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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 30 Mar 2020 at 01:46 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®)

RevDate: 2020-03-26

Paredes-Montero JR, Zia-Ur-Rehman M, Hameed U, et al (2020)

Genetic variability, community structure, and horizontal transfer of endosymbionts among three Asia II-Bemisia tabaci mitotypes in Pakistan.

Ecology and evolution, 10(6):2928-2943 pii:ECE36107.

Endosymbionts associated with the whitefly Bemisia tabaci cryptic species are known to contribute to host fitness and environmental adaptation. The genetic diversity and population complexity were investigated for endosymbiont communities of B. tabaci occupying different micro-environments in Pakistan. Mitotypes of B. tabaci were identified by comparative sequence analysis of the mitochondria cytochrome oxidase I (mtCOI) gene sequence. Whitefly mitotypes belonged to the Asia II-1, -5, and -7 mitotypes of the Asia II major clade. The whitefly-endosymbiont communities were characterized based on 16S ribosomal RNA operational taxonomic unit (OTU) assignments, resulting in 43 OTUs. Most of the OTUs occurred in the Asia II-1 and II-7 mitotypes (r2 = .9, p < .005), while the Asia II-5 microbiome was less complex. The microbiome OTU groups were mitotype-specific, clustering with a basis in phylogeographical distribution and the corresponding ecological niche of their whitefly host, suggesting mitotype-microbiome co-adaptation. The primary endosymbiont Portiera was represented by a single, highly homologous OTU (0%-0.67% divergence). Two of six Arsenophonus OTUs were uniquely associated with Asia II-5 and -7, and one occurred exclusively in Asia II-1, two only in Asia II-5, and one in both Asia II-1 and -7. Four other secondary endosymbionts, Cardinium, Hemipteriphilus, Rickettsia, and Wolbachia OTUs, were found at ≤29% frequencies. The most prevalent Arsenophonus OTU was found in all three Asia II mitotypes (55% frequency), whereas the same strain of Cardinium and Wolbachia was found in both Asia II-1 and -5, and a single Hemipteriphilus OTU occurred in Asia II-1 and -7. This pattern is indicative of horizontal transfer, suggestive of a proximity between mitotypes sufficient for gene flow at overlapping mitotype ecological niches.

RevDate: 2020-03-24

Guz N, Arshad M, Cagatay NS, et al (2020)

Detection of Wolbachia (Rickettsiales: Anaplasmataceae) and Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (Rhizobiales: Rhizobiaceae) Associated With Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera: Liviidae) Collected From Citrus reticulata (Sapindales: Rutaceae) and Alternate Host, Cordia myxa (Boraginales: Boraginaceae).

Journal of economic entomology pii:5811319 [Epub ahead of print].

The Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Liviidae), is an important insect pest of the citrus crop worldwide. It vectors the pathogen 'Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus' (CLas) that causes a serious disease known as citrus greening. Here, we tested the infection frequency of Wolbachia and CLas from 100 D. citri individuals collected from two host plants belonging to families Rutaceae (Citrus reticulata Blanco) and Boraginaceae (Cordia myxa L.) using molecular methods. The following trend of endosymbionts infection in adult D. citri was found; 85.4% (35/41) by Wolbachia, and 19.5% (8/41) by CLas collected from C. reticulata plants and 65.4% (17/26) by Wolbachia, and 15.4% (4/26) by CLas in case of C. myxa plant. However, 61.5% (8/13) nymphs collected from C. reticulata and 20.0% (4/20) collected from C. myxa plants were infected by Wolbachia, while no nymph was infected by CLas collected from either host plants. Findings from this work represent the first report of CLas presence in D. citri feeding on C. myxa plants. By studying the presence of CLas with other endosymbiotic bacteria, future basic and applied research to develop control strategies can be prioritized.

RevDate: 2020-03-21

Bing XL, Zhao DS, Peng CW, et al (2020)

Similarities and spatial variations of bacterial and fungal communities in field rice planthopper (Hemiptera: Delphacidae) populationsh.

Insect science [Epub ahead of print].

Rice planthoppers are notorious plant sap-feeding pests that cause serious damage. While several microbes in rice planthoppers have been broadly characterized, the abundance and diversity of bacteria and fungi in field planthoppers are largely unknown. This study investigated the bacterial and fungal community compositions of Chinese wild rice planthoppers Laodelphax striatellus and Sogatella furcifera using parallel 16S rRNA gene amplicon and internal transcribed space region sequencing. The bacteria varied significantly between the species and were partitioned significantly by sexes, tissues and host environments in each species. The majority of bacteria were affiliated with the genera Wolbachia, Cardinium, Rickettsia and Pantoea. The abundance of Wolbachia was negatively correlated with that of Cardinium in both planthopper species. Compared with bacteria, the abundance and diversity of fungi did not differ between sexes but both were enriched in the gut. The bacterial community as a whole showed no significant correlation with the fungal community. The majority of fungi were related to Sarocladium, Alternaria, Malassezia, Aspergillus and Curvularia. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that these fungi were closely related to botanic symbionts or pathogens. Our results provide novel insights into the bacteria and fungi of rice planthoppers. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2020-03-19

Dionysopoulou NK, Papanastasiou SA, Kyritsis GA, et al (2020)

Effect of host fruit, temperature and Wolbachia infection on survival and development of Ceratitis capitata immature stages.

PloS one, 15(3):e0229727 pii:PONE-D-19-25021.

The Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae), holds an impressive record of successful invasions promoted by the growth and development of international fruit trade. Hence, survival of immatures within infested fruit that are subjected to various conditions during transportation seems to be a crucial feature that promotes invasion success. Wolbachia pipientis is a common endosymbiont of insects and other arthropods generating several biological effects on its hosts. Existing information report the influence of Wolbachia on the fitness traits of insect host species, including the Mediterranean fruit fly. However, little is known regarding effects of Wolbachia infection on immature development in different host fruits and temperatures. This study was conducted to determine the development and survival of immature stages of four different Mediterranean fruit fly populations, either infected or uninfected with Wolbachia, in two hosts (apples, bitter oranges) under three constant temperatures (15, 25 and 30°C), constant relative humidity (45-55 ± 5%), and a photoperiod of 14L:10D. Our findings demonstrate both differential response of two fruit fly lines to Wolbachia infection and differential effects of the two Wolbachia strains on the same Mediterranean fruit fly line. Larva-to-pupa and larva-to-adult survival followed similar patterns and varied a lot among the four medfly populations, the two host fruits and the different temperatures. Pupation rates and larval developmental time were higher for larvae implanted in apples compared to bitter oranges. The survival rates of wildish medflies were higher than those of the laboratory adapted ones, particularly in bitter oranges. The Wolbachia infected medflies, expressed lower survival rates and higher developmental times, especially the wCer4 infected line. High temperatures constrained immature development and were lethal for the Wolbachia infected wCer4 medfly line. Lower temperatures inferred longer developmental times to immature stages of all medfly populations tested, in both host fruits. Implications on the ecology and survival of the fly in nature are discussed.

RevDate: 2020-03-19

Fallon AM (2020)

Computational evidence for antitoxins associated with RelE/ParE, RatA, Fic, and AbiEii-family toxins in Wolbachia genomes.

Molecular genetics and genomics : MGG pii:10.1007/s00438-020-01662-0 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia is an obligate intracellular Gram-negative alpha-proteobacterium that has diverse effects on reproduction of arthropod hosts, including cytoplasmic incompatibility, male killing, feminization, and parthenogenesis. Some of these effects have important potential for control of insect pests, including mosquitoes that vector pathogens of humans. In mosquitoes, and in most other arthropods, elimination of Wolbachia by antibiotic treatment has no effect on host survival and reverses the Wolbachia-associated phenotype. Elimination of Wolbachia strain wFol, which enables parthenogenetic reproduction of the Collembolan, Folsomia candida, would result in population extinction. However, F. candida adults remain viable and resume reproduction when antibiotics are removed, suggesting that wFol survives antibiotic treatment in a quiescent persister state similar to that induced by chromosomally encoded toxin-antitoxin (TA) modules in free-living bacteria. Computational approaches were used to document the presence of antitoxin genes upstream of Wolbachia RelE/ParE, Fic, and AbiEii toxin genes. Moreover, this analysis revealed that Wolbachia RatA toxin is encoded by a single copy gene associated with an ssrS noncoding RNA gene. Documentation of potentially functional TA modules expands our understanding of the metabolic capabilities of Wolbachia, and provides an explanation for variable and sometimes contradictory results of antibiotic treatments. The presence of chromosomal TA modules in Wolbachia genomes suggests that wFol, and potentially other strains of Wolbachia, can enter a quiescent persister state.

RevDate: 2020-03-18

Wu X, Lindsey ARI, Chatterjee P, et al (2020)

Distinct epigenomic and transcriptomic modifications associated with Wolbachia-mediated asexuality.

PLoS pathogens, 16(3):e1008397 pii:PPATHOGENS-D-19-02255 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia are maternally transmitted intracellular bacteria that induce a range of pathogenic and fitness-altering effects on insect and nematode hosts. In parasitoid wasps of the genus Trichogramma, Wolbachia infection induces asexual production of females, thus increasing transmission of Wolbachia. It has been hypothesized that Wolbachia infection accompanies a modification of the host epigenome. However, to date, data on genome-wide epigenomic changes associated with Wolbachia are limited, and are often confounded by background genetic differences. Here, we took sexually reproducing Trichogramma free of Wolbachia and introgressed their genome into a Wolbachia-infected cytoplasm, converting them to Wolbachia-mediated asexuality. Wolbachia was then cured from replicates of these introgressed lines, allowing us to examine the genome-wide effects of wasps newly converted to asexual reproduction while controlling for genetic background. We thus identified gene expression and DNA methylation changes associated with Wolbachia-infection. We found no overlaps between differentially expressed genes and differentially methylated genes, indicating that Wolbachia-infection associated DNA methylation change does not directly modulate levels of gene expression. Furthermore, genes affected by these mechanisms exhibit distinct evolutionary histories. Genes differentially methylated due to the infection tended to be evolutionarily conserved. In contrast, differentially expressed genes were significantly more likely to be unique to the Trichogramma lineage, suggesting host-specific transcriptomic responses to infection. Nevertheless, we identified several novel aspects of Wolbachia-associated DNA methylation changes. Differentially methylated genes included those involved in oocyte development and chromosome segregation. Interestingly, Wolbachia-infection was associated with higher levels of DNA methylation. Additionally, Wolbachia infection reduced overall variability in gene expression, even after accounting for the effect of DNA methylation. We also identified specific cases where alternative exon usage was associated with DNA methylation changes with Wolbachia infection. These results begin to reveal distinct genes and molecular pathways subject to Wolbachia induced epigenetic modification and/or host responses to Wolbachia-infection.

RevDate: 2020-03-16

van den Bosch TJM, CU Welte (2020)

The Microbial Diversity of Cabbage Pest Delia radicum Across Multiple Life Stages.

Frontiers in microbiology, 11:315.

The cabbage root fly Delia radicum is a worldwide pest that causes yield losses of many common cabbage crops. The bacteria associated with D. radicum are suggested to influence the pest status of their host. In this study, we characterized insect-associated bacteria of D. radicum across multiple life stages and of their diet plant (turnip, Brassica rapa subsp. rapa) by sequencing the V3-V4 region of 16S rRNA genes using the Illumina MiSeq platform. In total, over 1.2M paired-end reads were obtained, identifying 1006 bacterial amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) in samples obtained from the eggs, larvae, pupae and adults of D. radicum, as well as turnips that were either fresh or infested with D. radicum larvae. The microbial community in D. radicum was dominated by Wolbachia, a common endosymbiont of arthropods which we found in all of the investigated insect samples, with the pupal stage having the highest relative abundance. Moderate amounts of Firmicutes were found only in adult D. radicum flies, but not in previous life stages. Actinobacteria were mostly found on the eggs and on the skin of fresh plants on which the eggs were deposited. These plants also harbored a large amount of Pseudomonas. The bacterial diversity of the healthy turnip was low, whereas the microbial community of decaying turnips that were heavily infested by D. radicum larvae and showing symptoms of advanced soft rot was characterized by a high bacterial diversity. Taken together, this work provides insights into the bacterial communities associated with the cabbage pest D. radicum and its associated disease symptoms.

RevDate: 2020-03-14

Rossitto De Marchi B, HA Smith (2020)

Bacterial Endosymbiont Diversity Among Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) Populations in Florida.

Insects, 11(3): pii:insects11030179.

The sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae), is a pest of many economically important agricultural crops and a vector of plant viruses. Bemisia tabaci harbors facultative endosymbiont species that have been implicated in pest status, including tolerance to insecticides, virus transmission efficiency and tolerance to high-temperatures. The facultative endosymbionts reported in B. tabaci include Arsenophonus, Hamiltonella, Wolbachia, Cardinium, Fritschea and Rickettsia. We collected whitefly populations from weed and crop hosts in south Florida and identified the whitefly species as well as the facultative endosymbionts present in these populations by molecular analysis. In addition, a phylogenetic analysis of whiteflies and their endosymbionts was performed. The only facultative endosymbionts found among the B. tabaci populations collected in Florida were Hamiltonella and Rickettsia. The phylogenetic analysis revealed the low genetic diversity of whiteflies and their endosymbionts. Additionally, the phylogenetic tree clustered Rickettsia from Florida in the R1 genetic group. The results will aid to understand the role of the bacterial endosymbionts in the whitefly host.

RevDate: 2020-03-13

Hu Y, Xi Z, Liu X, et al (2020)

Correction to: Identification and molecular characterization of Wolbachia strains in natural populations of Aedes albopictus in China.

Parasites & vectors, 13(1):124 pii:10.1186/s13071-020-3917-6.

Following publication of the original article [1], the corresponding author flagged that the article had published with two errors.

RevDate: 2020-03-12

Morrow JL, Schneider DI, Klasson L, et al (2020)

Parallel sequencing of Wolbachia wCer2 from donor and novel hosts reveals multiple incompatibility factors and genome stability after host transfers.

Genome biology and evolution pii:5803650 [Epub ahead of print].

The application of Wolbachia in insect pest and vector control requires the establishment of genotypically stable host associations. The cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) inducing Wolbachia strain wCer2 naturally occurs in the cherry fruit fly Rhagoletis cerasi as co-infection with other strains and was transferred to other fruit flies by embryonic microinjections. We obtained wCer2 genome data from its native and three novel hosts, Drosophila simulans, Drosophila melanogaster and Ceratitis capitata and assessed its genome stability, characteristics and CI factor (cif) genes. De novo assembly was successful from Wolbachia cell-enriched singly infected D. simulans embryos, with minimal host and other bacterial genome traces. The low yield of Wolbachia sequence reads from total genomic extracts of one multiply infected R. cerasi pupa and one singly infected C. capitata adult limited de novo assemblies but was sufficient for comparative analyses. Across hosts wCer2 was stable in genome synteny and content. Polymorphic nucleotide sites were found in wCer2 of each host, however only one nucleotide was different between R. cerasi and C. capitata, and none between replicated D. simulans lines. The wCer2 genome is highly similar to wAu (D. simulans), wMel (D. melanogaster) and wRec (Drosophila recens). In contrast to wMel and wRec (each with one cif gene pair) and wAu (without any cif genes), wCer2 has three pairs of Type I cif genes and one Type IV cifB gene without a cifA complement. This may explain previously reported CI patterns of wCer2, including incomplete rescue of its own CI modification in three novel host species.

RevDate: 2020-03-10

Mancini MV, Herd CS, Ant TH, et al (2020)

Wolbachia strain wAu efficiently blocks arbovirus transmission in Aedes albopictus.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 14(3):e0007926 pii:PNTD-D-19-01910 [Epub ahead of print].

The global incidence of arboviral diseases transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, including dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika, has increased dramatically in recent decades. The release of Aedes aegypti carrying the maternally inherited symbiont Wolbachia as an intervention to control arboviruses is being trialled in several countries. However, these efforts are compromised in many endemic regions due to the co-localization of the secondary vector Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito. Ae. albopictus has an expanding global distribution following incursions into a number of new territories. To date, only the wMel and wPip strains of Wolbachia have been reported to be transferred into and characterized in this vector. A Wolbachia strain naturally infecting Drosophila simulans, wAu, was selected for transfer into a Malaysian Ae. albopictus line to create a novel triple-strain infection. The newly generated line showed self-compatibility, moderate fitness cost and complete resistance to Zika and dengue infections.

RevDate: 2020-03-07

Duan DY, Liu GH, TY Cheng (2020)

Microbiome analysis of the saliva and midgut from partially or fully engorged female adult Dermacentor silvarum ticks in China.

Experimental & applied acarology pii:10.1007/s10493-020-00478-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Dermacentor silvarum is widely distributed in northern China and transmits several pathogens that cause diseases in humans and domestic animals. We analysed the comprehensive bacterial community of the saliva and midgut from partially and fully engorged female adult D. silvarum. Dermacentor silvarum samples were collected from Guyuan, China. Bacterial DNA was extracted from the saliva and midgut contents of partially or fully engorged female adult D. silvarum. Sequencing of the V3-V4 hypervariable regions of the 16S rRNA genes was performed using the IonS5TMXL platform. The bacterial diversity in saliva was higher than in the midgut. The bacterial diversity of saliva from fully engorged ticks was greater than in partially engorged tick saliva. The bacterial diversity in midguts from partially engorged ticks was greater than in fully engorged tick midguts. Proteobacteria was the most dominant bacterial phylum in all of the samples. Twenty-nine bacterial genera were detected in all of the samples. Rickettsia, Anaplasma, and Stenotrophomonas were the main genera. The symbionts Coxiella, Arsenophonus, and Wolbachia were also detected in all of the samples. Eight bacterial species were identified in all of the experimental samples. Anaplasma marginale was reported for the first time in D. silvarum.

RevDate: 2020-03-07

Epis S, Varotto-Boccazzi I, Crotti E, et al (2020)

Chimeric symbionts expressing a Wolbachia protein stimulate mosquito immunity and inhibit filarial parasite development.

Communications biology, 3(1):105 pii:10.1038/s42003-020-0835-2.

Wolbachia can reduce the capability of mosquitoes to transmit infectious diseases to humans and is currently exploited in campaigns for the control of arboviruses, like dengue and Zika. Under the assumption that Wolbachia-mediated activation of insect immunity plays a role in the reduction of mosquito vectorial capacity, we focused our attention on the Wolbachia surface protein (WSP), a potential inductor of innate immunity. We hypothesized that the heterologous expression of this protein in gut- and tissue-associated symbionts may reduce parasite transmission. We thus engineered the mosquito bacterial symbiont Asaia to express WSP (AsaiaWSP). AsaiaWSP induced activation of the host immune response in Aedes aegypti and Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes, and inhibited the development of the heartworm parasite Dirofilaria immitis in Ae. aegypti. These results consolidate previous evidence on the immune-stimulating property of WSP and make AsaiaWSP worth of further investigations as a potential tool for the control of mosquito-borne diseases.

