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26 Jan 2022 at 01:37
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Bibliography on: Wolbachia


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 26 Jan 2022 at 01:37 Created: 


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

Created with PubMed® Query: wolbachia NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2022-01-14

Aikawa T, Maehara N, Ichihara Y, et al (2022)

Cytoplasmic incompatibility in the semivoltine longicorn beetle Acalolepta fraudatrix (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) double infected with Wolbachia.

PloS one, 17(1):e0261928 pii:PONE-D-21-23882.

Wolbachia are obligatory endosymbiotic α-proteobacteria found in many arthropods. They are maternally inherited, and can induce reproductive alterations in the hosts. Despite considerable recent progress in studies on the associations between Wolbachia and various taxonomic groups of insects, none of the researches have revealed the effects of Wolbachia on longicorn beetles as the host insect. Acalolepta fraudatrix is a forest longicorn beetle that is distributed in East Asia. In this study, the relationship between Wolbachia and A. fraudatrix was investigated. Out of two populations of A. fraudatrix screened for Wolbachia using the genes ftsZ, wsp, and 16S rRNA, only one of the populations showed detection of all three genes indicating the presence of Wolbachia. Electron microscopy and fluorescent in situ hybridization also confirmed that the A. fraudatrix population was infected with Wolbachia. Sequencing the wsp genes derived from single insects revealed that two strains of Wolbachia coexisted in the insects based on the detection of two different sequences of the wsp gene. We designated these strains as wFra1 and wFra2. The bacterial titers of wFra1 were nearly 2-fold and 3-fold higher than wFra2 in the testes and ovaries, respectively. The two strains of Wolbachia in the insects were completely eliminated by rearing the insects on artificial diets containing 1% concentration of tetracycline for 1 generation. Reciprocal crosses between Wolbachia-infected and Wolbachia-uninfected A. fraudatrix demonstrated that only eggs produced by the crosses between Wolbachia-infected males and Wolbachia-uninfected females did not hatch, indicating that Wolbachia infecting A. fraudatrix causes cytoplasmic incompatibility in the host insect. This is the first report showing the effect of Wolbachia on reproductive function in a longicorn beetle, A. fraudatrix.

RevDate: 2022-01-14

Rybnicky GA, Dixon RA, Kuhn RM, et al (2022)

Development of a Freeze-Dried CRISPR-Cas12 Sensor for Detecting Wolbachia in the Secondary Science Classroom.

ACS synthetic biology [Epub ahead of print].

Training the future synthetic biology workforce requires the opportunity for students to be exposed to biotechnology concepts and activities in secondary education. Detecting Wolbachia bacteria in arthropods using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has become a common way for secondary students to investigate and apply recombinant DNA technology in the science classroom. Despite this important activity, cutting-edge biotechnologies such as clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-based diagnostics have yet to be widely implemented in the classroom. To address this gap, we present a freeze-dried CRISPR-Cas12 sensing reaction to complement traditional recombinant DNA technology education and teach synthetic biology concepts. The reactions accurately detect Wolbachia from arthropod-derived PCR samples in under 2 h and can be stored at room temperature for over a month without appreciable degradation. The reactions are easy-to-use and cost less than $40 to implement for a classroom of 22 students including the cost of reusable equipment. We see these freeze-dried CRISPR-Cas12 reactions as an accessible way to incorporate synthetic biology education into the existing biology curriculum, which will expand biology educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

RevDate: 2022-01-14

Hofer U (2022)

Wolbachia likes it hot.

Nature reviews. Microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2022-01-12

Richardson KM, Schiffer M, Ross PA, et al (2022)

Characterization of the first Wolbachia from the genus Scaptodrosophila, a male-killer from the rainforest species S. claytoni.

Insect science [Epub ahead of print].

The Scaptodrosophila genus represents a large group of drosophilids with a worldwide distribution and a predominance of species in Australia, but there is little information on the presence and impacts of Wolbachia endosymbionts in this group. Here we describe the first Wolbachia infection from this group, wClay isolated from Scaptodrosophila claytoni (van Klinken), a species from the east coast of Australia. The infection is polymorphic in natural populations, occurring at a frequency of around 6%-10%. wClay causes male killing, producing female-biased lines; most lines showed 100% male killing, though in one line it was < 80%. The lines need to be maintained through the introduction of males unless the infection is removed by tetracycline treatment. wClay is transmitted at a high fidelity (98.6%) through the maternal lineage and has been stable in two laboratory lines across 24 generations, suggesting it is likely to persist in populations. The infection has not been previously described but is closely related to the male-killing Wolbachia recently described from Drosophila pandora based on MLST typing and the wsp gene. Male-killing Wolbachia are likely to be common in drosophilids but remain difficult to detect because the infections can often be at a low frequency. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2022-01-11

Liu WL, Yu HY, Chen YX, et al (2022)

Lab-scale characterization and semi-field trials of Wolbachia Strain wAlbB in a Taiwan Wolbachia introgressed Ae. aegypti strain.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 16(1):e0010084 pii:PNTD-D-21-00844.

Dengue fever is one of the most severe viral diseases transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, with traditional approaches of disease control proving insufficient to prevent significant disease burden. Release of Wolbachia-transinfected mosquitoes offers a promising alternative control methodologies; Wolbachia-transinfected female Aedes aegypti demonstrate reduced dengue virus transmission, whilst Wolbachia-transinfected males cause zygotic lethality when crossed with uninfected females, providing a method for suppressing mosquito populations. Although highly promising, the delicate nature of population control strategies and differences between local species populations means that controlled releases of Wolbachia-transinfected mosquitoes cannot be performed without extensive testing on specific local Ae. aegypti populations. In order to investigate the potential for using Wolbachia to suppress local Ae. aegypti populations in Taiwan, we performed lab-based and semi-field fitness trials. We first transinfected the Wolbachia strain wAlbB into a local Ae. aegypti population (wAlbB-Tw) and found no significant changes in lifespan, fecundity and fertility when compared to controls. In the laboratory, we found that as the proportion of released male mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia was increased, population suppression could reach up to 100%. Equivalent experiments in semi-field experiments found suppression rates of up to 70%. The release of different ratios of wAlbB-Tw males in the semi-field system provided an estimate of the optimal size of male releases. Our results indicate that wAlbB-Tw has significant potential for use in vector control strategies aimed at Ae. aegypti population suppression in Taiwan. Open field release trials are now necessary to confirm that wAlbB-Tw mediated suppression is feasible in natural environments.

RevDate: 2022-01-11

Towett-Kirui S, Morrow JL, M Riegler (2022)

Substantial rearrangements, single nucleotide frameshift deletion and low diversity in mitogenome of Wolbachia-infected strepsipteran endoparasitoid in comparison to its tephritid hosts.

Scientific reports, 12(1):477.

Insect mitogenome organisation is highly conserved, yet, some insects, especially with parasitic life cycles, have rearranged mitogenomes. Furthermore, intraspecific mitochondrial diversity can be reduced by fitness-affecting bacterial endosymbionts like Wolbachia due to their maternal coinheritance with mitochondria. We have sequenced mitogenomes of the Wolbachia-infected endoparasitoid Dipterophagus daci (Strepsiptera: Halictophagidae) and four of its 22 known tephritid fruit fly host species using total genomic extracts of parasitised flies collected across > 700 km in Australia. This halictophagid mitogenome revealed extensive rearrangements relative to the four fly mitogenomes which exhibited the ancestral insect mitogenome pattern. Compared to the only four available other strepsipteran mitogenomes, the D. daci mitogenome had additional transpositions of one rRNA and two tRNA genes, and a single nucleotide frameshift deletion in nad5 requiring translational frameshifting or, alternatively, resulting in a large protein truncation. Dipterophagus daci displays an almost completely endoparasitic life cycle when compared to Strepsiptera that have maintained the ancestral state of free-living adults. Our results support the hypothesis that the transition to extreme endoparasitism evolved together with increased levels of mitogenome changes. Furthermore, intraspecific mitogenome diversity was substantially smaller in D. daci than the parasitised flies suggesting Wolbachia reduced mitochondrial diversity because of a role in D. daci fitness.

RevDate: 2022-01-10

Schlabe S, Korir P, Lämmer C, et al (2022)

A qPCR to quantify Wolbachia from few Onchocerca volvulus microfilariae as a surrogate for adult worm histology in clinical trials of antiwolbachial drugs.

Parasitology research [Epub ahead of print].

The filarial nematode Onchocerca volvulus causes onchocerciasis (river blindness), a neglected tropical disease affecting 21 million people, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Targeting the endosymbiont Wolbachia with antibiotics leads to permanent sterilization and killing of adult worms. The gold standard to assess Wolbachia depletion is the histological examination of adult worms in nodules beginning at 6 months post-treatment. However, nodules can only be used once, limiting the time points to monitor Wolbachia depletion. A diagnostic to longitudinally monitor Wolbachia depletion from microfilariae (MF) at more frequent intervals < 6 months post-treatment would accelerate clinical trials of antiwolbachials. We developed a TaqMan qPCR amplifying the single-copy gene wOvftsZ to quantify Wolbachia from as few as one MF that had migrated from skin biopsies and compared quantification using circular and linearized plasmids or synthetic dsDNA (gBlock®). qPCR for MF from the rodent nematode Litomosoides sigmodontis was used to support the reproducibility and validate the principle. The qPCR using as few as 2 MF from O. volvulus and L. sigmodontis reproducibly quantified Wolbachia. Use of a linearized plasmid standard or synthesized dsDNA resulted in numbers of Wolbachia/MF congruent with biologically plausible estimates in O. volvulus and L. sigmodontis MF. The qPCR assay yielded a median of 48.8 (range 1.5-280.5) Wolbachia/O. volvulus MF. The qPCR is a sensitive tool for quantifying Wolbachia in a few MF from skin biopsies and allows for establishing the qPCR as a surrogate parameter for monitoring Wolbachia depletion in adult worms of new antiwolbachial candidates.

RevDate: 2022-01-10

Leitner M, Etebari K, S Asgari (2022)

Transcriptional response of Wolbachia-transinfected Aedes aegypti mosquito cells to dengue virus at early stages of infection.

The Journal of general virology, 103(1):.

Mosquito-borne flaviviruses are responsible for viral infections and represent a considerable public health burden. Aedes aegypti is the principal vector of dengue virus (DENV), therefore understanding the intrinsic virus-host interactions is vital, particularly in the presence of the endosymbiont Wolbachia, which blocks virus replication in mosquitoes. Here, we examined the transcriptional response of Wolbachia-transinfected Ae. aegypti Aag2 cells to DENV infection. We identified differentially expressed immune genes that play a key role in the activation of anti-viral defence such as the Toll and immune deficiency pathways. Further, genes encoding cytosine and N6-adenosine methyltransferases and SUMOylation, involved in post-transcriptional modifications, an antioxidant enzyme, and heat-shock response were up-regulated at the early stages of DENV infection and are reported here for the first time. Additionally, several long non-coding RNAs were among the differentially regulated genes. Our results provide insight into Wolbachia-transinfected Ae. aegypti's initial virus recognition and transcriptional response to DENV infection.

RevDate: 2022-01-08

Neupane S, Bonilla SI, Manalo AM, et al (2022)

Complete de novo assembly of Wolbachia endosymbiont of Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Liviidae) using long-read genome sequencing.

Scientific reports, 12(1):125.

Wolbachia, a gram-negative [Formula: see text]-proteobacterium, is an endosymbiont found in some arthropods and nematodes. Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, the vector of 'Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus' (CLas), are naturally infected with a strain of Wolbachia (wDi), which has been shown to colocalize with the bacteria pathogens CLas, the pathogen associated with huanglongbing (HLB) disease of citrus. The relationship between wDi and CLas is poorly understood in part because the complete genome of wDi has not been available. Using high-quality long-read PacBio circular consensus sequences, we present the largest complete circular wDi genome among supergroup-B members. The assembled circular chromosome is 1.52 megabases with 95.7% genome completeness with contamination of 1.45%, as assessed by checkM. We identified Insertion Sequences (ISs) and prophage genes scattered throughout the genomes. The proteins were annotated using Pfam, eggNOG, and COG that assigned unique domains and functions. The wDi genome was compared with previously sequenced Wolbachia genomes using pangenome and phylogenetic analyses. The availability of a complete circular chromosome of wDi will facilitate understanding of its role within the insect vector, which may assist in developing tools for disease management. This information also provides a baseline for understanding phylogenetic relationships among Wolbachia of other insect vectors.

RevDate: 2022-01-08

Nakabachi A, Inoue H, Y Hirose (2022)

Microbiome analyses of 12 psyllid species of the family Psyllidae identified various bacteria including Fukatsuia and Serratia symbiotica, known as secondary symbionts of aphids.

BMC microbiology, 22(1):15.

BACKGROUND: Psyllids (Hemiptera: Psylloidea) comprise a group of plant sap-sucking insects that includes important agricultural pests. They have close associations not only with plant pathogens, but also with various microbes, including obligate mutualists and facultative symbionts. Recent studies are revealing that interactions among such bacterial populations are important for psyllid biology and host plant pathology. In the present study, to obtain further insight into the ecological and evolutionary behaviors of bacteria in Psylloidea, we analyzed the microbiomes of 12 psyllid species belonging to the family Psyllidae (11 from Psyllinae and one from Macrocorsinae), using high-throughput amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene.

RESULTS: The analysis showed that all 12 psyllids have the primary symbiont, Candidatus Carsonella ruddii (Gammaproteobacteria: Oceanospirillales), and at least one secondary symbiont. The majority of the secondary symbionts were gammaproteobacteria, especially those of the family Enterobacteriaceae (order: Enterobacteriales). Among them, symbionts belonging to "endosymbionts3", which is a genus-level monophyletic group assigned by the SILVA rRNA database, were the most prevalent and were found in 9 of 11 Psyllinae species. Ca. Fukatsuia symbiotica and Serratia symbiotica, which were recognized only as secondary symbionts of aphids, were also identified. In addition to other Enterobacteriaceae bacteria, including Arsenophonus, Sodalis, and "endosymbionts2", which is another genus-level clade, Pseudomonas (Pseudomonadales: Pseudomonadaceae) and Diplorickettsia (Diplorickettsiales: Diplorickettsiaceae) were identified. Regarding Alphaproteobacteria, the potential plant pathogen Ca. Liberibacter europaeus (Rhizobiales: Rhizobiaceae) was detected for the first time in Anomoneura mori (Psyllinae), a mulberry pest. Wolbachia (Rickettsiales: Anaplasmataceae) and Rickettsia (Rickettsiales: Rickettsiaceae), plausible host reproduction manipulators that are potential tools to control pest insects, were also detected.

CONCLUSIONS: The present study identified various bacterial symbionts including previously unexpected lineages in psyllids, suggesting considerable interspecific transfer of arthropod symbionts. The findings provide deeper insights into the evolution of interactions among insects, bacteria, and plants, which may be exploited to facilitate the control of pest psyllids in the future.

RevDate: 2021-12-31

Ghanavi HR, Twort VG, A Duplouy (2021)

Exploring bycatch diversity of organisms in whole genome sequencing of Erebidae moths (Lepidoptera).

Scientific reports, 11(1):24499.

Models estimate that up to 80% of all butterfly and moth species host vertically transmitted endosymbiotic microorganisms, which can affect the host fitness, metabolism, reproduction, population dynamics, and genetic diversity, among others. The supporting empirical data are however currently highly biased towards the generally more colourful butterflies, and include less information about moths. Additionally, studies of symbiotic partners of Lepidoptera predominantly focus on the common bacterium Wolbachia pipientis, while infections by other inherited microbial partners have more rarely been investigated. Here, we mine the whole genome sequence data of 47 species of Erebidae moths, with the aims to both inform on the diversity of symbionts potentially associated with this Lepidoptera group, and discuss the potential of metagenomic approaches to inform on host associated microbiome diversity. Based on the result of Kraken2 and MetaPhlAn2 analyses, we found clear evidence of the presence of Wolbachia in four species. Our result also suggests the presence of three other bacterial symbionts (Burkholderia spp., Sodalis spp. and Arsenophonus spp.) in three other moth species. Additionally, we recovered genomic material from bracovirus in about half of our samples. The detection of the latter, usually found in mutualistic association to braconid parasitoid wasps, may inform on host-parasite interactions that take place in the natural habitat of the Erebidae moths, suggesting either contamination with material from species of the host community network, or horizontal transfer of members of the microbiome between interacting species.

RevDate: 2021-12-29

Xu P, Rice A, Li T, et al (2021)

Partiti-like viruses from African armyworm increase larval and pupal mortality of a novel host: the Egyptian cotton leafworm.

Pest management science [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: The general principle of using microbes from one species to manage a different pest species has a clear precedent in the large-scale release of mosquitoes carry a Wolbachia bacterium derived from Drosophila flies - new technologies will facilitate the discovery of microbes that can be used in a similar way. Previously, we found three novel partiti-like viruses in the African armyworm (Spodoptera exempta). To investigate further the utility and consistency of host-shift of insect viruses as a potential pest management tool, we tested the interaction between the partiti-like viruses and another novel host, the Egyptian cotton leafworm (S. littoralis).

RESULT: We found that all three partiti-like viruses appeared to be harmful to the novel host S. littoralis, by causing increased larval and pupal mortality. No effect was seen on host fecundity, and partiti-like virus infection did not impact host susceptibility when challenged with another pathogen, the baculovirus SpliNPV. Transcriptome analysis of partiti-like virus-infected and -noninfected S. littoralis indicated that the viruses could impact host gene-expression profiles of S. littoralis, but impacting different pathways to the two other Spodoptera species, e.g. via effects on pathways related to immunity (Jak-STAT/Toll and Imd) and reproduction (Insulin signaling/Insect hormones).

CONCLUSION: Taken together with the previous findings in the novel host S. frugiperda, these results indicate a parasitic relationship between the partiti-like viruses and novel insect hosts, suggesting a possible use and novel pest management strategy via the artificial host-shift of novel viruses. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2021-12-31

Paradkar PN, Sahasrabudhe PR, Ghag Sawant M, et al (2021)

Towards Integrated Management of Dengue in Mumbai.

Viruses, 13(12):.

With increasing urbanisation, the dengue disease burden is on the rise in India, especially in large cities such as Mumbai. Current dengue surveillance in Mumbai includes municipal corporation carrying out specific activities to reduce mosquito breeding sites and the use of insecticides to suppress the adult mosquito populations. Clinical cases remain either underreported or misreported due to the restriction to government clinics, missing the large private health care sector. There is a need for an integrated approach to manage dengue outbreaks in Mumbai. There are various novel strategies available for use that can be utilised to improve disease detection, mosquito surveillance, and control of mosquito-borne diseases. These novel technologies are discussed in this manuscript. Given the complex ecosystem of mosquito-borne diseases in Mumbai, integrating data obtained from these technologies would support the ongoing mosquito control measures in Mumbai.

RevDate: 2021-12-26

Namias A, Sicard M, Weill M, et al (2021)

From Wolbachia genomics to phenotype: molecular models of cytoplasmic incompatibility must account for the multiplicity of compatibility types.

Current opinion in insect science pii:S2214-5745(21)00134-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia endosymbionts commonly induce cytoplasmic incompatibility, making infected males' sperm lethal to the embryos unless these are rescued by the same bacterium, inherited from their mother. Causal genes were recently identified but two families of mechanistic models are still opposed. In the toxin-antidote model, interaction between the toxin and the antidote is required for rescuing the embryos. In host modification models, a host factor is misregulated in sperm and rescue occurs through compensation or withdrawal of this modification. While these models have been thoroughly discussed, the multiplicity of compatibility types, i.e., the existence of many mutually incompatible strains, as seen in Culex mosquitoes, has not received sufficient attention. To explain such a fact, host modification models must posit that the same embryonic defects can be induced and rescued through a large variety of host targets. Conversely, the toxin-antidote model simply accommodates this pattern in a lock-key fashion, through variations in the toxin-antidote interaction sites.

