About | BLOGS | Portfolio | Misc | Recommended | What's New | What's Hot

About | BLOGS | Portfolio | Misc | Recommended | What's New | What's Hot


Bibliography Options Menu

29 Sep 2023 at 02:00
Hide Abstracts   |   Hide Additional Links
Long bibliographies are displayed in blocks of 100 citations at a time. At the end of each block there is an option to load the next block.

Bibliography on: Wolbachia


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

RJR: Recommended Bibliography 29 Sep 2023 at 02:00 Created: 


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

Created with PubMed® Query: wolbachia NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2023-09-28

Chebbah D, Hamarsheh O, Sereno D, et al (2023)

Molecular characterization and genetic diversity of Wolbachia endosymbionts in bed bugs (Hemiptera; Cimicidae) collected in Paris.

PloS one, 18(9):e0292229 pii:PONE-D-23-14570.

PURPOSE: This study aimed to investigate the genetic diversity of Wolbachia in field-caught bed bug species in Paris areas.

METHODS: The bed bug specimens were captured from various infested localities in Paris and surrounding cities. They belonged to diverse life stages, including egg, nymph, and adult. They were then identified using morphological and molecular approaches. Furthermore, Wolbachia was detected, and its genetic diversity was investigated by conventional PCR of 16S-rRNA and Wolbachia surface protein (wsp) genes.

RESULTS: A total of 256 bed bug specimens belonging to various life stages [adult (183 specimens), nymph (48), and egg (25)] were captured from seven private apartments, five social apartments, three houses, two immigrant residences, and one retirement home situated in 10 districts of Paris and 8 surrounding cities. They were identified as Cimex lectularius (237 specimens) and C. hemipterus (19) using morphological and molecular approaches. The presence and diversity of Wolbachia were ascertained by targeting 16S-rRNA and wsp genes. Based on molecular analysis, 182 and 148 out of 256 processed specimens were positive by amplifying 16S-rRNA and wsp fragments, respectively. The inferred phylogenetic analysis with 16S-rRNA and wsp sequences displayed monophyletic Wolbachia strains clustering each one in three populations. The median-joining network, including the Wolbachia 16S-rRNA and wsp sequences of C. lectularius and C. hemipterous specimens, indicated a significant genetic differentiation among these populations in Paris areas which was consent with Neighbor-Joining analyses. A phylogenetic analysis of our heterogenic Wolbachia sequences with those reported from other arthropod species confirmed their belonging to supergroup F. Moreover, no difference between Wolbachia sequences from eggs, nymphs, and adults belonging to the same clade and between Wolbachia sequences of C. lectularius and C. hemipterus were observed after sequence alignment. Furthermore, no significant correlation was found between multiple geographical locations (or accomodation type) where bed bugs were collected and the genetic diversity of Wolbachia.

CONCLUSIONS: We highlight a significant heterogeneity within Wolbachia symbionts detected in C. lectularius and C. hemipterus. No correlation between Wolbachia species and bed bug species (C. lectularius versus C. hemipterus), physiological stages (egg, nymph, and adult), and sampling location was recorded in this study.

RevDate: 2023-09-25

Thi Hue Kien D, Edenborough K, da Silva Goncalves D, et al (2023)

Genome evolution of dengue virus serotype 1 under selection by Wolbachia pipientis in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

Virus evolution, 9(1):vead016.

The introgression of antiviral strains of Wolbachia into Aedes aegypti mosquito populations is a public health intervention for the control of dengue. Plausibly, dengue virus (DENV) could evolve to bypass the antiviral effects of Wolbachia and undermine this approach. Here, we established a serial-passage system to investigate the evolution of DENV in Ae. aegypti mosquitoes infected with the wMel strain of Wolbachia. Using this system, we report on virus genetic outcomes after twenty passages of serotype 1 of DENV (DENV-1). An amino acid substitution, E203K, in the DENV-1 envelope protein was more frequently detected in the consensus sequence of virus populations passaged in wMel-infected Ae. aegypti than wild-type counterparts. Positive selection at residue 203 was reproducible; it occurred in passaged virus populations from independent DENV-1-infected patients and also in a second, independent experimental system. In wild-type mosquitoes and human cells, the 203K variant was rapidly replaced by the progenitor sequence. These findings provide proof of concept that wMel-associated selection of virus populations can occur in experimental conditions. Field-based studies are needed to explore whether wMel imparts selective pressure on DENV evolution in locations where wMel is established.

RevDate: 2023-09-22

Thia JA, Endersby-Harshman N, Collier S, et al (2023)

Mitochondrial DNA variation in Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) mosquitoes from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Journal of medical entomology pii:7279430 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia (Hertig 1936) (Rickettsiales: Ehrlichiaceae) has emerged as a valuable biocontrol tool in the fight against dengue by suppressing the transmission of the virus through mosquitoes. Monitoring the dynamics of Wolbachia is crucial for evaluating the effectiveness of release programs. Mitochondrial (mtDNA) markers serve as important tools for molecular tracking of infected mitochondrial backgrounds over time but require an understanding of the variation in release sites. In this study, we investigated the mitochondrial lineages of Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus 1762) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which is a prospective release site for the "wAlbBQ" Wolbachia-infected strain of this mosquito species. We employed a combination of comprehensive mitogenomic analysis (including all protein-coding genes) and mtDNA marker analysis (cox1 and nad5) using data collected from Jeddah. We combined our mitogenome and mtDNA marker data with those from previous studies to place mitochondrial variation in Saudi Arabia into a broader global context. Our findings revealed the presence of 4 subclades that can be broadly categorized into 2 major mitochondrial lineages. Ae. aegypti mosquitoes from Jeddah belonged to both major lineages. Whilst mitogenomic data offered a higher resolution for distinguishing Jeddah mosquitoes from the wAlbBQ strain, the combination of cox1 and nad5 mtDNA markers alone proved to be sufficient. This study provides the first important characterization of Ae. aegypti mitochondrial lineages in Saudi Arabia and offers essential baseline information for planning future molecular monitoring efforts during the release of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes.

RevDate: 2023-09-20

Soto A, De Coninck L, Devlies AS, et al (2023)

Belgian Culex pipiens pipiens are competent vectors for West Nile virus while Culex modestus are competent vectors for Usutu virus.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 17(9):e0011649 pii:PNTD-D-23-00656 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: West Nile virus (WNV) and Usutu virus (USUV) are emerging arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) in Europe transmitted by Culex mosquitoes. In Belgium, it is currently unknown which Culex species are competent vectors for WNV or USUV and if these mosquitoes carry Wolbachia, an endosymbiotic bacterium that can block arbovirus transmission. The aims of our study were to measure the vector competence of Belgian Culex mosquitoes to WNV and USUV and determine if a naturally acquired Wolbachia infection can influence virus transmission.

Female Culex mosquitoes were captured from urban and peri-urban sites in Leuven, Belgium and offered an infectious bloodmeal containing WNV lineage 2, USUV European (EU) lineage 3, or USUV African (AF) lineage 3. Blood-fed females were incubated for 14 days at 25°C after which the body, head, and saliva were collected to measure infection, dissemination, and transmission rates as well as transmission efficiency. Mosquito species were identified by qRT-PCR or Sanger sequencing, the presence of infectious virus in mosquitoes was confirmed by plaque assays, and viral genome copies were quantified by qRT-PCR. Culex pipiens pipiens were able to transmit WNV (4.3% transmission efficiency, n = 2/47) but not USUV (EU lineage: n = 0/56; AF lineage: n = 0/37). In contrast, Culex modestus were able to transmit USUV (AF lineage: 20% transmission efficiency, n = 1/5) but not WNV (n = 0/6). We found that the presence or absence of Wolbachia was species-dependent and did not associate with virus transmission.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This is the first report that Belgian Culex mosquitoes can transmit both WNV and USUV, forewarning the risk of human transmission. More research is needed to understand the potential influence of Wolbachia on arbovirus transmission in Culex modestus mosquitoes.

RevDate: 2023-09-18

Giordano R, Weber EP, Mitacek R, et al (2023)

Patterns of asexual reproduction of the soybean aphid, Aphis glycines (Matsumura), with and without the secondary symbionts Wolbachia and Arsenophonus, on susceptible and resistant soybean genotypes.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1209595.

Plant breeding is used to develop crops with host resistance to aphids, however, virulent biotypes often develop that overcome host resistance genes. We tested whether the symbionts, Arsenophonus (A) and Wolbachia (W), affect virulence and fecundity in soybean aphid biotypes Bt1 and Bt3 cultured on whole plants and detached leaves of three resistant, Rag1, Rag2 and Rag1 + 2, and one susceptible, W82, soybean genotypes. Whole plants and individual aphid experiments of A. glycines with and without Arsenophonus and Wolbachia did not show differences in overall fecundity. Differences were observed in peak fecundity, first day of deposition, and day of maximum nymph deposition of individual aphids on detached leaves. Bt3 had higher fecundity than Bt1 on detached leaves of all plant genotypes regardless of bacterial profile. Symbionts did not affect peak fecundity of Bt1 but increased it in Bt3 (A+W+) and all Bt3 strains began to deposit nymphs earlier than the Bt1 (A+W-). Arsenophonus in Bt1 delayed the first day of nymph deposition in comparison to aposymbiotic Bt1 except when reared on Rag1 + 2. For the Bt1 and Bt3 strains, symbionts did not result in a significant difference in the day they deposited the maximum number of nymphs nor was there a difference in survival or variability in number of nymphs deposited. Variability of number of aphids deposited was higher in aphids feeding on resistant plant genotypes. The impact of Arsenophonus on soybean aphid patterns of fecundity was dependent on the aphid biotype and plant genotype. Wolbachia alone had no detectable impact but may have contributed to the increased fecundity of Bt3 (A+W+). An individual based model, using data from the detached leaves experiment and with intraspecific competition removed, found patterns similar to those observed in the greenhouse and growth chamber experiments including a significant interaction between soybean genotype and aphid strain. Combining individual data with the individual based model of population growth isolated the impact of fecundity and host resistance from intraspecific competition and host health. Changes to patterns of fecundity, influenced by the composition and concentration of symbionts, may contribute to competitive interactions among aphid genotypes and influence selection on virulent aphid populations.

RevDate: 2023-09-16

Mfopit YM, Engel JS, Chechet GD, et al (2023)

Molecular detection of Sodalis glossinidius, Spiroplasma species and Wolbachia endosymbionts in wild population of tsetse flies collected in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria.

BMC microbiology, 23(1):260.

BACKGROUND: Tsetse flies are cyclical vectors of African trypanosomiasis (AT). The flies have established symbiotic associations with different bacteria that influence certain aspects of their physiology. Vector competence of tsetse flies for different trypanosome species is highly variable and is suggested to be affected by bacterial endosymbionts amongst other factors. Symbiotic interactions may provide an avenue for AT control. The current study provided prevalence of three tsetse symbionts in Glossina species from Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria.

RESULTS: Tsetse flies were collected and dissected from five different locations. DNA was extracted and polymerase chain reaction used to detect presence of Sodalis glossinidius, Spiroplasma species and Wolbachia endosymbionts, using species specific primers. A total of 848 tsetse samples were analysed: Glossina morsitans submorsitans (47.52%), Glossina palpalis palpalis (37.26%), Glossina fuscipes fuscipes (9.08%) and Glossina tachinoides (6.13%). Only 95 (11.20%) were infected with at least one of the three symbionts. Among infected flies, six (6.31%) had Wolbachia and Spiroplasma mixed infection. The overall symbiont prevalence was 0.88, 3.66 and 11.00% respectively, for Sodalis glossinidius, Spiroplasma species and Wolbachia endosymbionts. Prevalence varied between countries and tsetse fly species. Neither Spiroplasma species nor S. glossinidius were detected in samples from Cameroon and Nigeria respectively.

CONCLUSION: The present study revealed, for the first time, presence of Spiroplasma species infections in tsetse fly populations in Chad and Nigeria. These findings provide useful information on repertoire of bacterial flora of tsetse flies and incite more investigations to understand their implication in the vector competence of tsetse flies.

RevDate: 2023-09-15

ElKraly OA, Awad M, El-Saadany HM, et al (2023)

Impact of gut microbiota composition on black cutworm, Agrotis ipsilon (hufnagel) metabolic indices and pesticide degradation.

Animal microbiome, 5(1):44.

Endosymbionts are known to have significant effects on their insect hosts, including nutrition, reproduction, and immunity. Insects gut microbiota is a critical component that affects their physiological and behavioral characteristics. The black cutworm (BCW), Agrotis ipsilon, is an economically important lepidopteran pest that has a diverse gut microbiome composed of nine species belonging to three phyla: Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Firmicutes. This study was conducted to investigate the diversity of gut bacteria isolated from BCW larvae and moths and their effects on metabolism and pesticide degradation. The bacterial isolates were identified using the 16 S rRNA gene. The study showed that the gut microbiome composition significantly affected the metabolism of BCW larvae. Based on the screening results of synthesis of digestive enzymes and pesticide degradation, Brachybacterium conglomeratum and Glutamicibacter sp were selected to perform the remaining experiments as single isolates and consortium. The consortium-fed larvae showed high metabolic indices compared to antibiotic-fed larvae and the control. The gut bacteria were also shown to degrade three pesticide groups. Concerns regarding the health risk of chlorpyrifos have been raised due to its extensive use in agriculture. The isolated B. conglomeratum was more effective in chlorpyrifos degradation than the consortium. Furthermore, the study also examined the presence of sex related endosymbionts (Wolbachia, Spiroplasma, and Rickettsia) in the reproductive tissues of adults. The outcomes demonstrated that none of the examined endosymbionts existed. In conclusion, the study highlights the importance of the gut microbiome in insect physiology and behavior and its potential applications in biotechnology. It provides insights into developing eco-friendly pest control and bioremediation strategies using gut bacteria.

RevDate: 2023-09-14

Vinayagam S, Nirmolia T, Chetry S, et al (2023)

Molecular Evidence of Wolbachia Species in Wild-Caught Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes in Four States of Northeast India.

Journal of tropical medicine, 2023:6678627.

Wolbachia, a Gram-negative intracellular bacterium, naturally infects many arthropods, including mosquito vectors responsible for the spread of arboviral diseases such as Zika, chikungunya, and dengue fever. Certain Wolbachia strains are involved in inhibiting arbovirus replication in mosquitoes, and this phenomenon is currently being studied to combat disease vectors. A study was conducted in four states in north-eastern India to investigate the presence of natural Wolbachia infection in wild-caught Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the established vectors of dengue. The detection of a Wolbachia infection was confirmed by nested PCR and sequencing in the two mosquito species Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus. Positivity rates observed in Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus pools were 38% (44 of 115) and 85% (41 of 48), respectively, and the difference was significant (chi-square = 28.3174, p = 0.00000010). Sequencing revealed that all detected Wolbachia strains belonged to supergroup B. Although Wolbachia infection in Ae. aegypti has been previously reported from India, no such reports are available from north-eastern India. Data on naturally occurring Wolbachia strains are essential for selecting the optimal strain for the development of Wolbachia-based control measures. This information will be helpful for the future application of Wolbachia-based vector control measures in this part of the country.

RevDate: 2023-09-11

Ogunlade ST, Adekunle AI, Meehan MT, et al (2023)

Quantifying the impact of Wolbachia releases on dengue infection in Townsville, Australia.

Scientific reports, 13(1):14932.

From October 2014 to February 2019, local authorities in Townsville, North Queensland, Australia continually introduced Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes to control seasonal outbreaks of dengue infection. In this study, we develop a mathematical modelling framework to estimate the effectiveness of this intervention as well as the relative dengue transmission rates of Wolbachia-infected and wild-type mosquitoes. We find that the transmission rate of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes is reduced approximately by a factor of 20 relative to the uninfected wild-type population. In addition, the Townsville Wolbachia release program led to a 65% reduction in predicted dengue incidence during the release period and over 95% reduction in the 24 months that followed. Finally, to investigate the potential impact of other Wolbachia release programs, we use our estimates of relative transmissibility to calculate the relationship between the reproductive number of dengue and the proportion of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes in the vector population.

RevDate: 2023-09-11

Kryukova NA, Kryukov VY, Polenogova OV, et al (2023)

The endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia (Rickettsiales) alters larval metabolism of the parasitoid Habrobracon hebetor (Hymenoptera: Braconidae).

Archives of insect biochemistry and physiology [Epub ahead of print].

Infection of intestinal tissues with Wolbachia has been found in Habrobracon hebetor. There are not many studies on the relationship between Habrobracon and Wolbachia, and they focus predominantly on the sex index of an infected parasitoid, its fertility, and behavior. The actual role of Wolbachia in the biology of Habrobracon is not yet clear. The method of complete eradication of Wolbachia in the parasitoid was developed here, and effects of the endosymbiont on the host's digestive metabolism were compared between two lines of the parasitoid (Wolbachia-positive and Wolbachia-negative). In the gut of Wolbachia[+] larvae, lipases' activity was higher almost twofold, and activities of acid proteases, esterases, and trehalase were 1.5-fold greater than those in the Wolbachia[-] line. Analyses of larval homogenates revealed that Wolbachia[+] larvae accumulate significantly more lipids and have a lower amount of pyruvate as compared to Wolbachia[-] larvae. The presented results indicate significant effects of the intracellular symbiotic bacterium Wolbachia on the metabolism of H. hebetor larvae and on the activity of its digestive enzymes.

RevDate: 2023-09-11

Ning SF, Huo LX, Lv L, et al (2023)

The identification and expression pattern of the sex determination genes and their sex-specific variants in the egg parasitoid Trichogramma dendrolimi Matsumura (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae).

Frontiers in physiology, 14:1243753 pii:1243753.

Introduction: Trichogramma wasps are egg parasitoids of agricultural lepidopteran pests. The sex of Trichogramma is determined by its ploidy as well as certain sex ratio distorters, such as the endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia spp. and the paternal sex ratio (PSR) chromosome. The sex determination systems of hymenopterans, such as Trichogramma spp., involve cascades of the genes transformer (tra), transformer-2 (tra2), and doublesex (dsx) and are associated with sex-specific tra and dsx splicing. First, these genes and their sex-specific variants must be identified to elucidate the interactions between the sex ratio disorders and the sex determination mechanism of Trichogramma. Methods: Here, we characterized the sex determination genes tra, tra2, and dsx in Trichogramma dendrolimi. Sex-specific tra and dsx variants were detected in cDNA samples obtained from both male and female Trichogramma wasps. They were observed in the early embryos (1-10 h), late embryos (12-20 h), larvae (32 h and 48 h), pre-pupae (96 h), and pupae (144 h, 168 h, 192 h, and 216 h) of both male and female T. dendrolimi offspring. Results: We detected female-specific tra variants throughout the entire early female offspring stage. The male-specific variant began to express at 9-10 h as the egg was not fertilized. However, we did not find any maternally derived, female-specific tra variant in the early male embryo. This observation suggests that the female-specific tra variant expressed in the female embryo at 1-9 h may not have originated from the maternal female wasp. Discussion: The present study might be the first to identify the sex determination genes and sex-specific gene splicing in Trichogramma wasps. The findings of this study lay the foundation for investigating the sex determination mechanisms of Trichogramma and other wasps. They also facilitate sex identification in immature T. dendrolimi and the application of this important egg parasitoid in biological insect pest control programs.

RevDate: 2023-09-09

Zhang Z, Zhang J, Chen Q, et al (2023)

Complete De Novo Assembly of Wolbachia Endosymbiont of Frankliniella intonsa.

International journal of molecular sciences, 24(17): pii:ijms241713245.

