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Bibliography on: Wolbachia

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Robert J. Robbins is a biologist, an educator, a science administrator, a publisher, an information technologist, and an IT leader and manager who specializes in advancing biomedical knowledge and supporting education through the application of information technology. More About:  RJR | OUR TEAM | OUR SERVICES | THIS WEBSITE

RJR: Recommended Bibliography 21 Jun 2024 at 02:01 Created: 

Wolbachia

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®)

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RevDate: 2024-06-20

Lim JT, Mailepessov D, Chong CS, et al (2024)

Update to: Assessing the efficacy of male Wolbachia-infected mosquito deployments to reduce dengue incidence in Singapore.

Trials, 25(1):400.

BACKGROUND: This trial is a parallel, two-arm, non-blinded cluster randomised controlled trial that is under way in Singapore, with the aim of measuring the efficacy of male Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti deployments in reducing dengue incidence in an endemic setting with all four dengue serotypes in circulation. The trial commenced in July 2022 and is expected to conclude in September 2024. The original study protocol was published in December 2022. Here, we describe amendments that have been made to the study protocol since commencement of the trial.

METHODS: The key protocol amendments are (1) addition of an explicit definition of Wolbachia exposure for residents residing in intervention sites based on the duration of Wolbachia exposure at point of testing, (2) incorporation of a high-dimensional set of anthropogenic and environmental characteristics in the analysis plan to adjust for baseline risk factors of dengue transmission, and (3) addition of alternative statistical analyses for endpoints to control for post hoc imbalance in cluster-based environmental and anthropogenic characteristics.

DISCUSSION: The findings from this study will provide the first experimental evidence for the efficacy of releasing male-Wolbachia infected mosquitoes to reduce dengue incidence in a cluster-randomised controlled trial. The trial will conclude in 2024 and results will be reported shortly thereafter.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier: NCT05505682. Registered on 16 August 2022. Retrospectively registered. Last updated 11 November 2023.

RevDate: 2024-06-20

Laifi-Necibi N, Amor N, Merella P, et al (2024)

DNA barcoding reveals cryptic species in the sea slater Ligia italica (Crustacea, Isopoda) from Tunisia.

Mitochondrial DNA. Part A, DNA mapping, sequencing, and analysis [Epub ahead of print].

Barcoding studies have provided significant insights into phylogenetic relationships among species belonging to the genus Ligia (Crustacea, Isopoda). Herein the diversity of the Italian sea slater Ligia italica from Tunisia is studied for the first time. Samples were collected from 18 localities in Tunisia, and the analysis included previously published sequences from Italy and Greece available in GenBank. Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood phylogenetic analyses were carried out using a fragment of the mitochondrial COI gene. Putative cryptic species were explored using the 'barcode gap' approach in the software ASAP. A genetic landscape shape analysis was carried out using the program Alleles in Space. The analyses revealed highly divergent and well-supported clades of L. italica dispersed across Tunisia (Clades A1 and A2), Greece (Clade B) and Italy (Clades C1 and C2). High genetic dissimilarity among clades suggested that L. italica constitute a cryptic species complex. Divergence among different L. italica lineages (Clades A, B and C) occurred around 7-4.5 Ma. The detected high genetic distances among clades did not result from atypical mitochondrial DNAs or intracellular infection by Wolbachia bacteria. The complex history of the Mediterranean Sea appears to have played a significant role in shaping the phylogeographic pattern of Ligia italica. Additional morphological and molecular studies are needed to confirm the existence of cryptic species in Ligia italica in Mediterranean.

RevDate: 2024-06-17

She L, Shi M, Cao T, et al (2024)

Wolbachia mediates crosstalk between miRNA and Toll pathways to enhance resistance to dengue virus in Aedes aegypti.

PLoS pathogens, 20(6):e1012296 pii:PPATHOGENS-D-23-02189 [Epub ahead of print].

The obligate endosymbiont Wolbachia induces pathogen interference in the primary disease vector Aedes aegypti, facilitating the utilization of Wolbachia-based mosquito control for arbovirus prevention, particularly against dengue virus (DENV). However, the mechanisms underlying Wolbachia-mediated virus blockade have not been fully elucidated. Here, we report that Wolbachia activates the host cytoplasmic miRNA biogenesis pathway to suppress DENV infection. Through the suppression of the long noncoding RNA aae-lnc-2268 by Wolbachia wAlbB, aae-miR-34-3p, a miRNA upregulated by the Wolbachia strains wAlbB and wMelPop, promoted the expression of the antiviral effector defensin and cecropin genes through the Toll pathway regulator MyD88. Notably, anti-DENV resistance induced by Wolbachia can be further enhanced, with the potential to achieve complete virus blockade by increasing the expression of aae-miR-34-3p in Ae. aegypti. Furthermore, the downregulation of aae-miR-34-3p compromised Wolbachia-mediated virus blockade. These findings reveal a novel mechanism by which Wolbachia establishes crosstalk between the cytoplasmic miRNA pathway and the Toll pathway via aae-miR-34-3p to strengthen antiviral immune responses against DENV. Our results will aid in the advancement of Wolbachia for arbovirus control by enhancing its virus-blocking efficiency.