RevDate: 2021-12-25

Røed ES, J Engelstädter (2021)

Cytoplasmic incompatibility in hybrid zones: infection dynamics and resistance evolution.

Journal of evolutionary biology [Epub ahead of print].

Cytoplasmic incompatibility is an endosymbiont-induced mating incompatibility common in arthropods. Unidirectional cytoplasmic incompatibility impairs crosses between infected males and uninfected females, whereas bidirectional cytoplasmic incompatibility occurs when two host lineages are infected with reciprocally in compatible endosymbionts. Bidirectional cytoplasmic incompatibility is unstable in unstructured populations, but may be stable in hybrid zones. Stable coexistence of incompatible host lineages should generate frequent incompatible crosses. Therefore, hosts are expected to be under selection to resist their endosymbionts. Here, we for mulate a mathematical model of hybrid zones where two bidirectionally incompatible host lineages meet. We expand this model to consider the invasion of a hypothetical resistance allele. To corroborate our mathematical predictions, we test each prediction with stochastic, individual-based simulations. Our models suggest that hybrid zones may sustain stable coinfections of bidirectionally incompatible endosymbiont strains. Over a range of conditions, host are under selection for resistance against cytoplasmic incompatibility. Under asymetric migration, a resistance allele can facilitate infection turnover and subsequently either persist or become lost. The predictions we present may inform our understanding of the cophylogenetic relationship between the endosym biont Wolbachia and its hosts.

RevDate: 2021-12-24

Arham AF, Amin L, Mustapa MAC, et al (2021)

Determinants of stakeholders' attitudes and intentions toward supporting the use of Wolbachia-infected Aedes mosquitoes for dengue control.

BMC public health, 21(1):2314.

BACKGROUND: A recent approach in controlling dengue is by using the Wolbachia-infected Aedes mosquito (WiAM). The approach has been reported to be more effective than traditional methods, such as fogging. Therefore, it is imperative to assess the factors predicting its acceptance among stakeholders before implementing this technology more widely in Malaysia.

METHODS: The survey data were collected from two primary stakeholder groups using a stratified random sampling technique. The two primary stakeholder groups were scientists (n = 202) and the public (n = 197) in the Klang Valley region of Malaysia, a hot spot area known for the high rate of dengue cases. The respondents answered questions on a seven-point Likert scale survey regarding trust in key players, attitudes toward nature versus materialism, religiosity, perceived benefits, perceived risks, attitudes, and intentions. The data were analyzed using Smart Partial Least Square (SmartPLS) software (version 3.2.6) to determine the predictors influencing attitudes and intentions to support the use of WiAM technology.

RESULTS: The results indicated a strong positive relationship between attitudes and intentions to support the use of WiAM (β = 0.676, p < 0.001). The most important significant predictor for attitudes was perceived benefits (β = 0.493, p < 0.001), followed by perceived risks (β = - 0.080, p = 0.048). Trust in key players, attitudes toward nature versus material, and religiosity had indirect relationships with attitudes through the perceived benefits and risks.

CONCLUSIONS: The identified predictors can serve as indicators for the decision-making process regarding WiAM implementation in Malaysia and other developing countries with similar demographics and cultures.

RevDate: 2021-12-26

Bamou R, Diarra AZ, Mayi MPA, et al (2021)

Wolbachia Detection in Field-Collected Mosquitoes from Cameroon.

Insects, 12(12):.

Wolbachia spp., known to be maternally inherited intracellular bacteria, are widespread among arthropods, including mosquitoes. Our study assessed the presence and prevalence of Wolbachia infection in wild mosquitoes collected in Cameroon, using the combination of 23s rRNA Anaplasmatacea and 16s rRNA Wolbachia genes. Mosquitoes that were positive for Wolbachia were sequenced for subsequent phylogenetic analysis. Out of a total of 1740 individual mosquitoes belonging to 22 species and five genera screened, 33 mosquitoes (1.87%) belonging to eight species (namely, Aedes albopictus, A. contigus, Culex quinquefasciatus, C. perfuscus, C. wigglesworthi, C. duttoni, Anopheles paludis and Coquillettidia sp.) were found to be positive for Wolbachia infections. Wolbachia spp. were absent in A. gambiae and A. aegypti, the main vectors of malaria and dengue, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis of the 16S RNA sequences showed they belong mainly to two distinct subgroups (A and B). This study reports the presence of Wolbachia in about eight species of mosquitoes in Cameroon and suggests that future characterisation of the strains is needed.

RevDate: 2021-12-26

Beribaka M, Jelić M, Tanasković M, et al (2021)

Life History Traits in Two Drosophila Species Differently Affected by Microbiota Diversity under Lead Exposure.

Insects, 12(12):.

Life history traits determine the persistence and reproduction of each species. Factors that can affect life history traits are numerous and can be of different origin. We investigated the influence of population origin and heavy metal exposure on microbiota diversity and two life history traits, egg-to-adult viability and developmental time, in Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila subobscura, grown in the laboratory on a lead (II) acetate-saturated substrate. We used 24 samples, 8 larval and 16 adult samples (two species × two substrates × two populations × two sexes). The composition of microbiota was determined by sequencing (NGS) of the V3-V4 variable regions of the 16S rRNA gene. The population origin showed a significant influence on life history traits, though each trait in the two species was affected differentially. Reduced viability in D. melanogaster could be a cost of fast development, decrease in Lactobacillus abundance and the presence of Wolbachia. The heavy metal exposure in D. subobscura caused shifts in developmental time but maintained the egg-to-adult viability at a similar level. Microbiota diversity indicated that the Komagataeibacter could be a valuable member of D. subobscura microbiota in overcoming the environmental stress. Research on the impact of microbiota on the adaptive response to heavy metals and consequently the potential tradeoffs among different life history traits is of great importance in evolutionary research.

RevDate: 2021-12-26

Jiang RX, Shang F, Jiang HB, et al (2021)

The Influence of Temperature and Host Gender on Bacterial Communities in the Asian Citrus Psyllid.

Insects, 12(12):.

The Asian citrus psyllid, D. citri Kuwayama is the primary vector for Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), which causes a destructive disease in citrus plants. Bacterial symbionts are important determinants of insect physiology, and they can be impacted by many external factors. Temperature is an important abiotic factor affecting insect physiology, and it is also known that differences in symbiont proportions may vary in different insect genders. To date, it is unclear how the symbionts of D. citri are affected by temperature and gender. This study used high-throughput sequencing of 16S ribosomal RNA amplicons to determine how temperature and gender affect the bacterial communities present in D. citri. We identified 27 amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) belonging to 10 orders, seven classes, and five phyla. The dominant phylum was Proteobacteria (99.93%). Other phyla, including Firmicutes, Bacteroidota, Deinococcota, Cyanobacteria, and Actinobacteriota, were less abundant (<0.1%). Profftella (71.77-81.59%) and Wolbachia (18.39-28.22%) were the predominant taxa in all samples. Under high-temperature treatment, Profftella was more common in females, while Wolbachia had a higher abundance in males. In males, Profftella was more abundant under low-temperature treatments than under high-temperature treatments. In contrast, Wolbachia showed a higher abundance under high-temperature treatments than under low-temperature treatments. An RT-qPCR (quantitative real-time PCR) approach confirmed the results obtained with high-throughput DNA sequencing. Our results provide a basis for understanding the co-adaptation of D. citri and its symbionts to environmental temperature stress.

RevDate: 2021-12-24

Aouadi N, Benkacimi L, Zan Diarra A, et al (2021)

Microorganisms associated with the North African hedgehog Atelerix algirus and its parasitizing arthropods in Algeria.

Comparative immunology, microbiology and infectious diseases, 80:101726 pii:S0147-9571(21)00118-1 [Epub ahead of print].

Hedgehogs are small mammals. They are potential reservoirs of various zoonotic agents. This study was conducted in Bouira, a north-central region of Algeria. A total of 21 Atelerix algirus corpses were picked up on roadsides and gardens. Hedgehog kidneys, spleens and ectoparasites were collected. Twelve hedgehogs were infested with ectoparasites, including Archaeopsylla erinacei, Rhipicephalus sanguineus s.l. and Haemaphysalis erinacei. Hedgehog organs and randomly selected arthropods were screened for microorganisms using molecular methods. Coxiella burnetii was detected in kidneys, spleens, A. erinacei, Hae. erinacei and Rh. sanguineus s.l. Leptospira interrogans was detected in kidneys. Rickettsia felis and Rickettsia massiliae were detected respectively in A. erinacei and in Rh. sanguineus s.l. DNA of an uncultivated Rickettsia spp. was found in Hae. erinacei. Wolbachia spp. DNA was detected in fleas. The DNA of potential new Bartonella and Ehrlichia species were found respectively in fleas and ticks. This study highlights the presence of DNA from a broad range of microorganisms in hedgehogs and their ectoparasites that may be responsible for zoonoses in Algeria.

RevDate: 2022-01-05

Vivero-Gomez RJ, Castañeda-Monsalve VA, Atencia MC, et al (2021)

Molecular phylogeny of heritable symbionts and microbiota diversity analysis in phlebotominae sand flies and Culex nigripalpus from Colombia.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 15(12):e0009942.

BACKGROUND: Secondary symbionts of insects include a range of bacteria and fungi that perform various functional roles on their hosts, such as fitness, tolerance to heat stress, susceptibility to insecticides and effects on reproduction. These endosymbionts could have the potential to shape microbial communites and high potential to develop strategies for mosquito-borne disease control.

The relative frequency and molecular phylogeny of Wolbachia, Microsporidia and Cardinium were determined of phlebotomine sand flies and mosquitoes in two regions from Colombia. Illumina Miseq using the 16S rRNA gene as a biomarker was conducted to examine the microbiota. Different percentages of natural infection by Wolbachia, Cardinium, and Microsporidia in phlebotomines and mosquitoes were detected. Phylogenetic analysis of Wolbachia shows putative new strains of Lutzomyia gomezi (wLgom), Brumptomyia hamata (wBrham), and a putative new group associated with Culex nigripalpus (Cnig) from the Andean region, located in Supergroup A and Supergroup B, respectively. The sequences of Microsporidia were obtained of Pi. pia and Cx. nigripalpus, which are located on phylogeny in the IV clade (terrestrial origin). The Cardinium of Tr. triramula and Ps. shannoni were located in group C next to Culicoides sequences while Cardinium of Mi. cayennensis formed two putative new subgroups of Cardinium in group A. In total were obtained 550 bacterial amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) and 189 taxa to the genus level. The microbiota profiles of Sand flies and mosquitoes showed mainly at the phylum level to Proteobacteria (67.6%), Firmicutes (17.9%) and Actinobacteria (7.4%). High percentages of relative abundance for Wolbachia (30%-83%) in Lu. gomezi, Ev. dubitans, Mi. micropyga, Br. hamata, and Cx. nigripalpus were found. ASVs assigned as Microsporidia were found in greater abundance in Pi. pia (23%) and Cx. nigripalpus (11%). An important finding is the detection of Rickettsia in Pi. pia (58,8%) and Bartonella sp. in Cx. nigripalpus.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We found that Wolbachia infection significantly decreased the alpha diversity and negatively impacts the number of taxa on sand flies and Culex nigripalpus. The Principal Coordinate Analysis (PCoA) is consistent, which showed statistically significant differences (PERMANOVA, F = 2.4744; R2 = 0.18363; p-value = 0.007) between the microbiota of sand flies and mosquitoes depending on its origin, host and possibly for the abundance of some endosymbionts (Wolbachia, Rickettsia).

RevDate: 2021-12-17

Hague MTJ, Shropshire JD, Caldwell CN, et al (2021)

Temperature effects on cellular host-microbe interactions explain continent-wide endosymbiont prevalence.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(21)01651-1 [Epub ahead of print].

Endosymbioses influence host physiology, reproduction, and fitness, but these relationships require efficient microbe transmission between host generations to persist. Maternally transmitted Wolbachia are the most common known endosymbionts,1 but their frequencies vary widely within and among host populations for unknown reasons.2,3 Here, we integrate genomic, cellular, and phenotypic analyses with mathematical models to provide an unexpectedly simple explanation for global wMel Wolbachia prevalence in Drosophila melanogaster. Cooling temperatures decrease wMel cellular abundance at a key stage of host oogenesis, producing temperature-dependent variation in maternal transmission that plausibly explains latitudinal clines of wMel frequencies on multiple continents. wMel sampled from a temperate climate targets the germline more efficiently in the cold than a recently differentiated tropical variant (∼2,200 years ago), indicative of rapid wMel adaptation to climate. Genomic analyses identify a very narrow list of wMel alleles-most notably, a derived stop codon in the major Wolbachia surface protein WspB-that underlie thermal sensitivity of cellular Wolbachia abundance and covary with temperature globally. Decoupling temperate wMel and host genomes further reduces transmission in the cold, a pattern that is characteristic of host-microbe co-adaptation to a temperate climate. Complex interactions among Wolbachia, hosts, and the environment (GxGxE) mediate wMel cellular abundance and maternal transmission, implicating temperature as a key determinant of Wolbachia spread and equilibrium frequencies, in conjunction with Wolbachia effects on host fitness and reproduction.4,5 Our results motivate the strategic use of locally selected wMel variants for Wolbachia-based biocontrol efforts, which protect millions of individuals from arboviruses that cause human disease.6.

RevDate: 2021-12-18
CmpDate: 2021-12-16

Lau MJ, Schmidt TL, Yang Q, et al (2021)

Genetic stability of Aedes aegypti populations following invasion by wMel Wolbachia.

BMC genomics, 22(1):894.

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia wMel is the most commonly used strain in rear and release strategies for Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that aim to inhibit the transmission of arboviruses such as dengue, Zika, Chikungunya and yellow fever. However, the long-term establishment of wMel in natural Ae. aegypti populations raises concerns that interactions between Wolbachia wMel and Ae. aegypti may lead to changes in the host genome, which could affect useful attributes of Wolbachia that allow it to invade and suppress disease transmission.

RESULTS: We applied an evolve-and-resequence approach to study genome-wide genetic changes in Ae. aegypti from the Cairns region, Australia, where Wolbachia wMel was first introduced more than 10 years ago. Mosquito samples were collected at three different time points in Gordonvale, Australia, covering the phase before (2010) and after (2013 and 2018) Wolbachia releases. An additional three locations where Wolbachia replacement happened at different times across the last decade were also sampled in 2018. We found that the genomes of mosquito populations mostly remained stable after Wolbachia release, with population differences tending to reflect the geographic location of the populations rather than Wolbachia infection status. However, outlier analysis suggests that Wolbachia may have had an influence on some genes related to immune response, development, recognition and behavior.

CONCLUSIONS: Ae. aegypti populations remained geographically distinct after Wolbachia wMel releases in North Australia despite their Wolbachia infection status. At some specific genomic loci, we found signs of selection associated with Wolbachia, suggesting potential evolutionary impacts can happen in the future and further monitoring is warranted.

RevDate: 2021-12-29

Shropshire JD, Hamant E, BS Cooper (2021)

Male Age and Wolbachia Dynamics: Investigating How Fast and Why Bacterial Densities and Cytoplasmic Incompatibility Strengths Vary.

mBio, 12(6):e0299821.

Endosymbionts can influence host reproduction and fitness to favor their maternal transmission. For example, endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria often cause cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) that kills uninfected embryos fertilized by Wolbachia-modified sperm. Infected females can rescue CI, providing them a relative fitness advantage. Wolbachia-induced CI strength varies widely and tends to decrease as host males age. Since strong CI drives Wolbachia to high equilibrium frequencies, understanding how fast and why CI strength declines with male age is crucial to explaining age-dependent CI's influence on Wolbachia prevalence. Here, we investigate if Wolbachia densities and/or CI gene (cif) expression covary with CI-strength variation and explore covariates of age-dependent Wolbachia-density variation in two classic CI systems. wRi CI strength decreases slowly with Drosophila simulans male age (6%/day), but wMel CI strength decreases very rapidly (19%/day), yielding statistically insignificant CI after only 3 days of Drosophila melanogaster adult emergence. Wolbachia densities and cif expression in testes decrease as wRi-infected males age, but both surprisingly increase as wMel-infected males age, and CI strength declines. We then tested if phage lysis, Octomom copy number (which impacts wMel density), or host immune expression covary with age-dependent wMel densities. Only host immune expression correlated with density. Together, our results identify how fast CI strength declines with male age in two model systems and reveal unique relationships between male age, Wolbachia densities, cif expression, and host immunity. We discuss new hypotheses about the basis of age-dependent CI strength and its contributions to Wolbachia prevalence. IMPORTANCE Wolbachia bacteria are the most common animal-associated endosymbionts due in large part to their manipulation of host reproduction. Many Wolbachia cause cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) that kills uninfected host eggs. Infected eggs are protected from CI, favoring Wolbachia spread in natural systems and in transinfected mosquito populations where vector-control groups use strong CI to maintain pathogen-blocking Wolbachia at high frequencies for biocontrol of arboviruses. CI strength varies considerably in nature and declines as males age for unknown reasons. Here, we determine that CI strength weakens at different rates with age in two model symbioses. Wolbachia density and CI gene expression covary with wRi-induced CI strength in Drosophila simulans, but neither explain rapidly declining wMel-induced CI in aging D. melanogaster males. Patterns of host immune gene expression suggest a candidate mechanism behind age-dependent wMel densities. These findings inform how age-dependent CI may contribute to Wolbachia prevalence in natural systems and potentially in transinfected systems.

RevDate: 2021-12-16

Velez ID, Santacruz E, Kutcher SC, et al (2019)

The impact of city-wide deployment of Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes on arboviral disease incidence in Medellín and Bello, Colombia: study protocol for an interrupted time-series analysis and a test-negative design study.

F1000Research, 8:1327.

Background: Dengue, chikungunya and Zika are viral infections transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, and present major public health challenges in tropical regions. Traditional vector control methods have been ineffective at halting disease transmission. The World Mosquito Program has developed a novel approach to arbovirus control using Ae. aegypti stably transfected with the Wolbachia bacterium, which have significantly reduced ability to transmit dengue, Zika and chikungunya in laboratory experiments. Field releases in eight countries have demonstrated Wolbachia establishment in local Ae. aegypti populations. Methods: We describe a pragmatic approach to measuring the epidemiological impact of city-wide Wolbachia deployments in Bello and Medellín, Colombia. First, an interrupted time-series analysis will compare the incidence of dengue, chikungunya and Zika case notifications before and after Wolbachia releases, across the two municipalities. Second, a prospective case-control study using a test-negative design will be conducted in one quadrant of Medellín. Three of the six contiguous release zones in the case-control area were allocated to receive the first Wolbachia deployments in the city and three to be treated last, approximating a parallel two-arm trial for the >12-month period during which Wolbachia exposure remains discordant. Allocation, although non-random, aimed to maximise balance between arms in historical dengue incidence and demographics. Arboviral disease cases and arbovirus-negative controls will be enrolled concurrently from febrile patients presenting to primary care, with case/control status classified retrospectively following laboratory diagnostic testing. Intervention effect is estimated from an aggregate odds ratio comparing Wolbachia-exposure odds among test-positive cases versus test-negative controls. Discussion: The study findings will add to an accumulating body of evidence from global field sites on the efficacy of the Wolbachia method in reducing arboviral disease incidence, and can inform decisions on wider public health implementation of this intervention in the Americas and beyond. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT03631719. Registered on 15 August 2018.

RevDate: 2021-12-21

Sánchez-González L, Adams LE, Saavedra R, et al (2021)

Assessment of community support for Wolbachia-mediated population suppression as a control method for Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in a community cohort in Puerto Rico.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 15(12):e0009966.