As an endosymbiont, Wolbachia exerts significant effects on the host, including on reproduction, immunity, and metabolism. However, the study of Wolbachia in Thysanopteran insects, such as flower thrips Frankliniella intonsa, remains limited. Here, we assembled a gap-free looped genome assembly of Wolbachia strain wFI in a length of 1,463,884 bp (GC content 33.80%), using Nanopore long reads and Illumina short reads. The annotation of wFI identified a total of 1838 protein-coding genes (including 85 pseudogenes), 3 ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs), 35 transfer RNAs (tRNAs), and 1 transfer-messenger RNA (tmRNA). Beyond this basic description, we identified mobile genetic elements, such as prophage and insertion sequences (ISs), which make up 17% of the entire wFI genome, as well as genes involved in riboflavin and biotin synthesis and metabolism. This research lays the foundation for understanding the nutritional mutualism between Wolbachia and flower thrips. It also serves as a valuable resource for future studies delving into the intricate interactions between Wolbachia and its host.

RevDate: 2023-09-08

Yeo H, Tan HZ, Tang Q, et al (2023)

Dense residential areas promote gene flow in dengue vector mosquito Aedes albopictus.

iScience, 26(9):107577.

Aedes albopictus is a successful disease vector due to its ability to survive in a wide range of habitats. Despite its ubiquity and impact on public health, little is known about its differential gene flow capabilities across different city habitats. We obtained a comprehensive dataset of >27,000 genome-wide DNA markers across 105 wild-caught Ae. albopictus individuals from Singapore, a dengue-endemic tropical city with heterogeneous landscapes from densely populated urban areas to forests. Despite Singapore's challenging small-scale heterogeneity, our landscape-genomic approach indicated that dense urban areas are characterized by higher Aedes gene flow rates than managed parks and forests. We documented the incidence of Wolbachia infections of Ae. albopictus involving two strains (wAlbA and wAlbB). Our results dispel the misconception that substantial dispersal of Ae. albopictus is limited to urban greenery, with wide implications for vector management and critical insights into urban planning strategies to combat dengue transmission.

RevDate: 2023-09-05

Lau MJ, Dutra HLC, Jones MJ, et al (2023)

Jamestown Canyon virus is transmissible by Aedes aegypti and is only moderately blocked by Wolbachia co-infection.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 17(9):e0011616 pii:PNTD-D-23-00701 [Epub ahead of print].

Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV), a negative-sense arbovirus, is increasingly common in the upper Midwest of the USA. Transmitted by a range of mosquito genera, JCV's primary amplifying host is white-tailed deer. Aedes aegypti is responsible for transmitting various positive-sense viruses globally including dengue (DENV), Zika, chikungunya, and Yellow Fever. Ae. aegypti's distribution, once confined to the tropics, is expanding, in part due to climate change. Wolbachia, an insect endosymbiont, limits the replication of co-infecting viruses inside insects. The release and spread of the symbiont into Ae. aegypti populations have been effective in reducing transmission of DENV to humans, although the mechanism of Wolbachia-mediated viral blocking is still poorly understood. Here we explored JCV infection potential in Ae. aegypti, the nature of the vector's immune response, and interactions with Wolbachia infection. We show that Ae. aegypti is highly competent for JCV, which grows to high loads and rapidly reaches the saliva after an infectious blood meal. The mosquito immune system responds with strong induction of RNAi and JAK/STAT. Neither the direct effect of viral infection nor the energetic investment in immunity appears to affect mosquito longevity. Wolbachia infection blocked JCV only in the early stages of infection. Wolbachia-induced immunity was small compared to that of JCV, suggesting innate immune priming does not likely explain blocking. We propose two models to explain why Wolbachia's blocking of negative-sense viruses like JCV may be less than that of positive-sense viruses, relating to the slowdown of host protein synthesis and the triggering of interferon-like factors like Vago. In conclusion, we highlight the risk for increased human disease with the predicted future overlap of Ae. aegypti and JCV ranges. We suggest that with moderate Wolbachia-mediated blocking and distinct biology, negative-sense viruses represent a fruitful comparator model to other viruses for understanding blocking mechanisms in mosquitoes.

RevDate: 2023-09-02

Owashi Y, Minami T, Kikuchi T, et al (2023)

Microbiome of Zoophytophagous Biological Control Agent Nesidiocoris tenuis.

Microbial ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Many insects are associated with endosymbionts that influence the feeding, reproduction, and distribution of their hosts. Although the small green mirid, Nesidiocoris tenuis (Reuter) (Hemiptera: Miridae), a zoophytophagous predator that feeds on plants as well as arthropods, is a globally important biological control agent, its microbiome has not been sufficiently studied. In the present study, we assessed the microbiome variation in 96 N. tenuis individuals from 14 locations throughout Japan, based on amplicon sequencing of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene. Nine major bacteria associated with N. tenuis were identified: Rickettsia, two strains of Wolbachia, Spiroplasma, Providencia, Serratia, Pseudochrobactrum, Lactococcus, and Stenotrophomonas. Additionally, a diagnostic PCR analysis for three typical insect reproductive manipulators, Rickettsia, Wolbachia, and Spiroplasma, was performed on a larger sample size (n = 360) of N. tenuis individuals; the most prevalent symbiont was Rickettsia (69.7%), followed by Wolbachia (39.2%) and Spiroplasma (6.1%). Although some symbionts were co-infected, their prevalence did not exhibit any specific tendency, such as a high frequency in specific infection combinations. The infection frequency of Rickettsia was significantly correlated with latitude and temperature, while that of Wolbachia and Spiroplasma was significantly correlated with host plants. The predominance of these bacteria and the absence of obligate symbionts suggested that the N. tenuis microbiome is typical for predatory arthropods rather than sap-feeding insects. Rickettsia and Wolbachia were vertically transmitted rather than horizontally transmitted from the prey. The functional validation of each symbiont would be warranted to develop N. tenuis as a biological control agent.

RevDate: 2023-08-31

Cavany S, Huber JH, Wieler A, et al (2023)

Does ignoring transmission dynamics lead to underestimation of the impact of interventions against mosquito-borne disease?.

BMJ global health, 8(8):.

New vector-control technologies to fight mosquito-borne diseases are urgently needed, the adoption of which depends on efficacy estimates from large-scale cluster-randomised trials (CRTs). The release of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes is one promising strategy to curb dengue virus (DENV) transmission, and a recent CRT reported impressive reductions in dengue incidence following the release of these mosquitoes. Such trials can be affected by multiple sources of bias, however. We used mathematical models of DENV transmission during a CRT of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes to explore three such biases: human movement, mosquito movement and coupled transmission dynamics between trial arms. We show that failure to account for each of these biases would lead to underestimated efficacy, and that the majority of this underestimation is due to a heretofore unrecognised bias caused by transmission coupling. Taken together, our findings suggest that Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes could be even more promising than the recent CRT suggested. By emphasising the importance of accounting for transmission coupling between arms, which requires a mathematical model, we highlight the key role that models can play in interpreting and extrapolating the results from trials of vector control interventions.

RevDate: 2023-08-31

Duong Thi Hue K, da Silva Goncalves D, Tran Thuy V, et al (2023)

Wolbachia wMel strain-mediated effects on dengue virus vertical transmission from Aedes aegypti to their offspring.

Parasites & vectors, 16(1):308.

BACKGROUND: Dengue virus serotypes (DENV-1 to -4) can be transmitted vertically in Aedes aegpti mosquitoes. Whether infection with the wMel strain of the endosymbiont Wolbachia can reduce the incidence of vertical transmission of DENV from infected females to their offspring is not well understood.

METHODS: A laboratory colony of Vietnamese Ae. aegypti, both with and without wMel infection, were infected with DENV-1 by intrathoracic injection (IT) to estimate the rate of vertical transmission (VT) of the virus. VT in the DENV-infected mosquitoes was calculated via the infection rate estimation from mosquito pool data using maximum likelihood estimation (MLE).

RESULTS: In 6047 F1 Vietnamese wild-type Ae. aegypti, the MLE of DENV-1 infection was 1.49 per 1000 mosquitoes (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.73-2.74). In 5500 wMel-infected Ae. aegypti, the MLE infection rate was 0 (95% CI 0-0.69). The VT rates between mosquito lines showed a statistically significant difference.

CONCLUSIONS: The results reinforce the view that VT is a rare event in wild-type mosquitoes and that infection with wMel is effective in reducing VT.

RevDate: 2023-08-31

Martínez-Burgos M, Lozano-Sardaneta YN, Rodríguez-Rojas JJ, et al (2023)

Species diversity and detection of pathogens in phlebotomine sand flies collected from forest management areas of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Medical and veterinary entomology [Epub ahead of print].

Sand flies have expanded their areas of distribution, thereby increasing the risk of pathogen transmission in non-endemic areas. To establish efficient prevention and control strategies for the transmission of vector-borne pathogens, it is important to understand seasonal dynamics of their vectors. In Mexico, there are several areas where the contact between sand flies, hosts and reservoirs favours the transmission of the pathogen. We compared sand fly communities in a forest management area and a conserved area in Noh-Bec, Quintana Roo, Mexico. The analysis included species diversity, activity peaks and molecular detection of pathogens. Sand flies were collected from November to December 2021 and April to May 2022, during 84 night-traps. The conserved area showed higher numbers and greater species heterogeneity of sand flies as compared with the other sites. The β-diversity analysis revealed that sites disturbed by logging (S1, S2, S3) had greater similarity (90%) in their sand fly species composition than a conserved area (S4) (similarity = 36%). Although none of the specimens were infected with Leishmania, we detected Wolbachia (19.4%) in all four sites, as well as Bartonella (3.25%) only in the disturbed sites. Further studies on the dynamics of sand fly populations and their association with pathogens are necessary.

RevDate: 2023-08-30

Wei TL, Zheng YP, Wang ZH, et al (2023)

Comparative microbiome analysis reveals the variation in microbial communities between 'Kyoho' grape and its bud mutant variety.

PloS one, 18(8):e0290853 pii:PONE-D-23-17458.

Microbes are an important part of the vineyard ecosystem, which significantly influence the quality of grapes. Previously, we identified a bud mutant variety (named 'Fengzao') from 'Kyoho' grapes. The variation of microbial communities in grape and its bud mutant variety has not been studied yet. So, in this study, with the samples of both 'Fengzao' and 'Kyoho', we conducted high-throughput microbiome sequencing and investigated their microbial communities in different tissues. Obvious differences were observed in the microbial communities between 'Fengzao' and 'Kyoho'. The fruit and the stem are the tissues with relatively higher abundance of microbes, while the leaves contained less microbes. The fruit and the stem of 'Kyoho' and the stem of 'Fengzao' had relatively higher species diversity based on the alpha diversity analysis. Proteobacteria, Enterobacteriaceae and Rhodobacteraceae had significantly high abundance in 'Fengzao'. Firmicutes and Pseudomonas were highly abundant in the stems of 'Kyoho', and family of Spirochaetaceae, Anaplasmataceae, Chlorobiaceae, and Sphingomonadaceae, and genera of Spirochaeta, Sphingomonas, Chlorobaculum and Wolbachia were abundant in the fruits of 'Kyoho'. These identified microbes are main components of the microbial communities, and could be important regulators of grapevine growth and development. This study revealed the differences in the microbial compositions between 'Kyoho' and its bud mutant, and these identified microbes will be significant resources for the future researches on the quality regulation and disease control of grapevines.

RevDate: 2023-08-30

Wenzel M, CF Aquadro (2023)

Wolbachia infection at least partially rescues the fertility and ovary defects of several new Drosophila melanogaster bag of marbles protein-coding mutants.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2023.03.20.532813.

UNLABELLED: The D. melanogaster protein coding gene bag of marbles (bam) plays a key role in early male and female reproduction by forming complexes with partner proteins to promote differentiation in gametogenesis. Like another germline gene, Sex lethal , bam genetically interacts with the endosymbiont Wolbachia , as Wolbachia rescues the reduced fertility of a bam hypomorphic mutant. Here, we explored the specificity of the bam-Wolbachia interaction by generating 22 new bam mutants, with ten mutants displaying fertility defects. Nine of these mutants trend towards rescue by the w Mel Wolbachia variant, with eight statistically significant at the fertility and/or cytological level. In some cases, fertility was increased a striking 20-fold. There is no specificity between the rescue and the known binding regions of bam , suggesting w Mel does not interact with one singular bam partner to rescue the reproductive phenotype. We further tested if w Mel interacts with bam in a non-specific way, by increasing bam transcript levels or acting upstream in germline stem cells. A fertility assessment of a bam RNAi knockdown mutant reveals that w Mel rescue is specific to functionally mutant bam alleles and we find no obvious evidence of w Mel interaction with germline stem cells in bam mutants.

AUTHOR SUMMARY: Reproduction in the Drosophila melanogaster fruit fly is dependent on the bag of marbles (bam) gene, which acts early in the process of generating eggs and sperm. Mutations to this gene negatively impact the fertility of the fly, causing it to be sterile or have fewer progeny. Interestingly, we find that the bacteria Wolbachia , which resides within reproductive cells across a wide range of insects, partially restores the fertility and ovary phenotype of several bam mutants of which the resultant Bam protein is altered from wildtype. The protein function of Bam is further suggested to be important by the lack of rescue for a fly that has a fertility defect due to low expression of a non-mutated bam gene. Previous work makes similar conclusions about Wolbachia with another reproductive gene, Sex lethal (Sxl), highlighting the potential for rescue of fertility mutants to occur in a similar way across different genes. An understanding of the ways in which Wolbachia can affect host reproduction provides us with context with which to frame Wolbachia 's impact on host genes, such as bam and Sxl, and consider the evolutionary implications of Wolbachia 's infection in D. melanogaster fruit flies.

RevDate: 2023-08-26

Chao LL, CM Shih (2023)

First Detection and Genetic Identification of Wolbachia Endosymbiont in Field-Caught Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) Mosquitoes Collected from Southern Taiwan.

Microorganisms, 11(8): pii:microorganisms11081911.

The prevalence and genetic character of Wolbachia endosymbionts in field-collected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes were examined for the first time in Taiwan. A total of 665 Ae. aegypti were screened for Wolbachia infection using a PCR assay targeting the Wolbachia surface protein (wsp) gene. In general, the prevalence of Wolbachia infection was detected in 3.3% Ae. aegypti specimens (2.0% female and 5.2% male). Group-specific Wolbachia infection was detected with an infection rate of 1.8%, 0.8% and 0.8% in groups A, B and A&B, respectively. Genetic analysis demonstrated that all Wolbachia strains from Taiwan were phylogenetically affiliated with Wolbachia belonging to the supergroups A and B, with high sequence similarities of 99.4-100% and 99.2-100%, respectively. Phylogenetic relationships can be easily distinguished by maximum likelihood (ML) analysis and were congruent with the unweighted pair group with the arithmetic mean (UPGMA) method. The intra- and inter-group analysis of genetic distance (GD) values revealed a lower level within the Taiwan strains (GD < 0.006 for group A and GD < 0.008 for group B) and a higher level (GD > 0.498 for group A and GD > 0.286 for group B) as compared with other Wolbachia strains. Our results describe the first detection and molecular identification of Wolbachia endosymbiont in field-caught Ae. aegypti mosquitoes collected from Taiwan, and showed a low Wolbachia infection rate belonging to supergroups A and B in Ae. aegypti mosquitoes.

RevDate: 2023-08-26

Corpuz RL, Bellinger MR, Veillet A, et al (2023)

The Transmission Patterns of the Endosymbiont Wolbachia within the Hawaiian Drosophilidae Adaptive Radiation.

Genes, 14(8): pii:genes14081545.

The evolution of endosymbionts and their hosts can lead to highly dynamic interactions with varying fitness effects for both the endosymbiont and host species. Wolbachia, a ubiquitous endosymbiont of arthropods and nematodes, can have both beneficial and detrimental effects on host fitness. We documented the occurrence and patterns of transmission of Wolbachia within the Hawaiian Drosophilidae and examined the potential contributions of Wolbachia to the rapid diversification of their hosts. Screens for Wolbachia infections across a minimum of 140 species of Hawaiian Drosophila and Scaptomyza revealed species-level infections of 20.0%, and across all 399 samples, a general infection rate of 10.3%. Among the 44 Wolbachia strains we identified using a modified Wolbachia multi-locus strain typing scheme, 30 (68.18%) belonged to supergroup B, five (11.36%) belonged to supergroup A, and nine (20.45%) had alleles with conflicting supergroup assignments. Co-phylogenetic reconciliation analysis indicated that Wolbachia strain diversity within their endemic Hawaiian Drosophilidae hosts can be explained by vertical (e.g., co-speciation) and horizontal (e.g., host switch) modes of transmission. Results from stochastic character trait mapping suggest that horizontal transmission is associated with the preferred oviposition substrate of the host, but not the host's plant family or island of occurrence. For Hawaiian Drosophilid species of conservation concern, with 13 species listed as endangered and 1 listed as threatened, knowledge of Wolbachia strain types, infection status, and potential for superinfection could assist with conservation breeding programs designed to bolster population sizes, especially when wild populations are supplemented with laboratory-reared, translocated individuals. Future research aimed at improving the understanding of the mechanisms of Wolbachia transmission in nature, their impact on the host, and their role in host species formation may shed light on the influence of Wolbachia as an evolutionary driver, especially in Hawaiian ecosystems.

RevDate: 2023-08-25

Ciocchetta S, Frentiu FD, Montarsi F, et al (2023)

Investigation on key aspects of mating biology in the mosquito Aedes koreicus.

Medical and veterinary entomology [Epub ahead of print].

Aedes koreicus Edwards, 1917 (Hulecoetomyia koreica) is a mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae) from Northeast Asia with a rapidly expanding presence outside its original native range. Over the years, the species has been discovered in several new countries, either spreading after first introduction or remaining localised to limited areas. Notably, recent studies have demonstrated the ability of the species to transmit zoonotic parasites and viruses both in the field and in laboratory settings. Combined with its invasive potential, the possible role of Ae. koreicus in pathogen transmission highlights the public health risks resulting from its invasion. In this study, we used a recently established population from Italy to investigate aspects of biology that influence reproductive success in Ae. koreicus: autogeny, mating behaviour, mating disruption by the sympatric invasive species Aedes albopictus Skuse, 1894, and the presence of the endosymbiont Wolbachia pipientis Hertig, 1936. Our laboratory population did not exhibit autogenic behaviour and required a bloodmeal to complete its ovarian cycle. When we exposed Ae. koreicus females to males of Ae. albopictus, we observed repeated attempts at insemination and an aggressive, disruptive mating behaviour initiated by male Ae. albopictus. Despite this, no sperm was identified in Ae. koreicus spermathecae. Wolbachia, an endosymbiotic bacterium capable of influencing mosquito reproductive behaviour, was not detected in this Ae. koreicus population and, therefore, had no effect on Ae. koreicus reproduction.

RevDate: 2023-08-23

Maruyama J, Inoue H, Hirose Y, et al (2023)

16S rRNA Gene Sequencing of Six Psyllid Species of the Family Carsidaridae Identified Various Bacteria Including Symbiopectobacterium.

Microbes and environments, 38(3):.

Psyllids (Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha: Psylloidea) are plant sap-sucking insects that are closely associated with various microbes. To obtain a more detailed understanding of the ecological and evolutionary behaviors of microbes in Psylloidea, the bacterial populations of six psyllid species, belonging to the family Carsidaridae, were analyzed using high-throughput amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. The majority of the secondary symbionts identified in the present study were gammaproteobacteria, particularly those of the order Enterobacterales, including Arsenophonus and Sodalis, which are lineages found in a wide variety of insect hosts. Additionally, Symbiopectobacterium, another Enterobacterales lineage, which has recently been recognized and increasingly shown to be vertically transmitted and mutualistic in various invertebrates, was identified for the first time in Psylloidea. This lineage is closely related to Pectobacterium spp., which are plant pathogens, but forms a distinct clade exhibiting no pathogenicity to plants. Non-Enterobacterales gammaproteobacteria found in the present study were Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas (both Pseudomonadales), Delftia, Comamonas (both Burkholderiales), and Xanthomonas (Xanthomonadales), a putative plant pathogen. Regarding alphaproteobacteria, three Wolbachia (Rickettsiales) lineages belonging to supergroup B, the major group in insect lineages, were detected in four psyllid species. In addition, a Wolbachia lineage of supergroup O, a minor group recently found for the first time in Psylloidea, was detected in one psyllid species. These results suggest the pervasive transfer of bacterial symbionts among animals and plants, providing deeper insights into the evolution of the interactions among these organisms.