RevDate: 2020-03-06

O'Driscoll M, Imai N, Ferguson NM, et al (2020)

Spatiotemporal variability in dengue transmission intensity in Jakarta, Indonesia.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 14(3):e0008102 pii:PNTD-D-19-01147 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Approximately 70% of the global burden of dengue disease occurs on the Asian continent, where many large urban centres provide optimal environments for sustained endemic transmission and periodic epidemic cycles. Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, is a densely populated megacity with hyperendemic dengue transmission. Characterization of the spatiotemporal distribution of dengue transmission intensity is of key importance for optimal implementation of novel control and prevention programmes, including vaccination. In this paper we use mathematical models to provide the first detailed description of spatial and temporal variability in dengue transmission intensity in Jakarta.

We applied catalytic models in a Bayesian framework to age-stratified dengue case notification data to estimate dengue force of infection and reporting probabilities in 42 subdistricts of Jakarta. The model was fitted to yearly and average annual data covering a 10-year period between 2008 and 2017. We estimated a long-term average annual transmission intensity of 0.130 (95%CrI: 0.129-0.131) per year in Jakarta province, ranging from 0.090 (95%CrI: 0.077-0.103) to 0.164 (95%CrI: 0.153-0.174) across subdistricts. Annual average transmission intensity in Jakarta province during the 10-year period ranged from 0.012 (95%CrI: 0.011-0.013) in 2017 to 0.124 (95%CrI: 0.121-0.128) in 2016.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: While the absolute number of dengue case notifications cannot be relied upon as a measure of endemicity, the age-distribution of reported dengue cases provides valuable insights into the underlying nature of transmission. Our estimates from yearly and average annual case notification data represent the first detailed estimates of dengue transmission intensity in Jakarta's subdistricts. These will be important to consider when assessing the population-level impact and cost-effectiveness of potential control and prevention programmes in Jakarta province, such as the controlled release of Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes and vaccination.

RevDate: 2020-03-06

Glowska E, Filutowska ZK, Dabert M, et al (2020)

Microbial composition of enigmatic bird parasites: Wolbachia and Spiroplasma are the most important bacterial associates of quill mites (Acariformes: Syringophilidae).

MicrobiologyOpen [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: The microbiome is an integral component of many animal species, potentially affecting behavior, physiology, and other biological properties. Despite this importance, bacterial communities remain vastly understudied in many groups of invertebrates, including mites. Quill mites (Acariformes: Syringophilidae) are a poorly known group of permanent bird ectoparasites that occupy quills of feathers and feed on bird subcutaneous tissue and fluids. Most of the known species have strongly female-biased sex ratio, and it was hypothesized that this is caused by endosymbiotic bacteria. Previously, Anaplasma phagocytophilum (Foggie) and a high diversity of Wolbachia strains were detected in quill mites via targeted PCR screens. Here, we use an unbiased 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing approach to determine other bacteria that potentially impact quill mite biology.

RESULTS: We performed 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing of 126 quill mite individuals from eleven species parasitizing twelve species (four families) of passeriform birds. In addition to Wolbachia, we found Spiroplasma as potential symbiont of quill mites. Consistently, high Spiroplasma titers were only found in individuals of two mite species associated with finches of the genus Carduelis, suggesting a history of horizontal transfers of Spiroplasma via the bird host. Furthermore, there was evidence for Spiroplasma negatively affecting Wolbachia titers. We found no evidence for the previously reported Anaplasma in quill mites, but detected sequences of high similarity to the potential pathogens Brucella and Bartonella at low abundances. Other amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) could be assigned to a diverse number of bacterial taxa, including several that were previously isolated from bird skin. Further, many frequently found ASVs were assigned to taxa that show a very broad distribution with no strong prior evidence for symbiotic association with animals. We interpret these findings as evidence for a scarcity of resident microbial associates (other than inherited symbionts) in quill mites.

RevDate: 2020-03-06

Bubici G, Prigigallo MI, Garganese F, et al (2020)

First Report of Aleurocanthus spiniferus on Ailanthus altissima: Profiling of the Insect Microbiome and MicroRNAs.

Insects, 11(3): pii:insects11030161.

We report the first occurrence of the orange spiny whitefly (Aleurocanthus spiniferus; OSW) on the tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) in Bari, Apulia region, Italy. After our first observation in 2016, the infestation recurred regularly during the following years and expanded to the neighboring trees. Since then, we have also found the insect on numerous patches of the tree of heaven and other plant species in the Bari province. Nevertheless, the tree of heaven was not particularly threatened by the insect, so that a possible contribution by OSW for the control of such an invasive plant cannot be hypothesized hitherto. This work was also aimed at profiling the microbiome of OSW feeding on A. altissima. For this purpose, we used the denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and the deep sequencing of small RNAs (sRNAs). Both techniques unveiled the presence of "Candidatus Portiera" (primary endosymbiont), Wolbachia sp. and Rickettsia sp., endosymbionts already reported for other Aleyrodidae. Deep sequencing data were analyzed by four computational pipelines in order to understand the reliability of the detection of fungi, bacteria, and viruses: Kraken, Kaiju, Velvet, and VelvetOptimiser. Some contigs assembled by Velvet or VelvetOptimiser were associated with insects, but not necessarily in the Aleurocanthus genus or Aleyrodidae family, suggesting the non-specificity of sRNAs or possible traces of parasitoids in the sample (e.g., Eretmocerus sp.). Finally, deep sequencing data were used to describe the microtranscriptome of OSW: 56 canonical and at least four high-confidence novel microRNAs (miRNAs) were identified. The overall miRNA abundance in OSW was in agreement with previous works on Bemisia tabaci, and bantam-3p, miR-276a-3p, miR-317-3p, miR-750-3p, and mir-8-3p were the most represented miRNAs.

RevDate: 2020-03-05

Nikolouli K, Sassù F, Mouton L, et al (2020)

Combining sterile and incompatible insect techniques for the population suppression of Drosophila suzukii.

Journal of pest science, 93(2):647-661.

The spotted wing Drosophila, Drosophila suzukii, has recently invaded Europe and the Americas, and it is a major threat for a wide variety of commercial soft fruits both in open field and greenhouse production systems. D. suzukii infests a wide range of ripening fruits, leading to substantial yield and revenue losses. As the application of insecticides close to the harvest period poses great concerns, the development of an efficient environment-friendly control approach to fight D. suzukii is necessary. In this study, we exploited the sterile insect technique (SIT) in combination with Wolbachia symbiosis as a population suppression approach that can constitute a potential component of an area-wide integrated pest management program. We aimed to establish a combined SIT/incompatible insect technique (IIT) protocol that would require lower irradiation doses as a complementary tool for D. suzukii management. Two D. suzukii lines trans-infected with the Wolbachia wHa and wTei strains were irradiated at doses four times less than usual (e.g., 45 Gy), and the egg hatching and adult emergence were determined. Our results indicated that wHa and wTei females as well as wHa males were sterile at this low dose. The longevity, adult emergence and flight ability of adults were evaluated, and no major effect caused by irradiation was detected. Our data indicate that a SIT/IIT protocol can be a competent approach for D. suzukii management.

RevDate: 2020-03-04

Gallo-Franco JJ, N Toro-Perea (2020)

Variations in the Bacterial Communities in Anastrepha obliqua (Diptera: Tephritidae) According to the Insect Life Stage and Host Plant.

Current microbiology pii:10.1007/s00284-020-01939-y [Epub ahead of print].

Insects have established close relationships with a wide variety of microorganisms, which play a key role in insect ecology and evolution. Fruit flies in the Tephritidae family have economic importance at the global level, including species such as Anastrepha obliqua, which is an important pest in the neotropical region. Although several studies have been performed on the microbiota associated with fruit flies, there are still large gaps in our knowledge about the bacterial communities on the genus Anastrepha. During this study, we used high-throughput sequencing to characterize the bacterial communities of the polyphagous fly A. obliqua, and we evaluated the effect of the life stage (larvae and adults) and host plant (three plant species) on the structure of these communities. Our results show that the bacterial communities in A. obliqua appears to be structured according to the insect life stage and the host plant. The predominant genera belonging to the phylum Proteobacteria were Wolbachia and Enterobacter in both larvae and adults, and they displayed differences in abundance between them, with Wolbachia sp. being more abundant in larvae and Enterobacter sp. being more abundant in adults. Differences in the structures of the bacterial communities were also observed according to the host plant with higher abundance of Enterobacter and Acetobacter bacteria in mango and plum fruits. Based on our results, it can be hypothesized that the bacterial communities on A. obliqua reorganize according to the needs of these insects during their different life stages and could also play an important role in the establishment of this fly species on different host plants. This study represents the first approach to understanding microorganism-insect interactions in fruit flies in Colombia.

RevDate: 2020-03-04

Li Y, Liu X, Wang N, et al (2020)

Background-dependent Wolbachia-mediated insecticide resistance in Laodelphax striatellus.

Environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

While facultative endosymbionts are now known to protect insect hosts against pathogens and parasitoids, the effects of endosymbionts on insecticide resistance are still unclear. Here we show that Wolbachia are associated with increased resistance to the commonly used insecticide, buprofezin, in the small brown planthopper (Laodelphax striatellus) in some genetic backgrounds while having no effect in other backgrounds. In three Wolbachia-infected lines from experimental buprofezin-resistant strains and one line from a buprofezin-susceptible line established from Chuxiong, Yunnan province, China, susceptibility to buprofezin increased after removal of Wolbachia. An increase in susceptibility was also evident in a Wolbachia-infected line established from a field population in Rugao, Jiangsu province. However, no increase was evident in two field populations from Nanjing and Fengxian, Jiangsu province, China. When Wolbachia was introgressed into different genetic backgrounds, followed by Wolbachia removal, the data pointed to Wolbachia effects that depend on the nuclear background as well as on the Wolbachia strain. However, there was no relationship between Wolbachia density and the component of buprofezin resistance associated with the symbiont. The results suggest that Wolbachia effects associated with chemical resistance are complex and unpredictable, but also that they can be substantial. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2020-03-03

Turner JD, Marriott AE, Hong D, et al (2020)

Novel anti-Wolbachia drugs, a new approach in the treatment and prevention of veterinary filariasis?.

Veterinary parasitology, 279:109057 pii:S0304-4017(20)30037-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Filarial nematodes are tissue-dwelling parasitic worms that can cause a range of disfiguring pathologies in humans and potentially lethal infections of companion animals. The bacterial endosymbiont, Wolbachia, is present within most human and veterinary filarial pathogens, including the causative agent of heartworm disease, Dirofilaria immitis. Doxycycline-mediated drug targeting of Wolbachia leads to sterility, clearance of microfilariae and gradual death of adult filariae. This mode of action is attractive in the treatment of filariasis because it avoids severe host inflammatory adverse reactions invoked by rapid-killing anthelmintic agents. However, doxycycline needs to be taken for four weeks to exert curative activity. In this review, we discuss the evidence that Wolbachia drug targeting is efficacious in blocking filarial larval development as well as in the treatment of chronic filarial disease. We present the current portfolio of next-generation anti-Wolbachia candidates discovered through phenotypic screening of chemical libraries and validated in a range of in vitro and in vivo filarial infection models. Several novel chemotypes have been identified with selected narrow-spectrum anti-Wolbachia specificity and superior time-to-kill kinetics compared with doxycycline. We discuss the opportunities of developing these novel anti-Wolbachia agents as either cures, adjunct therapies or new preventatives for the treatment of veterinary filariasis.

RevDate: 2020-03-03

Ourry M, Lopez V, Hervé M, et al (2020)

Long lasting effects of antibiotics on bacterial communities of adult flies.

FEMS microbiology ecology pii:5775305 [Epub ahead of print].

Insect symbionts benefit their host and their study requires large spectrum antibiotic use like tetracycline to weaken or suppress symbiotic communities. While antibiotics have a negative impact on insect fitness, little is known about antibiotic effects on insect microbial communities and how long they last. We characterized the bacterial communities of adult cabbage root fly Delia radicum in a Wolbachia-free population, evaluated the effect of tetracycline treatment on these communities over several generations. Three D. radicum generations were used: the first and second generation flies either ingested tetracycline or not, while the third generation flies were untreated but differed with their parents and/or grand-parents that had or had not been treated. Fly bacterial communities were sequenced using a 16S rRNA gene. Tetracycline decreased fly bacterial diversity and induced modifications in both bacterial abundance and relative frequencies, still visible on untreated offspring which parents and/or grandparents had been treated therefore demonstrating long lasting trans-generational effects on animal microbiomes after antibiotic treatment. Flies with an antibiotic history shared bacterial genera, potentially tetracycline-resistant and heritable. Next, the transmission should be investigated by comparing several insect development stages and plant compartments to assess vertical and horizontal transmissions of D. radicum bacterial communities.

RevDate: 2020-02-29

Zhou JC, Liu QQ, Wang QR, et al (2020)

Optimal clutch size for quality control of bisexual and Wolbachia-infected thelytokous lines of Trichogramma dendrolimi Matsumura (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) mass reared on eggs of a substitutive host, Antheraea pernyi Guérin-Méneville (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae).

Pest management science [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Trichogramma dendrolimi has been widely used in augmentative biocontrol of lepidopteran pests in China. In mass production of T. dendrolimi using Antheraea pernyi eggs as substitutive hosts, which are large in size, clutch size is a parameter of importance to produce high quality parasitoids. Here, we aimed to determine the optimal clutch size for the bisexual Wolbachia-infected line (TdB) and Wolbachia-infected thelytokous line (TdT) of T. dendrolimi reared on A. pernyi eggs.

RESULTS: A medium clutch size of 42.75-62.27 for TdB and 52.93-57.14 for TdT was optimal to maximize fitness-correlated traits of parasitoid individual. The optimal clutch sizes with maximized parameters included adult emergence rate, adult body size, adult longevity, fecudity, and sum of fecundity of all females per brood were 58.31 (86.00%), 42.75 (231.11 μm), 50.92 (2.69 d), 62.27 (150.89 eggs), and 83.25 (7926.33 eggs) for TdB and 57.14 (94.54%), 52.93 (236.97 μm), 53.64 (2.62 d), 56.80 (161.01 eggs), and 70.10 (8579.71 eggs) for TdT. The Wolbachia-infected thelytokous line had a shorter adult longevity, longer development time, and higher adult emergence rate than did its non-infected bisexual counterpart.

CONCLUSION: A medium brood size in a A. pernyi egg host was optimal to produce offspring parasitoids with higher fitness parameters for both bisexual Wolbachia-uninfected and thelytokous Wolbachia-infected lines of T. dendrolimi. The determination of optimal clutch size for T. dendrolimi will provide the reference for the quality control of T. dendrolimi production and improvement of the field performance of the wasps. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2020-02-25

Kaczmarczyk-Ziemba A, Zagaja M, Wagner GK, et al (2020)

First Insight into Microbiome Profiles of Myrmecophilous Beetles and Their Host, Red Wood Ant Formica polyctena (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)-A Case Study.

Insects, 11(2): pii:insects11020134.

Formica polyctena belongs to the red wood ant species group. Its nests provide a stable, food rich, and temperature and humidity controlled environment, utilized by a wide range of species, called myrmecophiles. Here, we used the high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene on the Illumina platform for identification of the microbiome profiles of six selected myrmecophilous beetles (Dendrophilus pygmaeus, Leptacinus formicetorum, Monotoma angusticollis, Myrmechixenus subterraneus, Ptenidium formicetorum and Thiasophila angulata) and their host F. polyctena. Analyzed bacterial communities consisted of a total of 23 phyla, among which Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Firmicutes were the most abundant. Two known endosymbionts-Wolbachia and Rickettsia-were found in the analyzed microbiome profiles and Wolbachia was dominant in bacterial communities associated with F. polyctena, M. subterraneus, L. formicetorum and P. formicetorum (>90% of reads). In turn, M. angusticollis was co-infected with both Wolbachia and Rickettsia, while in the microbiome of T. angulata, the dominance of Rickettsia has been observed. The relationships among the microbiome profiles were complex, and no relative abundance pattern common to all myrmecophilous beetles tested was observed. However, some subtle, species-specific patterns have been observed for bacterial communities associated with D. pygmaeus, M. angusticollis, and T. angulata.

RevDate: 2020-02-24

Hawryluk N (2020)

Macrofilaricides: An Unmet Medical Need for Filarial Diseases.

ACS infectious diseases [Epub ahead of print].

Neglected parasitic helminth diseases, such as onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis, affect an estimated 145 million people worldwide, creating a serious health burden in endemic areas such as sub-Saharan Africa and India. Although these diseases are not usually lethal, infections caused by Onchocerca volvulus (onchocerciasis) and Wuchereria/Brugia (LF) cause severe debilitation and chronic disability to infected individuals. The adult worms responsible for infection can reproduce from 5 to up to 14 years, releasing millions of microfilariae, juvenile worms, over an infected individual's lifetime. The current treatments for controlling human filarial infections is focused on killing microfilariae, the earliest larval stage. Currently, there is an unmet medical need for treatments consisting of a macrofilaricidal regimen, one that targets the adult stage of the parasite, increases the rate of elimination, allows for safe use in co-endemic regions of O. volvulus and L. loa, and provides a rapid method to resolve reinfections. Herein, recent approaches for targeting human filarial diseases are discussed including direct acting agents to target parasitic nematodes and anti-bacterial approaches to target the endosymbiotic bacteria, Wolbachia. Keywords: filariasis, onchocerciasis, Wolbachia, microfilaria, macrofilaria, Loa loa.

RevDate: 2020-02-20

Zhang D, Wang Y, He K, et al (2020)

Wolbachia limits pathogen infections through induction of host innate immune responses.

PloS one, 15(2):e0226736 pii:PONE-D-19-32787.

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia has been reported to suppress a variety of pathogen infections in mosquitoes, but the mechanism is undefined. Two possibilities have been proposed. One is that Wolbachia activates host immune responses, and the other one is that Wolbachia competes with pathogens for limited nutrients.

In this study, we compared host immune responses and the densities of two different strains of Wolbachia in naturally occurring parental and artificially created hybrid host genetic backgrounds. No significant difference in Wolbachia density was found between these hosts. We found that Wolbachia could activate host innate immune responses when the host genetic profile was different from that of its natural host. When these hosts were challenged with pathogenic bacteria, mosquitoes in new host-Wolbachia symbioses had a higher survival rate than in old host-Wolbachia symbioses.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The presence of Wolbachia per se does not necessarily affect pathogen infections, suggesting that a competition for limited nutrients is not the main reason for Wolbachia-mediated pathogen suppression. Instead, host immune responses are responsible for it. The elucidation of an immunity nature of PI is important to guide future practice: Wolbachia may be genetically engineered to be more immunogenic, it is desired to search and isolate more strains of Wolbachia, and test more host-Wolbachia symbioses for future applications. Our results also suggest Wolbachia-based PI may be applied to naturally Wolbachia-infected mosquito populations, and extend to the control of a broader range of mosquito-borne diseases.

RevDate: 2020-02-20

Ross PA, Callahan AG, Yang Q, et al (2020)

An elusive endosymbiont: Does Wolbachia occur naturally in Aedes aegypti?.

Ecology and evolution, 10(3):1581-1591 pii:ECE36012.

