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Bibliography on: Wolbachia

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ESP: PubMed Auto Bibliography 17 May 2024 at 02:01 Created: 


WIKIPEDIA: Wolbachia is a genus of bacteria which "infects" (usually as intracellular symbionts) arthropod species, including a high proportion of insects, as well as some nematodes. It is one of the world's most common parasitic microbes and is possibly the most common reproductive parasite in the biosphere. Its interactions with its hosts are often complex, and in some cases have evolved to be mutualistic rather than parasitic. Some host species cannot reproduce, or even survive, without Wolbachia infection. One study concluded that more than 16% of neotropical insect species carry bacteria of this genus, and as many as 25 to 70 percent of all insect species are estimated to be potential hosts. Wolbachia also harbor a temperate bacteriophage called WO. Comparative sequence analyses of bacteriophage WO offer some of the most compelling examples of large-scale horizontal gene transfer between Wolbachia coinfections in the same host. It is the first bacteriophage implicated in frequent lateral transfer between the genomes of bacterial endosymbionts. Gene transfer by bacteriophages could drive significant evolutionary change in the genomes of intracellular bacteria that were previously considered highly stable or prone to loss of genes overtime. Outside of insects, Wolbachia infects a variety of isopod species, spiders, mites, and many species of filarial nematodes (a type of parasitic worm), including those causing onchocerciasis ("River Blindness") and elephantiasis in humans as well as heartworms in dogs. Not only are these disease-causing filarial worms infected with Wolbachia, but Wolbachia seem to play an inordinate role in these diseases. A large part of the pathogenicity of filarial nematodes is due to host immune response toward their Wolbachia. Elimination of Wolbachia from filarial nematodes generally results in either death or sterility of the nematode.

Created with PubMed® Query: wolbachia NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2024-05-16
CmpDate: 2024-05-16

Dufault SM, Tanamas SK, Indriani C, et al (2024)

Reanalysis of cluster randomised trial data to account for exposure misclassification using a per-protocol and complier-restricted approach.

Scientific reports, 14(1):11207.

The intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis of the Applying Wolbachia to Eliminate Dengue (AWED) trial estimated a protective efficacy of 77.1% for participants resident in areas randomised to receive releases of wMel-infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, an emerging dengue preventive intervention. The limiting assumptions of ITT analyses in cluster randomised trials and the mobility of mosquitoes and humans across cluster boundaries indicate the primary analysis is likely to underestimate the full public health benefit. Using spatiotemporally-resolved data on the distribution of Wolbachia mosquitoes and on the mobility of AWED participants (n = 6306), we perform complier-restricted and per-protocol re-examinations of the efficacy of the Wolbachia intervention. Increased intervention efficacy was estimated in all analyses by the refined exposure measures. The complier-restricted analysis returned an estimated efficacy of 80.7% (95% CI 65.9, 89.0) and the per-protocol analysis estimated 82.7% (71.7, 88.4) efficacy when comparing participants with an estimated wMel exposure of ≥ 80% compared to those with <20%. These reanalyses demonstrate how human and mosquito movement can lead to underestimation of intervention effects in trials of vector interventions and indicate that the protective efficacy of Wolbachia is even higher than reported in the primary trial results.

RevDate: 2024-05-16

Idro R, Ogwang R, Anguzu R, et al (2024)

Doxycycline for the treatment of nodding syndrome: a randomised, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial.

The Lancet. Global health pii:S2214-109X(24)00102-5 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Nodding syndrome is a poorly understood neurological disorder that predominantly occurs in Africa. We hypothesised that nodding syndrome is a neuroinflammatory disorder, induced by antibodies to Onchocerca volvulus or its Wolbachia symbiont, cross-reacting with host neuronal proteins (HNPs), and that doxycycline can be used as treatment.

METHODS: In this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial, we recruited participants from districts affected by nodding syndrome in northern Uganda. We included children and adolescents aged 8-18 years with nodding syndrome, as defined by WHO consensus criteria. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive either 100 mg doxycycline daily or placebo for 6 weeks via a computer-generated schedule stratified by skin microscopy results, and all parties were masked to group assignment. Diagnoses of O volvulus and antibodies to HNPs were made using luciferase immunoprecipitation system assays and immunohistochemistry. The primary outcome was change in the proportion with antibodies to HNPs, assessed at 24 months. All participants were included in safety analyses, and surviving participants (those with samples at 24 months) were included in primary analyses. Secondary outcomes were: change in concentrations of antibodies to HNPs at 24 months compared with baseline; proportion of participants testing positive for antibodies to O volvulus-specific proteins and concentrations of Ov16 or OVOC3261 antibodies at 24 months compared with baseline; change in seizure burden, proportion achieving seizure freedom, and the proportions with interictal epileptiform discharges on the diagnostic EEG; overall quality of life; disease severity at 24 months; and incidence of all-cause adverse events, serious adverse events, and seizure-related mortality by 24 months. This trial is registered with, NCT02850913.

FINDINGS: Between Sept 1, 2016, and Aug 31, 2018, 329 children and adolescents were screened, of whom 240 were included in the study. 140 (58%) participants were boys and 100 (42%) were girls. 120 (50%) participants were allocated to receive doxycycline and 120 (50%) to receive placebo. At recruitment, the median duration of symptoms was 9 years (IQR 6-10); 232 (97%) participants had O volvulus-specific antibodies and 157 (65%) had autoantibodies to HNPs. The most common plasma autoantibodies were to human protein deglycase DJ-1 (85 [35%] participants) and leiomodin-1 (77 [32%] participants) and, in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), to human DJ-1 (27 [11%] participants) and leiomodin-1 (14 [6%] participants). On immunohistochemistry, 46 (19%) participants had CSF autoantibodies to HNPs, including leiomodin-1 (26 [11%]), γ-aminobutyric acid B receptors (two [<1%]), CASPR2 (one [<1%]), or unknown targets (28 [12%]). At 24 months, 161 (72%) of 225 participants had antibodies to HNPs compared with 157 (65%) of 240 at baseline. 6 weeks of doxycycline did not affect the concentration of autoantibodies to HNPs, seizure control, disease severity, or quality of life at the 24-month follow-up but substantially decreased Ov16 antibody concentrations; the median plasma signal-to-noise Ov16 ratio was 16·4 (95% CI 6·4-38·4), compared with 27·9 (8·2-65·8; p=0·033) for placebo. 14 (6%) participants died and, other than one traffic death, all deaths were seizure-related. Acute seizure-related hospitalisations (rate ratio [RR] 0·43 [95% CI 0·20-0·94], p=0·028) and deaths (RR 0·46 [0·24-0·89], p=0·028) were significantly lower in the doxycycline group. At 24 months, 96 (84%) of 114 participants who received doxycycline tested positive for antibodies to Ov16, compared with 97 (87%) of 111 on placebo (p=0·50), and 74 (65%) participants on doxycycline tested positive for antibodies to OVOC3261, compared with 57 (51%) on placebo (p=0·039). Doxycycline was safe; there was no difference in the incidence of grade 3-5 adverse events across the two groups.

INTERPRETATION: Nodding syndrome is strongly associated with O volvulus and the pathogenesis is probably mediated through an O volvulus induced autoantibody response to multiple proteins. Although it did not reverse disease symptoms, doxycycline or another prophylactic antibiotic could be considered as adjunct therapy to antiseizure medication, as it might reduce fatal complications from acute seizures and status epilepticus induced by febrile infections.

FUNDING: Medical Research Council (UK).

TRANSLATION: For the Luo translation of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.

RevDate: 2024-05-14

De Coninck L, Soto A, Wang L, et al (2024)

Lack of abundant core virome in Culex mosquitoes from a temperate climate region despite a mosquito species-specific virome.

mSystems [Epub ahead of print].

In arthropod-associated microbial communities, insect-specific viruses (ISVs) are prevalent yet understudied due to limited infectivity outside their natural hosts. However, ISVs might play a crucial role in regulating mosquito populations and influencing arthropod-borne virus transmission. Some studies have indicated a core virome in mosquitoes consisting of mostly ISVs. Employing single mosquito metagenomics, we comprehensively profiled the virome of native and invasive mosquito species in Belgium. This approach allowed for accurate host species determination, prevalence assessment of viruses and Wolbachia, and the identification of novel viruses. Contrary to our expectations, no abundant core virome was observed in Culex mosquitoes from Belgium. In that regard, we caution against rigidly defining mosquito core viromes and encourage nuanced interpretations of other studies. Nonetheless, our study identified 45 viruses of which 28 were novel, enriching our understanding of the mosquito virome and ISVs. We showed that the mosquito virome in this study is species-specific and less dependent on the location where mosquitoes from the same species reside. In addition, because Wolbachia has previously been observed to influence arbovirus transmission, we report the prevalence of Wolbachia in Belgian mosquitoes and the detection of several Wolbachia mobile genetic elements. The observed prevalence ranged from 83% to 92% in members from the Culex pipiens complex.IMPORTANCECulex pipiens mosquitoes are important vectors for arboviruses like West Nile virus and Usutu virus. Virome studies on individual Culex pipiens, and on individual mosquitoes in general, have been lacking. To mitigate this, we sequenced the virome of 190 individual Culex and 8 individual Aedes japonicus mosquitoes. We report the lack of a core virome in these mosquitoes from Belgium and caution the interpretation of other studies in this light. The discovery of new viruses in this study will aid our comprehension of insect-specific viruses and the mosquito virome in general in relation to mosquito physiology and mosquito population dynamics.

RevDate: 2024-05-11
CmpDate: 2024-05-11

Zhang J, Liu Q, Dai L, et al (2024)

Pan-Genome Analysis of Wolbachia, Endosymbiont of Diaphorina citri, Reveals Independent Origin in Asia and North America.

International journal of molecular sciences, 25(9): pii:ijms25094851.

Wolbachia, a group of Gram-negative symbiotic bacteria, infects nematodes and a wide range of arthropods. Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, the vector of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) that causes citrus greening disease, is naturally infected with Wolbachia (wDi). However, the interaction between wDi and D. citri remains poorly understood. In this study, we performed a pan-genome analysis using 65 wDi genomes to gain a comprehensive understanding of wDi. Based on average nucleotide identity (ANI) analysis, we classified the wDi strains into Asia and North America strains. The ANI analysis, principal coordinates analysis (PCoA), and phylogenetic tree analysis supported that the D. citri in Florida did not originate from China. Furthermore, we found that a significant number of core genes were associated with metabolic pathways. Pathways such as thiamine metabolism, type I secretion system, biotin transport, and phospholipid transport were highly conserved across all analyzed wDi genomes. The variation analysis between Asia and North America wDi showed that there were 39,625 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), 2153 indels, 10 inversions, 29 translocations, 65 duplications, 10 SV-based insertions, and 4 SV-based deletions. The SV-based insertions and deletions involved genes encoding transposase, phage tail tube protein, ankyrin repeat (ANK) protein, and group II intron-encoded protein. Pan-genome analysis of wDi contributes to our understanding of the geographical population of wDi, the origin of hosts of D. citri, and the interaction between wDi and its host, thus facilitating the development of strategies to control the insects and huanglongbing (HLB).

RevDate: 2024-05-10

Setegn A, Amare GA, Y Mihret (2024)

Wolbachia and Lymphatic Filarial Nematodes and Their Implications in the Pathogenesis of the Disease.

Journal of parasitology research, 2024:3476951.

Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is an infection of three closely related filarial worms such as Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, and Brugia timori. These worms can cause a devastating disease that involves acute and chronic lymphoedema of the extremities, which can cause elephantiasis in both sexes and hydroceles in males. These important public health nematodes were found to have a mutualistic relationship with intracellular bacteria of the genus Wolbachia, which is essential for the development and survival of the nematode. The host's inflammatory response to parasites and possibly also to the Wolbachia endosymbiont is the cause of lymphatic damage and disease pathogenesis. This review tried to describe and highlight the mutualistic associations between Wolbachia and lymphatic filarial nematodes and the role of bacteria in the pathogenesis of lymphatic filariasis. Articles for this review were searched from PubMed, Google Scholar, and other databases. Article searching was not restricted by publication year; however, only English version full-text articles were included.

RevDate: 2024-05-08
CmpDate: 2024-05-08

Mushtaq I, Sarwar MS, Chaudhry A, et al (2024)

Updates on traditional methods for combating malaria and emerging Wolbachia-based interventions.

Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 14:1330475.

The escalating challenge of malaria control necessitates innovative approaches that extend beyond traditional control strategies. This review explores the incorporation of traditional vector control techniques with emerging Wolbachia-based interventions. Wolbachia, a naturally occurring bacteria, offers a novel approach for combatting vector-borne diseases, including malaria, by reducing the mosquitoes' ability to transmit these diseases. The study explores the rationale for this integration, presenting various case studies and pilot projects that have exhibited significant success. Employing a multi-dimensional approach that includes community mobilization, environmental modifications, and new biological methods, the paper posits that integrated efforts could mark a turning point in the struggle against malaria. Our findings indicate that incorporating Wolbachia-based strategies into existing vector management programs not only is feasible but also heightens the efficacy of malaria control initiatives in different countries especially in Pakistan. The paper concludes that continued research and international collaboration are imperative for translating these promising methods from the laboratory to the field, thereby offering a more sustainable and effective malaria control strategy.

RevDate: 2024-05-05
CmpDate: 2024-05-05

Łukasik P, MR Kolasa (2024)

With a little help from my friends: the roles of microbial symbionts in insect populations and communities.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 379(1904):20230122.

To understand insect abundance, distribution and dynamics, we need to understand the relevant drivers of their populations and communities. While microbial symbionts are known to strongly affect many aspects of insect biology, we lack data on their effects on populations or community processes, or on insects' evolutionary responses at different timescales. How these effects change as the anthropogenic effects on ecosystems intensify is an area of intense research. Recent developments in sequencing and bioinformatics permit cost-effective microbial diversity surveys, tracking symbiont transmission, and identification of functions across insect populations and multi-species communities. In this review, we explore how different functional categories of symbionts can influence insect life-history traits, how these effects could affect insect populations and their interactions with other species, and how they may affect processes and patterns at the level of entire communities. We argue that insect-associated microbes should be considered important drivers of insect response and adaptation to environmental challenges and opportunities. We also outline the emerging approaches for surveying and characterizing insect-associated microbiota at population and community scales. This article is part of the theme issue 'Towards a toolkit for global insect biodiversity monitoring'.

RevDate: 2024-05-03

Roldán EL, Stelinski LL, KS Pelz-Stelinski (2024)

Reduction of Wolbachia in Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera: Liviidae) increases phytopathogen acquisition and decreases fitness.

Journal of economic entomology pii:7664344 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia pipientis is a maternally inherited intracellular bacterium that infects a wide range of arthropods. Wolbachia can have a significant impact on host biology and development, often due to its effects on reproduction. We investigated Wolbachia-mediated effects in the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, which transmits Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), the causal agent of citrus greening disease. Diaphorina citri are naturally infected with Wolbachia; therefore, investigating Wolbachia-mediated effects on D. citri fitness and CLas transmission required artificial reduction of this endosymbiont with the application of doxycycline. Doxycycline treatment of psyllids reduced Wolbachia infection by approximately 60% in both male and female D. citri. Psyllids treated with doxycycline exhibited higher CLas acquisition in both adults and nymphs as compared with negative controls. In addition, doxycycline-treated psyllids exhibited decreased fitness as measured by reduced egg and nymph production as well as adult emergence as compared with control lines without the doxycycline treatment. Our results indicate that Wolbachia benefits D. citri by improving fitness and potentially competes with CLas by interfering with phytopathogen acquisition. Targeted manipulation of endosymbionts in this phytopathogen vector may yield disease management tools.

RevDate: 2024-05-01

Li C, Li CQ, Chen ZB, et al (2024)

Wolbachia symbionts control sex in a parasitoid wasp using a horizontally acquired gene.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(24)00475-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Host reproduction can be manipulated by bacterial symbionts in various ways. Parthenogenesis induction is the most effective type of reproduction manipulation by symbionts for their transmission. Insect sex is determined by regulation of doublesex (dsx) splicing through transformer2 (tra2) and transformer (tra) interaction. Although parthenogenesis induction by symbionts has been studied since the 1970s, its underlying molecular mechanism is unknown. Here we identify a Wolbachia parthenogenesis-induction feminization factor gene (piff) that targets sex-determining genes and causes female-producing parthenogenesis in the haplodiploid parasitoid Encarsia formosa. We found that Wolbachia elimination repressed expression of female-specific dsx and enhanced expression of male-specific dsx, which led to the production of wasp haploid male offspring. Furthermore, we found that E. formosa tra is truncated and non-functional, and Wolbachia has a functional tra homolog, termed piff, with an insect origin. Wolbachia PIFF can colocalize and interact with wasp TRA2. Moreover, Wolbachia piff has coordinated expression with tra2 and dsx of E. formosa. Our results demonstrate the bacterial symbiont Wolbachia has acquired an insect gene to manipulate the host sex determination cascade and induce parthenogenesis in wasps. This study reveals insect-to-bacteria horizontal gene transfer drives the evolution of animal sex determination systems, elucidating a striking mechanism of insect-microbe symbiosis.

RevDate: 2024-05-01
CmpDate: 2024-05-01

Tokash-Peters AG, Niyonzima JD, Kayirangwa M, et al (2024)

Mosquito Microbiomes of Rwanda: Characterizing Mosquito Host and Microbial Communities in the Land of a Thousand Hills.

Microbial ecology, 87(1):64.

Mosquitoes are a complex nuisance around the world and tropical countries bear the brunt of the burden of mosquito-borne diseases. Rwanda has had success in reducing malaria and some arboviral diseases over the last few years, but still faces challenges to elimination. By building our understanding of in situ mosquito communities in Rwanda at a disturbed, human-occupied site and at a natural, preserved site, we can build our understanding of natural mosquito microbiomes toward the goal of implementing novel microbial control methods. Here, we examined the composition of collected mosquitoes and their microbiomes at two diverse sites using Cytochrome c Oxidase I sequencing and 16S V4 high-throughput sequencing. The majority (36 of 40 species) of mosquitoes captured and characterized in this study are the first-known record of their species for Rwanda but have been characterized in other nations in East Africa. We found significant differences among mosquito genera and among species, but not between mosquito sexes or catch method. Bacteria of interest for arbovirus control, Asaia, Serratia, and Wolbachia, were found in abundance at both sites and varied greatly by species.

RevDate: 2024-04-29
CmpDate: 2024-04-29

Hernández AM, Alcaraz LD, Hernández-Álvarez C, et al (2024)

Revealing the microbiome diversity and biocontrol potential of field Aedes ssp.: Implications for disease vector management.

PloS one, 19(4):e0302328 pii:PONE-D-23-29285.

The mosquito Aedes spp. holds important relevance for human and animal health, as it serves as a vector for transmitting multiple diseases, including dengue and Zika virus. The microbiome's impact on its host's health and fitness is well known. However, most studies on mosquito microbiomes have been conducted in laboratory settings. We explored the mixed microbial communities within Aedes spp., utilizing the 16S rRNA gene for diversity analysis and shotgun metagenomics for functional genomics. Our samples, which included Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus, spanned various developmental stages-eggs, larvae, and adults-gathered from five semiurban areas in Mexico. Our findings revealed a substantial diversity of 8,346 operational taxonomic units (OTUs), representing 967 bacterial genera and 126,366 annotated proteins. The host developmental stage was identified as the primary factor associated with variations in the microbiome composition. Subsequently, we searched for genes and species involved in mosquito biocontrol. Wolbachia accounted for 9.6% of the 16S gene sequences. We observed a high diversity (203 OTUs) of Wolbachia strains commonly associated with mosquitoes, such as wAlb, with a noticeable increase in abundance during the adult stages. Notably, we detected the presence of the cifA and cifB genes, which are associated with Wolbachia's cytoplasmic incompatibility, a biocontrol mechanism. Additionally, we identified 221 OTUs related to Bacillus, including strains linked to B. thuringiensis. Furthermore, we discovered multiple genes encoding insecticidal toxins, such as Cry, Mcf, Vip, and Vpp. Overall, our study contributes to the understanding of mosquito microbiome biodiversity and metabolic capabilities, which are essential for developing effective biocontrol strategies against this disease vector.

RevDate: 2024-04-29

Junsiri W, Kamkong P, Phojun A, et al (2024)

Unveiling zoonotic threats: molecular identification of Brugia sp. infection in a lion.

Frontiers in veterinary science, 11:1376208.