RevDate: 2024-06-17
CmpDate: 2024-06-17

Taglialegna A (2024)

A mosquito symbiont controls flaviviruses.

Nature reviews. Microbiology, 22(7):387.

RevDate: 2024-06-14
CmpDate: 2024-06-14

Hague MTJ, Wheeler TB, BS Cooper (2024)

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

Communications biology, 7(1):727.

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 wMel Wolbachia depends on temperature in natural Drosophila melanogaster hosts and in transinfected Aedes aegypti, where wMel is used to block pathogens that cause human disease. In D. melanogaster, wMel 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 wMel-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 wMel-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: 2024-06-13

Taprogge M, S Grath (2024)

Modelling suggests Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility in oak gall wasps with cyclical parthenogenesis.

Journal of evolutionary biology pii:7692848 [Epub ahead of print].

Oak gall wasps typically exhibit a life cycle with one sexual and one asexual generation each year. These wasps can carry various endosymbionts, one of which is the maternally inherited bacterium Wolbachia that can induce several reproductive manipulations on its host. Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) has been described as the most prominent of these manipulations. CI leads to embryonic mortality in the hosts' offspring when infected males mate with either uninfected females or with females that harbour different Wolbachia strains. It has been hypothesized that Wolbachia can induce CI in oak gall wasps. To address this hypothesis, we derived a mathematical model to investigate the spread of a bacterial infection in naive populations and to determine the plausibility of CI occurrence. To validate our model, we used published data from Wolbachia-infected Belonocnema treatae populations in two approaches. Our first approach uses measurements of infection frequencies and maternal transmission in the sexual generation. For the second approach, we extended the model to compare predictions to estimates of mtDNA-haplotypes, which, like Wolbachia, are maternally inherited, and can therefore be associated with the infection. Both approaches indicate that CI is present in these populations. Our model can be generalized to investigate the occurrence of CI not only for oak gall wasps but also for other species.

RevDate: 2024-06-11

Naseri-Karimi N, Vatandoost H, Mehdi Sedaghat M, et al (2023)

Drosophila melanogaster Laboratory Rearing for Wolbachia-Based Control Programs, a Component of Dengue Control.

Journal of arthropod-borne diseases, 17(3):214-228.

BACKGROUND: Drosophila melanogaster flies are smooth, low upkeep and safe model organisms, they can be effortlessly used in different fields of life sciences like genomics, biotechnology, genetics, disease model, and Wolbachia-based approaches to fight vectors and the pathogens they transmit.

METHODS: Fruit fly specimens were collected in 25 districts (14 provinces) of Iran and their morphological recognition was proven by molecular analysis based on sequence homology of mitochondrial COI barcode region. Essential information and specific requirements were provided for laboratory rearing of D. melanogaster.

RESULTS: Drosophila melanogaster colonies were found in 23 out of 25 districts. Also, five related species coincident with D. melanogaster were reported in this study including D. ananassae/D. parapallidosa, D. hydei, D. repleta, Zaprionus indianus (Diptera: Drosophilidae), and Megaselia scalaris (Diptera: Phoridae). The Iranian D. melanogaster molecular signature and their rearing techniques have been described here. The complete life cycle, from (egg to adult), takes approximately 8 days at 25 °C. Some biological points have been presented with highlighting capturing, rearing, culturing, and embryo collection along with primitive recognition and segregation between females and males have been presented. A recipe for culture media and the quantity of various ingredients have been provided.

CONCLUSION: This is the first report on the D. repleta and D. ananassae/D. parapallidosa species for the country. Results of this study provide efficient and effective rearing procedures which are requirement for both small-scale for facilitating entomological research and large-scale use in justifiable vector control management such as disease model or Dengue control.

RevDate: 2024-06-10

Kumar T, Maitra S, Rai R, et al (2024)

The dichotomy between probiotic lactic acid bacteria and Plasmodium: a promising therapeutic avenue.

Acta tropica pii:S0001-706X(24)00166-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Our understanding of gut microbial populations and their immense influence on host immunity, health, and diseases has increased deeply in recent years. Numerous reports have identified the role of mosquito and mammalian gut microbiota in the modulation of host susceptibility to Plasmodium infection. Artemisinin resistance in malaria-endemic regions necessitates the development of new, safer, and more affordable treatments to supplement existing therapies. In this review, we compiled a colossal amount of data from numerous studies that have assessed the roles played by gut microbial communities in Plasmodium infection, progression, transmission, and severity. Most interestingly, our study points to the overwhelming evidence from experimental studies in mural malaria to human trials, suggesting that the presence of lactic acid bacteria in the gut microbiota of mammalian hosts provides a great degree of protection against malaria. Therefore, our study provides a compelling narrative for probiotic administration as an adjunct therapy for combatting malaria.

