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15 Jan 2021 at 01:51
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Bibliography on: Wolbachia


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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.

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Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2021-01-14

Díaz-Nieto LM, Gil MF, Lazarte JN, et al (2021)

Culex quinquefasciatus carrying Wolbachia is less susceptible to entomopathogenic bacteria.

Scientific reports, 11(1):1094.

In an attempt to evaluate the susceptibility of the mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus to bacterial agents, a population naturally infected with a Wolbachia pipientis wPipSJ native strain was tested against the action of three bacterial mosquitocides, Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis, Bacillus wiedmannii biovar thuringiensis and Lysinibacillus sphaericus. Tests were carried out on mosquito larvae with and without Wolbachia (controls). Cx. quinquefasciatus naturally infected with the native wPipSJ strain proved to be more resistant to the pathogenic action of the three mosquitocidal bacterial strains. Additionally, wPipSJ was fully characterised using metagenome-assembled genomics, PCR-RFLP (PCR-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism) and MLST (MultiLocus Sequence Typing) analyses. This Wolbachia strain wPipSJ belongs to haplotype I, group wPip-III and supergroup B, clustering with other mosquito wPip strains, such as wPip PEL, wPip JHB, wPip Mol, and wAlbB; showing the southernmost distribution in America. The cytoplasmic incompatibility phenotype of this strain was revealed via crosses between wildtype (Wolbachia+) and antibiotic treated mosquito populations. The results of the tests with the bacterial agents suggest that Cx. quinquefasciatus naturally infected with wPipSJ is less susceptible to the pathogenic action of mosquitocidal bacterial strains when compared with the antibiotic-treated mosquito isoline, and is more susceptible to B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis than to the other two mosquitocidal agents.

RevDate: 2021-01-13

Chung M, Adkins RS, Mattick JSA, et al (2021)

FADU: a Quantification Tool for Prokaryotic Transcriptomic Analyses.

mSystems, 6(1):.

Quantification tools for RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) analyses are often designed and tested using human transcriptomics data sets, in which full-length transcript sequences are well annotated. For prokaryotic transcriptomics experiments, full-length transcript sequences are seldom known, and coding sequences must instead be used for quantification steps in RNA-Seq analyses. However, operons confound accurate quantification of coding sequences since a single transcript does not necessarily equate to a single gene. Here, we introduce FADU (Feature Aggregate Depth Utility), a quantification tool designed specifically for prokaryotic RNA-Seq analyses. FADU assigns partial count values proportional to the length of the fragment overlapping the target feature. To assess the ability of FADU to quantify genes in prokaryotic transcriptomics analyses, we compared its performance to those of eXpress, featureCounts, HTSeq, kallisto, and Salmon across three paired-end read data sets of (i) Ehrlichia chaffeensis, (ii) Escherichia coli, and (iii) the Wolbachia endosymbiont wBm. Across each of the three data sets, we find that FADU can more accurately quantify operonic genes by deriving proportional counts for multigene fragments within operons. FADU is available at https://github.com/IGS/FADUIMPORTANCE Most currently available quantification tools for transcriptomics analyses have been designed for human data sets, in which full-length transcript sequences, including the untranslated regions, are well annotated. In most prokaryotic systems, full-length transcript sequences have yet to be characterized, leading to prokaryotic transcriptomics analyses being performed based on only the coding sequences. In contrast to eukaryotes, prokaryotes contain polycistronic transcripts, and when genes are quantified based on coding sequences instead of transcript sequences, this leads to an increased abundance of improperly assigned ambiguous multigene fragments, specifically those mapping to multiple genes in operons. Here, we describe FADU, a quantification tool for prokaryotic RNA-Seq analyses designed to assign proportional counts with the purpose of better quantifying operonic genes while minimizing the pitfalls associated with improperly assigning fragment counts from ambiguous transcripts.

RevDate: 2021-01-13

Deehan M, Lin W, Blum B, et al (2021)

Intracellular Density of Wolbachia Is Mediated by Host Autophagy and the Bacterial Cytoplasmic Incompatibility Gene cifB in a Cell Type-Dependent Manner in Drosophila melanogaster.

mBio, 12(1):.

Autophagy is an intracellular degradation pathway involved in innate immunity. Pathogenic bacteria have evolved several mechanisms to escape degradation or exploit autophagy to acquire host nutrients. In the case of endosymbionts, which often have commensal or mutualistic interactions with the host, autophagy is not well characterized. We utilized tissue-specific autophagy mutants to determine if Wolbachia, a vertically transmitted obligate endosymbiont of Drosophila melanogaster, is regulated by autophagy in somatic and germ line cell types. Our analysis revealed core autophagy proteins Atg1 and Atg8 and a selective autophagy-specific protein Ref(2)p negatively regulate Wolbachia in the hub, a male gonad somatic cell type. Furthermore, we determined that the Wolbachia effector protein, CifB, modulates autophagy-Wolbachia interactions, identifying a new host-related pathway which these bacterial proteins interact with. In the female germ line, the cell type necessary for inheritance of Wolbachia through vertical transmission, we discovered that bulk autophagy mediated by Atg1 and Atg8 positively regulates Wolbachia density, whereas Ref(2)p had no effect. Global metabolomics of fly ovaries deficient in germ line autophagy revealed reduced lipid and carbon metabolism, implicating metabolites from these pathways as positive regulators of Wolbachia Our work provides further understanding of how autophagy affects bacteria in a cell type-dependent manner.IMPORTANCE Autophagy is a eukaryotic intracellular degradation pathway which can act as an innate immune response to eliminate pathogens. Conversely, pathogens can evolve proteins which modulate the autophagy pathway to subvert degradation and establish an infection. Wolbachia, a vertically transmitted obligate endosymbiont which infects up to 40% of insect species, is negatively regulated by autophagy in whole animals, but the specific molecular mechanism and tissue which govern this interaction remain unknown. Our studies use cell type-specific autophagy mutants to reveal that Wolbachia is negatively regulated by selective autophagy in the soma, while nonselective autophagy positively regulates Wolbachia in the female germ line. These data provide evidence that cell type can drive different basal autophagy programs which modulate intracellular microbes differently. Additionally, we identified that the Wolbachia effector CifB acts in the selective autophagy pathway to aid in intracellular bacterial survival, providing a new function for CifB beyond its previously identified role in reproductive manipulation.

RevDate: 2021-01-13

Ogunlade ST, Meehan MT, Adekunle AI, et al (2021)

A Review: Aedes-Borne Arboviral Infections, Controls and Wolbachia-Based Strategies.

Vaccines, 9(1): pii:vaccines9010032.

Arthropod-borne viruses (Arboviruses) continue to generate significant health and economic burdens for people living in endemic regions. Of these viruses, some of the most important (e.g., dengue, Zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever virus), are transmitted mainly by Aedes mosquitoes. Over the years, viral infection control has targeted vector population reduction and inhibition of arboviral replication and transmission. This control includes the vector control methods which are classified into chemical, environmental, and biological methods. Some of these control methods may be largely experimental (both field and laboratory investigations) or widely practised. Perceptively, one of the biological methods of vector control, in particular, Wolbachia-based control, shows a promising control strategy for eradicating Aedes-borne arboviruses. This can either be through the artificial introduction of Wolbachia, a naturally present bacterium that impedes viral growth in mosquitoes into heterologous Aedes aegypti mosquito vectors (vectors that are not natural hosts of Wolbachia) thereby limiting arboviral transmission or via Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which naturally harbour Wolbachia infection. These strategies are potentially undermined by the tendency of mosquitoes to lose Wolbachia infection in unfavourable weather conditions (e.g., high temperature) and the inhibitory competitive dynamics among co-circulating Wolbachia strains. The main objective of this review was to critically appraise published articles on vector control strategies and specifically highlight the use of Wolbachia-based control to suppress vector population growth or disrupt viral transmission. We retrieved studies on the control strategies for arboviral transmissions via arthropod vectors and discussed the use of Wolbachia control strategies for eradicating arboviral diseases to identify literature gaps that will be instrumental in developing models to estimate the impact of these control strategies and, in essence, the use of different Wolbachia strains and features.

RevDate: 2021-01-11

Thongprem P, Evison SEF, Hurst GDD, et al (2020)

Transmission, Tropism, and Biological Impacts of Torix Rickettsia in the Common Bed Bug Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae).

Frontiers in microbiology, 11:608763.

The torix group of Rickettsia have been recorded from a wide assemblage of invertebrates, but details of transmission and biological impacts on the host have rarely been established. The common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) is a hemipteran insect which lives as an obligatory hematophagous pest of humans and is host to a primary Wolbachia symbiont and two facultative symbionts, a BEV-like symbiont, and a torix group Rickettsia. In this study, we first note the presence of a single Rickettsia strain in multiple laboratory bed bug isolates derived from Europe and Africa. Importantly, we discovered that the Rickettsia has segregated in two laboratory strains, providing infected and uninfected isogenic lines for study. Crosses with these lines established transmission was purely maternal. Fluorescence in-situ hybridization analysis indicates Rickettsia infection in oocytes, bacteriomes, and other somatic tissues. We found no evidence that Rickettsia infection was associated with sex ratio distortion activity, but Rickettsia infected individuals developed from first instar to adult more slowly. The impact of Rickettsia on fecundity and fertility resulted in infected females producing fewer fertile eggs. However, we could not find any evidence for cytoplasmic incompatibility associated with Rickettsia presence. These data imply the existence of an unknown benefit to C. lectularius carrying Rickettsia that awaits further research.

RevDate: 2021-01-11

Doremus MR, Stouthamer CM, Kelly SE, et al (2020)

Cardinium Localization During Its Parasitoid Wasp Host's Development Provides Insights Into Cytoplasmic Incompatibility.

Frontiers in microbiology, 11:606399.

Arthropods harbor heritable intracellular symbionts that may manipulate host reproduction to favor symbiont transmission. In cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), the symbiont sabotages the reproduction of infected males such that high levels of offspring mortality result when they mate with uninfected females. In crosses with infected males and infected females, however (the "rescue" cross), normal numbers of offspring are produced. A common CI-inducing symbiont, Cardinium hertigii, causes variable levels of CI mortality in the parasitoid wasp, Encarsia suzannae. Previous work correlated CI-induced mortality with male development time in this system, although the timing of Cardinium CI-induction and the relationship between development time and CI mortality was not well understood. Here, using a combination of crosses, manipulation of development time, and fluorescence microscopy, we identify the localization and the timing of the CI-induction step in the Cardinium-E. suzannae system. Antibiotic treatment of adult Cardinium-infected males did not reduce the mortality associated with the CI phenotype, suggesting that CI-alteration occurs prior to adulthood. Our results suggest that the alteration step occurs during the pupal period, and is limited by the duration of pupal development: 1) Encarsia produces most sperm prior to adulthood, 2) FISH localization of Cardinium in testes showed an association with sperm nuclei throughout spermatogenesis but not with mature sperm, and 3) two methods of prolonging the pupal period (cool temperatures and the juvenile hormone analog methoprene) both caused greater CI mortality, suggesting the degree of alteration is limited by the duration of the pupal stage. Based on these results, we compare two models for potential mechanisms of Cardinium sperm modification in the context of what is known about analogous mechanisms of Wolbachia, a more extensively studied CI-inducing symbiont.

RevDate: 2021-01-09

Inácio da Silva LM, Dezordi FZ, Paiva MHS, et al (2021)

Systematic Review of Wolbachia Symbiont Detection in Mosquitoes: An Entangled Topic about Methodological Power and True Symbiosis.

Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland), 10(1): pii:pathogens10010039.

Wolbachia is an endosymbiotic bacterium that naturally infects several arthropods and nematode species. Wolbachia gained particular attention due to its impact on their host fitness and the capacity of specific Wolbachia strains in reducing pathogen vector and agricultural pest populations and pathogens transmission. Despite the success of mosquito/pathogen control programs using Wolbachia-infected mosquito release, little is known about the abundance and distribution of Wolbachia in most mosquito species, a crucial knowledge for planning and deployment of mosquito control programs and that can further improve our basic biology understanding of Wolbachia and host relationships. In this systematic review, Wolbachia was detected in only 30% of the mosquito species investigated. Fourteen percent of the species were considered positive by some studies and negative by others in different geographical regions, suggesting a variable infection rate and/or limitations of the Wolbachia detection methods employed. Eighty-three percent of the studies screened Wolbachia with only one technique. Our findings highlight that the assessment of Wolbachia using a single approach limited the inference of true Wolbachia infection in most of the studied species and that researchers should carefully choose complementary methodologies and consider different Wolbachia-mosquito population dynamics that may be a source of bias to ascertain the correct infectious status of the host species.

RevDate: 2021-01-08

Shults P, Cohnstaedt LW, Adelman ZN, et al (2021)

Next-generation tools to control biting midge populations and reduce pathogen transmission.

Parasites & vectors, 14(1):31.

Biting midges of the genus Culicoides transmit disease-causing agents resulting in a significant economic impact on livestock industries in many parts of the world. Localized control efforts, such as removal of larval habitat or pesticide application, can be logistically difficult, expensive and ineffective if not instituted and maintained properly. With these limitations, a population-level approach to the management of Culicoides midges should be investigated as a means to replace or supplement existing control strategies. Next-generation control methods such as Wolbachia- and genetic-based population suppression and replacement are being investigated in several vector species. Here we assess the feasibility and applicability of these approaches for use against biting midges. We also discuss the technical and logistical hurdles needing to be addressed for each method to be successful, as well as emphasize the importance of addressing community engagement and involving stakeholders in the investigation and development of these approaches.

RevDate: 2021-01-07

Farnesi LC, Carvalho FD, Lacerda APC, et al (2021)

The influence of different sources of blood meals on the physiology of Aedes aegypti harboring Wolbachia wMel: mouse blood as an alternative for mosquito rearing.

Parasites & vectors, 14(1):21.

BACKGROUND: Aedes aegypti control programs have failed to restrain mosquito population expansion and, consequently, the spread of diseases such as dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya. Wolbachia infection of mosquitoes is a new and promising complementary tool for the control of arbovirus transmission. The use of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes, mass reared using human blood, is currently being tested in several countries. However, the use of human blood for mass rearing mosquitoes, and thus expansion of this strategy, is problematic. With the aim of overcoming this problem, we tested the effect of different types of blood source on the fitness parameters of female Ae. aegypti and the Wolbachia titer over generations to be able to guarantee the suitability of an alternative source to human blood for mass rearing Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes.

METHODS: We investigated and compared essential parameters of the vector capacity of laboratory strains of Ae. aegypti with and without Wolbachia that fed on blood of different types of host (human, guinea pig, and mouse). The parameters analyzed were fecundity, fertility, pupation dynamics, and adult survival. Also, we tested whether it is possible to maintain mosquitoes with Wolbachia on mouse blood over generations without losing the bacterium titer.

RESULTS: The average number of eggs per female, egg viability and pupation dynamics in the Wolbachia-infected mosquito (wMelBr) strain were similar, regardless of the blood source. The F1 progenies of females that fed on mouse blood or human blood were analyzed. The longevity of males was lower than that of females. F1 female survival differed depending on the presence of Wolbachia in the mother. In subsequent generations analyzed up until F35, the relative Wolbachia density was even higher when mosquitoes fed on mouse blood in comparison to human blood.

CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our results provide no evidence that the different types of blood influenced the fitness of the Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes. The presence of the bacterium in the colonies of Wolbachia-infected Ae. aegypti after 35 generations under the conditions evaluated indicates that they can be maintained on mouse blood. Based on these results, we show that it is possible to use mouse blood to feed female mosquitoes when using human blood for this purpose is problematic.

RevDate: 2021-01-06

Chevignon G, Foray V, Pérez-Jiménez MM, et al (2021)

Dual RNAseq analyses at soma and germline levels reveal evolutionary innovations in the elephantiasis-agent Brugia malayi, and adaptation of its Wolbachia endosymbionts.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 15(1):e0008935 pii:PNTD-D-20-01242.

Brugia malayi is a human filarial nematode responsible for elephantiasis, a debilitating condition that is part of a broader spectrum of diseases called filariasis, including lymphatic filariasis and river blindness. Almost all filarial nematode species infecting humans live in mutualism with Wolbachia endosymbionts, present in somatic hypodermal tissues but also in the female germline which ensures their vertical transmission to the nematode progeny. These α-proteobacteria potentially provision their host with essential metabolites and protect the parasite against the vertebrate immune response. In the absence of Wolbachia wBm, B. malayi females become sterile, and the filarial nematode lifespan is greatly reduced. In order to better comprehend this symbiosis, we investigated the adaptation of wBm to the host nematode soma and germline, and we characterized these cellular environments to highlight their specificities. Dual RNAseq experiments were performed at the tissue-specific and ovarian developmental stage levels, reaching the resolution of the germline mitotic proliferation and meiotic differentiation stages. We found that most wBm genes, including putative effectors, are not differentially regulated between infected tissues. However, two wBm genes involved in stress responses are upregulated in the hypodermal chords compared to the germline, indicating that this somatic tissue represents a harsh environment to which wBm have adapted. A comparison of the B. malayi and C. elegans germline transcriptomes reveals a poor conservation of genes involved in the production of oocytes, with the filarial germline proliferative zone relying on a majority of genes absent from C. elegans. The first orthology map of the B. malayi genome presented here, together with tissue-specific expression enrichment analyses, indicate that the early steps of oogenesis are a developmental process involving genes specific to filarial nematodes, that likely result from evolutionary innovations supporting the filarial parasitic lifestyle.

RevDate: 2021-01-05

Shih CM, Ophine L, LL Chao (2021)

Molecular Detection and Genetic Identification of Wolbachia Endosymbiont in Wild-Caught Culex quinquefasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae) Mosquitoes from Sumatera Utara, Indonesia.

Microbial ecology [Epub ahead of print].

The genetic identity of Wolbachia endosymbiont in wild-caught Culex quinquefasciatus was determined for the first time in Indonesia. A total of 314 Cx. quinquefasciatus were examined for Wolbachia by PCR assay targeting the Wolbachia surface protein (wsp) gene. The prevalence of Wolbachia infection was detected in 29.94% of Cx. specimens (45.86% female and 8.27% male). The group-specific infection was detected with an infection rate of 0.32%, 28.98%, and 0.64% in groups A, B, and A&B, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis revealed all Wolbachia strains from Indonesia were genetically affiliated to the supergroup A and B with the high sequence similarity of 97.9-100% and 99.7-100%, respectively. Phylogenetic relationships can be easily distinguished by neighbor-joining analysis and were congruent by maximum likelihood method. The genetic distance (GD) values of intra- and inter-group analysis indicated a lower level (GD < 0.007 for group A and GD < 0.003 for group B) within the Indonesia strains and a higher level (GD > 1.125 for group A and GD > 1.129 for group B) as compared with other Wolbachia strains. Our results provide the first genetic identification of Wolbachia endosymbiont in Cx. quinquefasciatus collected from Indonesia, and the phylogenetic analysis revealed a new discovery of group A Wolbachia in wild-caught Cx. quinquefasciatus mosquitoes.