Brugia malayi and B. pahangi, potential zoonotic pathogens transmitted by mosquitoes, are believed to primarily infect dogs and cats as reservoir hosts. Although previous studies have indicated nematode infections in lions, particularly in zoo environments where human contact with these reservoirs is possible, limited documentation exists regarding Brugia sp. infections in lions in Thailand. This study aims to investigate a case of Brugia infection in a lion from a zoo in Thailand. The blood sample was collected and examined from a female lion, using staining methods to morphologically identify microfilaria at the genus level. Subsequently, the PCR was employed targeting specific genes, including mitochondrial 12S rDNA, 18S rDNA, cytochrome oxidase I (COI) and Wolbachia surface protein (wsp), to confirm the species of the filarial nematode parasite. The genetic sequencing results revealed a high similarity (99-100%) to B. malayi for the 12S rDNA, 18S rDNA, COI and wsp genes. Phylogenetic analysis based on nucleotide sequences from the 12S rDNA, 18S rDNA, COI and wsp genes showed that the sequences from this study belong to different clusters. This marks the inaugural documentation of molecular identification of Brugia infection in a lion, signifying that lions could function as reservoirs for this parasite and present a potential public health risk in the region. Our research underscores the effectiveness of molecular techniques and phylogenetic analysis in discerning and comprehending the evolution of filarial parasites. Additionally, it emphasizes the significance of these methods in enhancing the diagnosis, control, and prevention of zoonotic filarial nematode infections.

RevDate: 2024-04-29

Andreenkova OV, Adonyeva NV, Efimov VM, et al (2024)

Fertility differences between two wild-type Drosophila melanogaster lines correlate with differences in the expression of the Jheh1 gene, which codes for an enzyme degrading juvenile hormone.

Vavilovskii zhurnal genetiki i selektsii, 28(2):185-189.

Juvenile hormone plays a "status quo" role in Drosophila melanogaster larvae, preventing the untimely metamorphosis, and performs a gonadotropic function in imagoes, ensuring the ovaries' preparedness for vitellogenesis. The decreased level of juvenile hormone results in reproductive disorders in D. melanogaster females including a delay in the oviposition onset and a fertility decrease. Another factor that can affect the insect reproduction is an infection with the maternally inherited symbiotic α-proteobacterium Wolbachia. The present study is devoted to the analysis of the expression of two juvenile hormone metabolism genes encoding enzymes of its synthesis and degradation, juvenile hormone acid O-methyltransferase (jhamt) and juvenile hormone epoxide hydrase (Jheh1), respectively, in four wild-type D. melanogaster lines, two of them being infected with Wolbachia. Lines w153 and Bi90 were both derived from an individual wild-caught females infected with Wolbachia, while lines w153T and Bi90T were derived from them by tetracycline treatment and are free of infection. Line Bi90 is known to be infected with the Wolbachia strain wMel, and line w153, with the Wolbachia strain wMelPlus belonging to the wMelCS genotype. It was found that infection with either Wolbachia strain does not affect the expression of the studied genes. At the same time, it was shown that the w153 and w153T lines differ from the Bi90 and Bi90T lines by an increased level of the Jheh1 gene expression and do not differ in the jhamt gene expression level. Analysis of the fertility of these four lines showed that it does not depend on Wolbachia infection either, but differs between lines with different nuclear genotypes: in w153 and w153T, it is significantly lower than in lines Bi90 and Bi90T. The data obtained allow us to reasonably propose that the inter-line D. melanogaster polymorphism in the metabolism of the juvenile hormone is determined by its degradation (not by its synthesis) and correlates with the fertility level.

RevDate: 2024-04-27
CmpDate: 2024-04-27

Wan H, Wu Y, Fan G, et al (2024)

Wolbachia invasion dynamics of a random mosquito population model with imperfect maternal transmission and incomplete CI.

Journal of mathematical biology, 88(6):72.

In this work, we formulate a random Wolbachia invasion model incorporating the effects of imperfect maternal transmission and incomplete cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). Under constant environments, we obtain the following results: Firstly, the complete invasion equilibrium of Wolbachia does not exist, and thus the population replacement is not achievable in the case of imperfect maternal transmission; Secondly, imperfect maternal transmission or incomplete CI may obliterate bistability and backward bifurcation, which leads to the failure of Wolbachia invasion, no matter how many infected mosquitoes would be released; Thirdly, the threshold number of the infected mosquitoes to be released would increase with the decrease of the maternal transmission rate or the intensity of CI effect. In random environments, we investigate in detail the Wolbachia invasion dynamics of the random mosquito population model and establish the initial release threshold of infected mosquitoes for successful invasion of Wolbachia into the wild mosquito population. In particular, the existence and stability of invariant probability measures for the establishment and extinction of Wolbachia are determined.

RevDate: 2024-04-27

Tuñon A, García J, Carrera LC, et al (2024)

Chemical control of medically important arthropods in Panama: A systematic literature review of historical efforts.

Acta tropica pii:S0001-706X(24)00100-1 [Epub ahead of print].

Vector-borne diseases are a major source of morbidity in Panama. Herein, we describe historical usage patterns of synthetic insecticides to control arthropod disease vectors in this country. We examine the influence of interventions by vector control programs on the emergence of insecticide resistance. Chemical control has traditionally focused on two mosquito species: Anopheles albimanus, a major regional malaria vector, and Aedes aegypti, a historical vector of yellow fever, and current vector of dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. Countrywide populations of An. albimanus depict hyperirritability to organochlorine insecticides administered by indoor residual spraying, although they appear susceptible to these insecticides in bioassays settings, as well as to organophosphate and carbamate insecticides in field tests. Populations of Ae. aegypti show resistance to pyrethroids, particularly in areas near Panama City, but the spread of resistance remains unknown in Ae. aegypti and Aedes albopictus. A One Health approach is needed in Panama to pinpoint the insecticide resistance mechanisms including the frequency of knockdown mutations and behavioral plasticity in populations of Anopheles and Aedes mosquitoes. This information is necessary to guide the sustainable implementation of chemical control strategies and the use of modern vector control technologies such as genetically modified mosquitoes, and endosymbiont Wolbachia-based biological control.

RevDate: 2024-04-26

Liu Y, Zhang L, Cai X, et al (2024)

The Diversity of Wolbachia and Other Bacterial Symbionts in Spodoptera frugiperda.

Insects, 15(4): pii:insects15040217.

Bacterial symbionts associated with insects can be crucial in insect nutrition, metabolism, immune responses, development, and reproduction. However, the bacterial symbionts of the fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda remain unclear. S. frugiperda is an invasive polyphagous pest that severely damages many crops, particularly maize and wheat. Here, we investigated the infection, composition, abundance, and diversity of bacterial symbionts, especially Wolbachia, in different tissues of S. frugiperda female adults. The infection prevalence frequencies of Wolbachia in five provinces of China, namely Pu'er, Yunnan; Nanning, Guangxi; Sanya, Hainan; Yunfu, Guangdong; and Nanping, Fujian, were assessed. The results indicated that Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Bacteroidetes were the three most dominant bacterial phyla in S. frugiperda adults. At the genus level, the abundant microbiota, which included Enterobacter and Enterococcus, varied in abundance between tissues of S. frugiperda. Wolbachia was found in the ovaries and salivary glands of S. frugiperda adults, and was present in 33.33% of the Pu'er, Yunnan, 23.33% of the Nanning, Guangxi, and 13.33% of the Sanya, Hainan populations, but Wolbachia was absent in the Yunfu, Guangdong and Nanping, Fujian populations. Further phylogenetic analyses revealed that all of the Wolbachia strains from the different S. frugiperda populations belonged to the supergroup B and were named the wFru strain. Since there were Wolbachia strains inducing cytoplasmic incompatibility in supergroup B, these findings may provide a foundation for developing potential biocontrol techniques against S. frugiperda.

RevDate: 2024-04-22

Ng IK (2024)

Wastewater surveillance and Wolbachia-aedes method to combat Zika virus outbreaks in tropical countries.

Tropical doctor [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2024-04-22

Penunuri G, Wang P, Corbett-Detig R, et al (2024)

A Structural Proteome Screen Identifies Protein Mimicry in Host-Microbe Systems.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2024.04.10.588793.

Host-microbe systems are evolutionary niches that produce coevolved biological interactions and are a key component of global health. However, these systems have historically been a difficult field of biological research due to their experimental intractability. Impactful advances in global health will be obtained by leveraging in silico screens to identify genes involved in mediating interspecific interactions. These predictions will progress our understanding of these systems and lay the groundwork for future in vitro and in vivo experiments and bioengineering projects. A driver of host-manipulation and intracellular survival utilized by host-associated microbes is molecular mimicry, a critical mechanism that can occur at any level from DNA to protein structures. We applied protein structure prediction and alignment tools to explore host-associated bacterial structural proteomes for examples of protein structure mimicry. By leveraging the Legionella pneumophila proteome and its many known structural mimics, we developed and validated a screen that can be applied to virtually any host-microbe system to uncover signals of protein mimicry. These mimics represent candidate proteins that mediate host interactions in microbial proteomes. We successfully applied this screen to other microbes with demonstrated effects on global health, Helicobacter pylori and Wolbachia , identifying protein mimic candidates in each proteome. We discuss the roles these candidates may play in important Wolbachia -induced phenotypes and show that Wobachia infection can partially rescue the loss of one of these factors. This work demonstrates how a genome-wide screen for candidates of host-manipulation and intracellular survival offers an opportunity to identify functionally important genes in host-microbe systems.

RevDate: 2024-04-21

Pardinilla LM, Aljaberi S, Procter M, et al (2024)

The prevalence of selected vector-borne diseases in dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) in the United Arab Emirates.

Veterinary parasitology, regional studies and reports, 50:101006.

Vector-borne diseases (VBDs) affecting dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) have considerable importance in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) because of the consequences associated with production decline and economic losses. Our study aimed to determine the prevalence of selected VBDs in camels in the UAE and identify risk factors. This research is currently affected by the low number of epidemiological molecular surveys addressing this issue. Blood samples were obtained from 425 dromedary camels from different locations across the UAE. Whole genomic DNA was isolated, and PCR screening was done to detect piroplasmids (Babesia/Theileria spp.), Trypanosoma spp., and Anaplasmataceae spp. (Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Neorickettsia and Wolbachia spp.). Amplicons were sequenced, and phylogenetic trees were constructed. Trypanosoma sequences were identified as T. brucei evansi, whereas Anaplasmataceae sequences were identified as A. platys-like. All camels were negative for Babesia/Theileria spp. (0%); however, 18 camels were positive for T. b. evansi (4%) and 52 were positive for A. platys-like (12%). Mixed infection with T. b. evansi and A. platys-like was found in one camel. Statistical analyses revealed that camels with a brown coat colour were significantly more prone to acquire the A. platys-like strain compared with those having a clearer coat. A similar finding was observed when comparing urban moving camels with desert indoor and urban indoor camels. Continuous disease surveillance is required to ensure and maintain the good health status of the camels in the UAE. Nonetheless, the risk of disease outbreak remains if the misuse of drugs continues.

RevDate: 2024-04-20

Salje H, FM Jiggins (2024)

Risks of releasing imperfect Wolbachia strains for arbovirus control.

The Lancet. Microbe pii:S2666-5247(24)00072-7 [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2024-04-18

Wei X, Zhu J, Hoffmann AA, et al (2024)

Wolbachia infection status and molecular diversity in the species of tribe Tagiadini Mabille, 1878 (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae) collected in China.

Ecology and evolution, 14(4):e11279.

Wolbachia, one of the most ubiquitous heritable symbionts in lepidopteran insects, can cause mitochondrial introgression in related host species. We recently found mito-nuclear discordance in the Lepidopteran tribe Tagiadini Mabille 1878 from which Wolbachia has not been reported. In this study, we found that 13 of the 46 species of Tagiadini species tested were positive for Wolbachia. Overall, 14% (15/110) of Tagiadini specimens were infected with Wolbachia and nine new STs were found from 15 isolates. A co-phylogenetic comparison, divergence time estimation and Wolbachia recombination analysis revealed that mito-nuclear discordance in Tagiadini species is not mediated by Wolbachia, but Wolbachia acquisition in Tagiadini appears to have occurred mainly through horizontal transmission rather than codivergence.

RevDate: 2024-04-17

Orozco-Gonzales JL, Dos Santos Benedito A, Cardona-Salgado D, et al (2024)

Comparing the long-term persistence of different Wolbachia strains after the release of bacteria-carrying mosquitoes.

Mathematical biosciences pii:S0025-5564(24)00050-6 [Epub ahead of print].

This paper proposes a bidimensional modeling framework for Wolbachia invasion, assuming imperfect maternal transmission, incomplete cytoplasmic incompatibility, and direct infection loss due to thermal stress. Our model adapts to various Wolbachia strains and retains all properties of higher-dimensional models. The conditions for the durable coexistence of Wolbachia-carrying and wild mosquitoes are expressed using the model's parameters in a compact closed form. When the Wolbachia bacterium is locally established, the size of the remanent wild population can be assessed by a direct formula derived from the model. The model was tested for four Wolbachia strains undergoing laboratory and field trials to control mosquito-borne diseases: wMel, wMelPop, wAlbB, and wAu. As all these bacterial strains affect the individual fitness of mosquito hosts differently and exhibit different levels of resistance to temperature variations, the model helped to conclude that: (1) the wMel strain spreads faster in wild mosquito populations; (2) the wMelPop exhibits lower resilience but also guarantees the smallest size of the remanent wild population; (3) the wAlbB strain performs better at higher ambient temperatures than others; (4) the wAu strain is not sustainable and cannot persist in the wild mosquito population despite its resistance to high temperatures.

RevDate: 2024-04-17

Alkathiry HA, Alghamdi SQ, Sinha A, et al (2024)

Microbiome and mitogenomics of the chigger mite Pentidionis agamae: potential role as an Orientia vector and associations with divergent clades of Wolbachia and Borrelia.

BMC genomics, 25(1):380.

BACKGROUND: Trombiculid mites are globally distributed, highly diverse arachnids that largely lack molecular resources such as whole mitogenomes for the elucidation of taxonomic relationships. Trombiculid larvae (chiggers) parasitise vertebrates and can transmit bacteria (Orientia spp.) responsible for scrub typhus, a zoonotic febrile illness. Orientia tsutsugamushi causes most cases of scrub typhus and is endemic to the Asia-Pacific Region, where it is transmitted by Leptotrombidium spp. chiggers. However, in Dubai, Candidatus Orientia chuto was isolated from a case of scrub typhus and is also known to circulate among rodents in Saudi Arabia and Kenya, although its vectors remain poorly defined. In addition to Orientia, chiggers are often infected with other potential pathogens or arthropod-specific endosymbionts, but their significance for trombiculid biology and public health is unclear.

RESULTS: Ten chigger species were collected from rodents in southwestern Saudi Arabia. Chiggers were pooled according to species and screened for Orientia DNA by PCR. Two species (Microtrombicula muhaylensis and Pentidionis agamae) produced positive results for the htrA gene, although Ca. Orientia chuto DNA was confirmed by Sanger sequencing only in P. agamae. Metagenomic sequencing of three pools of P. agamae provided evidence for two other bacterial associates: a spirochaete and a Wolbachia symbiont. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA and multi-locus sequence typing genes placed the spirochaete in a clade of micromammal-associated Borrelia spp. that are widely-distributed globally with no known vector. For the Wolbachia symbiont, a genome assembly was obtained that allowed phylogenetic localisation in a novel, divergent clade. Cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) barcodes for Saudi Arabian chiggers enabled comparisons with global chigger diversity, revealing several cases of discordance with classical taxonomy. Complete mitogenome assemblies were obtained for the three P. agamae pools and almost 50 SNPs were identified, despite a common geographic origin.

CONCLUSIONS: P. agamae was identified as a potential vector of Ca. Orientia chuto on the Arabian Peninsula. The detection of an unusual Borrelia sp. and a divergent Wolbachia symbiont in P. agamae indicated links with chigger microbiomes in other parts of the world, while COI barcoding and mitogenomic analyses greatly extended our understanding of inter- and intraspecific relationships in trombiculid mites.

RevDate: 2024-04-17

Durrance-Bagale A, Hoe N, Lai J, et al (2024)

Dengue vector control in high-income, city settings: A scoping review of approaches and methods.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 18(4):e0012081 pii:PNTD-D-23-00729.

BACKGROUND: Dengue virus (DENV) is endemic to many parts of the world and has serious health and socioeconomic effects even in high-income countries, especially with rapid changes in the climate globally. We explored the literature on dengue vector control methods used in high-income, city settings and associations with dengue incidence, dengue prevalence, or mosquito vector densities.

METHODS: Studies of any design or year were included if they reported effects on human DENV infection or Aedes vector indices of dengue-specific vector control interventions in high-income, city settings.

RESULTS: Of 24 eligible sources, most reported research in the United States (n = 8) or Australia (n = 5). Biocontrol (n = 12) and chemical control (n = 13) were the most frequently discussed vector control methods. Only 6 sources reported data on the effectiveness of a given method in reducing human DENV incidence or prevalence, 2 described effects of larval and adult control on Aedes DENV positivity, 20 reported effectiveness in reducing vector density, using insecticide, larvicide, source reduction, auto-dissemination of pyriproxyfen and Wolbachia, and only 1 described effects on human-vector contact.

CONCLUSIONS: As most studies reported reductions in vector densities, rather than any effects on human DENV incidence or prevalence, we can draw no clear conclusions on which interventions might be most effective in reducing dengue in high-income, city areas. More research is needed linking evidence on the effects of different DENV vector control methods with dengue incidence/prevalence or mosquito vector densities in high-income, city settings as this is likely to differ from low-income settings. This is a significant evidence gap as climate changes increase the global reach of DENV. The importance of community involvement was clear in several studies, although it is impossible to tease out the relative contributions of this from other control methods used.

RevDate: 2024-04-17

Scussel S, Gaudillat B, Esnault J, et al (2024)

Combining transinfected Wolbachia and a genetic sexing strain to control Aedes albopictus in laboratory-controlled conditions.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 291(2021):20240429.

The global expansion of Aedes albopictus has stimulated the development of environmentally friendly methods aiming to control disease transmission through the suppression of natural vector populations. Sterile male release programmes are currently being deployed worldwide, and are challenged by the availability of an efficient sex separation which can be achieved mechanically at the pupal stage and/or by artificial intelligence at the adult stage, or through genetic sexing, which allows separating males and females at an early development stage. In this study, we combined the genetic sexing strain previously established based on the linkage of dieldrin resistance to the male locus with a Wolbachia transinfected line. For this, we introduced either the wPip-I or the wPip-IV strain from Culex pipiens in an asymbiotic Wolbachia-free Ae. albopictus line. We then measured the penetrance of cytoplasmic incompatibility and life-history traits of both transinfected lines, selected the wPip-IV line and combined it with the genetic sexing strain. Population suppression experiments demonstrated a 90% reduction in population size and a 50% decrease in hatching rate. Presented results showed that such a combination has a high potential in terms of vector control but also highlighted associated fitness costs, which should be reduced before large-scale field assay.

RevDate: 2024-04-12

Mowery MA, Rosenwald LC, Chapman E, et al (2024)

Endosymbiont diversity across native and invasive brown widow spider populations.

Scientific reports, 14(1):8556.

The invasive brown widow spider, Latrodectus geometricus (Araneae: Theridiidae), has spread in multiple locations around the world and, along with it, brought associated organisms such as endosymbionts. We investigated endosymbiont diversity and prevalence across putative native and invasive populations of this spider, predicting lower endosymbiont diversity across the invasive range compared to the native range. First, we characterized the microbial community in the putative native (South Africa) and invasive (Israel and the United States) ranges via high throughput 16S sequencing of 103 adult females. All specimens were dominated by reads from only 1-3 amplicon sequence variants (ASV), and most individuals were infected with an apparently uniform strain of Rhabdochlamydia. We also found Rhabdochlamydia in spider eggs, indicating that it is a maternally-inherited endosymbiont. Relatively few other ASV were detected, but included two variant Rhabdochlamydia strains and several Wolbachia, Spiroplasma and Enterobacteriaceae strains. We then diagnostically screened 118 adult female spiders from native and invasive populations specifically for Rhabdochlamydia and Wolbachia. We found Rhabdochlamydia in 86% of individuals and represented in all populations, which suggests that it is a consistent and potentially important associate of L. geometricus. Wolbachia was found at lower overall prevalence (14%) and was represented in all countries, but not all populations. In addition, we found evidence for geographic variation in endosymbiont prevalence: spiders from Israel were more likely to carry Rhabdochlamydia than those from the US and South Africa, and Wolbachia was geographically clustered in both Israel and South Africa. Characterizing endosymbiont prevalence and diversity is a first step in understanding their function inside the host and may shed light on the process of spread and population variability in cosmopolitan invasive species.

RevDate: 2024-04-12

Akintola AA, UW Hwang (2024)

Microbiome Profile of South Korean Vector Mosquitoes.

Acta tropica pii:S0001-706X(24)00096-2 [Epub ahead of print].