RevDate: 2024-06-10
CmpDate: 2024-06-10

Mulio SÅ, Zwolińska A, Klejdysz T, et al (2024)

Limited variation in microbial communities across populations of Macrosteles leafhoppers (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae).

Environmental microbiology reports, 16(3):e13279.

Microbial symbionts play crucial roles in insect biology, yet their diversity, distribution, and temporal dynamics across host populations remain poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the spatio-temporal distribution of bacterial symbionts within the widely distributed and economically significant leafhopper genus Macrosteles, with a focus on Macrosteles laevis. Using host and symbiont marker gene amplicon sequencing, we explored the intricate relationships between these insects and their microbial partners. Our analysis of the cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene data revealed several intriguing findings. First, there was no strong genetic differentiation across M. laevis populations, suggesting gene flow among them. Second, we observed significant levels of heteroplasmy, indicating the presence of multiple mitochondrial haplotypes within individuals. Third, parasitoid infections were prevalent, highlighting the complex ecological interactions involving leafhoppers. The 16S rRNA data confirmed the universal presence of ancient nutritional endosymbionts-Sulcia and Nasuia-in M. laevis. Additionally, we found a high prevalence of Arsenophonus, another common symbiont. Interestingly, unlike most previously studied species, M. laevis exhibited only occasional cases of infection with known facultative endosymbionts and other bacteria. Notably, there was no significant variation in symbiont prevalence across different populations or among sampling years within the same population. Comparatively, facultative endosymbionts such as Rickettsia, Wolbachia, Cardinium and Lariskella were more common in other Macrosteles species. These findings underscore the importance of considering both host and symbiont dynamics when studying microbial associations. By simultaneously characterizing host and symbiont marker gene amplicons in large insect collections, we gain valuable insights into the intricate interplay between insects and their microbial partners. Understanding these dynamics contributes to our broader comprehension of host-microbe interactions in natural ecosystems.

RevDate: 2024-06-04
CmpDate: 2024-06-04

Engl T (2024)

Reproductive manipulation: Wolbachia induce host parthenogenesis using a stolen transformer.

Current biology : CB, 34(11):R547-R549.

The Wolbachia strain that infects the parasitoid wasp Encarsia formosa induces female-producing parthenogenesis. A new study shows that a Wolbachia-encoded gene has replaced the use of the ancestral wasp homologue that normally controls sexual reproduction, resulting in parthenogenesis.

RevDate: 2024-06-04

Guo W, Zhu W, Jia L, et al (2024)

Unique microbial communities of parasitic fleas on wild animals from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Environmental science and pollution research international [Epub ahead of print].

Fleas, one of the most significant ectoparasites, play a crucial role as vectors in spreading zoonotic diseases globally. The Qinghai Province, as part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, is one of the provinces in China with the largest number of flea species. In this study, we characterized the microbial communities of eighty-five adult fleas, belonging to nineteen species within four families (Ceratophyllidae, Ctenophthalmidae, Leptopsyllidae, and Pulicidae). We identified a total of 1162 unique operational taxonomic units at the genus level, with flea-borne pathogens such as Wolbachia, Bartonella, Rickettsia being the members of top abundant taxa. Except for comparison between Ctenophthalmidae and Leptopsyllidae families, the analyses of both alpha- and beta- diversity indicators suggested that bacterial diversity varied among flea families. This could be attributed to flea phylogeny, which also influenced by their geographical sites and animal hosts. Results of Linear discriminant analysis effect size (LEfSe) indicated that 29 genera in Ceratophylloidea, 11 genera in Ctenophthalmidae, 15 genera in Leptopsyllidae, and 22 genera in Pulicidae were significantly responsible for explaining the differences among the four flea families (linear discriminant analysis score > 2, P < 0.05). Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt2) analyses showed that the functional pathways varied significantly across flea families, which was supported by the significant correlation between the functional pathways and the microbial communities.

RevDate: 2024-06-04

Chen J, Lin G, Ma K, et al (2024)

A specific innate immune response silences the virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a latent infection model in the Drosophila melanogaster host.

PLoS pathogens, 20(6):e1012252 pii:PPATHOGENS-D-24-00400 [Epub ahead of print].

Microbial pathogenicity often depends on the route of infection. For instance, P. aeruginosa or S. marcescens cause acute systemic infections when low numbers of bacteria are injected into D. melanogaster flies whereas flies succumb much slower to the continuous ingestion of these pathogens, even though both manage to escape from the gut compartment and reach the hemocoel. Here, we have developed a latent P. aeruginosa infection model by feeding flies on the bacteria for a short period. The bacteria stably colonize internal tissues yet hardly cause any damage since latently-infected flies live almost as long as noninfected control flies. The apparently dormant bacteria display particular characteristics in terms of bacterial colony morphology, composition of the outer cell wall, and motility. The virulence of these bacteria can however be reactivated upon wounding the host. We show that melanization but not the cellular or the systemic humoral response is the predominant host defense that establishes latency and may coerce the bacteria to a dormant state. In addition, the lasting activation of the melanization responses in latently-infected flies provides a degree of protection to the host against a secondary fungal infection. Latent infections by an ingested pathogen protects against a variety of homologous or heterologous systemic secondary infectious challenges, a situation previously described for the endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria, a guard against viral infections.