RevDate: 2021-01-04
CmpDate: 2021-01-04

Mendiola SY, Civitello DJ, NM Gerardo (2020)

An integrative approach to symbiont-mediated vector control for agricultural pathogens.

Current opinion in insect science, 39:57-62.

Vector-borne pathogens pose significant threats to agricultural productivity. Methods that exploit associations between insects and their symbiotic microbes, dubbed symbiont-mediated vector control, are emerging as viable alternatives to insecticides for the control of vector-borne agricultural plant pathogens. The development of methods for effective microbial manipulation, such as RNA interference and paratransgenesis, may facilitate symbiont-mediated vector control tactics aimed at either suppressing insect populations or at manipulating vector competence, an insect vector's ability to acquire, harbor, and transmit pathogens. As suppression strategies transition from the laboratory to the field, the need for methods to evaluate their viability and predict their outcomes is apparent. Mathematical models of symbiont impact on agricultural disease can inform the development of symbiont-mediated vector control. We propose an integrative approach, combining theoretical and empirical experiments to identify the best practices for achieving meaningful improvements to crop health and productivity.

RevDate: 2021-01-04
CmpDate: 2021-01-04

Liberti J, P Engel (2020)

The gut microbiota - brain axis of insects.

Current opinion in insect science, 39:6-13.

Research on the connections between gut microbes and the neurophysiology and behavior of their animal hosts has grown exponentially in just a few years. Most studies have focused on mammalian models as their relevance to human health is widely established. However, evidence is accumulating that insect behavior may be governed by molecular mechanisms that are partly homologous to those of mammals, and therefore relevant for the understanding of their behavioral dysfunctions. Social insects in particular may provide experimentally amenable models to disentangle the contributions of individual bacterial symbionts to the gut microbiota - brain axis. In this review, we summarize findings from recent research on the neurological and behavioral effects of the gut microbiota of insects and propose an integrated approach to unravel the extended behavioral phenotypes of gut microbes in the honey bee.

RevDate: 2020-12-28

Driscoll TP, Verhoeve VI, Brockway C, et al (2020)

Evolution of Wolbachia mutualism and reproductive parasitism: insight from two novel strains that co-infect cat fleas.

PeerJ, 8:e10646 pii:10646.

Wolbachiae are obligate intracellular bacteria that infect arthropods and certain nematodes. Usually maternally inherited, they may provision nutrients to (mutualism) or alter sexual biology of (reproductive parasitism) their invertebrate hosts. We report the assembly of closed genomes for two novel wolbachiae, wCfeT and wCfeJ, found co-infecting cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) of the Elward Laboratory colony (Soquel, CA, USA). wCfeT is basal to nearly all described Wolbachia supergroups, while wCfeJ is related to supergroups C, D and F. Both genomes contain laterally transferred genes that inform on the evolution of Wolbachia host associations. wCfeT carries the Biotin synthesis Operon of Obligate intracellular Microbes (BOOM); our analyses reveal five independent acquisitions of BOOM across the Wolbachia tree, indicating parallel evolution towards mutualism. Alternately, wCfeJ harbors a toxin-antidote operon analogous to the wPip cinAB operon recently characterized as an inducer of cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) in flies. wCfeJ cinB and three adjacent genes are collectively similar to large modular toxins encoded in CI-like operons of certain Wolbachia strains and Rickettsia species, signifying that CI toxins streamline by fission of large modular toxins. Remarkably, the C. felis genome itself contains two CI-like antidote genes, divergent from wCfeJ cinA, revealing episodic reproductive parasitism in cat fleas and evidencing mobility of CI loci independent of WO-phage. Additional screening revealed predominant co-infection (wCfeT/wCfeJ) amongst C. felis colonies, though fleas in wild populations mostly harbor wCfeT alone. Collectively, genomes of wCfeT, wCfeJ, and their cat flea host supply instances of lateral gene transfers that could drive transitions between parasitism and mutualism.

RevDate: 2020-12-28

Leftwich PT, Spurgin LG, Harvey-Samuel T, et al (2021)

Genetic pest management and the background genetics of release strains.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 376(1818):20190805.

Genetic pest management (GPM) methods involve releasing modified versions of a pest species to mate with wild pests in the target area. Proposed for a wide range of applications in public health, agriculture and conservation, most progress has been made with pest insects. Offspring of the released modified insects and wild pests carry the modification-which might be transgenes, artificially introduced Wolbachia or genetic damage from radiation, for example-but they also carry a complete haploid genome from their laboratory-reared parent, as well as one from their wild parent. Unless these F1 hybrids are completely unable to reproduce, further mating will lead to introgression of DNA sequences from the release strain into the wild population. We discuss issues around strain selection and the potential consequences of such introgression. We conclude that such introgression is probably harmless in almost all circumstances, and could, in theory, provide specific additional benefits to the release programme. We outline population monitoring approaches that could be used, going forward, to determine how background genetics may affect GPM. This article is part of the theme issue 'Novel control strategies for mosquito-borne diseases'.

RevDate: 2020-12-28

Ahmad NA, Mancini MV, Ant TH, et al (2021)

Wolbachia strain wAlbB maintains high density and dengue inhibition following introduction into a field population of Aedes aegypti.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 376(1818):20190809.

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes carrying the wAlbB Wolbachia strain show a reduced capacity to transmit dengue virus. wAlbB has been introduced into wild Ae. aegypti populations in several field sites in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where it has persisted at high frequency for more than 2 years and significantly reduced dengue incidence. Although these encouraging results indicate that wAlbB releases can be an effective dengue control strategy, the long-term success depends on wAlbB maintaining high population frequencies and virus transmission inhibition, and both could be compromised by Wolbachia-host coevolution in the field. Here, wAlbB-carrying Ae. aegypti collected from the field 20 months after the cessation of releases showed no reduction in Wolbachia density or tissue distribution changes compared to a wAlbB laboratory colony. The wAlbB strain continued to induce complete unidirectional cytoplasmic incompatibility, showed perfect maternal transmission under laboratory conditions, and retained its capacity to inhibit dengue. Additionally, a field-collected wAlbB line was challenged with Malaysian dengue patient blood, and showed significant blocking of virus dissemination to the salivary glands. These results indicate that wAlbB continues to inhibit currently circulating strains of dengue in field populations of Ae. aegypti, and provides additional support for the continued scale-up of Wolbachia wAlbB releases for dengue control. This article is part of the theme issue 'Novel control strategies for mosquito-borne diseases'.

RevDate: 2020-12-22

Sullivan W (2020)

Vector Control: Wolbachia Expands Its Protective Reach from Humans to Plants.

Current biology : CB, 30(24):R1489-R1491.

RNA viral titers are often suppressed in insects co-infected with the bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia. This property has been used to suppress transmission of the ragged rice stunt virus from its insect host, the brown planthopper, to the rice plant.

RevDate: 2020-12-16

Bishop C, S Asgari (2020)

Altered gene expression profile of Wolbachia pipientis wAlbB strain following transinfection from its native host Aedes albopictus to Aedes aegypti cells.

Molecular microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia is an obligate intracellular bacterial symbiont prevalent among arthropods and nematodes. To survive and reproduce, Wolbachia interacts with and modifies host subcellular structures, while sensing and responding to changes within the cellular environment. In mutualistic associations, Wolbachia may provision the host with metabolites, or help to maintain the chemical homeostasis of the host cell. Some strains can rapidly invade insect populations by manipulating host reproductive biology, while also preventing viral replication, allowing their use in vector control of arthropod-borne viruses. The Aedes albopictus-derived strain wAlbB is promising in this regard. When transinfected into the Yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, wAlbB reaches high frequencies within wild populations, and strongly inhibits viral transmission. Despite its obvious potential, much is still unknown about the molecular interactions between Wolbachia and host that enable its use in vector control. Further, most Wolbachia transinfection research to date has focused on host effects. In the current study, we used a cell line model to explore the effect of transinfection of wAlbB from Ae. albopictus to Ae. aegypti. Using RNA sequencing, we show that several genes associated with host-symbiont interactions were downregulated by transinfection, with the greatest downregulation exhibited by prophage-associated genes.

RevDate: 2020-12-14

Cardoso A, J Gómez-Zurita (2020)

Food Resource Sharing of Alder Leaf Beetle Specialists (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) as Potential Insect-Plant Interface for Horizontal Transmission of Endosymbionts.

Environmental entomology, 49(6):1402-1414.

Recent studies suggest that endosymbionts of herbivore insects can be horizontally transferred to other herbivores feeding on the same host plants, whereby the plant acts as an intermediate stage in the chain of transmission. If this mechanism operates, it is also expected that insect communities sharing the same host plant will have higher chances to share their endosymbionts. In this study, we use a high-throughput 16S rRNA metabarcoding approach to investigate the presence, diversity, and potential sharing of endosymbionts in several species of leaf beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) of a local community specialized on an alder diet in North America. Rickettsia and Wolbachia were predominant in the sample, with strong evidence for each species having their own dominant infection, of either or both types of bacteria. However, all species shared a much lower proportion of a particular Wolbachia type, compatible with the same strain dominant in one of the species of leaf beetles. Crucially, the same 16S rRNA haplotype of Wolbachia was found on alder leaf extracts. The combined evidence and the absence of this strain in a syntopic species of leaf beetle feeding on a different host plant support the hypothesis that at least the initial stages of the mechanism that would allow horizontal transmission of endosymbionts across species feeding on the same plant is possible. The accessibility and characteristics of endosymbiont associations of this system make it suitable for deeper analyses of their diversity and transmission in natural conditions.

RevDate: 2020-12-10

Ding H, Yeo H, N Puniamoorthy (2020)

Wolbachia infection in wild mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae): implications for transmission modes and host-endosymbiont associations in Singapore.

Parasites & vectors, 13(1):612.

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia are intracellular bacterial endosymbionts found in most insect lineages. In mosquitoes, the influence of these endosymbionts on host reproduction and arboviral transmission has spurred numerous studies aimed at using Wolbachia infection as a vector control technique. However, there are several knowledge gaps in the literature and little is known about natural Wolbachia infection across species, their transmission modes, or associations between various Wolbachia lineages and their hosts. This study aims to address these gaps by exploring mosquito-Wolbachia associations and their evolutionary implications.

METHODS: We conducted tissue-specific polymerase chain reaction screening for Wolbachia infection in the leg, gut and reproductive tissues of wild mosquitoes from Singapore using the Wolbachia surface protein gene (wsp) molecular marker. Mosquito-Wolbachia associations were explored using three methods-tanglegram, distance-based, and event-based methods-and by inferred instances of vertical transmission and host shifts.

RESULTS: Adult mosquitoes (271 specimens) representing 14 genera and 40 species were screened for Wolbachia. Overall, 21 species (51.2%) were found positive for Wolbachia, including five in the genus Aedes and five in the genus Culex. To our knowledge, Wolbachia infections have not been previously reported in seven of these 21 species: Aedes nr. fumidus, Aedes annandalei, Uranotaenia obscura, Uranotaenia trilineata, Verrallina butleri, Verrallina sp. and Zeugnomyia gracilis. Wolbachia were predominantly detected in the reproductive tissues, which is an indication of vertical transmission. However, Wolbachia infection rates varied widely within a mosquito host species. There was no clear signal of cophylogeny between the mosquito hosts and the 12 putative Wolbachia strains observed in this study. Host shift events were also observed.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that the mosquito-Wolbachia relationship is complex and that combinations of transmission modes and multiple evolutionary events likely explain the observed distribution of Wolbachia diversity across mosquito hosts. These findings have implications for a better understanding of the diversity and ecology of Wolbachia and for their utility as biocontrol agents.

RevDate: 2020-12-09

Lefoulon E, Clark T, Guerrero R, et al (2020)

Diminutive, degraded but dissimilar: Wolbachia genomes from filarial nematodes do not conform to a single paradigm.

Microbial genomics [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia are alpha-proteobacteria symbionts infecting a large range of arthropod species and two different families of nematodes. Interestingly, these endosymbionts are able to induce diverse phenotypes in their hosts: they are reproductive parasites within many arthropods, nutritional mutualists within some insects and obligate mutualists within their filarial nematode hosts. Defining Wolbachia 'species' is controversial and so they are commonly classified into 17 different phylogenetic lineages, termed supergroups, named A-F, H-Q and S. However, available genomic data remain limited and not representative of the full Wolbachia diversity; indeed, of the 24 complete genomes and 55 draft genomes of Wolbachia available to date, 84 % belong to supergroups A and B, exclusively composed of Wolbachia from arthropods. For the current study, we took advantage of a recently developed DNA-enrichment method to produce four complete genomes and two draft genomes of Wolbachia from filarial nematodes. Two complete genomes, wCtub and wDcau, are the smallest Wolbachia genomes sequenced to date (863 988 bp and 863 427 bp, respectively), as well as the first genomes representing supergroup J. These genomes confirm the validity of this supergroup, a controversial clade due to weaknesses of the multilocus sequence typing approach. We also produced the first draft Wolbachia genome from a supergroup F filarial nematode representative (wMhie), two genomes from supergroup D (wLsig and wLbra) and the complete genome of wDimm from supergroup C. Our new data confirm the paradigm of smaller Wolbachia genomes from filarial nematodes containing low levels of transposable elements and the absence of intact bacteriophage sequences, unlike many Wolbachia from arthropods, where both are more abundant. However, we observe differences among the Wolbachia genomes from filarial nematodes: no global co-evolutionary pattern, strong synteny between supergroup C and supergroup J Wolbachia, and more transposable elements observed in supergroup D Wolbachia compared to the other supergroups. Metabolic pathway analysis indicates several highly conserved pathways (haem and nucleotide biosynthesis, for example) as opposed to more variable pathways, such as vitamin B biosynthesis, which might be specific to certain host-symbiont associations. Overall, there appears to be no single Wolbachia-filarial nematode pattern of co-evolution or symbiotic relationship.

RevDate: 2020-12-09

Fu Z, Meier AR, Epstein B, et al (2020)

Host plants and Wolbachia shape the population genetics of sympatric herbivore populations.

Evolutionary applications, 13(10):2740-2753 pii:EVA13079.

Changing climate and land-use practices have the potential to bring previously isolated populations of pest insects into new sympatry. This heightens the need to better understand how differing patterns of host-plant association, and unique endosymbionts, serve to promote genetic isolation or integration. We addressed these factors in populations of potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli (Šulc), a generalist herbivore that vectors a bacterial pathogen (Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum, causal pathogen of zebra chip disease) of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.). Genome-wide SNP data revealed two major genetic clusters-psyllids collected from potato crops were genetically similar to psyllids found on a common weed, Lycium spp., but dissimilar from those found on another common non-crop host, Solanum dulcamara L. Most psyllids found on Lycium spp. and potato represented a single mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) haplotype that has been suggested to not be native to the region, and whose arrival may have been concurrent with zebra chip disease first emerging. The putatively introduced COI haplotype usually co-occurred with endosymbiotic Wolbachia, while the putatively resident COI haplotype generally did not. Genetic intermediates between the two genetic populations of insects were rare, consistent with recent sympatry or reproductive isolation, although admixture patterns of apparent hybrids were consistent with introgression of genes from introduced into resident populations. Our results suggest that both host-plant associations and endosymbionts are shaping the population genetic structure of sympatric psyllid populations associated with different non-crop hosts. It is of future interest to explicitly examine vectorial capacity of the two populations and their potential hybrids, as population structure and hybridization might alter regional vector capacity and disease outbreaks.

RevDate: 2020-12-09

Wöger R, Wöger R, M Nuss (2020)

DNA barcodes for Aotearoa New Zealand Pyraloidea (Lepidoptera).

Biodiversity data journal, 8:e58841 pii:58841.

Identification of pyraloid species is often hampered by highly similar external morphology requiring microscopic dissection of genitalia. This becomes especially obvious when mass samples from ecological studies or insect monitoring have to be analysed. DNA barcode sequences could accelerate identification, but are not available for most pyraloid species from New Zealand. Hence, we are presenting a first DNA-barcode library for this group, providing 440 COI barcodes (cytochrome C oxidase I sequences) for 73 morphologically-identified species, which is 29% of Pyraloidea known from New Zealand. Results are analysed using the Barcode Index Number system (BIN) of BOLD and the Automatic Barcode Gap Discovery method (ABGD). Using BIN, the 440 barcodes reveal 82 clusters. A perfect match between BIN assignment and morphological identification was found for 63 species (86.3%). Four species (5.5%) share BINs, each with two species in one BIN, of which Glaucocharis epiphaea and Glaucocharis harmonica even share the same barcode. In contrast, six species (8.2%) split into two or more BINs, with the highest number of five BINs for Orocrambus ramosellus. The interspecific variation of all collected specimens of New Zealand Pyraloidea averages 12.54%. There are deep intraspecific divergences (> 2%) in seven species, for instance Orocrambus vulgaris with up to 6.6% and Scoparia ustimacula with 5.5%. Using ABGD, the 440 barcodes reveal 71 or 88 operational taxonomic units (OTUs), depending on the preferred partition. A perfect match between OTU and morphological identification was found for 56 species (76.7%) or 62 species (84.9%). ABGD delivers four or seven species sharing OTUs and four or ten species split into more than one OTU. Morphological re-examination, as well as the analysis of a concatenated dataset of COI and the nuclear markers EF1α and GADPH for species split into more than one BIN or OTU, do not support a higher number of species. Likewise, there is no evidence for Wolbachia infection as a trigger for these sequence variations.

RevDate: 2020-12-07

Schiefer A, Hübner MP, Krome A, et al (2020)

Corallopyronin A for short-course anti-wolbachial, macrofilaricidal treatment of filarial infections.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 14(12):e0008930 pii:PNTD-D-20-00892 [Epub ahead of print].