Wolbachia are maternally inherited endosymbiotic bacteria found within many insect species. Aedes mosquitoes experimentally infected with Wolbachia are being released into the field for Aedes-borne disease control. These Wolbachia infections induce cytoplasmic incompatibility which is used to suppress populations through incompatible matings or replace populations through the reproductive advantage provided by this mechanism. However, the presence of naturally occurring Wolbachia in target populations could interfere with both population replacement and suppression programs depending on the compatibility patterns between strains. Aedes aegypti were thought to not harbor Wolbachia naturally but several recent studies have detected Wolbachia in natural populations of this mosquito. We therefore review the evidence for natural Wolbachia infections in A. aegypti to date and discuss limitations of these studies. We draw on research from other mosquito species to outline the potential implications of natural Wolbachia infections in A. aegypti for disease control. To validate previous reports, we obtained a laboratory population of A. aegypti from New Mexico, USA, that harbors a natural Wolbachia infection, and we conducted field surveys in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where a natural Wolbachia infection has also been reported. However, we were unable to detect Wolbachia in both the laboratory and field populations. Because the presence of naturally occurring Wolbachia in A. aegypti could have profound implications for Wolbachia-based disease control programs, it is important to continue to accurately assess the Wolbachia status of target Aedes populations.

RevDate: 2020-02-18

Tan FHP, Liu G, Lau SA, et al (2020)

Lactobacillus probiotics improved the gut microbiota profile of a Drosophila melanogaster Alzheimer's disease model and alleviated neurodegeneration in the eye.

Beneficial microbes, 11(1):79-89.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive disease and one of the most common forms of neurodegenerative disorders. Emerging evidence is supporting the use of various strategies that modulate gut microbiota to exert neurological and psychological changes. This includes the utilisation of probiotics as a natural and dietary intervention for brain health. Here, we showed the potential AD-reversal effects of Lactobacillus probiotics through feeding to our Drosophila melanogaster AD model. The administration of Lactobacillus strains was able to rescue the rough eye phenotype (REP) seen in AD-induced Drosophila, with a more prominent effect observed upon the administration of Lactobacillus plantarum DR7 (DR7). Furthermore, we analysed the gut microbiota of the AD-induced Drosophila and found elevated levels of Wolbachia. The administration of DR7 restored the gut microbiota diversity of AD-induced Drosophila with a significant reduction in Wolbachia's relative abundance, accompanied by an increase of Stenotrophomonas and Acetobacter. Through functional predictive analyses, Wolbachia was predicted to be positively correlated with neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson's, Huntington's and Alzheimer's diseases, while Stenotrophomonas was negatively correlated with these neurodegenerative disorders. Altogether, our data exhibited DR7's ability to ameliorate the AD effects in our AD-induced Drosophila. Thus, we propose that Wolbachia be used as a potential biomarker for AD.

RevDate: 2020-02-14

Madhav M, Brown G, Morgan JAT, et al (2020)

Wolbachia successfully replicate in a newly established horn fly, Haematobia irritans irritans (L.) (Diptera: Muscidae) cell line.

Pest management science [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Haematobia spp., horn flies (HF) and buffalo flies (BF), are economically important ectoparasites of dairy and beef cattle. Control of these flies relies mainly on the treatment of cattle with chemical insecticides. However, the development of resistance to commonly used compounds is compromising the effectiveness of these treatments and alternative methods of control are required. Wolbachia are maternally transmitted endosymbiotic bacteria of arthropods that cause various reproductive distortions and fitness effects, making them a potential candidate for use in the biological control of pests. The first step towards this is the establishment and adaptation of xenobiotic infections of Wolbachia in target host cell lines.

RESULTS: Here we report the successful establishment of a continuous HF cell line (HIE-18) from embryonic cells and its stable transinfection with Wolbachia strains wAlbB native to mosquitoes, and wMel and wMelPop native to Drosophila melanogaster. The HIE-18 cells were typically round and diploid with ten chromosomes (2n = 10) or tetraploid with 20 chromosomes (4n = 20) with a doubling time of 67.2 h. Wolbachia density decreased significantly in the HIE-18 cells in the first 48 h of infection, possibly due to overexpression of antimicrobial peptides through the Imd immune signalling pathway. However, density recovered after this time and HIE-18 cell lines stably infected with the three strains of Wolbachia have now each been subcultured more than 50 times as persistently infected lines.

CONCLUSION: The amenability of HF cells to infection with different strains of Wolbachia and the establishment of stable sustaining infections suggests the potential for use of Wolbachia in novel approaches for the control of Haematobia spp. Further, the availability of the HIE-18 cell line will provide an important resource for the study of genetics, host-parasite interactions and chemical resistance in Haematobia populations. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2020-02-13

Vaught RC, Voigt S, Dobler R, et al (2020)

Interactions between cytoplasmic and nuclear genomes confer sex-specific effects on lifespan in Drosophila melanogaster.

Journal of evolutionary biology [Epub ahead of print].

Genetic variation outside of the cell nucleus can affect the phenotype. The cytoplasm is home to the mitochondria, and in arthropods often hosts intracellular bacteria such as Wolbachia. While numerous studies have implicated epistatic interactions between cytoplasmic and nuclear genetic variation as mediators of phenotypic expression, two questions remain. Firstly, it remains unclear whether outcomes of cyto-nuclear interactions will manifest differently across the sexes, as might be predicted given that cytoplasmic genomes are screened by natural selection only through females as a consequence of their maternal inheritance. Secondly, the relative contribution of mitochondrial genetic variation to other cytoplasmic sources of variation, such as Wolbachia infection, in shaping phenotypic outcomes of cyto-nuclear interactions remains unknown. Here, we address these questions, creating a fully-crossed set of replicated cyto-nuclear populations derived from three geographically distinct populations of Drosophila melanogaster, measuring the lifespan of males and females from each population. We observed that cyto-nuclear interactions shape lifespan, and that the outcomes of these interactions differ across the sexes. Yet, we found no evidence that placing the cytoplasms from one population alongside the nuclear background of others (generating putative cyto-nuclear mismatches) leads to decreased lifespan in either sex. Although it was difficult to partition mitochondrial from Wolbachia effects, our results suggest at least some of the cytoplasmic genotypic contribution to lifespan was directly mediated by an effect of sequence variation in the mtDNA. Future work should explore the degree to which cyto-nuclear interactions result in sex differences in expression of other components of organismal life-history.

RevDate: 2020-02-13

Nakabachi A, Malenovský I, Gjonov I, et al (2020)

16S rRNA Sequencing Detected Profftella, Liberibacter, Wolbachia, and Diplorickettsia from Relatives of the Asian Citrus Psyllid.

Microbial ecology pii:10.1007/s00248-020-01491-z [Epub ahead of print].

The Asian citrus psyllid Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera: Psylloidea) is a serious pest of citrus species worldwide because it transmits Candidatus Liberibacter spp. (Alphaproteobacteria: Rhizobiales), the causative agents of the incurable citrus disease, huanglongbing or greening disease. Diaphorina citri possesses a specialized organ called a bacteriome, which harbors vertically transmitted intracellular mutualists, Ca. Carsonella ruddii (Gammaproteobacteria: Oceanospirillales) and Ca. Profftella armatura (Gammaproteobacteria: Betaproteobacteriales). Whereas Carsonella is a typical nutritional symbiont, Profftella is an unprecedented type of toxin-producing defensive symbiont, unusually sharing organelle-like features with nutritional symbionts. Additionally, many D. citri strains are infected with Wolbachia, which manipulate reproduction in various arthropod hosts. In the present study, in an effort to obtain insights into the evolution of symbioses between Diaphorina and bacteria, microbiomes of psyllids closely related to D. citri were investigated. Bacterial populations of Diaphorina cf. continua and Diaphorina lycii were analyzed using Illumina sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons and compared with data obtained from D. citri. The analysis revealed that all three Diaphorina spp. harbor Profftella as well as Carsonella lineages, implying that Profftella is widespread within the genus Diaphorina. Moreover, the analysis identified Ca. Liberibacter europaeus and Diplorickettsia sp. (Gammaproteobacteria: Diplorickettsiales) in D. cf. continua, and a total of four Wolbachia (Alphaproteobacteria: Rickettsiales) lineages in the three psyllid species. These results provide deeper insights into the interactions among insects, bacteria, and plants, which would eventually help to better manage horticulture.

RevDate: 2020-02-12

Zélé F, Santos I, Matos M, et al (2020)

Endosymbiont diversity in natural populations of Tetranychus mites is rapidly lost under laboratory conditions.

Heredity pii:10.1038/s41437-020-0297-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Although the diversity of bacterial endosymbionts in arthropods is well documented, whether and how such diversity is maintained remains an open question. We investigated the temporal changes occurring in the prevalence and composition of endosymbionts after transferring natural populations of Tetranychus spider mites from the field to the laboratory. These populations, belonging to three different Tetranychus species (T. urticae, T. ludeni and T. evansi) carried variable infection frequencies of Wolbachia, Cardinium, and Rickettsia. We report a rapid change of the infection status of these populations after only 6 months of laboratory rearing, with an apparent loss of Rickettsia and Cardinium, while Wolbachia apparently either reached fixation or was lost. We show that Wolbachia had variable effects on host longevity and fecundity, and induced variable levels of cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) in each fully infected population, despite no sequence divergence in the markers used and full CI rescue between all populations. This suggests that such effects are largely dependent upon the host genotype. Subsequently, we used these data to parameterize a theoretical model for the invasion of CI-inducing symbionts in haplodiploids, which shows that symbiont effects are sufficient to explain their dynamics in the laboratory. This further suggests that symbiont diversity and prevalence in the field are likely maintained by environmental heterogeneity, which is reduced in the laboratory. Overall, this study highlights the lability of endosymbiont infections and draws attention to the limitations of laboratory studies to understand host-symbiont interactions in natural populations.

RevDate: 2020-02-11

Lechner AM, Gastager H, Kern JM, et al (2020)

Case Report: Successful Treatment of a Patient with Microfilaremic Dirofilariasis Using Doxycycline.

The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene [Epub ahead of print].

We report the case of a 56-year-old woman with microfilaremic dirofilariasis due to Dirofilaria repens, which is a very rare condition in humans. Of note, just one of six large-volume blood samples of this patient was positive for microfilariae. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing of the parasite gene determined the geographic origin of the causative helminth. The patient was treated successfully with doxycycline. This drug was chosen because of the patient's reluctance to the use of ivermectin and to provide an anthelmintic effect by targeting the bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia present in most filarial species.

RevDate: 2020-02-11

Ekwudu O, Devine GJ, Aaskov JG, et al (2020)

Wolbachia strain wAlbB blocks replication of flaviviruses and alphaviruses in mosquito cell culture.

Parasites & vectors, 13(1):54 pii:10.1186/s13071-020-3936-3.

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia pipientis are bacterial endosymbionts of arthropods currently being implemented as biocontrol agents to reduce the global burden of arboviral diseases. Some strains of Wolbachia, when introduced into Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, reduce or block the replication of RNA viruses pathogenic to humans. The wAlbB strain of Wolbachia was originally isolated from Aedes albopictus, and when transinfected into Ae. aegypti, persists in mosquitoes under high temperature conditions longer than other strains. The utility of wAlbB to block a broad spectrum of RNA viruses has received limited attention. Here we test the ability of wAlbB to reduce or block the replication of a range of Flavivirus and Alphavirus species in cell culture.

METHODS: The C6/36 mosquito cell line was stably infected with the wAlbB strain using the shell-vial technique. The replication of dengue, West Nile and three strains of Zika (genus Flavivirus), and Ross River, Barmah Forest and Sindbis (genus Alphavirus) viruses was compared in wAlbB-infected cells with Wolbachia-free controls. Infectious virus titres were determined using either immunofocus or plaque assays. A general linear model was used to test for significant differences in replication between flaviviruses and alphaviruses.

RESULTS: Titres of all viruses were significantly reduced in cell cultures infected with wAlbB versus Wolbachia-free controls. The magnitude of reduction in virus yields varied among virus species and, within species, also among the strains utilized.

CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that wAlbB infection of arthropods could be used to reduce transmission of a wide range of pathogenic RNA viruses.

RevDate: 2020-02-11

Nazareth T, Craveiro I, Moutinho A, et al (2020)

What happens when we modify mosquitoes for disease prevention? A systematic review.

Emerging microbes & infections, 9(1):348-365.

The release of modified mosquitoes to suppress/replace vectors constitutes a promising tool for vector control and disease prevention. Evidence regarding these innovative modification techniques is scarce and disperse. This work conducted a systematic review, gathering and analysing research articles from PubMed and Biblioteca Virtual em Saúde databases whose results report efficacy and non-target effects of using modified insects for disease prevention, until 2016. More than 1500 publications were screened and 349 were analysed. Only 12/3.4% articles reported field-based evidence and 41/11.7% covered modification strategies' post-release efficacy. Variability in the effective results (90/25.7%) questioned its reproducibility in different settings. We also found publications reporting reversal outcomes 38/10.9%, (e.g. post-release increase of vector population). Ecological effects were also reported, such as horizontal transfer events (54/15.5%), and worsening pathogenesis induced by natural wolbachia (10/2.9%). Present work revealed promising outcomes of modifying strategies. However, it also revealed a need for field-based evidence mainly regarding epidemiologic and long-term impact. It pointed out some eventual irreversible and important effects that must not be ignored when considering open-field releases, and that may constitute constraints to generate the missing field evidence. Present work constitutes a baseline of knowledge, offering also a methodological approach that may facilitate future updates.

RevDate: 2020-02-10

Shang F, Niu J, Ding BY, et al (2020)

Comparative Insight into the Bacterial Communities in Alate and Apterous Morphs of Brown Citrus Aphid (Hemiptera: Aphididae).

Journal of economic entomology pii:5732530 [Epub ahead of print].

Wing polyphenism (alate and apterous morphs) in aphids is a trade-off between dispersal and reproduction. How bacterial communities are associated with wing polyphenism in aphids is still not clearly understood. This study used 16S rRNA sequencing to examine the differences in diversity of the bacterial community between alate and apterous morphs in Aphis citricidus, the main vector of the Citrus tristeza virus. Eighty-one operational taxonomic units (OTUs) belonging to 37 orders, 34 classes, and 13 phyla were identified from all samples. Among these OTUs, Wolbachia (79.17%), Buchnera (17.64%), and Pseudomonas (2.99%) were the dominant bacterial genera. The diversity of symbionts varied between the two morphs; apterous morphs had more bacterial diversity (69 OTUs belonging to 45 families, 21 classes, and 12 phyla) than alate morphs (45 OTUs belonging to 36 families, 15 classes, and 10 phyla). In addition, the abundance of five OTUs was significantly different between two morphs. Among these OTUs, two Pseudomonas species (Pseudomonas_brenneri [OTU21] and unclassified_Pseudomonas [OTU13]) represented a high proportion (3.93% and 2.06%) in alate morphs but were present in low abundance (0.006% and 0.002%) in apterous morphs. RT-qPCR showed consistent results with high-throughput DNA sequencing. The preliminary survey showed the difference in composition and frequency of bacteria between alate and apterous morphs. Thus, the results contribute to anew insight of microorganisms that may be involved in wing dimorphism and helpful for controlling the dispersal of this pest through artificial elimination or reinfection of bacterial symbionts or targeting symbiosis-related host genes by RNA interference in future.

RevDate: 2020-02-07

Hundertmark A, Goodacre SL, JFY Brookfield (2020)

Alternative evolutionary outcomes following endosymbiont-mediated selection on male mating preference alleles.

Journal of evolutionary biology [Epub ahead of print].

In many arthropods, intracellular bacteria, such as those of the genus Wolbachia, may spread through host populations as a result of cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). Here, there is sterility or reduced fertility in crosses between infected males and uninfected females. As the bacterium is maternally-inherited, the reduced fertility of uninfected females increases the frequency of the infection. If the transmission fidelity of the bacterium is less than 100%, the bacterium cannot invade from a low frequency, but if its frequency exceeds a threshold, it increases to a high, stable, equilibrium frequency. We explore the expected evolutionary dynamics of mutant alleles that cause their male bearers to avoid mating with uninfected females. For alleles which create this avoidance behaviour conditional upon the male being infected, there is a wide zone of parameter space that allows the preference allele to drive Wolbachia from the population when it would otherwise stably persist. There is also a wide zone of parameter space that allows a joint stable equilibrium for the Wolbachia and a polymorphism for the preference allele. When the male's avoidance of uninfected females is unconditional, the preference allele's effect on Wolbachia frequency is reduced, but there is a narrow range of values for the transmission rate and CI fertility that allow an unconditional preference allele to drive Wolbachia from the population, in a process driven by positive linkage disequilibrium between Wolbachia and the preference allele. The possibility of the evolution of preference could hamper attempts to manipulate wild populations through Wolbachia introductions.

RevDate: 2020-02-07

Uni S, Mat Udin AS, Agatsuma T, et al (2020)

Description, molecular characteristics and Wolbachia endosymbionts of Onchocerca borneensis Uni, Mat Udin & Takaoka n. sp. (Nematoda: Filarioidea) from the Bornean bearded pig Sus barbatus Müller (Cetartiodactyla: Suidae) of Sarawak, Malaysia.

Parasites & vectors, 13(1):50 pii:10.1186/s13071-020-3907-8.

BACKGROUND: The genus Onchocerca Diesing, 1841 includes species of medical importance, such as O. volvulus (Leuckart, 1893), which causes river blindness in the tropics. Recently, zoonotic onchocercosis has been reported in humans worldwide. In Japan, O. dewittei japonica Uni, Bain & Takaoka, 2001 from wild boars is a causative agent for this zoonosis. Many filarioid nematodes are infected with Wolbachia endosymbionts which exhibit various evolutionary relationships with their hosts. While investigating the filarial fauna of Borneo, we discovered an undescribed Onchocerca species in the bearded pig Sus barbatus Müller (Cetartiodactyla: Suidae).

METHODS: We isolated Onchocerca specimens from bearded pigs and examined their morphology. For comparative material, we collected fresh specimens of O. d. dewittei Bain, Ramachandran, Petter & Mak, 1977 from banded pigs (S. scrofa vittatus Boie) in Peninsular Malaysia. Partial sequences of three different genes (two mitochondrial genes, cox1 and 12S rRNA, and one nuclear ITS region) of these filarioids were analysed. By multi-locus sequence analyses based on six genes (16S rDNA, ftsZ, dnaA, coxA, fbpA and gatB) of Wolbachia, we determined the supergroups in the specimens from bearded pigs and those of O. d. dewittei.

RESULTS: Onchocerca borneensis Uni, Mat Udin & Takaoka n. sp. is described on the basis of morphological characteristics and its genetic divergence from congeners. Molecular characteristics of the new species revealed its close evolutionary relationship with O. d. dewittei. Calculated p-distance for the cox1 gene sequences between O. borneensis n. sp. and O. d. dewittei was 5.9%, while that between O. d. dewittei and O. d. japonica was 7.6%. No intraspecific genetic variation was found for the new species. Wolbachia strains identified in the new species and O. d. dewittei belonged to supergroup C and are closely related.

CONCLUSIONS: Our molecular analyses of filarioids from Asian suids indicate that the new species is sister to O. d. dewittei. On the basis of its morphological and molecular characteristics, we propose to elevate O. d. japonica to species level as O. japonica Uni, Bain & Takaoka, 2001. Coevolutionary relationships exist between the Wolbachia strains and their filarial hosts in Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia.

RevDate: 2020-02-06

de Jesus CP, Dias FBS, Villela DMA, et al (2020)

Ovitraps Provide a Reliable Estimate of Wolbachia Frequency during wMelBr Strain Deployment in a Geographically Isolated Aedes aegypti Population.

Insects, 11(2): pii:insects11020092.