Arboviral diseases transmitted by Aedes species mosquitoes pose an increasing public health challenge in tropical regions. Wolbachia-mediated population suppression (Wolbachia suppression) is a vector control method used to reduce Aedes mosquito populations by introducing male mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia, a naturally occurring endosymbiotic bacterium. When Wolbachia-infected male mosquitoes mate with female wild mosquitoes, the resulting eggs will not hatch. Public support is vital to the successful implementation and sustainability of vector control interventions. Communities Organized to Prevent Arboviruses (COPA) is a cohort study to determine the incidence of arboviral disease in Ponce, Puerto Rico and evaluate vector control methods. Focus groups were conducted with residents of COPA communities to gather their opinion on vector control methods; during 2018-2019, adult COPA participants were interviewed regarding their views on Wolbachia suppression; and a follow-up questionnaire was conducted among a subset of participants and non-participants residing in COPA communities. We analyzed factors associated with support for this method. Among 1,528 participants in the baseline survey, median age was 37 years and 63% were female. A total of 1,032 (68%) respondents supported Wolbachia suppression. Respondents with an income of $40,000 or more were 1.34 times as likely [95% CI: 1.03, 1.37] to support Wolbachia suppression than those who earned less than $40,000 annually. Respondents who reported repellant use were 1.19 times as likely to support Wolbachia suppression [95% CI: 1.03, 1.37]. A follow-up survey in 2020 showed that most COPA participants (86%) and non-participants living in COPA communities (84%) supported Wolbachia suppression during and after an educational campaign. The most frequent questions regarding this method were related to its impact on human and animal health, and the environment. Continuous community engagement and education efforts before and during the implementation of novel vector control interventions are necessary to increase and maintain community support.

RevDate: 2021-12-14
CmpDate: 2021-12-13

Wangkeeree J, Sanit P, Roddee J, et al (2021)

Population Dynamics of Wolbachia in the Leafhopper Vector Yamatotettix flavovittatus (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae).

Journal of insect science (Online), 21(6):.

Wolbachia (Rickettsiales: Alphaproteobacteria) infections induce abnormalities in the reproductive system and affect various biological traits of the host insects. The density of Wolbachia is one of the major parameters that influence induced phenotypes and interactions with the hosts. Wolbachia occurs naturally in populations of the leafhopper Yamatotettix flavovittatus Matsumura (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae), which transmits phytoplasma that cause white leaf disease in sugarcane. However, the quantity and dynamics of Wolbachia in this leafhopper are not well understood. In the current study, we estimated the number of Wolbachia by absolute quantification of the copy number of wsp, which encodes the outer surface protein, using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This investigation was performed using natural populations and laboratory colonies from three lineages of leafhoppers (designated as UD, KK, and SK). There was no significant difference in the number of wsp copies in most of field-collected adults. During the immature developmental stages, there were differences in the dynamics of Wolbachia infection between the UD lineage and the other two lineages. However, the number of wsp copies increased in the early instar and plateaued in the later nymphal instars. Sex had no influence on the number of Wolbachia within the same lineages. The number of Wolbachia was relatively constant during the adult stage in the UD lineage but fluctuated in the other two lineages. In conclusion, the present data provide a framework for exploring the relationship between Wolbachia and the leafhopper and could facilitate future research into management strategies using Wolbachia.

RevDate: 2021-12-05

Cooper WR, Horton DR, Swisher-Grimm K, et al (2021)

Bacterial Endosymbionts of Bactericera maculipennis and Three Mitochondrial Haplotypes of B. cockerelli (Hemiptera: Psylloidea: Triozidae).

Environmental entomology pii:6448554 [Epub ahead of print].

Insects harbor bacterial endosymbionts that provide their hosts with nutritional benefit or with protection against natural enemies, plant defenses, insecticides, or abiotic stresses. We used directed sequencing of 16S rDNA to identify and compare endosymbionts of Bactericera maculipennis (Crawford) and the western, central, and northwestern haplotypes of B. cockerelli (Šulc) (Hemiptera: Psylloidea: Triozidae). Both species are native to North America, are known to harbor the plant pathogen 'Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum' and develop on shared host plants within the Convolvulaceae. The Old-World species Heterotrioza chenopodii (Reuter) (Psylloidea: Triozidae), now found in North America, was included as an outgroup. 16S sequencing confirmed that both Bactericera species harbor 'Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum' and revealed that both species harbor unique strains of Wolbachia and Sodalis. However, the presence of Wolbachia and Sodalis varied among haplotypes of B. cockerelli. The central and western haplotypes harbored the same strains of Wolbachia, which was confirmed by Sanger sequencing of the wsp and ftsZ genes. Wolbachia was also detected in very low abundance from the northwestern haplotype by high-throughput sequencing of 16S but was not detected from this haplotype by PCR screening. The northwestern and central haplotypes also harbored Sodalis, which was not detected in the western haplotype. Heterotrioza chenopodii harbored an entirely different community of potential endosymbionts compared with the Bactericera spp. that included Rickettsia and an unidentified bacterium in the Enterobacteriaceae. Results of this study provide a foundation for further research on the interactions between psyllids and their bacterial endosymbionts.

RevDate: 2021-12-20
CmpDate: 2021-12-20

Girardin L, F Débarre (2021)

Demographic feedbacks can hamper the spatial spread of a gene drive.

Journal of mathematical biology, 83(6-7):67.

This paper is concerned with a reaction-diffusion system modeling the fixation and the invasion in a population of a gene drive (an allele biasing inheritance, increasing its own transmission to offspring). In our model, the gene drive has a negative effect on the fitness of individuals carrying it, and is therefore susceptible of decreasing the total carrying capacity of the population locally in space. This tends to generate an opposing demographic advection that the gene drive has to overcome in order to invade. While previous reaction-diffusion models neglected this aspect, here we focus on it and try to predict the sign of the traveling wave speed. It turns out to be an analytical challenge, only partial results being within reach, and we complete our theoretical analysis by numerical simulations. Our results indicate that taking into account the interplay between population dynamics and population genetics might actually be crucial, as it can effectively reverse the direction of the invasion and lead to failure. Our findings can be extended to other bistable systems, such as the spread of cytoplasmic incompatibilities caused by Wolbachia.

RevDate: 2021-12-20
CmpDate: 2021-12-20

Gil MF, Fassolari M, Battaglia ME, et al (2021)

Culex quinquefasciatus larvae development arrested when fed on Neochloris aquatica.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 15(12):e0009988.

Culex quinquefasciatus is a cosmopolitan species widely distributed in the tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Due to its long history of close association with humans, the transmission of arboviruses and parasites have an important role in veterinary and public health. Adult females feed mainly on birds although they can also feed on humans and other mammals. On the other hand, larvae are able to feed on a great diversity of microorganisms, including microalgae, present in natural or artificial breeding sites with a high organic load. These two particularities, mentioned above, are some of the reasons why this mosquito is so successful in the environment. In this work, we report the identification of a microalga found during field sampling in artificial breeding sites, in a group of discarded tires with accumulated rainwater. Surprisingly, only one of them had a bright green culture without mosquito larvae while the other surrounding tires contained a large number of mosquito larvae. We isolated and identified this microorganism as Neochloris aquatica, and it was evaluated as a potential biological control agent against Cx. quinquefasciatus. The oviposition site preference in the presence of the alga by gravid females, and the effects on larval development were analyzed. Additionally, microalga effect on Cx. quinquefasciatus wild type, naturally infected with the endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia (w+) and Wolbachia free (w-) laboratory lines was explored. According to our results, even though it is chosen by gravid females to lay their eggs, the microalga had a negative effect on the development of larvae from both populations. Additionally, when the larvae were fed with a culture of alga supplemented with balanced fish food used as control diet, they were not able to reverse its effect, and were unable to complete development until adulthood. Here, N. aquatica is described as a biological agent, and as a potential source of bioactive compounds for the control of mosquito populations important in veterinary and human health.

RevDate: 2021-12-06

Díaz S, Camargo C, FW Avila (2021)

Characterization of the reproductive tract bacterial microbiota of virgin, mated, and blood-fed Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus females.

Parasites & vectors, 14(1):592.

BACKGROUND: Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus are vectors of numerous arboviruses that adversely affect human health. In mosquito vectors of disease, the bacterial microbiota influence several physiological processes, including fertility and vector competence, making manipulation of the bacterial community a promising method to control mosquito vectors. In this study, we describe the reproductive tract tissue microbiota of lab-reared virgin Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus males, and virgin, mated, and mated + blood-fed females of each species, comparing the bacterial composition found there to the well-described gut microbiota.

METHODS: We performed metabarcoding of the 16S rRNA isolated from the gut, upper reproductive tract (URT; testes or ovaries), and lower reproductive tract (LRT; males: seminal vesicles and accessory glands; females: oviduct, spermathecae, and bursa) for each species, and evaluated the influence of host species, tissue, nutritional status, and reproductive status on microbiota composition. Finally, based on the identified taxonomic profiles of the tissues assessed, bacterial metabolic pathway abundance was predicted.

RESULTS: The community structure of the reproductive tract is unique compared to the gut. Asaia is the most prevalent OTU in the LRTs of both Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus. In the URT, we observed differences between species, with Wolbachia OTUs being dominant in the Ae. albopictus URT, while Enterobacter and Serratia were dominant in Ae. aegypti URT. Host species and tissue were the best predictors of the community composition compared to reproductive status (i.e., virgin or mated) and nutritional status (i.e., sugar or blood-fed). The predicted functional profile shows changes in the abundance of specific microbial pathways that are associated with mating and blood-feeding, like energy production in mated tissues and siderophore synthesis in blood-fed female tissues.

CONCLUSIONS: Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus have distinct differences in the composition of microbiota found in the reproductive tract. The distribution of the bacterial taxonomic groups indicates that some bacteria have tissue-specific tropism for reproductive tract tissue, such as Asaia and Wolbachia. No significant differences in the taxonomic composition were observed in the reproductive tract between virgin, mated, and mated + blood-fed females, but changes in the abundance of specific metabolic pathways were found in the predicted microbial functional profiles in mated and blood-fed females.

RevDate: 2021-12-01

Brunetti M, Magoga G, Gionechetti F, et al (2021)

Does diet breadth affect the complexity of the phytophagous insect microbiota? The case study of Chrysomelidae.

Environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Chrysomelidae is a family of phytophagous insects with a highly variable degree of trophic specialization. The aim of this study is to test whether species feeding on different plants (generalists) harbour more complex microbiotas than those feeding on a few or a single plant species (specialists). The microbiota of representative leaf beetle species was characterized with a metabarcoding approach targeting V1-V2 and V4 regions of the bacterial 16S rRNA. Almost all the analysed species harbour at least one reproductive manipulator bacteria (e.g., Wolbachia, Rickettsia). Two putative primary symbionts, previously isolated only from a single species (Bromius obscurus), have been detected in two species of the same subfamily, suggesting a widespread symbiosis in Eumolpinae. Surprisingly, the well-known aphid symbiont Buchnera is well represented in the microbiota of Orsodacne humeralis. Moreover, in this study, using Hill numbers to dissect the components of the microbiota diversity (abundant and rare bacteria), it has been demonstrated that generalist insect species harbour a more diversified microbiota than specialists. The higher microbiota diversity associated with a wider host-plant spectrum could be seen as an adaptive trait, conferring new metabolic potential useful to expand the diet breath, or as a result of environmental stochastic acquisition conveyed by diet.

RevDate: 2022-01-05
CmpDate: 2022-01-05

Bauer DuMont VL, White SL, Zinshteyn D, et al (2021)

Molecular population genetics of Sex-lethal (Sxl) in the Drosophila melanogaster species group: a locus that genetically interacts with Wolbachia pipientis in Drosophila melanogaster.

G3 (Bethesda, Md.), 11(8):.

Sex-lethal (Sxl) is the sex determination switch in Drosophila, and also plays a critical role in germ-line stem cell daughter differentiation in Drosophila melanogaster. Three female-sterile alleles at Sxl in D. melanogaster were previously shown to genetically interact to varying degrees with the maternally inherited endosymbiont Wolbachia pipientis. Given this genetic interaction and W. pipientis' ability to manipulate reproduction in Drosophila, we carried out a careful study of both the population genetics (within four Drosophila species) and molecular evolutionary analysis (across 20 Drosophila species) of Sxl. Consistent with earlier studies, we find that selective constraint has played a prominent role in Sxl's molecular evolution within Drosophila, but we also observe patterns that suggest both episodic bursts of protein evolution and recent positive selection at Sxl. The episodic nature of Sxl's protein evolution is discussed in light of its genetic interaction with W. pipientis.

RevDate: 2022-01-03

Manoj RRS, Latrofa MS, Bezerra-Santos MA, et al (2021)

Molecular detection and characterization of the endosymbiont Wolbachia in the European hedgehog flea, Archaeopsylla erinacei.

Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases, 97:105161 pii:S1567-1348(21)00461-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia, the endosymbiont of arthropods and onchocercid nematodes is present in many medically important insect species, being also considered for the indirect control of parasitic ones. Archaeopsylla erinacei is a flea species infesting hedgehogs acting as vector of Rickettsia felis, Bartonella henselae, and Rickettsia helvetica, thus having public health relevance. The Wolbachia surface protein (wsp) and 16S rRNA genes were used to determine the presence, prevalence and molecular typing of Wolbachia in this flea species collected in two regions of southern Italy. Of the 45 fleas tested (n = 16 males, 35.6%; n = 29 females, 64.4%), 43 (95.6%; 95% CI: 84.8-99.2) scored positive for Wolbachia, of which 15 (33.3%) and 28 (62.2%) were males and females, respectively. The sex-wise prevalence of this endosymbiont was almost equal in both sexes (males 93.8%; 95% CI: 69.5-99.7; females 96.7%; 95% CI: 83.1-99.8). Single locus sequence analysis (SLST) of Wolbachia revealed two sequence types for 16S rRNA gene, named as wAr_15227 and wAr_15234, which came from two different areas, equally distributed in male and female fleas, whilst only one sequence type was identified for wsp gene. The phylogenetic analysis placed the two 16S rRNA sequence types in paraphyletic clades belonging to the supergroup A and B, respectively. Whilst, the tree of wsp gene clustered the corresponding sequence in the same clade including those of Wolbachia supergroup A. In MLST analyses, both Wolbachia sequence types clustered in a monophyletic clade with Drosophila nikananu (wNik) and Drosophila sturtevanti (wStv) from supergroup A. ClonalFrame analysis revealed a recombination event in the wAr_15234 strain which came from Apulia region. Scientific knowledge of the presence/prevalence of Wolbachia among medically important fleas, may contribute to develop an alternative biological method for the vector control.

RevDate: 2021-12-28
CmpDate: 2021-12-28

Ramirez JL, Schumacher MK, Ower G, et al (2021)

Impacts of fungal entomopathogens on survival and immune responses of Aedes albopictus and Culex pipiens mosquitoes in the context of native Wolbachia infections.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 15(11):e0009984.

Microbial control of mosquitoes via the use of symbiotic or pathogenic microbes, such as Wolbachia and entomopathogenic fungi, are promising alternatives to synthetic insecticides to tackle the rapid increase in insecticide resistance and vector-borne disease outbreaks. This study evaluated the susceptibility and host responses of two important mosquito vectors, Ae. albopictus and Cx. pipiens, that naturally carry Wolbachia, to infections by entomopathogenic fungi. Our study indicated that while Wolbachia presence did not provide a protective advantage against entomopathogenic fungal infection, it nevertheless influenced the bacterial / fungal load and the expression of select anti-microbial effectors and phenoloxidase cascade genes in mosquitoes. Furthermore, although host responses from Ae. albopictus and Cx. pipiens were mostly similar, we observed contrasting phenotypes with regards to susceptibility and immune responses to fungal entomopathogenic infection in these two mosquitoes. This study provides new insights into the intricate multipartite interaction between the mosquito host, its native symbiont and pathogenic microbes that might be employed to control mosquito populations.

RevDate: 2021-11-29

Victoria Rombot D, M Yermia Semuel (2021)

The Metagenomic Analysis of Potential Pathogenic Emerging Bacteria in Fleas.

Pakistan journal of biological sciences : PJBS, 24(10):1084-1090.

Background and Objective: At present many pathogenic microbes that cause disease in humans are transmitted through animals. Ctenocephalides felisis specific ectoparasites in cats. Metagenomic research on the digestive tract and body surface of C. felishas been conducted. DNA genomics was extracted from the body surface and digestive tract of C. felis. Materials and Methods: Metagenomic analysis has used the 16S rRNA gene (V3-V4 region). Sequencing was carried out using New Generation Sequencing at the First BASE Laboratory, Singapore. Results: Wolbachia has the most significant bacterial composition in C. felis (94.4%), we were found bacteria with a composition >1% that have never been reported to be associated with C. felis. Also, there were 0.2% of bacteria whose taxonomic status cannot be determined. Conclusion: The results of this study become a vital reference pathogenic bacteria that can be transmitted to humans and animals through C. felis. It is necessary to study the resistance of bacteria isolated fromC. felisto antibiotics in the future.

RevDate: 2021-12-03

Hamlili FZ, Bérenger JM, Diarra AZ, et al (2021)

Molecular and MALDI-TOF MS identification of swallow bugs Cimex hirundinis (Heteroptera: Cimicidae) and endosymbionts in France.

Parasites & vectors, 14(1):587.

BACKGROUND: The Cimicidae are obligatory blood-feeding ectoparasites of medical and veterinary importance. We aim in the current study to assess the ability of MALDI-TOF MS to identify Cimex hirundinis swallow bugs collected in house martin nests.

METHODS: Swallow bugs were picked out from abandoned nests of house martin swallows and identified morphologically to the species level. The bugs were randomly selected, dissected and then subjected to MALDI-TOF MS and molecular analyses.

RESULTS: A total of 65 adults and 50 nymphs were used in the attempt to determine whether this tool could identify the bug species and discriminate their developmental stages. Five adults and four nymphs of C. hirundinis specimens were molecularly identified to update our MS homemade arthropod database. BLAST analysis of COI gene sequences from these C. hirundinis revealed 98.66-99.12% identity with the corresponding sequences of C. hirundinis of the GenBank. The blind test against the database supplemented with MS reference spectra showed 100% (57/57) C. hirundinis adults and 100% (46/46) C. hirundinis nymphs were reliably identified and in agreement with morphological identification with logarithmic score values between 1.922 and 2.665. Ninety-nine percent of C. hirundinis specimens tested were positive for Wolbachia spp. The sequencing results revealed that they were identical to Wolbachia massiliensis, belonging to the new T-supergroup strain and previously isolated from C. hemipterus.

CONCLUSIONS: We report for the first time to our knowledge a case of human infestation by swallow bugs (C. hirundinis) in France. We also show the usefulness of MALDI-TOF MS in the rapid identification of C. hirundinis specimens and nymphs with minimal sample requirements. We phylogenetically characterized the novel Wolbachia strain (W. massiliensis) infecting C. hirundinis and compared it to other recognized Wolbachia clades.

RevDate: 2021-12-14
CmpDate: 2021-12-08

Soh LT, Ong Z, Vasquez K, et al (2021)

A Household-Based Survey to Understand Factors Influencing Awareness, Attitudes and Knowledge towards Wolbachia-Aedes Technology.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(22):.

In 2016, Singapore introduced the release of male Wolbachia-Aedes mosquitoes to complement vector control efforts and suppress Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in selected study sites. With ongoing expansion of Project Wolbachia-Singapore to cover larger areas, a household-based survey was conducted between July 2019 to February 2020 in two Project Wolbachia study sites using a structured questionnaire, to evaluate current sentiments and assess the need for enhanced public messaging and engagement. The association of factors that influence awareness, attitudes, and knowledge towards the use of Wolbachia-Aedes technology was analysed using Pearson's Chi-square test and binary logistic regression. Of 500 respondents, 74.8% were aware of Project Wolbachia-Singapore. Comparatively, the level of knowledge on Wolbachia-Aedes technology was lower, suggesting knowledge gaps that require enhanced communication and messaging to address misinformation. Longer exposure to the project predicted greater awareness, whereas higher education levels predicted higher knowledge levels. Younger age groups and higher education levels were associated with high acceptance towards the project. High levels of trust and acceptance towards the project were also observed across the population. The public's positive perception of the project is a testament to the effective public communication undertaken to date and will facilitate programme expansion.