Current efforts to eliminate the neglected tropical diseases onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis, caused by the filarial nematodes Onchocerca volvulus and Wuchereria bancrofti or Brugia spp., respectively, are hampered by lack of a short-course macrofilaricidal-adult-worm killing-treatment. Anti-wolbachial antibiotics, e.g. doxycycline, target the essential Wolbachia endosymbionts of filariae and are a safe prototype adult-worm-sterilizing and macrofilaricidal regimen, in contrast to standard treatments with ivermectin or diethylcarbamazine, which mainly target the microfilariae. However, treatment regimens of 4-5 weeks necessary for doxycycline and contraindications limit its use. Therefore, we tested the preclinical anti-Wolbachia drug candidate Corallopyronin A (CorA) for in vivo efficacy during initial and chronic filarial infections in the Litomosoides sigmodontis rodent model. CorA treatment for 14 days beginning immediately after infection cleared >90% of Wolbachia endosymbionts from filariae and prevented development into adult worms. CorA treatment of patently infected microfilaremic gerbils for 14 days with 30 mg/kg twice a day (BID) achieved a sustained reduction of >99% of Wolbachia endosymbionts from adult filariae and microfilariae, followed by complete inhibition of filarial embryogenesis resulting in clearance of microfilariae. Combined treatment of CorA and albendazole, a drug currently co-administered during mass drug administrations and previously shown to enhance efficacy of anti-Wolbachia drugs, achieved microfilarial clearance after 7 days of treatment at a lower BID dose of 10 mg/kg CorA, a Human Equivalent Dose of 1.4 mg/kg. Importantly, this combination led to a significant reduction in the adult worm burden, which has not yet been published with other anti-Wolbachia candidates tested in this model. In summary, CorA is a preclinical candidate for filariasis, which significantly reduces treatment times required to achieve sustained Wolbachia depletion, clearance of microfilariae, and inhibition of embryogenesis. In combination with albendazole, CorA is robustly macrofilaricidal after 7 days of treatment and fulfills the Target Product Profile for a macrofilaricidal drug.

RevDate: 2020-12-07

Wang X, Xiong X, Cao W, et al (2020)

Phylogenomic Analysis of Wolbachia Strains Reveals Patterns of Genome Evolution and Recombination.

Genome biology and evolution, 12(12):2508-2520.

Wolbachia are widespread intracellular bacteria that mediate many important biological processes in arthropod species. In this study, we identified 210 conserved single-copy genes in 33 genome-sequenced Wolbachia strains in the A-F supergroups. Phylogenomic analyses with these core genes indicate that all 33 Wolbachia strains maintain the supergroup relationship, which was classified previously based on the multilocus sequence typing (MLST) genes. Using an interclade recombination screening method, 14 inter-supergroup recombination events were discovered in six genes (2.9%) among 210 single-copy orthologs. This finding suggests a relatively low frequency of intergroup recombination. Interestingly, they have occurred not only between A and B supergroups (nine events) but also between A and E supergroups (five events). Maintenance of such transfers suggests possible roles in Wolbachia infection-related functions. Comparisons of strain divergence using the five genes of the MLST system show a high correlation (Pearson correlation coefficient r = 0.98) between MLST and whole-genome divergences, indicating that MLST is a reliable method for identifying related strains when whole-genome data are not available. The phylogenomic analysis and the identified core gene set in our study will serve as a valuable foundation for strain identification and the investigation of recombination and genome evolution in Wolbachia.

RevDate: 2020-12-07

Miao YH, Xiao JH, DW Huang (2020)

Distribution and Evolution of the Bacteriophage WO and Its Antagonism With Wolbachia.

Frontiers in microbiology, 11:595629.

The symbiosis system comprising eukaryotic hosts, intracellular bacterium Wolbachia, and temperate bacteriophages WO is widely spread through nearly half the number of arthropod species. The relationships between the three components of the system are extremely intricate. Even though the bacteriophage WO can have diverse influences on the ecology and evolution of Wolbachia, little is known about the distribution and evolution of the phages. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to report that in infected fig wasps (Ceratosolen solmsi, Kradibia gibbosae, and Wiebesia pumilae), the genomes of all the Wolbachia strains had only one cryptic WO prophage, which contained defects in the genomic structural modules. This phenomenon was contrary to the widely accepted understanding that Wolbachia with cryptic prophages usually possesses at least one intact WO prophage consisting of gene sequences of the head, baseplate, and tail modules, through which the prophage could form intact virions. In addition to the genetic structure features, the phylogenetic relationships of WO and Wolbachia also revealed that bacteriophage WO can horizontally spread among a certain genus or a group of insect hosts, nearly free from the restriction of the affiliation of Wolbachia. Combined with the vertical transmission along with Wolbachia, the wide spread of WO phages can be explained. Furthermore, the gender preference and functional module preference for transcriptional activity of the genes in cryptic WOs implied the antagonized coevolutionary pattern between WO prophages and their Wolbachia hosts.

RevDate: 2020-12-05

Yang C, Zheng Y, Tan S, et al (2020)

Efficient COI barcoding using high throughput single-end 400 bp sequencing.

BMC genomics, 21(1):862 pii:10.1186/s12864-020-07255-w.

BACKGROUND: Over the last decade, the rapid development of high-throughput sequencing platforms has accelerated species description and assisted morphological classification through DNA barcoding. However, the current high-throughput DNA barcoding methods cannot obtain full-length barcode sequences due to read length limitations (e.g. a maximum read length of 300 bp for the Illumina's MiSeq system), or are hindered by a relatively high cost or low sequencing output (e.g. a maximum number of eight million reads per cell for the PacBio's SEQUEL II system).

RESULTS: Pooled cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) barcodes from individual specimens were sequenced on the MGISEQ-2000 platform using the single-end 400 bp (SE400) module. We present a bioinformatic pipeline, HIFI-SE, that takes reads generated from the 5' and 3' ends of the COI barcode region and assembles them into full-length barcodes. HIFI-SE is written in Python and includes four function modules of filter, assign, assembly and taxonomy. We applied the HIFI-SE to a set of 845 samples (30 marine invertebrates, 815 insects) and delivered a total of 747 fully assembled COI barcodes as well as 70 Wolbachia and fungi symbionts. Compared to their corresponding Sanger sequences (72 sequences available), nearly all samples (71/72) were correctly and accurately assembled, including 46 samples that had a similarity score of 100% and 25 of ca. 99%.

CONCLUSIONS: The HIFI-SE pipeline represents an efficient way to produce standard full-length barcodes, while the reasonable cost and high sensitivity of our method can contribute considerably more DNA barcodes under the same budget. Our method thereby advances DNA-based species identification from diverse ecosystems and increases the number of relevant applications.

RevDate: 2020-12-02

Attardo GM, Scolari F, A Malacrida (2020)

Bacterial Symbionts of Tsetse Flies: Relationships and Functional Interactions Between Tsetse Flies and Their Symbionts.

Results and problems in cell differentiation, 69:497-536.

Tsetse flies (Glossina spp.) act as the sole vectors of the African trypanosome species that cause Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT or African Sleeping Sickness) and Nagana in animals. These flies have undergone a variety of specializations during their evolution including an exclusive diet consisting solely of vertebrate blood for both sexes as well as an obligate viviparous reproductive biology. Alongside these adaptations, Glossina species have developed intricate relationships with specific microbes ranging from mutualistic to parasitic. These relationships provide fundamental support required to sustain the specializations associated with tsetse's biology. This chapter provides an overview on the knowledge to date regarding the biology behind these relationships and focuses primarily on four bacterial species that are consistently associated with Glossina species. Here their interactions with the host are reviewed at the morphological, biochemical and genetic levels. This includes: the obligate symbiont Wigglesworthia, which is found in all tsetse species and is essential for nutritional supplementation to the blood-specific diet, immune system maturation and facilitation of viviparous reproduction; the commensal symbiont Sodalis, which is a frequently associated symbiont optimized for survival within the fly via nutritional adaptation, vertical transmission through mating and may alter vectorial capacity of Glossina for trypanosomes; the parasitic symbiont Wolbachia, which can manipulate Glossina via cytoplasmic incompatibility and shows unique interactions at the genetic level via horizontal transmission of its genetic material into the genome in two Glossina species; finally, knowledge on recently observed relations between Spiroplasma and Glossina is explored and potential interactions are discussed based on knowledge of interactions between this bacterial Genera and other insect species. These flies have a simple microbiome relative to that of other insects. However, these relationships are deep, well-studied and provide a window into the complexity and function of host/symbiont interactions in an important disease vector.

RevDate: 2020-12-02

Lefoulon E, Foster JM, Truchon A, et al (2020)

The Wolbachia Symbiont: Here, There and Everywhere.

Results and problems in cell differentiation, 69:423-451.

Wolbachia symbionts, first observed in the 1920s, are now known to be present in about 30-70% of tested arthropod species, in about half of tested filarial nematodes (including the majority of human filarial nematodes), and some plant-parasitic nematodes. In arthropods, they are generally viewed as parasites while in nematodes they appear to be mutualists although this demarcation is not absolute. Their presence in arthropods generally leads to reproductive anomalies, while in nematodes, they are generally required for worm development and reproduction. In mosquitos, Wolbachia inhibit RNA viral infections, leading to populational reductions in human RNA virus pathogens, whereas in filarial nematodes, their requirement for worm fertility and survival has been channeled into their use as drug targets for filariasis control. While much more research on these ubiquitous symbionts is needed, they are viewed as playing significant roles in biological processes, ranging from arthropod speciation to human health.

RevDate: 2020-12-02

Russell SL, JR Castillo (2020)

Trends in Symbiont-Induced Host Cellular Differentiation.

Results and problems in cell differentiation, 69:137-176.

Bacteria participate in a wide diversity of symbiotic associations with eukaryotic hosts that require precise interactions for bacterial recognition and persistence. Most commonly, host-associated bacteria interfere with host gene expression to modulate the immune response to the infection. However, many of these bacteria also interfere with host cellular differentiation pathways to create a hospitable niche, resulting in the formation of novel cell types, tissues, and organs. In both of these situations, bacterial symbionts must interact with eukaryotic regulatory pathways. Here, we detail what is known about how bacterial symbionts, from pathogens to mutualists, control host cellular differentiation across the central dogma, from epigenetic chromatin modifications, to transcription and mRNA processing, to translation and protein modifications. We identify four main trends from this survey. First, mechanisms for controlling host gene expression appear to evolve from symbionts co-opting cross-talk between host signaling pathways. Second, symbiont regulatory capacity is constrained by the processes that drive reductive genome evolution in host-associated bacteria. Third, the regulatory mechanisms symbionts exhibit correlate with the cost/benefit nature of the association. And, fourth, symbiont mechanisms for interacting with host genetic regulatory elements are not bound by native bacterial capabilities. Using this knowledge, we explore how the ubiquitous intracellular Wolbachia symbiont of arthropods and nematodes may modulate host cellular differentiation to manipulate host reproduction. Our survey of the literature on how infection alters gene expression in Wolbachia and its hosts revealed that, despite their intermediate-sized genomes, different strains appear capable of a wide diversity of regulatory manipulations. Given this and Wolbachia's diversity of phenotypes and eukaryotic-like proteins, we expect that many symbiont-induced host differentiation mechanisms will be discovered in this system.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Souto-Maior C, King JG, Sartori LM, et al (2020)

Reply to: "Enhancement of Aedes aegypti susceptibility to dengue by Wolbachia is not supported".

Nature communications, 11(1):6113 pii:10.1038/s41467-020-19831-5.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Ant TH, Mancini MV, Martinez J, et al (2020)

Enhancement of Aedes aegypti susceptibility to dengue by Wolbachia is not supported.

Nature communications, 11(1):6111 pii:10.1038/s41467-020-19830-6.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Madhav M, Baker D, Morgan JAT, et al (2020)

Wolbachia: A tool for livestock ectoparasite control.

Veterinary parasitology, 288:109297 pii:S0304-4017(20)30277-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Ectoparasites and livestock-associated insects are a major concern throughout the world because of their economic and welfare impacts. Effective control is challenging and relies mainly on the use of chemical insecticides and acaricides. Wolbachia, an arthropod and nematode-infecting, maternally-transmitted endosymbiont is currently of widespread interest for use in novel strategies for the control of a range of arthropod-vectored human diseases and plant pests but to date has received only limited consideration for use in the control of diseases of veterinary concern. Here, we review the currently available information on Wolbachia in veterinary ectoparasites and disease vectors, consider the feasibility for use of Wolbachia in the control of livestock pests and diseases and highlight critical issues which need further investigation.

RevDate: 2020-11-27

Momtaz AZ, Ahumada Sabagh AD, Gonzalez Amortegui JG, et al (2020)

A Role for Maternal Factors in Suppressing Cytoplasmic Incompatibility.

Frontiers in microbiology, 11:576844.

Wolbachia are maternally transmitted bacterial endosymbionts, carried by approximately half of all insect species. Wolbachia prevalence in nature stems from manipulation of host reproduction to favor the success of infected females. The best known reproductive modification induced by Wolbachia is referred to as sperm-egg Cytoplasmic Incompatibility (CI). In CI, the sperm of Wolbachia-infected males cause embryonic lethality, attributed to paternal chromatin segregation defects during early mitotic divisions. Remarkably, the embryos of Wolbachia-infected females "rescue" CI lethality, yielding egg hatch rates equivalent to uninfected female crosses. Several models have been discussed as the basis for Rescue, and functional evidence indicates a major contribution by Wolbachia CI factors. A role for host contributions to Rescue remains largely untested. In this study, we used a chemical feeding approach to test for CI suppression capabilities by Drosophila simulans. We found that uninfected females exhibited significantly higher CI egg hatch rates in response to seven chemical treatments that affect DNA integrity, cell cycle control, and protein turnover. Three of these treatments suppressed CI induced by endogenous wRi Wolbachia, as well as an ectopic wMel Wolbachia infection. The results implicate DNA integrity as a focal aspect of CI suppression for different Wolbachia strains. The framework presented here, applied to diverse CI models, will further enrich our understanding of host reproductive manipulation by insect endosymbionts.

RevDate: 2020-11-26

Pimentel AC, Beraldo CS, R Cogni (2020)

Host-shift as the cause of emerging infectious diseases: Experimental approaches using Drosophila-virus interactions.

Genetics and molecular biology, 44(1 Suppl 1):e20200197 pii:S1415-47572021000200302.

Host shifts, when a cross-species transmission of a pathogen can lead to successful infections, are the main cause of emerging infectious diseases, such as COVID-19. A complex challenge faced by the scientific community is to address the factors that determine whether the cross-species transmissions will result in spillover or sustained onwards infections. Here we review recent literature and present a perspective on current approaches we are using to understand the mechanisms underlying host shifts. We highlight the usefulness of the interactions between Drosophila species and viruses as an ideal study model. Additionally, we discuss how cross-infection experiments - when pathogens from a natural reservoir are intentionally injected in novel host species- can test the effect cross-species transmissions may have on the fitness of virus and host, and how the host phylogeny may influence this response. We also discuss experiments evaluating how cooccurrence with other viruses or the presence of the endosymbiont bacteria Wolbachia may affect the performance of new viruses in a novel host. Finally, we discuss the need of surveys of virus diversity in natural populations using next-generation sequencing technologies. In the long term, these approaches can contribute to a better understanding of the basic biology of host shifts.

RevDate: 2020-11-23

Amala M, Richard M, Saritha P, et al (2020)

Molecular evolution, binding site interpretation and functional divergence of aspartate semialdehyde dehydrogenase.

Journal of biomolecular structure & dynamics [Epub ahead of print].

Aspartate Semialdehyde Dehydrogenase (ASDH) is an important enzyme essential for the viability of pathogenic microorganisms. ASDH is mainly involved in amino acid and cell wall biosynthesis of microorganisms, hence it is considered to be a promising target for drug design. This enzyme depicts similar mechanistic function in all microorganisms; although, the kinetic efficiency of an enzyme differs according to their active site residual composition. Therefore, understanding the residual variation and kinetic efficiency of the enzyme would pave new insights in structure-based drug discovery and a novel drug molecule against ASDH. Here, ASDH from Wolbachia endosymbiont of Brugia malayi is used as a prime enzyme to execute evolutionary studies. The phylogenetic analysis was opted to classify 400 sequences of ASDH enzymes based on their structure and electrostatic surfaces. Analysis resulted in 37 monophyletic clades of diverse pathogenic and non-pathogenic organisms. The representative structures of 37 ASDHs from different clades were further deciphered to structural homologues. These enzymes exhibited presence of more positively charged surfaces than negatively charged surfaces in the active site pocket which restrains evolutionary significance. Docking studies of NADP+ with 37 enzymes reveals that site-specific residual variation in the active site pocket modulates the binding affinity (ranges of -13 to -9 kcal/mol). Type-I and Type-II divergence studies show, no significant functional divergence among ASDH, but residual changes were found among the enzyme that modulates the biochemical characteristics and catalytic efficiency. The present study not only explores residual alteration and catalytic variability, it also aids in the design of species-specific inhibitors. Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma.

RevDate: 2020-11-20

Cormier A, Chebbi MA, Giraud I, et al (2020)

Comparative genomics of strictly vertically transmitted, feminizing microsporidia endosymbionts of amphipod crustaceans.

Genome biology and evolution pii:5995313 [Epub ahead of print].

Microsporidia are obligate intracellular eukaryotic parasites of vertebrates and invertebrates. Microsporidia are usually pathogenic and undergo horizontal transmission or a mix of horizontal and vertical transmission. However, cases of non-pathogenic microsporidia, strictly vertically transmitted from mother to offspring, have been reported in amphipod crustaceans. Some of them further evolved the ability to feminize their non-transmitting male hosts into transmitting females. However, our understanding of the evolution of feminization in microsporidia is hindered by a lack of genomic resources. We report the sequencing and analysis of three strictly vertically-transmitted microsporidia species for which feminization induction has been demonstrated (Nosema granulosis) or is strongly suspected (Dictyocoela muelleri and Dictyocoela roeselum), along with a draft genome assembly of their host Gammarus roeselii. Contrary to horizontally transmitted microsporidia that form environmental spores that can be purified, feminizing microsporidia cannot be easily isolated from their host cells. Therefore, we co-sequenced symbiont and host genomic DNA and devised a computational strategy to obtain genome assemblies for the different partners. Genomic comparison with feminizing Wolbachia bacterial endosymbionts of isopod crustaceans indicated independent evolution of feminization in microsporidia and Wolbachia at the molecular genetic level. Feminization thus represents a remarkable evolutionary convergence of eukaryotic and prokaryotic microorganisms. Furthermore, a comparative genomics analysis of microsporidia allowed us to identify several candidate genes for feminization, involving functions such as DNA binding and membrane fusion. The genomic resources we generated contribute to establish G. roeselii and its microsporidia symbionts as a new model to study the evolution of symbiont-mediated feminization.