Deployment of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes carrying the endosymbiont bacterium Wolbachia has been identified as a promising strategy to reduce dengue, chikungunya, and Zika transmission. We investigated whether sampling larvae from ovitraps can provide reliable estimates on Wolbachia frequency during releases, as compared to the expensive adult-based BG-Sentinel. We conducted pilot releases in a semi-field system (SFS) divided into six cages of 21 m2, each with five ovitraps. Five treatments were chosen to represent different points of a hypothetical invasion curve: 10%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 90% of Wolbachia frequency. Collected eggs were counted and hatched, and the individuals from a net sample of 27% of larvae per treatment were screened for Wolbachia presence by RT-qPCR. Ovitrap positioning had no effect on egg hatching rate. Treatment strongly affected the number of eggs collected and also the hatching rate, especially when Wolbachia was at a 10% frequency. A second observation was done during the release of Wolbachia in Rio under a population replacement approach when bacterium frequency was estimated using 30 BG-Sentinel traps and 45 ovitraps simultaneously. By individually screening 35% (N = 3904) of larvae collected by RT-qPCR, we were able to produce a similar invasion curve to the one observed when all adults were individually screened. If sampling is reduced to 20%, monitoring Wolbachia frequency with 45 ovitraps would be roughly half the cost of screening all adult mosquitoes captured by 30 BG-Sentinels. Our findings support the scale-up of Wolbachia releases, especially in areas with limited resources to afford massive trapping with BG-Sentinel traps.

RevDate: 2020-02-05

Woodhams DC, Bletz MC, Becker CG, et al (2020)

Host-associated microbiomes are predicted by immune system complexity and climate.

Genome biology, 21(1):23 pii:10.1186/s13059-019-1908-8.

BACKGROUND: Host-associated microbiomes, the microorganisms occurring inside and on host surfaces, influence evolutionary, immunological, and ecological processes. Interactions between host and microbiome affect metabolism and contribute to host adaptation to changing environments. Meta-analyses of host-associated bacterial communities have the potential to elucidate global-scale patterns of microbial community structure and function. It is possible that host surface-associated (external) microbiomes respond more strongly to variations in environmental factors, whereas internal microbiomes are more tightly linked to host factors.

RESULTS: Here, we use the dataset from the Earth Microbiome Project and accumulate data from 50 additional studies totaling 654 host species and over 15,000 samples to examine global-scale patterns of bacterial diversity and function. We analyze microbiomes from non-captive hosts sampled from natural habitats and find patterns with bioclimate and geophysical factors, as well as land use, host phylogeny, and trophic level/diet. Specifically, external microbiomes are best explained by variations in mean daily temperature range and precipitation seasonality. In contrast, internal microbiomes are best explained by host factors such as phylogeny/immune complexity and trophic level/diet, plus climate.

CONCLUSIONS: Internal microbiomes are predominantly associated with top-down effects, while climatic factors are stronger determinants of microbiomes on host external surfaces. Host immunity may act on microbiome diversity through top-down regulation analogous to predators in non-microbial ecosystems. Noting gaps in geographic and host sampling, this combined dataset represents a global baseline available for interrogation by future microbial ecology studies.

RevDate: 2020-02-04
CmpDate: 2020-02-04

Singh JA (2019)

Informed consent and community engagement in open field research: lessons for gene drive science.

BMC medical ethics, 20(1):54 pii:10.1186/s12910-019-0389-3.

BACKGROUND: The development of the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing system has generated new possibilities for the use of gene drive constructs to reduce or suppress mosquito populations to levels that do not support disease transmission. Despite this prospect, social resistance to genetically modified organisms remains high. Gene drive open field research thus raises important questions regarding what is owed to those who may not consent to such research, or those could be affected by the proposed research, but whose consent is not solicited. The precise circumstances under which informed consent must be obtained, and from whom, requires careful consideration. Furthermore, appropriate engagement processes should be central to any introduction of genetically modified mosquitos in proposed target settings.

DISCUSSION: In this work, international guidance documents on informed consent and engagement are reviewed and applied to the genetically modified mosquito research context. Five analogous research endeavours that involve area-wide / open field experiments are reviewed. The approach of each in respect to the solicitation of individual informed consent and community engagement are highlighted.

CONCLUSIONS: While the solicitation of individual informed consent in host settings of gene drive field trials may not be possible or feasible in some instances, local community and stakeholder engagement will be key to building trust towards the proposed conduct of such research. In this regard, the approaches taken by investigators and sponsors of political science field research and weather modification field research should be avoided. Rather, proponents of gene drive field research should look to the Eliminate Dengue field trials, cluster randomised trials, and pragmatic clinical trials for guidance regarding how the solicitation of individual informed consent of host communities ought to be managed, and how these communities ought to be engaged.

RevDate: 2020-01-30

Cattarino L, Rodriguez-Barraquer I, Imai N, et al (2020)

Mapping global variation in dengue transmission intensity.

Science translational medicine, 12(528):.

Intervention planning for dengue requires reliable estimates of dengue transmission intensity. However, current maps of dengue risk provide estimates of disease burden or the boundaries of endemicity rather than transmission intensity. We therefore developed a global high-resolution map of dengue transmission intensity by fitting environmentally driven geospatial models to geolocated force of infection estimates derived from cross-sectional serological surveys and routine case surveillance data. We assessed the impact of interventions on dengue transmission and disease using Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes and the Sanofi-Pasteur vaccine as specific examples. We predicted high transmission intensity in all continents straddling the tropics, with hot spots in South America (Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil), Africa (western and central African countries), and Southeast Asia (Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines). We estimated that 105 [95% confidence interval (CI), 95 to 114] million dengue infections occur each year with 51 (95% CI, 32 to 66) million febrile disease cases. Our analysis suggests that transmission-blocking interventions such as Wolbachia, even at intermediate efficacy (50% transmission reduction), might reduce global annual disease incidence by up to 90%. The Sanofi-Pasteur vaccine, targeting only seropositive recipients, might reduce global annual disease incidence by 20 to 30%, with the greatest impact in high-transmission settings. The transmission intensity map presented here, and made available for download, may help further assessment of the impact of dengue control interventions and prioritization of global public health efforts.

RevDate: 2020-01-28
CmpDate: 2020-01-28

Attardo GM, Abd-Alla AMM, Acosta-Serrano A, et al (2019)

Comparative genomic analysis of six Glossina genomes, vectors of African trypanosomes.

Genome biology, 20(1):187 pii:10.1186/s13059-019-1768-2.

BACKGROUND: Tsetse flies (Glossina sp.) are the vectors of human and animal trypanosomiasis throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Tsetse flies are distinguished from other Diptera by unique adaptations, including lactation and the birthing of live young (obligate viviparity), a vertebrate blood-specific diet by both sexes, and obligate bacterial symbiosis. This work describes the comparative analysis of six Glossina genomes representing three sub-genera: Morsitans (G. morsitans morsitans, G. pallidipes, G. austeni), Palpalis (G. palpalis, G. fuscipes), and Fusca (G. brevipalpis) which represent different habitats, host preferences, and vectorial capacity.

RESULTS: Genomic analyses validate established evolutionary relationships and sub-genera. Syntenic analysis of Glossina relative to Drosophila melanogaster shows reduced structural conservation across the sex-linked X chromosome. Sex-linked scaffolds show increased rates of female-specific gene expression and lower evolutionary rates relative to autosome associated genes. Tsetse-specific genes are enriched in protease, odorant-binding, and helicase activities. Lactation-associated genes are conserved across all Glossina species while male seminal proteins are rapidly evolving. Olfactory and gustatory genes are reduced across the genus relative to other insects. Vision-associated Rhodopsin genes show conservation of motion detection/tracking functions and variance in the Rhodopsin detecting colors in the blue wavelength ranges.

CONCLUSIONS: Expanded genomic discoveries reveal the genetics underlying Glossina biology and provide a rich body of knowledge for basic science and disease control. They also provide insight into the evolutionary biology underlying novel adaptations and are relevant to applied aspects of vector control such as trap design and discovery of novel pest and disease control strategies.

RevDate: 2020-01-28
CmpDate: 2020-01-28

Yang S, Zhao Y, Yu J, et al (2019)

Establishment of Viral Infection and Analysis of Host-Virus Interaction in Drosophila Melanogaster.

Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE.

Virus spreading is a major cause of epidemic diseases. Thus, understanding the interaction between the virus and the host is very important to extend our knowledge of prevention and treatment of viral infection. The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has proven to be one of the most efficient and productive model organisms to screen for antiviral factors and investigate virus-host interaction, due to powerful genetic tools and highly conserved innate immune signaling pathways. The procedure described here demonstrates a nano-injection method to establish viral infection and induce systemic antiviral responses in adult flies. The precise control of the viral injection dose in this method enables high experimental reproducibility. Protocols described in this study include the preparation of flies and the virus, the injection method, survival rate analysis, the virus load measurement, and an antiviral pathway assessment. The influence effects of viral infection by the flies' background were mentioned here. This infection method is easy to perform and quantitatively repeatable; it can be applied to screen for host/viral factors involved in virus-host interaction and to dissect the crosstalk between innate immune signaling and other biological pathways in response to viral infection.

RevDate: 2020-01-27

Ehrens A, Lunde CS, Jacobs RT, et al (2020)

In vivo efficacy of the boron-pleuromutilin AN11251 against Wolbachia of the rodent filarial nematode Litomosoides sigmodontis.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 14(1):e0007957 pii:PNTD-D-19-01205 [Epub ahead of print].

The elimination of filarial diseases such as onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis is hampered by the lack of a macrofilaricidal-adult worm killing-drug. In the present study, we tested the in vivo efficacy of AN11251, a boron-pleuromutilin that targets endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria from filarial nematodes and compared its efficacy to doxycycline and rifampicin. Doxycycline and rifampicin were previously shown to deplete Wolbachia endosymbionts leading to a permanent sterilization of the female adult filariae and adult worm death in human clinical studies. Twice-daily oral treatment of Litomosoides sigmodontis-infected mice with 200 mg/kg AN11251 for 10 days achieved a Wolbachia depletion > 99.9% in the adult worms, exceeding the Wolbachia reduction by 10-day treatments with bioequivalent human doses of doxycycline and a similar reduction as high-dose rifampicin (35 mg/kg). Wolbachia reductions of > 99% were also accomplished by 14 days of oral AN11251 at a lower twice-daily dose (50 mg/kg) or once-per-day 200 mg/kg AN11251 treatments. The combinations tested of AN11251 with doxycycline had no clear beneficial impact on Wolbachia depletion, achieving a > 97% Wolbachia reduction with 7 days of treatment. These results indicate that AN11251 is superior to doxycycline and comparable to high-dose rifampicin in the L. sigmodontis mouse model, allowing treatment regimens as short as 10-14 days. Therefore, AN11251 represents a promising pre-clinical candidate that was identified in the L. sigmodontis model, and could be further evaluated and developed as potential clinical candidate for human lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis.

RevDate: 2020-01-23

Ross PA, Axford JK, Yang Q, et al (2020)

Heatwaves cause fluctuations in wMel Wolbachia densities and frequencies in Aedes aegypti.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 14(1):e0007958 pii:PNTD-D-19-01580.

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with the wMel strain of Wolbachia are being released into natural mosquito populations in the tropics as a way of reducing dengue transmission. High temperatures adversely affect wMel, reducing Wolbachia density and cytoplasmic incompatibility in some larval habitats that experience large temperature fluctuations. We monitored the impact of a 43.6°C heatwave on the wMel infection in a natural population in Cairns, Australia, where wMel was first released in 2011 and has persisted at a high frequency. Wolbachia infection frequencies in the month following the heatwave were reduced to 83% in larvae sampled directly from field habitats and 88% in eggs collected from ovitraps, but recovered to be near 100% four months later. Effects of the heatwave on wMel appeared to be stage-specific and delayed, with reduced frequencies and densities in field-collected larvae and adults reared from ovitraps but higher frequencies in field-collected adults. Laboratory experiments showed that the effects of heatwaves on cytoplasmic incompatibility and density are life stage-specific, with first instar larvae being the most vulnerable to temperature effects. Our results indicate that heatwaves in wMel-infected populations will have only temporary effects on Wolbachia frequencies and density once the infection has established in the population. Our results are relevant to ongoing releases of wMel-infected Ae. aegypti in several tropical countries.

RevDate: 2020-01-21

Covey H, Hall RH, Krafsur A, et al (2020)

Cryptic Wolbachia (Rickettsiales: Rickettsiaceae) Detection and Prevalence in Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) Midge Populations in the United States.

Journal of medical entomology pii:5713395 [Epub ahead of print].

Culicoides midges vector numerous veterinary and human pathogens. Many of these diseases lack effective therapeutic treatments or vaccines to limit transmission. The only effective approach to limit disease transmission is vector control. However, current vector control for Culicoides midges is complicated by the biology of many Culicoides species and is not always effective at reducing midge populations and impacting disease transmission. The endosymbiont Wolbachia pipientis Hertig may offer an alternative control approach to limit disease transmission and affect Culicoides populations. Here the detection of Wolbachia infections in nine species of Culicoides midges is reported. Infections were detected at low densities using qPCR. Wolbachia infections were confirmed with the sequencing of a partial region of the 16S gene. Fluorescence in situ hybridization of Culicoides sonorensis Wirth and Jones adults and dissected ovaries confirm the presence of Wolbachia infections in an important vector of Bluetongue and Epizootic hemorrhagic disease viruses. The presence of Wolbachia in Culicoides populations in the United States suggests the need for further investigation of Wolbachia as a strategy to limit transmission of diseases vectored by Culicoides midges.

RevDate: 2020-01-20

Bing XL, Zhao DS, Sun JT, et al (2020)

Genomic analysis of Wolbachia from Laodelphax striatellus (Delphacidae, Hemiptera) reveals insights into its "Jekyll and Hyde" mode of infection pattern.

Genome biology and evolution pii:5709815 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia is a widely distributed intracellular bacterial endosymbiont among invertebrates. The wStriCN, the Wolbachia strain that naturally infects an agricultural pest Laodelphax striatellus, has a "Jekyll and Hyde" mode of infection pattern with positive and negative effects: it kills many offspring by inducing cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) but also significantly increases host fecundity at the same time. In this study, we assembled the draft genome of wStriCN and compared it to other Wolbachia genomes to look for clues to its Jekyll and Hyde characteristics. The assembled wStriCN draft genome is 1.79 Mb in size, which is the largest Wolbachia genome in supergroup B. Phylogenomic analysis showed wStriCN is closest to Wolbachia from Asian citrus psyllid Diaphorina citri. These strains formed a mono-phylogentic clade within supergroup B. Compared to other Wolbachia genomes, wStriCN contains the most diverse insertion sequence families, the largest amount of prophage sequences and the most ankyrin domain protein coding genes. The wStriCN genome encodes components of multiple secretion systems, including Types I, II, IV, VI, Sec and Tac. We detected three pairs of homologs for CI factors CifA and CifB. These proteins harbor the catalytic domains responsible for CI phenotypes but are phylogenetically and structurally distinct from all known Cif proteins. The genome retains pathways for synthesizing biotin and riboflavin, which may explain the beneficial roles of wStriCN in its host planthoppers, which feed on nutrient-poor plant sap. Altogether, the genomic sequencing of wStriCN provides insight into understanding the phylogeny and biology of Wolbachia.

RevDate: 2020-01-20

Zhang H, R Lui (2020)

Releasing Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti to prevent the spread of dengue virus: A mathematical study.

Infectious Disease Modelling, 5:142-160 pii:S2468-0427(19)30044-2.

Wolbachia is a bacterium that is present in 60% of insects but it is not generally found in Aedes aegypti, the primary vector responsible for the transmission of dengue virus, Zika virus, and other human diseases caused by RNA viruses. Wolbachia has been shown to stop the growth of a variety of RNA viruses in Drosophila and in mosquitoes. Wolbachia-infected Ae. aegypti have both reproductive advantages and disadvantages over wild types. If Wolbachia-infected females are fertilized by either normal or infected males, the offspring are healthy and Wolbachia-positive. On the other hand, if Wolbachia-negative females are fertilized by Wolbachia-positive males, the offspring do not hatch. This phenomenon is called cytoplasmic incompatibility. Thus, Wolbachia-positive females have a reproductive advantage, and the Wolbachia is expanded in the population. On the other hand, Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes lay fewer eggs and generally have a shorter lifespan. In recent years, scientists have successfully released these Wolbachia-adapted mosquitoes into the wild in several countries and have achieved a high level of replacement with Wolbachia-positive mosquitoes. Here, we propose a minimal mathematical model to investigate the feasibility of such a release method. The model has five steady-states two of which are locally asymptotically stable. One of these stable steady-states has no Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes while for the other steady-state, all mosquitoes are infected with Wolbachia. We apply optimal control theory to find a release method that will drive the mosquito population close to the steady-state with only Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes in a two-year time period. Because some of the model parameters cannot be accurately measured or predicted, we also perform uncertainty and sensitivity analysis to quantify how variations in our model parameters affect our results.

RevDate: 2020-01-16

Zhu YX, Song ZR, Huo SM, et al (2020)

Variation in the microbiome of the spider mite Tetranychus truncatus with sex, instar, and endosymbiont infection.

FEMS microbiology ecology pii:5704398 [Epub ahead of print].

Most arthropod-associated bacterial communities play a crucial role in host functional traits, whose structure could be dominated by endosymbionts. The spider mite Tetranychus truncatus is a notorious agricultural pest harboring various endosymbionts, yet the effects of endosymbionts on spider mite microbiota remain largely unknown. Here, using deep sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene, we characterized the microbiota of male and female T. truncatus with different endosymbionts (Wolbachia and Spiroplasma) across different developmental stages. Although the spider mite microbiota composition varied across the different developmental stages, Proteobacteria were the most dominant bacteria harbored in all samples. Positive relationships among related OTUs dominated the significant coassociation networks among bacteria. Moreover, the spider mites coinfected with Wolbachia and Spiroplasma had a significantly higher daily fecundity and juvenile survival rate than the singly infected or uninfected spider mites. The possible function of spider-mite associated bacteria was discussed. Our results highlight the dynamics of spider mite microbiotas across different life stages, and the potential role of endosymbionts in shaping the microbiota of spider mites and improving host fitness.

RevDate: 2020-01-15

Perlmutter JI, Meyers JE, SR Bordenstein (2020)

Transgenic Testing Does Not Support a Role for Additional Candidate Genes in Wolbachia Male Killing or Cytoplasmic Incompatibility.

mSystems, 5(1): pii:5/1/e00658-19.