RevDate: 2023-08-23

Strunov A, Schoenherr C, M Kapun (2023)

Wolbachia has subtle effects on thermal preference in highly inbred Drosophila melanogaster which vary with life stage and environmental conditions.

Scientific reports, 13(1):13792.

Temperature fluctuations are challenging for ectotherms which are not able to regulate body temperature by physiological means and thus have to adjust their thermal environment via behavior. However, little is yet known about whether microbial symbionts influence thermal preference (Tp) in ectotherms by modulating their physiology. Several recent studies have demonstrated substantial effects of Wolbachia infections on host Tp in different Drosophila species. These data indicate that the direction and strength of thermal preference variation is strongly dependent on host and symbiont genotypes and highly variable among studies. By employing highly controlled experiments, we investigated the impact of several environmental factors including humidity, food quality, light exposure, and experimental setup that may influence Tp measurements in adult Drosophila melanogaster flies. Additionally, we assessed the effects of Wolbachia infection on Tp of Drosophila at different developmental stages, which has not been done before. We find only subtle effects of Wolbachia on host Tp which are strongly affected by experimental variation in adult, but not during juvenile life stages. Our in-depth analyses show that environmental variation has a substantial influence on Tp which demonstrates the necessity of careful experimental design and cautious interpretations of Tp measurements together with a thorough description of the methods and equipment used to conduct behavioral studies.

RevDate: 2023-08-21

Osorio J, Villa-Arias S, Camargo C, et al (2023)

wMel Wolbachia alters female post-mating behaviors and physiology in the dengue vector mosquito Aedes aegypti.

Communications biology, 6(1):865.

Globally invasive Aedes aegypti disseminate numerous arboviruses that impact human health. One promising method to control Ae. aegypti populations is transinfection with Wolbachia pipientis, which naturally infects ~40-52% of insects but not Ae. aegypti. Transinfection of Ae. aegypti with the wMel Wolbachia strain induces cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), allows infected individuals to invade native populations, and inhibits transmission of medically relevant arboviruses by females. Female insects undergo post-mating physiological and behavioral changes-referred to as the female post-mating response (PMR)-required for optimal fertility. PMRs are typically elicited by male seminal fluid proteins (SFPs) transferred with sperm during mating but can be modified by other factors, including microbiome composition. Wolbachia has modest effects on Ae. aegypti fertility, but its influence on other PMRs is unknown. Here, we show that Wolbachia influences female fecundity, fertility, and re-mating incidence and significantly extends the longevity of virgin females. Using proteomic methods to examine the seminal proteome of infected males, we found that Wolbachia moderately affects SFP composition. However, we identified 125 paternally transferred Wolbachia proteins, but the CI factor proteins (Cifs) were not among them. Our findings indicate that Wolbachia infection of Ae. aegypti alters female PMRs, potentially influencing control programs that utilize Wolbachia-infected individuals.

RevDate: 2023-08-21

Zhu Z, Hui Y, L Hu (2023)

The impact of predators of mosquito larvae on Wolbachia spreading dynamics.

Journal of biological dynamics, 17(1):2249024.

Dengue fever creates more than 390 million cases worldwide yearly. The most effective way to deal with this mosquito-borne disease is to control the vectors. In this work we consider two weapons, the endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia and predators of mosquito larvae, for combating the disease. As Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes are less able to transmit dengue virus, releasing infected mosquitoes to invade wild mosquito populations helps to reduce dengue transmission. Besides this measure, the introduction of predators of mosquito larvae can control mosquito population. To evaluate the impact of the predators on Wolbachia spreading dynamics, we develop a stage-structured five-dimensional model, which links the predator-prey dynamics with the Wolbachia spreading. By comparatively analysing the dynamics of the models without and with predators, we observe that the introduction of the predators augments the number of coexistence equilibria and impedes Wolbachia spreading. Some numerical simulations are presented to support and expand our theoretical results.

RevDate: 2023-08-21

Cull B, XR Wang (2023)

Methods for the Study of Ticks, Mosquitoes, and their Transmitted Pathogens: Toward a Greater Understanding of Vector Biology and Arthropod-Microbe Interactions.

Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE.

Chen, L., Xiao, Q., Shi, M., Cheng, J., Wu, J. Detecting Wolbachia strain wAlbB in Aedes albopictus cell lines. Journal of Visualized Experiments. (184), e63662 (2022). Haziqah-Rashid, A. et al. Determining temperature preference of mosquitoes and other ectotherms. Journal of Visualized Experiments. (187), e64356 (2022). Huang, D. et al. Mosquito-associated virus isolation from field-collected mosquitoes. Journal of Visualized Experiments. (186), e63852 (2022). Khoo, B., Cull, B., Oliver, J. D. Tick artificial membrane feeding for Ixodes scapularis. Journal of Visualized Experiments. 64553 (2022). Leal-Galvan, B., Harvey, C., Thomas, D., Saelao, P., Oliva Chavez, A. S. Isolation of microRNAs from tick ex vivo salivary gland cultures and extracellular vesicles. Journal of Visualized Experiments. (182), e63618 (2022). Liang, Q. et al. Control of Aedes albopictus mosquito larvae with Carpesium abrotanoides L. Journal of Visualized Experiments. (186), e63976 (2022). Wang, F. et al. Experimental viral infection in adult mosquitoes by oral feeding and microinjection. Journal of Visualized Experiments. (185), e63830 (2022). Wang, X. R., Burkhardt, N. Y., Price, L. D., Munderloh, U. G. An electroporation method to transform Rickettsia spp. with a fluorescent protein-expressing shuttle vector in tick cell lines. Journal of Visualized Experiments. (188), e64562 (2022).

RevDate: 2023-08-21

Archer J, Hurst GDD, EA Hornett (2023)

Male-killer symbiont screening reveals novel associations in Adalia ladybirds.

Access microbiology, 5(7):.

While male-killing bacteria are known to infect across arthropods, ladybird beetles represent a hotspot for these symbioses. In some host species, there are multiple different symbionts that vary in presence and frequency between populations. To further our understanding of spatial and frequency variation, we tested for the presence of three male-killing bacteria: Wolbachia , Rickettsia and Spiroplasma , in two Adalia ladybird species from a previously unexplored UK population. The two-spot ladybird, A. bipunctata, is known to harbour all three male-killers, and we identified Spiroplasma infection in the Merseyside population for the first time. However, in contrast to previous studies on two-spot ladybirds from continental Europe, evidence from egg-hatch rates indicates the Spiroplasma strain present in the Merseyside population does not cause embryonic male-killing. In the related ten-spot ladybird, A. decempunctata, there is only one previous record of a male-killing symbiont, a Rickettsia , which we did not detect in the Merseyside sample. However, PCR assays indicated the presence of a Spiroplasma in a single A. decempunctata specimen. Marker sequence indicated that this Spiroplasma was divergent from that found in sympatric A. bipunctata. Genome sequencing of the Spiroplasma -infected A. decempunctata additionally revealed the presence of cobionts in the form of a Centistes parasitoid wasp and the parasitic fungi Beauveria. Further study of A. decempunctata from this population is needed to resolve whether it is the ladybird or wasp cobiont that harbours Spiroplasma , and to establish the phenotype of this strain. These data indicate first that microbial symbiont phenotype should not be assumed from past studies conducted in different locations, and second that cobiont presence may confound screening studies aimed to detect the frequency of a symbiont in field collected material from a focal host species.

RevDate: 2023-08-16

Perles L, Otranto D, Barreto WTG, et al (2023)

Mansonella sp. and associated Wolbachia endosymbionts in ring-tailed coatis (Nasua nasua) in periurban areas from Midwestern Brazil.

International journal for parasitology. Parasites and wildlife, 22:14-19.

Coatis (Nasua nasua) are wild carnivorous well adapted to anthropized environments especially important because they act as reservoirs hosts for many arthropod-borne zoonotic pathogens. Information about filarioids from coatis and associated Wolbachia spp. in Brazil is scant. To investigate the diversity of filarial nematodes, blood samples (n = 100 animals) were obtained from two urban areas in midwestern Brazil and analyzed using blood smears and buffy coats and cPCR assays based on the cox1, 12S rRNA, 18S rRNA, hsp70 and myoHC genes for nematodes and 16S rRNA for Wolbachia. When analyzing coati blood smears and buffy coats, 30% and 80% of the samples presented at least one microfilaria, respectively. Twenty-five cox1 sequences were obtained showing 89% nucleotide identity with Mansonella ozzardi. Phylogenetic analyses clustered cox1 sequences herein obtained within the Mansonella spp. clade. Sequences of both myoHC and two hsp70 genes showed 99.8% nucleotide identity with Mansonella sp. and clustered into a clade within Mansonella sp., previously detected in coatis from Brazil. Two blood samples were positive for Wolbachia, with a 99% nucleotide identity with Wolbachia previously found in Mansonella perstans, Mansonella ozzardi and Mansonella atelensis and in ectoparasites of the genus Pseudolynchia, Melophagus and Cimex. The study showed a high prevalence of Mansonella sp. in the coati population examined, suggesting that this animal species play a role as reservoirs of a novel, yet to be described, species within the Onchocercidae family.

RevDate: 2023-08-14

Garrido M, Veiga J, Garrigós M, et al (2023)

The interplay between vector microbial community and pathogen transmission on the invasive Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus: current knowledge and future directions.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1208633.

The invasive Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus is nowadays broadly distributed with established populations in all continents except Antarctica. In the invaded areas, this species represents an important nuisance for humans and, more relevant, it is involved in the local transmission of pathogens relevant under a public health perspective. Aedes albopictus is a competent vector of parasites such as Dirofilaria and viruses including dengue virus, Zika virus, and chikungunya virus, among others. The mosquito microbiota has been identified as one of the major drivers of vector competence, acting upon relevant vector functions as development or immunity. Here, we review the available literature on the interaction between Ae. albopictus microbiota and pathogen transmission and identify the knowledge gaps on the topic. Most studies are strictly focused on the interplay between pathogens and Wolbachia endosymbiont while studies screening whole microbiota are still scarce but increasing in recent years, supported on Next-generation sequencing tools. Most experimental trials use lab-reared mosquitoes or cell lines, exploring the molecular mechanisms of the microbiota-pathogen interaction. Yet, correlational studies on wild populations are underrepresented. Consequently, we still lack sufficient evidence to reveal whether the microbiota of introduced populations of Ae. albopictus differ from those of native populations, or how microbiota is shaped by different environmental and anthropic factors, but especially, how these changes affect the ability of Ae. albopictus to transmit pathogens and favor the occurrence of outbreaks in the colonized areas. Finally, we propose future research directions on this research topic.

RevDate: 2023-08-11

Kamkong P, Jitsamai W, Thongmeesee K, et al (2023)

Genetic diversity and characterization of Wolbachia endosymbiont in canine filariasis.

Acta tropica pii:S0001-706X(23)00187-0 [Epub ahead of print].

Canine filariasis is caused by nematodes from the family Onchocercidae, which is transmitted by arthropod vectors. The disease is commonly found in Southeast Asia and exists worldwide. Some filarial nematodes are associated with intracellular bacteria of the genus Wolbachia, which plays an important role in embryogenesis, molting, and the long-term survival of adult worms. This study aims to characterize Wolbachia sp. and determine the association between Wolbachia and canine filarial nematode species in Thailand. A total of 46 dog blood samples that were naturally infected with filarial nematodes were obtained to identify filarial nematode species by Giemsa stained under a light microscope and confirmed using the molecular technique. In order to characterize Wolbachia sp., the nested PCR assay targeting the 16S rRNA gene showed that all samples of Dirofilaria immitis and fifteen samples of Candidatus Dirofilaria hongkongensis were grouped into Wolbachia supergroup C. In addition, all samples of Brugia spp. and five samples of Candidatus Dirofilaria hongkongensis were classified into Wolbachia supergroup D. The genetic diversity analysis conducted using the 16S rRNA gene revealed a similar result when analyzed through phylogenetic tree analysis. This is the first genetic diversity study of Wolbachia of Candidatus Dirofilaria hongkongensis in infected dogs in Thailand.

RevDate: 2023-08-04

Namias A, Sahlin K, Makoundou P, et al (2023)

Nanopore sequencing of PCR products enables multicopy gene family reconstruction.

Computational and structural biotechnology journal, 21:3656-3664.

The importance of gene amplifications in evolution is more and more recognized. Yet, tools to study multi-copy gene families are still scarce, and many such families are overlooked using common sequencing methods. Haplotype reconstruction is even harder for polymorphic multi-copy gene families. Here, we show that all variants (or haplotypes) of a multi-copy gene family present in a single genome, can be obtained using Oxford Nanopore Technologies sequencing of PCR products, followed by steps of mapping, SNP calling and haplotyping. As a proof of concept, we acquired the sequences of highly similar variants of the cidA and cidB genes present in the genome of the Wolbachia wPip, a bacterium infecting Culex pipiens mosquitoes. Our method relies on a wide database of cid genes, previously acquired by cloning and Sanger sequencing. We addressed problems commonly faced when using mapping approaches for multi-copy gene families with highly similar variants. In addition, we confirmed that PCR amplification causes frequent chimeras which have to be carefully considered when working on families of recombinant genes. We tested the robustness of the method using a combination of bioinformatics (read simulations) and molecular biology approaches (sequence acquisitions through cloning and Sanger sequencing, specific PCRs and digital droplet PCR). When different haplotypes present within a single genome cannot be reconstructed from short reads sequencing, this pipeline confers a high throughput acquisition, gives reliable results as well as insights of the relative copy numbers of the different variants.

RevDate: 2023-08-05
CmpDate: 2023-08-04

Hasnaoui B, Bérenger JM, Delaunay P, et al (2023)

Survey of bed bug infestations in homeless shelters in southern France.

Scientific reports, 13(1):12557.

Bed bug has become a major public health pest worldwide. Infestation may result in numerous negative health effects. Homeless shelters are one of the most habitats that can be infested with bed bugs, a few studies have focused on bed bug infestations in these settings. We conducted a survey of infestations of bed bugs in a homeless shelter in southern France, using an innovative seven-level scale (0-6) to assess the degree of infestation, MALDI TOF-MS to identify bed bugs, and a biomolecular tool to detect bacteria. Bed bug infestations were documented in 13% (9/68) of investigated rooms. A total of 184 bed bugs were collected and morphologically identified as Cimex lectularius. MALDI TOF-MS analysis allowed us to obtain high-quality MS spectra for all 184 specimens, to correctly identify all specimens, and included 178/184 (97%) Log Score Values higher than 1.8. Among the bacteria tested, Wolbachia sp. DNA was found in 149/184 (81%) of the bed bugs, and one sample was positive for Coxiella burnetii, the agent of Q fever. Our study is the first of its kind that offers new perspectives for increasing public awareness of the conditions in homeless shelters.

RevDate: 2023-07-24
CmpDate: 2023-07-24

Rainey SM, Geoghegan V, Lefteri DA, et al (2023)

Differences in proteome perturbations caused by the Wolbachia strain wAu suggest multiple mechanisms of Wolbachia-mediated antiviral activity.

Scientific reports, 13(1):11737.

Some strains of the inherited bacterium Wolbachia have been shown to be effective at reducing the transmission of dengue virus (DENV) and other RNA viruses by Aedes aegypti in both laboratory and field settings and are being deployed for DENV control. The degree of virus inhibition varies between Wolbachia strains. Density and tissue tropism can contribute to these differences but there are also indications that this is not the only factor involved: for example, strains wAu and wAlbA are maintained at similar intracellular densities but only wAu produces strong DENV inhibition. We previously reported perturbations in lipid transport dynamics, including sequestration of cholesterol in lipid droplets, with strains wMel/wMelPop in Ae. aegypti. To further investigate the cellular basis underlying these differences, proteomic analysis of midguts was carried out on Ae. aegypti lines carrying strains wAu and wAlbA: with the hypothesis that differences in perturbations may underline Wolbachia-mediated antiviral activity. Surprisingly, wAu-carrying midguts not only showed distinct proteome perturbations when compared to non-Wolbachia carrying and wAlbA-carrying midguts but also wMel-carrying midguts. There are changes in RNA processing pathways and upregulation of a specific set of RNA-binding proteins in the wAu-carrying line, including genes with known antiviral activity. Lipid transport and metabolism proteome changes also differ between strains, and we show that strain wAu does not produce the same cholesterol sequestration phenotype as wMel. Moreover, in contrast to wMel, wAu antiviral activity was not rescued by cyclodextrin treatment. Together these results suggest that wAu could show unique features in its inhibition of arboviruses compared to previously characterized Wolbachia strains.

RevDate: 2023-06-13
CmpDate: 2023-06-12

Turner HC, Quyen DL, Dias R, et al (2023)

An economic evaluation of Wolbachia deployments for dengue control in Vietnam.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 17(5):e0011356.

INTRODUCTION: Dengue is a major public health challenge and a growing problem due to climate change. The release of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with the intracellular bacterium Wolbachia is a novel form of vector control against dengue. However, there remains a need to evaluate the benefits of such an intervention at a large scale. In this paper, we evaluate the potential economic impact and cost-effectiveness of scaled Wolbachia deployments as a form of dengue control in Vietnam-targeted at the highest burden urban areas.

METHODS: Ten settings within Vietnam were identified as priority locations for potential future Wolbachia deployments (using a population replacement strategy). The effectiveness of Wolbachia deployments in reducing the incidence of symptomatic dengue cases was assumed to be 75%. We assumed that the intervention would maintain this effectiveness for at least 20 years (but tested this assumption in the sensitivity analysis). A cost-utility analysis and cost-benefit analysis were conducted.

RESULTS: From the health sector perspective, the Wolbachia intervention was projected to cost US$420 per disability-adjusted life year (DALY) averted. From the societal perspective, the overall cost-effectiveness ratio was negative, i.e. the economic benefits outweighed the costs. These results are contingent on the long-term effectiveness of Wolbachia releases being sustained for 20 years. However, the intervention was still classed as cost-effective across the majority of the settings when assuming only 10 years of benefits.

CONCLUSION: Overall, we found that targeting high burden cities with Wolbachia deployments would be a cost-effective intervention in Vietnam and generate notable broader benefits besides health gains.

RevDate: 2023-05-31

Arai H, Anbutsu H, Nishikawa Y, et al (2023)

Combined actions of bacteriophage-encoded genes in Wolbachia-induced male lethality.

iScience, 26(6):106842.

Some Wolbachia endosymbionts induce male killing, whereby male offspring of infected females are killed during development; however, the origin and diversity of the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, we identified a 76 kbp prophage region specific to male-killing Wolbachia hosted by the moth Homona magnanima. The prophage encoded a homolog of the male-killing gene oscar in Ostrinia moths and the wmk gene that induces various toxicities in Drosophila melanogaster. Upon overexpressing these genes in D. melanogaster, wmk-1 and wmk-3 killed all males and most females, whereas Hm-oscar, wmk-2, and wmk-4 had no impact on insect survival. Strikingly, co-expression of tandemly arrayed wmk-3 and wmk-4 killed 90% of males and restored 70% of females, suggesting their conjugated functions for male-specific lethality. While the male-killing gene in the native host remains unknown, our findings highlight the role of bacteriophages in male-killing evolution and differences in male-killing mechanisms among insects.