RevDate: 2021-11-29

Kwofie SK, Broni E, Yunus FU, et al (2021)

Molecular Docking Simulation Studies Identifies Potential Natural Product Derived-Antiwolbachial Compounds as Filaricides against Onchocerciasis.

Biomedicines, 9(11):.

Onchocerciasis is the leading cause of blindness and severe skin lesions which remain a major public health problem, especially in tropical areas. The widespread use of antibiotics and the long duration required for effective treatment continues to add to the increasing global menace of multi-resistant pathogens. Onchocerca volvulus harbors the endosymbiont bacteria Wolbachia, essential for the normal development of embryos, larvae and long-term survival of the adult worm, O. volvulus. We report here results of using structure-based drug design (SBDD) approach aimed at identifying potential novel Wolbachia inhibitors from natural products against the Wolbachia surface protein (WSP). The protein sequence of the WSP with UniProtKB identifier Q0RAI4 was used to model the three-dimensional (3D) structure via homology modelling techniques using three different structure-building algorithms implemented in Modeller, I-TASSER and Robetta. Out of the 15 generated models of WSP, one was selected as the most reasonable quality model which had 82, 15.5, 1.9 and 0.5% of the amino acid residues in the most favored regions, additionally allowed regions, generously allowed regions and disallowed regions, respectively, based on the Ramachandran plot. High throughput virtual screening was performed via Autodock Vina with a library comprising 42,883 natural products from African and Chinese databases, including 23 identified anti-Onchocerca inhibitors. The top six compounds comprising ZINC000095913861, ZINC000095486235, ZINC000035941652, NANPDB4566, acetylaleuritolic acid and rhemannic acid had binding energies of -12.7, -11.1, -11.0, -11, -10.3 and -9.5 kcal/mol, respectively. Molecular dynamics simulations including molecular mechanics Poisson-Boltzmann (MMPBSA) calculations reinforced the stability of the ligand-WSP complexes and plausible binding mechanisms. The residues Arg45, Tyr135, Tyr148 and Phe195 were predicted as potential novel critical residues required for ligand binding in pocket 1. Acetylaleuritolic acid and rhemannic acid (lantedene A) have previously been shown to possess anti-onchocercal activity. This warrants the need to evaluate the anti-WSP activity of the identified molecules. The study suggests the exploitation of compounds which target both pockets 1 and 2, by investigating their potential for effective depletion of Wolbachia. These compounds were predicted to possess reasonably good pharmacological profiles with insignificant toxicity and as drug-like. The compounds were computed to possess biological activity including antibacterial, antiparasitic, anthelmintic and anti-rickettsials. The six natural products are potential novel antiwolbachial agents with insignificant toxicities which can be explored further as filaricides for onchocerciasis.

RevDate: 2021-12-14
CmpDate: 2021-12-10

Cogni R, Ding SD, Pimentel AC, et al (2021)

Wolbachia reduces virus infection in a natural population of Drosophila.

Communications biology, 4(1):1327.

Wolbachia is a maternally transmitted bacterial symbiont that is estimated to infect approximately half of arthropod species. In the laboratory it can increase the resistance of insects to viral infection, but its effect on viruses in nature is unknown. Here we report that in a natural population of Drosophila melanogaster, individuals that are infected with Wolbachia are less likely to be infected by viruses. By characterising the virome by metagenomic sequencing and then testing individual flies for infection, we found the protective effect of Wolbachia was virus-specific, with the prevalence of infection being up to 15% greater in Wolbachia-free flies. The antiviral effects of Wolbachia may contribute to its extraordinary ecological success, and in nature the symbiont may be an important component of the antiviral defences of insects.

RevDate: 2021-11-30
CmpDate: 2021-11-29

Bleidorn C, K Henze (2021)

A new primer pair for barcoding of bees (Hymenoptera: Anthophila) without amplifying the orthologous coxA gene of Wolbachia bacteria.

BMC research notes, 14(1):427.

OBJECTIVES: DNA barcoding became an effective method for the identification and monitoring of bees. However, standard primer pairs used for barcoding often result in (co-) amplification of bacterial endosymbionts of the genus Wolbachia, which are widespread among bee species. Here we designed a new primer pair and compared it with the performance of the standard Folmer-primers for a small sample set of bees representing the main taxonomic groups of bees.

RESULTS: The newly designed primer pair (BeeCox1F1/BeeCox1R2) outperformed the standard barcoding primer (LCO1490/HCO2198). By generating barcodes for a small test set of bees we found that the new primer pair produced high-quality sequences in all cases for unambiguous species identification using BOLD. Conversely, the standard barcoding primers often co-amplified the homologous Wolbachia gene and resulted in mixed chromatogram signals. These sequences showed high similarity with the bacterial endosymbiont instead of the host.

RevDate: 2021-11-26

Price DC, Brennan JR, Wagner NE, et al (2021)

Comparative hologenomics of two Ixodes scapularis tick populations in New Jersey.

PeerJ, 9:e12313.

Tick-borne diseases, such as those transmitted by the blacklegged tick Ixodes scapularis, are a significant and growing public health problem in the US. There is mounting evidence that co-occurring non-pathogenic microbes can also impact tick-borne disease transmission. Shotgun metagenome sequencing enables sampling of the complete tick hologenome-the collective genomes of the tick and all of the microbial species contained therein, whether pathogenic, commensal or symbiotic. This approach simultaneously uncovers taxonomic composition and allows the detection of intraspecific genetic variation, making it a useful tool to compare spatial differences across tick populations. We evaluated this approach by comparing hologenome data from two tick samples (N = 6 ticks per location) collected at a relatively fine spatial scale, approximately 23 km apart, within a single US county. Several intriguing variants in the data between the two sites were detected, including polymorphisms in both in the tick's own mitochondrial DNA and that of a rickettsial endosymbiont. The two samples were broadly similar in terms of the microbial species present, including multiple known tick-borne pathogens (Borrelia burgdorferi, Babesia microti, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum), filarial nematodes, and Wolbachia and Babesia species. We assembled the complete genome of the rickettsial endosymbiont (most likely Rickettsia buchneri) from both populations. Our results provide further evidence for the use of shotgun metagenome sequencing as a tool to compare tick hologenomes and differentiate tick populations across localized spatial scales.

RevDate: 2021-12-24
CmpDate: 2021-12-24

Adams KL, Abernathy DG, Willett BC, et al (2021)

Wolbachia cifB induces cytoplasmic incompatibility in the malaria mosquito vector.

Nature microbiology, 6(12):1575-1582.

Wolbachia, a maternally inherited intracellular bacterial species, can manipulate host insect reproduction by cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), which results in embryo lethality in crosses between infected males and uninfected females. CI is encoded by two prophage genes, cifA and cifB. Wolbachia, coupled with the sterile insect technique, has been used in field trials to control populations of the dengue vector Aedes albopictus, but CI-inducing strains are not known to infect the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. Here we show that cifA and cifB can induce conditional sterility in the malaria vector An. gambiae. We used transgenic expression of these Wolbachia-derived genes in the An. gambiae germline to show that cifB is sufficient to cause embryonic lethality and that cifB-induced sterility is rescued by cifA expression in females. When we co-expressed cifA and cifB in male mosquitoes, the CI phenotype was attenuated. In female mosquitoes, cifB impaired fertility, which was overcome by co-expression of cifA. Our findings pave the way towards using CI to control malaria mosquito vectors.

RevDate: 2021-11-18

Sanaei E, Lin YP, Cook LG, et al (2021)

Wolbachia in scale insects: a distinct pattern of infection frequencies and potential transfer routes via ant associates.

Environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia is one of the most successful endosymbiotic bacteria of arthropods. Known as the 'master of manipulation', Wolbachia can induce a wide range of phenotypes in its host that can have far-reaching ecological and evolutionary consequences and may be exploited for disease and pest control. However, our knowledge of Wolbachia's distribution and the infection rate is unevenly distributed across arthropod groups such as scale insects. We fitted a distribution of within-species prevalence of Wolbachia to our data and compared it to distributions fitted to an up-to-date dataset compiled from surveys across all arthropods. The estimated distribution parameters indicate a Wolbachia infection frequency of 43.6% (at a 10% prevalence threshold) in scale insects. Prevalence of Wolbachia in scale insects follows a distribution similar to exponential decline (most species are predicted to have low prevalence infections), in contrast to the U-shaped distribution estimated for other taxa (most species have a very low or very high prevalence). We observed no significant associations between Wolbachia infection and scale insect traits. Finally, we screened for Wolbachia in scale insect's ecological associates. We found a positive correlation between Wolbachia infection in scale insects and their ant associates, pointing to a possible route of horizontal transfer of Wolbachia.

RevDate: 2021-11-18

Mostoufi SL, ND Singh (2021)

Diet-induced changes in titer support a discrete response of Wolbachia-associated plastic recombination in Drosophila melanogaster.

G3 (Bethesda, Md.) pii:6428536 [Epub ahead of print].

Plastic recombination in Drosophila melanogaster has been associated with a variety of extrinsic and intrinsic factors such as temperature, starvation, and parasite infection. The bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia pipientis has also been associated with plastic recombination in D. melanogaster. Wolbachia infection is pervasive in arthropods and this infection induces a variety of phenotypes in its hosts, the strength of which can depend on bacterial titer. Here we test the hypothesis that the magnitude of Wolbachia-associated plastic recombination in D. melanogaster depends on titer. To manipulate titer, we raised Wolbachia-infected and uninfected flies on diets that have previously been shown to increase or decrease Wolbachia titer relative to controls. We measured recombination in treated and control individuals using a standard backcrossing scheme with two X-linked visible markers. Our results recapitulate previous findings that Wolbachia infection is associated with increased recombination rate across the yellow-vermillion interval of the X chromosome. Our data show no significant effect of diet or diet by Wolbachia interactions on recombination, suggesting that diet-induced changes in Wolbachia titer have no effect on the magnitude of plastic recombination. These findings represent one of the first steps toward investigating Wolbachia-associated plastic recombination and demonstrate that the phenotype is a discrete response rather than a continuous one.

RevDate: 2021-11-13

Gupta M, Kaur R, Gupta A, et al (2021)

Are ecological communities the seat of endosymbiont horizontal transfer and diversification? A case study with soil arthropod community.

Ecology and evolution, 11(21):14490-14508.

Maternally inherited endosymbionts of arthropods are one of the most abundant and diverse group of bacteria. These bacterial endosymbionts also show extensive horizontal transfer to taxonomically unrelated hosts and widespread recombination in their genomes. Such horizontal transfers can be enhanced when different arthropod hosts come in contact like in an ecological community. Higher rates of horizontal transfer can also increase the probability of recombination between endosymbionts, as they now share the same host cytoplasm. However, reports of community-wide endosymbiont data are rare as most studies choose few host taxa and specific ecological interactions among the hosts. To better understand endosymbiont spread within host populations, we investigated the incidence, diversity, extent of horizontal transfer, and recombination of three endosymbionts (Wolbachia, Cardinium, and Arsenophonus) in a specific soil arthropod community. Wolbachia strains were characterized with MLST genes whereas 16S rRNA gene was used for Cardinium and Arsenophonus. Among 3,509 individual host arthropods, belonging to 390 morphospecies, 12.05% were infected with Wolbachia, 2.82% with Cardinium and 2.05% with Arsenophonus. Phylogenetic incongruence between host and endosymbiont indicated extensive horizontal transfer of endosymbionts within this community. Three cases of recombination between Wolbachia supergroups and eight incidences of within-supergroup recombination were also found. Statistical tests of similarity indicated supergroup A Wolbachia and Cardinium show a pattern consistent with extensive horizontal transfer within the community but not for supergroup B Wolbachia and Arsenophonus. We highlight the importance of extensive community-wide studies for a better understanding of the spread of endosymbionts across global arthropod communities.

RevDate: 2021-12-22

Mancini MV, Ant TH, Herd CS, et al (2021)

High Temperature Cycles Result in Maternal Transmission and Dengue Infection Differences Between Wolbachia Strains in Aedes aegypti.

mBio, 12(6):e0025021.

Environmental factors play a crucial role in the population dynamics of arthropod endosymbionts, and therefore in the deployment of Wolbachia symbionts for the control of dengue arboviruses. The potential of Wolbachia to invade, persist, and block virus transmission depends in part on its intracellular density. Several recent studies have highlighted the importance of larval rearing temperature in modulating Wolbachia densities in adults, suggesting that elevated temperatures can severely impact some strains, while having little effect on others. The effect of a replicated tropical heat cycle on Wolbachia density and levels of virus blocking was assessed using Aedes aegypti lines carrying strains wMel and wAlbB, two Wolbachia strains currently used for dengue control. Impacts on intracellular density, maternal transmission fidelity, and dengue inhibition capacity were observed for wMel. In contrast, wAlbB-carrying Ae. aegypti maintained a relatively constant intracellular density at high temperatures and conserved its capacity to inhibit dengue. Following larval heat treatment, wMel showed a degree of density recovery in aging adults, although this was compromised by elevated air temperatures. IMPORTANCE In the past decades, dengue incidence has dramatically increased all over the world. An emerging dengue control strategy utilizes Aedes aegypti mosquitoes artificially transinfected with the bacterial symbiont Wolbachia, with the ultimate aim of replacing wild mosquito populations. However, the rearing temperature of mosquito larvae is known to impact on some Wolbachia strains. In this study, we compared the effects of a temperature cycle mimicking natural breeding sites in tropical climates on two Wolbachia strains, currently used for open field trials. When choosing the Wolbachia strain to be used in a dengue control program it is important to consider the effects of environmental temperatures on invasiveness and virus inhibition. These results underline the significance of understanding the impact of environmental factors on released mosquitoes, in order to ensure the most efficient strategy for dengue control.

RevDate: 2021-11-05

Rakotonirina A, Caruzzo C, Ballan V, et al (2021)

Wolbachia detection in Aedes aegypti using MALDI-TOF MS coupled to artificial intelligence.

Scientific reports, 11(1):21355.

The mosquito Aedes aegypti is the major vector of arboviruses like dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses. Attempts to reduce arboviruses emergence focusing on Ae. aegypti control has proven challenging due to the increase of insecticide resistances. An emerging strategy which consists of releasing Ae. aegypti artificially infected with Wolbachia in natural mosquito populations is currently being developed. The monitoring of Wolbachia-positive Ae. aegypti in the field is performed in order to ensure the program effectiveness. Here, the reliability of the Matrix‑Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization‑Time Of Flight (MALDI‑TOF) coupled with the machine learning methods like Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) to detect Wolbachia in field Ae. aegypti was assessed for the first time. For this purpose, laboratory reared and field Ae. aegypti were analyzed. The results showed that the CNN recognized Ae. aegypti spectral patterns associated with Wolbachia-infection. The MALDI-TOF coupled with the CNN (sensitivity = 93%, specificity = 99%, accuracy = 97%) was more efficient than the loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), and as efficient as qPCR for Wolbachia detection. It therefore represents an interesting method to evaluate the prevalence of Wolbachia in field Ae. aegypti mosquitoes.

RevDate: 2021-11-29

Malkeyeva D, Kiseleva E, SA Fedorova (2021)

Loss of Hsp67Bc leads to autolysosome enlargement in the Drosophila brain.

Cell biology international [Epub ahead of print].

Hsp67Bc is a small heat shock protein found in Drosophila melanogaster. Apart from performing a function (common for all small heat shock proteins) of preventing aggregation of misfolded proteins, it is involved in macroautophagy regulation alongside the Starvin protein. Overexpression of the D. melanogaster Hsp67Bc gene has been shown to stimulate macroautophagy in S2 cell culture. Nonetheless, it has been unknown how the absence of the Hsp67Bc gene may affect it. Here, we studied the effect of Hsp67Bc gene deletion on the macroautophagy induced by the pathogenic Wolbachia wMelPop strain in D. melanogaster. We detected Wolbachia inside autophagic vacuoles in fly neurons, thereby proving that these endosymbionts were being eliminated via macroautophagy. Nevertheless, we did not register any difference in brain bacterial load between Hsp67Bc-null and control flies at all tested stages of ontogenesis. Moreover, the abundance of autophagic vacuoles was similar between neurons of the mutant and control flies, yet the cross-sectional area of autolysosomes on ultrathin sections was more than 1.5-fold larger in Hsp67Bc-null fly brains than in the control line. Our findings suggest that the product of the Hsp67Bc gene does not participate in the initiation of endosymbiont-induced macroautophagy but may mediate autophagosome maturation: the deletion of the Hsp67Bc gene leads to the increase in autolysosome size.

RevDate: 2021-12-20

Prichard RK (2021)

Macrocyclic lactone resistance in Dirofilaria immitis: risks for prevention of heartworm disease.

International journal for parasitology, 51(13-14):1121-1132.

Heartworm disease, caused by Dirofilaria immitis, can be lethal in dogs and cats. It is transmitted by mosquitoes, and occurs in many parts of the world. Prevention relies on macrocyclic lactones. Macrocyclic lactones used are ivermectin, selamectin, abamectin, eprinomectin, milbemycin oxime and moxidectin, administered at 30-day intervals during the transmission season. Some moxidectin formulations are long-acting injectables. In the USA, preventives are recommended throughout the year. Loss of efficacy of macrocyclic lactone preventives was reported in 2005 and proof of resistance in the USA was published a decade later. Understanding factors which promote resistance is important to maintain control. Factors important for resistance development are discussed. Better, inexpensive tests to confirm resistance are needed. Infection in animals under chemoprophylaxis per se does not imply resistance because lack of compliance in preventive use could be the reason. In vivo confirmation of resistance is expensive, slow and ethically questionable. A microfilariae suppression test can be a surrogate test, but requires a high dose of a macrocyclic lactone and repeated blood microfilaria counts 2-4 weeks later. DNA single nucleotide polymorphism markers have been successfully used. However, the specific genetic changes which cause resistance are unknown. Surveys to map and follow the extent of resistance are needed. Long acting mosquito repellants and insecticides can play a useful role. High dose rate formulations of moxidectin, coupled with mosquito biting mitigation may reduce transmission of resistant genotypes. Doxycycline, daily for 28 days, as anti-Wolbachia treatment, can reduce transmission and remove adult parasites. However, new classes of heartworm preventives are needed. While any preventive strategy must be highly effective, registration requirements for 100% efficacy may hinder development of useful new classes of preventives. Continued reliance on macrocyclic lactone preventives, when they do not work against resistant genotypes, will spread resistance, and allow for more disease.

RevDate: 2021-12-29
CmpDate: 2021-12-29

Yang Y, He Y, Zhu G, et al (2021)

Prevalence and molecular characterization of Wolbachia in field-collected Aedes albopictus, Anopheles sinensis, Armigeres subalbatus, Culex pipiens and Cx. tritaeniorhynchus in China.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 15(10):e0009911.

Wolbachia are maternally transmitted intracellular bacteria that can naturally and artificially infect arthropods and nematodes. Recently, they were applied to control the spread of mosquito-borne pathogens by causing cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) between germ cells of females and males. The ability of Wolbachia to induce CI is based on the prevalence and polymorphism of Wolbachia in natural populations of mosquitoes. In this study, we screened the natural infection level and diversity of Wolbachia in field-collected mosquitoes from 25 provinces of China based on partial sequence of Wolbachia surface protein (wsp) gene and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Among the samples, 2489 mosquitoes were captured from 24 provinces between July and September, 2014 and the remaining 1025 mosquitoes were collected month-by-month in Yangzhou, Jiangsu province between September 2013 and August 2014. Our results showed that the presence of Wolbachia was observed in mosquitoes of Aedes albopictus (97.1%, 331/341), Armigeres subalbatus (95.8%, 481/502), Culex pipiens (87.0%, 1525/1752), Cx. tritaeniorhynchus (17.1%, 14/82), but not Anopheles sinensis (n = 88). Phylogenetic analysis indicated that high polymorphism of wsp and MLST loci was observed in Ae. albopictus mosquitoes, while no or low polymorphisms were in Ar. subalbatus and Cx. pipiens mosquitoes. A total of 12 unique mutations of deduced amino acid were identified in the wsp sequences obtained in this study, including four mutations in Wolbachia supergroup A and eight mutations in supergroup B. This study revealed the prevalence and polymorphism of Wolbachia in mosquitoes in large-scale regions of China and will provide some useful information when performing Wolbachia-based mosquito biocontrol strategies in China.

