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31 Jul 2021 at 01:54
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Bibliography on: Wolbachia


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 31 Jul 2021 at 01:54 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: 2021-07-29

Rothman JA, Loope KJ, McFrederick QS, et al (2021)

Microbiome of the wasp Vespula pensylvanica in native and invasive populations, and associations with Moku virus.

PloS one, 16(7):e0255463 pii:PONE-D-21-07378.

Invasive species present a worldwide concern as competition and pathogen reservoirs for native species. Specifically, the invasive social wasp, Vespula pensylvanica, is native to western North America and has become naturalized in Hawaii, where it exerts pressures on native arthropod communities as a competitor and predator. As invasive species may alter the microbial and disease ecology of their introduced ranges, there is a need to understand the microbiomes and virology of social wasps. We used 16S rRNA gene sequencing to characterize the microbiome of V. pensylvanica samples pooled by colony across two geographically distinct ranges and found that wasps generally associate with taxa within the bacterial genera Fructobacillus, Fructilactobacillus, Lactococcus, Leuconostoc, and Zymobacter, and likely associate with environmentally-acquired bacteria. Furthermore, V. pensylvanica harbors-and in some cases were dominated by-many endosymbionts including Wolbachia, Sodalis, Arsenophonus, and Rickettsia, and were found to contain bee-associated taxa, likely due to scavenging on or predation upon honey bees. Next, we used reverse-transcriptase quantitative PCR to assay colony-level infection intensity for Moku virus (family: Iflaviridae), a recently-described disease that is known to infect multiple Hymenopteran species. While Moku virus was prevalent and in high titer, it did not associate with microbial diversity, indicating that the microbiome may not directly interact with Moku virus in V. pensylvanica in meaningful ways. Collectively, our results suggest that the invasive social wasp V. pensylvanica associates with a simple microbiome, may be infected with putative endosymbionts, likely acquires bacterial taxa from the environment and diet, and is often infected with Moku virus. Our results suggest that V. pensylvanica, like other invasive social insects, has the potential to act as a reservoir for bacteria pathogenic to other pollinators, though this requires experimental demonstration.

RevDate: 2021-07-27

Devos Y, Mumford JD, Bonsall MB, et al (2021)

Risk management recommendations for environmental releases of gene drive modified insects.

Biotechnology advances pii:S0734-9750(21)00113-0 [Epub ahead of print].

The ability to engineer gene drives (genetic elements that bias their own inheritance) has sparked enthusiasm and concerns. Engineered gene drives could potentially be used to address long-standing challenges in the control of insect disease vectors, agricultural pests and invasive species, or help to rescue endangered species. However, risk concerns and uncertainty associated with potential environmental release of gene drive modified insects (GDMIs) have led some stakeholders to call for a global moratorium on such releases or the application of other strict precautionary measures to mitigate perceived risk assessment and risk management challenges. Instead, we provide recommendations that may help to improve the relevance of risk assessment and risk management frameworks for environmental releases of GDMIs. These recommendations include: (1) developing additional and more practical risk assessment guidance to ensure appropriate levels of safety; (2) making policy goals and regulatory decision-making criteria operational for use in risk assessment so that what constitutes harm is clearly defined; (3) ensuring a more dynamic interplay between risk assessment and risk management to manage uncertainty through closely interlinked pre-release modelling and post-release monitoring; (4) considering potential risks against potential benefits, and comparing them with those of alternative actions to account for a wider (management) context; and (5) implementing a modular, phased approach to authorisations for incremental acceptance and management of risks and uncertainty. Along with providing stakeholder engagement opportunities in the risk analysis process, the recommendations proposed may enable risk managers to make choices that are more proportionate and adaptive to potential risks, uncertainty and benefits of GDMI applications, and socially robust.