RevDate: 2023-07-22
CmpDate: 2023-07-21

Zheng R, Wang Q, Wu R, et al (2023)

Holobiont perspectives on tripartite interactions among microbiota, mosquitoes, and pathogens.

The ISME journal, 17(8):1143-1152.

Mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and malaria cause a significant global health burden. Unfortunately, current insecticides and environmental control strategies aimed at the vectors of these diseases are only moderately effective in decreasing disease burden. Understanding and manipulating the interaction between the mosquito holobiont (i.e., mosquitoes and their resident microbiota) and the pathogens transmitted by these mosquitoes to humans and animals could help in developing new disease control strategies. Different microorganisms found in the mosquito's microbiota affect traits related to mosquito survival, development, and reproduction. Here, we review the physiological effects of essential microbes on their mosquito hosts; the interactions between the mosquito holobiont and mosquito-borne pathogen (MBP) infections, including microbiota-induced host immune activation and Wolbachia-mediated pathogen blocking (PB); and the effects of environmental factors and host regulation on the composition of the microbiota. Finally, we briefly overview future directions in holobiont studies, and how these may lead to new effective control strategies against mosquitoes and their transmitted diseases.

RevDate: 2023-06-08
CmpDate: 2023-05-29

Bruner-Montero G, FM Jiggins (2023)

Wolbachia protects Drosophila melanogaster against two naturally occurring and virulent viral pathogens.

Scientific reports, 13(1):8518.

Wolbachia is a common endosymbiont that can protect insects against viral pathogens. However, whether the antiviral effects of Wolbachia have a significant effect on fitness remains unclear. We have investigated the interaction between Drosophila melanogaster, Wolbachia and two viruses that we recently isolated from wild flies, La Jolla virus (LJV; Iflaviridae) and Newfield virus (NFV; Permutotetraviridae). Flies infected with these viruses have increased mortality rates, and NFV partially sterilizes females. These effects on fitness were reduced in Wolbachia-infected flies, and this was associated with reduced viral titres. However, Wolbachia alone also reduces survival, and under our experimental conditions these costs of the symbiont can outweigh the benefits of antiviral protection. In contrast, protection against the sterilizing effect of NFV leads to a net benefit of Wolbachia infection after exposure to the virus. These results support the hypothesis that Wolbachia is an important defense against the natural pathogens of D. melanogaster. Furthermore, by reducing the cost of Wolbachia infection, the antiviral effects of Wolbachia may aid its invasion into populations and help explain why it is so common in nature.

RevDate: 2023-05-15

Shi H, Yu X, G Cheng (2023)

Impact of the microbiome on mosquito-borne diseases.

Protein & cell pii:7142859 [Epub ahead of print].

Mosquito-borne diseases present a significant threat to human health, with the possibility of outbreaks of new mosquito-borne diseases always looming. Unfortunately, current measures to combat these diseases such as vaccines and drugs are often either unavailable or ineffective. However, recent studies on microbiomes may reveal promising strategies to fight these diseases. In this review, we examine recent advances in our understanding of the effects of both the mosquito and vertebrate microbiomes on mosquito-borne diseases. We argue that the mosquito microbiome can have direct and indirect impacts on the transmission of these diseases, with mosquito symbiotic microorganisms, particularly Wolbachia bacteria, showing potential for controlling mosquito-borne diseases. Moreover, the skin microbiome of vertebrates plays a significant role in mosquito preferences, while the gut microbiome has an impact on the progression of mosquito-borne diseases in humans. As researchers continue to explore the role of microbiomes in mosquito-borne diseases, we highlight some promising future directions for this field. Ultimately, a better understanding of the interplay between mosquitoes, their hosts, pathogens, and the microbiomes of mosquitoes and hosts may hold the key to preventing and controlling mosquito-borne diseases.

RevDate: 2023-06-21
CmpDate: 2023-06-05

Gong JT, Li TP, Wang MK, et al (2023)

Wolbachia-based strategies for control of agricultural pests.

Current opinion in insect science, 57:101039.

Wolbachia-based incompatible insect technique (IIT) and pathogen blocking technique (PBT) have been shown to be effective at protecting humans from mosquito-borne diseases in the past decades. Population suppression based on IIT and population replacement based on PBT have become major field application strategies that have continuously been improved by the translational research on Wolbachia-transinfected mosquitoes. Similarly, Wolbachia-based approaches have been proposed for the protection of plants from agricultural pests and their associated diseases. However, a bottleneck in Wolbachia-based strategies for the control of agricultural pests is the need for methods to establish Wolbachia-transinfected insect lines. As a first step in this direction, we compare field control strategies for mosquitos with the potential strategies for agricultural pests based on Wolbachia. Our results show that there is a critical need for establishing productive insect lines and accumulating field test data.

RevDate: 2023-04-27

Towett-Kirui S, Morrow JL, Close S, et al (2023)

Bacterial Communities Are Less Diverse in a Strepsipteran Endoparasitoid than in Its Fruit Fly Hosts and Dominated by Wolbachia.

Microbial ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Microbiomes play vital roles in insect fitness and health and can be influenced by interactions between insects and their parasites. Many studies investigate the microbiome of free-living insects, whereas microbiomes of endoparasitoids and their interactions with parasitised insects are less explored. Due to their development in the constrained environment within a host, endoparasitoids are expected to have less diverse yet distinct microbiomes. We used high-throughput 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing to characterise the bacterial communities of Dipterophagus daci (Strepsiptera) and seven of its tephritid fruit fly host species. Bacterial communities of D. daci were less diverse and contained fewer taxa relative to the bacterial communities of the tephritid hosts. The strepsipteran's microbiome was dominated by Pseudomonadota (formerly Proteobacteria) (> 96%), mainly attributed to the presence of Wolbachia, with few other bacterial community members, indicative of an overall less diverse microbiome in D. daci. In contrast, a dominance of Wolbachia was not found in flies parasitised by early stages of D. daci nor unparasitised flies. Yet, early stages of D. daci parasitisation resulted in structural changes in the bacterial communities of parasitised flies. Furthermore, parasitisation with early stages of D. daci with Wolbachia was associated with a change in the relative abundance of some bacterial taxa relative to parasitisation with early stages of D. daci lacking Wolbachia. Our study is a first comprehensive characterisation of bacterial communities in a Strepsiptera species together with the more diverse bacterial communities of its hosts and reveals effects of concealed stages of parasitisation on host bacterial communities.

RevDate: 2023-05-01

Lv N, Peng J, He ZQ, et al (2023)

The Dynamic Distribution of Wolbachia and Rickettsia in AsiaII1 Bemisia tabaci.

Insects, 14(4):.

Wolbachia and Rickettsia are bacterial endosymbionts that can induce a number of reproductive abnormalities in their arthropod hosts. We screened and established the co-infection of Wolbachia and Rickettsia in Bemisia tabaci and compared the spatial and temporal distribution of Wolbachia and Rickettsia in eggs (3-120 h after spawning), nymphs, and adults of B. tabaci by qPCR quantification and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). The results show that the titer of Wolbachia and Rickettsia in the 3-120 h old eggs showed a "w" patterned fluctuation, while the titers of Wolbachia and Rickettsia had a "descending-ascending descending-ascending" change process. The titers of Rickettsia and Wolbachia nymphal and the adult life stages of Asia II1 B. tabaci generally increased with the development of whiteflies. However, the location of Wolbachia and Rickettsia in the egg changed from egg stalk to egg base, and then from egg base to egg posterior, and finally back to the middle of the egg. These results will provide basic information on the quantity and localization of Wolbachia and Rickettsia within different life stages of B. tabaci. These findings help to understand the dynamics of the vertical transmission of symbiotic bacteria.

RevDate: 2023-05-01

Cheong YL, Nazni WA, Lee HL, et al (2023)

Spatial Distribution and Long-Term Persistence of Wolbachia-Infected Aedes aegypti in the Mentari Court, Malaysia.

Insects, 14(4):.

Dengue is endemic in Malaysia, and vector control strategies are vital to reduce dengue transmission. The Wolbachia strain wAlbB carried by both sexes of Ae. aegypti was released in Mentari Court, a high-rise residential site, in October 2017 and stopped after 20 weeks. Wolbachia frequencies are still being monitored at multiple traps across this site, providing an opportunity to examine the spatiotemporal distribution of Wolbachia and mosquito density with respect to year, residential block, and floor, using spatial interpolation in ArcGIS, GLMs, and contingency analyses. In just 12 weeks, Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes were established right across the Mentari Court site with an overall infection frequency of >90%. To date, the Wolbachia frequency of Ae. aegypti has remained high in all areas across the site despite releases finishing four years ago. Nevertheless, the Wolbachia invaded more rapidly in some residential blocks than others, and also showed a relatively higher frequency on the eighth floor. The Ae. aegypti index tended to differ somewhat between residential blocks, whilst the Ae. albopictus index was relatively higher at the top and bottom floors of buildings. In Mentari Court, only a short release period was required to infiltrate Wolbachia completely and stably into the natural population. The results inform future releases in comparable sites in a dengue control programme.

RevDate: 2023-05-01

Karpova EK, Bobrovskikh MA, Deryuzhenko MA, et al (2023)

Wolbachia Effect on Drosophila melanogaster Lipid and Carbohydrate Metabolism.

Insects, 14(4):.

The effect of maternally inherited endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia on triglyceride and carbohydrate metabolism, starvation resistance and feeding behavior of Drosophila melanogaster females was studied. Eight D. melanogaster lines of the same nuclear background were investigated; one had no infection and served as the control, and seven others were infected with different Wolbachia strains pertaining to wMel and wMelCS groups of genotypes. Most of the infected lines had a higher overall lipid content and triglyceride level than the control line and their expression of the bmm gene regulating triglyceride catabolism was reduced. The glucose content was higher in the infected lines compared to that in the control, while their trehalose levels were similar. It was also found that the Wolbachia infection reduced the level of tps1 gene expression (coding for enzyme for trehalose synthesis from glucose) and had no effect on treh gene expression (coding for trehalose degradation enzyme). The infected lines exhibited lower appetite but higher survival under starvation compared to the control. The data obtained may indicate that Wolbachia foster their hosts' energy exchange through increasing its lipid storage and glucose content to ensure the host's competitive advantage over uninfected individuals. The scheme of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism regulation under Wolbachia's influence was suggested.

RevDate: 2023-05-01

Heffernan E, Markee A, Truglio MR, et al (2023)

Population Genetic Structure of a Rare Butterfly in a Fragmented South Florida Ecosystem.

Insects, 14(4):.

We investigated the genetic structure and diversity between populations of a rare butterfly, the Florida duskywing (Ephyriades brunnea floridensis E. Bell and W. Comstock, 1948) (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae) across a network of South Florida pine rockland habitat fragments. Based on 81 individuals from seven populations and using multiple polymorphic microsatellite loci, our analyses support the presence of mainland Florida (peninsular) and Florida Keys (island) population groupings, with a moderate, asymmetrical gene flow connecting them, and the presence of private alleles providing unique identities to each. We additionally found that despite a prevalence in many Lepidoptera, the presence of Wolbachia was not identified in any of the samples screened. Our findings can be used to inform conservation and recovery decisions, including population monitoring, organism translocation, and priority areas for management, restoration or stepping-stone creation to help maintain the complex genetic structure of separate populations.

RevDate: 2023-04-26
CmpDate: 2023-04-24

Choubdar N, Karimian F, Koosha M, et al (2023)

Wolbachia infection in native populations of Blattella germanica and Periplaneta americana.

PloS one, 18(4):e0284704.

Cockroaches are significant pests worldwide, being important in medical, veterinary, and public health fields. Control of cockroaches is difficult because they have robust reproductive ability and high adaptability and are resistant to many insecticides. Wolbachia is an endosymbiont bacterium that infects the reproductive organs of approximately 70% of insect species and has become a promising biological agent for controlling insect pests. However, limited data on the presence or strain typing of Wolbachia in cockroaches are available. PCR amplification and sequencing of the wsp and gltA genes were used to study the presence, prevalence and molecular typing of Wolbachia in two main cockroach species, Blattella germanica (German cockroach) and Periplaneta americana (American cockroach), from different geographical locations of Iran. The Wolbachia endosymbiont was found only in 20.6% of German cockroaches while it was absent in American cockroach samples. Blast search and phylogenetic analysis revealed that the Wolbachia strain found in the German cockroach belongs to Wolbachia supergroup F. Further studies should investigate the symbiotic role of Wolbachia in cockroaches and determine whether lack of Wolbachia infection may increase this insect's ability to tolerate or acquire various pathogens. Results of our study provide a foundation for continued work on interactions between cockroaches, bacterial endosymbionts, and pathogens.

RevDate: 2023-07-18
CmpDate: 2023-07-14

Che Lah EF, Ahamad M, Dmitry A, et al (2023)

Metagenomic profile of the bacterial communities associated with Ixodes granulatus (Acari: Ixodidae): a potential vector of tick-borne diseases.

Journal of medical entomology, 60(4):753-768.

Ixodes granulatus Supino, 1897 (Acari: Ixodida) is one of Malaysia's most common hard ticks and is a potential vector for tick-borne diseases (TBDs). Despite its great public health importance, research on I. granulatus microbial communities remains largely unexplored. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the bacterial communities of on-host I. granulatus collected from three different recreational areas on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia using high throughput Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). A total of 9 females on-host I. granulatus were subjected to metabarcoding analysis targeting V3-V4 regions of 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) using the Illumina MiSeq platform. This study identified 15 bacterial phyla corresponding to 19 classes, 54 orders, and 90 families from 435 amplicon sequence variants (ASVs), revealing a diverse bacterial community profile. Together with 130 genera assigned, local I. granulatus harbored 4 genera of pathogens, i.e., Rickettsia da Rocha Lima, 1916 (Rickettsiales: Rickettsiaceae) (58.6%), Borrelia Swellengrebel 1907 (Spirochaetales: Borreliaceae) (31.6%), Borreliella Adeolu and Gupta 2015 (Spirochaetales: Borreliaceae) (0.6%), and Ehrlichia Cowdria Moshkovski 1947 (Rickettsiales: Ehrlichiaceae) (39.9%). Some endosymbiont bacteria, such as Coxiella (Philip, 1943) (Legionellales: Coxiellaceae), Wolbachia Hertig 1936 (Rickettsiales: Ehrlichiaceae), and Rickettsiella Philip, 1956 (Legionellales: Coxiellaceae), were also detected at very low abundance. Interestingly, this study reported the co-infection of Borrelia and Ehrlichia for the first time, instilling potential health concerns in the context of co-transmission to humans, especially in areas with a high population of I. granulatus. This study successfully characterized the tick microbiome and provided the first baseline data of I. granulatus bacterial communities in Malaysia. These results support the need for way-forward research on tick-associated bacteria using NGS, focusing on medically important species toward TBD prevention.

RevDate: 2023-04-21

Ye Z, Bishop T, Wang Y, et al (2023)

Evolution of sex determination in crustaceans.

Marine life science & technology, 5(1):1-11.

Sex determination (SD) involves mechanisms that determine whether an individual will develop into a male, female, or in rare cases, hermaphrodite. Crustaceans harbor extremely diverse SD systems, including hermaphroditism, environmental sex determination (ESD), genetic sex determination (GSD), and cytoplasmic sex determination (e.g., Wolbachia controlled SD systems). Such diversity lays the groundwork for researching the evolution of SD in crustaceans, i.e., transitions among different SD systems. However, most previous research has focused on understanding the mechanism of SD within a single lineage or species, overlooking the transition across different SD systems. To help bridge this gap, we summarize the understanding of SD in various clades of crustaceans, and discuss how different SD systems might evolve from one another. Furthermore, we review the genetic basis for transitions between different SD systems (i.e., Dmrt genes) and propose the microcrustacean Daphnia (clade Branchiopoda) as a model to study the transition from ESD to GSD.

RevDate: 2023-08-01

Caputo B, Moretti R, Virgillito C, et al (2023)

A bacterium against the tiger: further evidence of the potential of noninundative releases of males with manipulated Wolbachia infection in reducing fertility of Aedes albopictus field populations in Italy.

Pest management science, 79(9):3167-3176.

BACKGROUND: Incompatible insect technique (IIT) is a population suppression approach based on the release of males with manipulated Wolbachia infection inducing egg inviability in wild females. We here present results of multiple field releases of incompatible ARwP males carried out in 2019 in a 2.7-ha green area within urban Rome (Italy) to assess the effect on Aedes albopictus egg viability. Data are compared with results obtained in 2018, when the approach was tested for the first time in Europe.

RESULTS: An average of 4674 ARwP males were released weekly for 7 weeks, resulting in a mean ARwP:wild male ratio of 1.1:1 (versus 0.7:1 in 2018). Egg-viability dynamics in ovitraps significantly varied between treated and control sites, with an estimated overall reduction of 35% (versus 15% in 2018). The estimated proportion of females classified as mated with ARwP males was 41.8% and the viability rate of eggs laid by these females (9.5%) was on average significantly lower than that of females only mated with wild males (87.8%); however, high variability in fertility was observed. Values of ARwP male competitiveness were 0.36 and 0.73 based on the overall viability rate of eggs in ovitraps and on female fertility, respectively; thus, well above the conventional 0.2 threshold for an effective suppressive impact in the field.

CONCLUSIONS: Results further support the potential of IIT as a tool to contribute to Ae. albopictus control in the urban context, stressing the need for larger field trials to evaluate the cost-efficacy of the approach in temperate regions. © 2023 The Authors. Pest Management Science published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society of Chemical Industry.

RevDate: 2023-05-09
CmpDate: 2023-05-03

Verhulst EC, Pannebakker BA, E Geuverink (2023)

Variation in sex determination mechanisms may constrain parthenogenesis-induction by endosymbionts in haplodiploid systems.

Current opinion in insect science, 56:101023.

Endosymbionts are maternally transmitted, and therefore benefit from maximizing female offspring numbers. Parthenogenesis-induction (PI) is the most effective type of manipulation for transmission, but has solely been detected in haplodiploid species, whereas cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) is detected frequently across the arthropod phylum, including haplodiploids. This puzzling observation led us to hypothesize that the molecular sex-determination mechanism of the haplodiploid host may be a constraining factor in the ability of endosymbionts to induce parthenogenesis. Recent insights indicate that PI-endosymbionts may be able to directly manipulate sex-determination genes to induce the necessary steps required for PI in haplodiploids. However, sex-determination cascades vary extensively, so PI-induction would require a specialized and host-dependent tool set. Contrastingly, CI-related genes target conserved cell-cycle mechanisms, are located on mobile elements, and spread easily. Finally, endosymbiont-manipulations may have a strong impact on the effectiveness of haplodiploid biocontrol agents, but can also be used to enhance their efficacy.

RevDate: 2023-04-28
CmpDate: 2023-03-14

Davison HR, Hurst GDD, S Siozios (2023)

'Candidatus Megaira' are diverse symbionts of algae and ciliates with the potential for defensive symbiosis.

Microbial genomics, 9(3):.

Symbiotic microbes from the genus 'Candidatus Megaira' (Rickettsiales) are known to be common associates of algae and ciliates. However, genomic resources for these bacteria are scarce, limiting our understanding of their diversity and biology. We therefore utilize Sequence Read Archive and metagenomic assemblies to explore the diversity of this genus. We successfully extract four draft 'Ca. Megaira' genomes including one complete scaffold for a 'Ca. Megaira' and identify an additional 14 draft genomes from uncategorized environmental metagenome-assembled genomes. We use this information to resolve the phylogeny for the hyper-diverse 'Ca. Megaira', with hosts broadly spanning ciliates, and micro- and macro-algae, and find that the current single genus designation 'Ca. Megaira' significantly underestimates their diversity. We also evaluate the metabolic potential and diversity of ''Ca. Megaira' from this new genomic data and find no clear evidence of nutritional symbiosis. In contrast, we hypothesize a potential for defensive symbiosis in 'Ca. Megaira'. Intriguingly, one symbiont genome revealed a proliferation of ORFs with ankyrin, tetratricopeptide and leucine-rich repeats such as those observed in the genus Wolbachia where they are considered important for host–symbiont protein–protein interactions. Onward research should investigate the phenotypic interactions between 'Ca. Megaira' and their various potential hosts, including the economically important Nemacystus decipiens, and target acquisition of genomic information to reflect the diversity of this massively variable group.