RevDate: 2024-06-04

Cantin LJ, Gregory V, Blum LN, et al (2024)

Dual RNA-seq in filarial nematodes and Wolbachia endosymbionts using RNase H based ribosomal RNA depletion.

Frontiers in microbiology, 15:1418032.

Lymphatic filariasis is caused by parasitic nematodes and is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Many filarial worms contain the bacterium Wolbachia as an obligate endosymbiont. RNA sequencing is a common technique used to study their molecular relationships and to identify potential drug targets against the nematode and bacteria. Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) is the most abundant RNA species, accounting for 80-90% of the RNA in a sample. To reduce sequencing costs, it is necessary to remove ribosomal reads through poly-A enrichment or ribosomal depletion. Bacterial RNA does not contain a poly-A tail, making it difficult to sequence both the nematode and Wolbachia from the same library preparation using standard poly-A selection. Ribosomal depletion can utilize species-specific oligonucleotide probes to remove rRNA through pull-down or degradation methods. While species-specific probes are commercially available for many commonly studied model organisms, there are currently limited depletion options for filarial parasites. Here, we performed total RNA sequencing from Brugia malayi containing the Wolbachia symbiont (wBm) and designed ssDNA depletion probes against their rRNA sequences. We compared the total RNA library to poly-A enriched, Terminator 5'-Phosphate-Dependent Exonuclease treated, NEBNext Human/Bacteria rRNA depleted and our custom nematode probe depleted libraries. The custom nematode depletion library had the lowest percentage of ribosomal reads across all methods, with a 300-fold decrease in rRNA when compared to the total RNA library. The nematode depletion libraries also contained the highest percentage of Wolbachia mRNA reads, resulting in a 16-1,000-fold increase in bacterial reads compared to the other enrichment and depletion methods. Finally, we found that the Brugia malayi depletion probes can remove rRNA from the filarial worm Dirofilaria immitis and the majority of rRNA from the more distantly related free living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. These custom filarial probes will allow for future dual RNA-seq experiments between nematodes and their bacterial symbionts from a single sequencing library.

RevDate: 2024-06-03

Turner HC (2024)

Cost-effectiveness of a Wolbachia-based replacement strategy for dengue control in Brazil.

Lancet regional health. Americas, 35:100789.

RevDate: 2024-05-27

Jeffries CL, Tantely LM, Kadriaj P, et al (2024)

Mitochondrial and microbial diversity of the invasive mosquito vector species Culex tritaeniorhynchus across its extensive inter-continental geographic range.

Wellcome open research, 9:18.

BACKGROUND: Culex (Cx.) tritaeniorhynchus is an invasive mosquito species with an extensive and expanding inter-continental distribution, currently reported across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and now Australia. It is an important vector of medical and veterinary pathogens which cause significant morbidity and mortality in human and animal populations. Across regions endemic for Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), Cx. tritaeniorhynchus is considered the major vector and has also been shown to contribute to the transmission of several other zoonotic arboviruses including Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) and West Nile virus (WNV).

METHODS: In this study, we used laboratory vector competence experiments to determine if Cx. tritaeniorhynchus from a Southern European population were competent JEV vectors. We also obtained samples from multiple geographically dispersed Cx. tritaeniorhynchus populations from countries within Europe, Africa, Eurasia and Asia to perform phylogenetic analysis to measure the level of mitochondrial divergence using the cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (CO1) gene. We also undertook bacterial 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing to determine microbial diversity and used multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) to determine any evidence for the presence of strains of the naturally occurring endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia.

RESULTS: Cx. tritaeniorhynchus from a Greek population were shown be be competent vectors of JEV with high levels of virus present in saliva. We found a signficant level of mitochondrial genetic diversity using the mosquito CO1 gene between geographically dispersed populations. Furthermore, we report diverse microbiomes identified by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing within and between geographical populations. Evidence for the detection of the endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia was confirmed using Wolbachia-specific PCR and MLST.

CONCLUSIONS: This study enhances our understanding of the diversity of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus and the associated microbiome across its inter-continental range and highlights the need for greater surveillance of this invasive vector species in Europe.

RevDate: 2024-05-25
CmpDate: 2024-05-25

Wijegunawardana NDAD, Gunawardene YINS, Abeyewickreme W, et al (2024)

Diversity of Wolbachia infections in Sri Lankan mosquitoes with a new record of Wolbachia Supergroup B infecting Aedes aegypti vector populations.

Scientific reports, 14(1):11966.