RevDate: 2021-07-27

Dutra HLC, Ford SA, Allen SL, et al (2021)

The impact of artificial selection for Wolbachia-mediated dengue virus blocking on phage WO.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 15(7):e0009637 pii:PNTD-D-21-00119 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia is currently at the forefront of global efforts to control arbovirus transmission from the vector Aedes aegypti. The use of Wolbachia relies on two phenotypes-cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), conferred by cifA and cifB genes in prophage WO, and Wolbachia-mediated pathogen blocking (WMPB). These traits allow for local, self-sustaining reductions in transmission of dengue (DENV) following release of Wolbachia-infected A. aegypti. Here, aided by previous artificial selection experiment that generated Low and High pathogen blocking lines, we examined the potential link between WMPB and phage WO. We found no evidence that Wolbachia or phage WO relative densities predict DENV blocking strength across selected lines. However, selection resulted in reduced phage WO relative density for the Low WMPB line. The Low blocking line was previously shown to have reduced fitness as a result of selection. Through subsequent genomic analyses, we demonstrate that SNP variation underpinning selection for low blocking led to elevated frequency of potential deleterious SNPs on chromosome 1. The key region on chromosome 1 contains genes relating to cell cycle regulation, oxidative stress, transcriptional pausing, among others, that may have cascading effects on Wolbachia intracellular environment. We hypothesize that reduction in phage WO may be driven by changes in the loci directly under selection for blocking, or by the accumulation of predicted deleterious alleles in linkage disequilibrium with blocking loci resulting from hitchhiking. For the Low line with fewer phage WO, we also detected reduced expression of cifA and cifB CI genes, with patterns of expression varying between somatic and reproductive tissues. In conclusion, we propose that artificial selection for WMPB trait had corresponding impacts on phage WO densities, and also the transcription of CI-causing genes. Future studies may include a more detailed analysis of the regions the A. aegypti chromosome 1's ability to affect WMPB and other Wolbachia-associated intrinsic factors such as phage WO.

RevDate: 2021-07-27

Schairer CE, Najera J, James AA, et al (2021)

Oxitec and MosquitoMate in the United States: lessons for the future of gene drive mosquito control.

Pathogens and global health [Epub ahead of print].

In response to growing concerns regarding mosquito-borne diseases, scientists are developing novel systems of vector control. Early examples include Oxitec's OX513A genetically-engineered mosquito and MosquitoMate's Wolbachia-infected mosquito, and systems using 'gene-drive' are in development. Systems based on genetic engineering are controversial and institutions around the world are grappling with the question of who should have a say in how such technologies are field-tested and used. Based on media coverage and public records, we created comparative timelines of the efforts of Oxitec and MosquitoMate to navigate federal and local governance and bring their products to market in the United States. We analyze these timelines with particular attention to the role of public input in technology governance. These cases illustrate how governance of technology in the US is diverse, complex, and opaque. Further, the public response to proposed field trials of the Oxitec product highlights inconsistencies between public expectations for governance and actual practice. As gene-drive mosquito control products develop, both federal and local agencies will find their legitimacy tested without a better procedure for transparently integrating public input.

RevDate: 2021-07-27

Herran B, Houdelet C, Raimond M, et al (2021)

Feminising Wolbachia disrupt Armadillidium vulgare Insulin-like signalling pathway.

Cellular microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

The endosymbiont Wolbachia feminizes male isopods by making them refractory to the insulin-like masculinising hormone, which shunts the autocrine development of the androgenic glands. It was therefore proposed that Wolbachia silences the IR receptors, either by preventing their expression or by inactivating them. We describe here the two IR paralogs of Armadillidium vulgare. They displayed a conventional structure and belonged to a family widespread among isopods. Av-IR1 displayed an ubiquist expression, whereas the expression of Av-IR2 was restricted to the gonads. Both were constitutively expressed in males and females and throughout development. However upon silencing, altered gland physiology and gene expression therein suggested antagonistic roles for Av-IR1 (androinhibiting) and Av-IR2 (androstimulating). They may function in tandem with regulating neurohormones, as a conditional platform that conveys insulin signalling. Wolbachia infection did not alter their expression patterns: leaving the IRs unscathed, the bacteria would suppress the secretion of the neurohormones, thus inducing body-wide IR deactivation and feminization. Adult males injected with Wolbachia acquired an intersexed physiology. Their phenotypes and gene expressions mirrored the silencing of Av-IR1 only, suggesting that imperfect feminisation stems from a flawed invasion of the androstimulating centre, whereas in fully feminized males invasion would be complete in early juveniles. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2021-07-27

Zhu YX, Song ZR, Zhang YY, et al (2021)

Spider Mites Singly Infected With Either Wolbachia or Spiroplasma Have Reduced Thermal Tolerance.