Endosymbiotic bacteria in the genus Wolbachia remarkably infect nearly half of all arthropod species. They spread in part because of manipulations of host sexual reproduction that enhance the maternal transmission of the bacteria, including male killing (death of infected males) and unidirectional cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI; death of offspring from infected fathers and uninfected mothers). Recent discoveries identified several genes in prophage WO of Wolbachia (wmk, cifA, and cifB) that fully or partially recapitulate male killing or CI when transgenically expressed in Drosophila melanogaster However, it is not yet fully resolved if other gene candidates contribute to these phenotypes. Here, we transgenically tested 10 additional gene candidates for their involvement in male killing and/or CI. The results show that despite sequence and protein architecture similarities or comparative associations with reproductive parasitism, transgenic expression of the candidates does not recapitulate male killing or CI. Sequence analysis across Wmk and its closest relatives reveals amino acids that may be important to its function. In addition, evidence is presented to propose new hypotheses regarding the relationship between wmk transcript length and its ability to kill a given host, as well as copy number of wmk homologs within a bacterial strain, which may be predictive of host resistance. Together, these analyses continue to build the evidence for identification of wmk, cifA, and cifB as the major genes that have thus far been shown to cause reproductive parasitism in Wolbachia, and the transgenic resources provide a basis for further functional study of phage WO genes.IMPORTANCEWolbachia are widespread bacterial endosymbionts that manipulate the reproduction of diverse arthropods to spread through a population and can substantially shape host evolution. Recently, reports identified three prophage WO genes (wmk, cifA, and cifB) that transgenically recapitulate many aspects of reproductive manipulation in Drosophila melanogaster Here, we transgenically tested 10 additional gene candidates for CI and/or male killing in flies. The results yield no evidence for the involvement of these gene candidates in reproductive parasitism, bolstering the evidence for identification of the cif and wmk genes as the major factors involved in their phenotypes. In addition, evidence supports new hypotheses for prediction of male-killing phenotypes or lack thereof based on wmk transcript length and copy number. These experiments inform efforts to understand the full basis of reproductive parasitism for basic and applied purposes and lay the foundation for future work on the function of an interesting group of Wolbachia and phage WO genes.

RevDate: 2020-01-15

Hu Y, Xi Z, Liu X, et al (2020)

Identification and molecular characterization of Wolbachia strains in natural populations of Aedes albopictus in China.

Parasites & vectors, 13(1):28 pii:10.1186/s13071-020-3899-4.

BACKGROUND: Aedes albopictus is naturally infected with Wolbachia spp., maternally transmitted bacteria that influence the reproduction of hosts. However, little is known regarding the prevalence of infection, multiple infection status, and the relationship between Wolbachia density and dengue outbreaks in different regions. Here, we assessed Wolbachia infection in natural populations of Ae. albopictus in China and compared Wolbachia density between regions with similar climates, without dengue and with either imported or local dengue.

RESULTS: To explore the prevalence of Wolbachia infection, Wolbachia DNA was detected in mosquito samples via PCR amplification of the 16S rRNA gene and the surface protein gene wsp. We found that 93.36% of Ae. albopictus in China were positive for Wolbachia. After sequencing gatB, coxA, hcpA, ftsZ, fbpA and wsp genes of Wolbachia strains, we identified a new sequence type (ST) of wAlbB (464/465). Phylogenetic analysis indicated that wAlbA and wAlbB strains formed a cluster with strains from other mosquitoes in a wsp-based maximum likelihood (ML) tree. However, in a ML tree based on multilocus sequence typing (MLST), wAlbB STs (464/465) did not form a cluster with Wolbachia strains from other mosquitoes. To better understand the association between Wolbachia spp. and dengue infection, the prevalence of Wolbachia in Ae. albopictus from different regions (containing local dengue cases, imported dengue cases and no dengue cases) was determined. We found that the prevalence of Wolbachia was lower in regions with only imported dengue cases.

CONCLUSIONS: The natural prevalence of Wolbachia infections in China was much lower than in other countries or regions. The phylogenetic relationships among Wolbachia spp. isolated from field-collected Ae. albopictus reflected the presence of dominant and stable strains. However, wAlbB (464/465) and Wolbachia strains did not form a clade with Wolbachia strains from other mosquitoes. Moreover, lower densities of Wolbachia in regions with only imported dengue cases suggest a relationship between fluctuations in Wolbachia density in field-collected Ae. albopictus and the potential for dengue invasion into these regions.

RevDate: 2020-01-13

Bezerra-Santos MA, Nogueira BCF, Yamatogi RS, et al (2020)

Ticks, fleas and endosymbionts in the ectoparasite fauna of the black-eared opossum Dipelphis aurita in Brazil.

Experimental & applied acarology pii:10.1007/s10493-020-00468-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Ticks and fleas are essential vectors of pathogens that affect humans and animals, and among their hosts, synanthropic animals such as the black-eared opossum, Didelphis aurita, play a role in public health due to their ability to move between urban centers and forested areas in Brazil. This study aimed to assess the ectoparasite fauna of D. aurita, as well as the presence of pathogens and endosymbionts in ticks and fleas. Opossums (n = 58) captured in Tomahawk livetraps were examined for ectoparasites, and their blood sampled for further analysis. Additionally, spleen samples were collected in individuals found dead. Samples were PCR screened for Rickettsia spp., Borrelia spp., Anaplasmataceae, and Babesia spp. Two tick species were morphologically identified as Ixodes loricatus 24/58 (41.4%) and Amblyomma sculptum 1/58 (1.7%). For fleas, Ctenocephalides felis was detected in 60.3% (35/58) of the animals, and Xenopsylla cheopis in 5.2% (3/58). PCR analysis detected Anaplasmataceae DNA in 34% (16/47) of pooled samples of C. felis, and in 66.7% (2/3) pooled samples of X. cheopis. Sequence analysis revealed Wolbachia pipientis symbiont in all positive samples. Tick, blood and spleen samples were all negative for the microorganisms assessed. These findings suggest that these arthropods circulate among wildlife and urban environments, which may implicate in their participation in the cycle of zoonotic pathogens among opossums, humans and companion animals.

RevDate: 2020-01-13

Li Y, X Liu (2020)

Modeling and control of mosquito-borne diseases with Wolbachia and insecticides.

Theoretical population biology pii:S0040-5809(19)30206-0 [Epub ahead of print].

Mosquitoes cause more human suffering than any other organism. It is estimated that over one million people worldwide die from mosquito-borne diseases every year. With the continuous efforts of many researchers, Wolbachia gets more and more attention due to its characteristics of maternal transmission in mosquito population and it may cause cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) which makes healthy females cannot fertilize normally after mating with infected males. In this paper, mathematical model is established to study Wolbachia transmission in mosquito population, and an integrated mosquito control strategy is explored. Firstly, a classical ordinary differential system with general birth and death rate functions is established to describe the maternal transmission and CI effect. It is shown that the replacement strategy that the Wolbachia-uninfected mosquitoes are replaced by the infected ones is determined by the initial infection frequency. And Wolbachia spreads more easily for greater maternal transmission and CI rate. Moreover, all the wild mosquitoes will eventually be infected with Wolbachia if the maternal transmission is complete. Secondly, an impulsive state feedback control model is constructed to describe the integrated mosquito control. Besides Wolbachia, insecticides are sprayed when the quantity of mosquitoes reaches some Economic Threshold. The existence and stability of Wolbachia replacement periodic solution are discussed. Finally, some discussions are done and the future research directions are prospected.

RevDate: 2020-01-13

Alfano N, Tagliapietra V, Rosso F, et al (2019)

Changes in Microbiota Across Developmental Stages of Aedes koreicus, an Invasive Mosquito Vector in Europe: Indications for Microbiota-Based Control Strategies.

Frontiers in microbiology, 10:2832.

Since it has been understood that gut microbiota of vector mosquitoes can influence their vector competence, efforts have been undertaken to develop new control strategies based on host microbiota manipulation, and aimed at suppressing the vector population or replacing it with a less competent one. For the proper design of such control strategies it is necessary to know the microbiota composition of the target vector species, how it is acquired, and how it changes throughout the host's life cycle. In this study, 16S rRNA amplicon high-throughput sequencing was used to characterize the changes in microbiota from the aquatic environment (larval breeding sites) to the different developmental stages of field-collected Aedes koreicus in Italy, an emerging invasive mosquito species in Europe and a potential vector of several pathogens. The bacterial communities of the aquatic breeding sites, larvae, pupae and adults showed distinctive structures to one another. Indeed, 84% of community members were unique to a given sample type. Nevertheless, almost 40% of the sequences generated were assigned to bacteria detected in all sample types, suggesting the importance of bacteria transstadially transmitted from water to the adult stage in constituting mosquito microbiota. Among these, genus C39 largely constituted water microbiota, family Burkholderiaceae was the most abundant in larvae and pupae, and genus Asaia dominated adult communities. In addition, Asaia constituted a core microbiota across all sample types. Our results suggest that the microbiota of Ae. koreicus mosquitoes is composed by a community which derives from the aquatic bacteria of the larval breeding sites, is then filtered by the larval gut, where only certain members are able to persist, rearranged by metamorphosis and finally modified by the change in diet at the adult stage. Understanding how the microbiota of Ae. koreicus changes through the mosquito life cycle represents a first step in selecting bacterial candidates for use in microbiota-based intervention measures for this species. The properties which Asaia exhibits in this species, such as dominance, high prevalence and transstadial transmission, prevent the use of Wolbachia but make Asaia an ideal candidate for paratransgenesis.

RevDate: 2020-01-15

Garcia GA, Hoffmann AA, Maciel-de-Freitas R, et al (2020)

Aedes aegypti insecticide resistance underlies the success (and failure) of Wolbachia population replacement.

Scientific reports, 10(1):63.

Mosquitoes that carry Wolbachia endosymbionts may help control the spread of arboviral diseases, such as dengue, Zika and chikungunya. Wolbachia frequencies systematically increase only when the frequency-dependent advantage due to cytoplasmic incompatibility exceeds frequency-independent costs, which may be intrinsic to the Wolbachia and/or can be associated with the genetic background into which Wolbachia are introduced. Costs depend on field conditions such as the environmental pesticide load. Introduced mosquitoes need adequate protection against insecticides to ensure survival after release. We model how insecticide resistance of transinfected mosquitoes determines the success of local Wolbachia introductions and link our theoretical results to field data. Two Ae. aegypti laboratory strains carrying Wolbachia were released in an isolated district of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: wMelBr (susceptible to pyrethroids) and wMelRio (resistant to pyrethroids). Our models elucidate why releases of the susceptible strain failed to result in Wolbachia establishment, while releases of the resistant strain led to Wolbachia transforming the native Ae. aegypti population. The results highlight the importance of matching insecticide resistance levels in release stocks to those in the target natural populations during Wolbachia deployment.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Reeves DD, Price SL, Ramalho MO, et al (2020)

The Diversity and Distribution of Wolbachia, Rhizobiales, and Ophiocordyceps Within the Widespread Neotropical Turtle Ant, Cephalotes atratus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

Neotropical entomology pii:10.1007/s13744-019-00735-z [Epub ahead of print].

Ants are an ecologically and evolutionarily diverse group, and they harbor a wide range of symbiotic microbial communities that often greatly affect their biology. Turtle ants (genus Cephalotes) engage in mutualistic relationships with gut bacteria and are exploited by microbial parasites. Studies have shown that associations among these microbial lineages and the turtle ant hosts vary geographically. However, these studies have been limited, and thorough within-species analyses of the variation and structure of these microbial communities have yet to be conducted. The giant turtle ant, Cephalotes atratus (Linnaeus 1758), is a geographically widespread, genetically diverse Neotropical species that has been sampled extensively across its geographic range, making it ideal for analysis of microbial associations. In this study, we verified the presence, genetic variation, and geographic patterns at the individual, colony, and population level of three microbial groups associated with the giant turtle ant: Wolbachia, a genus of facultative bacteria which are often parasitic, affecting host reproduction; Rhizobiales, a mutualistic order of bacteria hypothesized to be an obligate nutritional symbiont in turtle ants; and Ophiocordyceps, a genus of endoparasitic fungi infecting many arthropod species by manipulating their behavior for fungal reproduction. In this study, we found varying degrees of prevalence for two distantly related genotypes (haplogroups) of Wolbachia and high degree of prevalence of Rhizobiales across colonies with little genetic variation. In addition, we found low occurrence of Ophiocordyceps. This study highlights a key first step in understanding the diversity, distribution, and prevalence of the microbial community of C. atratus.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Chrostek E, Hurst GDD, EA McGraw (2020)

Infectious Diseases: Antiviral Wolbachia Limits Dengue in Malaysia.

Current biology : CB, 30(1):R30-R32.

Vector-borne viral diseases pose an urgent public health challenge, particularly in the tropics. Field releases of mosquitoes carrying bacterial symbionts that reduce vector competence are ongoing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Early results show that wAlbB Wolbachia can persist in mosquitoes in urban settings and decrease dengue incidence in humans.

RevDate: 2020-01-04

Madhav M, Parry R, Morgan JAT, et al (2020)

Wolbachia endosymbiont of the horn fly Haematobia irritans irritans: a supergroup A strain with multiple horizontally acquired cytoplasmic incompatibility genes.

Applied and environmental microbiology pii:AEM.02589-19 [Epub ahead of print].

The horn fly, Haematobia irritans irritans, is a hematophagous parasite of livestock distributed throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Welfare losses on livestock due to horn fly infestation are estimated to cost between USD 1-2.5 billion annually in North America and Brazil. The endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia pipientis is a maternally inherited manipulator of reproductive biology in arthropods and naturally infects laboratory colonies of horn flies from Kerrville, USA and Alberta, Canada, but has also been identified in wild-caught samples from Canada, USA, Mexico and Hungary. Re-assembly of PacBio long-read and Illumina genomic DNA libraries from the Kerrville H. i. irritans genome project allowed for a complete and circularised 1.3 Mb Wolbachia genome (wIrr). Annotation of wIrr yielded 1249 coding genes, 34 tRNAs, three rRNAs, and five prophage regions. Comparative genomics and whole genome Bayesian evolutionary analysis of wIrr compared to published Wolbachia genomes suggests that wIrr is most closely related to and diverged from Wolbachia supergroup A strains known to infect Drosophila spp. Whole-genome synteny analyses between wIrr and closely related genomes indicates that wIrr has undergone significant genome rearrangements while maintaining high nucleotide identity. Comparative analysis of the cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) genes of wIrr suggests two phylogenetically distinct CI loci and acquisition of another CifB homolog from phylogenetically distant supergroup A Wolbachia strains suggesting horizontal acquisition of these loci. The wIrr genome provides a resource for future examination of the impact Wolbachia may have in both biocontrol and potential insecticide resistance of horn flies.Importance Horn flies, Haematobia irritans irritans, are obligate hematophagous parasites of cattle having significant effects on production and animal welfare. Control of horn flies mainly relies on the use of insecticides, but issues with resistance have increased interest in development of alternative means of control. Wolbachia pipientis is an endosymbiont bacterium known to have a range of effects on host reproduction such as induction of cytoplasmic incompatibility, feminization, male killing, and also impacts on vector transmission. These characteristics of Wolbachia have been exploited in biological control approaches for a range of insect pests. Here we report the assembly and annotation of the circular genome of the Wolbachia strain of the Kerrville, USA horn fly (wIrr). Annotation of wIrr suggests its unique features including the horizontal acquisition of additional transcriptionally active cytoplasmic incompatibility loci. This study will provide the foundation for future Wolbachia-induced biological effect studies for control of horn flies.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Lefoulon E, Vaisman N, Frydman HM, et al (2019)

Author Correction: Large Enriched Fragment Targeted Sequencing (LEFT-SEQ) Applied to Capture of Wolbachia Genomes.

Scientific reports, 9(1):20184 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-55305-5.

An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Asimakis ED, Doudoumis V, Hadapad AB, et al (2019)

Detection and characterization of bacterial endosymbionts in Southeast Asian tephritid fruit fly populations.

BMC microbiology, 19(Suppl 1):290 pii:10.1186/s12866-019-1653-x.

BACKGROUND: Various endosymbiotic bacteria, including Wolbachia of the Alphaproteobacteria, infect a wide range of insects and are capable of inducing reproductive abnormalities to their hosts such as cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), parthenogenesis, feminization and male-killing. These extended phenotypes can be potentially exploited in enhancing environmentally friendly methods, such as the sterile insect technique (SIT), for controlling natural populations of agricultural pests. The goal of the present study is to investigate the presence of Wolbachia, Spiroplasma, Arsenophonus and Cardinium among Bactrocera, Dacus and Zeugodacus flies of Southeast Asian populations, and to genotype any detected Wolbachia strains.

RESULTS: A specific 16S rRNA PCR assay was used to investigate the presence of reproductive parasites in natural populations of nine different tephritid species originating from three Asian countries, Bangladesh, China and India. Wolbachia infections were identified in Bactrocera dorsalis, B. correcta, B. scutellaris and B. zonata, with 12.2-42.9% occurrence, Entomoplasmatales in B. dorsalis, B. correcta, B. scutellaris, B. zonata, Zeugodacus cucurbitae and Z. tau (0.8-14.3%) and Cardinium in B. dorsalis and Z. tau (0.9-5.8%), while none of the species tested, harbored infections with Arsenophonus. Infected populations showed a medium (between 10 and 90%) or low (< 10%) prevalence, ranging from 3 to 80% for Wolbachia, 2 to 33% for Entomoplasmatales and 5 to 45% for Cardinium. Wolbachia and Entomoplasmatales infections were found both in tropical and subtropical populations, the former mostly in India and the latter in various regions of India and Bangladesh. Cardinium infections were identified in both countries but only in subtropical populations. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the presence of Wolbachia with some strains belonging either to supergroup B or supergroup A. Sequence analysis revealed deletions of variable length and nucleotide variation in three Wolbachia genes. Spiroplasma strains were characterized as citri-chrysopicola-mirum and ixodetis strains while the remaining Entomoplasmatales to the Mycoides-Entomoplasmataceae clade. Cardinium strains were characterized as group A, similar to strains infecting Encarsia pergandiella.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicated that in the Southeast natural populations examined, supergroup A Wolbachia strain infections were the most common, followed by Entomoplasmatales and Cardinium. In terms of diversity, most strains of each bacterial genus detected clustered in a common group. Interestingly, the deletions detected in three Wolbachia genes were either new or similar to those of previously identified pseudogenes that were integrated in the host genome indicating putative horizontal gene transfer events in B. dorsalis, B. correcta and B. zonata.

RevDate: 2020-01-17

Conte CA, Segura DF, Milla FH, et al (2019)

Wolbachia infection in Argentinean populations of Anastrepha fraterculus sp1: preliminary evidence of sex ratio distortion by one of two strains.

BMC microbiology, 19(Suppl 1):289 pii:10.1186/s12866-019-1652-y.

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia, one of the most abundant taxa of intracellular Alphaproteobacteria, is widespread among arthropods and filarial nematodes. The presence of these maternally inherited bacteria is associated with modifications of host fitness, including a variety of reproductive abnormalities, such as cytoplasmic incompatibility, thelytokous parthenogenesis, host feminization and male-killing. Wolbachia has attracted much interest for its role in biological, ecological and evolutionary processes as well as for its potential use in novel and environmentally-friendly strategies for the control of insect pests and disease vectors including a major agricultural pest, the South American fruit fly, Anastrepha fraterculus Wiedemann (Diptera: Tephritidae).

RESULTS: We used wsp, 16S rRNA and a multilocus sequence typing (MLST) scheme including gatB, coxA, hcpA, fbpA, and ftsZ genes to detect and characterize the Wolbachia infection in laboratory strains and wild populations of A. fraterculus from Argentina. Wolbachia was found in all A. fraterculus individuals studied. Nucleotide sequences analysis of wsp gene allowed the identification of two Wolbachia nucleotide variants (named wAfraCast1_A and wAfraCast2_A). After the analysis of 76 individuals, a high prevalence of the wAfraCast2_A variant was found both, in laboratory (82%) and wild populations (95%). MLST analysis identified both Wolbachia genetic variants as sequence type 13. Phylogenetic analysis of concatenated MLST datasets clustered wAfraCast1/2_A in the supergroup A. Paired-crossing experiments among single infected laboratory strains showed a phenotype specifically associated to wAfraCast1_A that includes slight detrimental effects on larval survival, a female-biased sex ratio; suggesting the induction of male-killing phenomena, and a decreased proportion of females producing descendants that appears attributable to the lack of sperm in their spermathecae.