Wolbachia bacteria are common endosymbionts of insects and have recently been applied for controlling arboviral vectors, especially Aedes aegypti mosquito populations. However, several medically important mosquito species in Sri Lanka were present with limited information for the Wolbachia infection status. Therefore, the screening of Wolbachia in indigenous mosquitoes is required prior to a successful application of Wolbachia-based vector control strategy. In this study, screening of 78 mosquito species collected from various parts of the country revealed that 13 species were positive for Wolbachia infection, giving ~ 17% infection frequency of Wolbachia among the Sri Lankan mosquitoes. Twelve Wolbachia-positive mosquito species were selected for downstream Wolbachia strain genotyping using Multi Locus Sequencing Type (MLST), wsp gene, and 16S rRNA gene-based approaches. Results showed that these Wolbachia strains clustered together with the present Wolbachia phylogeny of world mosquito populations with some variations. Almost 90% of the mosquito populations were infected with supergroup B while the remaining were infected with supergroup A. A new record of Wolbachia supergroup B infection in Ae. aegypti, the main vectors of dengue, was highlighted. This finding was further confirmed by real-time qPCR, revealing Wolbachia density variations between Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus (p = 0.001), and between males and females (p < 0.05). The evidence of natural Wolbachia infections in Ae. aegypti populations in Sri Lanka is an extremely rare incident that has the potential to be used for arboviral vector control.

RevDate: 2024-05-25

Moerbeck L, Parreira R, Szczotko M, et al (2024)

Ticks and Tick-Borne Pathogens Circulating in Peri-Domestic Areas in Mainland Portugal.

Microorganisms, 12(5): pii:microorganisms12051006.

Over the years, tick-borne pathogens (TBPs) have garnered significant interest due to their medical, veterinary and economic importance. Additionally, TBPs have drawn attention to how these microorganisms interact with their own vectors, increasing the risk to human and animal infection of emerging and reemerging zoonoses. In this sense, ticks, which are obligate hematophagous ectoparasites, have a key role in maintaining and transmitting TBPs among humans and animals. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of neglected TBPs in mainland Portugal, namely Anaplasma spp., Babesia spp., Ehrlichia spp. and Neoehrlichia mikurensis. DNA fragments were detected in questing ticks collected from five different ecological areas under investigation. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this study reports new worldwide findings, including B. bigemina infecting Ixodes frontalis, Ixodes ricinus and Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato. Additionally, it presents new findings in Portugal of N. mikurensis infecting I. ricinus and of presumably Wolbachia endosymbionts being detected in I. ricinus. Overall, there were 208 tick samples that were negative for all screened TBPs. The results herein obtained raise concerns about the circulation of neglected TBPs in mainland Portugal, especially in anthropophilic ticks, highlighting the importance of adopting a One Health perspective.

RevDate: 2024-05-24

Löckener I, Behrmann LV, Reuter J, et al (2024)

The MraY Inhibitor Muraymycin D2 and Its Derivatives Induce Enlarged Cells in Obligate Intracellular Chlamydia and Wolbachia and Break the Persistence Phenotype in Chlamydia.

Antibiotics (Basel, Switzerland), 13(5): pii:antibiotics13050421.

Chlamydial infections and diseases caused by filarial nematodes are global health concerns. However, treatment presents challenges due to treatment failures potentially caused by persisting Chlamydia and long regimens against filarial infections accompanied by low compliance. A new treatment strategy could be the targeting of the reduced peptidoglycan structures involved in cell division in the obligate intracellular bacteria Chlamydia and Wolbachia, the latter being obligate endosymbionts supporting filarial development, growth, and survival. Here, cell culture experiments with C. trachomatis and Wolbachia showed that the nucleoside antibiotics muraymycin and carbacaprazamycin interfere with bacterial cell division and induce enlarged, aberrant cells resembling the penicillin-induced persistence phenotype in Chlamydia. Enzymatic inhibition experiments with purified C. pneumoniae MraY revealed that muraymycin derivatives abolish the synthesis of the peptidoglycan precursor lipid I. Comparative in silico analyses of chlamydial and wolbachial MraY with the corresponding well-characterized enzyme in Aquifex aeolicus revealed a high degree of conservation, providing evidence for a similar mode of inhibition. Muraymycin D2 treatment eradicated persisting non-dividing C. trachomatis cells from an established penicillin-induced persistent infection. This finding indicates that nucleoside antibiotics may have additional properties that can break bacterial persistence.

RevDate: 2024-05-24

Frontiers Production Office (2024)

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

Frontiers in microbiology, 15:1425304.

[This corrects the article DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2024.1343917.].

RevDate: 2024-05-22
CmpDate: 2024-05-22

Khosravi G, Akbarzadeh K, Karimian F, et al (2024)

A survey of Wolbachia infection in brachyceran flies from Iran.

PloS one, 19(5):e0301274 pii:PONE-D-23-40726.