This research offers a comprehensive exploration of the microbial communities associated with vector mosquitoes from South Korea. Aedes albopictus, Anopheles sinensis, and Culex molestus are vectors of pathogens, and understanding the intricacies of their microbiome profile is paramount for unraveling their roles in disease transmission dynamics. In this study, we characterized the microbiome of the midguts of adult female vector mosquitoes collected from different locations in South Korea. After DNA extraction from dissected mosquito midguts, we used the Illumina MiSeq next-generation sequencing to obtain sequences spanning the V4 hypervariable region of the bacteria 16S rRNA. Morphological and molecular characterization using 506-bp mitochondrial 16S rRNA was used to identify the mosquito species before amplicon sequencing. Across the three vector mosquitoes surveyed, 21 bacteria genera belonging to 20 families and 5 phyla were discovered. Proteobacteria and Bacteriodota were the major phyla of bacteria associated with the three mosquito species. There were significant differences in the gut microbiome genera composition between the species and little variation in the gut microbiome between individuals of the same mosquito species. Wolbachia is the most dominant genus in Aedes while Aeromonas, Acinetobacter, and unassigned taxa are the most common in An. sinensis. In addition to that, Chromobacterium, Chryseobacterium, and Aeromonas are dominant in Cx. molestus. This study sheds light on the complex interactions between mosquitoes and their microbiome, revealing potential implications for vector competence, disease transmission, and vector control strategies.

RevDate: 2024-04-11

Lei J, Lü W, Wang W, et al (2024)

[Comparison of the microbiota diversity between autogenous and anautogenous Culex pipiens pallens].

Zhongguo xue xi chong bing fang zhi za zhi = Chinese journal of schistosomiasis control, 36(1):52-58.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the microbiota composition and diversity between autogenous and anautogenous Culex pipiens pallens, so as to provide insights into unraveling the pathogenesis of autogeny in Cx. pipiens pallens.

METHODS: Autogenous and anautogenous adult Cx. pipiens pallens samples were collected at 25 ℃, and the hypervariable regions of the microbial 16S ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA) gene was sequenced on the Illumina NovaSeq 6000 sequencing platform. The microbiota abundance and diversity were evaluated using the alpha diversity index, and the difference in the microbiota structure was examined using the beta diversity index. The microbiota with significant differences in the abundance between autogenous and anautogenous adult Cx. pipiens pallens samples was identified using the linear discriminant analysis effect size (LEfSe).

RESULTS: The microbiota in autogenous and anautogenous Cx. pipiens pallens samples belonged to 18 phyla, 28 classes, 70 orders, 113 families, and 170 genera, and the dominant phyla included Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and so on. At the genus level, Wolbachia was a common dominant genus, and the relative abundance was (77.6 ± 11.3)% in autogenous Cx. pipiens pallens samples and (47.5 ± 8.5)% in anautogenous mosquito samples, while Faecalibaculum (0.4% ± 0.1%), Dubosiella (0.5% ± 0.0%) and Massilia (0.5% ± 0.1%) were specific species in autogenous Cx. pipiens pallens samples. Alpha diversity analysis showed that higher Chao1 index and ACE index in autogenous Cx. pipiens pallens samples than in anautogenous samples (both P values > 0.05), and lower Shannon index (P > 0.05) and Simpson index (P < 0.05) in autogenous Cx. pipiens pallens samples than in anautogenous samples. LEfSe analysis showed a total of 48 significantly different taxa between autogenous and anautogenous Cx. pipiens pallens samples (all P values < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: There is a significant difference in the microbiota diversity between autogenous and anautogenous Cx. pipiens pallens.

RevDate: 2024-04-11

Song G, Shin D, J Su Kim (2024)

Microbiome changes in Akanthomyces attenuatus JEF-147-infected two-spotted spider mites.

Journal of invertebrate pathology pii:S0022-2011(24)00045-4 [Epub ahead of print].

The two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae Koch) is an agriculturally serious polyphagous pest that has acquired strong resistance against acaricides because of its short life cycle and continuous exposure to acaricides. As an alternative, mite-pathogenic fungi with different modes of action could be used to control the mites. The spider mite has symbiotic microorganisms that could be involved in the physiological and ecological adaptations to biotic stresses. In this study, mite-pathogenic fungi were used to control female adults, and the microbiomes changes in the fungus-infected mites were analyzed. The acaricidal activity of 77 fungal isolates was tested, and Akanthomyces attenuatus JEF-147 exhibited the highest acaricidal activity. Subsequently a dose-response assay and morphological characterization was undertaken For microbiome analysis in female adults infected with A. attenuatus JEF-147, 16S rDNA and ITS1 were sequenced using Illumina Miseq. Infected mite showed a higher Shannon index in bacterial diversity but lower index in fungal diversity. In beta diversity using principal component analysis, JEF-147-treated mites were significantly different from non-treated controls in both bacteria and fungi. Particularly in bacterial abundance, arthropod defense-related Rickettsia increased, but arthropod reproduction-associated Wolbachia decreased. The change in major bacterial abundance in the infected mites could be explained by a trade-off between reproduction and immunity against the early stage of fungal attack. In fungal abundance, Akanthomyces showed up as expected. Foremost, this work reports microbiome changes in a fungus-infected mite and suggests a possible trade-off in mites against fungal pathogens. Future studies will focus on gene-based investigations related to this topic.

RevDate: 2024-04-11

Gomard Y, Hafsia S, Lebon C, et al (2024)

Genetic diversity of endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia infecting two mosquito species of the genus Eretmapodites occurring in sympatry in the Comoros archipelago.

Frontiers in microbiology, 15:1343917.

INTRODUCTION: The influence of Wolbachia on mosquito reproduction and vector competence has led to renewed interest in studying the genetic diversity of these bacteria and the phenotypes they induced in mosquito vectors. In this study, we focused on two species of Eretmapodites, namely Eretmapodites quinquevittatus and Eretmapodites subsimplicipes, from three islands in the Comoros archipelago (in the Southwestern Indian Ocean).

METHODS: Using the COI gene, we examined the mitochondrial genetic diversity of 879 Eretmapodites individuals from 54 sites. Additionally, we investigated the presence and genetic diversity of Wolbachia using the wsp marker and the diversity of five housekeeping genes commonly used for genotyping through Multiple Locus Sequence Typing (MLST).

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Overall, Er. quinquevittatus was the most abundant species in the three surveyed islands and both mosquito species occurred in sympatry in most of the investigated sites. We detected a higher mitochondrial genetic diversity in Er. quinquevittatus with 35 reported haplotypes (N = 615 specimens, Hd = 0.481 and π = 0.002) while 13 haplotypes were found in Er. subsimplicipes (N = 205 specimens, Hd = 0.338 and π = 0.001), this difference is likely due to the bias in sampling size between the two species. We report for the first time the presence of Wolbachia in these two Eretmapodites species. The prevalence of Wolbachia infection varied significantly between species, with a low prevalence recorded in Er. quinquevittatus (0.8%, N = 5/627) while infection was close to fixation in Er. subsimplicipes (87.7%, N = 221/252). Both male and female individuals of the two mosquito species appeared to be infected. The analysis of MLST genes revealed the presence of two Wolbachia strains corresponding to two new strain types (STs) within the supergroups A and B, which have been named wEretA and wEretB. These strains were found as mono-infections and are closely related, phylogenetically, to Wolbachia strains previously reported in Drosophila species. Finally, we demonstrate that maternal transmission of Wolbachia is imperfect in Er. subsimplicipes, which could explain the presence of a minority of uninfected individuals in the field.

RevDate: 2024-04-10

Vandana V, Dong S, Sheth T, et al (2024)

Wolbachia infection-responsive immune genes suppress Plasmodium falciparum infection in Anopheles stephensi.

PLoS pathogens, 20(4):e1012145 pii:PPATHOGENS-D-24-00022 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia, a maternally transmitted symbiotic bacterium of insects, can suppress a variety of human pathogens in mosquitoes, including malaria-causing Plasmodium in the Anopheles vector. However, the mechanistic basis of Wolbachia-mediated Plasmodium suppression in mosquitoes is not well understood. In this study, we compared the midgut and carcass transcriptomes of stably infected Anopheles stephensi with Wolbachia wAlbB to uninfected mosquitoes in order to discover Wolbachia infection-responsive immune genes that may play a role in Wolbachia-mediated anti-Plasmodium activity. We show that wAlbB infection upregulates 10 putative immune genes and downregulates 14 in midguts, while it upregulates 31 putative immune genes and downregulates 15 in carcasses at 24 h after blood-fed feeding, the time at which the Plasmodium ookinetes are traversing the midgut tissue. Only a few of these regulated immune genes were also significantly differentially expressed between Wolbachia-infected and non-infected midguts and carcasses of sugar-fed mosquitoes. Silencing of the Wolbachia infection-responsive immune genes TEP 4, TEP 15, lysozyme C2, CLIPB2, CLIPB4, PGRP-LD and two novel genes (a peritrophin-44-like gene and a macro domain-encoding gene) resulted in a significantly greater permissiveness to P. falciparum infection. These results indicate that Wolbachia infection modulates mosquito immunity and other processes that are likely to decrease Anopheles permissiveness to Plasmodium infection.

RevDate: 2024-04-10

Fox T, Sguassero Y, Chaplin M, et al (2024)

Wolbachia-carrying Aedes mosquitoes for preventing dengue infection.

The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 4:CD015636.

BACKGROUND: Dengue is a global health problem of high significance, with 3.9 billion people at risk of infection. The geographic expansion of dengue virus (DENV) infection has resulted in increased frequency and severity of the disease, and the number of deaths has increased in recent years. Wolbachia,an intracellular bacterial endosymbiont, has been under investigation for several years as a novel dengue-control strategy. Some dengue vectors (Aedes mosquitoes) can be transinfected with specific strains of Wolbachia, which decreases their fitness (ability to survive and mate) and their ability to reproduce, inhibiting the replication of dengue. Both laboratory and field studies have demonstrated the potential effect of Wolbachia deployments on reducing dengue transmission, and modelling studies have suggested that this may be a self-sustaining strategy for dengue prevention, although long-term effects are yet to be elucidated.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the efficacy of Wolbachia-carrying Aedes speciesdeployments (specifically wMel-, wMelPop-, and wAlbB- strains of Wolbachia) for preventing dengue virus infection.

SEARCH METHODS: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, four other databases, and two trial registries up to 24 January 2024.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs), including cluster-randomized controlled trials (cRCTs), conducted in dengue endemic or epidemic-prone settings were eligible. We sought studies that investigated the impact of Wolbachia-carrying Aedes deployments on epidemiological or entomological dengue-related outcomes, utilizing either the population replacement or population suppression strategy.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently selected eligible studies, extracted data, and assessed the risk of bias using the Cochrane RoB 2 tool. We used odds ratios (OR) with the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI) as the effect measure for dichotomous outcomes. For count/rate outcomes, we planned to use the rate ratio with 95% CI as the effect measure. We used adjusted measures of effect for cRCTs. We assessed the certainty of evidence using GRADE.

MAIN RESULTS: One completed cRCT met our inclusion criteria, and we identified two further ongoing cRCTs. The included trial was conducted in an urban setting in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It utilized a nested test-negative study design, whereby all participants aged three to 45 years who presented at healthcare centres with a fever were enrolled in the study provided they had resided in the study area for the previous 10 nights. The trial showed that wMel-Wolbachia infected Ae aegypti deployments probably reduce the odds of contracting virologically confirmed dengue by 77% (OR 0.23, 95% CI 0.15 to 0.35; 1 trial, 6306 participants; moderate-certainty evidence). The cluster-level prevalence of wMel Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes remained high over two years in the intervention arm of the trial, reported as 95.8% (interquartile range 91.5 to 97.8) across 27 months in clusters receiving wMel-Wolbachia Ae aegypti deployments, but there were no reliable comparative data for this outcome. Other primary outcomes were the incidence of virologically confirmed dengue, the prevalence of dengue ribonucleic acid in the mosquito population, and mosquito density, but there were no data for these outcomes. Additionally, there were no data on adverse events.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: The included trial demonstrates the potential significant impact of wMel-Wolbachia-carrying Ae aegypti mosquitoes on preventing dengue infection in an endemic setting, and supports evidence reported in non-randomized and uncontrolled studies. Further trials across a greater diversity of settings are required to confirm whether these findings apply to other locations and country settings, and greater reporting of acceptability and cost are important.

RevDate: 2024-04-09

Machado FN, Draper ADK, Monteiro Fernandes A, et al (2024)

The first confirmed outbreak of chikungunya reported in Timor-Leste, 2024.

Communicable diseases intelligence (2018), 48:.

Timor-Leste is a mountainous, half-island nation with a population of 1.3 million, which shares a land border with Indonesia and is 550 km from Darwin, Australia. Since independence in 2002, Timor-Leste has achieved significant development; however, high levels of poverty remain. Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is endemic in over 100 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and in the Americas. It is transmitted by the bite of infected Aedes aegypti or Ae. albopictus mosquitoes, which are present in Timor-Leste and which contribute to annual rainy-season dengue virus (DENV) outbreaks. Symptomatic people typically suffer from acute onset of fever, usually accompanied by severe arthritis or arthralgia. Joint pain can be debilitating for several days, and may sometimes last for weeks, months or years. Unlike DENV infection which has significant mortality, most people recover completely. Between 2002 and 2023, there were 26 cases of CHIKV notified in Australia who acquired their infection in Timor-Leste; however, laboratory testing capability for CHIKV in Timor-Leste only became available in 2021 using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The first locally diagnosed case was notified in November 2023. In January 2024, an outbreak of CHIKV was recognised in Timor-Leste for the first time, with 195 outbreak cases reported during 1-31 January 2024; all were PCR positive. There were no cases hospitalised, and no deaths. The median age of cases was 17 years (range 1-76 years); 51% were males. Cases were reported across the country; most (88/195) were from Dili, although the highest incidence was seen in the neighbouring municipality of Ermera (monthly incidence rate of 58.8 cases per 100,000 population). This first reported outbreak of CHIKV in Timor-Leste highlights the need for improved mosquito-borne illness control and response strategies, including minimising breeding sites and promoting early presentation for treatment and differential diagnosis from DENV, and consideration of the deployment of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes, particularly as they have shown to reduce the transmission of CHIKV, DENV and Zika virus, all of which pose threats in Timor-Leste.

RevDate: 2024-04-09

Machado FN, Draper ADK, Dos Santos FBA, et al (2024)

A brief description of the epidemiology of dengue in Dili, Timor-Leste, 2018-2022.

Communicable diseases intelligence (2018), 48:.

Dengue virus (DENV) infection causes 390 million infections per year and 40,000 deaths globally. It is endemic in many countries in Asia, Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, and Oceania. Dengue is endemic in Timor-Leste year-round, but peak transmission occurs during the rainy season. We briefly describe the epidemiology of DENV in the Municipality of Dili between 2018 and 2022. There were 6,234 cases notified, with a mean annual incidence rate of 330 cases per 100,000 population. There were 55 deaths (case fatality rate 0.9%). The peak annual incidence (3,904 cases) occurred in 2022 after an outbreak was declared in January of that year; this outbreak included 760 cases of dengue haemorrhagic fever and 35 deaths. The number of outbreak cases requiring hospital treatment exceeded the usual capacity, but facilities established for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) isolation and treatment were repurposed to meet this demand. Existing strategies of vector control, minimising breeding sites and promoting early presentation for treatment should continue, as should the utilisation of surveillance systems and treatment facilities established during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, dengue incidence remains high, and other dengue control strategies-including the deployment of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes-should be considered in Timor-Leste.

RevDate: 2024-04-09

Sharmin Z, Samarah H, Aldaya Bourricaudy R, et al (2024)

Cross-validation of chemical and genetic disruption approaches to inform host cellular effects on Wolbachia abundance in Drosophila.

Frontiers in microbiology, 15:1364009.

INTRODUCTION: Endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria are widespread in nature, present in half of all insect species. The success of Wolbachia is supported by a commensal lifestyle. Unlike bacterial pathogens that overreplicate and harm host cells, Wolbachia infections have a relatively innocuous intracellular lifestyle. This raises important questions about how Wolbachia infection is regulated. Little is known about how Wolbachia abundance is controlled at an organismal scale.

METHODS: This study demonstrates methodology for rigorous identification of cellular processes that affect whole-body Wolbachia abundance, as indicated by absolute counts of the Wolbachia surface protein (wsp) gene.

RESULTS: Candidate pathways, associated with well-described infection scenarios, were identified. Wolbachia-infected fruit flies were exposed to small molecule inhibitors known for targeting those same pathways. Sequential tests in D. melanogaster and D. simulans yielded a subset of chemical inhibitors that significantly affected whole-body Wolbachia abundance, including the Wnt pathway disruptor, IWR-1 and the mTOR pathway inhibitor, Rapamycin. The implicated pathways were genetically retested for effects in D. melanogaster, using inducible RNAi expression driven by constitutive as well as chemically-induced somatic GAL4 expression. Genetic disruptions of armadillo, tor, and ATG6 significantly affected whole-body Wolbachia abundance.

DISCUSSION: As such, the data corroborate reagent targeting and pathway relevance to whole-body Wolbachia infection. The results also implicate Wnt and mTOR regulation of autophagy as important for regulation of Wolbachia titer.

RevDate: 2024-04-08

Nascimento da Silva J, Conceição CC, Ramos de Brito GC, et al (2024)

Immunometabolic crosstalk in Aedes fluviatilis Wolbachia pipientis symbiosis.

The Journal of biological chemistry pii:S0021-9258(24)01773-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia pipientis is a maternally transmitted symbiotic bacterium that mainly colonizes arthropods, potentially affecting different aspects of the host's physiology, e.g. reproduction, immunity, and metabolism. It has been shown that Wolbachia modulates glycogen metabolism in mosquito Aedes fluviatilis (Ae. fluviatilis). Glycogen synthesis is controlled by the enzyme GSK3, which is also involved in immune responses in both vertebrate and invertebrate organisms. Here we investigated the mechanisms behind immune changes mediated by GSK3β in the symbiosis between Ae. fluviatilis and Wolbachia pipientis using a GSK3β inhibitor or RNAi-mediated gene silencing. GSK3β inhibition or knockdown increased glycogen content and Wolbachia population, together with a reduction in Relish2 (REL2) and gambicin transcripts. Furthermore, knockdown of REL2 or Caspar revealed that the Imd pathway acts to control Wolbachia numbers in the host. In conclusion, we describe for the first time the involvement of GSK3β in Ae. fluviatillis immune response, acting to control the Wolbachia endosymbiotic population.

RevDate: 2024-04-08

Mirchandani C, Wang P, Jacobs J, et al (2024)

Mixed Wolbachia infections resolve rapidly during in vitro evolution.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2024.03.27.586911.

UNLABELLED: The intracellular symbiont Wolbachia pipientis evolved after the divergence of arthropods and nematodes, but it reached high prevalence in many of these taxa through its abilities to infect new hosts and their germlines. Some strains exhibit long-term patterns of co-evolution with their hosts, while other strains are capable of switching hosts. This makes strain selection an important factor in symbiont-based biological control. However, little is known about the ecological and evolutionary interactions that occur when a promiscuous strain colonizes an infected host. Here, we study what occurs when two strains come into contact in host cells following horizontal transmission and infection. We focus on the faithful w Mel strain from Drosophila melanogaster and the promiscuous w Ri strain from Drosophila simulans using an in vitro cell culture system with multiple host cell types and combinatorial infection states. Mixing D. melanogaster cell lines stably infected with w Mel and w Ri revealed that wMel outcompetes w Ri quickly and reproducibly. Furthermore, w Mel was able to competitively exclude w Ri even from minuscule starting quantities, indicating that this is a nearly deterministic outcome, independent of the starting infection frequency. This competitive advantage was not exclusive to wM el's native D. melanogaster cell background, as w Mel also outgrew w Ri in D. simulans cells. Overall, w Ri is less adept at i n vitro growth and survival than w Mel and its in vivo state, revealing differences between cellular and humoral regulation. These attributes may underlie the observed low rate of mixed infections in nature and the relatively rare rate of host-switching in most strains. Our in vitro experimental framework for estimating cellular growth dynamics of Wolbachia strains in different host species, tissues, and cell types provides the first strategy for parameterizing endosymbiont and host cell biology at high resolution. This toolset will be crucial to our application of these bacteria as biological control agents in novel hosts and ecosystems.