RevDate: 2023-03-14
CmpDate: 2023-03-14

Manoj RRS, Latrofa MS, Louni M, et al (2023)

In vitro maintenance of the endosymbiont Wolbachia of Dirofilaria immitis.

Parasitology research, 122(4):939-943.

Wolbachia has an obligatory mutualistic relationship with many onchocercid nematodes of the subfamilies Dirofilariinae and Onchocercinae. Till date, no attempts have been made for the in vitro cultivation of this intracellular bacterium from the filarioid host. Hence, the current study attempted cell co-culture method using embryonic Drosophila S2 and the LD cell lines to cultivate Wolbachia from Dirofilaria immitis microfilariae (mfs) harvested from infected dogs. Microfilariae (mfs = 1500) were inoculated in shell vials supplemented with Schneider medium using both cell lines. The establishment and multiplication of the bacterium were observed during the initial inoculation, at day 0 and before every medium change (from days 14 to 115). An aliquot (50 µl) from each time point was tested by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR). Comparing the average of Ct values, obtained by the tested parameters (i.e., LD/S2 cell lines and mfs with/without treatment), the S2 cell line without mechanical disruption of mfs provided the highest Wolbachia cell count by qPCR. Despite the maintenance of Wolbachia within both S2 and LD-based cell co-culture models for up to 115 days, a definitive conclusion is still far. Further trials using fluorescent microscopy and viable staining will help to demonstrate the cell line infection and viability of Wolbachia. Use of considerable amount of untreated mfs to inoculate the Drosophilia S2 cell lines, as well as the supplementation of the culture media with growth stimulants or pre-treated cells to increase their susceptibility for the infection and development of a filarioid-based cell line system are recommended for the future trials.

RevDate: 2023-02-22

Muro T, Hikida H, Fujii T, et al (2023)

Two Complete Genomes of Male-Killing Wolbachia Infecting Ostrinia Moth Species Illuminate Their Evolutionary Dynamics and Association with Hosts.

Microbial ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia is an extremely widespread intracellular symbiont which causes reproductive manipulation on various arthropod hosts. Male progenies are killed in Wolbachia-infected lineages of the Japanese Ostrinia moth population. While the mechanism of male killing and the evolutionary interaction between host and symbiont are significant concerns for this system, the absence of Wolbachia genomic information has limited approaches to these issues. We determined the complete genome sequences of wFur and wSca, the male-killing Wolbachia of Ostrinia furnacalis and Ostrinia scapulalis. The two genomes shared an extremely high degree of homology, with over 95% of the predicted protein sequences being identical. A comparison of these two genomes revealed nearly minimal genome evolution, with a strong emphasis on the frequent genome rearrangements and the rapid evolution of ankyrin repeat-containing proteins. Additionally, we determined the mitochondrial genomes of both species' infected lineages and performed phylogenetic analyses to deduce the evolutionary dynamics of Wolbachia infection in the Ostrinia clade. According to the inferred phylogenetic relationship, two possible scenarios were proposed: (1) Wolbachia infection was established in the Ostrinia clade prior to the speciation of related species such as O. furnacalis and O. scapulalis, or (2) Wolbachia infection in these species was introgressively transferred from a currently unidentified relative. Simultaneously, the relatively high homology of mitochondrial genomes suggested recent Wolbachia introgression between infected Ostrinia species. The findings of this study collectively shed light on the host-symbiont interaction from an evolutionary standpoint.

RevDate: 2023-03-24
CmpDate: 2023-03-16

Hubert J, Nesvorna M, Sopko B, et al (2023)

Diet modulation of the microbiome of the pest storage mite Tyrophagus putrescentiae.

FEMS microbiology ecology, 99(3):.

Storage mites colonize a wide spectrum of food commodities and adaptations to diets have been suggested as mechanisms enabling successful colonization. We characterized the response of seven unique Tyrophagus putrescentiae cultures (5K, 5L, 5N, 5P, 5Pi, 5S, and 5Tk) with different baseline microbiomes to different diets. The offered diets included a rearing diet, protein-enriched diet, oat flakes, and sunflower seeds. Microbiome characterization was performed using 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene amplicon sequencing and 16S rRNA gene quantitative PCR. The mite culture microbiomes were classified into four groups: (i) Sodalis-dominated (5Pi), (ii) Wolbachia-dominated (5N and 5P), (iii) Cardinium-dominated (5L and 5S), and (iv) asymbiontic (5K and 5Tk) mites dominated by Bacillus and Bartonella. Mite growth rates were most strongly affected by nutrients in the diet, while respiration and microbial community profiles were largely influenced by mite culture. While growth rate was not directly explained by microbiome composition, microbiomes strongly influenced mite fitness as measured by respiration. While diet significantly influenced microbial profiles in all cultures, the effect of diet differed in impact between cultures (5Pi > 5S > 5N > 5K > 5Tk > 5L > 5P). Furthermore, no new bacterial taxa were acquired by mites after dietary changes. Bacteria from the taxa Bacillus, Bartonella-like, Solitalea-like, Kocuria, and Sodalis-like contributed most strongly to differentiating mite-associated microbiomes.

RevDate: 2023-02-23
CmpDate: 2023-02-23

Wei X, Peng H, Li Y, et al (2023)

Pyrethroids exposure alters the community and function of the internal microbiota in Aedes albopictus.

Ecotoxicology and environmental safety, 252:114579.

Large amounts of insecticides bring selection pressure and then develop insecticide resistance in Aedes albopictus. This study demonstrated for the first time the effect of pyrethroid exposure on the internal microbiota in Ae. albopictus. 36, 48, 57 strains of virgin adult Ae. albopictus were exposed to the pyrethroids deltamethrin (Dme group), β-cypermethrin (Bcy group), and cis-permethrin (Cper group), respectively, with n-hexane exposure (Hex group) as the controls (n = 36). The internal microbiota community and functions were analyzed based on the metagenomic analysis. The analysis of similarity (ANOSIM) results showed that the Hex/Bcy (p = 0.001), Hex/Cper (p = 0.006), Hex/Dme (p = 0.001) groups were well separated, and the internal microbes of Ae. albopictus vary in the composition and functions depending on the type of pyrethroid insecticide they are applied. Four short chain fatty acid-producing genera, Butyricimonas, Prevotellaceae, Anaerococcus, Pseudorhodobacter were specifically absent in the pyrethroid-exposed mosquitoes. Morganella and Streptomyces were significantly enriched in cis-permethrin-exposed mosquitoes. Wolbachia and Chryseobacterium showed significant enrichment in β-cypermethrin-exposed mosquitoes. Pseudomonas was significantly abundant in deltamethrin-exposed mosquitoes. The significant proliferation of these bacteria may be closely related to insecticide metabolism. Our study recapitulated a specifically enhanced metabolic networks relevant to the exposure to cis-permethrin and β-cypermethrin, respectively. Benzaldehyde dehydrogenase (EC, key enzyme in aromatic compounds metabolism, was detected enhanced in cis-permethrin and β-cypermethrin exposed mosquitoes. The internal microbiota metabolism of aromatic compounds may be important influencing factors for pyrethroid resistance. Future work will be needed to elucidate the specific mechanisms by which mosquito microbiota influences host resistance and vector ability.

RevDate: 2023-01-11
CmpDate: 2022-12-20

Zhang H, Gao J, Ma Z, et al (2022)

Wolbachia infection in field-collected Aedes aegypti in Yunnan Province, southwestern China.

Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 12:1082809.

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia is gram-negative and common intracellular bacteria, which is maternally inherited endosymbionts and could expand their propagation in host populations by means of various manipulations. Recent reports reveal the natural infection of Wolbachia in Aedes Aegypti in Malaysia, India, Philippines, Thailand and the United States. At present, none of Wolbachia natural infection in Ae. aegypti has been reported in China.

METHODS: A total of 480 Ae. aegypti adult mosquitoes were collected from October and November 2018 based on the results of previous investigations and the distribution of Ae. aegypti in Yunnan. Each individual sample was processed and screened for the presence of Wolbachia by PCR with wsp primers. Phylogenetic trees for the wsp gene was constructed using the neighbour-joining method with 1,000 bootstrap replicates, and the p-distance distribution model of molecular evolution was applied.

RESULTS: 24 individual adult mosquito samples and 10 sample sites were positive for Wolbachia infection. The Wolbachia infection rate (IR) of each population ranged from 0 - 41.7%. The infection rate of group A alone was 0%-10%, the infection rate of group B alone was 0%-7.7%, and the infection rate of co-infection with A and B was 0-33.3%.

CONCLUSIONS: Wolbachia infection in wild Ae. aegypti in China is the first report based on PCR amplification of the Wolbachia wsp gene. The Wolbachia infection is 5%, and the wAlbA and wAlbB strains were found to be prevalent in the natural population of Ae. aegypti in Yunnan Province.

RevDate: 2023-02-06
CmpDate: 2022-12-20

Schmidt TL, Elfekih S, Cao LJ, et al (2023)

Close Kin Dyads Indicate Intergenerational Dispersal and Barriers.

The American naturalist, 201(1):65-77.

AbstractThe movement of individuals through continuous space is typically constrained by dispersal ability and dispersal barriers. A range of approaches have been developed to investigate these. Kindisperse is a new approach that infers recent intergenerational dispersal (σ) from close kin dyads and appears particularly useful for investigating taxa that are difficult to observe individually. This study, focusing on the mosquito Aedes aegypti, shows how the same close kin data can also be used for barrier detection. We empirically demonstrate this new extension of the method using genome-wide sequence data from 266 Ae. aegypti. First, we use the spatial distribution of full-sib dyads collected within one generation to infer past movements of ovipositing female mosquitoes. These dyads indicated the relative barrier strengths of two roads and performed favorably against alternative genetic methods for detecting barriers. We then use Kindisperse to quantify recent intergenerational dispersal (σ=81.5-197.1 m generation[-1/2]) from the difference in variance between the sib and the first cousin spatial distributions and, from this, estimate effective population density (ρ=833-4,864 km[-2]). Dispersal estimates showed general agreement with those from mark-release-recapture studies. Barriers, σ, ρ, and neighborhood size (331-526) can inform forthcoming releases of dengue-suppressing Wolbachia bacteria into this mosquito population.

RevDate: 2022-12-22
CmpDate: 2022-12-16

Andreenkova OV, Shishkina OD, Klimenko AI, et al (2022)

Easy and Effective Method for Extracting and Purifying Wolbachia Genomic DNA.

International journal of molecular sciences, 23(23):.

A number of methods for extracting the DNA of maternally inherited obligate intracellular bacteria Wolbachia from an insect host and its subsequent purification have been described in previous scholarship. As Wolbachia is present in the hosts' organisms in rather low quantities, these techniques used to be quite labor-intensive. For this paper, we analyzed them in detail, searched for a possibility to simplify and accelerate the protocol, and proposed an easy and effective method for isolating Wolbachia DNA from Drosophila melanogaster with a purity sufficient for genomic sequencing. Our method involves the centrifugation of homogenized flies or just their ovaries, as the most Wolbachia-enriched tissue, followed by the filtration of homogenate and extraction of DNA using a modified version of the Livak buffer protocol. The proportion of Wolbachia DNA in the total DNA was quantified based on the results of sequencing with the use of the Illumina MiSeq platform and a pipeline of bioinformatic analysis. For the two analyzed D. melanogaster lines infected with two different Wolbachia strains, the proportion was at least 68 and 94%, respectively.

RevDate: 2023-02-27
CmpDate: 2023-01-23

Zhu Z, Liu Y, Hu H, et al (2023)

Nasonia-microbiome associations: a model for evolutionary hologenomics research.

Trends in parasitology, 39(2):101-112.

In recent years, with the development of microbial research technologies, microbiota research has received widespread attention. The parasitoid wasp genus Nasonia is a good model organism for studying insect behavior, development, evolutionary genetics, speciation, and symbiosis. This review describes key advances and progress in the field of the Nasonia-microbiome interactions. We provide an overview of the advantages of Nasonia as a model organism for microbiome studies, list research methods to study the Nasonia microbiome, and discuss recent discoveries in Nasonia microbiome research. This summary of the complexities of Nasonia-microbiome relationships will help to contribute to a better understanding of the interactions between animals and their microbiomes and establish a clear research direction for Nasonia-microbiome interactions in the future.

RevDate: 2023-08-07

Vásquez VN, Kueppers LM, Rašić G, et al (2023)

wMel replacement of dengue-competent mosquitoes is robust to near-term change.

Nature climate change, 13(8):848-855.

Rising temperatures are impacting the range and prevalence of mosquito-borne diseases. A promising biocontrol technology replaces wild mosquitoes with those carrying the virus-blocking Wolbachia bacterium. Because the most widely used strain, wMel, is adversely affected by heat stress, we examined how global warming may influence wMel-based replacement. We simulated interventions in two locations with successful field trials using Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 climate projections and historical temperature records, integrating empirical data on wMel's thermal sensitivity into a model of Aedes aegypti population dynamics to evaluate introgression and persistence over one year. We show that in Cairns, Australia, climatic futures necessitate operational adaptations for heatwaves exceeding two weeks. In Nha Trang, Vietnam, projected heatwaves of three weeks and longer eliminate wMel under the most stringent assumptions of that symbiont's thermal limits. We conclude that this technology is generally robust to near-term (2030s) climate change. Accelerated warming may challenge this in the 2050s and beyond.

RevDate: 2023-08-01

Kolasa M, Kajtoch Ł, Michalik A, et al (2023)

Till evolution do us part: The diversity of symbiotic associations across populations of Philaenus spittlebugs.

Environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Symbiotic bacteria have played crucial roles in the evolution of sap-feeding insects and can strongly affect host function. However, their diversity and distribution within species are not well understood; we do not know to what extent environmental factors or associations with other species may affect microbial community profiles. We addressed this question in Philaenus spittlebugs by surveying both insect and bacterial marker gene amplicons across multiple host populations. Host mitochondrial sequence data confirmed morphology-based identification of six species and revealed two divergent clades of Philaenus spumarius. All of them hosted the primary symbiont Sulcia that was almost always accompanied by Sodalis. Interestingly, populations and individuals often differed in the presence of Sodalis sequence variants, suggestive of intra-genome 16S rRNA variant polymorphism combined with rapid genome evolution and/or recent additional infections or replacements of the co-primary symbiont. The prevalence of facultative endosymbionts, including Wolbachia, Rickettsia, and Spiroplasma, varied among populations. Notably, cytochrome I oxidase (COI) amplicon data also showed that nearly a quarter of P. spumarius were infected by parasitoid flies (Verralia aucta). One of the Wolbachia operational taxonomic units (OTUs) was exclusively present in Verralia-parasitized specimens, suggestive of parasitoids as their source and highlighting the utility of host gene amplicon sequencing in microbiome studies.

RevDate: 2023-07-31

Lee H, Seo P, Teklay S, et al (2023)

Ability of a selfish B chromosome to evade genome elimination in the jewel wasp, Nasonia vitripennis.

Heredity [Epub ahead of print].

B chromosomes are non-essential, extra chromosomes that can exhibit transmission-enhancing behaviors, including meiotic drive, mitotic drive, and induction of genome elimination, in plants and animals. A fundamental but poorly understood question is what characteristics allow B chromosomes to exhibit these extraordinary behaviors. The jewel wasp, Nasonia vitripennis, harbors a heterochromatic, paternally transmitted B chromosome known as paternal sex ratio (PSR), which causes complete elimination of the sperm-contributed half of the genome during the first mitotic division of fertilized embryos. This genome elimination event may result from specific, previously observed alterations of the paternal chromatin. Due to the haplo-diploid reproduction of the wasp, genome elimination by PSR causes female-destined embryos to develop as haploid males that transmit PSR. PSR does not undergo self-elimination despite its presence with the paternal chromatin until the elimination event. Here we performed fluorescence microscopic analyses aimed at understanding this unexplained property. Our results show that PSR, like the rest of the genome, participates in the histone-to-protamine transition, arguing that PSR does not avoid this transition to escape self-elimination. In addition, PSR partially escapes the chromatin-altering activity of the intracellular bacterium, Wolbachia, demonstrating that this ability to evade chromatin alteration is not limited to PSR's own activity. Finally, we observed that the rDNA locus and other unidentified heterochromatic regions of the wasp's genome also seem to evade chromatin disruption by PSR, suggesting that PSR's genome-eliminating activity does not affect heterochromatin. Thus, PSR may target an aspect of euchromatin to cause genome elimination.

RevDate: 2023-07-25

Moorhead AR, Evans CC, Sakamoto K, et al (2023)

Effects of doxycycline dose rate and pre-adulticide wait period on heartworm-associated pathology and adult worm mass.

Parasites & vectors, 16(1):251.

BACKGROUND: The American Heartworm Society canine guidelines recommend treatment with doxycycline prior to adulticide administration to reduce levels of Wolbachia and its associated metabolites, which are known to be a leading cause of pulmonary pathology. Studies have determined that doxycycline administered at 10 mg/kg BID for 28 days is an effective dose for eliminating Wolbachia, but what has not been determined is the clinical relevance of this elimination. The current guidelines also recommend a 30-day wait period following administration of doxycycline to allow for clearance of metabolites, such as Wolbachia surface protein, and for further reduction in heartworm biomass before administration of adulticide. Reducing the doxycycline dose and eliminating the wait period may carry practical benefits for the animal, client, and practitioner.

METHODS: To investigate these treatment practices, Dirofilaria immitis adults were surgically transplanted into each of 45 dogs, which were divided into nine study groups of five dogs each. Seventy-five days after transplantation, two groups each were administered 5, 7.5, or 10 mg/kg BID doxycycline orally for 28 days and 6 µg/kg ivermectin monthly, with three untreated groups serving as controls. Study animals were necropsied and examined prior to treatment as well as 30 and 60 days post-treatment.

RESULTS: Mean worm weight was unaffected by dosage but exhibited a significant increase at 30 days and significant decrease at 60 days post-treatment, including in control groups. Histopathology lesion scores did not significantly differ among groups, with the exception of the lung composite score for one untreated group. Liver enzymes, the levels of which are a concern in doxycycline treatment, were also examined, with no abnormalities in alanine aminotransferase or alkaline phosphatase observed.

CONCLUSIONS: No consistent worsening of tissue lesions was observed with or without the AHS-recommended 30-day wait period, nor did reduced dosages of doxycycline lead to worsening of pathology or any change in efficacy in depleting worm weight. Mean worm weight did significantly increase prior to, and decrease following, the wait period. Future work that also includes adulticide treatment (i.e. melarsomine) will study treatment recommendations that may improve both animal health and owner compliance.

RevDate: 2023-07-24

Adams GJ, PA O'Brien (2023)

The unified theory of sleep: Eukaryotes endosymbiotic relationship with mitochondria and REM the push-back response for awakening.

Neurobiology of sleep and circadian rhythms, 15:100100.