Wolbachia is a maternally inherited intracellular bacterium that is considered to be the most plentiful endosymbiont found in arthropods. It reproductively manipulates its host to increase the chances of being transmitted to the insect progeny; and it is currently used as a means of suppressing disease vector populations or controlling vector-borne diseases. Studies of the dissemination and prevalence of Wolbachia among its arthropod hosts are important for its possible use as a biological control agent. The molecular identification of Wolbachia relies on different primers sets due to Wolbachia strain variation. Here, we screened for the presence of Wolbachia in a broad range of Brachycera fly species (Diptera), collected from different regions of Iran, using nine genetic markers (wsp, ftsZ, fbpA, gatB, CoxA, gltA, GroEL dnaA, and 16s rRNA), for detecting, assessing the sensitivity of primers for detection, and phylogeny of this bacterium. The overall incidence of Wolbachia among 22 species from six families was 27.3%. The most commonly positive fly species were Pollenia sp. and Hydrotaea armipes. However, the bacterium was not found in the most medically important flies or in potential human disease vectors, including Musca domestica, Sarcophaga spp., Calliphora vicinia, Lucilia sericata, and Chrysomya albiceps. The primer sets of 16s rRNA with 53.0% and gatB with 52.0% were the most sensitive primers for detecting Wolbachia. Blast search, phylogenetic, and MLST analysis of the different locus sequences of Wolbachia show that all the six distantly related fly species likely belonging to supergroup A. Our study showed some primer sets generated false negatives in many of the samples, emphasizing the importance of using different loci in detecting Wolbachia. The study provides the groundwork for future studies of a Wolbachia-based program for control of flies.

RevDate: 2024-05-22

Poulain M, Rosinski E, Henri H, et al (2024)

Development, feeding, and sex shape the relative quantity of the nutritional obligatory symbiont Wolbachia in bed bugs.

Frontiers in microbiology, 15:1386458.

The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, is a hemipteran insect that feeds only on blood, and whose bites cause public health issues. Due to globalization and resistance to insecticides, this pest has undergone a significant and global resurgence in recent decades. Blood is an unbalanced diet, lacking notably sufficient B vitamins. Like all strict hematophagous arthropods, bed bugs host a nutritional symbiont supplying B vitamins. In C. lectularius, this nutritional symbiont is the intracellular bacterium Wolbachia (wCle). It is located in specific symbiotic organs, the bacteriomes, as well as in ovaries. Experimental depletion of wCle has been shown to result in longer nymphal development and lower fecundity. These phenotypes were rescued by B vitamin supplementation. Understanding the interaction between wCle and the bed bug may help to develop new pest control methods targeting the disruption of this symbiotic interaction. The objective of this work was thus to quantify accurately the density of wCle over the life cycle of the host and to describe potential associated morphological changes in the bacteriome. We also sought to determine the impact of sex, feeding status, and aging on the bacterial population dynamics. We showed that the relative quantity of wCle continuously increases during bed bug development, while the relative size of the bacteriome remains stable. We also showed that adult females harbor more wCle than males and that wCle relative quantity decreases slightly in adults with age, except in weekly-fed males. These results are discussed in the context of bed bug ecology and will help to define critical points of the symbiotic interaction during the bed bug life cycle.

RevDate: 2024-05-21

Connolly JB, Burt A, Christophides G, et al (2024)

Considerations for first field trials of low-threshold gene drive for malaria vector control.

Malaria journal, 23(1):156.

Sustainable reductions in African malaria transmission require innovative tools for mosquito control. One proposal involves the use of low-threshold gene drive in Anopheles vector species, where a 'causal pathway' would be initiated by (i) the release of a gene drive system in target mosquito vector species, leading to (ii) its transmission to subsequent generations, (iii) its increase in frequency and spread in target mosquito populations, (iv) its simultaneous propagation of a linked genetic trait aimed at reducing vectorial capacity for Plasmodium, and (v) reduced vectorial capacity for parasites in target mosquito populations as the gene drive system reaches fixation in target mosquito populations, causing (vi) decreased malaria incidence and prevalence. Here the scope, objectives, trial design elements, and approaches to monitoring for initial field releases of such gene dive systems are considered, informed by the successful implementation of field trials of biological control agents, as well as other vector control tools, including insecticides, Wolbachia, larvicides, and attractive-toxic sugar bait systems. Specific research questions to be addressed in initial gene drive field trials are identified, and adaptive trial design is explored as a potentially constructive and flexible approach to facilitate testing of the causal pathway. A fundamental question for decision-makers for the first field trials will be whether there should be a selective focus on earlier points of the pathway, such as genetic efficacy via measurement of the increase in frequency and spread of the gene drive system in target populations, or on wider interrogation of the entire pathway including entomological and epidemiological efficacy. How and when epidemiological efficacy will eventually be assessed will be an essential consideration before decisions on any field trial protocols are finalized and implemented, regardless of whether initial field trials focus exclusively on the measurement of genetic efficacy, or on broader aspects of the causal pathway. Statistical and modelling tools are currently under active development and will inform such decisions on initial trial design, locations, and endpoints. Collectively, the considerations here advance the realization of developer ambitions for the first field trials of low-threshold gene drive for malaria vector control within the next 5 years.