Frontiers in microbiology, 12:706321.

Heritable symbionts play an essential role in many aspects of host ecology in a temperature-dependent manner. However, how temperature impacts the host and their interaction with endosymbionts remains largely unknown. Here, we investigated the impact of moderate (20°C) and high (30 and 35°C) temperatures on symbioses between the spider mite Tetranychus truncatus and two maternally inherited endosymbionts (Wolbachia and Spiroplasma). We found that the thermal tolerance of mites (as measured by survival after heat exposure) was lower for mites that were singly infected with either Wolbachia or Spiroplasma than it was for co-infected or uninfected mites. Although a relatively high temperature (30°C) is thought to promote bacterial replication, rearing at high temperature (35°C) resulted in losses of Wolbachia and particularly Spiroplasma. Exposing the mites to 20°C reduced the density and transmission of Spiroplasma but not Wolbachia. The four spider mite strains tested differed in the numbers of heat shock genes (Hsps) induced under moderate or high temperature exposure. In thermal preference (Tp) assays, the two Wolbachia-infected spider mite strains preferred a lower temperature than strains without Wolbachia. Our results show that endosymbiont-mediated spider mite responses to temperature stress are complex, involving a combination of changing endosymbiont infection patterns, altered thermoregulatory behavior, and transcription responses.

RevDate: 2021-07-25

Caragata EP, Dutra HLC, Sucupira PHF, et al (2021)

Wolbachia as translational science: controlling mosquito-borne pathogens.

Trends in parasitology pii:S1471-4922(21)00164-1 [Epub ahead of print].

In this review we examine how exploiting the Wolbachia-mosquito relationship has become an increasingly popular strategy for controlling arbovirus transmission. Field deployments of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes have led to significant decreases in dengue virus incidence via high levels of mosquito population suppression and replacement, emphasizing the success of Wolbachia approaches. Here, we examine how improved knowledge of Wolbachia-host interactions has provided key insight into the mechanisms of the essential phenotypes of pathogen blocking and cytoplasmic incompatibility. And we discuss recent studies demonstrating that extrinsic factors, such as ambient temperature, can modulate Wolbachia density and maternal transmission. Finally, we assess the prospects of using Wolbachia to control other vectors and agricultural pest species.

RevDate: 2021-07-24

Cano-Calle D, Saldamando-Benjumea CI, Vivero-Gómez RJ, et al (2021)

Two New Strains of Wolbachia Affecting Natural Avocado Thrips.

Indian journal of microbiology, 61(3):348-354.

Wolbachia is an obligate intracellular bacterium with a high frequency of infection and a continental distribution in arthropods and nematodes. This endosymbiont can induce various reproductive phenotypes in their hosts and has been previously found naturally in several pests including thrips (Thripidae). These insects cause physical fruit damage and economic losses in avocado. The presence of Wolbachia was evaluated for the first time in avocado thrips populations of Frankliniella sp. and Scirtothrips hansoni sp.n. from eastern Antioquia. DNA from adult thrips individuals was used to assess the detection of Wolbachia by amplifying a fragment (600 bp) of the Wolbachia major surface protein (wsp) gene. Results confirmed the presence of two new Wolbachia strains in these two thrips species, with a higher percentage of natural infection in S. hansoni sp.n. The first Wolbachia species was found in Frankliniella sp. and belongs to supergroup A and the second was detected in S. hansoni sp.n. and is part of supergroup B. Wolbachia was more frequently found in females (32.73%), and only found in one male. Analysis of phylogenetic relationships, suggests that the two new Wolbachia sequences (wFran: Frankliniella and wShan: Scirtothrips hansoni) detected here represent two new groups for this endosymbiont. The haplotype network shows the presence of two possible haplotypes for each strain. Future studies to evaluate the possible use of Wolbachia as a control agent in avocado thrips are necessary.