RevDate: 2021-11-23
CmpDate: 2021-11-19

Ortiz-Baez AS, Shi M, Hoffmann AA, et al (2021)

RNA virome diversity and Wolbachia infection in individual Drosophila simulans flies.

The Journal of general virology, 102(10):.

The endosymbiont bacteria of the genus Wolbachia are associated with multiple mutualistic effects on insect biology, including nutritional and antiviral properties. Members of the genus Wolbachia naturally occur in fly species of the genus Drosophila, providing an operational model host for studying how virome composition may be affected by its presence. Drosophila simulans populations can carry a variety of strains of members of the genus Wolbachia, with the wAu strain associated with strong antiviral protection under experimental conditions. We used D. simulans sampled from the Perth Hills, Western Australia, to investigate the potential virus protective effect of the wAu strain of Wolbachia on individual wild-caught flies. Our data revealed no appreciable variation in virus composition and abundance between individuals infected or uninfected with Wolbachia associated with the presence or absence of wAu. However, it remains unclear whether wAu might affect viral infection and host survival by increasing tolerance rather than inducing complete resistance. These data also provide new insights into the natural virome diversity of D. simulans. Despite the small number of individuals sampled, we identified a repertoire of RNA viruses, including nora virus, galbut virus, thika virus and La Jolla virus, that have been identified in other species of the genus Drosophila. Chaq virus-like sequences associated with galbut virus were also detected. In addition, we identified five novel viruses from the families Reoviridae, Tombusviridae, Mitoviridae and Bunyaviridae. Overall, this study highlights the complex interaction between Wolbachia and RNA virus infections and provides a baseline description of the natural virome of D. simulans.

RevDate: 2021-12-08

Bell-Sakyi L, Beliavskaia A, Hartley CS, et al (2021)

Isolation in Natural Host Cell Lines of Wolbachia Strains wPip from the Mosquito Culex pipiens and wPap from the Sand Fly Phlebotomus papatasi.

Insects, 12(10):.

Endosymbiotic intracellular bacteria of the genus Wolbachia are harboured by many species of invertebrates. They display a wide range of developmental, metabolic and nutritional interactions with their hosts and may impact the transmission of arboviruses and protozoan parasites. Wolbachia have occasionally been isolated during insect cell line generation. Here, we report the isolation of two strains of Wolbachia, wPip and wPap, during cell line generation from their respective hosts, the mosquito Culex pipiens and the sand fly Phlebotomus papatasi. wPip was pathogenic for both new C. pipiens cell lines, CPE/LULS50 and CLP/LULS56, requiring tetracycline treatment to rescue the lines. In contrast, wPap was tolerated by the P. papatasi cell line PPL/LULS49, although tetracycline treatment was applied to generate a Wolbachia-free subline. Both Wolbachia strains were infective for a panel of heterologous insect and tick cell lines, including two novel lines generated from the sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis, LLE/LULS45 and LLL/LULS52. In all cases, wPip was more pathogenic for the host cells than wPap. These newly isolated Wolbachia strains, and the novel mosquito and sand fly cell lines reported here, will add to the resources available for research on host-endosymbiont relationships, as well as on C. pipiens, P. papatasi, L. longipalpis and the pathogens that they transmit.

RevDate: 2021-10-26

Shapoval NA, Nokkala S, Nokkala C, et al (2021)

The Incidence of Wolbachia Bacterial Endosymbiont in Bisexual and Parthenogenetic Populations of the Psyllid Genus Cacopsylla (Hemiptera, Psylloidea).

Insects, 12(10):.

Wolbachia is one of the most common intracellular bacteria; it infects a wide variety of insects, other arthropods, and some nematodes. Wolbachia is ordinarily transmitted vertically from mother to offspring and can manipulate physiology and reproduction of their hosts in different ways, e.g., induce feminization, male killing, and parthenogenesis. Despite the great interest in Wolbachia, many aspects of its biology remain unclear and its incidence across many insect orders, including Hemiptera, is still poorly understood. In this report, we present data on Wolbachia infection in five jumping plant-lice species (Hemiptera, Psylloidea) of the genus Cacopsylla Ossiannilsson, 1970 with different reproductive strategies and test the hypothesis that Wolbachia mediates parthenogenetic and bisexual patterns observed in some Cacopsylla species. We show that the five species studied are infected with a single Wolbachia strain, belonging to the supergroup B. This strain has also been found in different insect orders (Lepidoptera, Hemiptera, Plecoptera, Orthoptera, Hymenoptera, Diptera) and even in acariform mites (Trombidiformes), suggesting extensive horizontal transmission of Wolbachia between representatives of these taxa. Our survey did not reveal significant differences in infection frequency between parthenogenetic and bisexual populations or between males and females within bisexual populations. However, infection rate varied notably in different Cacopsylla species or within distinct populations of the same species. Overall, we demonstrate that Wolbachia infects a high proportion of Cacopsylla individuals and populations, suggesting the essential role of this bacterium in their biology.

RevDate: 2022-01-01
CmpDate: 2021-11-18

Perlmutter JI, Meyers JE, SR Bordenstein (2021)

A single synonymous nucleotide change impacts the male-killing phenotype of prophage WO gene wmk.

eLife, 10:.

Wolbachia are the most widespread bacterial endosymbionts in animals. Within arthropods, these maternally transmitted bacteria can selfishly hijack host reproductive processes to increase the relative fitness of their transmitting females. One such form of reproductive parasitism called male killing, or the selective killing of infected males, is recapitulated to degrees by transgenic expression of the prophage WO-mediated killing (wmk) gene. Here, we characterize the genotype-phenotype landscape of wmk-induced male killing in D. melanogaster using transgenic expression. While phylogenetically distant wmk homologs induce no sex-ratio bias, closely-related homologs exhibit complex phenotypes spanning no death, male death, or death of all hosts. We demonstrate that alternative start codons, synonymous codons, and notably a single synonymous nucleotide in wmk can ablate killing. These findings reveal previously unrecognized features of transgenic wmk-induced killing and establish new hypotheses for the impacts of post-transcriptional processes in male killing variation. We conclude that synonymous sequence changes are not necessarily silent in nested endosymbiotic interactions with life-or-death consequences.

RevDate: 2021-12-03

Poopandi S, Sundaraj R, Rajmichael R, et al (2021)

Computational screening of potential inhibitors targeting MurF of Brugia malayi Wolbachia through multi-scale molecular docking, molecular dynamics and MM-GBSA analysis.

Molecular and biochemical parasitology, 246:111427.

Lymphatic filariasis is a parasitic disease caused by the worms Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi and Brugia timori. Three anti-filarial drugs namely Diethylcarbamazine, Ivermectin and Albendazole and their combinations are used as the control strategies for filariasis. The disease has received much attention in drug discovery due to the unavailability of vaccines and the toxic pharmaceutical properties of the existing drugs. In Wolbachia endosymbiont Brugia malayi, the UDP-N-acetylmuramoyl-tripeptide-d-alanyl-d-alanine ligase (MurF) plays a key role in peptidoglycan biosynthesis pathway and therefore can be considered as effective drug target against filariasis disease. Therefore, in the present study, MurF was selected as the therapeutic target to identify specific inhibitors against filariasis. Homology modeling was performed to predict the three-dimensional structure of MurF due to the absence of the experimental structure. Further molecular dynamics simulation and structure-based high throughput virtual screening with three different chemical databases (Zinc, Maybridge and Specs) were carried out to identify potent inhibitors and also to check their conformations inside the binding site of MurF, respectively. Top three compounds with high docking score and high relative binding affinity against MurF were selected. Further, validation studies, including predicted ADME (Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, Excretion) assessment, binding free energy using MM-GBSA (Molecular Mechanics Generalized Born Surface Area) and DFT (Density Functional Theory) calculations were performed for the top three compounds. From the results, it was observed that all the three compounds were predicted to show high reactivity, acceptable range of pharmacokinetic properties and high binding affinity with the drug target MurF. Overall, the results could provide more understanding on the inhibition of MurF enzyme and the screened compounds could lead to the development of new specific anti-filarial drugs.

RevDate: 2021-10-18

Hill T, Unckless RL, JI Perlmutter (2021)

Positive selection and horizontal gene transfer in the genome of a male-killing Wolbachia.

Molecular biology and evolution pii:6400257 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia are a genus of widespread bacterial endosymbionts in which some strains can hijack or manipulate arthropod host reproduction. Male killing is one such manipulation in which these maternally transmitted bacteria benefit surviving daughters in part by removing competition with the sons for scarce resources. Despite previous findings of interesting genome features of microbial sex ratio distorters, the population genomics of male-killers remain largely uncharacterized. Here, we uncover several unique features of the genome and population genomics of four Arizonan populations of a male-killing Wolbachia strain, wInn, that infects mushroom-feeding Drosophila innubila. We first compared the wInn genome to other closely related Wolbachia genomes of Drosophila hosts in terms of genome content and confirm that the wInn genome is largely similar in overall gene content to the wMel strain infecting D. melanogaster. However, it also contains many unique genes and repetitive genetic elements that indicate lateral gene transfers between wInn and non-Drosophila eukaryotes. We also find that, in line with literature precedent, genes in the Wolbachia prophage and Octomom regions are under positive selection. Of all the genes under positive selection, many also show evidence of recent horizontal transfer among Wolbachia symbiont genomes. These dynamics of selection and horizontal gene transfer across the genomes of several Wolbachia strains and diverse host species may be important underlying factors in Wolbachia's success as a male-killer of divergent host species.

RevDate: 2021-10-23

Gloder G, Bourne ME, Verreth C, et al (2021)

Parasitism by endoparasitoid wasps alters the internal but not the external microbiome in host caterpillars.

Animal microbiome, 3(1):73.

BACKGROUND: The microbiome of many insects consists of a diverse community of microorganisms that can play critical roles in the functioning and overall health of their hosts. Although the microbial communities of insects have been studied thoroughly over the past decade, little is still known about how biotic interactions affect the microbial community structure in and on the bodies of insects. In insects that are attacked by parasites or parasitoids, it can be expected that the microbiome of the host insect is affected by the presence of these parasitic organisms that develop in close association with their host. In this study, we used high-throughput amplicon sequencing targeting both bacteria and fungi to test the hypothesis that parasitism by the endoparasitoid Cotesia glomerata affected the microbiome of its host Pieris brassicae. Healthy and parasitized caterpillars were collected from both natural populations and a laboratory culture.

RESULTS: Significant differences in bacterial community structure were found between field-collected caterpillars and laboratory-reared caterpillars, and between the external and the internal microbiome of the caterpillars. Parasitism significantly altered the internal microbiome of caterpillars, but not the external microbiome. The internal microbiome of all parasitized caterpillars and of the parasitoid larvae in the caterpillar hosts was dominated by a Wolbachia strain, which was completely absent in healthy caterpillars, suggesting that the strain was transferred to the caterpillars during oviposition by the parasitoids.

CONCLUSION: We conclude that biotic interactions such as parasitism have pronounced effects on the microbiome of an insect host and possibly affect interactions with higher-order insects.

RevDate: 2021-10-22

Wielkopolan B, Krawczyk K, Szabelska-Beręsewicz A, et al (2021)

The structure of the cereal leaf beetle (Oulema melanopus) microbiome depends on the insect's developmental stage, host plant, and origin.

Scientific reports, 11(1):20496.

Cereal leaf beetle (CLB, Oulema melanopus, Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae) is a serious agricultural pest that causes considerable damages to agricultural production. The aim of this study was to characterize the bacterial communities associated with larvae and imagoes of CLB collected from various cereal host species and locations. The bacterial profile was characterized by 16S rRNA gene sequencing at the V3-V4 hypervariable region. Using taxonomy-based analysis, the bacterial community of CLB containing 16 phyla, 26 classes, 49 orders, 78 families, 94 genera, and 63 species of bacteria was identified. The abundance of Wolbachia, Rickettsia, and Lactococcus genus was significantly higher in CLB imagoes than in larvae. Statistical analysis confirmed that the bacterial community of the larvae is more diverse in comparison to imagoes and that insects collected from spring barley and wheat are characterized by a much higher biodiversity level of bacterial genera and species than insects collected from other cereals. Obtained results indicated that the developmental stage, the host plant, and the insect's sampling location affected the CLB's microbiome. Additionally, the CLB core microbiome was determined. It consists of 2 genera (Wolbachia and Rickettsia) shared by at least 90% tested CLB insects, regardless of the variables analysed.

RevDate: 2021-12-28

Lefoulon E, Truchon A, Clark T, et al (2021)

Greenhead (Tabanus nigrovittatus) Wolbachia and Its Microbiome: A Preliminary Study.

Microbiology spectrum, 9(2):e0051721.

Endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria are known to influence the host physiology, microbiota composition, and dissemination of pathogens. We surveyed a population of Tabanus nigrovittatus, commonly referred to as "greenheads," from Crane Beach (Ipswich, MA, USA) for the presence of the alphaproteobacterial symbiont Wolbachia. We studied the COI (mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase) marker gene to evaluate the phylogenetic diversity of the studied specimens. The DNA sequences show strong similarity (between 99.9 and 98%) among the collected specimens but lower similarity to closely related entries in the NCBI database (only between 96.3 and 94.7%), suggesting a more distant relatedness. Low levels of Wolbachia presence necessitated a nested PCR approach, and using 5 markers (ftsZ, fbpA, dnaA, coxA, and gatB), we determined that two recognized "supergroups" of Wolbachia species were represented in the studied specimens, members of clades A and B. Using next-generation sequencing, we also surveyed the insect gut microbiomes of a subset of flies, using Illumina and PacBio 16S rRNA gene sequencing with barcoded primers. The composition of Proteobacteria also varied from fly to fly, with components belonging to Gammaproteobacteria making up the largest percentage of organisms (30 to 70%) among the microbiome samples. Most of the samples showed the presence of Spiroplasma, a member of the phylum Mollicutes, although the frequency of its presence was variable, ranging from 2 to 57%. Another noteworthy bacterial phylum consistently identified was Firmicutes, though the read abundances were typically below 10%. Of interest is an association between Wolbachia presence and higher Alphaproteobacteria representation in the microbiomes, suggesting that the presence of Wolbachia affects the host microbiome. IMPORTANCE Tabanus nigrovittatus greenhead populations contain two supergroups of Wolbachia endosymbionts, members of supergroups A and B. Analysis of the greenhead microbiome using next-generation sequencing revealed that the majority of bacterial species detected belonged to Gammaproteobacteria, with most of the samples also showing the presence of Spiroplasma, a member of the Mollicutes phylum also known to infect insects. An association between Wolbachia presence and higher Alphaproteobacteria representation in the microbiomes suggests that Wolbachia presence affects the host microbiome composition.

RevDate: 2021-11-25
CmpDate: 2021-11-25

Ngwewondo A, Scandale I, S Specht (2021)

Onchocerciasis drug development: from preclinical models to humans.

Parasitology research, 120(12):3939-3964.

Twenty diseases are recognized as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by World Health Assembly resolutions, including human filarial diseases. The end of NTDs is embedded within the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, under target 3.3. Onchocerciasis afflicts approximately 20.9 million people worldwide with > 90% of those infected residing in Africa. Control programs have made tremendous efforts in the management of onchocerciasis by mass drug administration and aerial larviciding; however, disease elimination is not yet achieved. In the new WHO roadmap, it is recognized that new drugs or drug regimens that kill or permanently sterilize adult filarial worms would significantly improve elimination timelines and accelerate the achievement of the program goal of disease elimination. Drug development is, however, handicapped by high attrition rates, and many promising molecules fail in preclinical development or in subsequent toxicological, safety and efficacy testing; thus, research and development (R&D) costs are, in aggregate, very high. Drug discovery and development for NTDs is largely driven by unmet medical needs put forward by the global health community; the area is underfunded and since no high return on investment is possible, there is no dedicated drug development pipeline for human filariasis. Repurposing existing drugs is one approach to filling the drug development pipeline for human filariasis. The high cost and slow pace of discovery and development of new drugs has led to the repurposing of "old" drugs, as this is more cost-effective and allows development timelines to be shortened. However, even if a drug is marketed for a human or veterinary indication, the safety margin and dosing regimen will need to be re-evaluated to determine the risk in humans. Drug repurposing is a promising approach to enlarging the pool of active molecules in the drug development pipeline. Another consideration when providing new treatment options is the use of combinations, which is not addressed in this review. We here summarize recent advances in the late preclinical or early clinical stage in the search for a potent macrofilaricide, including drugs against the nematode and against its endosymbiont, Wolbachia pipientis.

RevDate: 2021-10-27

Jiménez NE, Gerdtzen ZP, Olivera-Nappa Á, et al (2021)

Novel Symbiotic Genome-Scale Model Reveals Wolbachia's Arboviral Pathogen Blocking Mechanism in Aedes aegypti.

mBio, 12(5):e0156321.

Wolbachia are endosymbiont bacteria known to infect arthropods causing different effects, such as cytoplasmic incompatibility and pathogen blocking in Aedes aegypti. Although several Wolbachia strains have been studied, there is little knowledge regarding the relationship between this bacterium and their hosts, particularly on their obligate endosymbiont nature and its pathogen blocking ability. Motivated by the potential applications on disease control, we developed a genome-scale model of two Wolbachia strains: wMel and the strongest Dengue blocking strain known to date: wMelPop. The obtained metabolic reconstructions exhibit an energy metabolism relying mainly on amino acids and lipid transport to support cell growth that is consistent with altered lipid and cholesterol metabolism in Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes. The obtained metabolic reconstruction was then coupled with a reconstructed mosquito model to retrieve a symbiotic genome-scale model accounting for 1,636 genes and 6,408 reactions of the Aedes aegypti-Wolbachia interaction system. Simulation of an arboviral infection in the obtained novel symbiotic model represents a metabolic scenario characterized by pathogen blocking in higher titer Wolbachia strains, showing that pathogen blocking by Wolbachia infection is consistent with competition for lipid and amino acid resources between arbovirus and this endosymbiotic bacteria. IMPORTANCE Arboviral diseases such as Zika and Dengue have been on the rise mainly due to climate change, and the development of new treatments and strategies to limit their spreading is needed. The use of Wolbachia as an approach for disease control has motivated new research related to the characterization of the mechanisms that underlie its pathogen-blocking properties. In this work, we propose a new approach for studying the metabolic interactions between Aedes aegypti and Wolbachia using genome-scale models, finding that pathogen blocking is mainly influenced by competition for the resources required for Wolbachia and viral replication.

RevDate: 2021-12-14
CmpDate: 2021-12-14

Xiao Y, Chen H, Wang H, et al (2021)

Structural and mechanistic insights into the complexes formed by Wolbachia cytoplasmic incompatibility factors.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(41):.

Wolbachia bacteria, inherited through the female germ line, infect a large fraction of arthropod species. Many Wolbachia strains manipulate host reproduction, most commonly through cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). CI, a conditional male sterility, results when Wolbachia-infected male insects mate with uninfected females; viability is restored if the female is similarly infected (called "rescue"). CI is used to help control mosquito-borne viruses such as dengue and Zika, but its mechanisms remain unknown. The coexpressed CI factors CifA and CifB form stable complexes in vitro, but the timing and function of this interaction in the insect are unresolved. CifA expression in the female germ line is sufficient for rescue. We report high-resolution structures of a CI-factor complex, CinA-CinB, which utilizes a unique binding mode between the CinA rescue factor and the CinB nuclease; the structures were validated by biochemical and yeast growth analyses. Importantly, transgenic expression in Drosophila of a nonbinding CinA mutant, designed based on the CinA-CinB structure, suggests CinA expressed in females must bind CinB imported by sperm in order to rescue embryonic viability. Binding between cognate factors is conserved in an enzymatically distinct CI system, CidA-CidB, suggesting universal features in Wolbachia CI induction and rescue.