RevDate: 2020-11-20

Tongkrajang N, Ruenchit P, Tananchai C, et al (2020)

Molecular identification of native Wolbachia pipientis in Anopheles minimus in a low-malaria transmission area of Umphang Valley along the Thailand-Myanmar border.

Parasites & vectors, 13(1):579.

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia, obligate intracellular bacteria, infect the majority of arthropods, including many mosquito species of medical importance. Some Wolbachia strains interfere with the development of Plasmodium parasites in female Anopheles, a major vector of malaria. The use of Wolbachia as a means to block malaria transmission is an emerging vector control strategy in highly endemic areas. Hence, identification of native Wolbachia strains in areas where malaria transmission is low may uncover a particular Wolbachia strain capable of Plasmodium interference. This study aims to identify native Wolbachia strains in female Anopheles spp. that are predominant in a low-malaria transmission area in mainland Southeast Asia.

METHODS: Following a 2-year survey of malaria vectors in Umphang Valley of Tak Province, Thailand, DNA extracts of female An. minimus, An. peditaeniatus, and An. maculatus were subjected to amplification of the conserved region of the 16S rRNA-encoding gene. The DNA sequences of the amplicons were phylogenetically compared with those of known Wolbachia strains.

RESULTS: Among three Anopheles spp., amplification was detected in only the DNA samples from An. minimus. The DNA sequencing of amplicons revealed 100% similarity to Wolbachia pipientis, confirming the specificity of amplification. The Wolbachia-positive An. minimus samples were devoid of Plasmodium 18S rRNA amplification. The phylogenetic trees indicate a close relationship with Wolbachia strains in subgroup B.

CONCLUSION: To the best of our knowledge, the data presented herein provide the first molecular evidence of a Wolbachia strain in An. minimus, hereinafter named wAnmi, in a low-malaria transmission area in the Umphang Valley of western Thailand. Further biological characterization is required to examine its potential for malaria transmission control in the field.

RevDate: 2020-11-16

Chao LL, Castillo CT, CM Shih (2020)

Molecular detection and genetic identification of Wolbachia endosymbiont in Rhipicephalus sanguineus (Acari: Ixodidae) ticks of Taiwan.

Experimental & applied acarology pii:10.1007/s10493-020-00574-3 [Epub ahead of print].

The genetic identity of Wolbachia endosymbiont in Rhipicephalus sanguineus ticks was determined for the first time in Taiwan. In total 1004 Rh. sanguineus ticks were examined for Wolbachia by polymerase chain reaction assay targeting the Wolbachia surface protein (wsp) gene. The prevalence of Wolbachia infection was detected in nymphs, females, and males with an infection rate of 55.8, 39.8, and 44%, respectively. The phylogenetic relationships were analyzed by comparing the sequences of wsp gene obtained from 60 strains of Wolbachia representing 11 strains of supergroup A and 10 strains of supergroup B. In general, seven major clades of supergroup A and six major clades of supergroup B can be easily distinguished by neighbour-joining analysis and were congruent by maximum likelihood method. All these Wolbachia strains of Taiwan were genetically affiliated to supergroups A and B with high sequence similarity of 98.3-100% and 98.6-100%, respectively. Intra- and inter-group analysis based on the genetic distance (GD) values indicated a lower level (GD < 0.017) within the group A strains of Taiwan compared with the group B (GD > 0.576) of other Wolbachia strains, as well as a lower level (GD < 0.062) within the group B strains of Taiwan compared with the group A (GD > 0.246) of other Wolbachia strains. Our results provide the first genetic identification of Wolbachia endosymbiont in Rh. sanguineus ticks collected from Taiwan, and detection of Wolbachia in male and nymphal ticks may imply the possible mechanism of transstadial transmission in Rh. sanguineus ticks.

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Salgueiro J, Pimper LE, Segura DF, et al (2020)

Gut Bacteriome Analysis of Anastrepha fraterculus sp. 1 During the Early Steps of Laboratory Colonization.

Frontiers in microbiology, 11:570960.

Microbial communities associated to insect species are involved in essential biological functions such as host nutrition, reproduction and survivability. Main factors have been described as modulators of gut bacterial community, such as diet, habit, developmental stage and taxonomy of the host. The present work focuses on the complex changes that gut microbial communities go through when wild insects are introduced to artificial rearing conditions. Specifically, we analyzed the effect of the laboratory colonization on the richness and diversity of the gut bacteriome hosted by the fruit fly pest Anastrepha fraterculus sp. 1. Bacterial profiles were studied by amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA V3-V4 hypervariable region in gut samples of males and females, in teneral (1-day-old, unfed) and post-teneral (15-day-old, fed) flies. A total of 3,147,665 sequence reads were obtained and 32 bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were identified. Proteobacteria was the most abundant phylum (93.3% of the total reads) and, Wolbachia and Enterobacter were the most represented taxa at the genus level (29.9% and 27.7%, respectively, of the total read counts). Wild and laboratory flies showed highly significant differences in the relative abundances of bacteria. The analysis of the core bacteriome showed the presence of five OTUs in all samples grouped by origin, while nine and five OTUs were exclusively detected in laboratory and wild flies, respectively. Irrespective of fly origin or sex, a dominant presence of Wolbachia was observed in teneral flies, whereas Enterobacter was highly abundant in post-teneral individuals. We evidenced significant differences in bacterial richness and diversity among generations under laboratory colonization (F0, F1, F3 and F6) and compared to laboratory and wild flies, displaying also differential patterns between teneral and post-teneral flies. Laboratory and wild A. fraterculus sp. 1 harbor different gut bacterial communities. Laboratory colonization has an important effect on the microbiota, most likely associated to the combined effects of insect physiology and environmental conditions (e.g., diet and colony management).

RevDate: 2020-11-13

Wang YF, He K, Guo W, et al (2020)

[Genes associated with Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility in natural populations of Culex pipiens pallens: a preliminary study].

Zhongguo xue xi chong bing fang zhi za zhi = Chinese journal of schistosomiasis control, 32(5):517-521.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the genes involved in Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility among three natural populations of Culex pipiens pallens in eastern China, so as to provide insights into the development of preventive and control measures for mosquito-borne diseases based on Wolbachia.

METHODS: The cytoplasmic incompatibility was tested among three natural populations of C. pipiens pallens collected from Nanjing and Wuxi of Jiangsu Province and Tangkou of Shandong Province using reciprocal crosses. Wolbachia infection was detected in C. pipiens pallens using a PCR assay, and the expression of Wolbachia wsp and WD0513 genes was quantified using a fluorescent quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) assay.

RESULTS: Bidirectional compatibility was found between the natural populations of C. pipiens pallens collected from Nanjing and Wuxi of Jiangsu Province (t = 0.57 and 0.15, both P values > 0.05), while bidirectional incompatibility was seen between the natural populations of C. pipiens pallens collected from Tangkou of Shandong Province and Wuxi of Jiangsu Province (t = 63.81 and 43.51, both P values < 0.01), and between the natural populations of C. pipiens pallens collected from Nanjing of Jiangsu Province and Tangkou of Shandong Province (t = 39.62 and 43.12, both P values < 0.01). Wolbachia wsp gene was amplified in all three natural populations of C. pipiens pallens, and qPCR assay detected no significant difference in the Wolbachia wsp gene expression among the three natural populations of C. pipiens pallens (F = 2.15, P > 0.05). In addition, there was no significant difference in the WD0513 gene expression between the natural populations of C. pipiens pallens collected from Tangkou of Shandong Province and Nanjing of Jiangsu Province (q = 8.42, P < 0.05) or between the natural populations of C. pipiens pallens collected from Tangkou of Shandong Province and Wuxi of Jiangsu Province (q = 7.84, P < 0.05); however, there was a significant difference detected in the WD0513 gene expression between the natural populations of C. pipiens pallens collected from Nanjing and Wuxi of Jiangsu Province (q = 0.40, P > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Different Wolbachia numbers are detected in natural populations of C. pipiens pallens collected from Nanjing and Wuxi of Jiangsu Province and Tangkou of Shandong Province, and WD0513 gene may be involved in the Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility among three natural populations of C. pipiens pallens.

RevDate: 2020-11-19

Arias-Giraldo LM, Muñoz M, Hernández C, et al (2020)

Species-dependent variation of the gut bacterial communities across Trypanosoma cruzi insect vectors.

PloS one, 15(11):e0240916.

Triatomines (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) are the insect vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease. The gut bacterial communities affect the development of T. cruzi inside the vector, making the characterization of its composition important in the understanding of infection development. We collected 54 triatomine bugs corresponding to four genera in different departments of Colombia. DNA extraction and PCR were performed to evaluate T. cruzi presence and to determine the discrete typing unit (DTU) of the parasite. PCR products of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene were pooled and sequenced. Resulting reads were denoised and QIIME 2 was used for the identification of amplicon sequence variants (ASVs). Diversity (alpha and beta diversity) and richness analyses, Circos plots, and principal component analysis (PCA) were also performed. The overall T. cruzi infection frequency was 75.9%, with TcI being the predominant DTU. Approximately 500,000 sequences were analyzed and 27 bacterial phyla were identified. The most abundant phyla were Proteobacteria (33.9%), Actinobacteria (32.4%), Firmicutes (19.6%), and Bacteroidetes (7.6%), which together accounted for over 90% of the gut communities identified in this study. Genera were identified for these main bacterial phyla, revealing the presence of important bacteria such as Rhodococcus, Serratia, and Wolbachia. The composition of bacterial phyla in the gut of the insects was significantly different between triatomine species, whereas no significant difference was seen between the state of T. cruzi infection. We suggest further investigation with the evaluation of additional variables and a larger sample size. To our knowledge, this study is the first characterization of the gut bacterial structure of the main triatomine genera in Colombia.

RevDate: 2020-11-10

Onah IE, S Sumner (2020)

DNA barcodes and new primers for nature's pest controllers: the social wasps.

Genome [Epub ahead of print].

Globally, biodiversity is declining as a result of anthropogenic pressures, and this could lead to extinction of some species before they are discovered. The loss of insect taxa is of prime concern, given recent reports of significant declines in the populations of many taxa across the globe. Efforts to document biodiversity have met with several challenges, amongst which are the difficulties in using morphological features to discriminate species, especially in insects. DNA barcoding is a rapid and reliable method for species identification and discovery, but choosing appropriate primers to amplify the barcode region without coamplifying contaminants remains a key challenge. We developed and tested a set of primers for PCR amplification of the DNA barcode region of the COI gene in polistine wasps. We tested their efficacy in 36 species of vespid wasps, and the solitary wasp Zethus miniatus Saussure. Samples were obtained from Africa, Americas, Asia and Europe. The polistine-specific primers successfully amplified the barcode region for all polistines tested, without amplifying any Wolbachia present; they also worked with many species from the other Vespidae wasp subfamilies. The new primers are valuable for the discovery and accurate documentation of polistine wasps in the four continents.

RevDate: 2020-11-13

Torres R, Hernandez E, Flores V, et al (2020)

Wolbachia in mosquitoes from the Central Valley of California, USA.

Parasites & vectors, 13(1):558.

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia bacteria are widely distributed throughout terrestrial arthropod species. These bacteria can manipulate reproduction and influence the vector competence of their hosts. Recently, Wolbachia have been integrated into vector control programmes for mosquito management. A number of supergroups and strains exist for Wolbachia, and they have yet to be characterized for many mosquito species. In this study, we examined Wolbachia prevalence and their phylogenetic relationship to other Wolbachia, using mosquitoes collected in Merced County in the Central Valley of California.

METHODS: Adult mosquitoes were collected from 85 sites in Merced County, California in 2017 and 2018. Traditional and quantitative PCR were used to investigate the presence or absence and the density of Wolbachia, using Wolbachia-specific 16S rRNA and Wolbachia-surface protein (wsp) genes. The supergroup of Wolbachia was determined, and Multilocus Sequence Typing (MLST) by sequencing five housekeeping genes (coxA, gatB, ftsZ, hcpA and fbpA) was also used to determine Wolbachia supergroup as well as strain.

RESULTS: Over 7100 mosquitoes of 12 species were collected: Aedes melanimon, Ae. nigromaculis, Ae. vexans, Ae. aegypti, Culex pipiens, Cx. stigmatosoma, Cx. tarsalis, Anopheles franciscanus, An. freeborni, An. punctipennis, Culiseta incidens and Cs. inornata. Eight showed evidence of Wolbachia. To our knowledge, this study is the first to report detection of Wolbachia in five of these species (Ae. melanimon, Cx. stigmatosoma, Cx. tarsalis, Cs. incidens and Cs. inornata). Culex pipiens and Cx. stigmatosoma had a high frequency and density of Wolbachia infection, which grouped into supergroup B; Cs. inornata clustered with supergroup A. MLST comparisons identified Cx. pipiens and Cx. stigmatosoma as wPip strain type 9 supergroup B. Six species had moderate to low (< 14%) frequencies of Wolbachia. Four species were negative, Ae. nigromaculis, An. franciscanus, An. freeborni and Ae. aegypti.

CONCLUSIONS: New records of Wolbachia detection were found in mosquitoes from Merced County, California. Culex stigmatosoma and Cs. inornata were new records for Wolbachia supergroup B and A, respectively. Other species with Wolbachia occurred with low frequency and low density. Detection of Wolbachia in mosquitoes can be used to inform potential vector control applications. Future study of Wolbachia within Cx. stigmatosoma and Cs. inornata in California and through the range of these species could further explore Wolbachia infection in these two species.

RevDate: 2020-11-21

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

Boosting immunity to treat parasitic infections: Asaia bacteria expressing a protein from Wolbachia determine M1 macrophage activation and killing of Leishmania protozoans.

Pharmacological research pii:S1043-6618(20)31596-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Leishmaniases are severe vector-borne diseases affecting humans and animals, caused by Leishmania protozoans. Over one billion people and millions of dogs live in endemic areas for leishmaniases and are at risk of infection. Immune polarization plays a major role in determining the outcome of Leishmania infections: hosts displaying M1-polarized macrophages are protected, while those biased on the M2 side acquire a chronic infection that could develop into a deadly disease. The identification of the factors involved in M1 polarization is essential for the design of therapeutic and prophylactic interventions, including vaccines. Infection by the filarial nematode Dirofilaria immitis could be one of the factors that interfere with leishmaniasis in dogs. Indeed, filarial nematodes induce a partial skew of the immune response towards M1, likely caused by their bacterial endosymbionts, Wolbachia. Here we have examined the potential of AsaiaWSP, a bacterium engineered for the expression of the Wolbachia surface protein (WSP), as an inductor of M1 macrophage activation and Leishmania killing. Macrophages stimulated with AsaiaWSP displayed a strong leishmanicidal activity, comparable to that determined by the choice-drug amphotericin B. Additionally, AsaiaWSP determined the expression of markers of classical macrophage activation, including M1 cytokines, ROS and NO, and an increase in phagocytosis activity. Asaia not expressing WSP also induced macrophage activation, although at a lower extent compared to AsaiaWSP. In summary, the results of the present study confirm the immunostimulating properties of WSP highlighting a potential therapeutic efficacy against Leishmania parasites. Furthermore, Asaia was designed as a delivery system for WSP, thus developing a novel type of immunomodulating agent, worthy of being investigated for immuno-prophylaxis and -therapy of leishmaniases and other diseases that could be subverted by M1 macrophage activation.

RevDate: 2020-11-13

Pagendam DE, Trewin BJ, Snoad N, et al (2020)

Modelling the Wolbachia incompatible insect technique: strategies for effective mosquito population elimination.

BMC biology, 18(1):161.

BACKGROUND: The Wolbachia incompatible insect technique (IIT) shows promise as a method for eliminating populations of invasive mosquitoes such as Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus) (Diptera: Culicidae) and reducing the incidence of vector-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika. Successful implementation of this biological control strategy relies on high-fidelity separation of male from female insects in mass production systems for inundative release into landscapes. Processes for sex-separating mosquitoes are typically error-prone and laborious, and IIT programmes run the risk of releasing Wolbachia-infected females and replacing wild mosquito populations.

RESULTS: We introduce a simple Markov population process model for studying mosquito populations subjected to a Wolbachia-IIT programme which exhibit an unstable equilibrium threshold. The model is used to study, in silico, scenarios that are likely to yield a successful elimination result. Our results suggest that elimination is best achieved by releasing males at rates that adapt to the ever-decreasing wild population, thus reducing the risk of releasing Wolbachia-infected females while reducing costs.

CONCLUSIONS: While very high-fidelity sex separation is required to avoid establishment, release programmes tend to be robust to the release of a small number of Wolbachia-infected females. These findings will inform and enhance the next generation of Wolbachia-IIT population control strategies that are already showing great promise in field trials.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Mugerwa H, Wang HL, Sseruwagi P, et al (2020)

Whole-genome single nucleotide polymorphism and mating compatibility studies reveal the presence of distinct species in sub-Saharan Africa Bemisia tabaci whiteflies.

Insect science [Epub ahead of print].

In sub-Saharan Africa cassava growing areas, two members of the Bemisia tabaci species complex termed sub-Saharan Africa 1 (SSA1) and SSA2 have been reported as the prevalent whiteflies associated with the spread of viruses that cause cassava mosaic disease (CMD) and cassava brown streak disease (CBSD) pandemics. At the peak of CMD pandemic in the late 1990s, SSA2 was the prevalent whitefly, although its numbers have diminished over the last two decades with the resurgence of SSA1 whiteflies. Three SSA1 subgroups (SG1 to SG3) are the predominant whiteflies in East Africa and vary in distribution and biological properties. Mating compatibility between SSA1 subgroups and SSA2 whiteflies was reported as the possible driver for the resurgence of SSA1 whiteflies. In this study, a combination of both phylogenomic methods and reciprocal crossing experiments were applied to determine species status of SSA1 subgroups and SSA2 whitefly populations. Phylogenomic analyses conducted with 26 548 205 bp whole genome single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and the full mitogenomes clustered SSA1 subgroups together and separate from SSA2 species. Mating incompatibility between SSA1 subgroups and SSA2 further demonstrated their distinctiveness from each other. Phylogenomic analyses conducted with SNPs and mitogenomes also revealed different genetic relationships among SSA1 subgroups. The former clustered SSA1-SG1 and SSA1-SG2 together but separate from SSA1-SG3, while the latter clustered SSA1-SG2 and SSA1-SG3 together but separate from SSA1-SG1. Mating compatibility was observed between SSA1-SG1 and SSA1-SG2, while incompatibility occurred between SSA1-SG1 and SSA1-SG3, and SSA1-SG2 and SSA1-SG3. Mating results among SSA1 subgroups were coherent with phylogenomics results based on SNPs but not the full mitogenomes. Furthermore, this study revealed that the secondary endosymbiont-Wolbachia-did not mediate reproductive success in the crossing assays carried out. Overall, using genome wide SNPs together with reciprocal crossings assays, this study established accurate genetic relationships among cassava-colonizing populations, illustrating that SSA1 and SSA2 are distinct species while at least two species occur within SSA1 species.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Diarra AZ, Kone AK, Niare DS, et al (2020)

Molecular Detection of Microorganisms Associated with Small Mammals and Their Ectoparasites in Mali.