Supplementary Information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s12088-021-00951-5.

RevDate: 2021-07-22

Krueger S, G Moritz (2021)

Sperm ultrastructure in arrhenotokous and thelytokous Thysanoptera.

Arthropod structure & development, 64:101084 pii:S1467-8039(21)00058-X [Epub ahead of print].

Thysanoptera are haplo-diploid insects that reproduce either via arrhenotoky or thelytoky. Beside genetically based thelytoky, this reproduction mode can also be endosymbiont induced. The recovery of these females from their infection again leads to the development of males. Functionality of these males ranges widely, and this might be associated with sperm structure. We analyzed the sperm ultrastructure in three different species belonging to both suborders with different reproduction systems via electron microscopy. Beside the different reproduction modes, and adaptations to their life style, the arrhenotokous species Suocerathrips linguis (Thysanoptera: Tubulifera) and Echinothrips americanus (Thysanoptera: Terebrantia) possess typical thysanopteran-like sperm structure. But endosymbiont-cured males from the thelytokous species Hercinothrips femoralis (Thysanoptera: Terebrantia) possess several malformed spermatozoa and a large amount of secretions in their testes. Spermiophagy seems to be typical. It indicates a highly conserved mechanism of the male developmental pathways, despite the observed decay. However, this decay would explain why in some species no stable arrhenotokous line can be re-established.

RevDate: 2021-07-22

Ware-Gilmore F, Sgrò CM, Xi Z, et al (2021)

Microbes increase thermal sensitivity in the mosquito Aedes aegypti, with the potential to change disease distributions.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 15(7):e0009548 pii:PNTD-D-21-00228.

The mosquito Aedes aegypti is the primary vector of many disease-causing viruses, including dengue (DENV), Zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever. As consequences of climate change, we expect an increase in both global mean temperatures and extreme climatic events. When temperatures fluctuate, mosquito vectors will be increasingly exposed to temperatures beyond their upper thermal limits. Here, we examine how DENV infection alters Ae. aegypti thermotolerance by using a high-throughput physiological 'knockdown' assay modeled on studies in Drosophila. Such laboratory measures of thermal tolerance have previously been shown to accurately predict an insect's distribution in the field. We show that DENV infection increases thermal sensitivity, an effect that may ultimately limit the geographic range of the virus. We also show that the endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia pipientis, which is currently being released globally as a biological control agent, has a similar impact on thermal sensitivity in Ae. aegypti. Surprisingly, in the coinfected state, Wolbachia did not provide protection against DENV-associated effects on thermal tolerance, nor were the effects of the two infections additive. The latter suggests that the microbes may act by similar means, potentially through activation of shared immune pathways or energetic tradeoffs. Models predicting future ranges of both virus transmission and Wolbachia's efficacy following field release may wish to consider the effects these microbes have on host survival.

RevDate: 2021-07-22

Manoj RRS, Latrofa MS, Mendoza-Roldan JA, et al (2021)

Molecular detection of Wolbachia endosymbiont in reptiles and their ectoparasites.