The Unified Theory suggests that sleep is a process that developed in eukaryotic animals from a relationship with an endosymbiotic bacterium. Over evolutionary time the bacterium evolved into the modern mitochondrion that continues to exert an effect on sleep patterns, e.g. the bacterium Wolbachia establishes an endosymbiotic relationship with Drosophila and many other species of insects and is able to change the host's behaviour by making it sleep. The hypothesis is supported by other host-parasite relationships, e.g., Trypanosoma brucei which causes day-time sleepiness and night-time insomnia in humans and cattle. For eukaryotes such as Monocercomonoids that don't contain mitochondria we find no evidence of them sleeping. Mitochondria produce the neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), and ornithine a precursor of the neurotransmitter GABA, together with substances such as 3,4dihydroxy phenylalanine (DOPA) a precursor for the neurotransmitter dopamine: These substances have been shown to affect the sleep/wake cycles in animals such as Drosophilia and Hydra. Eukaryote animals have traded the very positive side of having mitochondria providing aerobic respiration for them with the negative side of having to sleep. NREM (Quiet sleep) is the process endosymbionts have imposed upon their host eukaryotes and REM (Active sleep) is the push-back adaptation of eukaryotes with brains, returning to wakefulness.

RevDate: 2023-07-21

Ferreira MU, Crainey JL, FG Gobbi (2023)

The search for better treatment strategies for mansonellosis: An expert perspective.

Expert opinion on pharmacotherapy [Epub ahead of print].

INTRODUCTION: Four species of the Mansonella genus infect millions of people across sub-Saharan Africa and Central and South America. Most infections are asymptomatic, but mansonellosis can be associated with unspecific clinical manifestations such as fever, headache, arthralgia, and ocular lesions (M. ozzardi); pruritus, arthralgia, abdominal pain, angioedema, skin rash, and fatigue (M. perstans and perhaps Mansonella sp 'DEUX'); and pruritic dermatitis and chronic lymphadenitis (M. perstans).

AREAS COVERED: We searched the PubMed and SciELO databases for publications on mansonelliasis in English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French that appeared until 1 May 2023. Literature data show that anthelmintics - single-dose ivermectin for M. ozzardi, repeated doses of mebendazole alone or in combination with diethylcarbamazine (DEC) for M. perstans, and DEC alone for M. streptocerca - are effective against microfilariae. Antibiotics that target Wolbachia endosymbionts, such as doxycycline, are likely to kill adult worms of most, if not all, Mansonella species, but the currently recommended 6-week regimen is relatively unpractical. New anthelminthics and shorter antibiotic regimens (e.g. with rifampin) have showed promise in experimental filarial infections and may proceed to clinical trials.

EXPERT OPINION: We recommend that human infections with Mansonella species be treated, regardless of any apparent clinical manifestations. We argue that mansonellosis, despite being widely considered a benign infection, may represent a direct or indirect cause of significant morbidity that remains poorly characterized at present.

RevDate: 2023-07-19

Shen R, Wenzel M, Messer PW, et al (2023)

Evolution under a model of functionally buffered deleterious mutations can lead to positive selection in protein-coding genes.

Evolution; international journal of organic evolution pii:7226262 [Epub ahead of print].

Selective pressures on DNA sequences often result in departures from neutral evolution that can be captured by the McDonald-Kreitman (MK) test. However, the nature of such selective forces often remains unknown to experimentalists. Amino acid fixations driven by natural selection in protein coding genes are commonly associated with a genetic arms race or changing biological purposes, leading to proteins with new functionality. Here, we evaluate the expectations of population genetic patterns under a buffering mechanism driving selective amino acids to fixation, which is motivated by an observed phenotypic rescue of otherwise deleterious nonsynonymous substitutions at bag of marbles (bam) and Sex lethal (Sxl) in Drosophila melanogaster. These two genes were shown to experience strong episodic bursts of natural selection potentially due to infections of the endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia observed among multiple Drosophila species. Using simulations to implement and evaluate the evolutionary dynamics of a Wolbachia buffering model, we demonstrate that selectively fixed amino acid replacements will occur, but that the proportion of adaptive amino acid fixations and the statistical power of the MK test to detect the departure from an equilibrium neutral model are both significantly lower than seen for an arms race/change-in-function model that favors proteins with diversified amino acids. We find that the observed selection pattern at bam in a natural population of D. melanogaster is more consistent with an arms race model than with the buffering model.

RevDate: 2023-07-14

Wybouw N, Van Reempts E, Zarka J, et al (2023)

Egg provisioning explains the penetrance of symbiont-mediated sex allocation distortion in haplodiploids.

Heredity [Epub ahead of print].

Maternally transmitted symbionts such as Wolbachia can alter sex allocation in haplodiploid arthropods. By biasing population sex ratios towards females, these changes in sex allocation may facilitate the spread of symbionts. In contrast to symbiont-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), the mechanisms that underpin sex allocation distortion remain poorly understood. Using a nuclear genotype reference panel of the haplodiploid mite Tetranychus urticae and a single Wolbachia variant that is able to simultaneously induce sex allocation distortion and CI, we unraveled the mechanistic basis of Wolbachia-mediated sex allocation distortion. Host genotype was an important determinant for the strength of sex allocation distortion. We further show that sex allocation distortion by Wolbachia in haplodiploid mites is driven by increasing egg size, hereby promoting egg fertilization. This change in reproductive physiology was also coupled to increased male and female adult size. Our results echo previous work on Cardinium symbionts, suggesting that sex allocation distortion by regulating host investment in egg size is a common strategy among symbionts that infect haplodiploids. To better understand the relevance that sex allocation distortion may have for the spread of Wolbachia in natural haplodiploid populations, we parametrized a model based on generated phenotypic data. Our simulations show that empirically derived levels of sex allocation distortion can be sufficient to remove invasion thresholds, allowing CI to drive the spread of Wolbachia independently of the initial infection frequency. Our findings help elucidate the mechanisms that underlie the widespread occurrence of symbionts in haplodiploid arthropods and the evolution of sex allocation.

RevDate: 2023-07-11

Medina P, Russell SL, R Corbett-Detig (2023)

Deep data mining reveals variable abundance and distribution of microbial reproductive manipulators within and among diverse host species.

PloS one, 18(7):e0288261 pii:PONE-D-23-06054.

Bacterial symbionts that manipulate the reproduction of their hosts are important factors in invertebrate ecology and evolution, and are being leveraged for host biological control. Infection prevalence restricts which biological control strategies are possible and is thought to be strongly influenced by the density of symbiont infection within hosts, termed titer. Current methods to estimate infection prevalence and symbiont titers are low-throughput, biased towards sampling infected species, and rarely measure titer. Here we develop a data mining approach to estimate symbiont infection frequencies within host species and titers within host tissues. We applied this approach to screen ~32,000 publicly available sequence samples from the most common symbiont host taxa, discovering 2,083 arthropod and 119 nematode infected samples. From these data, we estimated that Wolbachia infects approximately 44% of all arthropod and 34% of all nematode species, while other reproductive manipulators only infect 1-8% of arthropod and nematode species. Although relative titers within hosts were highly variable within and between arthropod species, a combination of arthropod host species and Wolbachia strain explained approximately 36% of variation in Wolbachia titer across the dataset. To explore potential mechanisms for host control of symbiont titer, we leveraged population genomic data from the model system Drosophila melanogaster. In this host, we found a number of SNPs associated with titer in candidate genes potentially relevant to host interactions with Wolbachia. Our study demonstrates that data mining is a powerful tool to detect bacterial infections and quantify infection intensities, thus opening an array of previously inaccessible data for further analysis in host-symbiont evolution.

RevDate: 2023-07-10

Porter J, W Sullivan (2023)

The cellular lives of Wolbachia.

Nature reviews. Microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia are successful Gram-negative bacterial endosymbionts, globally infecting a large fraction of arthropod species and filarial nematodes. Efficient vertical transmission, the capacity for horizontal transmission, manipulation of host reproduction and enhancement of host fitness can promote the spread both within and between species. Wolbachia are abundant and can occupy extraordinary diverse and evolutionary distant host species, suggesting that they have evolved to engage and manipulate highly conserved core cellular processes. Here, we review recent studies identifying Wolbachia-host interactions at the molecular and cellular levels. We explore how Wolbachia interact with a wide array of host cytoplasmic and nuclear components in order to thrive in a diversity of cell types and cellular environments. This endosymbiont has also evolved the ability to precisely target and manipulate specific phases of the host cell cycle. The remarkable diversity of cellular interactions distinguishes Wolbachia from other endosymbionts and is largely responsible for facilitating its global propagation through host populations. Finally, we describe how insights into Wolbachia-host cellular interactions have led to promising applications in controlling insect-borne and filarial nematode-based diseases.

RevDate: 2023-07-10

Alami N, Carter DC, Kwatra NV, et al (2023)

A Phase-I pharmacokinetic, safety and food-effect study on flubentylosin, a novel analog of Tylosin-A having potent anti-Wolbachia and antifilarial activity.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 17(7):e0011392 pii:PNTD-D-22-00302 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: The parasitic filariae responsible for onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis are host to an endosymbiotic bacterium, Wolbachia, which is essential to the fertility and development of the parasites. We performed a Phase-I pharmacokinetic, safety and food-effect study on single and multiple ascending doses of flubentylosin (ABBV-4083), a macrolide antibacterial with activity against Wolbachia, intended to sterilize and eliminate the parasites.

METHODS: Seventy-eight healthy adults were exposed to flubentylosin; 36 were exposed to single ascending 40, 100, 200, 400 or 1000 mg doses; 12 received 1000 mg in the food-effect part; and 30 received multiple ascending daily doses of 100 mg for 7 days, 200 mg for 7 or 14 days, or 400 mg for 7 or 14 days. Twenty-two subjects received placebo.

RESULTS: Maximum concentrations (Cmax) of flubentylosin were reached after 1-2 hours, with a half-life < 4 hours at doses ≤ 400 mg. Cmax and AUC increased in a more than dose-proportional manner, with similar exposure after multiple dose administration. The most frequently reported adverse events were nausea (8/78, 10%) and headache (6/78, 8%). Two subjects given a single dose of flubentylosin 1000 mg in the food-effect part experienced reversible asymptomatic ALT and AST elevations at Grade 2 or Grade 4, with no elevation in bilirubin, deemed related to study drug. The effect of food on exposure parameters was minimal. No treatment-related serious adverse events were reported.

DISCUSSION: Flubentylosin 400 mg for 14 days was the maximum tolerated dose in this first-in-human, Phase-I study in healthy adults. Based on preclinical pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic modeling, flubentylosin 400 mg once daily for 7 or 14 days is expected to be an effective dose. A Phase-II, proof-of-concept study with flubentylosin using these regimens is currently ongoing in patients with onchocerciasis in Africa.

RevDate: 2023-07-10

Marriott AE, Dagley JL, Hegde S, et al (2023)

Dirofilariasis mouse models for heartworm preclinical research.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1208301.

INTRODUCTION: Dirofilariasis, including heartworm disease, is a major emergent veterinary parasitic infection and a human zoonosis. Currently, experimental infections of cats and dogs are used in veterinary heartworm preclinical drug research.

METHODS: As a refined alternative in vivo heartworm preventative drug screen, we assessed lymphopenic mouse strains with ablation of the interleukin-2/7 common gamma chain (γc) as susceptible to the larval development phase of Dirofilaria immitis.

RESULTS: Non-obese diabetic (NOD) severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID)γc[-/-] (NSG and NXG) and recombination-activating gene (RAG)2[-/-]γc[-/-] mouse strains yielded viable D. immitis larvae at 2-4 weeks post-infection, including the use of different batches of D. immitis infectious larvae, different D. immitis isolates, and at different laboratories. Mice did not display any clinical signs associated with infection for up to 4 weeks. Developing larvae were found in subcutaneous and muscle fascia tissues, which is the natural site of this stage of heartworm in dogs. Compared with in vitro-propagated larvae at day 14, in vivo-derived larvae had completed the L4 molt, were significantly larger, and contained expanded Wolbachia endobacteria titres. We established an ex vivo L4 paralytic screening system whereby assays with moxidectin or levamisole highlighted discrepancies in relative drug sensitivities in comparison with in vitro-reared L4 D. immitis. We demonstrated effective depletion of Wolbachia by 70%-90% in D. immitis L4 following 2- to 7-day oral in vivo exposures of NSG- or NXG-infected mice with doxycycline or the rapid-acting investigational drug, AWZ1066S. We validated NSG and NXG D. immitis mouse models as a filaricide screen by in vivo treatments with single injections of moxidectin, which mediated a 60%-88% reduction in L4 larvae at 14-28 days.

DISCUSSION: Future adoption of these mouse models will benefit end-user laboratories conducting research and development of novel heartworm preventatives via increased access, rapid turnaround, and reduced costs and may simultaneously decrease the need for experimental cat or dog use.

RevDate: 2023-07-10

Boehm EC, Jaeger AS, Ries HJ, et al (2023)

Wolbachia -mediated resistance to Zika virus infection in Aedes aegypti is dominated by diverse transcriptional regulation and weak evolutionary pressures.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2023.06.26.546271.

UNLABELLED: A promising candidate for arbovirus control and prevention relies on replacing arbovirus-susceptible Aedes aegypti populations with mosquitoes that have been colonized by the intracellular bacterium Wolbachia and thus have a reduced capacity to transmit arboviruses. This reduced capacity to transmit arboviruses is mediated through a phenomenon referred to as pathogen blocking. Pathogen blocking has primarily been proposed as a tool to control dengue virus (DENV) transmission, however it works against a range of viruses, including Zika virus (ZIKV). Despite years of research, the molecular mechanisms underlying pathogen blocking still need to be better understood. Here, we used RNA-seq to characterize mosquito gene transcription dynamics in Ae. aegypti infected with the w Mel strain of Wolbachia that are being released by the World Mosquito Program in Medellín, Colombia. Comparative analyses using ZIKV-infected, uninfected tissues, and mosquitoes without Wolbachia revealed that the influence of w Mel on mosquito gene transcription is multifactorial. Importantly, because Wolbachia limits, but does not completely prevent, replication of ZIKV and other viruses in coinfected mosquitoes, there is a possibility that these viruses could evolve resistance to pathogen blocking. Therefore, to understand the influence of Wolbachia on within-host ZIKV evolution, we characterized the genetic diversity of molecularly barcoded ZIKV virus populations replicating in Wolbachia -infected mosquitoes and found that within-host ZIKV evolution was subject to weak purifying selection and, unexpectedly, loose anatomical bottlenecks in the presence and absence of Wolbachia . Together, these findings suggest that there is no clear transcriptional profile associated with Wolbachia -mediated ZIKV restriction, and that there is no evidence for ZIKV escape from this restriction in our system.

AUTHOR SUMMARY: When Wolbachia bacteria infect Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, they dramatically reduce the mosquitoes' susceptibility to infection with a range of arthropod-borne viruses, including Zika virus (ZIKV). Although this pathogen-blocking effect has been widely recognized, its mechanisms remain unclear. Furthermore, because Wolbachia limits, but does not completely prevent, replication of ZIKV and other viruses in coinfected mosquitoes, there is a possibility that these viruses could evolve resistance to Wolbachia -mediated blocking. Here, we use host transcriptomics and viral genome sequencing to examine the mechanisms of ZIKV pathogen blocking by Wolbachia and viral evolutionary dynamics in Ae. aegypti mosquitoes. We find complex transcriptome patterns that do not suggest a single clear mechanism for pathogen blocking. We also find no evidence that Wolbachia exerts detectable selective pressures on ZIKV in coinfected mosquitoes. Together our data suggest that it may be difficult for ZIKV to evolve Wolbachia resistance, perhaps due to the complexity of the pathogen blockade mechanism.

RevDate: 2023-07-10

Zhou JC, Dong QJ, Shang D, et al (2023)

Posterior concentration of Wolbachia during the early embryogenesis of the host dynamically shapes the tissue tropism of Wolbachia in host Trichogramma wasps.

Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 13:1198428.

INTRODUCTION: The bacterial endosymbiont, Wolbachia spp. induce thelytokous parthenogenesis in certain parasitoid wasps, such as the egg parasitoid wasps Trichogramma spp. To complete the cycle of vertical transmission, Wolbachia displays efficient transovarial transmission by targeting the reproductive tissues and often exhibits strong tissue-specific tropism in their host.

METHOD: The present study aimed to describe the basic Wolbachia distribution patterns that occur during the development of Wolbachia-infected, thelytokous Trichogramma dendrolimi, and T. pretiosum. We used fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to investigate Wolbachia signal dynamics during early embryogenesis (from 30 to 120 min). Wolbachia titers and distributions from the embryo to adult stages of Trichogramma after early embryogenesis were detected by absolute quantitative polymerase chain reaction (AQ-PCR) and FISH. The symmetry ratios (SR) of the Wolbachia signals were calculated using the SR odds ratios in the anterior and posterior parts of the host. The SR was determined to describe Wolbachia tropism during early embryogenesis and various developmental stages of Trichogramma.

RESULTS: Wolbachia was concentrated in the posterior part of the embryo during early embryogenesis and the various developmental stages of both T. dendrolimi and T. pretiosum. Wolbachia density increased with the number of nuclei and the initial mitotic division frequency during early embryogenesis. The total Wolbachia titer increased with postembryogenesis development in both T. dendrolimi and T. pretiosum. However, the Wolbachia densities relative to body size were significantly lower at the adult and pupal stages than they were at the embryonic stage.

DISCUSSION: The present work revealed that posterior Wolbachia concentration during early host embryogenesis determined Wolbachia localization in adult wasps. By this mechanism, Wolbachia exhibits efficient vertical transmission across generations by depositing only female Wolbachia-infected offspring. The results of this study describe the dynamics of Wolbachia during the development of their Trichogramma host. The findings of this investigation helped clarify Wolbachia tropism in Trichogramma wasps.

RevDate: 2023-07-07

Yang J, Chen Z, Tan Y, et al (2023)

Threshold dynamics of a stochastic mathematical model for Wolbachia infections.

Journal of biological dynamics, 17(1):2231967.

A stochastic mathematical model is proposed to study how environmental heterogeneity and the augmentation of mosquitoes with Wolbachia bacteria affect the outcomes of dengue disease. The existence and uniqueness of the positive solutions of the system are studied. Then the V-geometrically ergodicity and stochastic ultimate boundedness are investigated. Further, threshold conditions for successful population replacement are derived and the existence of a unique ergodic steady-state distribution of the system is explored. The results show that the ratio of infected to uninfected mosquitoes has a great influence on population replacement. Moreover, environmental noise plays a significant role in control of dengue fever.

RevDate: 2023-07-07

Tharsan A, Sivabalakrishnan K, Arthiyan S, et al (2023)

Wolbachia infection is widespread in brackish and fresh water Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) in the coastal Jaffna peninsula of northern Sri Lanka.

Journal of vector borne diseases, 60(2):172-178.

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES: Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti are important vectors of dengue and many other arboviral diseases in tropical and sub-tropical locations. Both vectors are tolerant of salinity in the dengue-endemic coastal Jaffna peninsula of northern Sri Lanka. Aedes albopictus pre-imaginal stages are found in field brackish water habitats of up to 14 parts per thousand (ppt, gL[-1]) salt in the Jaffna peninsula. Salinity-tolerance in Aedes is characterized by significant genetic and physiological changes. Infection with the wMel strain of the endosymbiont bacterium Wolbachia pipientis reduces dengue transmission in the field by Ae. aegypti, and the same approach is also being considered for Ae. albopictus. In this context, we investigated natural Wolbachia infections in brackish and fresh water field isolates of Ae. albopictus in the Jaffna district.

METHODS: Aedes albopictus collected as pre-imaginal stages using conventional ovitraps in the Jaffna peninsula and adjacent islands of the Jaffna district were screened by PCR utilizing strain-transcending primers for the presence of Wolbachia. Wolbachia strains were then further identified by PCR using strain-specific primers for the Wolbachia surface protein gene wsp. The Jaffna wsp sequences were compared by phylogenetic analysis with other wsp sequences available in Genbank.