CONCLUSIONS: We detected and characterized at the molecular level two wsp gene sequence variants of Wolbachia both in laboratory and wild populations of A. fraterculus sp.1 from Argentina. Crossing experiments on singly-infected A. fraterculus strains showed evidence of a male killing-like mechanism potentially associated to the wAfraCast1_A - A. fraterculus interactions. Further mating experiments including antibiotic treatments and the analysis of early and late immature stages of descendants will contribute to our understanding of the phenotypes elicited by the Wolbachia variant wAfraCast1_A in A. fraterculus sp.1.

RevDate: 2019-12-31

Hübner MP, Gunderson E, Vogel I, et al (2019)

Short-course quinazoline drug treatments are effective in the Litomosoides sigmodontis and Brugia pahangi jird models.

International journal for parasitology. Drugs and drug resistance, 12:18-27 [Epub ahead of print].

The quinazolines CBR417 and CBR490 were previously shown to be potent anti-wolbachials that deplete Wolbachia endosymbionts of filarial nematodes and present promising pre-clinical candidates for human filarial diseases such as onchocerciasis. In the present study we tested both candidates in two models of chronic filarial infection, namely the Litomosoides sigmodontis and Brugia pahangi jird model and assessed their long-term effect on Wolbachia depletion, microfilariae counts and filarial embryogenesis 16-18 weeks after treatment initiation (wpt). Once per day (QD) oral treatment with CBR417 (50 mg/kg) for 4 days or twice per day (BID) with CBR490 (25 mg/kg) for 7 days during patent L. sigmodontis infection reduced the Wolbachia load by >99% and completely cleared peripheral microfilaremia from 10-14 wpt. Similarly, 7 days of QD treatments (40 mg/kg) with CBR417 or CBR490 cleared >99% of Wolbachia from B. pahangi and reduced peritoneal microfilariae counts by 93% in the case of CBR417 treatment. Transmission electron microscopy analysis indicated intensive damage to the B. pahangi ovaries following CBR417 treatment and in accordance filarial embryogenesis was inhibited in both models after CBR417 or CBR490 treatment. Suboptimal treatment regimens of CBR417 or CBR490 did not lead to a maintained reduction of the microfilariae and Wolbachia load. In conclusion, CBR417 or CBR490 are pre-clinical candidates for filarial diseases, which achieve long-term clearance of Wolbachia endosymbionts of filarial nematodes, inhibit filarial embryogenesis and clear microfilaremia with treatments as short as 7 days.

RevDate: 2020-01-11

Fauver JR, Martin J, Weil GJ, et al (2019)

De novo Assembly of the Brugia malayi Genome Using Long Reads from a Single MinION Flowcell.

Scientific reports, 9(1):19521.

Filarial nematode infections cause a substantial global disease burden. Genomic studies of filarial worms can improve our understanding of their biology and epidemiology. However, genomic information from field isolates is limited and available reference genomes are often discontinuous. Single molecule sequencing technologies can reduce the cost of genome sequencing and long reads produced from these devices can improve the contiguity and completeness of genome assemblies. In addition, these new technologies can make generation and analysis of large numbers of field isolates feasible. In this study, we assessed the performance of the Oxford Nanopore Technologies MinION for sequencing and assembling the genome of Brugia malayi, a human parasite widely used in filariasis research. Using data from a single MinION flowcell, a 90.3 Mb nuclear genome was assembled into 202 contigs with an N50 of 2.4 Mb. This assembly covered 96.9% of the well-defined B. malayi reference genome with 99.2% identity. The complete mitochondrial genome was obtained with individual reads and the nearly complete genome of the endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia was assembled alongside the nuclear genome. Long-read data from the MinION produced an assembly that approached the quality of a well-established reference genome using comparably fewer resources.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Kyritsis GA, Augustinos AA, Livadaras I, et al (2019)

Medfly-Wolbachia symbiosis: genotype x genotype interactions determine host's life history traits under mass rearing conditions.

BMC biotechnology, 19(Suppl 2):96.

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia pipientis is a widespread, obligatory intracellular and maternally inherited bacterium, that induces a wide range of reproductive alterations to its hosts. Cytoplasmic Incompatibility (CI) is causing embryonic lethality, the most common of them. Despite that Wolbachia-borne sterility has been proposed as an environmental friendly pest control method (Incompatible Insect Technique, IIT) since 1970s, the fact that Wolbachia modifies important fitness components of its hosts sets severe barriers to IIT implementation. Mass rearing of Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (medfly), is highly optimized given that this pest is a model species regarding the implementation of another sterility based pest control method, the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). We used the medfly-Wolbachia symbiotic association, as a model system, to study the effect of two different Wolbachia strains, on the life history traits of 2 C. capitata lines with different genomic background.

RESULTS: Wolbachia effects are regulated by both C. capitata genetic background and the Wolbachia strain. Wolbachia infection reduces fertility rates in both C. capitata genetic backgrounds and shortens the pre-pupa developmental duration in the GSS strain. On the other hand, regardless of the strain of Wolbachia (wCer2, wCer4) infection does not affect either the sex ratio or the longevity of adults. wCer4 infection imposed a reduction in females' fecundity but wCer2 did not. Male mating competitiveness, adults flight ability and longevity under water and food deprivation were affected by both the genetic background of medfly and the strain of Wolbachia (genotype by genotype interaction).

CONCLUSION: Wolbachia infection could alter important life history traits of mass-reared C. capitata lines and therefore the response of each genotype on the Wolbachia infection should be considered toward ensuring the productivity of the Wolbachia-infected insects under mass-rearing conditions.

RevDate: 2020-01-14

Wedell N, Price TAR, AK Lindholm (2019)

Gene drive: progress and prospects.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 286(1917):20192709.

Gene drive is a naturally occurring phenomenon in which selfish genetic elements manipulate gametogenesis and reproduction to increase their own transmission to the next generation. Currently, there is great excitement about the potential of harnessing such systems to control major pest and vector populations. If synthetic gene drive systems can be constructed and applied to key species, they may be able to rapidly spread either modifying or eliminating the targeted populations. This approach has been lauded as a revolutionary and efficient mechanism to control insect-borne diseases and crop pests. Driving endosymbionts have already been deployed to combat the transmission of dengue and Zika virus in mosquitoes. However, there are a variety of barriers to successfully implementing gene drive techniques in wild populations. There is a risk that targeted organisms will rapidly evolve an ability to suppress the synthetic drive system, rendering it ineffective. There are also potential risks of synthetic gene drivers invading non-target species or populations. This Special Feature covers the current state of affairs regarding both natural and synthetic gene drive systems with the aim to identify knowledge gaps. By understanding how natural drive systems spread through populations, we may be able to better predict the outcomes of synthetic drive release.

RevDate: 2019-12-17

Bishop C, Parry R, S Asgari (2019)

Effect of Wolbachia wAlbB on a positive-sense RNA negev-like virus: a novel virus persistently infecting Aedes albopictus mosquitoes and cells.

The Journal of general virology [Epub ahead of print].

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the primary vector of several medically important arboviruses. The endosymbiotic bacterium, Wolbachia pipientis, has emerged as a means of blocking transmission of arboviruses such as dengue and Zika viruses. One Wolbachia strain that has shown potential in field trials is wAlbB, a naturally occurring Wolbachia strain of the Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus. When transinfected into Ae. aegypti, wAlbB exhibits strong virus inhibition. In addition to modulating arboviruses, Wolbachia also modulates some insect-specific viruses. Here, we explored the effect of Wolbachia on the virome of the Ae. albopictus cell line Aa23 naturally infected with wAlbB and also a stably transinfected recipient Ae. aegypti cell line (Aag2.wAlbB). RNA sequencing and bioinformatic analysis on both cell lines revealed an 11 kb genome of a single-stranded positive-sense RNA negev-like virus related to the recently proposed negevirus taxon. We denoted this novel virus as Aedes albopictus negev-like virus (AalNLV). Tetracycline clearance of Wolbachia from Aa23 cells did not significantly affect AalNLV levels, while in Aag2.wAlbB cells, a significant increase in virus genome RNA copies was observed. We further investigated the inhibitory effect of wAlbB on AalNLV and another positive-sense RNA virus, cell fusing agent virus, which is present in Aag2 cells and known to be suppressed by Wolbachia. wAlbB suppressed both viruses, with the effect on AalNLV being more striking. The findings from this study further supplement our understanding of the complex interaction between Wolbachia, host and virome.

RevDate: 2020-01-03

Li C, He M, Yun Y, et al (2020)

Co-infection with Wolbachia and Cardinium may promote the synthesis of fat and free amino acids in a small spider, Hylyphantes graminicola.

Journal of invertebrate pathology, 169:107307.

Associations between endosymbiotic bacteria and their hosts are widespread in nature and have been demonstrated extensively; however, only a few studies have examined how facultative symbionts affect host nutrition and metabolism. To gain insight into the associations between facultative symbionts and host nutrition and metabolic activity, we detected endosymbiotic infection in a small spider species, Hylyphantes graminicola, and established two infectious strains, i.e., W-C+ (Wolbachia negative, Cardinium positive) and W+C+ (Wolbachia positive, Cardinium positive). We then determined the content of fat and free amino acids in W-C+ and W+C+ spiders, respectively. We also detected the transcriptome of H. graminicola and the expression of genes involved in fat and amino acid metabolism at different host ages. Results showed that fat content in W+C+ spiders was higher than that in W-C+ spiders, and free amino acid content was higher in W+C+ males than W-C+ males, with no difference observed in females. Transcriptome analysis identified 144 (W-C+ vs W+C+) differentially expressed genes (DEGs). Moreover, the expression of five genes involved in fat and amino acid metabolism were significantly up-regulated in the third, fourth, and fifth instar stages in W+C+ spiders. This study indicated that Wolbachia and Cardinium co-infection had a pivotal effect on fat and amino acid synthesis in hosts. Moreover, our results provide strong evidence explaining the long-term coexistence of hosts and endosymbionts.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Duan DY, Zhou HM, TY Cheng (2019)

Comparative analysis of microbial community in the whole body and midgut from fully engorged and unfed female adult Melophagus ovinus.

Medical and veterinary entomology [Epub ahead of print].

Melophagus ovinus is a type of ectoparasite infesting sheep. Data regarding the comprehensive bacterial community associated with the whole body and midgut of M. ovinus under different engorged statuses are required. Melophagus ovinus were collected from the city of Jiuquan, China. Bacterial DNA was extracted from the whole body and midgut of fully engorged female adults, or newly hatched and unfed adult female M. ovinus. The 16S rRNA gene V3-V4 hypervariable regions were sequenced using the IonS5™XL platform (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Waltham, MA, U.S.A.). The whole body bacterial diversity of the newly hatched, unfed adult females was greater compared with that of the other three samples. Proteobacteria was the dominant bacterial phylum in all of the samples. Of the 42 total bacterial genera present in all of the experimental samples, Arsenophonus, Bartonella and Wolbachia were the dominant genera. The relative abundance of Arsenophonus in midgut was greater than that in the whole body. The relative abundance of Bartonella in fully engorged adults was far greater than those in newly hatched, unfed adults. The relative abundance of Wolbachia was highest in the whole body of newly hatched, unfed adults. Seventeen bacterial species were identified in all experimental samples. Bartonella chomelii, Streptococcus hyointestinalis and Escherichia coli were the first species reported in M. ovinus.

RevDate: 2019-12-18

Sawasdichai S, Chaumeau V, Dah T, et al (2019)

Detection of diverse Wolbachia 16S rRNA sequences at low titers from malaria vectors in Kayin state, Myanmar.

Wellcome open research, 4:11.

Background: Natural Wolbachia infections in malaria mosquitoes were recently reported in Africa, and negatively correlated with the development of Plasmodium falciparum in the vectors. The occurrence and effects of Wolbachia infections outside Africa have not been described and may have been underestimated. Methods: Mosquitoes were collected by human-landing catch during May and June 2017 in ten villages in Kayin state, Myanmar. Closely related species of malaria vectors were identified with molecular assays. 16S rRNA Wolbachia DNA sequences were detected with quantitative real-time PCR. Results: Low titer of Wolbachia DNA was detected in 13/370 samples in six malaria vector species. Sequences were diverse and different from those described in the African malaria mosquitoes. Conclusion: The detection of Wolbachia DNA in malaria mosquitoes from Kayin state warrants further investigations to understand better the ecology and biology of Anopheles- Wolbachia interactions in Southeast Asia.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Li K, Stanojević M, Stamenković G, et al (2019)

Insight into diversity of bacteria belonging to the order Rickettsiales in 9 arthropods species collected in Serbia.

Scientific reports, 9(1):18680.

Rickettsiales bacteria in arthropods play a significant role in both public health and arthropod ecology. However, the extensive genetic diversity of Rickettsiales endosymbionts of arthropods is still to be discovered. In 2016, 515 arthropods belonging to 9 species of four classes (Insecta, Chilopoda, Diplopoda and Arachnida) were collected in Serbia. The presence and genetic diversity of Rickettsiales bacteria were evaluated by characterizing the 16S rRNA (rrs), citrate synthase (gltA) and heat shock protein (groEL) genes. The presence of various Rickettsiales bacteria was identified in the majority of tested arthropod species. The results revealed co-circulation of five recognized Rickettsiales species including Rickettsia, Ehrlichia and Wolbachia, as well as four tentative novel species, including one tentative novel genus named Neowolbachia. These results suggest the remarkable genetic diversity of Rickettsiales bacteria in certain arthropod species in this region. Furthermore, the high prevalence of spotted fever group Rickettsia in Ixodes ricinus ticks highlights the potential public health risk of human Rickettsia infection.

RevDate: 2019-12-10

Arai H, Lin SR, Nakai M, et al (2019)

Closely Related Male-Killing and Nonmale-Killing Wolbachia Strains in the Oriental Tea Tortrix Homona magnanima.

Microbial ecology pii:10.1007/s00248-019-01469-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia are inherited intracellular bacteria that cause male-specific death in some arthropods, called male-killing. To date, three Wolbachia strains have been identified in the oriental tea tortrix Homona magnanima (Tortricidae, Lepidoptera); however, none of these caused male-killing in the Japanese population. Here, we describe a male-killing Wolbachia strain in Taiwanese H. magnanima. From field-collected H. magnanima, two female-biased host lines were established, and antibiotic treatments revealed Wolbachia (wHm-t) as the causative agent of male-killing. The wsp and MLST genes in wHm-t are identical to corresponding genes in the nonmale-killing strain wHm-c from the Japanese population, implying a close relationship of the two strains. Crossing the Japanese and Taiwanese H. magnanima revealed that Wolbachia genotype rather than the host genetic background was responsible for the presence of the male-killing phenotype. Quantitative PCR analyses revealed that the density of wHm-t was higher than that of other Wolbachia strains in H. magnanima, including wHm-c. The densities of wHm-t were also heterogeneous between host lines. Notably, wHm-t in the low-density and high-density lines carried identical wsp and MLST genes but had distinct lethal patterns. Furthermore, over 90% of field-collected lines of H. magnanima in Taiwan were infected with wHm-t, although not all host lines harboring wHm-t showed male-killing. The host lines that showed male-killing harbored a high density of Wolbachia compared to the host lines that did not show male-killing. Thus, the differences in the phenotypes appear to be dependent on biological and genetic characteristics of closely related Wolbachia strains.

RevDate: 2019-12-07

Li TP, Zhou CY, Zha SS, et al (2019)

Stable Establishment of Cardinium in the Brown Planthopper Nilaparvata lugens despite Decreased Host Fitness.

Applied and environmental microbiology pii:AEM.02509-19 [Epub ahead of print].

The brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens (Hemiptera), is a major pest of rice crops in Asia. Artificial transinfections of Wolbachia have recently been used for reducing host impacts, but transinfections have not yet been undertaken with another important endosymbiont, Cardinium This endosymbiont can manipulate the reproduction of hosts through phenotypes such as cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), which is strong in the related white-backed planthopper, Sogatella furcifera (Hemiptera). Here, we stably infected N. lugens with Cardinium from S. furcifera and showed that it exhibits perfect maternal transmission in N. lugens The density of Cardinium varied across developmental stages and tissues of its transinfected host. Cardinium did not induce strong CI in N. lugens, likely due to its low density in testicles. The infection did decrease fecundity and hatching rate in the transinfected host, but a decrease in fecundity was not apparent when transinfected females mated with Wolbachia infected males. The experiments show the feasibility of transferring Cardinium endosymbionts across hosts, but the deleterious effects of Cardinium on N. lugens limit its potential to spread in wild populations of N. lugens in the absence of strong CI.IMPORTANCE In this study, we established a Cardinium-infected N. lugens line that possessed complete maternal transmission. Cardinium had a widespread distribution in tissues of N. lugens, and this infection can decrease the fecundity and hatching rate of the host. Our findings emphasize the feasibility of transinfection of Cardinium in insects, and this expands the range of endosymbionts that could be manipulated for pest control.

RevDate: 2019-12-29

Liu Y, Fan ZY, An X, et al (2020)

A single-pair method to screen Rickettsia-infected and uninfected whitefly Bemisia tabaci populations.

Journal of microbiological methods, 168:105797.

Bacterial endosymbionts such as Rickettsia and Wolbachia play prominent roles in the development and behaviour of their insect hosts, such as whiteflies, aphids, psyllids and mealybugs. Accumulating studies have emphasized the importance of establishing experimental insect populations that are either lacking or bearing certain species of endosymbionts, because they are the basis in which to reveal the biological role of individual symbionts. In this study, using Rickettsia as an example, we explored a "single-pair screening" method to establish Rickettsia infected and uninfected populations of whitefly Bemisia tabaci MEAM1 for further experimental use. The original host population had a relatively low infection rate of Rickettsia (< 35%). When B. tabaci adults newly emerged, unmated males and females were randomly selected, and released into a leaf cage that covered a healthy plant leaf in order to oviposit F1 generation eggs. Following 6 days of oviposition, the parents were recaptured and used for PCR detection. The F1 progeny, for which parents were either Rickettsia positive or negative, were used to produce the F2 generation, and similarly in turn for the F3, F4 and F5 generations respectively; if the infection status of Rickettsia was consistent in the F1 to F5 generations, then the populations can be used as Rickettsia positive or negative lines for further experiments. In addition, our phylogenetic analyses revealed that Rickettsia has high fidelity during the maternal transmission in different generations.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Wanji S, Nji TM, Hamill L, et al (2019)

Implementation of test-and-treat with doxycycline and temephos ground larviciding as alternative strategies for accelerating onchocerciasis elimination in an area of loiasis co-endemicity: the COUNTDOWN consortium multi-disciplinary study protocol.

Parasites & vectors, 12(1):574.