Parasitology research [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia, a maternally transmitted Gram-negative endosymbiont of onchocercid nematodes and arthropods, has a role in the biology of their host; thus it has been exploited for the filariasis treatment in humans. To assess the presence and prevalence of this endosymbiont in reptiles and their ectoparasites, blood and tail tissue as well as ticks and mites collected from them were molecularly screened for Wolbachia DNA using two sets of primers targeting partial 16S rRNA and Wolbachia surface protein (wsp) genes. Positive samples were screened for the partial 12S rRNA and cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) genes for filarioids. Of the different species of lizards (Podarcis siculus, Podarcis muralis and Lacerta bilineata) and snakes (Elaphe quatuorlineata and Boa constrictor constrictor) screened from three collection sites, only P. siculus scored positive for Wolbachia 16S rRNA. Among ectoparasites collected from reptiles (Ixodes ricinus ticks and Neotrombicula autumnalis, Ophionyssus sauracum and Ophionyssus natricis mites), I. ricinus (n = 4; 2.8%; 95% CI, 0.9-7) from P. siculus, N. autumnalis (n = 2 each; 2.8%; 95% CI, 0.9-6.5) from P. siculus and P. muralis and O. natricis (n = 1; 14.3%; 95% CI, 0.7-55.4) from Boa constrictor constrictor scored positive for Wolbachia DNA. None of the positive Wolbachia samples scored positive for filarioids. This represents the first report of Wolbachia in reptilian hosts and their ectoparasites, which follows a single identification in the intestinal cells of a filarioid associated with a gecko. This data could contribute to better understand the reptile filarioid-Wolbachia association and to unveil the evolutionary pattern of Wolbachia in its filarial host.

RevDate: 2021-07-21

Tyagi K, Tyagi I, V Kumar (2021)

Interspecific variation and functional traits of the gut microbiome in spiders from the wild: The largest effort so far.

PloS one, 16(7):e0251790 pii:PONE-D-21-01104.

Spiders being one of the most diverse group in phylum arthropod are of great importance due to their role as predators, silk producer, and in medicinal applications. Spiders in prey-predator relationships play a crucial role in balancing the food-chain of any ecosystem; therefore it is essential to characterize the gut microbiota of spiders collected from natural environments. In the present work, the largest effort so far has been made to characterize the gut microbiota of 35 spider species belonging to four different families using 16S amplicon targeting sequencing. Further, we compared the gut microbiota composition including endosymbiont abundance in spider species collected from different geographical locations. The results obtained revealed the presence of genera like Acinetobacter (15%), V7clade (9%), Wolbachia (8%), Pseudomonas (5%), Bacillus (6%). Although comparative analysis revealed that the gut bacterial composition in all the spider families has a similar pattern, in terms of community richness and evenness. The bacterial diversity in the spider family, Lycosidae are more diverse than in Salticidae, Tetragnathidae and Araneidae. Furthermore, it was observed that the abundance of endosymbiont genera, i.e. Wolbachia and Rickettsia, leads to shift in the abundance of other bacterial taxa and may cause sexual alterations in spider species. Moreover, predicted functional analysis based on PICRUSt2 reveals that gut microbiota of spider species were involved in functions like metabolism of carbohydrates, cofactors and vitamins, amino acids; biosynthesis of organic compounds, fatty acids, lipids etc. Based on the results obtained, it can be said that different locations do not correlate with community composition of gut microbiota in spider species collected from natural environments.

RevDate: 2021-07-20

Wang GH, Gamez S, Raban RR, et al (2021)

Combating mosquito-borne diseases using genetic control technologies.

Nature communications, 12(1):4388.

Mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue and malaria, pose significant global health burdens. Unfortunately, current control methods based on insecticides and environmental maintenance have fallen short of eliminating the disease burden. Scalable, deployable, genetic-based solutions are sought to reduce the transmission risk of these diseases. Pathogen-blocking Wolbachia bacteria, or genome engineering-based mosquito control strategies including gene drives have been developed to address these problems, both requiring the release of modified mosquitoes into the environment. Here, we review the latest developments, notable similarities, and critical distinctions between these promising technologies and discuss their future applications for mosquito-borne disease control.

RevDate: 2021-07-19

Zhu DH, Su CY, Yang XH, et al (2021)

A Case of Intragenic Recombination Dramatically Impacting the Phage WO Genetic Diversity in Gall Wasps.

Frontiers in microbiology, 12:694115.

