or differences in tissue tropism across different species of Drosophila
Heterogeneities in infection outcomes across species: sex and tissue differences in virus susceptibility
Recommendation: posted 02 February 2023, validated 02 February 2023
Understanding factors explaining both intra and interspecific variation in susceptibility to infection by parasites remains a key question in evolutionary biology. Within a species variation in susceptibility is often explained by differences in behaviour affecting exposure to infection and/or resistance affecting the degree by which parasite growth is controlled (Roy & Kirchner, 2000, Behringer et al., 2000). This can vary between the sexes (Kelly et al., 2018) and may be explained by the ability of a parasite to attack different organs or tissues (Brierley et al., 2019). However, what goes on within one species is not always relevant to another, making it unclear when patterns can be scaled up and generalised across species. This is also important to understand when parasites may jump hosts, or identify species that may be susceptible to a host jump (Longdon et al., 2015). Phylogenetic distance between hosts is often an important factor explaining susceptibility to a particular parasite in plant and animal hosts (Gilbert & Webb, 2007, Faria et al., 2013).
In two separate experiments, Roberts and Longdon (Roberts & Longdon, 2022) investigated how sex and tissue tropism affected variation in the load of Drosophila C Virus (DCV) across multiple Drosophila species. DCV load has been shown to correlate positively with mortality (Longdon et al., 2015). Overall, they found that load did not vary between the sexes; within a species males and females had similar DCV loads for 31 different species. There was some variation in levels of DCV growth in different tissue types, but these too were consistent across males for 7 species of Drosophila. Instead, in both experiments, host phylogeny or interspecific variation, explained differences in DCV load with some species being more infected than others.
This study is neat in that it incorporates and explores simultaneously both intra and interspecific variation in infection-related life-history traits which is not often done (but see (Longdon et al., 2015, Imrie et al., 2021, Longdon et al., 2011, Johnson et al., 2012). Indeed, most studies to date explore either inter-specific differences in susceptibility to a parasite (it can or can’t infect a given species) (Davies & Pedersen, 2008, Pfenning-Butterworth et al., 2021) or intra-specific variability in infection-related traits (infectivity, resistance etc.) due to factors such as sex, genotype and environment (Vale et al., 2008, Lambrechts et al., 2006). This work thus advances on previous studies, while at the same time showing that sex differences in parasite load are not necessarily pervasive.
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Roberts KE, Longdon B (2023) Heterogeneities in infection outcomes across species: examining sex and tissue differences in virus susceptibility. bioRxiv 2022.11.01.514663, ver. 2 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology. https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.11.01.514663
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Alison Duncan (2023) Susceptibility to infection is not explained by sex or differences in tissue tropism across different species of Drosophila. Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology, 100638. https://doi.org/10.24072/pci.evolbiol.100638
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article. The authors declared that they comply with the PCI rule of having no financial conflicts of interest in relation to the content of the article.
B.L. and K.E.R are supported by a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society (109356/Z/15/Z).
Reviewed by anonymous reviewer 1, 19 Jan 2023
Reviewed by Greg Hurst, 12 Jan 2023
Evaluation round #1
DOI or URL of the preprint: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.11.01.514663
Version of the preprint: 1
Author's Reply, 10 Jan 2023
Decision by Alison Duncan, posted 05 Jan 2023, validated 08 Jan 2023
I agree with both reviewers that this preprint is interesting, well written and will make a good contribution to PCI Evolutionary Biology. The preprint combines 2 experiments addressing sex differences in susceptibility to DCV across 31 different species and tissue tropism across males for 7 species. As it stands, the preprint is of high quality, however both reviewers make some useful comments. Reviewer 1 suggests that framing the preprint in terms of ‘heterogeneity in infection outcomes’ that might arise due to sex or tissue tropism may make the flow of the introduction a bit easier. Both reviewers also suggest that additional information about sex differences in infection may add to the preprint -notably Reviewer 1 suggests more information about STIs and how this differs to ordinary infectious diseases and Reviewer 2 some text explaining why sex differences in infections might arise due to a trade-off with reproduction. There are a few typos that I highlighted in the attached pdf.Download recommender's annotations