RevDate: 2021-12-29
CmpDate: 2021-12-29

Xiao Z, Tao X, Xu X, et al (2021)

A Comparative Study on the Biological Characteristics of Parthenogenetic and Bisexual Restored Trichogramma pretiosum Lines.

Journal of economic entomology, 114(6):2355-2360.

In order to investigate the effect of Wolbachia on fitness of their hosts, the biological characteristics of a primarily parthenogenetic line and a bisexual restored line (obtained by antibiotic treatment) of Trichogramma pretiosum were compared in the laboratory. Results indicated that both the mean longevity and fecundity of parthenogenetic line (14.2 d and 165 eggs/female) were significantly higher than those in bisexual restored line (8.4 d and 124.2 eggs/female). Both lines of T. pretiosum had the highest daily fecundity (23.3 eggs/female for parthenogenetic line and 19.8 eggs/female for bisexual restored line) on the first day during their reproduction period, and their survival rate and daily fecundity decreased gradually with age; however, the survival rate and daily fecundity of the parthenogenetic line were always higher than those of bisexual restored line, during the entire experimental period. There was no significant difference in emergence rate and deformity rate between the two T. pretiosum lines. The life-table parameter results indicated that net reproduction rate (R0) and mean generation time (T) in parthenogenetic line (133 and 16.8) were significantly higher than those in bisexual restored line (61.7 and 15.5); intrinsic rate of natural increase (rm) and finite rate of increase (λ) in parthenogenetic line (0.29 and 1.34) were higher than those in bisexual restored line (0.26 and 1.3). Based on these results, it can be confirmed that the removal of Wolbachia in the parthenogenetic line had an adverse effect on fitness of T. pretiosum.

RevDate: 2021-10-08

Bech N, Beltran-Bech S, Chupeau C, et al (2021)

Experimental evidence of Wolbachia introgressive acquisition between terrestrial isopod subspecies.

Current zoology, 67(4):455-464.

Wolbachia are the most widespread endosymbiotic bacteria in animals. In many arthropod host species, they manipulate reproduction via several mechanisms that favor their maternal transmission to offspring. Among them, cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) promotes the spread of the symbiont by specifically decreasing the fertility of crosses involving infected males and uninfected females, via embryo mortality. These differences in reproductive efficiency may select for the avoidance of incompatible mating, a process called reinforcement, and thus contribute to population divergence. In the terrestrial isopod Porcellio dilatatus, the Wolbachia wPet strain infecting the subspecies P. d. petiti induces unidirectional CI with uninfected individuals of the subspecies P. d. dilatatus. To study the consequences of CI on P. d. dilatatus and P. d. petiti hybridization, mitochondrial haplotypes and Wolbachia infection dynamics, we used population cages seeded with different proportions of the 2 subspecies in which we monitored these genetic parameters 5 and 7 years after the initial setup. Analysis of microsatellite markers allowed evaluating the degree of hybridization between individuals of the 2 subspecies. These markers revealed an increase in P. d. dilatatus nuclear genetic signature in all mixed cages, reflecting an asymmetry in hybridization. Hybridization led to the introgressive acquisition of Wolbachia and mitochondrial haplotype from P. d. petiti into nuclear genomes dominated by alleles of P. d. dilatatus. We discuss these results with regards to Wolbachia effects on their host (CI and putative fitness cost), and to a possible reinforcement that may have led to assortative mating, as possible factors contributing to the observed results.

RevDate: 2021-12-14
CmpDate: 2021-12-14

Beebe NW, Pagendam D, Trewin BJ, et al (2021)

Releasing incompatible males drives strong suppression across populations of wild and Wolbachia-carrying Aedes aegypti in Australia.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(41):.

Releasing sterile or incompatible male insects is a proven method of population management in agricultural systems with the potential to revolutionize mosquito control. Through a collaborative venture with the "Debug" Verily Life Sciences team, we assessed the incompatible insect technique (IIT) with the mosquito vector Aedes aegypti in northern Australia in a replicated treatment control field trial. Backcrossing a US strain of Ae. aegypti carrying Wolbachia wAlbB from Aedes albopictus with a local strain, we generated a wAlbB2-F4 strain incompatible with both the wild-type (no Wolbachia) and wMel-Wolbachia Ae. aegypti now extant in North Queensland. The wAlbB2-F4 strain was manually mass reared with males separated from females using Verily sex-sorting technologies to obtain no detectable female contamination in the field. With community consent, we delivered a total of three million IIT males into three isolated landscapes of over 200 houses each, releasing ∼50 males per house three times a week over 20 wk. Detecting initial overflooding ratios of between 5:1 and 10:1, strong population declines well beyond 80% were detected across all treatment landscapes when compared to controls. Monitoring through the following season to observe the ongoing effect saw one treatment landscape devoid of adult Ae. aegypti early in the season. A second landscape showed reduced adults, and the third recovered fully. These encouraging results in suppressing both wild-type and wMel-Ae. aegypti confirms the utility of bidirectional incompatibility in the field setting, show the IIT to be robust, and indicate that the removal of this arbovirus vector from human-occupied landscapes may be achievable.

RevDate: 2021-10-01

Tyagi K, Tyagi I, V Kumar (2021)

Insights into the gut bacterial communities of spider from wild with no evidence of phylosymbiosis.

Saudi journal of biological sciences, 28(10):5913-5924.

In the present study, an effort has been made to elucidate the gut bacterial diversity of twelve species of the family Araneidae under three subfamilies collected from 5 states of India along with their predicted metabolic role in functional metabolism. Further, we also compared the host species phylogeny based on partial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) sequences with the gut bacteria composition dendrogram to decipher the phylosymbiotic relationships. Analysis revealed the presence of 22 bacterial phyla, 145 families, and 364 genera in the gut, with Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, and Deinococcus-Thermus as the highest abundant phyla. Moreover, phylum Bacteriodetes was dominated only in Cyclosa mulmeinensis and Chlamydiae in Neoscona bengalensis. At the genus level, Bacillus, Acinetobacter, Cutibacterium, Pseudomonas, and Staphylococcus were the most dominant genera. Furthermore, the genus Prevotella was observed only in Cyclosa mulmeinensis, and endosymbiont Wolbachia only in Eriovixia laglaizei. The differential abundance analysis (DeSeq2) revealed the 19 significant ASVs represented by the genera like Acinetobacter, Vagoccoccus, Prevotella, Staphylococcus, Curvibacter, Corynebacterium, Paracoccus, Streptococcus, Microbacterium, and Pseudocitrobacter. The inter- and intra-subfamilies comparison based on diversity indices (alpha and beta diversity) revealed that the subfamily Araneinae have high richness and diversity than Argiopinae and Gasteracanthinae. The phylosymbiotic analysis revealed that there is no congruence between the gut bacteria composition dendrogram with their host phylogeny.

RevDate: 2021-12-27
CmpDate: 2021-12-27

Conceição CC, da Silva JN, Arcanjo A, et al (2021)

Aedes fluviatilis cell lines as new tools to study metabolic and immune interactions in mosquito-Wolbachia symbiosis.

Scientific reports, 11(1):19202.

In the present work, we established two novel embryonic cell lines from the mosquito Aedes fluviatilis containing or not the naturally occurring symbiont bacteria Wolbachia, which were called wAflu1 and Aflu2, respectively. We also obtained wAflu1 without Wolbachia after tetracycline treatment, named wAflu1.tet. Morphofunctional characterization was performed to help elucidate the symbiont-host interaction in the context of energy metabolism regulation and molecular mechanisms of the immune responses involved. The presence of Wolbachia pipientis improves energy performance in A. fluviatilis cells; it affects the regulation of key energy sources such as lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates, making the distribution of actin more peripheral and with extensions that come into contact with neighboring cells. Additionally, innate immunity mechanisms were activated, showing that the wAflu1 and wAflu1.tet cells are responsive after the stimulus using Gram negative bacteria. Therefore, this work confirms the natural, mutually co-regulating symbiotic relationship between W. pipientis and A. fluviatilis, modulating the host metabolism and immune pathway activation. The results presented here add important resources to the current knowledge of Wolbachia-arthropod interactions.

RevDate: 2021-12-15

Bubnell JE, Fernandez-Begne P, Ulbing CKS, et al (2021)

Diverse wMel variants of Wolbachia pipientis differentially rescue fertility and cytological defects of the bag of marbles partial loss of function mutation in Drosophila melanogaster.

G3 (Bethesda, Md.), 11(12):.

In Drosophila melanogaster, the maternally inherited endosymbiont Wolbachia pipientis interacts with germline stem cell genes during oogenesis. One such gene, bag of marbles (bam) is the key switch for differentiation and also shows signals of adaptive evolution for protein diversification. These observations have led us to hypothesize that W. pipientis could be driving the adaptive evolution of bam for control of oogenesis. To test this hypothesis, we must understand the specificity of the genetic interaction between bam and W. pipientis. Previously, we documented that the W. pipientis variant, wMel, rescued the fertility of the bamBW hypomorphic mutant as a transheterozygote over a bam null. However, bamBW was generated more than 20 years ago in an uncontrolled genetic background and maintained over a balancer chromosome. Consequently, the chromosome carrying bamBW accumulated mutations that have prevented controlled experiments to further assess the interaction. Here, we used CRISPR/Cas9 to engineer the same single amino acid bam hypomorphic mutation (bamL255F) and a new bam null disruption mutation into the w1118 isogenic background. We assess the fertility of wildtype bam, bamL255F/bamnull hypomorphic, and bamL255F/bamL255F mutant females, each infected individually with 10 W. pipientis wMel variants representing three phylogenetic clades. Overall, we find that all of the W. pipientis variants tested here rescue bam hypomorphic fertility defects with wMelCS-like variants exhibiting the strongest rescue effects. In addition, these variants did not increase wildtype bam female fertility. Therefore, both bam and W. pipientis interact in genotype-specific ways to modulate female fertility, a critical fitness phenotype.

RevDate: 2021-12-29
CmpDate: 2021-12-29

Lee H, Seo MG, Lee SH, et al (2021)

Relationship among bats, parasitic bat flies, and associated pathogens in Korea.

Parasites & vectors, 14(1):503.

BACKGROUND: Bats are hosts for many ectoparasites and act as reservoirs for several infectious agents, some of which exhibit zoonotic potential. Here, species of bats and bat flies were identified and screened for microorganisms that could be mediated by bat flies.

METHODS: Bat species were identified on the basis of their morphological characteristics. Bat flies associated with bat species were initially morphologically identified and further identified at the genus level by analyzing the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene. Different vector-borne pathogens and endosymbionts were screened using PCR to assess all possible relationships among bats, parasitic bat flies, and their associated organisms.

RESULTS: Seventy-four bat flies were collected from 198 bats; 66 of these belonged to Nycteribiidae and eight to Streblidae families. All Streblidae bat flies were hosted by Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, known as the most common Korean bat. Among the 74 tested bat flies, PCR and nucleotide sequencing data showed that 35 (47.3%) and 20 (27.0%) carried Wolbachia and Bartonella bacteria, respectively, whereas tests for Anaplasma, Borrelia, Hepatozoon, Babesia, Theileria, and Coxiella were negative. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that Wolbachia endosymbionts belonged to two different supergroups, A and F. One sequence of Bartonella was identical to that of Bartonella isolated from Taiwanese bats.

CONCLUSIONS: The vectorial role of bat flies should be checked by testing the same pathogen and bacterial organisms by collecting blood from host bats. This study is of great interest in the fields of disease ecology and public health owing to the bats' potential to transmit pathogens to humans and/or livestock.

RevDate: 2021-10-01

Hoffmann A, Müller T, Fingerle V, et al (2021)

Presence of Human Pathogens of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato Complex Shifts the Sequence Read Abundances of Tick Microbiomes in Two German Locations.

Microorganisms, 9(9):.

The distribution of human Lyme borreliosis (LB) is assumed random in Germany, indicating that the human pathogenic species of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex (Bb) are similarly distributed as part of the tick microbiome. The aim of this study was to differentiate if the presence of Bb occurs with a defined tick microbiome composition. Furthermore, the effect of location on tick microbiome composition was addressed for two German locations. Therefore, nucleic acid extracts from 82 Borrelia-positive and 118 Borrelia-negative Ixodes ricinus ticks sampled from human hosts in both districts were selected. Nucleic acid extracts were used for human pathogenic Bb species diagnostics based on qPCR and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and bacterial 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing followed by network analyses. As a result, the presence of Bb shifted the sequence read abundances of Candidatus Midichloria, Rickettsia, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus, and Candidatus Neoehrlichia and their topological roles in the tick microbiome. Moreover, the location was less important in the tick microbiome composition but shifted significantly sequence read abundances of Pseudomonas and Wolbachia as well as the topological role of microbial members. Since the presence of human pathogenic Bb species with other tick-associated pathogens varies regionally, we suggest that a bacterial 16S rRNA gene-based microbiome survey should be implemented in the routine diagnostics for both tick and host if human pathogenic species of Bb were detected. This diagnostic extension will help to optimize therapeutic approaches against Bb infection and co-occurring pathogens.

RevDate: 2021-10-28
CmpDate: 2021-10-27

Ettinger CL, Byrne FJ, Collin MA, et al (2021)

Improved draft reference genome for the Glassy-winged Sharpshooter (Homalodisca vitripennis), a vector for Pierce's disease.

G3 (Bethesda, Md.), 11(10):.

Homalodisca vitripennis (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae), known as the glassy-winged sharpshooter, is a xylem feeding leafhopper and an important agricultural pest as a vector of Xylella fastidiosa, which causes Pierce's disease in grapes and a variety of other scorch diseases. The current H. vitripennis reference genome from the Baylor College of Medicine's i5k pilot project is a 1.4-Gb assembly with 110,000 scaffolds, which still has significant gaps making identification of genes difficult. To improve on this effort, we used a combination of Oxford Nanopore long-read sequencing technology combined with Illumina sequencing reads to generate a better assembly and first-pass annotation of the whole genome sequence of a wild-caught Californian (Tulare County) individual of H. vitripennis. The improved reference genome assembly for H. vitripennis is 1.93-Gb in length (21,254 scaffolds, N50 = 650 Mb, BUSCO completeness = 94.3%), with 33.06% of the genome masked as repetitive. In total, 108,762 gene models were predicted including 98,296 protein-coding genes and 10,466 tRNA genes. As an additional community resource, we identified 27 orthologous candidate genes of interest for future experimental work including phenotypic marker genes like white. Furthermore, as part of the assembly process, we generated four endosymbiont metagenome-assembled genomes, including a high-quality near complete 1.7-Mb Wolbachia sp. genome (1 scaffold, CheckM completeness = 99.4%). The improved genome assembly and annotation for H. vitripennis, curated set of candidate genes, and endosymbiont MAGs will be invaluable resources for future research of H. vitripennis.

RevDate: 2021-09-29

Cao R, Ren Q, Luo J, et al (2021)

Analysis of Microorganism Diversity in Haemaphysalis longicornis From Shaanxi, China, Based on Metagenomic Sequencing.

Frontiers in genetics, 12:723773.

Ticks are dangerous ectoparasites of humans and animals, as they are important disease vectors and serve as hosts for various microorganisms (including a variety of pathogenic microorganisms). Diverse microbial populations coexist within the tick body. Metagenomic next-generation sequencing (mNGS) has been suggested to be useful for rapidly and accurately obtaining microorganism abundance and diversity data. In this study, we performed mNGS to analyze the microbial diversity of Haemaphysalis longicornis from Baoji, Shaanxi, China, with the Illumina HiSeq platform. We identified 189 microbial genera (and 284 species) from ticks in the region; the identified taxa included Anaplasma spp., Rickettsia spp., Ehrlichia spp., and other important tick-borne pathogens at the genus level as well as symbiotic microorganisms such as Wolbachia spp., and Candidatus Entotheonella. The results of this study provide insights into possible tick-borne diseases and reveal new tick-borne pathogens in this region. Additionally, valuable information for the biological control of ticks is provided. In conclusion, this study provides reference data for guiding the development of prevention and control strategies targeting ticks and tick-borne diseases in the region, which can improve the effectiveness of tick and tick-borne disease control.

RevDate: 2021-09-29

Calle-Tobón A, Holguin-Rocha AF, Moore C, et al (2021)

Blood Meals With Active and Heat-Inactivated Serum Modifies the Gene Expression and Microbiome of Aedes albopictus.

Frontiers in microbiology, 12:724345.

The Asian "tiger mosquito" Aedes albopictus is currently the most widely distributed disease-transmitting mosquito in the world. Its geographical expansion has also allowed the expansion of multiple arboviruses like dengue, Zika, and chikungunya, to higher latitudes. Due to the enormous risk to global public health caused by mosquitoes species vectors of human disease, and the challenges in slowing their expansion, it is necessary to develop new and environmentally friendly vector control strategies. Among these, host-associated microbiome-based strategies have emerged as promising options. In this study, we performed an RNA-seq analysis on dissected abdomens of Ae. albopictus females from Manhattan, KS, United States fed with sugar and human blood containing either normal or heat-inactivated serum, to evaluate the effect of heat inactivation on gene expression, the bacteriome transcripts and the RNA virome of this mosquito species. Our results showed at least 600 genes with modified expression profile when mosquitoes were fed with normal vs. heat-inactivated-containing blood. These genes were mainly involved in immunity, oxidative stress, lipid metabolism, and oogenesis. Also, we observed bacteriome changes with an increase in transcripts of Actinobacteria, Rhodospirillaceae, and Anaplasmataceae at 6 h post-feeding. We also found that feeding with normal blood seems to particularly influence Wolbachia metabolism, demonstrated by a significant increase in transcripts of this bacteria in mosquitoes fed with blood containing normal serum. However, no differences were observed in the virome core of this mosquito population. These results suggest that heat and further inactivation of complement proteins in human serum may have profound effect on mosquito and microbiome metabolism, which could influence interpretation of the pathogen-host interaction findings when using this type of reagents specially when measuring the effect of Wolbachia in vector competence.

RevDate: 2021-09-30

Carpenter M, Peng L, Smith AH, et al (2021)

Frequent Drivers, Occasional Passengers: Signals of Symbiont-Driven Seasonal Adaptation and Hitchhiking in the Pea Aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum.

Insects, 12(9):.

Insects harbor a variety of maternally inherited bacterial symbionts. As such, variation in symbiont presence/absence, in the combinations of harbored symbionts, and in the genotypes of harbored symbiont species provide heritable genetic variation of potential use in the insects' adaptive repertoires. Understanding the natural importance of symbionts is challenging but studying their dynamics over time can help to elucidate the potential for such symbiont-driven insect adaptation. Toward this end, we studied the seasonal dynamics of six maternally transferred bacterial symbiont species in the multivoltine pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum). Our sampling focused on six alfalfa fields in southeastern Pennsylvania, and spanned 14 timepoints within the 2012 growing season, in addition to two overwintering periods. To test and generate hypotheses on the natural relevance of these non-essential symbionts, we examined whether symbiont dynamics correlated with any of ten measured environmental variables from the 2012 growing season, including some of known importance in the lab. We found that five symbionts changed prevalence across one or both overwintering periods, and that the same five species underwent such frequency shifts across the 2012 growing season. Intriguingly, the frequencies of these dynamic symbionts showed robust correlations with a subset of our measured environmental variables. Several of these trends supported the natural relevance of lab-discovered symbiont roles, including anti-pathogen defense. For a seventh symbiont-Hamiltonella defensa-studied previously across the same study periods, we tested whether a reported correlation between prevalence and temperature stemmed not from thermally varying host-level fitness effects, but from selection on co-infecting symbionts or on aphid-encoded alleles associated with this bacterium. In general, such "hitchhiking" effects were not evident during times with strongly correlated Hamiltonella and temperature shifts. However, we did identify at least one time period in which Hamiltonella spread was likely driven by selection on a co-infecting symbiont-Rickettsiella viridis. Recognizing the broader potential for such hitchhiking, we explored selection on co-infecting symbionts as a possible driver behind the dynamics of the remaining six species. Out of twelve examined instances of symbiont dynamics unfolding across 2-week periods or overwintering spans, we found eight in which the focal symbiont underwent parallel frequency shifts under single infection and one or more co-infection contexts. This supported the idea that phenotypic variation created by the presence/absence of individual symbionts is a direct target for selection, and that symbiont effects can be robust under co-habitation with other symbionts. Contrastingly, in two cases, we found that selection may target phenotypes emerging from symbiont co-infections, with specific species combinations driving overall trends for the focal dynamic symbionts, without correlated change under single infection. Finally, in three cases-including the one described above for Hamiltonella-our data suggested that incidental co-infection with a (dis)favored symbiont could lead to large frequency shifts for "passenger" symbionts, conferring no apparent cost or benefit. Such hitchhiking has rarely been studied in heritable symbiont systems. We propose that it is more common than appreciated, given the widespread nature of maternally inherited bacteria, and the frequency of multi-species symbiotic communities across insects.