The phage WO was characterized in Wolbachia, a strictly intracellular bacterium causing several reproductive alterations in its arthropod hosts. This study aimed to screen the presence of Wolbachia and phage WO in 15 gall wasp species from six provinces of southern China to investigate their diversity and prevalence patterns. A high incidence of Wolbachia infection was determined in the gall wasp species, with an infection rate of 86.7% (13/15). Moreover, seven species had double or multiple infections. All Wolbachia-infected gall wasp species were found to harbor phage WO. The gall wasp species infected with a single Wolbachia strain were found to harbor a single phage WO type. On the contrary, almost all species with double or multiple Wolbachia infections harbored a high level of phage WO diversity (ranging from three to 27 types). Six horizontal transfer events of phage WO in Wolbachia were found to be associated with gall wasps, which shared identical orf7 sequences among their respective accomplices. The transfer potentially took place through gall inducers and associated inquilines infected with or without Wolbachia. Furthermore, 10 putative recombination events were identified from Andricus hakonensis and Andricus sp2, which harbored multiple phage WO types, suggesting that intragenic recombination was the important evolutionary force, which effectively promoted the high level of phage WO diversity associated with gall wasps.

RevDate: 2021-07-19

Huang J, Dai Z, Zheng Z, et al (2021)

Bacteriomic Analyses of Asian Citrus Psyllid and Citrus Samples Infected With "Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus" in Southern California and Huanglongbing Management Implications.

Frontiers in microbiology, 12:683481.

Citrus Huanglongbing (HLB; yellow shoot disease) is associated with an unculturable α-proteobacterium "Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus" (CLas). HLB was found in southern California in 2012, and the current management strategy is based on suppression of the Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri) that transmits CLas and removal of confirmed CLas-positive trees. Little is known about Asian citrus psyllid-associated bacteria and citrus-associated bacteria in the HLB system. Such information is important in HLB management, particularly for accurate detection of CLas. Recent advancements in next-generation sequencing technology provide new opportunities to study HLB through genomic DNA sequence analyses (metagenomics). In this study, HLB-related bacteria in Asian citrus psyllid and citrus (represented by leaf midrib tissues) samples from southern California were analyzed. A metagenomic pipeline was developed to serve as a prototype for future bacteriomic research. This pipeline included steps of next-generation sequencing in Illumina platform, de novo assembly of Illumina reads, sequence classification using the Kaiju tool, acquisition of bacterial draft genome sequences, and taxonomic validation and diversity evaluation using average nucleotide identity. The identified bacteria in Asian citrus psyllids and citrus together included Bradyrhizobium, Buchnera, Burkholderia, "Candidatus Profftella armature," "Candidatus Carsonella ruddii," CLas, Mesorhizobium, Paraburkholderia, Pseudomonas, and Wolbachia. The whole genome of a CLas strain recently found in San Bernardino County was sequenced and classified into prophage typing group 1 (PTG-1), one of the five known CLas groups in California. Based on sequence similarity, Bradyrhizobium and Mesorhizobium were identified as possible source that could interfere with CLas detection using the 16S rRNA gene-based PCR commonly used for HLB diagnosis, particularly at low or zero CLas titer situation.

RevDate: 2021-07-19

Liew C, Soh LT, Chen I, et al (2021)

Public sentiments towards the use of Wolbachia-Aedes technology in Singapore.

BMC public health, 21(1):1417.

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia technology is a novel vector control approach that can reduce mosquito populations and the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, which has recently gained popularity amongst countries. In 2016, Singapore embarked on a multi-phased field study named Project Wolbachia - Singapore, to evaluate the use of Wolbachia technology as an Aedes aegypti mosquito population suppression tool to fight dengue. Due to the novelty of this technology in Singapore, this study aims to understand the public's acceptance and sentiments towards the use of Wolbachia technology.

METHODS: Several public sentiment survey approaches - including online, face-to-face in the streets, as well as door-to-door household surveys - were conducted.

RESULTS: The surveys conducted prior to the first field releases and implementation of the project revealed high support for the use of Wolbachia technology in Singapore. A household perception survey conducted in the interim of the first project phase was encouraging, with the majority of the respondents being aware of the project and having no concerns with the release of male Wolbachia-carrying Aedes aegypti (Wolbachia-Aedes) mosquitoes in their neighbourhood.

