Trypanosomatids and the dynamics of multiple infection in Drosophila

Monday, November 17, 2014: 10:12 AM
Portland Ballroom 254 (Oregon Convention Center)
Phineas Hamilton , University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
Nathan Bird , Biology, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
Steve J. Perlman , Department of Biology, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
Trypanosomatids are important causes of human disease and ubiquitous parasites of insects.  Wild Drosophila are commonly infected by trypanosomatid parasites, with largely unknown consequences, and also host a diversity of other parasite and symbiont infections.  Drosophila neotestacea, a fungus-feeding fly, is infected with trypanosomatids at high frequency in the wild, and also harbors virulent nematode parasites and the inherited bacteria Spiroplasma and Wolbachia. Combining field data with laboratory experiments, we use D. neotestacea as a model host to investigate interactions between trypanosomatids and these other parasites and symbionts.  We find evidence for strong interactions between different infectious agents, which we predict will have important consequences for their dynamics within hosts. Drosophila neotestacea is a promising system for elucidating trypanosomatid infection dynamics in insects. Examining the complex interplay between infectious agents will be critical to understanding disease processes in real systems.