RevDate: 2021-09-30

Xu X, Ridland PM, Umina PA, et al (2021)

High Incidence of Related Wolbachia across Unrelated Leaf-Mining Diptera.

Insects, 12(9):.

The maternally inherited endosymbiont, Wolbachia pipientis, plays an important role in the ecology and evolution of many of its hosts by affecting host reproduction and fitness. Here, we investigated 13 dipteran leaf-mining species to characterize Wolbachia infections and the potential for this endosymbiont in biocontrol. Wolbachia infections were present in 12 species, including 10 species where the Wolbachia infection was at or near fixation. A comparison of Wolbachia relatedness based on the wsp/MLST gene set showed that unrelated leaf-mining species often shared similar Wolbachia, suggesting common horizontal transfer. We established a colony of Liriomyza brassicae and found adult Wolbachia density was stable; although Wolbachia density differed between the sexes, with females having a 20-fold higher density than males. Wolbachia density increased during L. brassicae development, with higher densities in pupae than larvae. We removed Wolbachia using tetracycline and performed reciprocal crosses between Wolbachia-infected and uninfected individuals. Cured females crossed with infected males failed to produce offspring, indicating that Wolbachia induced complete cytoplasmic incompatibility in L. brassicae. The results highlight the potential of Wolbachia to suppress Liriomyza pests based on approaches such as the incompatible insect technique, where infected males are released into populations lacking Wolbachia or with a different incompatible infection.

RevDate: 2021-10-28
CmpDate: 2021-10-27

Deng J, Assandri G, Chauhan P, et al (2021)

Wolbachia-driven selective sweep in a range expanding insect species.

BMC ecology and evolution, 21(1):181.

BACKGROUND: Evolutionary processes can cause strong spatial genetic signatures, such as local loss of genetic diversity, or conflicting histories from mitochondrial versus nuclear markers. Investigating these genetic patterns is important, as they may reveal obscured processes and players. The maternally inherited bacterium Wolbachia is among the most widespread symbionts in insects. Wolbachia typically spreads within host species by conferring direct fitness benefits, and/or by manipulating its host reproduction to favour infected over uninfected females. Under sufficient selective advantage, the mitochondrial haplotype associated with the favoured maternally-inherited symbiotic strains will spread (i.e. hitchhike), resulting in low mitochondrial genetic variation across the host species range.

METHOD: The common bluetail damselfly (Ischnura elegans: van der Linden, 1820) has recently emerged as a model organism for genetics and genomic signatures of range expansion during climate change. Although there is accumulating data on the consequences of such expansion on the genetics of I. elegans, no study has screened for Wolbachia in the damselfly genus Ischnura. Here, we present the biogeographic variation in Wolbachia prevalence and penetrance across Europe and Japan (including samples from 17 populations), and from close relatives in the Mediterranean area (i.e. I. genei: Rambur, 1842; and I. saharensis: Aguesse, 1958).

RESULTS: Our data reveal (a) multiple Wolbachia-strains, (b) potential transfer of the symbiont through hybridization, (c) higher infection rates at higher latitudes, and (d) reduced mitochondrial diversity in the north-west populations, indicative of hitchhiking associated with the selective sweep of the most common strain. We found low mitochondrial haplotype diversity in the Wolbachia-infected north-western European populations (Sweden, Scotland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Italy) of I. elegans, and, conversely, higher mitochondrial diversity in populations with low penetrance of Wolbachia (Ukraine, Greece, Montenegro and Cyprus). The timing of the selective sweep associated with infected lineages was estimated between 20,000 and 44,000 years before present, which is consistent with the end of the last glacial period about 20,000 years.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings provide an example of how endosymbiont infections can shape spatial variation in their host evolutionary genetics during postglacial expansion. These results also challenge population genetic studies that do not consider the prevalence of symbionts in many insects, which we show can impact geographic patterns of mitochondrial genetic diversity.

RevDate: 2021-11-22
CmpDate: 2021-11-22

Lau MJ, Hoffmann AA, NM Endersby-Harshman (2021)

A diagnostic primer pair to distinguish between wMel and wAlbB Wolbachia infections.

PloS one, 16(9):e0257781.

Detection of the Wolbachia endosymbiont in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes through real-time polymerase chain reaction assays is widely used during and after Wolbachia releases in dengue reduction trials involving the wMel and wAlbB strains. Although several different primer pairs have been applied in current successful Wolbachia releases, they cannot be used in a single assay to distinguish between these strains. Here, we developed a new diagnostic primer pair, wMwA, which can detect the wMel or wAlbB infection in the same assay. We also tested current Wolbachia primers and show that there is variation in their performance when they are used to assess the relative density of Wolbachia. The new wMwA primers provide an accurate and efficient estimate of the presence and density of both Wolbachia infections, with practical implications for Wolbachia estimates in field collected Ae. aegypti where Wolbachia releases have taken place.

RevDate: 2021-10-26
CmpDate: 2021-10-05

Beckmann JF, Van Vaerenberghe K, Akwa DE, et al (2021)

A single mutation weakens symbiont-induced reproductive manipulation through reductions in deubiquitylation efficiency.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(39):.

Animals interact with microbes that affect their performance and fitness, including endosymbionts that reside inside their cells. Maternally transmitted Wolbachia bacteria are the most common known endosymbionts, in large part because of their manipulation of host reproduction. For example, many Wolbachia cause cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) that reduces host embryonic viability when Wolbachia-modified sperm fertilize uninfected eggs. Operons termed cifs control CI, and a single factor (cifA) rescues it, providing Wolbachia-infected females a fitness advantage. Despite CI's prevalence in nature, theory indicates that natural selection does not act to maintain CI, which varies widely in strength. Here, we investigate the genetic and functional basis of CI-strength variation observed among sister Wolbachia that infect Drosophila melanogaster subgroup hosts. We cloned, Sanger sequenced, and expressed cif repertoires from weak CI-causing wYak in Drosophila yakuba, revealing mutations suspected to weaken CI relative to model wMel in D. melanogaster A single valine-to-leucine mutation within the deubiquitylating (DUB) domain of the wYak cifB homolog (cidB) ablates a CI-like phenotype in yeast. The same mutation reduces both DUB efficiency in vitro and transgenic CI strength in the fly, each by about twofold. Our results map hypomorphic transgenic CI to reduced DUB activity and indicate that deubiquitylation is central to CI induction in cid systems. We also characterize effects of other genetic variation distinguishing wMel-like cifs Importantly, CI strength determines Wolbachia prevalence in natural systems and directly influences the efficacy of Wolbachia biocontrol strategies in transinfected mosquito systems. These approaches rely on strong CI to reduce human disease.

RevDate: 2021-10-22
CmpDate: 2021-10-22

Zhao Z, Zhu J, Hoffmann AA, et al (2021)

Horizontal transmission and recombination of Wolbachia in the butterfly tribe Aeromachini Tutt, 1906 (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae).

G3 (Bethesda, Md.), 11(9):.

Wolbachia is arguably one of the most ubiquitous heritable symbionts among insects and understanding its transmission dynamics is crucial for understanding why it is so common. While previous research has studied the transmission pathways of Wolbachia in several insect lineages including Lepidoptera, this study takes advantage of data collected from the lepidopteran tribe Aeromachini in an effort to assess patterns of transmission. Twenty-one of the 46 species of Aeromachini species were infected with Wolbachia. Overall, 25% (31/125) of Aeromachini specimens tested were Wolbachia positive. All Wolbachia strains were species-specific except for the wJho strain which appeared to be shared by three host species with a sympatric distribution based on a cophylogenetic comparison between Wolbachia and the Aeromachini species. Two tests of phylogenetic congruence did not find any evidence for cospeciation between Wolbachia strains and their butterfly hosts. The cophylogenetic comparison, divergence time estimation, and Wolbachia recombination analysis revealed that Wolbachia acquisition in Aeromachini appears to have mainly occurred mainly through horizontal transmission rather than codivergence.

RevDate: 2021-09-17

Shi Y, B Zheng (2021)

Discrete dynamical models on Wolbachia infection frequency in mosquito populations with biased release ratios.

Journal of biological dynamics [Epub ahead of print].

We develop two discrete models to study how supplemental releases affect the Wolbachia spreading dynamics in cage mosquito populations. The first model focuses on the case when only infected males are released at each generation. This release strategy has been proved to be capable of speeding up the Wolbachia persistence by suppressing the compatible matings between uninfected individuals. The second model targets the case when only infected females are released at each generation. For both models, detailed model formulation, enumeration of the positive equilibria and their stability analysis are provided. Theoretical results show that the two models can generate bistable dynamics when there are three positive equilibrium points, semi-stable dynamics for the case of two positive equilibrium points. And when the positive equilibrium point is unique, it is globally asymptotically stable. Some numerical simulations are offered to get helpful implications on the design of the release strategy.

RevDate: 2021-12-14
CmpDate: 2021-12-09

Bagheri Z, Talebi AA, Asgari S, et al (2022)

Wolbachia promotes successful sex with siblings in the parasitoid Habrobracon hebetor.

Pest management science, 78(1):362-368.

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia are intracellular α-proteobacteria that have a wide distribution among various arthropods and nematodes. They affect the host reproduction favoring their maternal transmission, which sets up a potential conflict in inbreeding situations when the host avoids sexual reproduction preventing inbreeding depression, while Wolbachia pushes it. We used the wasp Habrobracon hebetor to test the hypothesis that Wolbachia modulates inbreeding avoidance behavior and promotes sib mating.

RESULTS: Our results showed no obvious pre-copulatory inbreeding avoidance in this wasp. However, H. hebetor showed a strong post-copulatory inbreeding avoidance behavior that resulted in a low fertilization rate of uninfected siblings and therefore high rate of production of male progeny was obtained. We observed higher rates of fertilization success in the Wolbachia-infected lines that resulted in significantly higher female progeny production compared to the uninfected sib mates. Since diploid females are the result of successful fertilization due to haplodiploidy sex determination system in this insect, our results indicate that Wolbachia promoted fertile sib mating in H. hebetor. Interestingly, the rate of adult emergence in the progeny of Wolbachia-infected sib mates were almost similar to the non-sib mate crosses and significantly more than those observed in the uninfected sib mate crosses.

CONCLUSION: Our results support the idea that Wolbachia modulates inbreeding avoidance and promotes sib mating and also mitigates inbreeding depression. By promoting successful sex with siblings and increasing the probability of female progeny, Wolbachia enhances its transmission to the next generation. This is an undescribed effect of Wolbachia on the host reproduction. © 2021 Society of Chemical Industry.

RevDate: 2021-10-18
CmpDate: 2021-10-18

Altinli M, Schnettler E, M Sicard (2021)

Symbiotic Interactions Between Mosquitoes and Mosquito Viruses.

Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 11:694020.

Mosquitoes not only transmit human and veterinary pathogens called arboviruses (arthropod-borne viruses) but also harbor mosquito-associated insect-specific viruses (mosquito viruses) that cannot infect vertebrates. In the past, studies investigating mosquito viruses mainly focused on highly pathogenic interactions that were easier to detect than those without visible symptoms. However, the recent advances in viral metagenomics have highlighted the abundance and diversity of viruses which do not generate mass mortality in host populations. Over the last decade, this has facilitated the rapid growth of virus discovery in mosquitoes. The circumstances around the discovery of mosquito viruses greatly affected how they have been studied so far. While earlier research mainly focused on the pathogenesis caused by DNA and some double-stranded RNA viruses during larval stages, more recently discovered single-stranded RNA mosquito viruses were heavily studied for their putative interference with arboviruses in female adults. Thus, many aspects of mosquito virus interactions with their hosts and host-microbiota are still unknown. In this context, considering mosquito viruses as endosymbionts can help to identify novel research areas, in particular in relation to their long-term interactions with their hosts (e.g. relationships during all life stages, the stability of the associations at evolutionary scales, transmission routes and virulence evolution) and the possible context-dependent range of interactions (i.e. beneficial to antagonistic). Here, we review the symbiotic interactions of mosquito viruses considering different aspects of their ecology, such as transmission, host specificity, host immune system and interactions with other symbionts within the host cellular arena. Finally, we highlight related research gaps in mosquito virus research.

RevDate: 2021-09-17

McGillan P, Berry NG, Nixon GL, et al (2021)

Development of Pyrazolopyrimidine Anti-Wolbachia Agents for the Treatment of Filariasis.

ACS medicinal chemistry letters, 12(9):1421-1426.

Anti-Wolbachia therapy has been identified as a viable treatment for combating filarial diseases. Phenotypic screening revealed a series of pyrazolopyrimidine hits with potent anti-Wolbachia activity. This paper focuses on the exploration of the SAR for this chemotype, with improvement of metabolic stability and solubility profiles using medicinal chemistry approaches. Organic synthesis has enabled functionalization of the pyrazolopyrimidine core at multiple positions, generating a library of compounds of which many analogues possess nanomolar activity against Wolbachia in vitro with improved DMPK parameters. A lead compound, 15f, was selected for in vivo pharmacokinetics (PK) profiling in mice. The combination of potent anti-Wolbachia activity in two in vitro assessments plus the exceptional oral PK profiles in mice puts this lead compound in a strong position for in vivo proof-of-concept pharmacodynamics studies and demonstrates the strong potential for further optimization and development of this series for treatment of filariasis in the future.

RevDate: 2021-10-25

Chen F, Schenkel M, Geuverink E, et al (2021)

Absence of complementary sex determination in two Leptopilina species (Figitidae, Hymenoptera) and a reconsideration of its incompatibility with endosymbiont-induced thelytoky.

Insect science [Epub ahead of print].

Complementary sex determination (CSD) is a widespread sex determination mechanism in haplodiploid Hymenoptera. Under CSD, sex is determined by the allelic state of one or multiple CSD loci. Heterozygosity at one or more loci leads to female development, whereas hemizygosity of haploid eggs and homozygosity of diploid eggs results in male development. Sexual (arrhenotokous) reproduction normally yields haploid male and diploid female offspring. Under asexual reproduction (thelytoky), diploidized unfertilized eggs develop into females. Thelytoky is often induced by bacterial endosymbionts that achieve egg diploidization by gamete duplication. As gamete duplication leads to complete homozygosity, endosymbiont-induced thelytokous reproduction is presumed to be incompatible with CSD, which relies on heterozygosity for female development. Previously, we excluded CSD in four Asobara (Braconidae) species and proposed a two-step mechanism for Wolbachia-induced thelytoky in Asobara japonica. Here, we conclusively reject CSD in two cynipid wasp species, Leptopilina heterotoma and Leptopilina clavipes. We further show that thelytoky in L. clavipes depends on Wolbachia titer but that diploidization and feminization steps cannot be separated, unlike in A. japonica. We discuss what these results reveal about the sex determination mechanism of L. clavipes and the presumed incompatibility between CSD and endosymbiont-induced thelytoky in the Hymenoptera.

RevDate: 2021-10-25
CmpDate: 2021-10-25

Xu S, Chen J, Qin M, et al (2021)

Geography-dependent symbiont communities in two oligophagous aphid species.

FEMS microbiology ecology, 97(10):.

Aphids and their diverse symbionts have become a good model to study bacteria-arthropod symbiosis. The feeding habits of aphids are usually influenced by a variety of symbionts. Most studies on symbiont diversity have focused on polyphagous aphids, while symbiont community patterns for oligophagous aphids remain unclear. Here, we surveyed the bacterial communities in natural populations of two oligophagous aphids, Melanaphis sacchari and Neophyllaphis podocarpi, in natural populations. Seven common symbionts were detected, among which Buchnera aphidicola and Wolbachia were the most prevalent. In addition, an uncommon Sodalis-like symbiont was also detected in these two aphids, and Gilliamella was found in some samples of M. sacchari. We further assessed the significant variation in symbiont communities within the two aphid species, geographical regions and host specialization using statistical and ordination analyses. Geography was an important factor in shaping the symbiont community structure in these oligophagous aphids. Furthermore, the strong geographical influence may be related to specific environmental factors, especially temperature, among different regions. These findings extend our knowledge of the significance of geography and its associated environmental conditions in the symbiont community structure associated with oligophagous aphids.

RevDate: 2021-12-22
CmpDate: 2021-12-22

Li TP, Zha SS, Zhou CY, et al (2021)

Two Newly Introduced Wolbachia Endosymbionts Induce Cell Host Differences in Competitiveness and Metabolic Responses.

Applied and environmental microbiology, 87(22):e0147921.

Wolbachia endosymbionts can induce multiple reproductive manipulations in their hosts, with cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) being one of the most common manipulations. Two important agricultural pests, the white-backed planthopper (Sogatella furcifera) and the brown planthopper (Nilaparvata lugens), are usually infected with CI-inducing Wolbachia strain wFur and non-CI-inducing Wolbachia strain wLug, respectively. The biological effects of these infections when present in a host cell are unknown. Here, we introduced the two Wolbachia strains into an Aedes albopictus cell line to stably establish a wFur-infected cell line (WFI) and a wLug-infected cell line (WLI). In a mixed culture, WFI cells were completely replaced by WLI cells, pointing to a stronger competitiveness of the WLI cell line. We found that infection by both Wolbachia strains reduced cell growth rates, but WLI had a higher cell growth rate than WFI, and this difference in cell growth rate combined with possible Wolbachia differences in diffusivity may have affected cell competitiveness. By examining gene expression and metabolites in the two lines, we found that some genes and key metabolites responded to differences in cell competitiveness. These results point to potential mechanisms that could contribute to the relative performance of hosts infected by these strains and also highlight the substantial impact of a non-CI Wolbachia on metabolism, which may in turn influence the fitness of its native host. IMPORTANCE Wolbachia transinfection in insects can be used to suppress pests and block virus transmission. We stably introduced two Wolbachia strains from rice planthoppers into cell lines of an important arbovirus mosquito vector, Aedes albopictus. The levels of competitiveness of host cells from the lines infected by the two Wolbachia strains were different, as were metabolic responses of the cell lines. These results suggest potential metabolic effects of Wolbachia on native hosts that could be exploited when they are transinfected into novel hosts for pest control.

RevDate: 2021-12-14
CmpDate: 2021-12-14

Jing YP, Wen X, Li L, et al (2021)

The vitellogenin receptor functionality of the migratory locust depends on its phosphorylation by juvenile hormone.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(37):.

Vitellogenin receptor (VgR) plays a pivotal role in ovarian vitellogenin (Vg) uptake and vertical transmission of pathogenic microbes and Wolbachia symbionts. However, the regulatory mechanisms of VgR action as an endocytic receptor and translocation from oocyte cytoplasm to the membrane remain poorly understood. Here, by using the migratory locust Locusta migratoria as a model system, we report that juvenile hormone (JH) promotes VgR phosphorylation at Ser1361 in the second EGF-precursor homology domain. A signaling cascade including GPCR, PLC, extracellular calcium, and PKC-ι is involved in JH-stimulated VgR phosphorylation. This posttranslational regulation is a prerequisite for VgR binding to Vg on the external surface of the oocyte membrane and subsequent VgR/Vg endocytosis. Acidification, a condition in endosomes, induces VgR dephosphorylation along with the dissociation of Vg from VgR. Phosphorylation modification is also required for VgR recycling from oocyte cytoplasm to the membrane. Additionally, VgR phosphorylation and its requirement for Vg uptake and VgR recycling are evolutionarily conserved in other representative insects including the cockroach Periplaneta americana and the cotton bollworm Helicoverpa armigera This study fills an important knowledge gap of low-density lipoprotein receptors in posttranslational regulation, endocytosis, and intracellular recycling.

