Mi Casa es Su Casa: how an intracellular symbiont manipulates host biology
Wolbachia pipientis, the most common intracellular infection on the planet, infects 40% of insects as well as nematodes, isopods and arachnids. Wolbachia are obligately intracellular and challenging to study; there are no genetic tools for manipulating Wolbachia nor can they be cultured outside of host cells. Despite these roadblocks, the research community has defined a set of Wolbachia loci involved in host interaction: Wolbachia effectors. Through the use of Drosophila genetics, surrogate systems and biochemistry, the field has begun to define the toolkit Wolbachia use for host manipulation. Below we review recent findings identifying these Wolbachia effectors and point to potential, as yet uncharacterized, links between known phenotypes induced by Wolbachia infection and predicted effectors.