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

Small mammals are the natural reservoirs for many zoonotic pathogens. Using molecular tools, we assessed the prevalence of bacteria and protozoans in small mammals and their ectoparasites in Faladjè, Bougouni, and Bamoko, Mali. A total of 130 small mammals belonging to 10 different species were captured, of which 74 (56.9%) were infested by ectoparasites, including Laelaps echidnina, Xenopsylla cheopis, Amblyomma variegatum, Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato, and Haemaphysalis spp. nymphs. DNA of Bartonella was found in 14/75 (18.7%), 6/48 (12.5%), and 3/7 (42.8%) small mammals from Faladjè, Bougouni, and Bamako, respectively. In Faladjè, Bartonella DNA was detected in 31/68 (45.6%) of L. echidnina and 14/22 (63.6%) of X. cheopis. In Bougouni, it was found in 2/26 (7.7%) of L. echidnina and 10/42 (23.8%) of X. cheopis. The sequences of Bartonella obtained from small mammals were close to those of Bartonella mastomydis, Bartonella elizabethae, and uncultured Bartonella spp. In Faladjè, Coxiella burnetii DNA was detected in 64.4% (29/45) of Haemaphysalis spp. ticks, 4.5% (2/44) of Mastomys erythroleucus, 12.5% (1/8) of Praomys daltoni, and 1.5% (1/68) of L. echidnina. We found DNA of Wolbachia in X. cheopis from Faladjè and DNA of Rickettsia africae and Ehrlichia ruminantium in Am. variegatum from Bougouni. The results of our study show that several small mammal species harbor and may serve as potential reservoirs of Bartonella spp., likely to play a major role in the maintenance, circulation, and potential transmission of bacteria in Mali. The pathogenicity of these bacteria for humans or animals remains to be demonstrated.

RevDate: 2020-11-06

DeVries ZC, Santangelo RG, Booth W, et al (2020)

Reproductive compatibility among populations and host-associated lineages of the common bed bug (Cimex lectularius L.).

Ecology and evolution, 10(20):11090-11099.

As populations differentiate across geographic or host-association barriers, interpopulation fertility is often a measure of the extent of incipient speciation. The bed bug, Cimex lectularius L., was recently found to form two host-associated lineages within Europe: one found with humans (human-associated, HA) and the other found with bats (bat-associated, BA). No unequivocal evidence of contemporary gene flow between these lineages has been found; however, it is unclear whether this is due to an inability to produce viable "hybrid" offspring. To address this question and determine the extent of compatibility between host-associated lineages, we set up mating crosses among populations of bed bugs based on both their host association (human-HA vs. bat-BA) and geographic origin (North America vs. Europe). Within-population fecundity was significantly higher for all HA populations (>1.7 eggs/day) than for BA populations (<1 egg/day). However, all within-population crosses, regardless of host association, had >92% egg hatch rates. Contrary to previous reports, in all interlineage crosses, successful matings occurred, fertile eggs were oviposited, and the F1 "hybrid" generation was found to be reproductively viable. In addition, we evaluated interpopulation genetic variation in Wolbachia among host-associated lineages. We did not find any clear patterns related to host association, nor did we observe a homogenization of Wolbachia lineages across populations that might explain a breakdown of reproductive incompatibility. These results indicate that while the HA and BA populations of C. lectularius represent genetically differentiated host-associated lineages, possibly undergoing sympatric speciation, this is in its incipient stage as they remain reproductively compatible. Other behavioral, physiological, and/or ecological factors likely maintain host-associated differentiation.

RevDate: 2020-11-14

Laidoudi Y, Levasseur A, Medkour H, et al (2020)

An Earliest Endosymbiont, Wolbachia massiliensis sp. nov., Strain PL13 from the Bed Bug (Cimex hemipterus), Type Strain of a New Supergroup T.

International journal of molecular sciences, 21(21):.

The symbiotic Wolbachia are the most sophisticated mutualistic bacterium among all insect-associated microbiota. Wolbachia-insect relationship fluctuates from the simple facultative/parasitic to an obligate nutritional-mutualistic association as it was the case of the bedbug-Wolbachia from Cimexlectularius. Understanding this association may help in the control of associated arthropods. Genomic data have proven to be reliable tools in resolving some aspects of these symbiotic associations. Although, Wolbachia appear to be fastidious or uncultivated bacteria which strongly limited their study. Here we proposed Drosophila S2 cell line for the isolation and culture model to study Wolbachia strains. We therefore isolated and characterized a novel Wolbachia strain associated with the bedbug Cimexhemipterus, designated as wChem strain PL13, and proposed Wolbachiamassiliensis sp. nov. strain wChem-PL13 a type strain of this new species from new supergroup T. Phylogenetically, T-supergroup was close to F and S-supergroups from insects and D-supergroup from filarial nematodes. We determined the 1,291,339-bp genome of wChem-PL13, which was the smallest insect-associated Wolbachia genomes. Overall, the wChem genome shared 50% of protein coding genes with the other insect-associated facultative Wolbachia strains. These findings highlight the diversity of Wolbachia genotypes as well as the Wolbachia-host relationship among Cimicinae subfamily. The wChem provides folate and riboflavin vitamins on which the host depends, while the bacteria had a limited translation mechanism suggesting its strong dependence to its hosts. However, the clear-cut distinction between mutualism and parasitism of the wChem in C. hemipterus cannot be yet ruled out.

RevDate: 2020-11-03

Savić S, Stosic MZ, Marcic D, et al (2020)

Seroepidemiological Study of Canine and Human Dirofilariasis in the Endemic Region of Northern Serbia.

Frontiers in veterinary science, 7:571.

Dirofilariasis is a vector-borne zoonotic disease caused mainly by Dirofilaria immitis and Dirofilaria repens that affect dogs and humans all over the world. Serbia is considered an endemic country to both forms of dirofilariasis, although most of the population is concentrated in the north of the country. The aims of this study were to show the prevalence of D. immitis and D. repens in dogs and the seroprevalence in humans compared to previous studies in Northern Serbia. In total, 346 dog sera samples and 265 human samples were analyzed. Dog blood samples were analyzed using the modified Knott's method to check whether there were Dirofilaria spp. microfilariae and serum samples were checked by a commercial D. immitis antigen test. Human serum samples were analyzed with a non-commercial ELISA for detection of specific anti-D. immitis, anti-D. repens, and anti-Wolbachia IgG antibodies, and confirmed by western blotting. The overall prevalence for Dirofilaria spp. in dogs was 29.19%. The overall prevalence for D. immitis was 26.30%. The percentages of D. immitis and D. repens microfilaremia in dogs were 25.72 and 1.45%, respectively, while D. immitis./D. repens microfilaremia co-infections were also 1.45%. The overall seroprevalence for Dirofilaria spp. in humans was 3.77%. The overall seroprevalence for D. immitis was 1.51, 1.13% for D. repens, and for D. immitis/D. repens co-infections was 1.13%. The results indicate that D. immitis and D. repens are present in dogs and humans in the province of Vojvodina, in the northern part of Serbia. It is most likely associated with the presence of many rivers, the climate, and presence of mosquitoes in the area, so there could be a real public health risk.

RevDate: 2020-11-03

Dacey DP, FJJ Chain (2020)

The Challenges of Microbial Control of Mosquito-Borne Diseases Due to the Gut Microbiome.

Frontiers in genetics, 11:504354.

Mosquitoes are one of the deadliest animals on earth because of their ability to transmit a wide range of human pathogens. Traditional mosquito control methods use chemical insecticides, but with dwindling long-term effectiveness and negative effects on the environment, microbial forms of control have become common alternatives. The insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis (Bti) is the most popular of these alternatives, although it can also have direct effects on lowering environmental biodiversity and indirect effects on food-web relationships in the ecosystems where it is deployed. In addition, microbial control agents that impede pathogen development or transmission from mosquito to human are under investigation, including Wolbachia and Asaia, but unexpected interactions with mosquito gut bacteria can hinder their effectiveness. Improved characterization of mosquito gut bacterial communities is needed to determine the taxa that interfere with microbial controls and their effectiveness in wild populations. This mini-review briefly discusses relationships between mosquito gut bacteria and microbial forms of control, and the challenges in ensuring their success.

RevDate: 2020-10-31

Sanaei E, Charlat S, J Engelstädter (2020)

Wolbachia host shifts: routes, mechanisms, constraints and evolutionary consequences.

Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia is one of the most abundant endosymbionts on earth, with a wide distribution especially in arthropods. Effective maternal transmission and the induction of various phenotypes in their hosts are two key features of this bacterium. Here, we review our current understanding of another central aspect of Wolbachia's success: their ability to switch from one host species to another. We build on the proposal that Wolbachia host shifts occur in four main steps: (i) physical transfer to a new species; (ii) proliferation within that host; (iii) successful maternal transmission; and (iv) spread within the host species. Host shift can fail at each of these steps, and the likelihood of ultimate success is influenced by many factors. Some stem from traits of Wolbachia (different strains have different abilities for host switching), others on host features such as genetic resemblance (e.g. host shifting is likely to be easier between closely related species), ecological connections (the donor and recipient host need to interact), or the resident microbiota. Host shifts have enabled Wolbachia to reach its enormous current incidence and global distribution among arthropods in an epidemiological process shaped by loss and acquisition events across host species. The ability of Wolbachia to transfer between species also forms the basis of ongoing endeavours to control pests and disease vectors, following artificial introduction into uninfected hosts such as mosquitoes. Throughout, we emphasise the many knowledge gaps in our understanding of Wolbachia host shifts, and question the effectiveness of current methodology to detect these events. We conclude by discussing an apparent paradox: how can Wolbachia maintain its ability to undergo host shifts given that its biology seems dominated by vertical transmission?

RevDate: 2020-10-30

Tzuri N, Caspi-Fluger A, Betelman K, et al (2020)

Horizontal Transmission of Microbial Symbionts Within a Guild of Fly Parasitoids.

Microbial ecology pii:10.1007/s00248-020-01618-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Many insects harbor facultative microbial symbionts which affect the ecology of their hosts in diverse ways. Most symbionts are transmitted vertically with high fidelity, whereas horizontal transmission occurs rarely. Parasitoid larvae feed on a single host and are in close physical contact with it, providing an ecological opportunity for symbionts' horizontal transmission, but there is little empirical evidence documenting this. Here we studied horizontal transmission of three bacterial symbionts-Rickettsia, Sodalis, and Wolbachia-between three fly pupal ectoparasitoid species: Spalangia cameroni, S. endius, and Muscidifurax raptor. Muscidifurax raptor readily parasitized and successfully developed on the Spalangia spp., while the inverse did not happen. The two Spalangia spp. attacked each other and conspecifics in very low rates. Symbiont horizontal transmissions followed by stable vertical transmission in the recipient species were achieved, in low percentages, only between conspecifics: Wolbachia from infected to uninfected M. raptor, Rickettsia in S. endius, and Sodalis in S. cameroni. Low frequency of horizontal transmissions occurred in the interspecific combinations, but none of them persisted in the recipient species beyond F4, at most. Our study is one of few to demonstrate symbionts' horizontal transmission between hosts within the same trophic level and guild and highlights the rarity of such events.

RevDate: 2020-11-12

Chakraborty A, Ashraf MZ, Modlinger R, et al (2020)

Unravelling the gut bacteriome of Ips (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae): identifying core bacterial assemblage and their ecological relevance.

Scientific reports, 10(1):18572.

Bark beetles often serve as forest damaging agents, causing landscape-level mortality. Understanding the biology and ecology of beetles are important for both, gathering knowledge about important forest insects and forest protection. Knowledge about the bark beetle gut-associated bacteria is one of the crucial yet surprisingly neglected areas of research with European tree-killing bark beetles. Hence, in this study, we survey the gut bacteriome from five Ips and one non-Ips bark beetles from Scolytinae. Results reveal 69 core bacterial genera among five Ips beetles that may perform conserved functions within the bark beetle holobiont. The most abundant bacterial genera from different bark beetle gut include Erwinia, Sodalis, Serratia, Tyzzerella, Raoultella, Rahnella, Wolbachia, Spiroplasma, Vibrio, and Pseudoxanthomonas. Notable differences in gut-associated bacterial community richness and diversity among the beetle species are observed. Furthermore, the impact of sampling location on the overall bark beetle gut bacterial community assemblage is also documented, which warrants further investigations. Nevertheless, our data expanded the current knowledge about core gut bacterial communities in Ips bark beetles and their putative function such as cellulose degradation, nitrogen fixation, detoxification of defensive plant compounds, and inhibition of pathogens, which could serve as a basis for further metatranscriptomics and metaproteomics investigations.

RevDate: 2020-11-28

Allman MJ, Fraser JE, Ritchie SA, et al (2020)

Wolbachia's Deleterious Impact on Aedes aegypti Egg Development: The Potential Role of Nutritional Parasitism.

Insects, 11(11):.

The artificial introduction of the endosymbiotic bacterium, Wolbachia pipientis, into Aedes (Ae.) aegypti mosquitoes reduces the ability of mosquitoes to transmit human pathogenic viruses and is now being developed as a biocontrol tool. Successful introgression of Wolbachia-carrying Ae. aegypti into native mosquito populations at field sites in Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia has been associated with reduced disease prevalence in the treated community. In separate field programs, Wolbachia is also being used as a mosquito population suppression tool, where the release of male only Wolbachia-infected Ae. aegypti prevents the native mosquito population from producing viable eggs, subsequently suppressing the wild population. While these technologies show great promise, they require mass rearing of mosquitoes for implementation on a scale that has not previously been done. In addition, Wolbachia induces some negative fitness effects on Ae. aegypti. While these fitness effects differ depending on the Wolbachia strain present, one of the most consistent and significant impacts is the shortened longevity and viability of eggs. This review examines the body of evidence behind Wolbachia's negative effect on eggs, assesses nutritional parasitism as a key cause and considers how these impacts could be overcome to achieve efficient large-scale rearing of these mosquitoes.

RevDate: 2020-11-20

Prigot-Maurice C, de Cerqueira De Araujo A, Beltran-Bech S, et al (2020)

Immune priming depends on age, sex and Wolbachia in the interaction between Armadillidium vulgare and Salmonella.

Journal of evolutionary biology [Epub ahead of print].

The protection conferred by a first infection upon a second pathogenic exposure (i.e. immune priming) is an emergent research topic in the field of invertebrate immunity. Immune priming has been demonstrated in various species, but little is known about the intrinsic factors that may influence this immune process. In this study, we tested whether age, gender and the symbiotic bacterium Wolbachia affect the protection resulting from immune priming in A. vulgare against S. enterica. We firstly primed young and old, symbiotic and asymbiotic males and females, either with a non-lethal low dose of S. enterica, LB broth or without injection (control). Seven days post-injection, we performed a LD50 injection of S. enterica in all individuals and we monitored their survival rates. We demonstrated that survival capacities depend on these three factors: young and old asymbiotic individuals (males and females) expressed immune priming (S. enterica-primed individuals survived better than LB-primed and non-primed), with a general decline in the strength of protection in old females, but not in old males, compared to young. When Wolbachia is present, the immune priming protection was observed in old, but not in young symbiotic individuals, even if the Wolbachia load on entire individuals is equivalent regardless to age. Our overall results showed that the immune priming protection in A. vulgare depends on individuals' states, highlighting the need to consider these factors both in mechanistical and evolutionary studies focusing on invertebrate's immunity.

RevDate: 2020-10-28

Costa GB, Smithyman R, O'Neill SL, et al (2020)

How to engage communities on a large scale? Lessons from World Mosquito Program in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Gates open research, 4:109.

One of the pillars of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Vector Control Response 2017-2030 strategy is the engagement of communities. Among the priority activities, defined by 2022 by the WHO, is the development of plans for the effective engagement and mobilisation of communities in vector control. Novel technologies for arboviruses control are being developed, such as the Wolbachia method, implemented by the World Mosquito Program (WMP). Here we discuss and analyse the framework for community engagement implemented by the WMP in Brazil, during the large-scale deployment of the method in the municipalities of Niterói and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Our experience indicates that the community engagement work for arboviruses control should be understood as an opportunity for local development. It is necessary, based on an integrated analysis of the territory, to understand that the actions for arboviruses control could be a catalyst for the necessary socioenvironmental, cultural and public health changes. Furthermore, it is essential to understand that community engagement goes beyond informing or asking for population consent, but it constitutes a possibility for dialogue and exchange between the various stakeholders present in the territories, to build on cooperation for mosquito-borne disease control.

RevDate: 2020-10-25

Sandri TL, Kreidenweiss A, Cavallo S, et al (2020)

Molecular epidemiology of Mansonella species in Gabon.

The Journal of infectious diseases pii:5939539 [Epub ahead of print].

Mansonella perstans, a filarial nematode, infects large populations in Africa and Latin America. Recently, a potential new species Mansonella sp. "DEUX" was reported. Carriage of endosymbiotic Wolbachia opens treatment options for Mansonella infections. Within a cross-sectional study, we assessed the prevalence of filarial infections in 834 Gabonese individuals and the presence of the endosymbiont Wolbachia. Almost half of the participants (400/834, 48%) were infected with filarial nematodes, with Mansonella sp. "DEUX" being the most frequent (295/400, 74%), followed by Loa loa (273/400, 68%), and M. perstans (82/400, 21%). Being adult/elderly, male, and living in rural areas was associated with a higher risk of infection. Wolbachia carriage was confirmed in M. perstans and Mansonella sp. "DEUX". In silico analysis revealed that Mansonella sp. "DEUX" is not detected with currently published M. perstans specific assays. Mansonella infections are highly prevalent in Gabon and might have been underreported, likely also beyond Gabon.

RevDate: 2020-11-19

Knerer G, Currie CSM, SC Brailsford (2020)

The economic impact and cost-effectiveness of combined vector-control and dengue vaccination strategies in Thailand: results from a dynamic transmission model.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 14(10):e0008805.