AUTHOR SUMMARY: Wolbachia pipientis is one of the most common bacterial endosymbionts due to its ability to manipulate host reproduction, and it has become a useful biological control tool for mosquito populations. Wolbachia is passed from mother to offspring, however the bacterium can also "jump" to new hosts via horizontal transmission. When a Wolbachia strain successfully infects a new host, it often encounters a resident strain that it must either replace or co-exist with as a superinfection. Here, we use a Drosophila melanogaster cell culture system to study the dynamics of mixed Wolbachia infections consisting of the high-fidelity w Mel and promiscuous w Ri strains. The w Mel strain consistently outcompetes the w Ri strain, regardless of w Mel's initial frequency in D. melanogaster cells. This competitive advantage is independent of host species. While both strains significantly impede host cell division, only the w Mel strain is able to rapidly expand into uninfected cells. Our results suggest that the w Ri strain is pathogenic in nature and a poor cellular symbiont, and it is retained in natural infections because cell lineages are not expendable or replaceable in development. These findings provide insights into mixed infection outcomes, which are crucial for the use of the bacteria in biological control.

RevDate: 2024-04-04

Fisher AM, Knell RJ, Price TAR, et al (2024)

Sex ratio distorting microbes exacerbate arthropod extinction risk in variable environments.

Ecology and evolution, 14(4):e11216.

Maternally-inherited sex ratio distorting microbes (SRDMs) are common among arthropod species. Typically, these microbes cause female-biased sex ratios in host broods, either by; killing male offspring, feminising male offspring, or inducing parthenogenesis. As a result, infected populations can experience drastic ecological and evolutionary change. The mechanism by which SRDMs operate is likely to alter their impact on host evolutionary ecology; despite this, the current literature is heavily biased towards a single mechanism of sex ratio distortion, male-killing. Furthermore, amidst the growing concerns surrounding the loss of arthropod diversity, research into the impact of SRDMs on the viability of arthropod populations is generally lacking. In this study, using a theoretical approach, we model the epidemiology of an understudied mechanism of microbially-induced sex ratio distortion-feminisation-to ask an understudied question-how do SRDMs impact extinction risk in a changing environment? We constructed an individual-based model and measured host population extinction risk under various environmental and epidemiological scenarios. We also used our model to identify the precise mechanism modulating extinction. We find that the presence of feminisers increases host population extinction risk, an effect that is exacerbated in highly variable environments. We also identified transmission rate as the dominant epidemiological trait responsible for driving extinction. Finally, our model shows that sex ratio skew is the mechanism driving extinction. We highlight feminisers and, more broadly, SRDMs as important determinants of the resilience of arthropod populations to environmental change.

RevDate: 2024-04-03

Amala M, Nagarajan H, Ahila M, et al (2024)

Unveiling the intricacies of allosteric regulation in aspartate kinase from the Wolbachia endosymbiont of Brugia Malayi: Mechanistic and therapeutic insights.

International journal of biological macromolecules pii:S0141-8130(24)02131-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Aspartate kinase (AK), an enzyme from the Wolbachia endosymbiont of Brugia malayi (WBm), plays a pivotal role in the bacterial cell wall and amino acid biosynthesis, rendering it an attractive candidate for therapeutic intervention. Allosteric inhibition of aspartate kinase is a prevalent mode of regulation across microorganisms and plants, often modulated by end products such as lysine, threonine, methionine, or meso-diaminopimelate. The intricate and diverse nature of microbial allosteric regulation underscores the need for rigorous investigation. This study employs a combined experimental and computational approach to decipher the allosteric regulation of WBmAK. Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations elucidate that ATP (cofactor) and ASP (substrate) binding induce a closed conformation, promoting enzymatic activity. In contrast, the binding of lysine (allosteric inhibitor) leads to enzyme inactivation and an open conformation. The enzymatic assay demonstrates the optimal activity of WBmAK at 28 °C and a pH of 8.0. Notably, the allosteric inhibition study highlights lysine as a more potent inhibitor compared to threonine. Importantly, this investigation sheds light on the allosteric mechanism governing WBmAK and imparts novel insights into structure-based drug discovery, paving the way for the development of effective inhibitors against filarial pathogens.

RevDate: 2024-04-03

Rawle DJ, Hugo LE, Cox AL, et al (2024)

Generating prophylactic immunity against arboviruses in vertebrates and invertebrates.

Nature reviews. Immunology [Epub ahead of print].

The World Health Organization recently declared a global initiative to control arboviral diseases. These are mainly caused by pathogenic flaviviruses (such as dengue, yellow fever and Zika viruses) and alphaviruses (such as chikungunya and Venezuelan equine encephalitis viruses). Vaccines represent key interventions for these viruses, with licensed human and/or veterinary vaccines being available for several members of both genera. However, a hurdle for the licensing of new vaccines is the epidemic nature of many arboviruses, which presents logistical challenges for phase III efficacy trials. Furthermore, our ability to predict or measure the post-vaccination immune responses that are sufficient for subclinical outcomes post-infection is limited. Given that arboviruses are also subject to control by the immune system of their insect vectors, several approaches are now emerging that aim to augment antiviral immunity in mosquitoes, including Wolbachia infection, transgenic mosquitoes, insect-specific viruses and paratransgenesis. In this Review, we discuss recent advances, current challenges and future prospects in exploiting both vertebrate and invertebrate immune systems for the control of flaviviral and alphaviral diseases.

RevDate: 2024-04-02

Reyes JIL, Suzuki T, Suzuki Y, et al (2024)

Detection and quantification of natural Wolbachia in Aedes aegypti in Metropolitan Manila, Philippines using locally designed primers.

Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 14:1360438.

BACKGROUND: The Philippines bears health and economic burden caused by high dengue cases annually. Presently, the Philippines still lack an effective and sustainable vector management. The use of Wolbachia, a maternally transmitted bacterium, that mitigate arbovirus transmission has been recommended. Cytoplasmic incompatibility and viral blocking, two characteristics that make Wolbachia suitable for vector control, depend on infection prevalence and density. There are no current Wolbachia release programs in the Philippines, and studies regarding the safety of this intervention. Here, we screened for Wolbachia in Aedes aegypti collected from Metropolitan Manila, Philippines. We designed location-specific primers for qPCR to test whether this improved Wolbachia detection in Ae. aegypti. We explored if host sex and Wolbachia strain could be potential factors affecting Wolbachia density.

METHODS: Ae. aegypti mosquitoes (n=429) were screened for natural Wolbachia by taqman qPCR using location-specific Wolbachia surface protein primers (wspAAML) and known 16S rRNA primers. Samples positive for wspAAML (n=267) were processed for Sanger sequencing. We constructed a phylogenetic tree using IQ-TREE 2 to further characterize Wolbachia present in the Philippine Ae. aegypti. We then compared Wolbachia densities between Wolbachia groups and host sex. Statistical analyses were done using GraphPad Prism 9.0.

RESULTS: Wolbachia prevalence for 16S rRNA (40%) and wspAAML (62%) markers were high. Wolbachia relative densities for 16S rRNA ranged from -3.84 to 2.71 and wspAAML from -4.02 to 1.81. Densities were higher in male than female mosquitoes. Wolbachia strains detected in Ae. aegypti clustered into supergroup B. Some 54% (123/226) of these sequences clustered under a group referred to here as "wAegML," that belongs to the supergroup B, which had a significantly lower density than wAegB/wAlbB, and wAlbA strains.

CONCLUSION: Location-specific primers improved detection of natural Wolbachia in Ae. aegypti and allowed for relative quantification. Wolbachia density is relatively low, and differed between host sexes and Wolbachia strains. An economical way of confirming sporadic or transient Wolbachia in Ae. aegypti is necessary while considering host sex and bacterial strain.

RevDate: 2024-04-01

Ferguson LF, Ross PA, B van Heerwaarden (2024)

Wolbachia infection negatively impacts Drosophila simulans heat tolerance in a strain- and trait-specific manner.

Environmental microbiology, 26(4):e16609.

The susceptibility of insects to rising temperatures has largely been measured by their ability to survive thermal extremes. However, the capacity for maternally inherited endosymbionts to influence insect heat tolerance has been overlooked. Further, while some studies have addressed the impact of heat on traits like fertility, which can decline at temperatures below lethal thermal limits, none have considered the impact of endosymbionts. Here, we assess the impact of three Wolbachia strains (wRi, wAu and wNo) on the survival and fertility of Drosophila simulans exposed to heat stress during development or as adults. The effect of Wolbachia infection on heat tolerance was generally small and trait/strain specific. Only the wNo infection significantly reduced the survival of adult males after a heat shock. When exposed to fluctuating heat stress during development, the wRi and wAu strains reduced egg-to-adult survival but only the wNo infection reduced male fertility. Wolbachia densities of all three strains decreased under developmental heat stress, but reductions occurred at temperatures above those that reduced host fertility. These findings emphasize the necessity to account for endosymbionts and their effect on both survival and fertility when investigating insect responses to heat stress.

RevDate: 2024-03-30

Konecka E, P Szymkowiak (2024)

Wolbachia supergroup A in Enoplognatha latimana (Araneae: Theridiidae) in Poland as an example of possible horizontal transfer of bacteria.

Scientific reports, 14(1):7486.

Wolbachia (phylum Pseudomonadota, class Alfaproteobacteria, order Rickettsiales, family Ehrlichiaceae) is a maternally inherited bacterial symbiont infecting more than half of arthropod species worldwide and constituting an important force in the evolution, biology, and ecology of invertebrate hosts. Our study contributes to the limited knowledge regarding the presence of intracellular symbiotic bacteria in spiders. Specifically, we investigated the occurrence of Wolbachia infection in the spider species Enoplognatha latimana Hippa and Oksala, 1982 (Araneae: Theridiidae) using a sample collected in north-western Poland. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of Wolbachia infection in E. latimana. A phylogeny based on the sequence analysis of multiple genes, including 16S rRNA, coxA, fbpA, ftsZ, gatB, gltA, groEL, hcpA, and wsp revealed that Wolbachia from the spider represented supergroup A and was related to bacterial endosymbionts discovered in other spider hosts, as well as insects of the orders Diptera and Hymenoptera. A sequence unique for Wolbachia supergroup A was detected for the ftsZ gene. The sequences of Wolbachia housekeeping genes have been deposited in publicly available databases and are an important source of molecular data for comparative studies. The etiology of Wolbachia infection in E. latimana is discussed.

RevDate: 2024-03-28

Martin M, López-Madrigal S, ILG Newton (2024)

The Wolbachia WalE1 effector alters Drosophila endocytosis.

PLoS pathogens, 20(3):e1011245 pii:PPATHOGENS-D-23-00368 [Epub ahead of print].

The most common intracellular bacterial infection is Wolbachia pipientis, a microbe that manipulates host reproduction and is used in control of insect vectors. Phenotypes induced by Wolbachia have been studied for decades and range from sperm-egg incompatibility to male killing. How Wolbachia alters host biology is less well understood. Previously, we characterized the first Wolbachia effector-WalE1, which encodes an alpha-synuclein domain at the N terminus. Purified WalE1 sediments with and bundles actin and when heterologously expressed in flies, increases Wolbachia titer in the developing oocyte. In this work, we first identify the native expression of WalE1 by Wolbachia infecting both fly cells and whole animals. WalE1 appears as aggregates in the host cell cytosol. We next show that WalE1 co-immunoprecipitates with the host protein Past1, although might not directly interact with it, and that WalE1 manipulates host endocytosis. Yeast expressing WalE1 show deficiency in uptake of FM4-64 dye, and flies harboring mutations in Past1 or overexpressing WalE1 are sensitive to AgNO3, a hallmark of endocytosis defects. We also show that flies expressing WalE1 suffer from endocytosis defects in larval nephrocytes. Finally, we also show that Past1 null flies harbor more Wolbachia overall and in late egg chambers. Our results identify interactions between Wolbachia and a host protein involved in endocytosis and point to yet another important host cell process impinged upon by Wolbachia's WalE1 effector.

RevDate: 2024-03-28

Kaur R, Meier CJ, McGraw EA, et al (2024)

The mechanism of cytoplasmic incompatibility is conserved in Wolbachia-bearing Aedes aegypti mosquitoes deployed for arbovirus control.

PLoS biology, 22(3):e3002573 pii:PBIOLOGY-D-23-03084 [Epub ahead of print].

The rising interest and success in deploying inherited microorganisms and cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) for vector control strategies necessitate an explanation of the CI mechanism. Wolbachia-induced CI manifests in the form of embryonic lethality when sperm from Wolbachia-bearing testes fertilize eggs from uninfected females. Embryos from infected females however survive to sustain the maternally inherited symbiont. Previously in Drosophila melanogaster flies, we demonstrated that CI modifies chromatin integrity in developing sperm to bestow the embryonic lethality. Here, we validate these findings using wMel-transinfected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes released to control vector-borne diseases. Once again, the prophage WO CI proteins CifA and CifB target male gametic nuclei to modify chromatin integrity via an aberrant histone-to-protamine transition. Cifs are not detected in the embryo, and thus elicit CI via the nucleoprotein modifications established pre-fertilization. The rescue protein CifA in oogenesis localizes to stem cell, nurse cell, and oocyte nuclei, as well as embryonic DNA during embryogenesis. Discovery of the nuclear targeting Cifs and altered histone-to-protamine transition in both Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and D. melanogaster flies affirms the Host Modification Model of CI is conserved across these host species. The study also newly uncovers the cell biology of Cif proteins in the ovaries, CifA localization in the embryos, and an impaired histone-to-protamine transition during spermiogenesis of any mosquito species. Overall, these sperm modification findings may enable future optimization of CI efficacy in vectors or pests that are refractory to Wolbachia transinfections.

RevDate: 2024-03-28

Ilbeigi Khamseh Nejad M, Cappelli A, Damiani C, et al (2024)

Wolbachia and Asaia Distribution among Different Mosquito Vectors Is Affected by Tissue Localization and Host Species.

Microorganisms, 12(3): pii:microorganisms12030545.

Microbial communities play an important role in the fitness of mosquito hosts. However, the factors shaping microbial communities in wild populations, with regard to interactions among microbial species, are still largely unknown. Previous research has demonstrated that two of the most studied mosquito symbionts, the bacteria Wolbachia and Asaia, seem to compete or not compete, depending on the genetic background of the reference mosquito host. The large diversity of Wolbachia-Asaia strain combinations that infect natural populations of mosquitoes may offer a relevant opportunity to select suitable phenotypes for the suppression of pathogen transmission and for the manipulation of host reproduction. We surveyed Wolbachia and Asaia in 44 mosquito populations belonging to 11 different species of the genera Anopheles, Aedes, and Culex using qualitative PCR. Through quantitative PCR, the amounts of both bacteria were assessed in different mosquito organs, and through metagenomics, we determined the microbiota compositions in some selected mosquito populations. We show that variation in microbial community structure is likely associated with the species/strain of mosquito, its geographical position, and tissue localization. Together, our results shed light on the interactions among different bacterial species in the microbial communities of mosquito vectors, and this can aid the development and/or improvement of methods for symbiotic control of insect vectors.

RevDate: 2024-03-27

Cholvi M, Trelis M, Bueno-Marí R, et al (2024)

Wolbachia Infection through Hybridization to Enhance an Incompatible Insect Technique-Based Suppression of Aedes albopictus in Eastern Spain.

Insects, 15(3): pii:insects15030206.

The emergence of insecticide resistance in arbovirus vectors is putting the focus on the development of new strategies for control. In this regard, the exploitation of Wolbachia endosymbionts is receiving increasing attention due to its demonstrated effectiveness in reducing the vectorial capacity of Aedes mosquitoes. Here, we describe the establishment of a naïve Wolbachia infection in a wild Aedes albopictus population of eastern Spain through a hybridization approach to obtain males capable of sterilizing wild females. The obtained lines were compared with the Wolbachia donor, Ae. albopictus ARwP, previously artificially infected with Wolbachia wPip, regarding immature and adult survival, female fecundity, egg fertility, and level of induced sterility. Our results did not show significant differences between lines in any of the biological parameters analyzed, indicating the full suitability of the hybrids to be used as a control tool against Ae. albopictus. In particular, hybrid males induced 99.9% sterility in the eggs of wild females without the need for any preliminary treatment. Being harmless to non-target organisms and the environment, the use of this bacterium for the control of Ae. albopictus deserves further exploration. This is especially relevant in areas such as eastern Spain, where this mosquito species has recently spread and may represent a serious threat due to its competence as a vector for dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses.

RevDate: 2024-03-27

Miranda LS, Rudd SR, Mena O, et al (2024)

The Perpetual Vector Mosquito Threat and Its Eco-Friendly Nemeses.

Biology, 13(3): pii:biology13030182.

Mosquitoes are the most notorious arthropod vectors of viral and parasitic diseases for which approximately half the world's population, ~4,000,000,000, is at risk. Integrated pest management programs (IPMPs) have achieved some success in mitigating the regional transmission and persistence of these diseases. However, as many vector-borne diseases remain pervasive, it is obvious that IPMP successes have not been absolute in eradicating the threat imposed by mosquitoes. Moreover, the expanding mosquito geographic ranges caused by factors related to climate change and globalization (travel, trade, and migration), and the evolution of resistance to synthetic pesticides, present ongoing challenges to reducing or eliminating the local and global burden of these diseases, especially in economically and medically disadvantaged societies. Abatement strategies include the control of vector populations with synthetic pesticides and eco-friendly technologies. These "green" technologies include SIT, IIT, RIDL, CRISPR/Cas9 gene drive, and biological control that specifically targets the aquatic larval stages of mosquitoes. Regarding the latter, the most effective continues to be the widespread use of Lysinibacillus sphaericus (Ls) and Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti). Here, we present a review of the health issues elicited by vector mosquitoes, control strategies, and lastly, focus on the biology of Ls and Bti, with an emphasis on the latter, to which no resistance has been observed in the field.

RevDate: 2024-03-27

Hyder M, Lodhi AM, Wang Z, et al (2024)

Wolbachia Interactions with Diverse Insect Hosts: From Reproductive Modulations to Sustainable Pest Management Strategies.

Biology, 13(3): pii:biology13030151.

Effective in a variety of insect orders, including dipteran, lepidopteran, and hemipteran, Wolbachia-based control tactics are investigated, noting the importance of sterile and incompatible insect techniques. Encouraging approaches for controlling Aedes mosquitoes are necessary, as demonstrated by the evaluation of a new SIT/IIT combination and the incorporation of SIT into Drosophila suzukii management. For example, Wolbachia may protect plants from rice pests, demonstrating its potential for agricultural biological vector management. Maternal transmission and cytoplasmic incompatibility dynamics are explored, while Wolbachia phenotypic impacts on mosquito and rice pest management are examined. The importance of host evolutionary distance is emphasised in recent scale insect research that addresses host-shifting. Using greater information, a suggested method for comprehending Wolbachia host variations in various contexts emphasises ecological connectivity. Endosymbionts passed on maternally in nematodes and arthropods, Wolbachia are widely distributed around the world and have evolved both mutualistic and parasitic traits. Wolbachia is positioned as a paradigm for microbial symbiosis due to advancements in multiomics, gene functional assays, and its effect on human health. The challenges and opportunities facing Wolbachia research include scale issues, ecological implications, ethical conundrums, and the possibility of customising strains through genetic engineering. It is thought that cooperative efforts are required to include Wolbachia-based therapies into pest management techniques while ensuring responsible and sustainable ways.

RevDate: 2024-03-26

Fricke LC, ARI Lindsey (2024)

Identification of parthenogenesis-inducing effector proteins in Wolbachia.

Genome biology and evolution pii:7635173 [Epub ahead of print].

Bacteria in the genus Wolbachia have evolved numerous strategies to manipulate arthropod sex, including the conversion of would-be male offspring to asexually reproducing females. This so-called "parthenogenesis-induction" phenotype can be found in a number of Wolbachia strains that infect arthropods with haplodiploid sex determination systems, including parasitoid wasps. Despite the discovery of microbe-mediated parthenogenesis more than 30 years ago, the underlying genetic mechanisms have remained elusive. We used a suite of genomic, computational, and molecular tools to identify and characterize two proteins that are uniquely found in parthenogenesis-inducing Wolbachia and have strong signatures of host-associated bacterial effector proteins. These putative parthenogenesis-inducing proteins have structural homology to eukaryotic protein domains including nucleoporins, the key insect sex-determining factor Transformer, and a eukaryotic-like serine-threonine kinase with leucine rich repeats. Furthermore, these proteins significantly impact eukaryotic cell biology in the model Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We suggest these proteins are parthenogenesis-inducing factors and our results indicate this would be made possible by a novel mechanism of bacterial-host interaction.

RevDate: 2024-03-26

Soo WF, Gunasekaran K, Ng DX, et al (2024)

Literacy and attitude of Asian youths on dengue and its prevention in an endemic developed community.

Frontiers in public health, 12:1361717.

BACKGROUND: Over the past few decades, the incidence of dengue fever has considerably increased. Effective vector control strategies and specific protection using dengue vaccine are thought to be the key elements to combat dengue. The dengue incidence among the Singapore youths (15-24 years) was second only to that of adults (25-44 years). This study evaluated the knowledge and attitude of Singapore youths on dengue and its preventive measures.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study using online-based questionnaire survey was conducted among Singapore youths from September to November 2022. Data were analyzed for descriptive statistics whereas Chi-squared test, linear regression analysis and Pearson correlation were used to determine the association between demographic factors and youth's attitude on dengue prevention using Rstudio.

