Intra-cellular bacterial infections affect learning and memory capacities of an invertebrate


How host manipulation by parasites evolves is fascinating but challenging evolutionary question remains. Many parasites share the capacity to manipulate host behavior increasing their transmission success. However, little is known about the learning and memory impact of parasites on their host. Wolbachia are widespread endosymbionts and infect most insect species. These bacteria are maternally transmitted and mainly alter the reproduction of hosts with weak virulence. We tested the impact of parasites (Wolbachia) on their host learning and memory capacities. To address this question we trained individuals to one direction with positive reinforcement. We compared performances between individual Wolbachia-free, Wolbachia naturally and Wolbachia artificially infected individuals. We report that in the host parasite interaction (Armadillidium vulgare/Wolbachia) naturally infected individuals Wolbachia or transinfected adult with Wolbachia are less likely to learn and memorize the correct direction with social reinforcement compared to Wolbachia-free individuals. Our results imply that Wolbachia impact in the central nervous system of their host altering the memory formation and maintenance. We conclude that host manipulation can affect cognitive processes decreasing host adaptation capacities.

DOI: 10.1186/s12983-015-0129-6

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@inproceedings{Templ2015IntracellularBI, title={Intra-cellular bacterial infections affect learning and memory capacities of an invertebrate}, author={No{\'e}mie Templ{\'e} and F Alexander Richard}, booktitle={Frontiers in Zoology}, year={2015} }