Transgenerational Effect of Rifampicin on Sperm Length in Cardiocondyla obscurior males
Cigdem Ün, Cigdem Ün , Jürgen Heinze , Jan Oettler
Zoology and Evolution biology; Zoology and Evolution Biology, Regensburg, Germany ; Zoology and Evolution Biology, Regensburg, Germany ; Zoology and Evolution Biology, Regensburg, germany
The ant species Cardiocondyla obscurior hosts two endosymbionts, Wolbachia and Candidatus Westeberhardia cardiocondylae. To study the role of these bacteria, we use antibiotic rifampicin treatment to eliminate the bacteria. Among various direct phenotypic effects on queens, such as decreased productivity, here we report that F1 males from treated queens have shorter sperm length compared to males from untreated queens. This suggests a toxic transgenerational effect of rifampicin on spermatogenesis. In addition to the effects of rifampicin on prokaryotes, it has also been shown to directly affect mitochondrial RNA synthesis. Mitochondria play a critical role in spermatogenesis and thus sperm motility. This suggests a transgenerational toxic effect of the applied antibiotic on male fitness. There is increasing evidence that environmental factors can induce epigenetic change are transmitted to offspring. Together our data call for further investigation of transgenerational effects of rifampicin on male reproductive success and life history traits.