RevDate: 2022-01-03
CmpDate: 2022-01-03

Parry R, de Malmanche H, S Asgari (2021)

Persistent Spodoptera frugiperda rhabdovirus infection in Sf9 cells is not restricted by Wolbachia wMelPop-CLA and wAlbB strains and is targeted by the RNAi machinery.

Virology, 563:82-87.

The endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia pipientis confers RNA virus refractoriness in Drosophila and Aedes mosquitoes. Questions remain about the Wolbachia-virus restriction phenotype and how extensive this phenomenon may be within other arthropods. Here, we generated two Spodoptera frugiperda cell lines stably transinfected with two strains of Wolbachia, wAlbB and wMelPop-CLA. Despite the high density of Wolbachia in stably infected Sf9 cells, RT-PCR indicated the presence of the negative-sense RNA virus Spodoptera frugiperda rhabdovirus (SfRV) in Wolbachia-infected and uninfected cell lines. No differences in the replication of SfRV between Sf9 and Wolbachia-infected cells was found. RNA-Seq analysis of the parental Sf9 cells supported SfRV's presence in these cells with abundant 20 nt virus-derived small RNAs indicating active replication of SfRV in these cells. Overall, this study supports a growing body of evidence that Wolbachia does not restrict negative-sense RNA viruses and generates an in vitro model to examine Lepidoptera-Wolbachia virus interactions.

RevDate: 2021-12-14
CmpDate: 2021-12-03

Pocquet N, O'Connor O, Flores HA, et al (2021)

Assessment of fitness and vector competence of a New Caledonia wMel Aedes aegypti strain before field-release.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 15(9):e0009752.

BACKGROUND: Biological control programs involving Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti are currently deployed in different epidemiological settings. New Caledonia (NC) is an ideal location for the implementation and evaluation of such a strategy as the only proven vector for dengue virus (DENV) is Ae. aegypti and dengue outbreaks frequency and severity are increasing. We report the generation of a NC Wolbachia-infected Ae. aegypti strain and the results of experiments to assess the vector competence and fitness of this strain for future implementation as a disease control strategy in Noumea, NC.

METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The NC Wolbachia strain (NC-wMel) was obtained by backcrossing Australian AUS-wMel females with New Caledonian Wild-Type (NC-WT) males. Blocking of DENV, chikungunya (CHIKV), and Zika (ZIKV) viruses were evaluated via mosquito oral feeding experiments and intrathoracic DENV challenge. Significant reduction in infection rates were observed for NC-wMel Ae. aegypti compared to WT Ae. aegypti. No transmission was observed for NC-wMel Ae. aegypti. Maternal transmission, cytoplasmic incompatibility, fertility, fecundity, wing length, and insecticide resistance were also assessed in laboratory experiments. Ae. aegypti NC-wMel showed complete cytoplasmic incompatibility and a strong maternal transmission. Ae. aegypti NC-wMel fitness seemed to be reduced compared to NC-WT Ae. aegypti and AUS-wMel Ae. aegypti regarding fertility and fecundity. However further experiments are required to assess it accurately.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results demonstrated that the NC-wMel Ae. aegypti strain is a strong inhibitor of DENV, CHIKV, and ZIKV infection and prevents transmission of infectious viral particles in mosquito saliva. Furthermore, our NC-wMel Ae. aegypti strain induces reproductive cytoplasmic incompatibility with minimal apparent fitness costs and high maternal transmission, supporting field-releases in Noumea, NC.

RevDate: 2021-11-06

Chrostek E, Martins N, Marialva MS, et al (2021)

Wolbachia-Conferred Antiviral Protection Is Determined by Developmental Temperature.

mBio, 12(5):e0292320.

Wolbachia is a maternally transmitted bacterium that is widespread in arthropods and filarial nematodes and confers strong antiviral protection in Drosophila melanogaster and other arthropods. Wolbachia-transinfected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are currently being deployed to fight transmission of dengue and Zika viruses. However, the mechanism of antiviral protection and the factors influencing are still not fully understood. Here, we show that temperature modulates Wolbachia-conferred protection in Drosophila melanogaster. Temperature after infection directly impacts Drosophila C virus (DCV) replication and modulates Wolbachia protection. At higher temperatures, viruses proliferate more and are more lethal, while Wolbachia confers lower protection. Strikingly, host developmental temperature is a determinant of Wolbachia-conferred antiviral protection. While there is strong protection when flies develop from egg to adult at 25°C, the protection is highly reduced or abolished when flies develop at 18°C. However, Wolbachia-induced changes during development are not sufficient to limit virus-induced mortality, as Wolbachia is still required to be present in adults at the time of infection. This developmental effect is general, since it was present in different host genotypes, Wolbachia variants, and upon infection with different viruses. Overall, we show that Wolbachia-conferred antiviral protection is temperature dependent, being present or absent depending on the environmental conditions. This interaction likely impacts Wolbachia-host interactions in nature and, as a result, frequencies of host and symbionts in different climates. Dependence of Wolbachia-mediated pathogen blocking on developmental temperature could be used to dissect the mechanistic bases of protection and influence the deployment of Wolbachia to prevent transmission of arboviruses. IMPORTANCE Insects are often infected with beneficial intracellular bacteria. The bacterium Wolbachia is extremely common in insects and can protect them from pathogenic viruses. This effect is being used to prevent transmission of dengue and Zika viruses by Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes. To understand the biology of insects in the wild, we need to discover which factors affect Wolbachia-conferred antiviral protection. Here, we show that the temperature at which insects develop from eggs to adults can determine the presence or absence of antiviral protection. The environment, therefore, strongly influences this insect-bacterium interaction. Our work may help to provide insights into the mechanism of viral blocking by Wolbachia, deepen our understanding of the geographical distribution of host and symbiont, and incentivize further research on the temperature dependence of Wolbachia-conferred protection for control of mosquito-borne disease.

RevDate: 2021-09-04

Alipour H, Izadpanah L, Azizi K, et al (2021)

Potential co-infection of Wolbachia with Leishmania among sand fly vectors caught from endemic leishmaniasis foci in Fars province, southern Iran.

Journal of parasitic diseases : official organ of the Indian Society for Parasitology, 45(3):817-822.

Leishmaniasis is one of the Neglected Tropical Diseases in the tropical region of many countries in the world. The etiological agents (Leishmania parasites) of the disease are transmitted to human and other vertebrate hosts by infectious bites of female phlebotomine sand flies. On the other hand, some symbiotic microorganisms such as Wolbachia (Rickettsiales: Anaplasmataceae) may be transmitted vertically in many arthropods and may cause synergistic or antagonistic effects on epidemiology of the vector-borne diseases. Hence, in the present study, potential coinfection of Wolbachia with Leishmania in the sand fly vectors will be examined by PCR technique in the important leishmaniasis foci of Fars province in southern Iran, as a new feature for the disease long-term control. Sand flies were collected by sticky traps from indoor and outdoor locations of 5 different areas of Fars province during 2018 and 2019. DNAs of sand flies were extracted and PCR method was performed based on primers which were designed from surface proteins (WSP) genome region for Wolbachia and minicircle kDNA gene for Leishmania detections. At last, PCR products were sequenced and recorded in the GenBank. Out of 1002 sand flies caught from 5 different foci of Fars province, 909 male and female and 386 female sand flies' DNAs were extracted for detection of Wolbachia and Leishmania by PCR, respectively. Accordingly, out of the total 44 pools prepared from sand flies, 6 out of 28 pools form P. papatasi female were positive for Wolbachia in Shiraz, Marvdasht and Kharameh. However, none of female sand flies were positive for Leishmania. The study also focused on monitoring of sand flies co-infection of Wolbachia with Leishmania, which was not found in any of the studied samples. The negative results may be due to control strategies implemented which were done against Leishmaniasis in the studied areas during last years.

RevDate: 2021-09-02

Sasaki T, Moi ML, Saito K, et al (2021)

Aedes albopictus Strain and Dengue Virus Serotype in the Dengue Fever Outbreaks in Japan: Implications of Wolbachia Infection.

Japanese journal of infectious diseases [Epub ahead of print].

From August 27 to October 15, 2014, a dengue fever outbreak with 158 autochthonous cases occurred after nearly 70 years of no reports of autochthonous cases in Japan. The most competent mosquito vector for dengue virus (DENV) transmission in Japan is Aedes albopictus. Since A. albopictus is widely distributed throughout Japan, we examined the susceptibility of this species to infection by DENV and the relationship of the endosymbiont Wolbachia (wAlbA and wAlbB) with susceptibility to DENV. The A. albopictus YYG strain, collected from Yoyogi Park in 2014, the epicenter of the dengue fever outbreak, was found to have lower susceptibility to DENV 1 and 3 than that of indigenous Japanese strains A. albopictus EBN 201808 (F1 from the field) and A. albopictus ISG 201603. Further, the A. albopictus EBN 201808 strain showed a same susceptibility to DENV3 as A. albopictus ISG 201603tet strain (Wolbachia-free). Susceptibility to DENV3 was not related to Wolbachia strains wAlbA or wAlbB in the A. albopictus ISG 201603 strain.

RevDate: 2021-12-31

Dainty KR, Hawkey J, Judd LM, et al (2021)

wMel Wolbachia genome remains stable after 7 years in Australian Aedes aegypti field populations.

Microbial genomics, 7(9):.

Infection of wMel Wolbachia in Aedes aegypti imparts two signature features that enable its application for biocontrol of dengue. First, the susceptibility of mosquitoes to viruses such as dengue and Zika is reduced. Second, a reproductive manipulation is caused that enables wMel introgression into wild-type mosquito populations. The long-term success of this method relies, in part, on evolution of the wMel genome not compromising the critical features that make it an attractive biocontrol tool. This study compared the wMel Wolbachia genome at the time of initial releases and 1-7 years post-release in Cairns, Australia. Our results show the wMel genome remains highly conserved up to 7 years post-release in gene sequence, content, synteny and structure. This work suggests the wMel genome is stable in its new mosquito host and, therefore, provides reassurance on the potential for wMel to deliver long-term public-health impacts.

RevDate: 2021-09-03

Pupić-Bakrač A, Pupić-Bakrač J, Beck A, et al (2021)

Dirofilaria repens microfilaremia in humans: Case description and literature review.

One health (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 13:100306.

Introduction: Dirofilaria repens is a vector-borne filaroid helminth of carnivorous animals, primarily domesticated dogs. Humans are considered to be accidental hosts in which D. repens rarely reach sexual maturity but induce local inflammation, mainly in subcutaneous and ocular tissues.

Methods: In the current study, we present the detection of multiple adults of D. repens, endosymbiont Wolbachia sp. and microfilariae by molecular analysis in peripheral tissues and bloodstream of a human host. A subsequent meta-analysis of published literature identified 21 cases of human infection with adult D. repens producing microfilariae.

Results: Within the study population, there were 13 (59.09%) males, eight (36.36%) females and, in one (4.55%) case, sex was not reported. A total of 11 (50.00%) cases had subcutaneous dirofilariasis, six (27.27%) had ocular dirofiliariasis, with single cases (4.55% each) of genital, mammary, lymphatic and a combination of subcutaneous and pulmonary dirofilariasis described. In one (4.55%) case, the primary anatomical site of adult D. repens could not be found. D. repens microfilariae were detected in the local tissue (local microfilariasis) in 11 (50.00%) cases and the peripheral blood (microfilaremia) in 11 (50.50%) cases. Final identification of D. repens microfilariae was based on morphological detection in 14 (63.64%) cases, and molecular detection in eight (36.36%) cases.

Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that humans may act as a final host for D. repens, however its role as a source of D. repens infection is less clear.

RevDate: 2021-09-16

Bruzzese DJ, Schuler H, Wolfe TM, et al (2021)

Testing the potential contribution of Wolbachia to speciation when cytoplasmic incompatibility becomes associated with host-related reproductive isolation.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Endosymbiont-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) may play an important role in arthropod speciation. However, whether CI consistently becomes associated or coupled with other host-related forms of reproductive isolation (RI) to impede the transfer of endosymbionts between hybridizing populations and further the divergence process remains an open question. Here, we show that varying degrees of pre- and postmating RI exist among allopatric populations of two interbreeding cherry-infesting tephritid fruit flies (Rhagoletis cingulata and R. indifferens) across North America. These flies display allochronic and sexual isolation among populations, as well as unidirectional reductions in egg hatch in hybrid crosses involving southwestern USA males. All populations are infected by a Wolbachia strain, wCin2, whereas a second strain, wCin3, only co-infects flies from the southwest USA and Mexico. Strain wCin3 is associated with a unique mitochondrial DNA haplotype and unidirectional postmating RI, implicating the strain as the cause of CI. When coupled with nonendosymbiont RI barriers, we estimate the strength of CI associated with wCin3 would not prevent the strain from introgressing from infected southwestern to uninfected populations elsewhere in the USA if populations were to come into secondary contact and hybridize. In contrast, cytoplasmic-nuclear coupling may impede the transfer of wCin3 if Mexican and USA populations were to come into contact. We discuss our results in the context of the general paucity of examples demonstrating stable Wolbachia hybrid zones and whether the spread of Wolbachia among taxa can be constrained in natural hybrid zones long enough for the endosymbiont to participate in speciation.

RevDate: 2021-08-31

Bhattacharya T, Rice DW, Crawford JM, et al (2021)

Evidence of Adaptive Evolution in Wolbachia-Regulated Gene DNMT2 and Its Role in the Dipteran Immune Response and Pathogen Blocking.

Viruses, 13(8):.

Eukaryotic nucleic acid methyltransferase (MTase) proteins are essential mediators of epigenetic and epitranscriptomic regulation. DNMT2 belongs to a large, conserved family of DNA MTases found in many organisms, including holometabolous insects such as fruit flies and mosquitoes, where it is the lone MTase. Interestingly, despite its nomenclature, DNMT2 is not a DNA MTase, but instead targets and methylates RNA species. A growing body of literature suggests that DNMT2 mediates the host immune response against a wide range of pathogens, including RNA viruses. Curiously, although DNMT2 is antiviral in Drosophila, its expression promotes virus replication in mosquito species. We, therefore, sought to understand the divergent regulation, function, and evolution of these orthologs. We describe the role of the Drosophila-specific host protein IPOD in regulating the expression and function of fruit fly DNMT2. Heterologous expression of these orthologs suggests that DNMT2's role as an antiviral is host-dependent, indicating a requirement for additional host-specific factors. Finally, we identify and describe potential evidence of positive selection at different times throughout DNMT2 evolution within dipteran insects. We identify specific codons within each ortholog that are under positive selection and find that they are restricted to four distinct protein domains, which likely influence substrate binding, target recognition, and adaptation of unique intermolecular interactions. Collectively, our findings highlight the evolution of DNMT2 in Dipteran insects and point to structural, regulatory, and functional differences between mosquito and fruit fly homologs.

RevDate: 2021-10-25
CmpDate: 2021-10-25

Hubert J, Nesvorna M, Pekar S, et al (2021)

Cardinium inhibits Wolbachia in its mite host, Tyrophagus putrescentiae, and affects host fitness.

FEMS microbiology ecology, 97(10):.

Interactions among endosymbiotic bacteria inside their eukaryotic hosts are poorly understood, particularly in mites. The mite Tyrophagus putrescentiae is a common, medically important generalist species that has many intracellular and gut bacterial symbionts. In the experiments, we examined bacterial abundances and composition in mite populations obtained by controlled mixing of stock mite populations that differed in the presence/absence of the major intracellular bacteria Wolbachia and Cardinium. Changes in microbial communities were characterized using 16S ribosomal RNA high-throughput sequencing (pooled mite individuals) and quantitative PCR for key microbial taxa (individual mites). Mite fitness was estimated as a parameter of population growth. We detected that in mixed mite populations, Cardinium and Wolbachia can co-occur in the same mite individual. The presence of Cardinium was negatively correlated with the presence of Wolbachia and Bartonella, while the Bartonella and Wolbachia were positively correlated in individual level samples. Since mixed populations had lower abundances of Wolbachia, while the abundance of Cardinium did not change, we suggest that the presence of Cardinium inhibits the growth of Wolbachia. The mixed mite populations had lower population growth than parental populations. The possible effect of symbionts on the fitness of mixed population is discussed.

RevDate: 2021-11-30
CmpDate: 2021-11-30

Cruz LNPD, Carvalho-Costa LF, JMM Rebêlo (2021)

Molecular Evidence Suggests That Wolbachia pipientis (Rickettsiales: Anaplasmataceae) is Widely Associated With South American Sand Flies (Diptera: Psychodidae).

Journal of medical entomology, 58(6):2186-2195.

Wolbachia pipientis (Hertig) is an endosymbiotic microorganism widespread among arthropods and other invertebrate hosts, and employed in strategies to reduce the incidence of arthropod-borne diseases. Here, we used a PCR-based approach for 16S RNA and wsp genes to investigate the prevalence, geographical distribution, and strains of Wolbachia in sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae: Phlebotominae), the main vectors of the causative agents of leishmaniasis, from three biomes in Brazil: Amazon, Cerrado, and Caatinga. We found that: 1) Wolbachia DNA is present in most (66.7%) of the sampled sand fly species, including vectors of Leishmania spp. (Ross, Trypanosomatida: Trypanosomatidae), 2) the prevalence of Wolbachia DNA varies among species and populations, 3) some strains of Wolbachia may have wider geographical and host range in South America, and 4) two phylogenetic distinct wsp sequences might represent two novel strains for Wolbachia in South America sand flies. Those findings increase the basic knowledge about Wolbachia in South American sand flies and might foster further researches on its use to reduce the transmission of sand fly-borne parasites.

RevDate: 2021-12-14
CmpDate: 2021-12-03

Bergman A, JC Hesson (2021)

Wolbachia prevalence in the vector species Culex pipiens and Culex torrentium in a Sindbis virus-endemic region of Sweden.

Parasites & vectors, 14(1):428.

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia pipientis are endosymbiotic bacteria present in a large proportion of terrestrial arthropods. The species is known to sometimes affect the ability of its host to transmit vector-borne pathogens. Central Sweden is endemic for Sindbis virus (SINV), where it is mainly transmitted by the vector species Culex pipiens and Culex torrentium, with the latter established as the main vector. In this study we investigated the Wolbachia prevalence in these two vector species in a region highly endemic for SINV.

METHODS: Culex mosquitoes were collected using CDC light traps baited with carbon dioxide over 9 years at 50 collection sites across the River Dalälven floodplains in central Sweden. Mosquito genus was determined morphologically, while a molecular method was used for reliable species determination. The presence of Wolbachia was determined through PCR using general primers targeting the wsp gene and sequencing of selected samples.

RESULTS: In total, 676 Cx. pipiens and 293 Cx. torrentium were tested for Wolbachia. The prevalence of Wolbachia in Cx. pipiens was 97% (95% CI 94.8-97.6%), while only 0.7% (95% CI 0.19-2.45%) in Cx. torrentium. The two Cx. torrentium mosquitoes that were infected with Wolbachia carried different types of the bacteria.

CONCLUSIONS: The main vector of SINV in the investigated endemic region, Cx. torrentium, was seldom infected with Wolbachia, while it was highly prevalent in the secondary vector, Cx. pipiens. The presence of Wolbachia could potentially have an impact on the vector competence of these two species. Furthermore, the detection of Wolbachia in Cx. torrentium could indicate horizontal transmission of the endosymbiont between arthropods of different species.


RJR Experience and Expertise


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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E-mail: RJR8222@gmail.com

Collection of publications by R J Robbins

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

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

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

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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