CONCLUSIONS: The study reveal high support for the use of Wolbachia technology in Singapore and also provided invaluable insights that were used in the development of a public communications and engagement framework model, which thus helped to guide these elements in the subsequent phases and expansion of the project.

RevDate: 2021-07-17

Gangwar M, Jha R, Goyal M, et al (2021)

Biochemical characterization of Recombinase A from Wolbachia endosymbiont of filarial nematode Brugia malayi (wBmRecA).

International journal for parasitology pii:S0020-7519(21)00214-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Lymphatic filariasis is a debilitating disease that affects over 890 million people in 49 countries. A lack of vaccines, non-availability of adulticidal drugs, the threat of emerging drug resistance against available chemotherapeutics and an incomplete understanding of the immunobiology of the disease have sustained the problem. Characterization of Wolbachia proteins, the bacterial endosymbiont which helps in the growth and development of filarial worms, regulates fecundity in female worms and mediates immunopathogenesis of Lymphatic Filariasis, is an important approach to gain insights into the immunopathogenesis of the disease. In this study, we carried out extensive biochemical characterization of Recombinase A from Wolbachia of the filarial nematode Brugia malayi (wBmRecA) using an Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay, an ATP binding and hydrolysis assay, DNA strand exchange reactions, DAPI displacement assay and confocal microscopy, and evaluated anti-filarial activity of RecA inhibitors. Confocal studies showed that wBmRecA was expressed and localized within B. malayi microfilariae (Mf). and uteri and lateral chord of adult females. Recombinant wBmRecA was biochemically active and showed intrinsic binding capacity towards both single-stranded DNA and double-stranded DNA that were enhanced by ATP, suggesting ATP-induced cooperativity. wBmRecA promoted ATP hydrolysis and DNA strand exchange reactions in a concentration-dependent manner, and its binding to DNA was sensitive to temperature, pH and salt concentration. Importantly, the anti-parasitic drug Suramin, and Phthalocyanine tetrasulfonate (PcTs)-based inhibitors Fe-PcTs and 3,4-Cu-PcTs, inhibited wBmRecA activity and affected the motility and viability of Mf. The addition of Doxycycline further enhanced microfilaricidal activity of wBmRecA, suggesting potential synergism. Taken together, the omnipresence of wBmRecA in B. malayi life stages and the potent microfilaricidal activity of RecA inhibitors suggest an important role of wBmRecA in filarial pathogenesis.

RevDate: 2021-07-17

Ross PA (2021)

Designing effective Wolbachia release programs for mosquito and arbovirus control.

Acta tropica pii:S0001-706X(21)00224-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Mosquitoes carrying endosymbiotic bacteria called Wolbachia are being released in mosquito and arbovirus control programs around the world through two main approaches: population suppression and population replacement. Open field releases of Wolbachia-infected male mosquitoes have achieved over 95% population suppression by reducing the fertility of wild mosquito populations. The replacement of populations with Wolbachia-infected females is self-sustaining and can greatly reduce local dengue transmission by reducing the vector competence of mosquito populations. Despite many successful interventions, significant questions and challenges lie ahead. Wolbachia, viruses and their mosquito hosts can evolve, leading to uncertainty around the long-term effectiveness of a given Wolbachia strain, while few ecological impacts of Wolbachia releases have been explored. Wolbachia strains are diverse and the choice of strain to release should be made carefully, taking environmental conditions and the release objective into account. Mosquito quality control, thoughtful community awareness programs and long-term monitoring of populations are essential for all types of Wolbachia intervention. Releases of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes show great promise, but existing control measures remain an important way to reduce the burden of mosquito-borne disease.

RevDate: 2021-07-17

Russell A, Borrelli S, Fontana R, et al (2021)

Evolutionary transition to XY sex chromosomes associated with Y-linked duplication of a male hormone gene in a terrestrial isopod.

Heredity [Epub ahead of print].