RevDate: 2024-05-21
CmpDate: 2024-05-21

Miyata M, Nomura M, D Kageyama (2024)

Rapid spread of a vertically transmitted symbiont induces drastic shifts in butterfly sex ratio.

Current biology : CB, 34(10):R490-R492.

The causes and consequences of sex-ratio dynamics constitutes a pivotal subject in evolutionary biology[1]. Under conditions of evolutionary equilibrium, the male-to-female ratio tends to be approximately 1:1; however, this equilibrium is susceptible to distortion by selfish genetic elements exemplified by driving sex chromosomes and cytoplasmic elements[2][,][3]. Although previous studies have documented instances of these genetic elements distorting the sex ratio, studies specifically tracking the process with which these distorters spread within populations, leading to a transition from balanced parity to a skewed, female-biased state, are notably lacking. Herein, we present compelling evidence documenting the rapid spread of the cytoplasmic endosymbiont Wolbachia within a localized population of the pierid butterfly Eurema hecabe (Figure 1A). This spread resulted in a shift in the sex ratio from near parity to an exceedingly skewed state overwhelmingly biased toward females, reaching 93.1% within a remarkably brief period of 4 years.

RevDate: 2024-05-21
CmpDate: 2024-05-21

Maleki-Ravasan N, Ghafari SM, Najafzadeh N, et al (2024)

Characterization of bacteria expectorated during forced salivation of the Phlebotomus papatasi: A neglected component of sand fly infectious inoculums.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 18(5):e0012165 pii:PNTD-D-23-01610.

The infectious inoculum of a sand fly, apart from its metacyclic promastigotes, is composed of factors derived from both the parasite and the vector. Vector-derived factors, including salivary proteins and the gut microbiota, are essential for the establishment and enhancement of infection. However, the type and the number of bacteria egested during salivation is unclear. In the present study, sand flies of Phlebotomus papatasi were gathered from three locations in hyperendemic focus of zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis (ZCL) in Isfahan Province, Iran. By using the forced salivation assay and targeting the 16S rRNA barcode gene, egested bacteria were characterized in 99 (44%) out of 224 sand flies. Culture-dependent and culture-independent methods identified the members of Enterobacter cloacae and Spiroplasma species as dominant taxa, respectively. Ten top genera of Spiroplasma, Ralstonia, Acinetobacter, Reyranella, Undibacterium, Bryobacter, Corynebacterium, Cutibacterium, Psychrobacter, and Wolbachia constituted >80% of the saliva microbiome. Phylogenetic analysis displayed the presence of only one bacterial species for the Spiroplasma, Ralstonia, Reyranella, Bryobacter and Wolbachia, two distinct species for Cutibacterium, three for Undibacterium and Psychrobacter, 16 for Acinetobacter, and 27 for Corynebacterium, in the saliva. The abundance of microbes in P. papatasi saliva was determined by incorporating the data on the read counts and the copy number of 16S rRNA gene, about 9,000 bacterial cells, per sand fly. Both microbiological and metagenomic data indicate that bacteria are constant companions of Leishmania, from the intestine of the vector to the vertebrate host. This is the first forced salivation experiment in a sand fly, addressing key questions on infectious bite and competent vectors.

RevDate: 2024-05-20

Muharromah AF, Carvajal TM, Regilme MAF, et al (2024)

Fine-scale adaptive divergence and population genetic structure of Aedes aegypti in Metropolitan Manila, Philippines.

Parasites & vectors, 17(1):233.

BACKGROUND: The adaptive divergence of Aedes aegypti populations to heterogeneous environments can be a driving force behind the recent expansion of their habitat distribution and outbreaks of dengue disease in urbanized areas. In this study, we investigated the population genomics of Ae. aegypti at a regional scale in Metropolitan Manila, Philippines.

METHODS: We used the Pool-Seq double digestion restriction-site association DNA sequencing (ddRAD-Seq) approach to generate a high number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), with the aim to determine local adaptation and compare the population structure with 11 microsatellite markers. A total of 217 Ae. aegypti individuals from seven female and seven male populations collected from Metropolitan Manila were used in the assays.

RESULTS: We detected 65,473 SNPs across the populations, of which 76 were non-neutral SNPs. Of these non-neutral SNPs, the multivariate regression test associated 50 with eight landscape variables (e.g. open space, forest, etc.) and 29 with five climate variables (e.g. air temperature, humidity, etc.) (P-value range 0.005-0.045) in female and male populations separately. Male and female populations exhibited contrasting spatial divergence, with males exhibiting greater divergence than females, most likely reflecting the different dispersal abilities of male and female mosquitoes. In the comparative analysis of the same Ae. aegypti individuals, the pairwise FST values of 11 microsatellite markers were lower than those of the neutral SNPs, indicating that the neutral SNPs generated via pool ddRAD-Seq were more sensitive in terms of detecting genetic differences between populations at fine-spatial scales.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our study demonstrates the utility of pool ddRAD-Seq for examining genetic differences in Ae. aegypti populations in areas at fine-spatial scales that could inform vector control programs such as Wolbachia-infected mosquito mass-release programs. This in turn would provide information on mosquito population dispersal patterns and the potential barriers to mosquito movement within and around the release area. In addition, the potential of environmental adaptability observed in Ae. aegypti could help population control efforts.