RESULTS: A total of 624 respondents completed the survey out of 1822 surveys distributed nation-wide, with a response rate of 34.2% (mean age 17.4 years ± 1.84; 59.3% female; 89.9% Chinese). The mean dengue knowledge scores of participants were 14.1 ±2.8. Univariate analysis showed that teenagers (15-19 years) had significantly higher knowledge score than the young adults (20-24 years) (β=0.82,95%CI = 0.13-1.51, p = 0.021). Majority of them were aware of the Mozzie Wipeout campaign (90.2%) followed by the release of Wolbachia mosquitos (69.1%). Two-thirds of the youths who were aware of Wolbachia and Gravitrap considered that it was effective in reducing dengue infection rates. Participants suggested information about the current dengue infection rate (71.9%) as the most effective of the five proposed strategies to improve uptake of dengue preventive measures. In comparison to young adults, teenagers were more likely to uptake dengue preventive measures if widespread mosquito control practices were implemented (69.1% vs. 42.3%).

CONCLUSION: The overall knowledge of the youths on dengue and its prevention was satisfactory. Future health promotion campaigns targeting the youths should focus on transforming the knowledge into practice.

RevDate: 2024-03-25

Guse K, JE Pietri (2024)

Endosymbiont and gut bacterial communities of the brown-banded cockroach, Supella longipalpa.

PeerJ, 12:e17095.

The brown-banded cockroach (Supella longipalpa) is a widespread nuisance and public health pest. Like the German cockroach (Blattella germanica), this species is adapted to the indoor biome and completes the entirety of its life cycle in human-built structures. Recently, understanding the contributions of commensal and symbiotic microbes to the biology of cockroach pests, as well as the applications of targeting these microbes for pest control, have garnered significant scientific interest. However, relative to B. germanica, the biology of S. longipalpa, including its microbial associations, is understudied. Therefore, the goal of the present study was to quantitatively examine and characterize both the endosymbiont and gut bacterial communities of S. longipalpa for the first time. To do so, bacterial 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing was conducted on DNA extracts from whole adult females and males, early instar nymphs, and late instar nymphs. The results demonstrate that the gut microbiome is dominated by two genera of bacteria known to have beneficial probiotic effects in other organisms, namely Lactobacillus and Akkermansia. Furthermore, our data show a significant effect of nymphal development on diversity and variation in the gut microbiome. Lastly, we reveal significant negative correlations between the two intracellular endosymbionts, Blattabacterium and Wolbachia, as well as between Blattabacterium and the gut microbiome, suggesting that Blattabacterium endosymbionts could directly or indirectly influence the composition of other bacterial populations. These findings have implications for understanding the adaptation of S. longipalpa to the indoor biome, its divergence from other indoor cockroach pest species such as B. germanica, the development of novel control approaches that target the microbiome, and fundamental insect-microbe interactions more broadly.

RevDate: 2024-03-20

Hollingsworth BD, Cho C, Vella M, et al (2024)

Economic Optimization of Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti release to prevent dengue.

Pest management science [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Dengue virus, primarily transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, is a major public health concern affecting approximately 3.83 billion people worldwide. Recent releases of Wolbachia-transinfected Ae. aegypti in several cities worldwide have shown that it can reduce dengue transmission. However, these releases are costly, and, to date, no framework has been proposed for determining economically optimal release strategies that account for both costs associated with disease risk and releases.

RESULTS: We present a flexible stochastic dynamic programming framework for determining optimal release schedules for Wolbachia-transinfected mosquitoes that balances the cost of dengue infection with the costs of rearing and releasing transinfected mosquitoes. Using an ordinary differential equation model of Wolbachia and dengue in a hypothetical city loosely describing areas at risk of new dengue epidemics, we determined that an all-or-nothing release strategy that quickly brings Wolbachia to fixation is often the optimal solution. Based on this, we examined the optimal facility size, finding that it was less than unitary elastic with respect to the mosquito population size, with a 100% increase in population size resulting in a 50-67% increase in optimal facility size. Further, we found that these results are robust to mosquito life-history parameters and are mostly determined by the mosquito population size and the fitness costs associated with Wolbachia.

CONCLUSIONS: These results reinforce that Wolbachia-transinfected mosquitoes can reduce the cost of dengue epidemics. Further, they emphasize the importance of determining the size of the target population and fitness costs associated with Wolbachia before releases occur. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2024-03-20

Du Toit A (2024)

Drosophila sperm sabotage by Wolbachia prophage.

Nature reviews. Microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2024-03-19

Singh AS, Pathak D, Devi MS, et al (2024)

Antibiotic alters host's gut microbiota, fertility, and antimicrobial peptide gene expression vis-à-vis ampicillin treatment on model organism Drosophila melanogaster.

International microbiology : the official journal of the Spanish Society for Microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Antibiotics are commonly used to treat infectious diseases; however, persistence is often expressed by the pathogenic bacteria and their long-term relative effect on the host have been neglected. The present study investigated the impact of antibiotics in gut microbiota (GM) and metabolism of host. The effect of ampicillin antibiotics on GM of Drosophila melanogaster was analyzed through deep sequencing of 16S rRNA amplicon gene. The dominant phyla consisted of Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, Planctomycetes, Chloroflexi, Euryarchaeota, Acedobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, and Cyanobacteria. It was found that the composition of GM was significantly altered on administration of antibiotics. On antibiotic treatments, there were decline in relative abundance of Proteobacteria and Firmicutes, while there were increase in relative abundance of Chlorophyta and Bacteroidota. High abundance of 14 genera, viz., Wolbachia, Lactobacillus, Bacillus, Pseudomonas, Thiolamprovum, Pseudoalteromonas, Vibrio, Romboutsia, Staphylococcus, Alteromonas, Clostridium, Lysinibacillus, Litoricola, and Cellulophaga were significant (p ≤ 0.05) upon antibiotic treatment. Particularly, the abundance of Acetobacter was significantly (p ≤ 0.05) declined but increased for Wolbachia. Further, a significant (p ≤ 0.05) increase in Wolbachia endosymbiont of D. melanogaster, Wolbachia endosymbiont of Curculio okumai, and Wolbachia pipientis and a decrease in the Acinetobacter sp. were observed. We observed an increase in functional capacity for biosynthesis of certain nucleotides and the enzyme activities. Further, the decrease in antimicrobial peptide production in the treated group and potential effects on the host's defense mechanisms were observed. This study helps shed light on an often-overlooked dimension, namely the persistence of antibiotics' effects on the host.

RevDate: 2024-03-18

Hague MTJ, Wheeler TB, BS Cooper (2024)

Comparative analysis of Wolbachia maternal transmission and localization in host ovaries.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2024.03.03.583170.

Many insects and other animals carry microbial endosymbionts that influence their reproduction and fitness. These relationships only persist if endosymbionts are reliably transmitted from one host generation to the next. Wolbachia are maternally transmitted endosymbionts found in most insect species, but transmission rates can vary across environments. Maternal transmission of w Mel Wolbachia depends on temperature in natural Drosophila melanogaster hosts and in transinfected Aedes aegypti , where w Mel is used to block pathogens that cause human disease. In D. melanogaster , w Mel transmission declines in the cold as Wolbachia become less abundant in host ovaries and at the posterior pole plasm (the site of germline formation) in mature oocytes. Here, we assess how temperature affects maternal transmission and underlying patterns of Wolbachia localization across 10 Wolbachia strains diverged up to 50 million years-including strains closely related to w Mel-and their natural Drosophila hosts. Many Wolbachia maintain high transmission rates across temperatures, despite highly variable (and sometimes low) levels of Wolbachia in the ovaries and at the developing germline in late-stage oocytes. Identifying strains like closely related w Mel-like Wolbachia with stable transmission across variable environmental conditions may improve the efficacy of Wolbachia -based biocontrol efforts as they expand into globally diverse environments.

RevDate: 2024-03-17

González MA, Ruiz-Arrondo I, Bravo-Barriga D, et al (2024)

Surveillance and screening of Stomoxyinae flies from Mallorca Island (Spain) reveal the absence of selected pathogens but confirm the presence of the endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia pipientis.

Research in veterinary science, 171:105206 pii:S0034-5288(24)00072-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Adult brachycera biting flies can significantly impact livestock through both direct effects (reduction of food intake, disturbance, painful bites, and blood loss) and indirect effects (pathogen transmission), leading to substantial economic losses and production damage. This study aimed to assess the presence of blood-sucking flies in six mixed-animal farm environments on the island of Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain) by employing multiple trapping methods. Additionally, distribution maps of brachycera biting fly species recorded in Spain were created, based on data extracted thorough review of scientific literature and citizen digital databases. Investigation of several pathogens, including equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV), Anaplasmataceae bacteria, and piroplasm protozoa, was carried out using different PCR targets (18S rRNA, 16S rRNA, groESL, and tat genes). Citizen science databases and literature review corroborated the consistent distribution trend for two Stomoxyinae species, underscoring the importance of citizen collaboration as a complement to traditional entomological surveillance. Our study confirmed the presence of two biting Stomoxyinae species: the prevalent stable fly Stomoxys calcitrans across all sampled farms, and the horn fly Haematobia irritans, which turned out to be less abundant. DNA barcoding techniques validated the identification of the two species. Neither EIAV nor bacterial/protozoan pathogens were detected using the selected PCR targets in either fly species. However, Wolbachia pipientis (clustered in the supergroup A together with the only sequence of W. pipientis from the USA) was identified through PCR targeting 16S rRNA, groESL and wsp genes in all pools of H. irritans (n = 13) collected from two of the examined farms. This study represents the first attempt to investigate pathogens in Stomoxyinae biting flies in Spain. The discovery of the endosymbiotic Wolbachia organism in H. irritans represents the first record in Spain and the second from Europe. This finding holds significant implications for future research on the applications of this bacterium in biocontrol programs.

RevDate: 2024-03-15

Calleros-González P, Ibarra-Juarez A, Lamelas A, et al (2024)

How host species and body part determine the microbial communities of five ambrosia beetle species.

International microbiology : the official journal of the Spanish Society for Microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

The ambrosia beetles are farming insects that feed mainly on their cultivated fungi, which in some occasions are pathogens from forest and fruit trees. We used a culture-independent approach based on 16S and 18S rRNA gene metabarcoding analysis to investigate the diversity and composition of the bacterial and fungal communities associated with five ambrosia beetle species: four species native to America (Monarthrum dimidiatum, Dryocoetoides capucinus, Euwallacea discretus, Corthylus consimilis) and an introduced species (Xylosandrus morigerus). For the bacterial community, the beetle species hosted a broad diversity with 1,579 amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) and 66 genera, while for the fungal community they hosted 288 ASVs and 39 genera. Some microbial groups dominated the community within a host species or a body part (Wolbachia in the head-thorax of E. discretus; Ambrosiella in the head-thorax and abdomen of X. morigerus). The taxonomic composition and structure of the microbial communities appeared to differ between beetle species; this was supported by beta-diversity analysis, which indicated that bacterial and fungal communities were clustered mainly by host species. This study characterizes for the first time the microbial communities associated with unexplored ambrosia beetle species, as well as the factors that affect the composition and taxonomic diversity per se, contributing to the knowledge of the ambrosia beetle system.

RevDate: 2024-03-14

Simmons CP, Donald W, Tagavi L, et al (2024)

Successful introgression of wMel Wolbachia into Aedes aegypti populations in Fiji, Vanuatu and Kiribati.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 18(3):e0012022 pii:PNTD-D-23-00714 [Epub ahead of print].

Pacific Island countries have experienced periodic dengue, chikungunya and Zika outbreaks for decades. The prevention and control of these mosquito-borne diseases rely heavily on control of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which in most settings are the primary vector. Introgression of the intracellular bacterium Wolbachia pipientis (wMel strain) into Ae. aegypti populations reduces their vector competence and consequently lowers dengue incidence in the human population. Here we describe successful area-wide deployments of wMel-infected Ae. aegypti in Suva, Lautoka, Nadi (Fiji), Port Vila (Vanuatu) and South Tarawa (Kiribati). With community support, weekly releases of wMel-infected Ae. aegypti mosquitoes for between 2 to 5 months resulted in wMel introgression in nearly all locations. Long term monitoring confirmed a high, self-sustaining prevalence of wMel infecting mosquitoes in almost all deployment areas. Measurement of public health outcomes were disrupted by the Covid19 pandemic but are expected to emerge in the coming years.

RevDate: 2024-03-14

Maciel-de-Freitas R, Sauer FG, Kliemke K, et al (2024)

Wolbachia strains wMel and wAlbB differentially affect Aedes aegypti traits related to fecundity.

Microbiology spectrum [Epub ahead of print].

Two Wolbachia strains, wMel and wAlbB, have been transinfected into Aedes aegypti mosquitoes for population replacement with the aim of reducing dengue transmission. Epidemiological data from various endemic sites suggest a pronounced decrease in dengue transmission after implementing this strategy. In this study, we investigated the impact of the Wolbachia strains wMel and wAlbB on Ae. aegypti fitness in a common genetic background. We found that Ae. aegypti females infected with the wMel strain exhibited several significant differences compared with those infected with the wAlbB strain. Specifically, wMel-infected females laid significantly fewer eggs, ingested a lower amount of blood, had a reduced egg production rate, and exhibited a decreased Wolbachia density at a later age compared with mosquitoes infected with the wAlbB strain. Conversely, the wAlbB strain showed only mild negative effects when compared with Wolbachia-uninfected specimens. These differential effects on Ae. aegypti fitness following infection with either wMel or wAlbB may have important implications for the success of population replacement strategies in invading native Ae. aegypti populations in endemic settings. Further research is needed to better understand the underlying mechanisms responsible for these differences in fitness effects and their potential impact on the long-term efficacy of Wolbachia-based dengue control programs.IMPORTANCEThe transmission of arboviruses such as dengue, Zika, and chikungunya is on the rise globally. Among the most promising strategies to reduce arbovirus burden is the release of one out of two strains of Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti: wMel and wAlbB. One critical aspect of whether this approach will succeed involves the fitness cost of either Wolbachia strains on mosquito life history traits. For instance, we found that wMel-infected Ae. aegypti females laid significantly fewer eggs, ingested a lower amount of blood, had a reduced egg production rate, and exhibited a decreased Wolbachia density at a later age compared with mosquitoes infected with the wAlbB strain. Conversely, the wAlbB strain showed only mild negative effects when compared with Wolbachia-uninfected specimens. These differential effects on mosquito fitness following infection with either wMel or wAlbB may have important implications for the success of population replacement strategies in invading native Ae. aegypti populations.

RevDate: 2024-03-12

Auguste A, Ris N, Belgaidi Z, et al (2024)

Insect population dynamics under Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility: Puzzle more than buzz in Drosophila suzukii.

PloS one, 19(3):e0300248 pii:PONE-D-23-25628.

In theory, the introduction of individuals infected with an incompatible strain of Wolbachia pipientis into a recipient host population should result in the symbiont invasion and reproductive failures caused by cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). Modelling studies combining Wolbachia invasion and host population dynamics show that these two processes could interact to cause a transient population decline and, in some conditions, extinction. However, these effects could be sensitive to density dependence, with the Allee effect increasing the probability of extinction, and competition reducing the demographic impact of CI. We tested these predictions with laboratory experiments in the fruit fly Drosophila suzukii and the transinfected Wolbachia strain wTei. Surprisingly, the introduction of wTei into D. suzukii populations at carrying capacity did not result in the expected wTei invasion and transient population decline. In parallel, we found no Allee effect but strong negative density dependence. From these results, we propose that competition interacts in an antagonistic way with Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility on insect population dynamics. If future models and data support this hypothesis, pest management strategies using Wolbachia-induced CI should target populations with negligible competition but a potential Allee effect, for instance at the beginning of the reproductive season.

RevDate: 2024-03-12

Field EN, RC Smith (2023)

Seasonality influences key physiological components contributing to Culex pipiens vector competence.

Frontiers in insect science, 3:1144072.

Mosquitoes are the most important animal vector of disease on the planet, transmitting a variety of pathogens of both medical and veterinary importance. Mosquito-borne diseases display distinct seasonal patterns driven by both environmental and biological variables. However, an important, yet unexplored component of these patterns is the potential for seasonal influences on mosquito physiology that may ultimately influence vector competence. To address this question, we selected Culex pipiens, a primary vector of the West Nile virus (WNV) in the temperate United States, to examine the seasonal impacts on mosquito physiology by examining known immune and bacterial components implicated in mosquito arbovirus infection. Semi-field experiments were performed under spring, summer, and late-summer conditions, corresponding to historically low-, medium-, and high-intensity periods of WNV transmission, respectively. Through these experiments, we observed differences in the expression of immune genes and RNA interference (RNAi) pathway components, as well as changes in the distribution and abundance of Wolbachia in the mosquitoes across seasonal cohorts. Together, these findings support the conclusion that seasonal changes significantly influence mosquito physiology and components of the mosquito microbiome, suggesting that seasonality may impact mosquito susceptibility to pathogen infection, which could account for the temporal patterns in mosquito-borne disease transmission.

RevDate: 2024-03-12

Ahouandjinou MJ, Sovi A, Sidick A, et al (2024)

First report of natural infection of Anopheles gambiae s.s. and Anopheles coluzzii by Wolbachia and Microsporidia in Benin: a cross-sectional study.

Malaria journal, 23(1):72.

BACKGROUND: Recently, bacterial endosymbiont, including Wolbachia and Microsporidia were found to limit the infection of Anopheles mosquitoes with Plasmodium falciparum. This study aimed to investigate the natural presence of key transmission-blocking endosymbionts in Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles coluzzii in Southern Benin.

METHODS: The present study was conducted in seven communes (Cotonou, Porto-Novo, Aguégués, Ifangni, Pobè Athiémé, and Grand-Popo) of Southern Benin. Anopheles were collected using indoor/outdoor Human Landing Catches (HLCs) and Pyrethrum Spray Catches (PSCs). Following morphological identification, PCR was used to identify An. gambiae sensu lato (s.l.) to species level and to screen for the presence of both Wolbachia and Microsporidia. Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite infection was also assessed using ELISA.

RESULTS: Overall, species composition in An. gambiae s.l. was 53.7% An. coluzzii, while the remainder was An. gambiae sensu stricto (s.s.). Combined data of the two sampling techniques revealed a mean infection prevalence with Wolbachia of 5.1% (95% CI 0.90-18.6) and 1.3% (95% CI 0.07-7.8) in An. gambiae s.s. and An. coluzzii, respectively. The mean infection prevalence with Microsporidia was 41.0% (95% CI 25.9-57.8) for An. gambiae s.s. and 57.0% (95% CI 45.4-67.9) for An. coluzzii. Wolbachia was only observed in Ifangni, Pobè, and Cotonou, while Microsporidia was detected in all study communes. Aggregated data for HLCs and PSCs showed a sporozoite rate (SR) of 0.80% (95% CI 0.09-2.87) and 0.69% (95% CI 0.09-2.87) for An. gambiae and An. coluzzii, respectively, with a mean of 0.74% (95% CI 0.20-1.90). Of the four individual mosquitoes which harboured P. falciparum, none were also infected with Wolbachia and one contained Microsporidia.

CONCLUSIONS: The present study is the first report of natural infections of field-collected An. gambiae s.l. populations from Benin with Wolbachia and Microsporidia. Sustained efforts should be made to widen the spectrum of bacteria identified in mosquitoes, with the potential to develop endosymbiont-based control tools; such interventions could be the game-changer in the control of malaria and arboviral disease transmission.

RevDate: 2024-03-12

Fernández MB, Bleidorn C, LA Calcaterra (2022)

Wolbachia Infection in Native Populations of the Invasive Tawny Crazy Ant Nylanderia fulva.

Frontiers in insect science, 2:905803.