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Dengue fever is a major public health problem in tropical/subtropical regions. Prior economic analyses have predominantly evaluated either vaccination or vector-control programmes in isolation and do not really consider the incremental benefits and cost-effectiveness of mixed strategies and combination control. We estimated the cost-effectiveness of single and combined approaches in Thailand.

METHODS: The impacts of different control interventions were analysed using a previously published mathematical model of dengue epidemiology and control incorporating seasonality, age structure, consecutive infection, cross protection, immune enhancement and combined vector-host transmission. An economic model was applied to simulation results to estimate the cost-effectiveness of 4 interventions and their various combinations (6 strategies): i) routine vaccination of 1-year olds; ii) chemical vector control strategies targeting adult and larval stages separately; iii) environmental management/ public health education and awareness [EM/ PHEA]). Payer and societal perspectives were considered. The health burden of dengue fever was assessed using disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) lost. Costs and effects were assessed for 10 years. Costs were discounted at 3% annually and updated to 2013 United States Dollars. Incremental cost-effectiveness analysis was carried out after strategies were rank-ordered by cost, with results presented in a table of incremental analysis. Sensitivity and scenario analyses were undertaken; and the impact and cost-effectiveness of Wolbachia was evaluated in exploratory scenario analyses.

RESULTS: From the payer and societal perspectives, 2 combination strategies were considered optimal, as all other control strategies were dominated. Vaccination plus adulticide plus EM/ PHEA was deemed cost-effective according to multiple cost-effectiveness criteria. From the societal perspective, incremental differences vs. adulticide and EM/ PHEA resulted in costs of $157.6 million and DALYs lost of 12,599, giving an expected ICER of $12,508 per DALY averted. Exploratory scenario analyses showed Wolbachia to be highly cost-effective ($343 per DALY averted) vs. other single control measures.

CONCLUSIONS: Our model shows that individual interventions can be cost-effective, but that important epidemiological reductions and economic impacts are demonstrated when interventions are combined as part of an integrated approach to combating dengue fever. Exploratory scenario analyses demonstrated the potential epidemiological and cost-effective impact of Wolbachia when deployed at scale on a nationwide basis. Our findings were robust in the face of sensitivity analyses.

RevDate: 2020-10-22

Huang B, Yang Q, Hoffmann AA, et al (2020)

Wolbachia Genome Stability and mtDNA Variants in Aedes aegypti Field Populations Eight Years after Release.

iScience, 23(10):101572.

A dengue suppression strategy based on release of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with the bacterium Wolbachia pipientis is being trialed in many countries. Wolbachia inhibits replication and transmission of dengue viruses. Questions remain regarding the long-term stability of virus-suppressive effects. We sequenced the Wolbachia genome and analyzed Ae. aegypti mitochondrial DNA markers isolated from mosquitoes sampled 2-8 years after releases in the greater Cairns region, Australia. Few changes were detected when Wolbachia genomes of field mosquitoes were compared with Wolbachia genomes of mosquitoes obtained soon after initial releases. Mitochondrial variants associated with the initial Wolbachia release stock are now the only variants found in release sites, highlighting maternal leakage as a possible explanation for rare Wolbachia-negative mosquitoes and not migration from non-release areas. There is no evidence of changes in the Wolbachia genome that indicate selection against its viral-suppressive effects or other phenotypes attributable to infection with the bacterium.

RevDate: 2020-10-24

Duplouy A, Pranter R, Warren-Gash H, et al (2020)

Towards unravelling Wolbachia global exchange: a contribution from the Bicyclus and Mylothris butterflies in the Afrotropics.

BMC microbiology, 20(1):319.

BACKGROUND: Phylogenetically closely related strains of maternally inherited endosymbiotic bacteria are often found in phylogenetically divergent, and geographically distant insect host species. The interspecies transfer of the symbiont Wolbachia has been thought to have occurred repeatedly, facilitating its observed global pandemic. Few ecological interactions have been proposed as potential routes for the horizontal transfer of Wolbachia within natural insect communities. These routes are however likely to act only at the local scale, but how they may support the global distribution of some Wolbachia strains remains unclear.

RESULTS: Here, we characterize the Wolbachia diversity in butterflies from the tropical forest regions of central Africa to discuss transfer at both local and global scales. We show that numerous species from both the Mylothris (family Pieridae) and Bicyclus (family Nymphalidae) butterfly genera are infected with similar Wolbachia strains, despite only minor interclade contacts across the life cycles of the species within their partially overlapping ecological niches. The phylogenetic distance and differences in resource use between these genera rule out the role of ancestry, hybridization, and shared host-plants in the interspecies transfer of the symbiont. Furthermore, we could not identify any shared ecological factors to explain the presence of the strains in other arthropod species from other habitats, or even ecoregions.

CONCLUSION: Only the systematic surveys of the Wolbachia strains from entire species communities may offer the material currently lacking for understanding how Wolbachia may transfer between highly different and unrelated hosts, as well as across environmental scales.

RevDate: 2020-11-23

Wangkeeree J, Suwanchaisri K, Roddee J, et al (2020)

Effect of Wolbachia infection states on the life history and reproductive traits of the leafhopper Yamatotettix flavovittatus Matsumura.

Journal of invertebrate pathology, 177:107490 pii:S0022-2011(20)30196-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia is a maternally inherited bacterium of insects that can affect host reproduction and fitness. We examined the effect of Wolbachia infection on the life history and reproductive traits of the leafhopper Yamatotettix flavovittatus, which is a vector of the phytoplasma that causes white leaf disease in sugarcane. This investigation was performed using Wolbachia-infected and uninfected leafhopper lineages. Results revealed that Wolbachia infection did not significantly affect the survival of nymphal stages, male longevity, and sex ratio. However, Wolbachia-infected lineages had prolonged immature development periods and female longevity. In intrapopulation crosses, Wolbachia infection had no significant effects on occupation success, number of eggs laid, and female offspring, but the effect on egg-hatching varied. In interpopulation crosses, Wolbachia infection had no significant effect on occupation success and female offspring, but it did affect the number of eggs laid and egg-hatching rates. Assortative pairings regarding infection status resulted in normal egg deposition and hatching, whereas disassortative pairings resulted in lower egg deposition and no hatching. Wolbachia was thus shown to be highly vertically transmitted (>98% of the tested individuals). Our findings provide additional data on the interactions between Wolbachia in insect hosts. This evidence of perfect maternal transmission and strong reproductive incompatibility highlights the importance of further studies on the use of Wolbachia as a biological control agent for the leafhopper vector.

RevDate: 2020-10-19

Can-Vargas X, Barboza N, Fuchs EJ, et al (2020)

Spatial Distribution of Whitefly Species (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) and Identification of Secondary Bacterial Endosymbionts in Tomato Fields in Costa Rica.

Journal of economic entomology pii:5930138 [Epub ahead of print].

In Costa Rica, tomato (Solanum lycopersicum Linnaeus) Linnaeus (Solanales: Solanaceae) is one of the crops most severely affected by the whiteflies (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) Trialeurodes vaporariorum (Westwood) and the Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) species complex. The objective of this study was to monitor the spatial distribution and diversity of these species and to detect the presence of secondary bacterial endosymbionts in individuals collected in areas of intensive tomato production. In total, 628 whitefly individuals were identified to the species level using restriction analysis (PCR-RFLP) of a fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome C oxidase I gene (mtCOI). Trialeurodes vaporariorum was the predominant species, followed by B. tabaci Mediterranean (MED). Bemisia tabaci New World (NW) and B. tabaci Middle East-Asia Minor 1 (MEAM1) were present in lower numbers. The mtCOI fragment was sequenced for 89 individuals and a single haplotype was found for each whitefly species. Using molecular markers, the 628 individuals were analyzed for the presence of four endosymbionts. Arsenophonus Gherna et al. (Enterobacterales: Morganellaceae) was most frequently associated with T. vaporariorum, whereas Wolbachia Hertig (Rickettsiales: Anaplasmataceae) and Rickettsia da Rocha-Lima (Rickettsiales: Rickettsiaceae) were associated with B. tabaci MED. This study confirmed that B. tabaci NW has not been completely displaced by the invasive species B. tabaci MED and B. tabaci MEAM1 present in the country. An association was found between whitefly species present in tomato and certain secondary endosymbionts, elevation was the most likely environmental factor to affect their frequency.

RevDate: 2020-11-21

Verspoor RL, Price TAR, N Wedell (2020)

Selfish genetic elements and male fertility.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 375(1813):20200067.

Selfish genetic elements (SGEs) are diverse and near ubiquitous in Eukaryotes and can be potent drivers of evolution. Here, we discuss SGEs that specifically act on sperm to gain a transmission advantage to the next generation. The diverse SGEs that affect sperm often impose costs on carrier males, including damaging ejaculates, skewing offspring sex ratios and in particular reducing sperm-competitive success of SGE-carrying males. How males and females tolerate and mitigate against these costs is a dynamic and expanding area of research. The intense intra-genomic conflict that these selfish elements generate could also have implications for male fertility and spermatogenesis more widely. This article is part of the theme issue 'Fifty years of sperm competition'.

RevDate: 2020-10-18

Xu S, Jiang L, Qiao G, et al (2020)

Diversity of bacterial symbionts associated with Myzus persicae (Sulzer) (Hemiptera: Aphididae: Aphidinae) revealed by 16S rRNA Illumina sequencing.

Microbial ecology pii:10.1007/s00248-020-01622-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Aphids are known to be associated with a variety of symbiotic bacteria. To improve our knowledge of the bacterial diversity of polyphagous aphids, in the present study, we investigated the microbiota of the cosmopolitan agricultural pest Myzus persicae (Sulzer). Ninety-two aphid samples collected from different host plants in various regions of China were examined using high-throughput amplicon sequencing. We comprehensively characterized the symbiont diversity of M. persicae and assessed the variations in aphid-associated symbiont communities. We detected a higher diversity of symbionts than has been previously observed. M. persicae hosted the primary endosymbiont Buchnera aphidicola and seven secondary symbionts, among which Wolbachia was the most prevalent and Rickettsia, Arsenophonus, and Spiroplasma were reported for the first time. Ordination analyses and statistical tests revealed that the symbiont flora associated with M. persicae did not change with respect to host plant or geography, which may be due to frequent migrations between different aphid populations. These findings will advance our knowledge of the microbiota of polyphagous insects and will enrich our understanding of assembly of host-microbiome systems.

RevDate: 2020-11-16
CmpDate: 2020-11-16

Scholz M, Albanese D, Tuohy K, et al (2020)

Large scale genome reconstructions illuminate Wolbachia evolution.

Nature communications, 11(1):5235.

Wolbachia is an iconic example of a successful intracellular bacterium. Despite its importance as a manipulator of invertebrate biology, its evolutionary dynamics have been poorly studied from a genomic viewpoint. To expand the number of Wolbachia genomes, we screen over 30,000 publicly available shotgun DNA sequencing samples from 500 hosts. By assembling over 1000 Wolbachia genomes, we provide a substantial increase in host representation. Our phylogenies based on both core-genome and gene content provide a robust reference for future studies, support new strains in model organisms, and reveal recent horizontal transfers amongst distantly related hosts. We find various instances of gene function gains and losses in different super-groups and in cytoplasmic incompatibility inducing strains. Our Wolbachia-host co-phylogenies indicate that horizontal transmission is widespread at the host intraspecific level and that there is no support for a general Wolbachia-mitochondrial synchronous divergence.

RevDate: 2020-11-03

Pan X, Wang X, F Zhang (2020)

New Insights into Cockroach Control: Using Functional Diversity of Blattella germanica Symbionts.

Insects, 11(10):.

Insects have close symbiotic relationships with several microbes, which extends the limited metabolic networks of most insects. Using symbiotic microorganisms for the biological control of pests and insect-borne diseases has become a promising direction. Blattella germanica (L.) (Blattaria: Blattidae) is a public health pest worldwide, which is difficult to control because of its strong reproductive ability, adaptability, and resistance to insecticides. In this paper, the diverse biological functions (nutrition, reproductive regulation, insecticide resistance, defense, and behavior) of symbionts were reviewed, and new biological control strategies on the basis of insect-symbiont interaction were proposed. We highlight new directions in B. germanica control, such as suppressing cockroach population using Wolbachia or paratransgenes, and combining fungal insecticides with synergistic agents to enhance insecticidal efficacy.

RevDate: 2020-11-03

Lee CC, Lin CY, Tseng SP, et al (2020)

Ongoing Coevolution of Wolbachia and a Widespread Invasive Ant, Anoplolepis gracilipes.

Microorganisms, 8(10):.

While Wolbachia are commonly found among arthropods, intraspecific infection rates can vary substantially across the geographic populations. Here we report nearly 100% prevalence of Wolbachia in the global populations of the yellow crazy ant, Anoplolepis gracilipes. To understand coevolutionary history between Wolbachia and A. gracilipes, we identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in Wolbachia from the ant across 12 geographical regions and compared the phylogeny of SNP-based Wolbachia to patterns of the ant's mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation. Our results revealed a strong concordance between phylogenies of Wolbachia and host mtDNA, providing immediate evidence of co-divergence. Among eight identified SNP loci separating the genetic clusters of Wolbachia, seven loci are located in potential protein-coding genes, three of which being non-synonymous SNPs that may influence gene functions. We found a Wolbachia hypothetical protein gene with signature of positive selection. These findings jointly allow us to characterize Wolbachia-ant coevolution and also raise a question about mechanism(s) underlying maintenance of high prevalence of Wolbachia during the colonization of this invasive ant.

RevDate: 2020-11-03

Montoya-Alonso JA, Morchón R, Matos JI, et al (2020)

Dirofilaria immitis Could Be a Risk Factor for the Development of Allergic Diseases in Humans.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 10(10):.

The Canary Islands are hyperendemic for canine heartworm and the risk of zoonotic infection is high. Additionally, there is evidence of development of allergies due to nematode infections in animals and humans. Since the population of the Canary Islands presents high prevalence of allergic comorbidities, and previous studies have shown a possible relationship between allergies and seropositivity to heartworm, the aim was to evaluate whether exposure to heartworm may contribute to the development of allergies in the human population. First, an epidemiological study was conducted on 248 owners of dogs with/without heartworm infection in the Canary Islands. Secondly, a serological analysis of the presence of total IgE and specific IgE against heartworm was conducted in 66 samples of inhabitants of the Canary Islands. The survey showed that allergic owners had heartworm-positive dogs more frequently (p < 0.01). Of the analyzed human samples, 43.9% were seropositive to heartworm and Wolbachia. Total IgE concentrations were increased in 34.5% seropositive samples and 8.1% seronegative samples. Specific IgE against heartworm was only found in human seropositive samples (17.2%). Contact with heartworm may be a risk factor for the development of allergic diseases, although further studies to elucidate the relationship between heartworm and allergies should be carried out.

RevDate: 2020-10-29

Carneiro Dutra HL, Deehan MA, H Frydman (2020)

Wolbachia and Sirtuin-4 interaction is associated with alterations in host glucose metabolism and bacterial titer.

PLoS pathogens, 16(10):e1008996.

Wolbachia is an intracellular bacterial symbiont of arthropods notorious for inducing many reproductive manipulations that foster its dissemination. Wolbachia affects many aspects of host biology, including metabolism, longevity and physiology, being described as a nutrient provisioning or metabolic parasite, depending on the host-microbe association. Sirtuins (SIRTs) are a family of NAD+-dependent post-translational regulatory enzymes known to affect many of the same processes altered by Wolbachia, including aging and metabolism, among others. Despite a clear overlap in control of host-derived pathways and physiology, no work has demonstrated a link between these two regulators. We used genetically tractable Drosophila melanogaster to explore the role of sirtuins in shaping signaling pathways in the context of a host-symbiont model. By using transcriptional profiling and metabolic assays in the context of genetic knockouts/over-expressions, we examined the effect of several Wolbachia strains on host sirtuin expression across distinct tissues and timepoints. We also quantified the downstream effects of the sirtuin x Wolbachia interaction on host glucose metabolism, and in turn, how it impacted Wolbachia titer. Our results indicate that the presence of Wolbachia is associated with (1) reduced sirt-4 expression in a strain-specific manner, and (2) alterations in host glutamate dehydrogenase expression and ATP levels, key components of glucose metabolism. We detected high glucose levels in Wolbachia-infected flies, which further increased when sirt-4 was over-expressed. However, under sirt-4 knockout, flies displayed a hypoglycemic state not rescued to normal levels in the presence of Wolbachia. Finally, whole body sirt-4 over-expression resulted in reduced Wolbachia ovarian titer. Our results expand knowledge of Wolbachia-host associations in the context of a yet unexplored class of host post-translational regulatory enzymes with implications for conserved host signaling pathways and bacterial titer, factors known to impact host biology and the symbiont's ability to spread through populations.

RevDate: 2020-10-09

Gong JT, Li Y, Li TP, et al (2020)

Stable Introduction of Plant-Virus-Inhibiting Wolbachia into Planthoppers for Rice Protection.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(20)31364-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Progress has been made in developing the maternally inherited endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia as a tool for protecting humans from mosquito-borne diseases. In contrast, Wolbachia-based approaches have not yet been developed for the protection of plants from insect pests and their associated diseases, with a major challenge being the establishment of artificial Wolbachia infections expressing desired characteristics in the hemipterans that transmit the majority of plant viruses. Here, we report stable introduction of Wolbachia into the brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens, the most destructive rice pest that annually destroys millions of hectares of staple crops. The Wolbachia strain wStri from the small brown planthopper, Laodelphax striatellus, was transferred to this new host, where it showed high levels of cytoplasmic incompatibility, enabling rapid invasion of laboratory populations. Furthermore, wStri inhibited infection and transmission of Rice ragged stunt virus and mitigated virus-induced symptoms in rice plants, opening up the development of Wolbachia-based strategies against major agricultural pests and their transmitted pathogens. VIDEO ABSTRACT.

RevDate: 2020-10-30

Puerta-Guardo H, Contreras-Perera Y, Perez-Carrillo S, et al (2020)

Wolbachia in Native Populations of Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) From Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.

Journal of insect science (Online), 20(5):.