RevDate: 2024-05-17

Bell-Sakyi L, Haines LR, Petrucci G, et al (2024)

Establishment and partial characterisation of a new cell line derived from adult tissues of the tsetse fly Glossina morsitans morsitans.

Parasites & vectors, 17(1):231.

BACKGROUND: Insect cell lines play a vital role in many aspects of research on disease vectors and agricultural pests. The tsetse fly Glossina morsitans morsitans is an important vector of salivarian trypanosomes in sub-Saharan Africa and, as such, is a major constraint on human health and agricultural development in the region.

METHODS: Here, we report establishment and partial characterisation of a cell line, GMA/LULS61, derived from tissues of adult female G. m. morsitans. GMA/LULS61 cells, grown at 28 °C in L-15 (Leibovitz) medium supplemented with foetal bovine serum and tryptose phosphate broth, have been taken through 23 passages to date and can be split 1:1 at 2-week intervals. Karyotyping at passage 17 revealed a predominantly haploid chromosome complement. Species origin and absence of contaminating bacteria were confirmed by PCR amplification and sequencing of fragments of the COI gene and pan-bacterial 16S rRNA gene respectively. However, PCR screening of RNA extracted from GMA/LULS61 cells confirmed presence of the recently described Glossina morsitans morsitans iflavirus and Glossina morsitans morsitans negevirus, but absence of Glossina pallipides salivary gland hypertrophy virus. GMA/LULS61 cells supported infection and growth of 6/7 different insect-derived strains of the intracellular bacterial symbiont Wolbachia.

CONCLUSIONS: The GMA/LULS61 cell line has potential for application in a variety of studies investigating the biology of G. m. morsitans and its associated pathogenic and symbiotic microorganisms.

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 ClinicalTrials.gov, 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.

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RJR Experience and Expertise

Researcher

Robbins holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in the life sciences. He served as a tenured faculty member in the Zoology and Biological Science departments at Michigan State University. He is currently exploring the intersection between genomics, microbial ecology, and biodiversity — an area that promises to transform our understanding of the biosphere.

Educator

Robbins has extensive experience in college-level education: At MSU he taught introductory biology, genetics, and population genetics. At JHU, he was an instructor for a special course on biological database design. At FHCRC, he team-taught a graduate-level course on the history of genetics. At Bellevue College he taught medical informatics.

Administrator

Robbins has been involved in science administration at both the federal and the institutional levels. At NSF he was a program officer for database activities in the life sciences, at DOE he was a program officer for information infrastructure in the human genome project. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he served as a vice president for fifteen years.

Technologist

Robbins has been involved with information technology since writing his first Fortran program as a college student. At NSF he was the first program officer for database activities in the life sciences. At JHU he held an appointment in the CS department and served as director of the informatics core for the Genome Data Base. At the FHCRC he was VP for Information Technology.

Publisher

While still at Michigan State, Robbins started his first publishing venture, founding a small company that addressed the short-run publishing needs of instructors in very large undergraduate classes. For more than 20 years, Robbins has been operating The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project, a web site dedicated to the digital publishing of critical works in science, especially classical genetics.

Speaker

Robbins is well-known for his speaking abilities and is often called upon to provide keynote or plenary addresses at international meetings. For example, in July, 2012, he gave a well-received keynote address at the Global Biodiversity Informatics Congress, sponsored by GBIF and held in Copenhagen. The slides from that talk can be seen HERE.

Facilitator

Robbins is a skilled meeting facilitator. He prefers a participatory approach, with part of the meeting involving dynamic breakout groups, created by the participants in real time: (1) individuals propose breakout groups; (2) everyone signs up for one (or more) groups; (3) the groups with the most interested parties then meet, with reports from each group presented and discussed in a subsequent plenary session.

Designer

Robbins has been engaged with photography and design since the 1960s, when he worked for a professional photography laboratory. He now prefers digital photography and tools for their precision and reproducibility. He designed his first web site more than 20 years ago and he personally designed and implemented this web site. He engages in graphic design as a hobby.

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Collection of publications by R J Robbins

Reprints and preprints of publications, slide presentations, instructional materials, and data compilations written or prepared by Robert Robbins. Most papers deal with computational biology, genome informatics, using information technology to support biomedical research, and related matters.

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

ResearchGate is a social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators. According to a study by Nature and an article in Times Higher Education , it is the largest academic social network in terms of active users.

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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