BACKGROUND: Onchocerciasis is a priority neglected tropical disease targeted for elimination by 2025. The standard strategy to combat onchocerciasis is annual Community-Directed Treatment with ivermectin (CDTi). Yet, high prevalence rates and transmission persist following > 12 rounds in South-West Cameroon. Challenges include programme coverage, adherence to, and acceptability of ivermectin in an area of Loa loa co-endemicity. Loiasis patients harbouring heavy infections are at risk of potentially fatal serious adverse events following CDTi. Alternative strategies are therefore needed to achieve onchocerciasis elimination where CDTi effectiveness is suboptimal.

METHODS/DESIGN: We designed an implementation study to evaluate integrating World Health Organisation-endorsed alternative strategies for the elimination of onchocerciasis, namely test-and-treat with the macrofilaricide, doxycycline (TTd), and ground larviciding for suppression of blackfly vectors with the organophosphate temephos. A community-based controlled before-after intervention study will be conducted among > 2000 participants in 20 intervention (Meme River Basin) and 10 control (Indian River Basin) communities. The primary outcome measure is O. volvulus prevalence at follow-up 18-months post-treatment. The study involves four inter-disciplinary components: parasitology, entomology, applied social sciences and health economics. Onchocerciasis skin infection will be diagnosed by skin biopsy and Loa loa infection will be diagnosed by parasitological examination of finger-prick blood samples. A simultaneous clinical skin disease assessment will be made. Eligible skin-snip-positive individuals will be offered directly-observed treatment for 5 weeks with 100 mg/day doxycycline. Transmission assessments of onchocerciasis in the communities will be collected post-human landing catch of the local biting blackfly vector prior to ground larviciding with temephos every week (0.3 l/m3) until biting rate falls below 5/person/day. Qualitative research, including in-depth interviews and focus-group discussions will be used to assess acceptability and feasibility of the implemented alternative strategies among intervention recipients and providers. Health economics will assess the cost-effectiveness of the implemented interventions.

CONCLUSIONS: Using a multidisciplinary approach, we aim to assess the effectiveness of TTd, alone or in combination with ground larviciding, following a single intervention round and scrutinise the acceptability and feasibility of implementing at scale in similar hotspots of onchocerciasis infection, to accelerate onchocerciasis elimination.

RevDate: 2019-12-04

Staunton KM, Rohde BB, Townsend M, et al (2019)

Investigating Male Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) Attraction to Different Oviposition Containers Using Various Configurations of the Sound Gravid Aedes Trap.

Journal of medical entomology pii:5651346 [Epub ahead of print].

Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus), the primary vectors of the arboviruses dengue virus and Zika virus, continue to expand their global distributions. In efforts to better control such species, several mosquito control programs are investigating the efficacy of rearing and releasing millions of altered male Aedes throughout landscapes to reduce populations and disease transmission risk. Unfortunately, little is known about Ae. aegypti, especially male, dispersal behaviors within urban habitats. We deployed Sound-producing Gravid Aedes Traps (SGATs) in Cairns, northern Australia, to investigate male Ae. aegypti attraction to various oviposition container configurations. The traps were arranged to include: 1) water only, 2) organically infused water, 3) infused water and L3 larvae, 4) infused water and a human-scented lure, and lastly 5) no water or olfactory attractant (dry). Our data suggest that males were more attracted to SGATs representing active larval sites than potential larval sites, but were equally attracted to dry SGATs relative to those containing water and/or infusion. Additionally, we found that female Ae. aegypti were equally attracted to wet SGATs, with or without infusion, but not dry ones. These results suggest that male Ae. aegypti within northern Australia are more attracted to active larval sites and equally attracted to dry containers as wet or infused ones. Additionally, female Ae. aegypti are unlikely to enter dry containers. Such findings contribute to our understanding of potentially attractive features for local and released Ae. aegypti throughout the northern Australian urban landscape.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Devescovi F, Conte CA, Augustinos A, et al (2019)

Symbionts do not affect the mating incompatibility between the Brazilian-1 and Peruvian morphotypes of the Anastrepha fraterculus cryptic species complex.

Scientific reports, 9(1):18319.

The South American fruit fly, Anastrepha fraterculus, is clearly undergoing a speciation process. Among others, two of their morphotypes, the Brazilian-1 and Peruvian, have accumulated differences in pre- and post-zygotic mechanisms resulting in a degree of reproductive isolation. Both harbor a different strain of Wolbachia, which is a widespread endosymbiotic bacterium among many invertebrates producing a range of reproductive effects. In this paper, we studied the role of this bacterium as one of the factors involved in such isolation process. Infected and cured laboratory colonies were used to test pre- and post-zygotic effects, with special emphasis in uni- and bi-directional cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). We showed that Wolbachia is the only known reproductive symbiont present in these morphotypes. Wolbachia reduced the ability for embryonic development in crosses involving cured females and infected males within each morphotype (uni-directional CI). This inhibition showed to be more effective in the Peruvian morphotype. Bi-directional CI was not evidenced, suggesting the presence of compatible Wolbachia strains. We conclude that Wolbachia is not directly involved in the speciation process of these morphotypes. Other mechanisms rather than CI should be explored in order to explain the reduced mating compatibility between the Brazilian-1 and Peruvian morphotypes.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Chung M, Teigen LE, Libro S, et al (2019)

Drug Repurposing of Bromodomain Inhibitors as Potential Novel Therapeutic Leads for Lymphatic Filariasis Guided by Multispecies Transcriptomics.

mSystems, 4(6):.

To better understand the transcriptomic interplay of organisms associated with lymphatic filariasis, we conducted multispecies transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) on the filarial nematode Brugia malayi, its Wolbachia endosymbiont wBm, and its laboratory vector Aedes aegypti across the entire B. malayi life cycle. In wBm, transcription of the noncoding 6S RNA suggests that it may be a regulator of bacterial cell growth, as its transcript levels correlate with bacterial replication rates. For A. aegypti, the transcriptional response reflects the stress that B. malayi infection exerts on the mosquito with indicators of increased energy demand. In B. malayi, expression modules associated with adult female samples consistently contained an overrepresentation of genes involved in chromatin remodeling, such as the bromodomain-containing proteins. All bromodomain-containing proteins encoded by B. malayi were observed to be upregulated in the adult female, embryo, and microfilaria life stages, including 2 members of the bromodomain and extraterminal (BET) protein family. The BET inhibitor JQ1(+), originally developed as a cancer therapeutic, caused lethality of adult worms in vitro, suggesting that it may be a potential therapeutic that can be repurposed for treating lymphatic filariasis.IMPORTANCE The current treatment regimen for lymphatic filariasis is mostly microfilaricidal. In an effort to identify new drug candidates for lymphatic filariasis, we conducted a three-way transcriptomics/systems biology study of one of the causative agents of lymphatic filariasis, Brugia malayi, its Wolbachia endosymbiont wBm, and its vector host Aedes aegypti at 16 distinct B. malayi life stages. B. malayi upregulates the expression of bromodomain-containing proteins in the adult female, embryo, and microfilaria stages. In vitro, we find that the existing cancer therapeutic JQ1(+), which is a bromodomain and extraterminal protein inhibitor, has adulticidal activity in B. malayi.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Fontes-Sousa AP, Silvestre-Ferreira AC, Carretón E, et al (2019)

Exposure of humans to the zoonotic nematode Dirofilaria immitis in Northern Portugal.

Epidemiology and infection, 147:e282.

Dirofilariosis caused by Dirofilaria immitis (heartworm) is a zoonosis, considered an endemic disease of dogs and cats in several countries of Western Europe, including Portugal. This study assesses the levels of D. immitis exposure in humans from Northern Portugal, to which end, 668 inhabitants of several districts belonging to two different climate areas (Csa: Bragança, Vila Real and Csb: Aveiro, Braga, Porto, Viseu) were tested for anti-D. immitis and anti-Wolbachia surface proteins (WSP) antibodies. The overall prevalence of seropositivity to both anti-D. immitis and WSP antibodies was 6.1%, which demonstrated the risk of infection with D. immitis in humans living in Northern Portugal. This study, carried out in a Western European country, contributes to the characterisation of the risk of infection with D. immitis among human population in this region of the continent. From a One Health point of view, the results of the current work also support the close relationship between dogs and people as a risk factor for human infection.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Zhou JC, Li YY, Liu QQ, et al (2019)

Effects of temperature and superparasitism on quality and characteristics of thelytokous Wolbachia-infected Trichogramma dendrolimi Matsumura (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) during mass rearing.

Scientific reports, 9(1):18114.

Thelytokous Wolbachia-infected Trichogramma spp. are widely used egg parasitoids against lepidopteran pests in biological control programs. Wolbachia may manipulate host wasps for superparasitism and is sensitive to temperature. To explore effects of temperature and superparasitism, we compared fitness parameters and Wolbachia-mediated phenotype of thelytokous Wolbachia-infected Trichogramma dendrolimi between those emerging from superparasitised or single-parasitised hosts at 17, 21, 25, or 29 °C. Infected mothers of T. dendrolimi showed reduced superparasitism and parasitism increased with temperature. Wolbachia titre decreased with temperature when females emerged from singly-parasitised hosts, but there was no correlation in superparasitised hosts. Females showed higher Wolbachia titres at 21, 25, or 29 °C when developing from superparasitised hosts. The daily male ratio of offspring increased with temperature, and the day-age threshold for 5%, 50%, or 95% daily male ratio decreased with temperature in both parasitism forms. Females that emerged from superparasitised hosts had a shorter life span and reduced fecundity. These results indicate that Wolbachia may affect host behaviour by increasing superparasitism to enhance its spread, but this has negative effects on thelytokous Wolbachia-infected T. dendrolimi.

RevDate: 2020-01-17

Hotterbeekx A, Raimon S, Abd-Elfarag G, et al (2019)

Onchocerca volvulus is not detected in the cerebrospinal fluid of persons with onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy.

International journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases, 91:119-123 pii:S1201-9712(19)30469-2 [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVES: Epidemiological evidence links onchocerciasis with the development of epilepsy. The aim of this study was to detect Onchocerca volvulus microfilariae or its bacterial endosymbiont, Wolbachia, in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of persons with onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy (OAE).

METHODS: Thirteen persons with OAE and O. volvulus skin snip densities of >80 microfilariae were recruited in Maridi County (South Sudan) and their CSF obtained. Cytospin centrifuged preparations of CSF were examined by light microscopy for the presence of O. volvulus microfilariae. DNA was extracted from CSF to detect O. volvulus (O-150 repeat) by quantitative real-time PCR, and Wolbachia (FtsZ gene) by standard PCR. To further investigate whether CSF from onchocerciasis-infected participants could induce seizures, 3- and 7-day old zebrafish larvae were injected with the CSF intracardially and intraperitoneally, respectively. For other zebrafish larvae, CSF was added directly to the larval medium.

RESULTS: No microfilariae, parasite DNA, or Wolbachia DNA were detected in any of the CSF samples by light microscopy or PCR. All zebrafish survived the procedures and none developed seizures.

CONCLUSIONS: The absence of O. volvulus in the CSF suggests that OAE is likely not caused by direct parasite invasion into the central nervous system, but by another phenomenon triggered by O. volvulus infection.

RevDate: 2019-11-30

Ullah MS, Kamimura T, T Gotoh (2019)

Effects of Temperature on Demographic Parameters of Bryobia praetiosa (Acari: Tetranychidae).

Journal of economic entomology pii:5648928 [Epub ahead of print].

The clover mite, Bryobia praetiosa Koch (Acari: Tetranychidae), is an agricultural pest, as well as a frequent invader of hospitals and homes. However, its adaptability to different temperatures is not well understood. We used age- and stage-specific life tables to investigate the effects of temperature on demographic parameters of B. praetiosa from 15 to 35°C under a long-day photoperiod (16:8 [L:D] h). The clover mite is a thelytokous species (consisting of only females) due to its infection with the symbiotic bacterium Wolbachia. The egg-to-adult development time of female B. praetiosa decreased as the temperature increased from 15 to 32.5°C. At 35°C, females laid eggs, but no eggs hatched. The lower thermal threshold (t0) and the thermal constant (K) for egg-to-adult females were 8.7°C and 274.1 degree-days, respectively. The intrinsic optimum temperature (TØ) was 22.4°C. The oviposition period decreased with increasing temperature. Fecundity was highest at 20°C and extremely low at 30°C. The net reproductive rate (R0) decreased as the temperature increased from 15 to 30°C, but no significant difference was observed between 15 and 20°C. The intrinsic rate of natural increase (r) varied from 0.0721/d at 15°C to 0.1679/d at 25°C, and then decreased to 0.1203/d at 30°C. These results should be useful in developing management strategies for B. praetiosa.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Vivero RJ, Villegas-Plazas M, Cadavid-Restrepo GE, et al (2019)

Wild specimens of sand fly phlebotomine Lutzomyia evansi, vector of leishmaniasis, show high abundance of Methylobacterium and natural carriage of Wolbachia and Cardinium types in the midgut microbiome.

Scientific reports, 9(1):17746.

Phlebotomine sand flies are remarkable vectors of several etiologic agents (virus, bacterial, trypanosomatid Leishmania), posing a heavy health burden for human populations mainly located at developing countries. Their intestinal microbiota is involved in a wide range of biological and physiological processes, and could exclude or facilitate such transmission of pathogens. In this study, we investigated the Eubacterial microbiome from digestive tracts of Lu. evansi adults structure using 16S rRNA gene sequence amplicon high throughput sequencing (Illumina MiSeq) obtained from digestive tracts of Lu. evansi adults. The samples were collected at two locations with high incidence of the disease in humans: peri-urban and forest ecosystems from the department of Sucre, Colombia. 289,068 quality-filtered reads of V4 region of 16S rRNA gene were obtained and clustered into 1,762 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) with 97% similarity. Regarding eubacterial diversity, 14 bacterial phyla and 2 new candidate phyla were found to be consistently associated with the gut microbiome content. Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Bacteroidetes were the most abundant phyla in all the samples and the core microbiome was particularly dominated by Methylobacterium genus. Methylobacterium species, are known to have mutualistic relationships with some plants and are involved in shaping the microbial community in the phyllosphere. As a remarkable feature, OTUs classified as Wolbachia spp. were found abundant on peri-urban ecosystem samples, in adult male (OTUs n = 776) and unfed female (OTUs n = 324). Furthermore, our results provide evidence of OTUs classified as Cardinium endosymbiont in relative abundance, notably higher with respect to Wolbachia. The variation in insect gut microbiota may be determined by the environment as also for the type of feeding. Our findings increase the richness of the microbiota associated with Lu. evansi. In this study, OTUs of Methylobacterium found in Lu. evansi was higher in engorged females, suggesting that there are interactions between microbes from plant sources, blood nutrients and the parasites they transmit during the blood intake.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Stouthamer CM, Kelly SE, Mann E, et al (2019)

Development of a multi-locus sequence typing system helps reveal the evolution of Cardinium hertigii, a reproductive manipulator symbiont of insects.

BMC microbiology, 19(1):266.

BACKGROUND: Cardinium is an intracellular bacterial symbiont in the phylum Bacteroidetes that is found in many different species of arthropods and some nematodes. This symbiont is known to be able to induce three reproductive manipulation phenotypes, including cytoplasmic incompatibility. Placing individual strains of Cardinium within a larger evolutionary context has been challenging because only two, relatively slowly evolving genes, 16S rRNA gene and Gyrase B, have been used to generate phylogenetic trees, and consequently, the relationship of different strains has been elucidated in only its roughest form.

RESULTS: We developed a Multi Locus Sequence Typing (MLST) system that provides researchers with three new genes in addition to Gyrase B for inferring phylogenies and delineating Cardinium strains. From our Cardinium phylogeny, we confirmed the presence of a new group D, a Cardinium clade that resides in the arachnid order harvestmen (Opiliones). Many Cardinium clades appear to display a high degree of host affinity, while some show evidence of host shifts to phylogenetically distant hosts, likely associated with ecological opportunity. Like the unrelated reproductive manipulator Wolbachia, the Cardinium phylogeny also shows no clear phylogenetic signal associated with particular reproductive manipulations.

CONCLUSIONS: The Cardinium phylogeny shows evidence of diversification within particular host lineages, and also of host shifts among trophic levels within parasitoid-host communities. Like Wolbachia, the relatedness of Cardinium strains does not necessarily predict their reproductive phenotypes. Lastly, the genetic tools proposed in this study may help future authors to characterize new strains and add to our understanding of Cardinium evolution.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Beckmann JF, Sharma GD, Mendez L, et al (2019)

The Wolbachia cytoplasmic incompatibility enzyme CidB targets nuclear import and protamine-histone exchange factors.

eLife, 8:.

Intracellular Wolbachia bacteria manipulate arthropod reproduction to promote their own inheritance. The most prevalent mechanism, cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), traces to a Wolbachia deubiquitylase, CidB, and CidA. CidB has properties of a toxin, while CidA binds CidB and rescues embryonic viability. CidB is also toxic to yeast where we identified both host effects and high-copy suppressors of toxicity. The strongest suppressor was karyopherin-α, a nuclear-import receptor; this required nuclear localization-signal binding. A protein-interaction screen of Drosophila extracts using a substrate-trapping catalytic mutant, CidB*, also identified karyopherin-α; the P32 protamine-histone exchange factor bound as well. When CidB* bound CidA, these host protein interactions disappeared. These associations would place CidB at the zygotic male pronucleus where CI defects first manifest. Overexpression of karyopherin-α, P32, or CidA in female flies suppressed CI. We propose that CidB targets nuclear-protein import and protamine-histone exchange and that CidA rescues embryos by restricting CidB access to its targets.

RevDate: 2020-01-10

Lau MJ, Endersby-Harshman NM, Axford JK, et al (2020)

Measuring the Host-Seeking Ability of Aedes aegypti Destined for Field Release.

The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene, 102(1):223-231.

Host seeking is an essential process in mosquito reproduction. Field releases of modified mosquitoes for population replacement rely on successful host seeking by female mosquitoes, but host-seeking ability is rarely tested in a realistic context. We tested the host-seeking ability of female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes using a semi-field system. Females with different Wolbachia infection types (wMel-, wAlbB-infected, and uninfected) or from different origins (laboratory and field) were released at one end of a semi-field cage and recaptured as they landed on human experimenters 15 m away. Mosquitoes from each population were then identified with molecular tools or through minimal dusting with fluorescent powder. Wolbachia-infected and uninfected populations had similar average durations to landing and overall recapture proportions, as did laboratory and field-sourced Ae. aegypti. These results indicate that the host-seeking ability of mosquitoes is not negatively affected by Wolbachia infection or long-term laboratory maintenance. This method provides an approach to study the host-seeking ability of mosquitoes in a realistic setting, which will be useful when evaluating strains of mosquitoes that are planned for releases into the field to suppress arbovirus transmission.

RevDate: 2019-11-26

Ju JF, Bing XL, Zhao DS, et al (2019)

Wolbachia supplement biotin and riboflavin to enhance reproduction in planthoppers.