This study reports the results of a molecular screening for Wolbachia (Wb) infection in Aedes albopictus (Skuse) populations recently established in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. To do so, collections of free-flying adults with BG traps and emerged adults from eggs after ovitrap field collections were performed in three suburban localities of the city of Merida, Yucatan. Overall, local populations of Ae. albopictus present a natural Wb infection rate of ~40% (18 of 45). Wb infection was detected in both field-collected adults (76.5%, 13 of 17) and eggs reared (17.8%, 5 of 28) and in 37.9% (11/29) of females and 43.7% (7/16) of male Ae. albopictus mosquitoes. An initial screening for Wolbachia strain typing showed that native Ae. albopictus were naturally coinfected with both wAlbA and wAlbB strains. The knowledge of the prevalence and diversity of Wolbachia strains in local populations of Aedes mosquitoes is part of the baseline information required for current and future Wolbachia-based vector control approaches to be conducted in Mexico.

RevDate: 2020-11-04

Ogunlade ST, Adekunle AI, Meehan MT, et al (2020)

Modeling the potential of wAu-Wolbachia strain invasion in mosquitoes to control Aedes-borne arboviral infections.

Scientific reports, 10(1):16812.

Arboviral infections such as dengue, Zika and chikungunya are fast spreading diseases that pose significant health problems globally. In order to control these infections, an intracellular bacterium called Wolbachia has been introduced into wild-type mosquito populations in the hopes of replacing the vector transmitting agent, Aedes aegypti with one that is incapable of transmission. In this study, we developed a Wolbachia transmission model for the novel wAu strain which possesses several favourable traits (e.g., enhanced viral blockage and maintenance at higher temperature) but not cyctoplasmic incompatibility (CI)-when a Wolbachia-infected male mosquito mates with an uninfected female mosquito, producing no viable offspring. This model describes the competitive dynamics between wAu-Wolbachia-infected and uninfected mosquitoes and the role of imperfect maternal transmission. By analysing the system via computing the basic reproduction number(s) and stability properties, the potential of the wAu strain as a viable strategy to control arboviral infections is established. The results of this work show that enhanced maintenance of Wolbachia infection at higher temperatures can overcome the lack of CI induction to support wAu-Wolbachia infected mosquito invasion. This study will support future arboviral control programs, that rely on the introduction of new Wolbachia variants.

RevDate: 2020-10-11

Nguyen AHL, Tiawsirisup S, M Kaewthamasorn (2020)

Molecular detection and genetic characterization of Anaplasma marginale and Anaplasma platys-like (Rickettsiales: Anaplasmataceae) in water buffalo from eight provinces of Thailand.

BMC veterinary research, 16(1):380.

BACKGROUND: Anaplasmosis, an animal disease caused by rickettsial bacteria in the genus Anaplasma, is of considerable economic importance in livestock animals in many countries worldwide. The objectives of this study were to determine the identity, prevalence, and geographic distribution of Ehrlichia and Anaplasma in naturally infected water buffalo in Thailand using PCR amplification and sequencing of the 16S ribosomal RNA and heat shock protein groEL genes. A total of 456 buffalo blood samples from Thailand were investigated. Species identification and genetic differentiation of intra-population and inter-population with the global isolates were conducted based on nucleotide sequences. Interplay between the infection and host factors was also assessed.

RESULTS: Overall, 41% of water buffalo were found to be infected with rickettsial organisms in the family Anaplasmataceae, but Ehrlichia spp., Neorickettsia spp., and Wolbachia spp. were not found in any of the sequenced samples in this study. Female buffalo were more frequently infected with bacteria in the family Anaplasmataceae than males [71 out of 176 females (40.3%) versus 11 out of 47 males (23.4%)]. The Odds Ratio value indicated that the risk of infection for female buffalo was 2.2-fold higher than that for males (p < 0.05). We detected three haplotypes of A. marginale 16S rRNA gene and they were placed in a clade that was closely related to the A. marginale in buffalo in China; and cattle in Thailand, Uganda, and China. Homology searching of groEL sequences against the GenBank™ database using the BLASTn algorithm revealed that the obtained sequences had a high percentage similarity (98.36-99.62%) to A. platys sequences. The groEL sequences of three A. platys-like isolates were clustered in the same clade as the A. platys from the tick Rhipicephalus microplus in China.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data showed that the apparently healthy buffalo were naturally infected by bacteria in the family Anaplasmataceae at a relatively high prevalence. We also report the finding of A. platys-like infections in water buffalo in Thailand for the first time. Water buffalo serving as the reservoir host of anaplasmosis is of concern for managing the disease control and prevention in ruminants.

RevDate: 2020-11-10

Bakovic V, Schebeck M, Stauffer C, et al (2020)

Wolbachia-Mitochondrial DNA Associations in Transitional Populations of Rhagoletis cerasi.

Insects, 11(10):.

The endosymbiont Wolbachia can manipulate arthropod host reproduction by inducing cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), which results in embryonic mortality when infected males mate with uninfected females. A CI-driven invasion of Wolbachia can result in a selective sweep of associated mitochondrial haplotype. The co-inheritance of Wolbachia and host mitochondrial DNA can therefore provide significant information on the dynamics of an ongoing Wolbachia invasion. Therefore, transition zones (i.e., regions where a Wolbachia strain is currently spreading from infected to uninfected populations) represent an ideal area to investigate the relationship between Wolbachia and host mitochondrial haplotype. Here, we studied Wolbachia-mitochondrial haplotype associations in the European cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis cerasi, in two transition zones in the Czech Republic and Hungary, where the CI-inducing strain wCer2 is currently spreading. The wCer2-infection status of 881 individuals was compared with the two known R. cerasi mitochondrial haplotypes, HT1 and HT2. In accordance with previous studies, wCer2-uninfected individuals were associated with HT1, and wCer2-infected individuals were mainly associated with HT2. We found misassociations only within the transition zones, where HT2 flies were wCer2-uninfected, suggesting the occurrence of imperfect maternal transmission. We did not find any HT1 flies that were wCer2-infected, suggesting that Wolbachia was not acquired horizontally. Our study provides new insights into the dynamics of the early phase of a Wolbachia invasion.

RevDate: 2020-11-16

Hague MTJ, Caldwell CN, BS Cooper (2020)

Pervasive Effects of Wolbachia on Host Temperature Preference.

mBio, 11(5):.

Heritable symbionts can modify a range of ecologically important host traits, including behavior. About half of all insect species are infected with maternally transmitted Wolbachia, a bacterial endosymbiont known to alter host reproduction, nutrient acquisition, and virus susceptibility. Here, we broadly test the hypothesis that Wolbachia modifies host behavior by assessing the effects of eight different Wolbachia strains on the temperature preference of six Drosophila melanogaster subgroup species. Four of the seven host genotypes infected with A-group Wolbachia strains (wRi in Drosophila simulans, wHa in D. simulans, wSh in Drosophila sechellia, and wTei in Drosophila teissieri) prefer significantly cooler temperatures relative to uninfected genotypes. Contrastingly, when infected with divergent B-group wMau, Drosophila mauritiana prefers a warmer temperature. For most strains, changes to host temperature preference do not alter Wolbachia titer. However, males infected with wSh and wTei tend to experience an increase in titer when shifted to a cooler temperature for 24 h, suggesting that Wolbachia-induced changes to host behavior may promote bacterial replication. Our results indicate that Wolbachia modifications to host temperature preference are likely widespread, which has important implications for insect thermoregulation and physiology. Understanding the fitness consequences of these Wolbachia effects is crucial for predicting evolutionary outcomes of host-symbiont interactions, including how Wolbachia spreads to become common.IMPORTANCE Microbes infect a diversity of species, influencing the performance and fitness of their hosts. Maternally transmitted Wolbachia bacteria infect most insects and other arthropods, making these bacteria some of the most common endosymbionts in nature. Despite their global prevalence, it remains mostly unknown how Wolbachia influence host physiology and behavior to proliferate. We demonstrate pervasive effects of Wolbachia on Drosophila temperature preference. Most hosts infected with A-group Wolbachia prefer cooler temperatures, whereas the one host species infected with divergent B-group Wolbachia prefers warmer temperatures, relative to uninfected genotypes. Changes to host temperature preference generally do not alter Wolbachia abundance in host tissues, but for some A-group strains, adult males have increased Wolbachia titer when shifted to a cooler temperature. This suggests that Wolbachia-induced changes to host behavior may promote bacterial replication. Our results help elucidate the impact of endosymbionts on their hosts amid the global Wolbachia pandemic.

RevDate: 2020-10-16

Lemon A, Bordenstein SR, SR Bordenstein (2020)

Discover the Microbes Within! The Wolbachia Project: Citizen Science and Student-Based Discoveries for 15 Years and Counting.

Genetics, 216(2):263-268.

The Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellence in Education recognizes an individual who has had a significant impact on genetics education at any education level. Seth R. Bordenstein, Ph.D., Centennial Professor of Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University and Founding Director of the Vanderbilt Microbiome Initiative, is the 2020 recipient in recognition of his cofounding, developing, and expanding Discover the Microbes Within! The Wolbachia Project.

RevDate: 2020-10-06

Hoffmann A (2020)


Current biology : CB, 30(19):R1113-R1114.

Ary Hoffman introduces Wolbachia.

RevDate: 2020-10-22

Moussa A, Passera A, Sanna F, et al (2020)

Bacterial microbiota associated with insect vectors of grapevine Bois noir disease in relation to phytoplasma infection.

FEMS microbiology ecology, 96(11):.

Bois noir is a grapevine disease causing severe yield loss in vineyards worldwide. It is associated with 'Candidatus Phytoplasma solani', a phloem-limited bacterium transmitted by polyphagous insects. Due to its complex epidemiology, it is difficult to organize effective containment measures. This study aimed to describe the bacterial microbiota associated with 'Candidatus Phytoplasma solani' infected and non-infected insect hosts and vectors to investigate if phytoplasma presence can shape the microbiota. Alpha-diversity analysis showed a low microbiota diversity in these insects, in which few genera were highly abundant. Beta-diversity analysis revealed that the xylem- and phloem-feeding behavior influences the microbiota structure. Moreover, it highlighted that phytoplasma infection is associated with a restructuring of microbiota exclusively in Deltocephalinae insect vectors. Obtained data showed that 'Candidatus Phytoplasma solani' may have adverse effects on the endosymbionts Sulcia and Wolbachia, suggesting a possible fitness modification in the insects. The phytoplasma-antagonistic Dyella was not found in any of the examined insect species. The results indicate an interesting perspective regarding the microbial signatures associated with xylem- and phloem-feeding insects, and determinants that could be relevant to establish whether an insect species can be a vector or not, opening up new avenues for developing microbial resource management-based approaches.

RevDate: 2020-10-02

Mathers TC, Mugford ST, Hogenhout SA, et al (2020)

Genome Sequence of the Banana Aphid, Pentalonia nigronervosa Coquerel (Hemiptera: Aphididae) and Its Symbionts.

G3 (Bethesda, Md.) pii:g3.120.401358 [Epub ahead of print].

The banana aphid, Pentalonia nigronervosa Coquerel (Hemiptera: Aphididae), is a major pest of cultivated bananas (Musa spp., order Zingiberales), primarily due to its role as a vector of Banana bunchy top virus (BBTV), the most severe viral disease of banana worldwide. Here, we generated a highly complete genome assembly of P.nigronervosa using a single PCR-free Illumina sequencing library. Using the same sequence data, we also generated complete genome assemblies of the P.nigronervosa symbiotic bacteria Buchneraaphidicola and Wolbachia To improve our initial assembly of P.nigronervosa we developed a k-mer based deduplication pipeline to remove genomic scaffolds derived from the assembly of haplotigs (allelic variants assembled as separate scaffolds). To demonstrate the usefulness of this pipeline, we applied it to the recently generated assembly of the aphid Myzus cerasi, reducing the duplication of conserved BUSCO genes by 25%. Phylogenomic analysis of P.nigronervosa, our improved M. cerasi assembly, and seven previously published aphid genomes, spanning three aphid tribes and two subfamilies, reveals that P.nigronervosa falls within the tribe Macrosiphini, but is an outgroup to other Macrosiphini sequenced so far. As such, the genomic resources reported here will be useful for understanding both the evolution of Macrosphini and for the study of P.nigronervosa. Furthermore, our approach using low cost, high-quality, Illumina short-reads to generate complete genome assemblies of understudied aphid species will help to fill in genomic black spots in the diverse aphid tree of life.

RevDate: 2020-10-24

Izraeli Y, Lalzar M, Netanel N, et al (2020)

Wolbachia influence on the fitness of Anagyrus vladimiri (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), a bio-control agent of mealybugs.

Pest management science [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Like numerous other animals, biocontrol agents (BCAs) of arthropod pests carry various microorganisms that may have diverse effects on the biology of their eukaryote hosts. We postulated that it is possible to improve the efficacy of BCAs by manipulating the composition of their associated microbiota. The parasitoid wasp Anagyrus vladimiri (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) from a mass-rearing facility was chosen for testing this hypothesis.

RESULTS: High-throughput sequencing analysis indicated that fungal abundance in A. vladimiri was low and variable, whereas the bacterial community was dominated by the endosymbiont Wolbachia. Wolbachia was fixed in the mass-rearing population, whereas in field-collected A. vladimiri Wolbachia's prevalence was only approximately 20%. Identification of Wolbachia strains from the two populations by Multi Locus Sequence Typing, revealed two closely related but unique strains. A series of bioassays with the mass-rearing Wolbachia-fixed (W+) and a derived antibiotic-treated Wolbachia-free (W-) lines revealed that: (i) Wolbachia does not induce reproductive manipulations; (ii) W- females have higher fecundity when reared individually, but not when reared with conspecifics; (iii) W+ females outcompete W- when they share hosts for oviposition; (iv) longevity and developmental time were similar in both lines.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that W+ A. vladimiri have no clear fitness benefit under mass-rearing conditions and may be disadvantageous under lab-controlled conditions. In a broader view, the results suggest that augmentative biological control can benefit from manipulation of the microbiome of natural enemies.

RevDate: 2020-11-13

Shropshire JD, Leigh B, SR Bordenstein (2020)

Symbiont-mediated cytoplasmic incompatibility: what have we learned in 50 years?.

eLife, 9:.

Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) is the most common symbiont-induced reproductive manipulation. Specifically, symbiont-induced sperm modifications cause catastrophic mitotic defects in the fertilized embryo and ensuing lethality in crosses between symbiotic males and either aposymbiotic females or females harboring a different symbiont strain. However, if the female carries the same symbiont strain, then embryos develop properly, thereby imparting a relative fitness benefit to symbiont-transmitting mothers. Thus, CI drives maternally-transmitted bacteria to high frequencies in arthropods worldwide. In the past two decades, CI experienced a boom in interest due to its (i) deployment in worldwide efforts to curb mosquito-borne diseases, (ii) causation by bacteriophage genes, cifA and cifB, that modify sexual reproduction, and (iii) important impacts on arthropod speciation. This review serves as a gateway to experimental, conceptual, and quantitative themes of CI and outlines significant gaps in understanding CI's mechanism that are ripe for investigation from diverse subdisciplines in the life sciences.

RevDate: 2020-10-09

Price TAR, Windbichler N, Unckless RL, et al (2020)

Resistance to natural and synthetic gene drive systems.

Journal of evolutionary biology [Epub ahead of print].

Scientists are rapidly developing synthetic gene drive elements intended for release into natural populations. These are intended to control or eradicate disease vectors and pests, or to spread useful traits through wild populations for disease control or conservation purposes. However, a crucial problem for gene drives is the evolution of resistance against them, preventing their spread. Understanding the mechanisms by which populations might evolve resistance is essential for engineering effective gene drive systems. This review summarizes our current knowledge of drive resistance in both natural and synthetic gene drives. We explore how insights from naturally occurring and synthetic drive systems can be integrated to improve the design of gene drives, better predict the outcome of releases and understand genomic conflict in general.

RevDate: 2020-11-30

Guo Y, Khan J, Zheng XY, et al (2020)

Wolbachia increase germ cell mitosis to enhance the fecundity of Laodelphax striatellus.

Insect biochemistry and molecular biology, 127:103471.

Wolbachia are intracellular bacteria that infect a wide range of invertebrates and have evolved various strategies to alter host reproduction for their own survival and dissemination. In small brown planthopper Laodelphax striatellus, Wolbachia-infected females lay more eggs than uninfected females. Our previous study has shown that Wolbachia are abundant in ovarian cells of L. striatellus and change the number of apoptotic nurse cells in a caspase-dependent manner to provide nutrition for oogenesis. The cellular and molecular bases of the Wolbachia-mediated alterations in L. striatellus oogenesis remain largely unknown. Here, we investigated whether germ cell mitosis, which has been implicated in determination of egg production rates, influences the interaction between fecundity and Wolbachia in L.striatellus. We used an anti-phospho-histone 3 (pH3) antibody to label and visualize mitotic cells. Microscopic observations indicated that the Wolbachia strain wStri increased the number of ovarioles that contained mitotic germ cells. The increased fecundity of Wolbachia-infected females was a result of mitosis of germ cells; the frequency of germ cell mitosis was much higher in infected females than in uninfected females. In addition, mitosis inhibition by Cdc20, CDK1, and CycB messenger RNA interference in Wolbachia-infected L. striatellus markedly decreased egg numbers. Live Wolbachia recolonization enhanced the egg production of uninfected L. striatellus by directly affecting mitosis regulators. Together, these data suggest that wStri might increase germ cell mitosis to enhance the fecundity of L. striatellus in a mitosis-regulating manner. Our findings establish a link between Wolbachia-induced mitosis and Wolbachia-mediated egg production effects.

RevDate: 2020-10-07

Koh C, Islam MN, Ye YH, et al (2020)

Dengue virus dominates lipid metabolism modulations in Wolbachia-coinfected Aedes aegypti.

Communications biology, 3(1):518.

Competition between viruses and Wolbachia for host lipids is a proposed mechanism of Wolbachia-mediated virus blocking in insects. Yet, the metabolomic interaction between virus and symbiont within the mosquito has not been clearly defined. We compare the lipid profiles of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes bearing mono- or dual-infections of the Wolbachia wMel strain and dengue virus serotype 3 (DENV3). We found metabolic signatures of infection-induced intracellular events but little evidence to support direct competition between Wolbachia and virus for host lipids. Lipid profiles of dual-infected mosquitoes resemble those of DENV3 mono-infected mosquitoes, suggesting virus-driven modulation dominates over that of Wolbachia. Interestingly, knockdown of key metabolic enzymes suggests cardiolipins are host factors for DENV3 and Wolbachia replication. These findings define the Wolbachia-DENV3 metabolic interaction as indirectly antagonistic, rather than directly competitive, and reveal new research avenues with respect to mosquito × virus interactions at the molecular level.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Xia X, Peng CW, Cui JR, et al (2020)

Wolbachia affects reproduction in the spider mite Tetranychus truncatus (Acari: Tetranychidae) by regulating chorion protein S38-like and Rop.