RESULTS: Aedes albopictus were found to be widely infected with the wAlbA and wAlbB strains of Wolbachia in Jaffna. The partial wAlbB wsp surface protein gene sequence in Jaffna Ae. albopictus was identical to a corresponding sequence from South India but different from that in mainland Sri Lanka.

Widespread infection of salinity-tolerant Ae. albopictus with Wolbachia is a factor to be considered when developing Wolbachia-based dengue control in coastal areas like the Jaffna peninsula.

RevDate: 2023-07-07

Wenzel M, CF Aquadro (2023)

Wolbachia genetically interacts with the bag of marbles germline stem cell gene in male D. melanogaster.

microPublication biology, 2023:.

The bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia manipulates reproduction of its arthropod hosts to promote its own maternal vertical transmission. In female D. melanogaster , Wolbachia has been shown to genetically interact with three key reproductive genes (bag of marbles (bam) , Sex-lethal, and mei-P26) , as it rescues the reduced female fertility or fecundity phenotype seen in partial loss-of-function mutants of these genes . Here, we show that Wolbachia also partially rescues male fertility in D. melanogaster carrying a new, largely sterile bam allele when in a bam null genetic background. This finding shows that the molecular mechanism of Wolbachia 's influence on its hosts' reproduction involves interaction with genes in males as well as females, at least in D. melanogaster .

RevDate: 2023-07-07

Dong L, Li Y, Yang C, et al (2023)

Species-level microbiota of ticks and fleas from Marmota himalayana in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1188155.

INTRODUCTION: Ticks and fleas, as blood-sucking arthropods, carry and transmit various zoonotic diseases. In the natural plague foci of China, monitoring of Yersinia pestis has been continuously conducted in Marmota himalayana and other host animals, whereas other pathogens carried by vectors are rarely concerned in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

METHODS: In this study, we investigated the microbiota of ticks and fleas sampling from M. himalayana in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China by metataxonomics combined with metagenomic methods.

RESULTS: By metataxonomic approach based on full-length 16S rDNA amplicon sequencing and operational phylogenetic unit (OPU) analyses, we described the microbiota community of ticks and fleas at the species level, annotated 1,250 OPUs in ticks, including 556 known species and 492 potentially new species, accounting for 48.50% and 41.71% of the total reads in ticks, respectively. A total of 689 OPUs were detected in fleas, consisting of 277 known species (40.62% of the total reads in fleas) and 294 potentially new species (56.88%). At the dominant species categories, we detected the Anaplasma phagocytophilum (OPU 421) and potentially pathogenic new species of Wolbachia, Ehrlichia, Rickettsia, and Bartonella. Using shotgun sequencing, we obtained 10 metagenomic assembled genomes (MAGs) from vector samples, including a known species (Providencia heimbachae DFT2), and six new species affliated to four known genera, i.e., Wolbachia, Mumia, Bartonella, and Anaplasma. By the phylogenetic analyses based on full-length 16S rRNA genes and core genes, we identified that ticks harbored pathogenic A. phagocytophilum. Moreover, these potentially pathogenic novel species were more closely related to Ehrlichia muris, Ehrlichia muris subsp. eauclairensis, Bartonella rochalimae, and Rickettsia limoniae, respectively. The OPU 422 Ehrlichia sp1 was most related to Ehrlichia muris and Ehrlichia muris subsp. eauclairensis. The OPU 230 Bartonella sp1 and Bartonella spp. (DTF8 and DTF9) was clustered with Bartonella rochalimae. The OPU 427 Rickettsia sp1 was clustered with Rickettsia limoniae.

DISCUSSION: The findings of the study have advanced our understanding of the potential pathogen groups of vectors in marmot (Marmota himalayana) in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

RevDate: 2023-07-03

Beliavskaia A, Tan KK, Sinha A, et al (2023)

Metagenomics of culture isolates and insect tissue illuminate the evolution of Wolbachia, Rickettsia and Bartonella symbionts in Ctenocephalides spp. fleas.

Microbial genomics, 9(7):.

RevDate: 2023-07-03

Pujhari S, Hughes GL, Pakpour N, et al (2023)

Wolbachia -induced inhibition of O'nyong nyong virus in Anopheles mosquitoes is mediated by Toll signaling and modulated by cholesterol.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2023.05.31.543096.

UNLABELLED: Enhanced host immunity and competition for metabolic resources are two main competing hypotheses for the mechanism of Wolbachia -mediated pathogen inhibition in arthropods. Using an Anopheles mosquito - somatic Wolbachia infection - O'nyong nyong virus (ONNV) model, we demonstrate that the mechanism underpinning Wolbachia -mediated virus inhibition is up-regulation of the Toll innate immune pathway. However, the viral inhibitory properties of Wolbachia were abolished by cholesterol supplementation. This result was due to Wolbachia -dependent cholesterol-mediated suppression of Toll signaling rather than competition for cholesterol between Wolbachia and virus. The inhibitory effect of cholesterol was specific to Wolbachia -infected Anopheles mosquitoes and cells. These data indicate that both Wolbachia and cholesterol influence Toll immune signaling in Anopheles mosquitoes in a complex manner and provide a functional link between the host immunity and metabolic competition hypotheses for explaining Wolbachia -mediated pathogen interference in mosquitoes. In addition, these results provide a mechanistic understanding of the mode of action of Wolbachia -induced pathogen blocking in Anophelines, which is critical to evaluate the long-term efficacy of control strategies for malaria and Anopheles -transmitted arboviruses.

HIGHLIGHTS: Wolbachia inhibits O'nyong nyong virus (ONNV) in Anopheles mosquitoes. Enhanced Toll signaling is responsible for Wolbachia -induced interference of ONNV. Cholesterol suppresses Toll signaling to modulate Wolbachia -induced ONNV interference.

RevDate: 2023-06-30

Abel SM, Hong Z, Williams D, et al (2023)

Small RNA sequencing of field Culex mosquitoes identifies patterns of viral infection and the mosquito immune response.

Scientific reports, 13(1):10598.

Mosquito-borne disease remains a significant burden on global health. In the United States, the major threat posed by mosquitoes is transmission of arboviruses, including West Nile virus by mosquitoes of the Culex genus. Virus metagenomic analysis of mosquito small RNA using deep sequencing and advanced bioinformatic tools enables the rapid detection of viruses and other infecting organisms, both pathogenic and non-pathogenic to humans, without any precedent knowledge. In this study, we sequenced small RNA samples from over 60 pools of Culex mosquitoes from two major areas of Southern California from 2017 to 2019 to elucidate the virome and immune responses of Culex. Our results demonstrated that small RNAs not only allowed the detection of viruses but also revealed distinct patterns of viral infection based on location, Culex species, and time. We also identified miRNAs that are most likely involved in Culex immune responses to viruses and Wolbachia bacteria, and show the utility of using small RNA to detect antiviral immune pathways including piRNAs against some pathogens. Collectively, these findings show that deep sequencing of small RNA can be used for virus discovery and surveillance. One could also conceive that such work could be accomplished in various locations across the world and over time to better understand patterns of mosquito infection and immune response to many vector-borne diseases in field samples.

RevDate: 2023-06-28

Zeb J, Song B, Khan MA, et al (2023)

Genetic diversity of vector-borne pathogens in ixodid ticks infesting dogs from Pakistan with notes on Ehrlichia canis, Rickettsia raoultii and Dirofilaria immitis detection.

Parasites & vectors, 16(1):214.

BACKGROUND: Vector-/tick-borne pathogens (V/TBPs) pose a potential threat to human and animal health globally. Information regarding canine V/TBPs is scarce and no specific study has been conducted so far to explore the microbial diversity within ticks infesting dogs from Pakistan. Herein, this knowledge gap is addressed by assessing the genetic diversity and prevalence pattern of V/TBPs in ixodid ticks with special implications for public and canine health.

METHODS: A total of 1150 hard ticks were collected from 300 dogs across central Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Pakistan. After morpho-molecular identification, 120 tick samples were screened for the presence of V/TBPs by amplifying 16S rRNA/gltA (Rickettsia/Ehrlichia and Wolbachia sp.), 18S rRNA (Theileria sp.) and cox1 (Dirofilaria sp.) genes through PCR followed by sequencing and phylogenetic study.

RESULTS: In toto, 50 ixodid ticks (50/120, 41.7%) were found positive for V/TBPs DNA. The detected V/TBPs were categorized into five genera and eight species, viz. Ehrlichia (E. canis and Ehrlichia sp.), Rickettsia (R. massiliae, R. raoultii and Rickettsia sp.), Theileria (T. annulata), Dirofilaria (D. immitis) and Wolbachia (Wolbachia sp.). The pathogen prevalence patterns showed that R. massiliae was the most prevalent zoonotic V/TBP (19.5%), followed by E. canis (10.8%), Rickettsia sp. (7.5%), R. raoultii (6.7%), T. annulata (5.8%), D. immitis (5.8%), Wolbachia sp. (4.2%) and Ehrlichia sp. (3.3%), respectively. Among the screened tick species, most Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato samples were found positive for V/TBP DNA (20/20,100%) followed by Rh. turanicus sensu stricto (13/20, 65%), Hyalomma dromedarii (8/20, 40%), Rh. haemaphysaloides (6/20, 30%), Hy. excavatum (2/20, 10%) and Rh. microplus (1/20, 5%). Co-occurrence of V/TBP was also detected in tick specimens (single V/TBP infection: 32 ticks; double and triple: 13 and 5 tick samples). The detected pathogens shared a phylogenetic relationship with similar isolates published in NCBI GenBank from Old and New World countries.

CONCLUSION: Ixodid ticks infesting dogs harbor a diverse array of V/TBPs including zoonotic agents from Pakistan. Furthermore, the presence of D. immitis in ticks that infest dogs raises the possibility that this parasite has either attained its dead-end host (i.e. the tick) while feeding on dogs or has expanded its range of intermediate/paratenic hosts. Further research work is needed to investigate the epidemiology and confirm the vector competence of screened tick species for these pathogens from Pakistan.

RevDate: 2023-06-28

Baltar JMC, Pavan MG, Corrêa-Antônio J, et al (2023)

Gut Bacterial Diversity of Field and Laboratory-Reared Aedes albopictus Populations of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Viruses, 15(6): pii:v15061309.

BACKGROUND: The mosquito microbiota impacts different parameters in host biology, such as development, metabolism, immune response and vector competence to pathogens. As the environment is an important source of acquisition of host associate microbes, we described the microbiota and the vector competence to Zika virus (ZIKV) of Aedes albopictus from three areas with distinct landscapes.

METHODS: Adult females were collected during two different seasons, while eggs were used to rear F1 colonies. Midgut bacterial communities were described in field and F1 mosquitoes as well as in insects from a laboratory colony (>30 generations, LAB) using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. F1 mosquitoes were infected with ZIKV to determine virus infection rates (IRs) and dissemination rates (DRs). Collection season significantly affected the bacterial microbiota diversity and composition, e.g., diversity levels decreased from the wet to the dry season. Field-collected and LAB mosquitoes' microbiota had similar diversity levels, which were higher compared to F1 mosquitoes. However, the gut microbiota composition of field mosquitoes was distinct from that of laboratory-reared mosquitoes (LAB and F1), regardless of the collection season and location. A possible negative correlation was detected between Acetobacteraceae and Wolbachia, with the former dominating the gut microbiota of F1 Ae. albopictus, while the latter was absent/undetectable. Furthermore, we detected significant differences in infection and dissemination rates (but not in the viral load) between the mosquito populations, but it does not seem to be related to gut microbiota composition, as it was similar between F1 mosquitoes regardless of their population.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that the environment and the collection season play a significant role in shaping mosquitoes' bacterial microbiota.

RevDate: 2023-06-28

Han MJ, Pan M, Xiao G, et al (2023)

Assessing Boron-Pleuromutilin AN11251 for the Development of Antibacterial Agents.

Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 28(12): pii:molecules28124628.

Pleuromutilins are a group of antibiotics derived from the naturally occurring compound. The recent approval of lefamulin for both intravenous and oral doses in humans to treat community-acquired bacterial pneumonia has prompted investigations in modifying the structure to broaden the antibacterial spectrum, enhance the activity, and improve the pharmacokinetic properties. AN11251 is a C(14)-functionalized pleuromutilin with a boron-containing heterocycle substructure. It was demonstrated to be an anti-Wolbachia agent with therapeutic potential for Onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis. Here, the in vitro and in vivo PK parameters of AN11251 were measured including PPB, intrinsic clearance, half-life, systemic clearance, and volume of distribution. The results indicate that the benzoxaborole-modified pleuromutilin possesses good ADME and PK properties. AN11251 has potent activities against the Gram-positive bacterial pathogens tested, including various drug-resistant strains, and against the slow-growing mycobacterial species. Finally, we employed PK/PD modeling to predict the human dose for treatment of disease caused by Wolbachia, Gram-positive bacteria, or Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which might facilitate the further development of AN11251.

RevDate: 2023-06-27

Angstmann H, Pfeiffer S, Kublik S, et al (2023)

The microbial composition of larval airways from Drosophila melanogaster differ between specimens from laboratory and natural habitats.

Environmental microbiome, 18(1):55.

BACKGROUND: The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster lives in natural habitats and has also long been used as a model organism in biological research. In this study, we used a molecular barcoding approach to analyse the airways microbiome of larvae of D. melanogaster, which were obtained from eggs of flies of the laboratory strain w[1118] and from immune deficient flies (NF-kB-K), and from wild-caught flies. To assess intergenerational transmission of microbes, all eggs were incubated under the same semi-sterile conditions.

RESULTS: The airway microbiome of larvae from both lab-strains was dominated by the two families Acetobacteraceae and Lactobacillaceae, while larvae from wild-caught flies were dominated by Lactobacillaceae, Anaplasmataceae and Leuconostocaceae. Barcodes linked to Anaplasmataceae could be further assigned to Wolbachia sp., which is a widespread intracellular pathogen in arthropods. For Leuconostoceae, the most abundant reads were assigned to Weissella sp. Both Wolbachia and Weissella affect the development of the insects. Finally, a relative high abundance of Serratia sp. was found in larvae from immune deficient relish[-/-] compared to w[1118] and wild-caught fly airways.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results show for the first time that larvae from D. melanogaster harbor an airway microbiome, which is of low complexity and strongly influenced by the environmental conditions and to a lesser extent by the immune status. Furthermore, our data indicate an intergenerational transmission of the microbiome as shaped by the environment.

RevDate: 2023-06-27

Hu D, Li W, Wang J, et al (2023)

Interaction of High Temperature Stress and Wolbachia Infection on the Biological Characteristic of Drosophila melanogaster.

Insects, 14(6): pii:insects14060558.

It was reported that temperature affects the distribution of Wolbachia in the host, but only a few papers reported the effect of the interaction between high temperature and Wolbachia on the biological characteristic of the host. Here, we set four treatment Drosophila melanogaster groups: Wolbachia-infected flies in 25 °C (W[+]M), Wolbachia-infected flies in 31 °C (W[+]H), Wolbachia-uninfected flies in 25 °C (W[-]M), Wolbachia-uninfected flies in 31 °C (W[-]H), and detected the interaction effect of temperature and Wolbachia infection on the biological characteristic of D. melanogaster in F1, F2 and F3 generations. We found that both temperature and Wolbachia infection had significant effects on the development and survival rate of D. melanogaster. High temperature and Wolbachia infection had interaction effect on hatching rate, developmental durations, emergence rate, body weight and body length of F1, F2 and F3 flies, and the interaction effect also existed on oviposition amount of F3 flies, and on pupation rate of F2 and F3 flies. High temperature stress reduced the Wolbachia vertical transmission efficiency between generations. These results indicated that high temperature stress and Wolbachia infection had negative effects on the morphological development of D. melanogaster.

RevDate: 2023-06-27

Fallon AM, EM Carroll (2023)

Virus-like Particles from Wolbachia-Infected Cells May Include a Gene Transfer Agent.

Insects, 14(6): pii:insects14060516.

Wolbachia are obligate intracellular bacteria that occur in insects and filarial worms. Strains that infect insects have genomes that encode mobile genetic elements, including diverse lambda-like prophages called Phage WO. Phage WO packages an approximately 65 kb viral genome that includes a unique eukaryotic association module, or EAM, that encodes unusually large proteins thought to mediate interactions between the bacterium, its virus, and the eukaryotic host cell. The Wolbachia supergroup B strain, wStri from the planthopper Laodelphax striatellus, produces phage-like particles that can be recovered from persistently infected mosquito cells by ultracentrifugation. Illumina sequencing, assembly, and manual curation of DNA from two independent preparations converged on an identical 15,638 bp sequence that encoded packaging, assembly, and structural proteins. The absence of an EAM and regulatory genes defined for Phage WO from the wasp, Nasonia vitripennis, was consistent with the possibility that the 15,638 bp sequence represents an element related to a gene transfer agent (GTA), characterized by a signature head-tail region encoding structural proteins that package host chromosomal DNA. Future investigation of GTA function will be supported by the improved recovery of physical particles, electron microscopic examination of potential diversity among particles, and rigorous examination of DNA content by methods independent of sequence assembly.

RevDate: 2023-06-26

Gashururu RS, Maingi N, Githigia SM, et al (2023)

Trypanosomes infection, endosymbionts, and host preferences in tsetse flies (Glossina spp.) collected from Akagera park region, Rwanda: A correlational xenomonitoring study.

One health (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 16:100550 pii:S2352-7714(23)00070-8.

Akagera National Park and its surroundings are home to tsetse flies and a number of their mammalian hosts in Rwanda. A One-health approach is being used in the control and surveillance of both animal and human trypanosomosis in Rwanda. Determination of the infection level in tsetse flies, species of trypanosomes circulating in vectors, the source of tsetse blood meal and endosymbionts is crucial in understanding the epidemiology of the disease in animals and humans in the region. Tsetse flies (n = 1101), comprising Glossina pallidipes (n = 771) and Glossina morsitans centralis (n = 330) were collected from Akagera park and surrounding areas between May 2018 and June 2019. The flies were screened for trypanosomes, vertebrate host DNA to identify sources of blood meal, and endosymbionts by PCR - High Resolution Melting analysis and amplicon sequencing. The feeding frequency and the feeding indices (selection index - W) were calculated to identify the preferred hosts. An overall trypanosome infection rate of 13.9% in the fly's Head and Proboscis (HP) and 24.3% in the Thorax and Abdomen (TA) were found. Eight trypanosome species were identified in the tsetse fly HP and TA, namely: Trypanosoma (T.) brucei brucei, T. congolense Kilifi, T. congolense savannah, T. vivax, T. simiae, T. evansi, T. godfreyi, T. grayi and T. theileri. We found no evidence of human-infective T. brucei rhodesiense. We also identified eighteen species of vertebrate hosts that tsetse flies fed on, and the most frequent one was the buffalo (Syncerus caffer) (36.5%). The frequently detected host by selection index was the rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) (W = 16.2). Most trypanosome infections in tsetse flies were associated with the buffalo blood meal. The prevalence of tsetse endosymbionts Sodalis and Wolbachia was 2.8% and 4.8%, respectively. No Spiroplasma and Salivary Gland Hypertrophy Virus were detected. These findings implicate the buffaloes as the important reservoirs of tsetse-transmitted trypanosomes in the area. This contributes to predicting the main cryptic reservoirs and therefore guiding the effective control of the disease. The study findings provide the key scientific information that supports the current One Health collaboration in the control and surveillance of tsetse-transmitted trypanosomosis in Rwanda.

RevDate: 2023-06-26

Beckmann J, Gillespie J, D Tauritz (2023)

Modeling emergence of Wolbachia toxin-antidote protein functions with an evolutionary algorithm.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1116766.