The ISME journal pii:10.1038/s41396-019-0559-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Symbiont-mediated nutritional mutualisms can contribute to the host fitness of insects, especially for those that feed exclusively on nutritionally unbalanced diets. Here, we elucidate the importance of B group vitamins in the association of endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia with two plant-sap feeding insects, the small brown planthopper, Laodelphax striatellus (Fallén), and the brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens (Stål). Infected planthoppers of both species laid more eggs than uninfected planthoppers, while the experimental transfer of Wolbachia into uninfected lines of one planthopper species rescued this fecundity deficit. The genomic analysis showed that Wolbachia strains from the two planthopper species encoded complete biosynthesis operons for biotin and riboflavin, while a metabolic analysis revealed that Wolbachia-infected planthoppers of both species had higher titers of biotin and riboflavin. Furthermore, experimental supplementation of food with a mixture of biotin and riboflavin recovered the fecundity deficit of Wolbachia-uninfected planthoppers. In addition, comparative genomic analysis suggested that the riboflavin synthesis genes are conserved among Wolbachia supergroups. Biotin operons are rare in Wolbachia, and those described share a recent ancestor that may have been horizontally transferred from Cardinium bacteria. Our research demonstrates a type of mutualism that involves a facultative interaction between Wolbachia and plant-sap feeding insects involving vitamin Bs.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Liu QQ, Zhou JC, Zhang C, et al (2019)

Co-occurrence of thelytokous and bisexual Trichogramma dendrolimi Matsumura (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) in a natural population.

Scientific reports, 9(1):17480.

Trichogramma dendrolimi is one of the most successful biocontrol agents in China. However, an inundative condition is necessary to obtain acceptable parasitism effect. A good solution to this is the application of its thelytokous counterparts which unfortunately are scarce in field. We here report the first case of a natural T. dendrolimi population in China comprising both bisexual wasps and an extremely low proportion of thelytokous wasps. These two forms of T. dendrolimi are phylogenetically related based on the reconstructions of ITS-2 and COI genes. Also, the phylogenetic results suggested a potentially Wolbachia-drived ITS-2 variation. The expression of thelytoky was hardly affected by temperature, which might help control Asian corn borer and Dendrolimus punctatus. Wolbachia are responsible for current thelytoky according to phylogenetic analyses, antibiotic treatment and introgression experiment. We also present the third case of paternal sex ratio chromosome that restrains the expansion of Wolbachia. Moreover, the low frequency of thelytoky may be common in natural populations. Consequently if for biological control it is determined that a thelytokous strain is to be preferred, then large number of field collected females should be set up as isofemale lines, to detect the rare thelytoky.

RevDate: 2020-01-03

Lucchetti C, Genchi M, Venco L, et al (2019)

Optimized protocol for DNA/RNA co-extraction from adults of Dirofilaria immitis.

MethodsX, 6:2601-2605.

Dirofilaria immitis, the etiologic agent of canine heartworm disease, like several other filarial nematodes, harbors the bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia. To investigate metabolic and functional pathways of D. immitis and Wolbachia individually, along with their interactions, the use of both transcriptomic and genome analysis has becoming increasingly popular. Although several commercial kits are available for the single extraction of either DNA or RNA, no specific protocol has been described for simultaneous extraction of DNA and RNA from such a large organism like an adult D. immitis, where female worms generally reach ∼25 cm in length. More importantly, adult worms of D. immitis can only be obtained either through necropsy of experimentally infected dogs or by minimally-invasive surgical heartworm removal of naturally infected dogs. This makes each individual worm sample extremely important. Thus, in the context of a project aimed at the evaluation of both gene expression analysis and Wolbachia population assessment following different treatments, an optimized protocol for co-extraction of DNA and RNA from a single sample of adult D. immitis has been developed. •An optimized method for DNA/RNA co-extraction from large size nematodes using TRIzol® reagent.•Allows maximum exploitation of unique samples as adults of D. immitis.

RevDate: 2019-12-31

Nazni WA, Hoffmann AA, NoorAfizah A, et al (2019)

Establishment of Wolbachia Strain wAlbB in Malaysian Populations of Aedes aegypti for Dengue Control.

Current biology : CB, 29(24):4241-4248.e5.

Dengue has enormous health impacts globally. A novel approach to decrease dengue incidence involves the introduction of Wolbachia endosymbionts that block dengue virus transmission into populations of the primary vector mosquito, Aedes aegypti. The wMel Wolbachia strain has previously been trialed in open releases of Ae. aegypti; however, the wAlbB strain has been shown to maintain higher density than wMel at high larval rearing temperatures. Releases of Ae. aegypti mosquitoes carrying wAlbB were carried out in 6 diverse sites in greater Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with high endemic dengue transmission. The strain was successfully established and maintained at very high population frequency at some sites or persisted with additional releases following fluctuations at other sites. Based on passive case monitoring, reduced human dengue incidence was observed in the release sites when compared to control sites. The wAlbB strain of Wolbachia provides a promising option as a tool for dengue control, particularly in very hot climates.

RevDate: 2019-11-21

López-Madrigal S, EH Duarte (2019)

Titer regulation in arthropod-Wolbachia symbioses.

FEMS microbiology letters pii:5637388 [Epub ahead of print].

Symbiosis between intracellular bacteria (endosymbionts) and animals are widespread. The alphaproteobacterium Wolbachia pipientis is known to maintain a variety of symbiotic associations, ranging from mutualism to parasitism, with a wide range of invertebrates. Wolbachia infection might deeply affect host fitness (e.g. reproductive manipulation, antiviral protection), which is thought to explain its high prevalence in nature. Bacterial loads significantly influence both the infection dynamics and the extent of bacteria-induced host phenotypes. Hence, fine regulation of bacterial titers is considered as a milestone in host-endosymbiont interplay. Here we review both environmental and biological factors modulating Wolbachia titers in arthropods.

RevDate: 2019-12-09

Jasper ME, Yang Q, Ross PA, et al (2019)

A LAMP assay for the rapid and robust assessment of Wolbachia infection in Aedes aegypti under field and laboratory conditions.

PloS one, 14(11):e0225321.

With Wolbachia-based arbovirus control programs being scaled and operationalised around the world, cost effective and reliable detection of Wolbachia in field samples and laboratory stocks is essential for quality control. Here we validate a modified loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay for routine scoring of Wolbachia in mosquitoes from laboratory cultures and the field, applicable to any setting. We show that this assay is a rapid and robust method for highly sensitive and specific detection of wAlbB Wolbachia infection within Aedes aegypti under a variety of conditions. We test the quantitative nature of the assay by evaluating pooled mixtures of Wolbachia-infected and uninfected mosquitoes and show that it is capable of estimating infection frequencies, potentially circumventing the need to perform large-scale individual analysis for wAlbB infection status in the course of field monitoring. These results indicate that LAMP assays are useful for routine screening particularly under field conditions away from laboratory facilities.

RevDate: 2019-11-21

Zhao C, Zhao H, Zhang S, et al (2019)

The Developmental Stage Symbionts of the Pea Aphid-Feeding Chrysoperla sinica (Tjeder).

Frontiers in microbiology, 10:2454.

Chrysoperla sinica (Tjeder) is widely recognized as an important holometabolous natural enemy of various insect pests in different cropping systems and as a non-target surrogate in environmental risk assessment of Bt rice (i.e., genetically modified rice to express a toxin gene from Bacillus thuringiensis). Like other complex organisms, abundant microbes live inside C. sinica; however, to date, microbiome composition and diversity of the whole life cycle in C. sinica has not yet been well characterized. In the current study, we analyze the composition and biodiversity of microbiota across the whole life cycle of C. sinica by using high-throughput Illumina sequencing of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene. Collectively, Proteobacteria and Firmicutes dominated the microenvironment at all stages, but their relative abundances fluctuated by host developmental stage. Interestingly, eggs, neonates, and adults shared similar microbes, including an abundance of Rickettsia and Wolbachia. After larva feeding, Staphylococcus, Enterobacteriaceae, and Serratia were enriched in larvae and pupa, suggesting that food may serve as a major factor contributing to altered microbial community divergence at different developmental stages. Our findings demonstrated that C. sinica harbor a variety of bacteria, and that dynamic changes in community composition and relative abundances of members of its microbiome occur during different life cycle stages. Evaluating the role of these bacterial symbionts in this natural enemy may assist in developing environmental risk assessments and novel biological control strategies.

RevDate: 2019-11-14

Ote M, D Yamamoto (2019)

Impact of Wolbachia infection on Drosophila female germline stem cells.

Current opinion in insect science, 37:8-15 pii:S2214-5745(19)30077-X [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia pipientis, one of the most dominant insect-symbiotic bacteria, highjacks the female germline of insects for its own propagation across host generations. Such strict dependence on female gametes in trans-generational propagation has driven Wolbachia to devise ingenious strategies to enhance female fertility. In Drosophila melanogaster females with female-sterile mutant alleles of the master sex-determining gene Sex-lethal (Sxl), Wolbachia colonizing female germline stem cells (GSCs) support the maintenance of GSCs, thereby rescuing the defective ovarian development. In the germ cell cytoplasm, Wolbachia are often found in proximity to ribonucleoprotein-complex processing bodies (P bodies), where the Wolbachia-derived protein TomO interacts with RNAs encoding Nanos and Orb proteins, which support the GSC maintenance and oocyte polarization, respectively. Thus, manipulation of host RNA is the key to successful vertical transmission of Wolbachia.

RevDate: 2019-11-17

NTD Modelling Consortium Onchocerciasis Group (2019)

The World Health Organization 2030 goals for onchocerciasis: Insights and perspectives from mathematical modelling: NTD Modelling Consortium Onchocerciasis Group.

Gates open research, 3:1545.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has embarked on a consultation process to refine the 2030 goals for priority neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), onchocerciasis among them. Current goals include elimination of transmission (EOT) by 2020 in Latin America, Yemen and selected African countries. The new goals propose that, by 2030, EOT be verified in 10 countries; mass drug administration (MDA) with ivermectin be stopped in at least one focus in 34 countries; and that the proportion of the population no longer in need of MDA be equal or greater than 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% in at least 16, 14, 12, and 10 countries, respectively. The NTD Modelling Consortium onchocerciasis teams have used EPIONCHO and ONCHOSIM to provide modelling insights into these goals. EOT appears feasible in low-moderate endemic areas with long-term MDA at high coverage (≥75%), but uncertain in areas of higher endemicity, poor coverage and adherence, and where MDA has not yet, or only recently, started. Countries will have different proportions of their endemic areas classified according to these categories, and this distribution of pre-intervention prevalence and MDA duration and programmatic success will determine the feasibility of achieving the proposed MDA cessation goals. Highly endemic areas would benefit from switching to biannual or quarterly MDA and implementing vector control where possible (determining optimal frequency and duration of anti-vectorial interventions requires more research). Areas without loiasis that have not yet initiated MDA should implement biannual (preferably with moxidectin) or quarterly MDA from the start. Areas with loiasis not previously treated would benefit from implementing test-and(not)-treat-based interventions, vector control, and anti- Wolbachia therapies, but their success will depend on the levels of screening and coverage achieved and sustained. The diagnostic performance of IgG4 Ov16 serology for assessing EOT is currently uncertain. Verification of EOT requires novel diagnostics at the individual- and population-levels.

RevDate: 2019-11-20

Yin X, Zhao S, Yan B, et al (2019)

Bartonella rochalimae, B. grahamii, B. elizabethae, and Wolbachia spp. in Fleas from Wild Rodents near the China-Kazakhstan Border.

The Korean journal of parasitology, 57(5):553-559.

The Alataw Pass, near the Ebinur Lake Wetland (northwest of China) and Taldykorgan (east of Kazakhstan), is a natural habitat for wild rodents. To date, little has been done on the surveillance of Bartonella spp. and Wolbachia spp. from fleas in the region. Here we molecularly detected Bartonella spp. and Wolbachia spp. in wild rodent fleas during January and October of 2016 along the Alataw Pass-Kazakhstan border. A total of 1,706 fleas belonging to 10 species were collected from 6 rodent species. Among the 10 flea species, 4 were found to be positive for Wolbachia, and 5 flea species were positive for Bartonella. Molecular analysis indicated that i) B. rochalimae was firstly identified in Xenopsylla gerbilli minax and X. conforms conforms, ii) B. grahamii was firstly identified in X. gerbilli minax, and iii) B. elizabethae was firstly detected in Coptopsylla lamellifer ardua, Paradoxopsyllus repandus, and Nosopsyllus laeviceps laeviceps. Additionally, 3 Wolbachia endosymbionts were firstly found in X. gerbilli minax, X. conforms conforms, P. repandus, and N. laeviceps laeviceps. BLASTn analysis indicated 3 Bartonella species showed genotypic variation. Phylogenetic analysis revealed 3 Wolbachia endosymbionts were clustered into the non-Siphonaptera Wolbachia group. These findings extend our knowledge of the geographical distribution and carriers of B. rochalimae, B. grahamii, B. elizabethae, and Wolbachia spp. In the future, there is a need for China-Kazakhstan cooperation to strengthen the surveillance of flea-borne pathogens in wildlife.

RevDate: 2019-11-14

Adekunle AI, Meehan MT, ES McBryde (2019)

Mathematical analysis of a Wolbachia invasive model with imperfect maternal transmission and loss of Wolbachia infection.

Infectious Disease Modelling, 4:265-285.

Arboviral infections, especially dengue, continue to cause significant health burden in their endemic regions. One of the strategies to tackle these infections is to replace the main vector agent, Ae. aegypti, with the ones incapable of transmitting the virus. Wolbachia, an intracellular bacterium, has shown promise in achieving this goal. However, key factors such as imperfect maternal transmission, loss of Wolbachia infection, reduced reproductive capacity and shortened life-span affect the dynamics of Wolbachia in different forms in the Ae. aegypti population. In this study, we developed a Wolbachia transmission dynamic model adjusting for imperfect maternal transmission and loss of Wolbachia infection. The invasive reproductive number that determines the likelihood of replacement of the Wolbachia-uninfected (WU) population is derived and with it, we established the local and global stability of the equilibrium points. This analysis clearly shows that cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) does not guarantee establishment of the Wolbachia-infected (WI) mosquitoes as imperfect maternal transmission and loss of Wolbachia infection could outweigh the gains from CI. Optimal release programs depending on the level of imperfect maternal transmission and loss of Wolbachia infection are shown. Hence, it is left to decision makers to either aim for replacement or co-existence of both populations.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Basting PJ, CM Bergman (2019)

Complete Genome Assemblies for Three Variants of the Wolbachia Endosymbiont of Drosophila melanogaster.

Microbiology resource announcements, 8(45):.

Here, we report genome assemblies for three strains of Wolbachia pipientis, assembled from unenriched, unfiltered long-read shotgun sequencing data of geographically distinct strains of Drosophila melanogaster Our simple methodology can be applied to long-read data sets of other Wolbachia-infected species with limited Wolbachia-host lateral gene transfers to produce complete assemblies for this important model symbiont.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Almeida L, Duprez MG, Privat Y, et al (2019)

Mosquito population control strategies for fighting against arboviruses.

Mathematical biosciences and engineering : MBE, 16(6):6274-6297.

In the fight against vector-borne arboviruses, an important strategy of control of epidemic consists in controlling the population of the vector, Aedes mosquitoes in this case. Among possible actions, two techniques consist either in releasing sterile mosquitoes to reduce the size of the population (Sterile Insect Technique) or in replacing the wild population by one carrying a bacteria, called Wolbachia, blocking the transmission of viruses from insects to humans. This article addresses the issue of optimizing the dissemination protocol for each of these strategies, in order to get as close as possible to these objectives. Starting from a mathematical model describing population dynamics, we study the control problem and introduce the cost function standing for population replacement and sterile insect technique. Then, we establish some properties of the optimal control and illustrate them with numerical simulations.

RevDate: 2020-01-13

Karut K, Castle SJ, Karut ŞT, et al (2019)

Secondary endosymbiont diversity of Bemisia tabaci and its parasitoids.

Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases, 78:104104 pii:S1567-1348(19)30330-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Cotton whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) is one of the most important insect pests worldwide. It is known as a species complex consisting of at least 40 cryptic species. Although there are substantial data regarding species composition, parasitoids and endosymbionts of B. tabaci, data on relationship between the pest, parasitoids and endosymbionts are very restricted. Therefore, in this study, secondary endosymbionts in populations of B. tabaci and their parasitoids collected from Turkey and the USA were determined by PCR-based DNA analysis. Whitefly populations in Turkey represented both Mediterranean (MED) and Middle East-Asia Minor1 (MEAM1) genotypes from single or mixed populations of both genotypes. Arsenophonus, Rickettsia and Wolbachia were found in MED, while Hamiltonella and Rickettsia in MEAM1. Whitefly populations collected from Arizona were all MEAM1 and dually infected with Hamiltonella and Rickettsia. The aphelinid parasitoids Encarsia lutea and Eretmocerus mundus predominated in all Turkish populations. While almost all En. lutea populations were infected with Wolbachia, no endosymbionts were detected in any Er. mundus. Parasitoid species and the pattern of secondary endosymbiont infection in Arizona populations were different with Rickettsia detected only from Encarsia sophia while both Rickettsia and Wolbachia were found in Eretmocerus species. As a result, four secondary endosymbionts, namely, Rickettsia, Hamiltonella, Arsenophonus and Wolbachia, were detected from B.tabaci and its parasitoids. Among them only Wolbachia and Rickettsia were found in both the pest and parasitoids. It is conclude that further studies should be pursued to determine effect of these endosymbionts on biology of the parasitoids and success in biological control of B. tabaci.

RevDate: 2020-01-08

Layton EM, On J, Perlmutter JI, et al (2019)

Paternal Grandmother Age Affects the Strength of Wolbachia-Induced Cytoplasmic Incompatibility in Drosophila melanogaster.

mBio, 10(6):.

Wolbachia are obligate intracellular bacteria that are globally distributed in half of all arthropod species. As the most abundant maternally inherited microbe in animals, Wolbachia manipulate host reproduction via reproductive parasitism strategies, including cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). CI manifests as embryonic death when Wolbachia-modified sperm fertilize uninfected eggs but not maternally infected eggs. Thus, CI can provide a relative fitness advantage to Wolbachia-infected females and drive the infection through a population. In the genetic model Drosophila melanogaster, the Wolbachia strain wMel induces variable CI, making mechanistic studies in D. melanogaster cumbersome. Here, we demonstrate that sons of older paternal D. melanogaster grandmothers induce stronger CI than sons of younger paternal grandmothers, and we term this relationship the "paternal grandmother age effect" (PGAE). Moreover, the embryos and adult sons of older D. melanogaster grandmothers have higher Wolbachia densities, correlating with their ability to induce stronger CI. In addition, we report that Wolbachia density positively correlates with female age and decreases after mating, suggesting that females transmit Wolbachia loads that are proportional to their own titers. These findings reveal a transgenerational impact of age on wMel-induced CI, elucidate Wolbachia density dynamics in D. melanogaster, and provide a methodological advance to studies aimed at understanding wMel-induced CI in the D. melanogaster model.IMPORTANCE Unidirectional cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) results in a postfertilization incompatibility between Wolbachia-infected males and uninfected females. CI contributes to reproductive isolation between closely related species and is used in worldwide vector control programs to drastically lower arboviral vector population sizes or to replace populations that transmit arboviruses with those resistant to transmission. Despite decades of research on the factors that influence CI, penetrance is often variable under controlled laboratory conditions in various arthropods, suggesting that additional variables influence CI strength. Here, we demonstrate that paternal D. melanogaster grandmother age influences the strength of CI induced by their sons. Older D. melanogaster females have higher Wolbachia densities and produce offspring with higher Wolbachia densities that associate with stronger CI. This work reveals a multigenerational impact of age on CI and expands our understanding of host-Wolbachia interactions and the biology of CI induced by the Wolbachia strain infecting the most widely used arthropod model, D. melanogaster.

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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.

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Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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