Insect molecular biology [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia-induced reproductive regulation in hosts has been used to control pest populations, but little is known about the molecular mechanism underlying Wolbachia regulation of host genes. Here, reproductive regulation by Wolbachia in the spider mite Tetranychus truncatus was studied at the molecular level. Infection with Wolbachia resulted in decreasing oviposition and cytoplasmic incompatibility in T. truncatus. Further RNA-seq revealed genes regulated by Wolbachia in T. truncatus. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) showed that genes, including chorion protein S38-like and Rop were down-regulated by Wolbachia. RNA interference (RNAi) of chorion protein S38-like and Rop in Wolbachia-uninfected T. truncatus decreased oviposition, which was consistent with Wolbachia-induced oviposition decrease. Interestingly, suppressing Rop in Wolbachia-infected T. truncatus led to increased Wolbachia titres in eggs; however, this did not occur after RNAi of chorion protein S38-like. This is the first study to show that chorion protein S38-like and Rop facilitate Wolbachia-mediated changes in T. truncatus fertility. In addition, RNAi of Rop turned the body colour of Wolbachia-uninfected T. truncatus black, which indicates that the role of Rop is not limited to the reproductive regulation of T. truncatus.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Arham AF, Amin L, Mustapa MAC, et al (2020)

Perceived benefits and risks: A survey data set towards Wolbachia-infected Aedes Mosquitoes in Klang Valley.

Data in brief, 32:106262.

Perceived Benefits and Risks: A survey data set towards Wolbachia-infected Aedes Mosquitoes in the Klang Valley, Malaysia. Introduction: The paper presents data collected using measures of perceived benefits, perceived risks, trust in key players, attitude towards nature versus material, attitude towards technology, religiosity, and attitude towards the Wolbachia-infected Aedes mosquitoes (WiAM) technique. The validated questionnaires were used to randomly survey targeted stakeholders in the Klang Valley, Malaysia, who had been asked to voluntarily participate in face-to-face interviews. Completed questionnaires were received from 399 respondents (adults above 18 years old) and comprised two stakeholder groups: scientists (n = 202), and the public (n = 197). The detailed findings serve numerous opportunities to examine the social acceptance of Wolbachia-infected Aedes mosquitoes, to ensure the development of policy and action plans, and to encourage further study by other researchers interested in the measures and data presented.

RevDate: 2020-10-27

Shin PT, Baptista RP, O'Neill CM, et al (2020)

Comparative sequences of the Wolbachia genomes of drug-sensitive and resistant isolates of Dirofilaria immitis.

Veterinary parasitology, 286:109225.

The recent identification of isolates of D. immitis with confirmed resistance to the macrocyclic lactone preventatives presents an opportunity for comparative genomic studies using these isolates, and examining the genetic diversity within and between them. We studied the genomes of Wolbachia endosymbionts of five isolates of D. immitis maintained at the University of Georgia. Missouri and Georgia-2 are maintained as drug susceptible isolates, and JYD-27, Yazoo-2013 and Metairie-2014 are resistant to the macrocyclic lactone preventatives. We used whole genome amplification followed by Illumina-based sequencing from 8 to 12 individual microfilariae from each of the five isolates, obtaining a depth of coverage of approximately 40-75 fold for each. The Illumina sequences were used to create new genome assemblies for all the Wolbachia isolates studied. Comparisons of the Wolbachia sequences revealed more than 3000 sequence variations in each isolate. We identified 67 loci specific in resistant isolates but not in susceptible isolates, including 18 genes affected.Phylogenetic analysis suggested that the endosymbionts of the drug-susceptible isolates are more closely related to each other than to those from any of the resistant parasites. This level of variation in the Wolbachia endosymbionts of D. immitis isolates suggests a potential for selection for resistance against drugs targeting them.

RevDate: 2020-10-27

Ge C, Hu J, Zhao Z, et al (2020)

Phylogeny and Density Dynamics of Wolbachia Infection of the Health Pest Paederus fuscipes Curtis (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae).

Insects, 11(9):.

The maternally inherited obligate intracellular bacteria Wolbachia infects the reproductive tissues of a wide range of arthropods and affects host reproduction. Wolbachia is a credible biocontrol agent for reducing the impact of diseases associated with arthropod vectors. Paederus fuscipes is a small staphylinid beetle that causes dermatitis linearis and conjunctivitis in humans when they come into contact with skin. Wolbachia occur in this beetle, but their relatedness to other Wolbachia, their infection dynamics, and their potential host effects remain unknown. In this study, we report the phylogenetic position and density dynamics of Wolbachia in P. fuscipes. The phylogeny of Wolbachia based on an analysis of MLST genotyping showed that the bacteria from P. fuscipes belong to supergroup B. Quantitative PCR indicated that the infection density in adults was higher than in any other life stage (egg, larva or pupa), and that reproductive tissue in adults had the highest infection densities, with similar densities in the sexes. These findings provide a starting point for understanding the Wolbachia infection dynamics in P. fuscipes, and interactions with other components of the microbiota.

RevDate: 2020-09-16
CmpDate: 2020-09-16

Kakumanu ML, DeVries ZC, Barbarin AM, et al (2020)

Bed bugs shape the indoor microbial community composition of infested homes.

The Science of the total environment, 743:140704.

Indoor pests, and the allergens they produce, adversely affect human health. Surprisingly, however, their effects on indoor microbial communities have not been assessed. Bed bug (Cimex lectularius) infestations pose severe challenges in elderly and low-income housing. They void large amounts of liquid feces into the home environment, which might alter the indoor microbial community composition. In this study, using bed bug-infested and uninfested homes, we showed a strong impact of bed bug infestations on the indoor microbial diversity. Floor dust samples were collected from uninfested and bed bug-infested homes and their microbiomes were analyzed before and after heat interventions that eliminated bed bugs. The microbial communities of bed bug-infested homes were radically different from those of uninfested homes, and the bed bug endosymbiont Wolbachia was the major driver of this difference. After bed bugs were eliminated, the microbial community gradually shifted toward the community composition of uninfested homes, strongly implicating bed bugs in shaping the dust-associated environmental microbiome. Further studies are needed to understand the viability of these microbial communities and the potential risks that bed bug-associated microbes and their metabolites pose to human health.

RevDate: 2020-11-05

Manokaran G, Flores HA, Dickson CT, et al (2020)

Modulation of acyl-carnitines, the broad mechanism behind Wolbachia-mediated inhibition of medically important flaviviruses in Aedes aegypti.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(39):24475-24483.

Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes are refractory to flavivirus infections, but the role of lipids in Wolbachia-mediated virus blocking remains to be elucidated. Here, we use liquid chromatography mass spectrometry to provide a comprehensive picture of the lipidome of Aedes aegypti (Aag2) cells infected with Wolbachia only, either dengue or Zika virus only, and Wolbachia-infected Aag2 cells superinfected with either dengue or Zika virus. This approach identifies a class of lipids, acyl-carnitines, as being down-regulated during Wolbachia infection. Furthermore, treatment with an acyl-carnitine inhibitor assigns a crucial role for acyl-carnitines in the replication of dengue and Zika viruses. In contrast, depletion of acyl-carnitines increases Wolbachia density while addition of commercially available acyl-carnitines impairs Wolbachia production. Finally, we show an increase in flavivirus infection of Wolbachia-infected cells with the addition of acyl-carnitines. This study uncovers a previously unknown role for acyl-carnitines in this tripartite interaction that suggests an important and broad mechanism that underpins Wolbachia-mediated pathogen blocking.

RevDate: 2020-09-09

Caragata EP, Dong S, Dong Y, et al (2020)

Prospects and Pitfalls: Next-Generation Tools to Control Mosquito-Transmitted Disease.

Annual review of microbiology, 74:455-475.

Mosquito-transmitted diseases, including malaria and dengue, are a major threat to human health around the globe, affecting millions each year. A diverse array of next-generation tools has been designed to eliminate mosquito populations or to replace them with mosquitoes that are less capable of transmitting key pathogens. Many of these new approaches have been built on recent advances in CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing. These initiatives have driven the development of pathogen-resistant lines, new genetics-based sexing methods, and new methods of driving desirable genetic traits into mosquito populations. Many other emerging tools involve microorganisms, including two strategies involving Wolbachia that are achieving great success in the field. At the same time, other mosquito-associated bacteria, fungi, and even viruses represent untapped sources of new mosquitocidal or antipathogen compounds. Although there are still hurdles to be overcome, the prospect that such approaches will reduce the impact of these diseases is highly encouraging.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Ciuca L, Vismarra A, Lebon W, et al (2020)

New insights into the biology, diagnosis and immune response to Dirofilaria repens in the canine host.

Veterinary parasitology: X, 4:100029.

Dogs are the primary host for Dirofilaria repens, therefore it is mandatory to accurately diagnose the canine infection and to expand our current knowledge on parasite biology and the immune response of the infected host for a better prevention.Thus, the aim of the present study was to provide new insights from experimental infections of dogs with D. repens, focusing on the evaluation of: 1) the pre-patent period and 2) the antibody response against D. repens somatic antigens and against the Wolbachia endosymbiont. Briefly, on Day 0, twenty purpose-bred Beagle dogs were experimentally infected with 50 infective larvae (L3) of D. repens. Starting from Day 58 until the last day of the study (Day 281), blood samples were collected on a monthly basis for detection of antibodies against D. repens (Dr) and recombinant Wolbachia surface protein (rWSP) by non-commercial IgG-ELISAs. Additional samples were collected on Days 220, 245 and 281 for the detection of microfilariae (mff) using the modified Knott's test and biomolecular analysis, following two PCR protocols: Gioia et al. (2010; protocol A) and Rishniw et al. (2006- protocol B). The results were analysed by univariate statistical analyses using 2 × 2 contingency tables and K Cohen was calculated to assess the agreement among all the diagnostic techniques. Overall, the outcome of the study revealed that out of the 20 dogs experimentally infected with D. repens, 16 (80 %) were microfilaraemic, 17 (85 %) were positive at DNA detection in the blood, 18 (90 %) had D. repens antibodies and 16 (80 %) had Wolbachia antibodies on the last day of the study. The overall k agreement between Knott's and PCR protocol B was 0.442 (P = 0.0001) and increased throughout the study, reaching 0.828 (P = 0.0001) on Day 281. To the authors knowledge, this is only the second study reporting antibody response to D. repens somatic antigen in experimentally infected dogs. ELISA results showed that an antibody response develops before the onset of patency, and steadily increases with time. Results would suggest that the development of an immunological response to infection could lead to application in epidemiological studies, risk assessment and as an aid in the diagnostic approach in dogs, in particular for early infections without mff.

RevDate: 2020-11-28

Lee JM, Yek SH, Wilson RF, et al (2020)

Characterization of the Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) holobiome: bacterial composition across land use type and mosquito sex in Malaysia.

Acta tropica, 212:105683 pii:S0001-706X(20)30748-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Understanding the diversity and dynamics of the microbiota within the mosquito holobiome is of great importance to apprehend how the microbiota modulates various complex processes and interactions. This study examined the bacterial composition of Aedes albopictus across land use type and mosquito sex in the state of Selangor, Malaysia using 16S rRNA sequencing. The bacterial community structure in mosquitoes was found to be influenced by land use type and mosquito sex, with the environment and mosquito diet respectively identified to be the most likely sources of microbes. We found that approximately 70% of the microbiota samples were dominated by Wolbachia and removing Wolbachia from analyses revealed the relatively even composition of the remaining bacterial microbiota. Furthermore, microbial interaction network analysis highlighted the prevalence of co-exclusionary patterns in all networks regardless of land use and mosquito sex, with Wolbachia exhibiting co-exclusionary interactions with other residential bacteria such as Xanthomonas, Xenophilus and Zymobacter.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Noh P, Oh SY, Park S, et al (2020)

Association between host wing morphology polymorphism and Wolbachia infection in Vollenhovia emeryi (Hymenoptera: Myrmicinae).

Ecology and evolution, 10(16):8827-8837.

Many eusocial insects, including ants, show complex colony structures, distributions, and reproductive strategies. In the ant Vollenhovia emeryi Wheeler (Hymenoptera: Myrmicinae), queens and males are produced clonally, while sterile workers arise sexually, unlike other ant species and Hymenopteran insects in general. Furthermore, there is a wing length polymorphism in the queen caste. Despite its evolutionary remarkable traits, little is known about the population structure of this ant species, which may provide insight into its unique reproductive mode and polymorphic traits. We performed in-depth analyses of ant populations from Korea, Japan, and North America using three mitochondrial genes (COI, COII, and Cytb). The long-winged (L) morph is predominant in Korean populations, and the short-winged (S) morph is very rare. Interestingly, all L morphs were infected with Wolbachia, while all Korean S morphs lacked Wolbachia, demonstrating a association between a symbiont and a phenotypic trait. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that the S morph is derived from the L morph. We propose that the S morph is associated with potential resistance to Wolbachia infection and that Wolbachia infection does not influence clonal reproduction (as is the case in other ant species).

RevDate: 2020-10-27
CmpDate: 2020-10-27

Zhang D, Xi Z, Li Y, et al (2020)

Toward implementation of combined incompatible and sterile insect techniques for mosquito control: Optimized chilling conditions for handling Aedes albopictus male adults prior to release.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 14(9):e0008561.

Combined incompatible and sterile insect technique (IIT-SIT) has been considered to be an effective and safe approach to control mosquito populations. Immobilization of male adults by chilling is a crucial process required for the packing, transportation and release of the mosquitoes during the implementation of IIT-SIT for mosquito control. In this study, effects of chilling on the Aedes albopictus males with triple Wolbachia infections (HC line), a powerful weapon to fight against the wild type Ae. albopictus population via IIT-SIT, were evaluated under both laboratory and field conditions. Irradiated HC (IHC) males were exposed to 1, 5 and 10°C for 1, 2, 3, 6 and 24 h. The survival rate of the post-chilled IHC males was then monitored. Longevity of post-chilled IHC males was compared to non-chilled males under laboratory and semi-field conditions. Mating competitiveness of IHC/HC males after exposure to 5 or 10°C for 0, 3 and 24 h was then evaluated. Effects of compaction and transportation under chilled conditions on the survival rate of IHC males were also monitored. The optimal chilling conditions for handling IHC males were temperatures between 5 and 10°C for a duration of less than 3 h with no negative impacts on survival rate, longevity and mating competitiveness when compared to non-chilled males. However, the overall quality of post-chilled IHC/HC males decreased when exposed to low temperatures for 24 h. Reduced survival was observed when IHC males were stored at 5°C under a compaction height of 8 cm. Transportation with chilling temperatures fluctuating from 8 to 12°C has no negative impact on the survival of IHC males. This study identified the optimal chilling temperature and duration for the handling and transportation of Ae. albopictus IHC male adults without any detrimental effect on their survival, longevity and mating competitiveness. Further studies are required to develop drone release systems specific for chilled mosquitoes to improve release efficiency, as well as to compare the population suppression efficiency between release of post-chilled and non-chilled males in the field.

RevDate: 2020-10-27

Castillo AM, Saltonstall K, Arias CF, et al (2020)

The Microbiome of Neotropical Water Striders and Its Potential Role in Codiversification.

Insects, 11(9):.

Insects host a highly diverse microbiome, which plays a crucial role in insect life. However, the composition and diversity of microbiomes associated with Neotropical freshwater insects is virtually unknown. In addition, the extent to which diversification of this microbiome is associated with host phylogenetic divergence remains to be determined. Here, we present the first comprehensive analysis of bacterial communities associated with six closely related species of Neotropical water striders in Panama. We used comparative phylogenetic analyses to assess associations between dominant bacterial linages and phylogenetic divergence among species of water striders. We found a total of 806 16S rRNA amplicon sequence variants (ASVs), with dominant bacterial taxa belonging to the phyla Proteobacteria (76.87%) and Tenericutes (19.51%). Members of the α- (e.g., Wolbachia) and γ- (e.g., Acinetobacter, Serratia) Proteobacteria, and Mollicutes (e.g., Spiroplasma) were predominantly shared across species, suggesting the presence of a core microbiome in water striders. However, some bacterial lineages (e.g., Fructobacillus, Fluviicola and Chryseobacterium) were uniquely associated with different water strider species, likely representing a distinctive feature of each species' microbiome. These findings indicate that both host identity and environmental context are important drivers of microbiome diversity in water striders. In addition, they suggest that diversification of the microbiome is associated with diversification in water striders. Although more research is needed to establish the evolutionary consequences of host-microbiome interaction in water striders, our findings support recent work highlighting the role of bacterial community host-microbiome codiversification.

RevDate: 2020-08-28

Brattig NW, Cheke RA, R Garms (2020)

Onchocerciasis (River Blindness) - more than a Century of Research and Control.

Acta tropica pii:S0001-706X(20)30991-8 [Epub ahead of print].

This review summarises more than a century of research on onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness, and its control. River blindness is an infection caused by the tissue filaria Onchocerca volvulus affecting the skin, subcutaneous tissue and eyes and leading to blindness in a minority of infected persons. The parasite is transmitted by its intermediate hosts Simulium spp. which breed in rivers. Featured are history and milestones in onchocerciasis research and control, state-of-the-art data on the parasite, its endobacteria Wolbachia, on the vectors, previous and current prevalence of the infection, its diagnostics, the interaction between the parasite and its host, immune responses and the pathology of onchocerciasis. Detailed information is documented on the time course of control programmes in the afflicted countries in Africa and the Americas, a long road from previous programmes to current successes in control of the transmission of this infectious disease. By development, adjustment and optimization of the control measures, transmission by the vector has been interrupted in foci of countries in the Americas, in Uganda, in Sudan and elsewhere, followed by onchocerciasis eliminations. The current state and future perspectives for control, elimination and eradication within the next 20-30 years are described and discussed. This review contributes to a deeper comprehension of this disease by a tissue-dwelling filaria and it will be helpful in efforts to control and eliminate other filarial infections.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Neupane S, Bonilla SI, Manalo AM, et al (2020)

Near-Complete Genome Sequences of a Wolbachia Strain Isolated from Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Liviidae).

Microbiology resource announcements, 9(35):.

Wolbachia strains are one of three endosymbionts associated with the insect vector of "Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus," Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Liviidae). We report three near-complete genome sequences of samples of Wolbachia from D. citri (wDi), with sizes of 1,518,595, 1,542,468, and 1,538,523 bp.


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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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

short personal version

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

long standard version

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