Antagonistic interactions can affect population growth and dispersal of an invasive species. Wolbachia are intracellular endosymbiont bacteria that infect arthropod and nematode hosts and are able to manipulate reproduction, which in some cases leads to cocladogenesis. Moreover, the presence of the strictly maternally transferred Wolbachia in a population can indirectly induce selective sweeps on the hosts' mitochondria. Ants have a Wolbachia infection rate of about 34%, which makes phylogenetic studies using mitochondrial markers vulnerable of being confounded by the effect of the endosymbiont. Nylanderia fulva is an invasive ant native to South America, considered a pest in the United States. Its distribution and biology are poorly known in its native range, and the taxonomic identity of this and its closely related species, Nylanderia pubens, has only recently been understood with the aid of molecular phylogenies. Aiming at estimating robust phylogenetic relationships of N. fulva in its native range, we investigated the presence and pattern of Wolbachia infection in populations of N. fulva from Argentina, part of its native range, to account for its possible effect on the host population structure. Using the ftsZ gene, 30 nests of N. fulva and four from sympatric Nylanderia species were screened for the presence of Wolbachia. We sequenced the MLST genes, the highly variable gene wsp, as well as glyQ, a novel target gene for which new primers were designed. Phylogeny of the ants was estimated using mtDNA (COI). We found supergroup A Wolbachia strains infecting 73% of N. fulva nests and two nests of Nylanderia sp. 1. Wolbachia phylogenetic tree inferred with MLST genes is partially congruent with the host phylogeny topology, with the exception of a lineage of strains shared by ants from different N. fulva clades. Furthermore, by comparing with Wolbachia sequences infecting other ants, we found that the strains infecting different N. fulva clades are not monophyletic. Our findings suggest there are three recent independent horizontally transmitted Wolbachia infections in N. fulva, and we found no evidence of influence of Wolbachia in the host mtDNA based phylogeny.

RevDate: 2024-03-10

Ateutchia-Ngouanet S, Nanfack-Minkeu F, Mavridis K, et al (2024)

Monitoring Aedes populations for arboviruses, Wolbachia, insecticide resistance and its mechanisms in various agroecosystems in Benin.

Acta tropica pii:S0001-706X(24)00062-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Aedes mosquitoes are the main vectors of arboviruses in Benin. Cases of dengue have been reported in Benin with all four serotypes of the virus actively circulating in this region. Some agricultural settings are known to harbor Aedes vectors responsible for the transmission of arboviruses. The massive use of certain insecticides in agricultural settings has probably contributed to insecticide resistance in these vectors. In Benin, the susceptibility of arbovirus vectors to insecticides is poorly studied. In addition, the distribution of Wolbachia spp., which is used against some arboviruses is unknown. Moreover, there is limited information regarding the vectors responsible for the transmission of arboviruses in Benin. This present study monitored the species composition, arboviruses, and Wolbachia symbiont status, as well as the phenotypic and molecular insecticide resistance profile of Aedes populations from three agroecosystems in Benin. Aedes species identification was performed morphologically and confirmed using qPCR. (RT)-qPCR assay was applied for monitoring the presence of DENV, CHIKV, ZIKV, and WNV pathogens as well as for naturally occurring Wolbachia symbionts. Insecticide resistance was assessed phenotypically, by permethrin (0.75%) exposure of Adults (F0) using World Health Organization (WHO) bioassay protocols, and at the molecular level, using TaqMan (RT)-qPCR assays for assessing knock-down resistance (kdr) mutations (F1534C, V1016G/I, and S989P) and the expression levels of eight detoxification genes (P450s from the CYP9 and CYP6 families, carboxylesterases and glutathione-S-transferases). Aedes aegypti (Ae. aegypti) mosquitoes were the most abundant (93.9%) in the three agroecosystems studied, followed by Aedes albopictus (Ae. albopictus) mosquitoes (6.1%). No arboviruses were detected in the study's mosquito populations. Naturally occurring Wolbachia symbionts were present in 7 pools out of 15 pools tested. This could influence the effectiveness of vector control strategies based on exogenously introduced Wolbachia, all present in the three agroecosystems. Full susceptibility to permethrin was observed in all tested populations of Ae. albopictus. On the contrary, Ae. aegypti were found to be resistant in all three agroecosystem sites except for banana plantation sites, where full susceptibility was observed. Molecular analysis revealed that individual target site resistance kdr mutations F1534C and V1016G/I were detected in most Ae. aegypti populations. Additionally, double mutant (F1534C + V1016G/I) mosquitoes were found in some populations, and in one case, triple mutant (F1534C + V1016G/I + S989P) mosquitoes were detected. Metabolic resistance, as reflected by overexpression of three P450 genes (CYP6BB2, CYP9J26, and CYP9J32), was also detected in Ae. aegypti mosquitoes. Our study provides information that could be used to strategize future vector control strategies and highlights the importance of continuing vector surveillance. Future studies should assess the effect of piperonyl butoxide (PBO) on metabolic resistance and identify the different strains of Wolbachia spp., to choose the best vector control strategies in Benin.

RevDate: 2024-03-09

Zurita A, Trujillo I, C Cutillas (2024)

New records of pathogenic bacteria in different species of fleas collected from domestic and peridomestic animals in Spain. A potential zoonotic threat?.

Comparative immunology, microbiology and infectious diseases, 107:102153 pii:S0147-9571(24)00030-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Climate change is causing many vectors of infectious diseases to expand their geographic distribution as well as the pathogens they transmit are also conditioned by temperature for their multiplication. Within this context, it is worth highlighting the significant role that fleas can play as vectors of important pathogenic bacteria. For this purpose, our efforts focused on detecting and identifying a total of 9 bacterial genera (Rickettsia sp.; Bartonella sp.; Yersinia sp.; Wolbachia sp., Mycobacterium sp., Leishmania sp., Borrelia sp., Francisella sp. and Coxiella sp.) within fleas isolated from domestic and peridomestic animals in the southwestern region of Spain (Andalusia). Over a 19-months period, we obtained flea samples from dogs, cats and hedgehogs. A total of 812 fleas was collected for this study. Five different species were morphologically identified, including C. felis, C. canis, S. cuniculi, P. irritans, and A. erinacei. Wolbachia sp. was detected in all five species identified in our study which a total prevalence of 86%. Within Rickettsia genus, two different species, R. felis and R. asembonensis were mainly identified in C. felis and A. erinacei, respectively. On the other hand, our results revealed a total of 131 fleas testing positive for the presence of Bartonella sp., representing a prevalence rate of 16% for this genus identifying two species B. henselae and B. clarridgeiae. Lastly, both Y. pestis and L. infantum were detected in DNA of P. irritans and C. felis, respectively isolated from dogs. With these data we update the list of bacterial zoonotic agents found in fleas in Spain, emphasizing the need to continue conducting future experimental studies to assess and confirm the potential vectorial role of certain synanthropic fleas.

RevDate: 2024-03-08

Moore CO, André MR, Šlapeta J, et al (2024)

Vector biology of the cat flea Ctenocephalides felis.

Trends in parasitology pii:S1471-4922(24)00031-X [Epub ahead of print].

Ctenocephalides felis, the cat flea, is among the most prevalent and widely dispersed vectors worldwide. Unfortunately, research on C. felis and associated pathogens (Bartonella and Rickettsia spp.) lags behind that of other vectors and vector-borne pathogens. Therefore, we aimed to review fundamental aspects of C. felis as a vector (behavior, epidemiology, phylogenetics, immunology, and microbiome composition) with an emphasis on key techniques and research avenues employed in other vector species. Future laboratory C. felis experimental infections with Bartonella, Rickettsia, and Wolbachia species/strains should examine the vector-pathogen interface utilizing contemporary visualization, transcriptomic, and gene-editing techniques. Further environmental sampling will inform the range and prevalence of C. felis and associated pathogens, improving the accuracy of vector and pathogen modeling to improve infection/infestation risk assessment and diagnostic recommendations.

RevDate: 2024-03-08

Carlassara M, Khorramnejad A, Oker H, et al (2024)

Population-specific responses to developmental temperature in the arboviral vector Aedes albopictus: Implications for climate change.

Global change biology, 30(3):e17226.

The increase of environmental temperature due to current global warming is not only favouring the expansion of the distribution range of many insect species, but it is also changing their phenology. Insect phenology is tightly linked to developmental timing, which is regulated by environmental temperatures. However, the degree to which the effects of developmental temperatures extend across developmental stages and their inter-stage relationships have not been thoroughly quantified in mosquitoes. Here, we used the mosquito Aedes albopictus, which is an aggressive invasive species and an arboviral vector, to study how developmental temperature influences fitness across developmental stages, thermal traits, energy reserves, transcriptome and Wolbachia prevalence in laboratory-reared populations originally collected from either temperate or tropical regions. We show that hatchability, larval and pupal viability and developmental speed are strongly influenced by temperature, and these effects extend to wing length, body mass, longevity and content of water, protein and lipids in adults in a population-specific manner. On the contrary, neither adult thermal preference nor heat resistance significantly change with temperature. Wolbachia density was generally lower in adult mosquitoes reared at 18°C than at other tested temperatures, and transcriptome analysis showed enrichment for functions linked to stress responses (i.e. cuticle proteins and chitin, cytochrome p450 and heat shock proteins) in mosquitoes reared at both 18 and 32°C. Our data showed an overall reduced vector fitness performance when mosquitoes were reared at 32°C, and the absence of isomorphy in the relationship between developmental stages and temperature in the laboratory population deriving from larvae collected in northern Italy. Altogether, these results have important implications for reliable model projections of the invasion potentials of Ae. albopictus and its epidemiological impact.

RevDate: 2024-03-07

Kaur R, McGarry A, Shropshire JD, et al (2024)

Prophage proteins alter long noncoding RNA and DNA of developing sperm to induce a paternal-effect lethality.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 383(6687):1111-1117.

The extent to which prophage proteins interact with eukaryotic macromolecules is largely unknown. In this work, we show that cytoplasmic incompatibility factor A (CifA) and B (CifB) proteins, encoded by prophage WO of the endosymbiont Wolbachia, alter long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) and DNA during Drosophila sperm development to establish a paternal-effect embryonic lethality known as cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). CifA is a ribonuclease (RNase) that depletes a spermatocyte lncRNA important for the histone-to-protamine transition of spermiogenesis. Both CifA and CifB are deoxyribonucleases (DNases) that elevate DNA damage in late spermiogenesis. lncRNA knockdown enhances CI, and mutagenesis links lncRNA depletion and subsequent sperm chromatin integrity changes to embryonic DNA damage and CI. Hence, prophage proteins interact with eukaryotic macromolecules during gametogenesis to create a symbiosis that is fundamental to insect evolution and vector control.

RevDate: 2024-03-07

Urakova N, Joseph RE, Huntsinger A, et al (2024)

Alpha-mannosidase-2 modulates arbovirus infection in a pathogen- and Wolbachia-specific manner in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

Insect molecular biology [Epub ahead of print].

Multiple Wolbachia strains can block pathogen infection, replication and/or transmission in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes under both laboratory and field conditions. However, Wolbachia effects on pathogens can be highly variable across systems and the factors governing this variability are not well understood. It is increasingly clear that the mosquito host is not a passive player in which Wolbachia governs pathogen transmission phenotypes; rather, the genetics of the host can significantly modulate Wolbachia-mediated pathogen blocking. Specifically, previous work linked variation in Wolbachia pathogen blocking to polymorphisms in the mosquito alpha-mannosidase-2 (αMan2) gene. Here we use CRISPR-Cas9 mutagenesis to functionally test this association. We developed αMan2 knockouts and examined effects on both Wolbachia and virus levels, using dengue virus (DENV; Flaviviridae) and Mayaro virus (MAYV; Togaviridae). Wolbachia titres were significantly elevated in αMan2 knockout (KO) mosquitoes, but there were complex interactions with virus infection and replication. In Wolbachia-uninfected mosquitoes, the αMan2 KO mutation was associated with decreased DENV titres, but in a Wolbachia-infected background, the αMan2 KO mutation significantly increased virus titres. In contrast, the αMan2 KO mutation significantly increased MAYV replication in Wolbachia-uninfected mosquitoes and did not affect Wolbachia-mediated virus blocking. These results demonstrate that αMan2 modulates arbovirus infection in A. aegypti mosquitoes in a pathogen- and Wolbachia-specific manner, and that Wolbachia-mediated pathogen blocking is a complex phenotype dependent on the mosquito host genotype and the pathogen. These results have a significant impact for the design and use of Wolbachia-based strategies to control vector-borne pathogens.

RevDate: 2024-03-07

Mancini MV, Murdochy SM, Bilgo E, et al (2024)

Wolbachia strain wAlbB shows favourable characteristics for dengue control use in Aedes aegypti from Burkina Faso.

Environmental microbiology, 26(3):e16588.

Dengue represents an increasing public health burden worldwide. In Africa, underreporting and misdiagnosis often mask its true epidemiology, and dengue is likely to be both more widespread than reported data suggest and increasing in incidence and distribution. Wolbachia-based dengue control is underway in Asia and the Americas but has not to date been deployed in Africa. Due to the genetic heterogeneity of African Aedes aegypti populations and the complexity of the host-symbiont interactions, characterization of key parameters of Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes is paramount for determining the potential of the system as a control tool for dengue in Africa. The wAlbB Wolbachia strain was stably introduced into an African Ae. aegypti population by introgression, and showed high intracellular density in whole bodies and different mosquito tissues; high intracellular density was also maintained following larval rearing at high temperatures. No effect on the adult lifespan induced by Wolbachia presence was detected. Moreover, the ability of this strain to strongly inhibit DENV-2 dissemination and transmission in the host was also demonstrated in the African background. Our findings suggest the potential of harnessing Wolbachia for dengue control for African populations of Ae. aegypti.

RevDate: 2024-03-06

Pérez-Guerra CL, Rosado-Santiago C, Ramos SA, et al (2024)

Acceptability of emergent Aedes aegypti vector control methods in Ponce, Puerto Rico: A qualitative assessment.

PLOS global public health, 4(3):e0002744 pii:PGPH-D-23-01366.

Aedes aegypti control has been fraught with challenges in Puerto Rico. The government has implemented commonly used vector control methods, but arboviral epidemics still occur. It is necessary to explore new Ae. aegypti control methods. This study aimed to understand the perceptions of community members in Ponce, Puerto Rico about emergent and traditional Ae. aegypti vector control methods and determine their acceptability and support for these methods. We identified the type of information needed to increase support for emergent vector control methods, and the preferred strategies to disseminate this information. Four group discussions were conducted with a total of 32 participants representing eight of the 14 clusters participating in the Communities Organized for the Prevention of Arboviruses (COPA), a project designed to mobilize communities in Ponce, Puerto Rico to prevent diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. Group discussions began with an overview of different methods used for controlling Ae. aegypti mosquitoes. These overviews facilitated participant understanding of the mosquito control methods presented. Use of source reduction, autocidal gravid ovitraps (AGO), and manual application of larvicide for arboviral mosquito control received support from almost all participants. Vector control methods that use more familiar techniques in Puerto Rico such as truck-mounted larvicide spraying (TMLS) and insecticide residual spraying received support from most participants. More than half of participants supported the use of emergent mosquito control methods including Wolbachia suppression, Wolbachia replacement, or genetically modified mosquitoes (GMM). Participants preferred to receive vector control information through house-to-house visits with the distribution of written materials, followed by dissemination of information through traditional (i.e., radio, television) and social media. The detailed information resulting from this study was used to develop messages for a communications campaign to garner future community support. Community acceptance and support are critical for the success of vector control programs using emergent mosquito control methods.

RevDate: 2024-03-04

Dye D, JW Cain (2024)

Efficacy of Wolbachia-based mosquito control: Predictions of a spatially discrete mathematical model.

PloS one, 19(3):e0297964 pii:PONE-D-23-27458.

Wolbachia is an endosymbiont bacterium present in many insect species. When Wolbachia-carrying male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes mate with non-carrier females, their embryos are not viable due to cytoplasmic incompatibility. This phenomenon has been exploited successfully for the purpose of controlling mosquito populations and the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses: Wolbachia carriers are bred and released into the environment. Because Wolbachia is not harmful to humans, this method of mosquito control is regarded as a safer alternative to pesticide spraying. In this article, we introduce a mathematical framework for exploring (i) whether a one-time release of Wolbachia carriers can elicit a sustained presence of carriers near the release site, and (ii) the extent to which spatial propagation of carriers may allow them to establish fixation in other territories. While some prior studies have formulated mosquito dispersal models using advection-reaction-diffusion PDEs, the predictive power of such models requires careful ecological mapping: advection and diffusion coefficients exhibit significant spatial dependence due to heterogeneity of resources and topography. Here, we adopt a courser-grained view, regarding the environment as a network of discrete, diffusively-coupled "habitats"-distinct zones of high mosquito density such as stagnant ponds. We extend two previously published single-habitat mosquito models to multiple habitats, and calculate rates of migration between pairs of habitats using dispersal kernels. Our primary results are quantitative estimates regarding how the success of carrier fixation in one or more habitats is determined by: the number of carriers released, sizes of habitats, distances between habitats, and the rate of migration between habitats. Besides yielding sensible and potentially useful predictions regarding the success of Wolbachia-based control, our framework applies to other approaches (e.g., gene drives) and contexts beyond the realm of insect pest control.

RevDate: 2024-03-02

Walt HK, King JG, Sheele JM, et al (2024)

Do bed bugs transmit human viruses, or do humans spread bed bugs and their viruses? A worldwide survey of the bed bug RNA virosphere.

Virus research pii:S0168-1702(24)00042-X [Epub ahead of print].

BED BUGS (HEMIPTERA: : Cimicidae) are a globally distributed hematophagous pest that routinely feed on humans. Unlike many blood-sucking arthropods, they have never been linked to pathogen transmission in a natural setting, and despite increasing interest in their role as disease vectors, little is known about the viruses that bed bugs naturally harbor. Here, we present a global-scale survey of the bed bug RNA virosphere. We sequenced the metatranscriptomes of 22 individual bed bugs (Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus) from 8 locations around the world. We detected sequences from two known bed bug viruses (Shuangao bedbug virus 1 and Shuangao bedbug virus 2) which extends their geographical range. We identified three novel bed bug virus sequences from a tenui-like virus (Bunyavirales), a toti-like virus (Ghabrivirales), and a luteo-like virus (Tolivirales). Interestingly, some of the bed bug viruses branch near to insect-transmitted plant-infecting viruses, opening questions regarding the evolution of plant virus infection. When we analyzed the viral sequences by their host's collection location, we found unexpected patterns of geographical diversity that may reflect humans' role in bed bug dispersal. Additionally, we investigated the effect that Wolbachia, the primary bed bug endosymbiont, may have on viral abundance and found that Wolbachia infection neither promotes nor inhibits viral infection. Finally, our results provide no evidence that bed bugs transmit any known human pathogenic viruses.

RevDate: 2024-03-01

Aldridge RL, Gibson S, KJ Linthicum (2024)

Aedes aegypti Controls AE. Aegypti: SIT and IIT-An Overview.

Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 40(1):32-49.

The sterile insect technique (SIT) and the incompatible insect technique (IIT) are emerging and potentially revolutionary tools for controlling Aedes aegypti (L.), a prominent worldwide mosquito vector threat to humans that is notoriously difficult to reduce or eliminate in intervention areas using traditional integrated vector management (IVM) approaches. Here we provide an overview of the discovery, development, and application of SIT and IIT to Ae. aegypti control, and innovations and advances in technology, including transgenics, that could elevate these techniques to a worldwide sustainable solution to Ae. aegypti when combined with other IVM practices.

RevDate: 2024-03-01

Cantin LJ, Dunning Hotopp JC, JM Foster (2024)

Improved metagenome assemblies through selective enrichment of bacterial genomic DNA from eukaryotic host genomic DNA using ATAC-seq.

Frontiers in microbiology, 15:1352378.

Genomics can be used to study the complex relationships between hosts and their microbiota. Many bacteria cannot be cultured in the laboratory, making it difficult to obtain adequate amounts of bacterial DNA and to limit host DNA contamination for the construction of metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs). For example, Wolbachia is a genus of exclusively obligate intracellular bacteria that live in a wide range of arthropods and some nematodes. While Wolbachia endosymbionts are frequently described as facultative reproductive parasites in arthropods, the bacteria are obligate mutualistic endosymbionts of filarial worms. Here, we achieve 50-fold enrichment of bacterial sequences using ATAC-seq (Assay for Transposase-Accessible Chromatin using sequencing) with Brugia malayi nematodes, containing Wolbachia (wBm). ATAC-seq uses the Tn5 transposase to cut and attach Illumina sequencing adapters to accessible DNA lacking histones, typically thought to be open chromatin. Bacterial and mitochondrial DNA in the lysates are also cut preferentially since they lack histones, leading to the enrichment of these sequences. The benefits of this include minimal tissue input (<1 mg of tissue), a quick protocol (<4 h), low sequencing costs, less bias, correct assembly of lateral gene transfers and no prior sequence knowledge required. We assembled the wBm genome with as few as 1 million Illumina short paired-end reads with >97% coverage of the published genome, compared to only 12% coverage with the standard gDNA libraries. We found significant bacterial sequence enrichment that facilitated genome assembly in previously published ATAC-seq data sets from human cells infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and C. elegans contaminated with their food source, the OP50 strain of E. coli. These results demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of using ATAC-seq to easily obtain bacterial genomes to aid in symbiosis, infectious disease, and microbiome research.

RevDate: 2024-02-27

Liu K, Fang S, Li Q, et al (2024)

Effectiveness evaluation of mosquito suppression strategies on dengue transmission under changing temperature and precipitation.