Evolutionary algorithms (EAs) simulate Darwinian evolution and adeptly mimic natural evolution. Most EA applications in biology encode high levels of abstraction in top-down population ecology models. In contrast, our research merges protein alignment algorithms from bioinformatics into codon based EAs that simulate molecular protein string evolution from the bottom up. We apply our EA to reconcile a problem in the field of Wolbachia induced cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). Wolbachia is a microbial endosymbiont that lives inside insect cells. CI is conditional insect sterility that operates as a toxin antidote (TA) system. Although, CI exhibits complex phenotypes not fully explained under a single discrete model. We instantiate in-silico genes that control CI, CI factors (cifs), as strings within the EA chromosome. We monitor the evolution of their enzymatic activity, binding, and cellular localization by applying selective pressure on their primary amino acid strings. Our model helps rationalize why two distinct mechanisms of CI induction might coexist in nature. We find that nuclear localization signals (NLS) and Type IV secretion system signals (T4SS) are of low complexity and evolve fast, whereas binding interactions have intermediate complexity, and enzymatic activity is the most complex. Our model predicts that as ancestral TA systems evolve into eukaryotic CI systems, the placement of NLS or T4SS signals can stochastically vary, imparting effects that might impact CI induction mechanics. Our model highlights how preconditions and sequence length can bias evolution of cifs toward one mechanism or another.

RevDate: 2023-06-26

Ratnayake OC, Chotiwan N, Saavedra-Rodriguez K, et al (2023)

The buzz in the field: the interaction between viruses, mosquitoes, and metabolism.

Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 13:1128577.

Among many medically important pathogens, arboviruses like dengue, Zika and chikungunya cause severe health and economic burdens especially in developing countries. These viruses are primarily vectored by mosquitoes. Having surmounted geographical barriers and threat of control strategies, these vectors continue to conquer many areas of the globe exposing more than half of the world's population to these viruses. Unfortunately, no medical interventions have been capable so far to produce successful vaccines or antivirals against many of these viruses. Thus, vector control remains the fundamental strategy to prevent disease transmission. The long-established understanding regarding the replication of these viruses is that they reshape both human and mosquito host cellular membranes upon infection for their replicative benefit. This leads to or is a result of significant alterations in lipid metabolism. Metabolism involves complex chemical reactions in the body that are essential for general physiological functions and survival of an organism. Finely tuned metabolic homeostases are maintained in healthy organisms. However, a simple stimulus like a viral infection can alter this homeostatic landscape driving considerable phenotypic change. Better comprehension of these mechanisms can serve as innovative control strategies against these vectors and viruses. Here, we review the metabolic basis of fundamental mosquito biology and virus-vector interactions. The cited work provides compelling evidence that targeting metabolism can be a paradigm shift and provide potent tools for vector control as well as tools to answer many unresolved questions and gaps in the field of arbovirology.

RevDate: 2023-06-22

Benkacimi L, Diarra AZ, Bompar JM, et al (2023)

Microorganisms associated with hedgehog arthropods.

Parasites & vectors, 16(1):211.

Hedgehogs are small synanthropic mammals that live in rural areas as well as in urban and suburban areas. They can be reservoirs of several microorganisms, including certain pathogenic agents that cause human and animal public health issues. Hedgehogs are often parasitized by blood-sucking arthropods, mainly hard ticks and fleas, which in turn can also carry various vector-born microorganisms of zoonotic importance. Many biotic factors, such as urbanization and agricultural mechanization, have resulted in the destruction of the hedgehog's natural habitats, leading these animals to take refuge near human dwellings, seeking food and shelter in parks and gardens and exposing humans to zoonotic agents that can be transmitted either directly by them or indirectly by their ectoparasites. In this review, we focus on the microorganisms detected in arthropods sampled from hedgehogs worldwide. Several microorganisms have been reported in ticks collected from these animals, including various Borrelia spp., Anaplasma spp., Ehrlichia spp., and Rickettsia spp. species as well as Coxiella burnetii and Leptospira spp. As for fleas, C. burnetii, Rickettsia spp., Wolbachia spp., Mycobacterium spp. and various Bartonella species have been reported. The detection of these microorganisms in arthropods does not necessarily mean that they can be transmitted to humans and animals. While the vector capacity and competence of fleas and ticks for some of these microorganisms has been proven, in other cases the microorganisms may have simply been ingested with blood taken from an infected host. Further investigations are needed to clarify this issue. As hedgehogs are protected animals, handling them is highly regulated, making it difficult to conduct epidemiological studies on them. Their ectoparasites represent a very interesting source of information on microorganisms circulating in populations of these animals, especially vector-born ones.

RevDate: 2023-06-22

Ho SH, Lim JT, Ong J, et al (2023)

Singapore's 5 decades of dengue prevention and control-Implications for global dengue control.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 17(6):e0011400 pii:PNTD-D-22-01544.

This paper summarises the lessons learnt in dengue epidemiology, risk factors, and prevention in Singapore over the last half a century, during which Singapore evolved from a city of 1.9 million people to a highly urban globalised city-state with a population of 5.6 million. Set in a tropical climate, urbanisation among green foliage has created ideal conditions for the proliferation of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, the mosquito vectors that transmit dengue. A vector control programme, largely for malaria, was initiated as early as 1921, but it was only in 1966 that the Vector Control Unit (VCU) was established to additionally tackle dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) that was first documented in the 1960s. Centred on source reduction and public education, and based on research into the bionomics and ecology of the vectors, the programme successfully reduced the Aedes House Index (HI) from 48% in 1966 to <5% in the 1970s. Further enhancement of the programme, including through legislation, suppressed the Aedes HI to around 1% from the 1990s. The current programme is characterised by 4 key features: (i) proactive inter-epidemic surveillance and control that is stepped up during outbreaks; (ii) risk-based prevention and intervention strategies based on advanced data analytics; (iii) coordinated inter-sectoral cooperation between the public, private, and people sectors; and (iv) evidence-based adoption of new tools and strategies. Dengue seroprevalence and force of infection (FOI) among residents have substantially and continuously declined over the 5 decades. This is consistent with the observation that dengue incidence has been delayed to adulthood, with severity highest among the elderly. Paradoxically, the number of reported dengue cases and outbreaks has increased since the 1990s with record-breaking epidemics. We propose that Singapore's increased vulnerability to outbreaks is due to low levels of immunity in the population, constant introduction of new viral variants, expanding urban centres, and increasing human density. The growing magnitude of reported outbreaks could also be attributed to improved diagnostics and surveillance, which at least partially explains the discord between rising trend in cases and the continuous reduction in dengue seroprevalence. Changing global and local landscapes, including climate change, increasing urbanisation and global physical connectivity are expected to make dengue control even more challenging. The adoption of new vector surveillance and control tools, such as the Gravitrap and Wolbachia technology, is important to impede the growing threat of dengue and other Aedes-borne diseases.

RevDate: 2023-06-22

Ehlers LP, Slaviero M, De Lorenzo C, et al (2023)

Pathological findings associated with Dipetalonema spp. (Spirurida, Onchocercidae) infection in two species of Neotropical monkeys from Brazil.

Parasitology research [Epub ahead of print].

Among vector-borne helminths, filarioids of the genus Dipetalonema (Spirurida: Onchocercidae) localize in several tissues and body cavities of several animal species, causing mild to moderate lesions. The pathological findings associated with Dipetalonema spp. infection in Neotropical monkeys from southern Brazil are herein described, along with a fatal case due to filarial polyserositis and entrapment of an intestinal segment. At necropsy, nematodes were observed in abdominal and thoracic cavities, or in the pericardium of 37 (31.3%) out of the 118 individuals examined (i.e., 35 Alouatta guariba clamitans and two Sapajus nigritus). In addition, at histology, 27.0% of positive animals presented microfilarie (inside blood vessels of lung, spleen, liver, and brain) and 8.1% presented adult nematodes in the heart, lung, and liver. In two cases, cross-sections of filarioids were associated with areas of epicardial thickening with intense fibrosis and pyogranulomatous inflammation in the brain, heart, liver, lungs, or spleen. The DNA fragment was amplify using the cox1 gene, sequenced and analyzed to identify the nematode species collected; presence of Wolbachia was assessed in the filarioids using the 16S rRNA gene. At BLAST analysis of the cox1 gene, 10 sequences showed 91.7% nucleotide identity with Dipetalonema gracile, and two with D. gracile (98.5%) and Dipetalonema graciliformis (98.3%). Phylogenetic analyses clustered sequences of the cox1 obtained in this study in two clades corresponding with the host species. Wolbachia sp. endosymbiont was detected in four samples. Data herein reported provide a description of pathological lesions associated with the infection by Dipetalonema spp., suggesting that they may cause disease in Neotropical monkeys. In addition, a better understanding of diversity and biology of Dipetalonema spp. in South America is needed to assess the impact they may cause in native non-human primates from Brazil.

RevDate: 2023-06-16

Zhu X, Zhang L, Li J, et al (2023)

Effects of Antibiotic Treatment on the Development and Bacterial Community of the Wolbachia-Infected Diamondback Moth.

Evolutionary bioinformatics online, 19:11769343231175269.

Based on the important role of antibiotic treatment in the research of the interaction between Wolbachia and insect hosts, this study aimed to identify the most suitable antibiotic and concentration for Wolbachia elimination in the P. xylostella, and to investigate the effect of Wolbachia and antibiotic treatment on the bacterial community of P. xylostella. Our results showed that the Wolbachia-infected strain was plutWB1 of supergroup B in the P. xylostella population collected in Nepal in this study; 1 mg/mL rifampicin could remove Wolbachia infection in P. xylostella after 1 generation of feeding treatment and the toxic effect was relatively low; among the 29 samples of adult P. xylostella in our study (10 WU samples, 10 WA samples, and 9 WI samples), 52.5% of the sequences were of Firmicutes and 47.5% were of Proteobacteria, with the dominant genera being mainly Carnobacterium (46.2%), Enterobacter (10.1%), and Enterococcus (6.2%); Moreover, antibiotic removal of Wolbachia infection in P. xylostella and transfer to normal conditions for 10 generations no longer significantly affected the bacterial community of P. xylostella. This study provides a theoretical basis for the elimination method of Wolbachia in the P. xylostella, as well as a reference for the elimination method of Wolbachia in other Wolbachia-infected insect species, and a basis for the study of the extent and duration of the effect of antibiotic treatment on the bacterial community of the P. xylostella.

RevDate: 2023-06-15

Zhang DJ, Yan S, Yamada H, et al (2023)

Effects of radiation on the fitness, sterility and arbovirus susceptibility of a Wolbachia-free Aedes albopictus strain for use in the Sterile Insect Technique.

Pest management science [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: The sterile insect technique (SIT) is a green and species-specific insect pest control technique that suppresses target populations by releasing factory-reared, radio-sterilized males into the wild. Once released, it is important to be able to distinguish the released males from the wild males for monitoring purposes. Several methods to mark the sterile males exist. However, most have limitations due to monetary, process efficiency, or insect quality. Aedes albopictus is naturally infected with Wolbachia at a high prevalence. Therefore, the elimination of Wolbachia can serve as a biomarker to distinguish the factory-reared male mosquitoes from wild conspecifics.

RESULTS: In this study, a Wolbachia-free Ae. albopictus GT strain was developed and its fitness evaluated, which was found to be comparable to the wild GUA strain. In addition, GT male mosquitoes were irradiated at the adult stage and a dose of 20 Gy or more induced over 99% sterility. Moreover, a dose of 30 Gy (almost completely sterilizing male and female mosquitoes) had limited effects on the mating competitiveness of GT males and vector competence of GT females, respectively. However, radiation reduced mosquito longevity, regardless of its sex.

CONCLUSION: Our results indicated that the Ae. albopictus GT strain can be distinguished from the wild mosquitoes based on Wolbachia status and shows similar fitness, radio-sensitivity and arbovirus susceptibility to the GUA strain, indicating that it is feasible to use the GT strain to suppress Ae. albopictus populations for SIT programmes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2023-06-15

Santos NACD, Carvalho VR, Souza-Neto JA, et al (2023)

Bacterial Microbiota from Lab-Reared and Field-Captured Anopheles darlingi Midgut and Salivary Gland.

Microorganisms, 11(5): pii:microorganisms11051145.

Anopheles darlingi is a major malaria vector in the Amazon region and, like other vectors, harbors a community of microorganisms with which it shares a network of interactions. Here, we describe the diversity and bacterial composition from the midguts and salivary glands of lab-reared and field-captured An. darlingi using metagenome sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. The libraries were built using the amplification of the region V3-V4 16S rRNA gene. The bacterial community from the salivary glands was more diverse and richer than the community from the midguts. However, the salivary glands and midguts only showed dissimilarities in beta diversity between lab-reared mosquitoes. Despite that, intra-variability was observed in the samples. Acinetobacter and Pseudomonas were dominant in the tissues of lab-reared mosquitoes. Sequences of Wolbachia and Asaia were both found in the tissue of lab-reared mosquitoes; however, only Asaia was found in field-captured An. darlingi, but in low abundance. This is the first report on the characterization of microbiota composition from the salivary glands of An. darlingi from lab-reared and field-captured individuals. This study can provide invaluable insights for future investigations regarding mosquito development and interaction between mosquito microbiota and Plasmodium sp.

RevDate: 2023-06-14

An Y, Braga MP, Garcia SL, et al (2023)

Host Phylogeny Structures the Gut Bacterial Community Within Galerucella Leaf Beetles.

Microbial ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Gut microbes play important roles for their hosts. Previous studies suggest that host-microbial systems can form long-term associations over evolutionary time and the dynamic changes of the intestinal system may represent major driving forces and contribute to insect dietary diversification and speciation. Our study system includes a set of six closely related leaf beetle species (Galerucella spp.) and our study aims to separate the roles of host phylogeny and ecology in determining the gut microbial community and to identify eventual relationship between host insects and gut bacteria. We collected adult beetles from their respective host plants and quantified their microbial community using 16S rRNA sequencing. The results showed that the gut bacteria community composition was structured by host beetle phylogeny, where more or less host-specific gut bacteria interact with the different Galerucella species. For example, the endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia was found almost exclusively in G. nymphaea and G. sagittariae. Diversity indicators also suggested that α- and β-diversities of gut bacteria communities varied among host beetle species. Overall, our results suggest a phylogenetically controlled co-occurrence pattern between the six closely related Galerucella beetles and their gut bacteria, indicating the potential of co-evolutionary processes occurring between hosts and their gut bacterial communities.

RevDate: 2023-06-10

Fiutek N, Couger MB, Pirro S, et al (2023)

Genomic Assessment of the Contribution of the Wolbachia Endosymbiont of Eurosta solidaginis to Gall Induction.

International journal of molecular sciences, 24(11): pii:ijms24119613.

We explored the genome of the Wolbachia strain, wEsol, symbiotic with the plant-gall-inducing fly Eurosta solidaginis with the goal of determining if wEsol contributes to gall induction by its insect host. Gall induction by insects has been hypothesized to involve the secretion of the phytohormones cytokinin and auxin and/or proteinaceous effectors to stimulate cell division and growth in the host plant. We sequenced the metagenome of E. solidaginis and wEsol and assembled and annotated the genome of wEsol. The wEsol genome has an assembled length of 1.66 Mbp and contains 1878 protein-coding genes. The wEsol genome is replete with proteins encoded by mobile genetic elements and shows evidence of seven different prophages. We also detected evidence of multiple small insertions of wEsol genes into the genome of the host insect. Our characterization of the genome of wEsol indicates that it is compromised in the synthesis of dimethylallyl pyrophosphate (DMAPP) and S-adenosyl L-methionine (SAM), which are precursors required for the synthesis of cytokinins and methylthiolated cytokinins. wEsol is also incapable of synthesizing tryptophan, and its genome contains no enzymes in any of the known pathways for the synthesis of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) from tryptophan. wEsol must steal DMAPP and L-methionine from its host and therefore is unlikely to provide cytokinin and auxin to its insect host for use in gall induction. Furthermore, in spite of its large repertoire of predicted Type IV secreted effector proteins, these effectors are more likely to contribute to the acquisition of nutrients and the manipulation of the host's cellular environment to contribute to growth and reproduction of wEsol than to aid E. solidaginis in manipulating its host plant. Combined with earlier work that shows that wEsol is absent from the salivary glands of E. solidaginis, our results suggest that wEsol does not contribute to gall induction by its host.

RevDate: 2023-06-10

Mioduchowska M, Konecka E, Gołdyn B, et al (2023)

Playing Peekaboo with a Master Manipulator: Metagenetic Detection and Phylogenetic Analysis of Wolbachia Supergroups in Freshwater Invertebrates.

International journal of molecular sciences, 24(11): pii:ijms24119400.

The infamous "master manipulators"-intracellular bacteria of the genus Wolbachia-infect a broad range of phylogenetically diverse invertebrate hosts in terrestrial ecosystems. Wolbachia has an important impact on the ecology and evolution of their host with documented effects including induced parthenogenesis, male killing, feminization, and cytoplasmic incompatibility. Nonetheless, data on Wolbachia infections in non-terrestrial invertebrates are scarce. Sampling bias and methodological limitations are some of the reasons limiting the detection of these bacteria in aquatic organisms. In this study, we present a new metagenetic method for detecting the co-occurrence of different Wolbachia strains in freshwater invertebrates host species, i.e., freshwater Arthropoda (Crustacea), Mollusca (Bivalvia), and water bears (Tardigrada) by applying NGS primers designed by us and a Python script that allows the identification of Wolbachia target sequences from the microbiome communities. We also compare the results obtained using the commonly applied NGS primers and the Sanger sequencing approach. Finally, we describe three supergroups of Wolbachia: (i) a new supergroup V identified in Crustacea and Bivalvia hosts; (ii) supergroup A identified in Crustacea, Bivalvia, and Eutardigrada hosts, and (iii) supergroup E infection in the Crustacea host microbiome community.

RevDate: 2023-06-09

Yang F, Li Y, Gao M, et al (2023)

Comparative expression profiles of carboxylesterase orthologous CXE14 in two closely related tea geometrid species, Ectropis obliqua Prout and Ectropis grisescens Warren.

Frontiers in physiology, 14:1194997.

Insect carboxylesterases (CXEs) can be expressed in multiple tissues and play crucial roles in detoxifying xenobiotic insecticides and degrading olfactory cues. Therefore, they have been considered as an important target for development of eco-friendly insect pest management strategies. Despite extensive investigation in most insect species, limited information on CXEs in sibling moth species is currently available. The Ectropis obliqua Prout and Ectropis grisescens Warren are two closely related tea geometrid species, which share the same host of tea plant but differ in geographical distribution, sex pheromone composition, and symbiotic bacteria abundance, providing an excellent mode species for studies of functional diversity of orthologous CXEs. In this study, we focused on EoblCXE14 due to its previously reported non-chemosensory organs-biased expression. First, the EoblCXE14 orthologous gene EgriCXE14 was cloned and sequence characteristics analysis showed that they share a conserved motif and phylogenetic relationship. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was then used to compare the expression profiles between two Ectropis spp. The results showed that EoblCXE14 was predominately expressed in E. obliqua larvae, whereas EgriCXE14 was abundant in E. grisescens at multiple developmental stages. Interestingly, both orthologous CXEs were highly expressed in larval midgut, but the expression level of EoblCXE14 in E. obliqua midgut was significantly higher than that of EgriCXE14 in E. grisescens midgut. In addition, the potential effect of symbiotic bacteria Wolbachia on the CXE14 was examined. This study is the first to provide comparative expression profiles of orthologous CXE genes in two sibling geometrid moth species and the results will help further elucidate CXEs functions and identify a potential target for tea geometrid pest control.


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.

963 Red Tail Lane
Bellingham, WA 98226


E-mail: RJR8222@gmail.com

Collection of publications by R J Robbins

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

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

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

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

short personal version

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

long standard version

RJR Picks from Around the Web (updated 11 MAY 2018 )