Acta tropica pii:S0001-706X(24)00043-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Widespread resurgence of dengue outbreaks has seriously threatened the global health. Due to lack of treatments and vaccines, one key strategy in dengue control is to reduce the vector population size. As an environment-friendly mosquito control approach, releasing male mosquitoes transinfected with specific Wolbachia strain into the field to suppress the wild mosquito population size has become wildly accepted. The current study evaluates the effectiveness of this suppression strategy on dengue control under changing temperature and precipitation profiles. We formulate a mathematical model which includes larval intra-specific competition, the maturation period for mosquitoes, the extrinsic incubation period (EIP) and intrinsic incubation period (IIP). The persistence of mosquitoes and disease is discussed in terms of two basic reproduction numbers (RM and R0) and the release ratio pw. Further numerical simulations are carried out to not only validate theoretical results, but also provide interesting quantitative observations. Sensitivity analysis on the reproduction numbers, peak size, peak time and the final epidemic size is performed with respect to model parameters, which highlights effective control measures against dengue transmission. Moreover, by assuming temperature and precipitation dependent mosquito-related parameters, the model can be used to project the effectiveness of releasing Wolbachia-carrying males under climatic variations. It is shown that the effectiveness of various control strategies is highly dependent on the changing temperature and precipitation profiles. In particular, the model projects that it is most challenging to control the disease at the favorable temperature (around 27∼30[∘]C) and precipitation (5∼8mm/day) range, during which the basic reproduction number R0 is very high and more Wolbachia-infected males should be released.

RevDate: 2024-02-26

Yan J, Green K, Noel K, et al (2024)

Effects of seasonality and developed land cover on Culex mosquito abundance and microbiome diversity.

Frontiers in microbiology, 15:1332970.

The vectorial capacity of mosquitoes, which influences the dynamics of vector-borne disease transmission, is intricately linked to mosquito abundance and the composition and diversity of their associated microbiomes. However, the influence of environmental factors on mosquito populations and microbiome diversity remains underexplored. Here we examined the effects of seasonality and developed land cover on Culex mosquito abundance and bacterial diversity. Biweekly field sampling of female Culex mosquitoes was conducted using gravid and CDC light traps, spanning summer to autumn across varying developed land cover levels in two urban areas in Central Illinois. Mosquito abundance was assessed by the number of mosquitoes captured per trap night and compared across seasons and developed levels. The mean mosquito abundance for gravid and light traps was 12.96 ± 2.15 and 7.67 ± 1.44, respectively. Notably, higher levels of developed land cover exhibited higher Culex abundance than the low level for light traps, but no significant difference was found between summer and early autumn. In gravid traps, no significant differences were detected across seasons or developed levels. Microbial analysis of the mosquito microbiome revealed that Proteobacteria and Wolbachia, with a mean relative abundance of 80.77 and 52.66% respectively, were identified as the most dominant bacterial phylum and genus. Their relative abundance remained consistent across seasons and developed land cover levels, with negligible variations. Alpha diversity, as measured by observed species, Chao1, Shannon, and Simpson, showed slightly higher values in early-autumn compared to late-summer. A notable pattern of bacterial diversity, as indicated by all four diversity indexes, is evident across varying levels of land development. Significantly, high or intermediate developed levels consistently showed reduced alpha diversity when compared to the lower level. This underscores the pronounced impact of anthropogenic ecological disturbances in shaping mosquito microbiomes. Beta diversity analysis revealed no significant dissimilarities in bacterial community composition across seasons and developed levels, although some separation was noted among different levels of developed land cover. These findings highlight the significant role of environmental factors in shaping mosquito abundance and their associated microbiomes, with potential implications for the vectorial capacity in the transmission of vector-borne diseases.

RevDate: 2024-02-24

Corrêa-Antônio J, David MR, Couto-Lima D, et al (2024)

DENV-1 Titer Impacts Viral Blocking in wMel Aedes aegypti with Brazilian Genetic Background.

Viruses, 16(2): pii:v16020214.

Several countries have been using Wolbachia deployments to replace highly competent native Aedes aegypti populations with Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes with lower susceptibility to arboviruses such as dengue, Zika, and chikungunya. In Rio de Janeiro, Wolbachia deployments started in 2015 and still present a moderate introgression with a modest reduction in dengue cases in humans (38%). Here, we evaluated the vector competence of wild-type and wMel-infected Ae. aegypti with a Brazilian genetic background to investigate whether virus leakage could contribute to the observed outcomes in Brazil. We collected the specimens in three areas of Rio de Janeiro with distinct frequencies of mosquitoes with wMel strain and two areas with wild Ae. aegypti. The mosquitoes were orally exposed to two titers of DENV-1 and the saliva of DENV-1-infected Ae. aegypti was microinjected into wMel-free mosquitoes to check their infectivity. When infected with the high DENV-1 titer, the presence of wMel did not avoid viral infection in mosquitoes' bodies and saliva but DENV-1-infected wMel mosquitoes produced lower viral loads than wMel-free mosquitoes. On the other hand, wMel mosquitoes infected with the low DENV-1 titer were less susceptible to virus infection than wMel-free mosquitoes, although once infected, wMel and wMel-free mosquitoes exhibited similar viral loads in the body and the saliva. Our results showed viral leakage in 60% of the saliva of wMel mosquitoes with Brazilian background; thus, sustained surveillance is imperative to monitor the presence of other circulating DENV-1 strains capable of overcoming the Wolbachia blocking phenotype, enabling timely implementation of action plans.

RevDate: 2024-02-24

Voronin D, Tricoche N, Peguero R, et al (2024)

Repurposed Drugs That Activate Autophagy in Filarial Worms Act as Effective Macrofilaricides.

Pharmaceutics, 16(2): pii:pharmaceutics16020256.

Onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis are two neglected tropical diseases caused by filarial nematodes that utilize insect vectors for transmission to their human hosts. Current control strategies are based on annual or biannual mass drug administration (MDA) of the drugs Ivermectin or Ivermectin plus Albendazole, respectively. These drug regimens kill the first-stage larvae of filarial worms (i.e., microfilariae) and interrupt the transmission of infections. MDA programs for these microfilaricidal drugs must be given over the lifetime of the filarial adult worms, which can reach 15 years in the case of Onchocerca volvulus. This is problematic because of suboptimal responses to ivermectin in various endemic regions and inefficient reduction of transmission even after decades of MDA. There is an urgent need for the development of novel alternative treatments to support the 2030 elimination goals of onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis. One successful approach has been to target Wolbachia, obligatory endosymbiotic bacteria on which filarial worms are dependent for their survival and reproduction within the human host. A 4-6-week antibiotic therapy with doxycycline, for example, resulted in the loss of Wolbachia that subsequently led to extensive apoptosis of somatic cells, germline, embryos, and microfilariae, as well as inhibition of fourth-stage larval development. However, this long-course regimen has limited use in MDA programs. As an alternative approach to the use of bacteriostatic antibiotics, in this study, we focused on autophagy-inducing compounds, which we hypothesized could disturb various pathways involved in the interdependency between Wolbachia and filarial worms. We demonstrated that several such compounds, including Niclosamide, an FDA-approved drug, Niclosamide ethanolamine (NEN), and Rottlerin, a natural product derived from Kamala trees, significantly reduced the levels of Wolbachia in vitro. Moreover, when these compounds were used in vivo to treat Brugia pahangi-infected gerbils, Niclosamide and NEN significantly decreased adult worm survival, reduced the release of microfilariae, and decreased embryonic development depending on the regimen and dose used. All three drugs given orally significantly reduced Wolbachia loads and induced an increase in levels of lysosome-associated membrane protein in worms from treated animals, suggesting that Niclosamide, NEN, and Rottlerin were effective in causing drug-induced autophagy in these filarial worms. These repurposed drugs provide a new avenue for the clearance of adult worms in filarial infections.

RevDate: 2024-02-23

Zhang X, PM Ferree (2024)

PSRs: Selfish chromosomes that manipulate reproductive development.

Seminars in cell & developmental biology, 159-160:66-73 pii:S1084-9521(24)00020-X [Epub ahead of print].

B chromosomes are intriguing "selfish" genetic elements, many of which exhibit higher-than-Mendelian transmission. This perspective highlights a group of B chromosomes known as Paternal Sex Ratio chromosomes (PSRs), which are found in several insects with haplo-diploid reproduction. PSRs harshly alter the organism's reproduction to facilitate their own inheritance. A manifestation of this effect is the conversion of female destined individuals into males. Key to this conversion is the mysterious ability of PSRs to cause elimination of the sperm-inherited half of the genome during zygote formation. Here we discuss how PSRs were discovered, what is known about how they alter paternal chromatin dynamics to cause sex conversion, and how PSR-induced genome elimination is different from other forms of programmed genome elimination in different insects. PSRs also stand out because their DNA sequence compositions differ in remarkable ways from their insect's essential chromosomes, a characteristic suggestive of interspecies origins. Broadly, we also highlight poorly understood aspects of PSR dynamics that need to be investigated.

RevDate: 2024-02-23

Lamichhane B, Brockway C, Evasco K, et al (2024)

Metatranscriptomic Sequencing of Medically Important Mosquitoes Reveals Extensive Diversity of RNA Viruses and Other Microbial Communities in Western Australia.

Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland), 13(2): pii:pathogens13020107.

Mosquitoes harbor a wide diversity of microorganisms, including viruses that are human pathogens, or that are insect specific. We used metatranscriptomics, an unbiased high-throughput molecular approach, to describe the composition of viral and other microbial communities in six medically important mosquito species from across Western Australia: Aedes vigilax, Culex annulirostris, Cx. australicus, Cx. globocoxitus, Cx. pipiens biotype molestus, and Cx. quinquefasciatus. We identified 42 viral species, including 13 novel viruses, from 19 families. Culex mosquitoes exhibited a significantly higher diversity of viruses than Aedes mosquitoes, and no virus was shared between the two genera. Comparison of mosquito populations revealed a heterogenous distribution of viruses between geographical regions and between closely related species, suggesting that geography and host species may play a role in shaping virome composition. We also detected bacterial and parasitic microorganisms, among which Wolbachia bacteria were detected in three members of the Cx. pipiens complex, Cx. australicus, Cx. pipiens biotype molestus, and Cx. quinquefasciatus. In summary, our unbiased metatranscriptomics approach provides important insights into viral and other microbial diversity in Western Australian mosquitoes that vector medically important viruses.

RevDate: 2024-02-23

Zhu X, Li J, He A, et al (2024)

Developmental Shifts in the Microbiome of a Cosmopolitan Pest: Unraveling the Role of Wolbachia and Dominant Bacteria.

Insects, 15(2): pii:insects15020132.

Wolbachia bacteria (phylum Proteobacteria) are ubiquitous intracellular parasites of diverse invertebrates. In insects, coevolution has forged mutualistic associations with Wolbachia species, influencing reproduction, immunity, development, pathogen resistance, and overall fitness. However, the impact of Wolbachia on other microbial associates within the insect microbiome, which are crucial for host fitness, remains less explored. The diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella), a major pest of cruciferous vegetables worldwide, harbors the dominant Wolbachia strain plutWB1, known to distort its sex ratio. This study investigated the bacterial community diversity and dynamics across different developmental life stages and Wolbachia infection states in P. xylostella using high-throughput 16S rDNA amplicon sequencing. Proteobacteria and Firmicutes dominated the P. xylostella microbiome regardless of life stage or Wolbachia infection. However, the relative abundance of dominant genera, including an unclassified genus of Enterobacteriaceae, Wolbachia, Carnobacterium, and Delftia tsuruhatensis, displayed significant stage-specific variations. While significant differences in bacterial diversity and composition were observed across life stages, Wolbachia infection had no substantial impact on overall diversity. Nonetheless, relative abundances of specific genera differed between infection states. Notably, Wolbachia exhibited a stable, high relative abundance across all stages and negatively correlated with an unclassified genus of Enterobacteriaceae, Delftia tsuruhatensis, and Carnobacterium. Our findings provide a foundational understanding of the complex interplay between the host, Wolbachia, and the associated microbiome in P. xylostella, paving the way for a deeper understanding of their complex interactions and potential implications for pest control strategies.

RevDate: 2024-02-23

Budrys E, Orlovskytė S, A Budrienė (2024)

Ecological Speciation without Morphological Differentiation? A New Cryptic Species of Diodontus Curtis (Hymenoptera, Pemphredonidae) from the Centre of Europe.

Insects, 15(2): pii:insects15020086.

Upon exploring the mitotype diversity of the aphid-hunting wasp, Diodontus tristis, we revealed specimens with highly divergent mitotypes from two localities in Lithuania and nesting in clayey substrate, while the specimens with typical mitotypes were found nesting in sandy sites. The comparison of inter- and intra-specific distances and application of delimitation algorithms supported the species status of the clay-nesting populations. Using a set of DNA markers that included complete or partial sequences of six mitochondrial genes, three markers of ribosomal operon, two homeobox genes, and four other nuclear genes, we clarified the phylogenetic relationships of the new cryptic species. The endosymbiotic bacteria infestation was checked, considering the option that the divergent populations may represent clades isolated by Wolbachia infection; however, it did not demonstrate any specificity. We found only subtle morphological differences in the new clay-nesting species, D. argillicola sp. nov.; the discriminant analysis of morphometric measurements did not reliably segregate it as well. Thus, we provide the molecular characters of the cryptic species, which allow confident identification, its phylogenetic position within the genus, and an updated identification key for the D. tristis species group.

RevDate: 2024-02-23

Reese C, Graber LC, Ramalho MO, et al (2024)

The Diversity of Wolbachia across the Turtle Ants (Formicidae: Cephalotes spp.).

Biology, 13(2): pii:biology13020121.

Wolbachia is a widespread and well-known bacterium that can induce a wide range of changes within its host. Ants specifically harbor a great deal of Wolbachia diversity and are useful systems to study endosymbiosis. The turtle ants (Cephalotes) are a widespread group of tropical ants that rely on gut microbes to support their herbivorous diet for their survival, yet little is known of the extent of this diversity. Therefore, studying their endosymbionts and categorizing the diversity of bacteria within Cephalotes hosts could help to delimit species and identify new strains and can help lead to a further understanding of how the microbiome leads to survival and speciation in the wild. In our study, 116 individual samples were initially tested for positive infection with the wsp gene. Of the initial 116 samples, 9 samples were infected with only one strain of Wolbachia, and 7 were able to be used successfully for multilocus sequence typing (MLST). We used the new MLST data to infer a phylogeny with other Formicidae samples from the MLST online database to identify new Wolbachia strains and related genes, of which only one came back as an exact match. The 18 Wolbachia-positive samples ranged across 15 different species and 7 different countries, which we further test for species identity and geographic correlation. This study is the first comprehensive look into the diversity of Wolbachia in the turtle ants, providing insight into how endosymbionts are oriented in widespread species and providing a strong foundation for further research in host-microbe interactions.

RevDate: 2024-02-22

Ye QT, Gong X, Liu HH, et al (2024)

The symbiont Wolbachia alleviates pesticide susceptibility in the two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae through enhanced host detoxification pathways.

Insect science [Epub ahead of print].

The two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) is one of the most well-known pesticide-resistant agricultural pests, with resistance often attributed to changes such as target-site mutations and detoxification activation. Recent studies show that pesticide resistance can also be influenced by symbionts, but their involvement in this process in spider mites remains uncertain. Here, we found that infection with Wolbachia, a well-known bacterial reproductive manipulator, significantly increased mite survival after exposure to the insecticides abamectin, cyflumetofen, and pyridaben. Wolbachia-infected (WI) mites showed higher expression of detoxification genes such as P450, glutathione-S-transferase (GST), ABC transporters, and carboxyl/cholinesterases. RNA interference experiments confirmed the role of the two above-mentioned detoxification genes, TuCYP392D2 and TuGSTd05, in pesticide resistance. Increased GST activities were also observed in abamectin-treated WI mites. In addition, when wild populations were treated with abamectin, WI mites generally showed better survival than uninfected mites. However, genetically homogeneous mites with different Wolbachia strains showed similar survival. Finally, abamectin treatment increased Wolbachia abundance without altering the mite's bacterial community. This finding highlights the role of Wolbachia in orchestrating pesticide resistance by modulating host detoxification. By unraveling the intricate interplay between symbionts and pesticide resistance, our study lays the groundwork for pioneering strategies to combat agricultural pests.

RevDate: 2024-02-21

Mendoza-Roldan JA, Perles L, Filippi E, et al (2024)

Parasites and microorganisms associated with the snakes collected for the "festa Dei serpari" in Cocullo, Italy.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 18(2):e0011973 pii:PNTD-D-23-01442 [Epub ahead of print].

While in much of the Western world snakes are feared, in the small, rural, mountainous town of Cocullo, in the middle of central Italy, snakes are annually collected and celebrated in a sacro-profane ritual. Every 1st of May, Serpari (snake catchers) capture and showcase dozens of non-venomous snakes to celebrate the ritual of San Domenico. In order to detect potential zoonotic pathogens within this unique epidemiological context, parasites and microorganisms of snakes harvested for the "festa dei serpari" ritual was investigated. Snakes (n = 112) were examined and ectoparasites collected, as well as blood and feces sampled. Ectoparasites were identified morpho-molecularly, and coprological examination conducted through direct smear and flotation. Molecular screenings were performed to identify parasites and microorganisms in collected samples (i.e., Mesostigmata mites, Anaplasma/Ehrlichia spp., Rickettsia spp., Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Coxiella burnetii, Babesia/Theileria spp., Cryptosporidium spp., Giardia spp., Leishmania spp. and helminths). Overall, 28.5% (32/112) of snakes were molecularly positive for at least one parasite and/or microorganism. Endosymbiont Wolbachia bacteria were identified from Macronyssidae mites and zoonotic vector-borne bacteria (e.g., Rickettsia, Leishmania), as well as orally transmitted pathogens (i.e., Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonas), were detected from blood and feces. Thus, given the central role of the snakes in the tradition of Cocullo, surveys of their parasitic fauna and associated zoonotic pathogens may aid to generate conservation policies to benefit the human-snake interactions, whilst preserving the cultural patrimony of this event.

RevDate: 2024-02-21

Pramono AK, Hidayanti AK, Tagami Y, et al (2024)

Bacterial community and genome analysis of cytoplasmic incompatibility-inducing Wolbachia in American serpentine leafminer, Liriomyza trifolii.

Frontiers in microbiology, 15:1304401.

Liriomyza trifolii, an agricultural pest, is occasionally infected by Wolbachia. A Wolbachia strain present in Liriomyza trifolii is associated with cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) effects, leading to the death of embryos resulting from incompatible crosses between antibiotic-treated or naturally Wolbachia-free strain females and Wolbachia-infected males. In this study, high-throughput sequencing of hypervariable rRNA genes was employed to characterize the bacterial community in Wolbachia-infected L. trifolii without antibiotic treatment. The analysis revealed that Wolbachia dominates the bacterial community in L. trifolii, with minor presence of Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, and Limnobacter. To elucidate the genetic basis of the CI phenotype, metagenomic sequencing was also conducted to assemble the genome of the Wolbachia strain. The draft-genome of the Wolbachia strain wLtri was 1.35 Mbp with 34% GC content and contained 1,487 predicted genes. Notably, within the wLtri genome, there are three distinct types of cytoplasmic incompatibility factor (cif) genes: Type I, Type III, and Type V cifA;B. These genes are likely responsible for inducing the strong cytoplasmic incompatibility observed in L. trifolii.

RevDate: 2024-02-20

Mazel F, Pitteloud C, Guisan A, et al (2024)

Contrasted host specificity of gut and endosymbiont bacterial communities in alpine grasshoppers and crickets.

ISME communications, 4(1):ycad013.

Bacteria colonize the body of macroorganisms to form associations ranging from parasitic to mutualistic. Endosymbiont and gut symbiont communities are distinct microbiomes whose compositions are influenced by host ecology and evolution. Although the composition of horizontally acquired symbiont communities can correlate to host species identity (i.e. harbor host specificity) and host phylogeny (i.e. harbor phylosymbiosis), we hypothesize that the microbiota structure of vertically inherited symbionts (e.g. endosymbionts like Wolbachia) is more strongly associated with the host species identity and phylogeny than horizontally acquired symbionts (e.g. most gut symbionts). Here, using 16S metabarcoding on 336 guts from 24 orthopteran species (grasshoppers and crickets) in the Alps, we observed that microbiota correlated to host species identity, i.e. hosts from the same species had more similar microbiota than hosts from different species. This effect was ~5 times stronger for endosymbionts than for putative gut symbionts. Although elevation correlated with microbiome composition, we did not detect phylosymbiosis for endosymbionts and putative gut symbionts: closely related host species did not harbor more similar microbiota than distantly related species. Our findings indicate that gut microbiota of studied orthopteran species is more correlated to host identity and habitat than to the host phylogeny. The higher host specificity in endosymbionts corroborates the idea that-everything else being equal-vertically transmitted microbes harbor stronger host specificity signal, but the absence of phylosymbiosis suggests that host specificity changes quickly on evolutionary time scales.

RevDate: 2024-02-16

Hegde S, Marriott AE, Pionnier N, et al (2024)

Combinations of the azaquinazoline anti-Wolbachia agent, AWZ1066S, with benzimidazole anthelmintics synergise to mediate sub-seven-day sterilising and curative efficacies in experimental models of filariasis.

Frontiers in microbiology, 15:1346068.

Lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis are two major neglected tropical diseases that are responsible for causing severe disability in 50 million people worldwide, whilst veterinary filariasis (heartworm) is a potentially lethal parasitic infection of companion animals. There is an urgent need for safe, short-course curative (macrofilaricidal) drugs to eliminate these debilitating parasite infections. We investigated combination treatments of the novel anti-Wolbachia azaquinazoline small molecule, AWZ1066S, with benzimidazole drugs (albendazole or oxfendazole) in up to four different rodent filariasis infection models: Brugia malayi-CB.17 SCID mice, B. malayi-Mongolian gerbils, B. pahangi-Mongolian gerbils, and Litomosoides sigmodontis-Mongolian gerbils. Combination treatments synergised to elicit threshold (>90%) Wolbachia depletion from female worms in 5 days of treatment, using 2-fold lower dose-exposures of AWZ1066S than monotherapy. Short-course lowered dose AWZ1066S-albendazole combination treatments also delivered partial adulticidal activities and/or long-lasting inhibition of embryogenesis, resulting in complete transmission blockade in B. pahangi and L. sigmodontis gerbil models. We determined that short-course AWZ1066S-albendazole co-treatment significantly augmented the depletion of Wolbachia populations within both germline and hypodermal tissues of B. malayi female worms and in hypodermal tissues in male worms, indicating that anti-Wolbachia synergy is not limited to targeting female embryonic tissues. Our data provides pre-clinical proof-of-concept that sub-seven-day combinations of rapid-acting novel anti-Wolbachia agents with benzimidazole anthelmintics are a promising curative and transmission-blocking drug treatment strategy for filarial diseases of medical and veterinary importance.

RevDate: 2024-02-13

Yang K, Zhang HY, Wang P, et al (2023)

Both symbionts and environmental factors contribute to shape the microbiota in a pest insect, Sogatella furcifera.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1336345.

INTRODUCTION: Bacterial symbionts are prevalent in arthropods globally and play a vital role in the fitness and resistance of hosts. While several symbiont infections have been identified in the white-backed planthopper Sogatella furcifera, the impact of environmental factors on the microbiota within S. furcifera remains elusive.

METHODS: In this study, a total of 142 S. furcifera individuals from 18 populations were collected from 14 locations across six countries (China, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos) analyzed with 2bRAD-M sequencing, to examine the effects of symbionts on the microbiota in the S. furcifera population, as well as the vital effects of environmental factors on the bacterial communities.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Based on the results, in S. furcifera, the presence of symbionts Wolbachia and Cardinium negatively influenced the abundance of other bacteria, including Enterobacter, Acinetobacter, and Lysinibacillus, while Wolbachia infection significantly decreased the diversity of the microbial community. Moreover, several environmental factors, including longitude, latitude, temperature, and precipitation, affected the abundance of symbionts and microbiota diversity in S. furcifera. These results collectively highlight the vital role of Wolbachia in S. furcifera microbiota, as well as the intricate effects of environmental factors on the bacterial communities of S. furcifera.

RevDate: 2024-02-11

Lim JT, Bansal S, Chong CS, et al (2024)

Efficacy of Wolbachia-mediated sterility to reduce the incidence of dengue: a synthetic control study in Singapore.

The Lancet. Microbe pii:S2666-5247(23)00397-X [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Due to the absence of available therapeutics and good vaccines, vector control solutions are needed to mitigate the spread of dengue. Matings between male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with the wAlbB strain of Wolbachia and wildtype females yield non-viable eggs. We evaluated the efficacy of releasing wAlbB-infected A aegypti male mosquitoes to suppress dengue incidence.

METHODS: In this synthetic control study, we conducted large-scale field trials in Singapore involving release of wAlbB-infected A aegypti male mosquitoes for dengue control via vector population suppression, from epidemiological week (EW) 27, 2018, to EW 26, 2022. We selected two large towns (Yishun and Tampines) to adopt an expanding release strategy and two smaller towns (Bukit Batok and Choa Chu Kang) to adopt a targeted-release approach. Releases were conducted two times a week in high-rise public housing estates. All intervention and control locations practised the same baseline dengue control protocol. The main outcome was weekly dengue incidence rate caused by any dengue virus serotype. We used incidence data collected by the Singapore Ministry of Health to assess the efficacy of the interventions. To compare interventions, we used the synthetic control method to generate appropriate counterfactuals for the intervention towns using a weighted combination of 30 control towns between EW 1, 2014 and EW 26, 2022.

FINDINGS: Our study comprised an at-risk population of 607 872 individuals living in intervention sites and 3 894 544 individuals living in control sites. Interventions demonstrated up to 77·28% (121/156, 95% CI 75·81-78·58) intervention efficacy despite incomplete coverage across all towns until EW 26, 2022. Intervention efficacies increased as release coverage increased across all intervention sites. Releases led to 2242 (95% CI 2092-2391) fewer cases per 100 000 people in intervention sites during the study period. Secondary analysis showed that these intervention effects were replicated across all age groups and both sexes for intervention sites.

INTERPRETATION: Our results demonstrated the potential of Wolbachia-mediated incompatible insect technique for strengthening dengue control in tropical cities, where dengue burden is the greatest.

FUNDING: Singapore Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Sustainability, and the National Environment Agency, and the Singapore National Robotics Program.

RevDate: 2024-02-08

Hoffmann AA, Ahmad NW, Keong WM, et al (2024)

Introduction of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes carrying wAlbB Wolbachia sharply decreases dengue incidence in disease hotspots.

iScience, 27(2):108942 pii:S2589-0042(24)00163-9.

Partial replacement of resident Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with introduced mosquitoes carrying certain strains of inherited Wolbachia symbionts can result in transmission blocking of dengue and other viruses of public health importance. Wolbachia strain wAlbB is an effective transmission blocker and stable at high temperatures, making it particularly suitable for hot tropical climates. Following trial field releases in Malaysia, releases using wAlbB Ae. aegypti have become operationalized by the Malaysian health authorities. We report here on an average reduction in dengue fever of 62.4% (confidence intervals 50-71%) in 20 releases sites when compared to 76 control sites in high-rise residential areas. Importantly the level of dengue reduction increased with Wolbachia frequency, with 75.8% reduction (61-87%) estimated at 100% Wolbachia frequency. These findings indicate large impacts of wAlbB Wolbachia invasions on dengue fever incidence in an operational setting, with incidence expected to further decrease as wider areas are invaded.

RevDate: 2024-02-08

Liu Y, Zhao L, Qiu Z, et al (2023)

The gut microbiota diversity of five Orthoptera (Insecta, Polyneoptera) insects determined by DNA metabarcoding.

Biodiversity data journal, 11:e98162 pii:98162.

Most orthopteran insects are phytophagous and some are important pests in agriculture and forests. Many intestinal microflora of Orthoptera insects have been reported, primarily from Acridoidea and there have been few reports of other taxa. In this study, we collected 15 individuals representing five species (Ruspolialineosa, Tetrixjaponica, Erianthusversicolor, Gryllotalpaorientalis and Teleogryllusemma) belonging to five orthopteran superfamilies (Tettigonioidea, Tetrigoidea, Eumastacoidea, Gryllotalpoidea and Grylloidea) to characterise and compare the gut microbiota with greater taxonomic width by performing sequencing analysis of the 16S rRNA V4 region in gut material. A total of 606,053 high-quality sequences and 3,105 OTUs were acquired from 15 gut samples representing 24 phyla, 48 classes, 69 orders, 133 families and 219 genera. Firmicutes and bacteria were the most abundant phyla, followed by Bacteroidetes, Cyanobacteria, Actinobacteria and Acidobacteria. At the genus level, Serratia, Citrobacter, Wolbachia, Lactobacillus and Parabacteroides were the most predominant genera in R.lineosa, T.japonica, E.versicolor, G.orientalis and T.emma, respectively. Both Principal Coordinates Analysis (PCoA) and heatmap results revealed significant differences in bacterial community composition across species. Additionally, alpha diversity analysis indicated the bacterial richness was significantly different amongst the five species.

RevDate: 2024-02-05

Namias A, Ngaku A, Makoundou P, et al (2024)

Intra-lineage microevolution of Wolbachia leads to the emergence of new cytoplasmic incompatibility patterns.

PLoS biology, 22(2):e3002493 pii:PBIOLOGY-D-23-01655 [Epub ahead of print].

Mosquitoes of the Culex pipiens complex are worldwide vectors of arbovirus, filarial nematodes, and avian malaria agents. In these hosts, the endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia induce cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), i.e., reduced embryo viability in so-called incompatible crosses. Wolbachia infecting Culex pipiens (wPip) cause CI patterns of unparalleled complexity, associated with the amplification and diversification of cidA and cidB genes, with up to 6 different gene copies described in a single wPip genome. In wPip, CI is thought to function as a toxin-antidote (TA) system where compatibility relies on having the right antidotes (CidA) in the female to bind and neutralize the male's toxins (CidB). By repeating crosses between Culex isofemale lines over a 17 years period, we documented the emergence of a new compatibility type in real time and linked it to a change in cid genes genotype. We showed that loss of specific cidA gene copies in some wPip genomes results in a loss of compatibility. More precisely, we found that this lost antidote had an original sequence at its binding interface, corresponding to the original sequence at the toxin's binding interface. We showed that these original cid variants are recombinant, supporting a role for recombination rather than point mutations in rapid CI evolution. These results strongly support the TA model in natura, adding to all previous data acquired with transgenes expression.

RevDate: 2024-01-31

Li JH, Liu XH, Liang GR, et al (2024)

Microplastics affect mosquito from aquatic to terrestrial lifestyles and are transferred to mammals through mosquito bites.

The Science of the total environment pii:S0048-9697(24)00684-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Microplastics (MPs) transfer from the environment to living organisms is a nonignorable global problem. As a complete metamorphosis insect, the larvae and adult Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito live in aquatic and terrestrial environments, respectively, where they easily access MPs. However, little is known about mosquitoes' potential role in MPs accumulation throughout ecosystems. Therefore, we conducted a study with different MPs particle sizes (0.1/1/10 μm) and concentrations (0.5/5/50 μg/mL) on Cx. quinquefasciatus to address this issue. Once exposed at the young larval stage, MPs could accompany the mosquitoes their entire life. The fluorescence signals of MPs in the larvae were mainly located in the intestines. Its intensity increased (from 3.72 × 10[6] AU to 5.45 × 10[7] AU) as the concentrations of MPs increases. The fluorescence signals of MPs were also detected in the blood and skin tissues of mice bitten by adult mosquitoes with MPs containing in their bodies. Mosquitos exposed to MPs showed longer larval pupation and eclosion time as well as lower adult body weight. In addition, MPs significantly reduced the lethal effect of pyrethroid insecticides (97.77 % vs. 48.88 %, p < 0.05) with 15.1 % removal of the deltamethrin concentration. After MPs exposure, the relative abundance of the Cx. quinquefasciatus gut microbiome, such as Wolbachia spp., Elizabethkingia spp., and Asaia spp., changed as the MPs size and concentration changes. Mosquitoes provide a new pathway for MPs accumulation and transfer to higher-level living organisms. Moreover, MPs significantly reduce the control effect of deltamethrin, providing new guidelines for mosquito insecticide application in MPs contamination circumstances.

RevDate: 2024-01-29

McNamara CJ, Ant TH, Harvey-Samuel T, et al (2024)

Transgenic expression of cif genes from Wolbachia strain wAlbB recapitulates cytoplasmic incompatibility in Aedes aegypti.

Nature communications, 15(1):869.

The endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia can invade insect populations by modifying host reproduction through cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), an effect that results in embryonic lethality when Wolbachia-carrying males mate with Wolbachia-free females. Here we describe a transgenic system for recreating CI in the major arbovirus vector Aedes aegypti using CI factor (cif) genes from wAlbB, a Wolbachia strain currently being deployed to reduce dengue transmission. CI-like sterility is induced when cifA and cifB are co-expressed in testes; this sterility is rescued by maternal cifA expression, thereby reproducing the pattern of Wolbachia-induced CI. Expression of cifB alone is associated with extensive DNA damage and disrupted spermatogenesis. The strength of rescue by maternal cifA expression is dependent on the comparative levels of cifA/cifB expression in males. These findings are consistent with CifB acting as a toxin and CifA as an antitoxin, with CifA attenuating CifB toxicity in both the male germline and in developing embryos. These findings provide important insights into the interactions between cif genes and their mechanism of activity and provide a foundation for the building of a cif gene-based drive system in Ae. aegypti.

RevDate: 2024-01-26

Piccinno R, Tatti A, Avosani S, et al (2024)

A multidisciplinary approach to tackling invasive species: barcoding, morphology, and metataxonomy of the leafhopper Arboridia adanae.

Scientific reports, 14(1):2229.

The leafhopper genus Arboridia includes several species that feed on Vitis vinifera and cause leaf chlorosis. We report the first alien Arboridia infestation in Italy in 2021 in an Apulian vineyard. To confirm the taxonomic status of the species responsible for crop damage, and reconstruct its demographic history, we barcoded individuals from Apulia together with Arboridia spp. from Crete (Greece), A. adanae from Central Turkey and other specimens of the presumed sister species, A. dalmatina from Dalmatia (Croatia). Molecular phylogenies and barcoding gap analysis identified clades not associated with sampling locations. This result is incongruent with classical specimen assignment and is further supported by morphological analyses, which did not reveal significant differences among the populations. Therefore, we propose A. dalmatina as a junior synonym of A. adanae, which would become the only grapevine-related Arboridia species in the eastern Mediterranean. To further characterise A. adanae evolution, we performed a molecular clock analysis that suggested a radiation during the Pleistocene glaciations. Finally, to assess whether the Apulian individuals carried microorganisms of agricultural relevance, we sequenced their bacterial microbiota using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing identifying three phytopathogens not generally associated with Arboridia activities as well as Wolbachia in one Apulian haplogroup. We discuss the agricultural implications of this infestation.

RevDate: 2024-01-23

Rainey SM, Lefteri DA, Darby C, et al (2024)

Evidence of Differences in Cellular Regulation of Wolbachia-Mediated Viral Inhibition between Alphaviruses and Flaviviruses.

Viruses, 16(1): pii:v16010115.

The intracellular bacterium Wolbachia is increasingly being utilised in control programs to limit the spread of arboviruses by Aedes mosquitoes. Achieving a better understanding of how Wolbachia strains can reduce viral replication/spread could be important for the long-term success of such programs. Previous studies have indicated that for some strains of Wolbachia, perturbations in lipid metabolism and cholesterol storage are vital in Wolbachia-mediated antiviral activity against the flaviviruses dengue and Zika; however, it has not yet been examined whether arboviruses in the alphavirus group are affected in the same way. Here, using the reporters for the alphavirus Semliki Forest virus (SFV) in Aedes albopictus cells, we found that Wolbachia strains wMel, wAu and wAlbB blocked viral replication/translation early in infection and that storage of cholesterol in lipid droplets is not key to this inhibition. Another alphavirus, o'nyong nyong virus (ONNV), was tested in both Aedes albopictus cells and in vivo in stable, transinfected Aedes aegypti mosquito lines. The strains wMel, wAu and wAlbB show strong antiviral activity against ONNV both in vitro and in vivo. Again, 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (2HPCD) was not able to rescue ONNV replication in cell lines, suggesting that the release of stored cholesterol caused by wMel is not able to rescue blockage of ONNV. Taken together, this study shows that alphaviruses appear to be inhibited early in replication/translation and that there may be differences in how alphaviruses are inhibited by Wolbachia in comparison to flaviviruses.

RevDate: 2024-01-23

Cheng Z, Liu Q, X Huang (2024)

Partial Correspondence between Host Plant-Related Differentiation and Symbiotic Bacterial Community in a Polyphagous Insect.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 14(2): pii:ani14020283.

Host plants play a vital role in insect population differentiation, while symbiotic associations between bacteria and insects are ubiquitous in nature. However, existing studies have given limited attention to the connection between host-related differentiation and symbiotic bacterial communities in phytophagous insects. In this study, we collected 58 samples of Aphis odinae from different host plants in southern China and constructed phylogenetic trees to investigate their differentiation in relation to host plants. We also selected aphid samples from the five most preferred host plants and analyzed their symbiotic bacterial composition using Illumina sequencing of the V3-V4 hypervariable region of the 16S rRNA gene. The phylogeny and symbiotic bacterial community structure of A. odinae populations on different host plants showed that samples from Triadica sebifera (Euphorbiaceae) had a consistent presence of Wolbachia as the predominant secondary symbiont and suggested the possibility of undergoing differentiation. Conversely, although differentiation was observed in samples from Rhus chinensis (Anacardiaceae), no consistent presence of predominant secondary symbionts was found. Additionally, the samples from Heptapleurum heptaphyllum (Araliaceae) consistently carried Serratia, but no host differentiation was evident. In summary, this study reveals a partial correspondence between symbiotic bacterial communities and host-related differentiation in A. odinae. The findings contribute to our understanding of the microevolutionary influencing the macroevolutionary relationships between bacterial symbionts and phytophagous insects. The identification of specific symbionts associated with host-related differentiation provides valuable insights into the intricate dynamics of insect-bacteria interactions.


ESP Quick Facts

ESP Origins

In the early 1990's, Robert Robbins was a faculty member at Johns Hopkins, where he directed the informatics core of GDB — the human gene-mapping database of the international human genome project. To share papers with colleagues around the world, he set up a small paper-sharing section on his personal web page. This small project evolved into The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Support

In 1995, Robbins became the VP/IT of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. Soon after arriving in Seattle, Robbins secured funding, through the ELSI component of the US Human Genome Project, to create the original ESP.ORG web site, with the formal goal of providing free, world-wide access to the literature of classical genetics.

ESP Rationale

Although the methods of molecular biology can seem almost magical to the uninitiated, the original techniques of classical genetics are readily appreciated by one and all: cross individuals that differ in some inherited trait, collect all of the progeny, score their attributes, and propose mechanisms to explain the patterns of inheritance observed.

ESP Goal

In reading the early works of classical genetics, one is drawn, almost inexorably, into ever more complex models, until molecular explanations begin to seem both necessary and natural. At that point, the tools for understanding genome research are at hand. Assisting readers reach this point was the original goal of The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Usage

Usage of the site grew rapidly and has remained high. Faculty began to use the site for their assigned readings. Other on-line publishers, ranging from The New York Times to Nature referenced ESP materials in their own publications. Nobel laureates (e.g., Joshua Lederberg) regularly used the site and even wrote to suggest changes and improvements.

ESP Content

When the site began, no journals were making their early content available in digital format. As a result, ESP was obliged to digitize classic literature before it could be made available. For many important papers — such as Mendel's original paper or the first genetic map — ESP had to produce entirely new typeset versions of the works, if they were to be available in a high-quality format.

ESP Help

Early support from the DOE component of the Human Genome Project was critically important for getting the ESP project on a firm foundation. Since that funding ended (nearly 20 years ago), the project has been operated as a purely volunteer effort. Anyone wishing to assist in these efforts should send an email to Robbins.

ESP Plans

With the development of methods for adding typeset side notes to PDF files, the ESP project now plans to add annotated versions of some classical papers to its holdings. We also plan to add new reference and pedagogical material. We have already started providing regularly updated, comprehensive bibliographies to the ESP.ORG site.

Electronic Scholarly Publishing
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Bellingham, WA 98226

E-mail: RJR8222 @

Papers in Classical Genetics

The ESP began as an effort to share a handful of key papers from the early days of classical genetics. Now the collection has grown to include hundreds of papers, in full-text format.

Digital Books

Along with papers on classical genetics, ESP offers a collection of full-text digital books, including many works by Darwin and even a collection of poetry — Chicago Poems by Carl Sandburg.


ESP now offers a large collection of user-selected side-by-side timelines (e.g., all science vs. all other categories, or arts and culture vs. world history), designed to provide a comparative context for appreciating world events.


Biographical information about many key scientists (e.g., Walter Sutton).

Selected Bibliographies

Bibliographies on several topics of potential interest to the ESP community are automatically maintained and generated on the ESP site.

ESP Picks from Around the Web (updated 07 JUL 2018 )