Sex chromosomes are highly variable in some taxonomic groups, but the evolutionary mechanisms underlying this diversity are not well understood. In terrestrial isopod crustaceans, evolutionary turnovers in sex chromosomes are frequent, possibly caused by Wolbachia, a vertically-transmitted endosymbiont causing male-to-female sex reversal. Here, we use surgical manipulations and genetic crosses, plus genome sequencing, to examine sex chromosomes in the terrestrial isopod Trachelipus rathkei. Although an earlier cytogenetics study suggested a ZZ/ZW sex chromosome system in this species, we surprisingly find multiple lines of evidence that in our study population, sex is determined by an XX/XY system. Consistent with a recent evolutionary origin for this XX/XY system, the putative male-specific region of the genome is small. The genome shows evidence of Y-linked duplications of the gene encoding the androgenic gland hormone, a major component of male sexual differentiation in isopods. Our analyses also uncover sequences horizontally acquired from past Wolbachia infections, consistent with the hypothesis that Wolbachia may have interfered with the evolution of sex determination in T. rathkei. Overall, these results provide evidence for the co-occurrence of multiple sex chromosome systems within T. rathkei, further highlighting the relevance of terrestrial isopods as models for the study of sex chromosome evolution.

RevDate: 2021-07-16

Kee SL, MJT Tan (2021)

Friend, Not Foe: Unveiling Vector-Bacteria Symbiosis and Its Utility as an Arboviral Intervention Strategy in the Philippines.

Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 11:650277.

RevDate: 2021-07-13

Massey JH, ILG Newton (2021)

Diversity and function of arthropod endosymbiont toxins.

Trends in microbiology pii:S0966-842X(21)00140-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Bacterial endosymbionts induce dramatic phenotypes in their arthropod hosts, including cytoplasmic incompatibility, feminization, parthenogenesis, male killing, parasitoid defense, and pathogen blocking. The molecular mechanisms underlying these effects remain largely unknown but recent evidence suggests that protein toxins secreted by the endosymbionts play a role. Here, we describe the diversity and function of endosymbiont proteins with homology to known bacterial toxins. We focus on maternally transmitted endosymbionts belonging to the Wolbachia, Rickettsia, Arsenophonus, Hamiltonella, Spiroplasma, and Cardinium genera because of their ability to induce the above phenotypes. We identify at least 16 distinct toxin families with diverse enzymatic activities, including AMPylases, nucleases, proteases, and glycosyltransferases. Notably, several annotated toxins contain domains with homology to eukaryotic proteins, suggesting that arthropod endosymbionts mimic host biochemistry to manipulate host physiology, similar to bacterial pathogens.

RevDate: 2021-07-12

Pinto SB, Riback TIS, Sylvestre G, et al (2021)

Effectiveness of Wolbachia-infected mosquito deployments in reducing the incidence of dengue and other Aedes-borne diseases in Niterói, Brazil: A quasi-experimental study.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 15(7):e0009556 pii:PNTD-D-21-00140 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: The introduction of the bacterium Wolbachia (wMel strain) into Aedes aegypti mosquitoes reduces their capacity to transmit dengue and other arboviruses. Evidence of a reduction in dengue case incidence following field releases of wMel-infected Ae. aegypti has been reported previously from a cluster randomised controlled trial in Indonesia, and quasi-experimental studies in Indonesia and northern Australia.

Following pilot releases in 2015-2016 and a period of intensive community engagement, deployments of adult wMel-infected Ae. aegypti mosquitoes were conducted in Niterói, Brazil during 2017-2019. Deployments were phased across four release zones, with a total area of 83 km2 and a residential population of approximately 373,000. A quasi-experimental design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of wMel deployments in reducing dengue, chikungunya and Zika incidence. An untreated control zone was pre-defined, which was comparable to the intervention area in historical dengue trends. The wMel intervention effect was estimated by controlled interrupted time series analysis of monthly dengue, chikungunya and Zika case notifications to the public health surveillance system before, during and after releases, from release zones and the control zone. Three years after commencement of releases, wMel introgression into local Ae. aegypti populations was heterogeneous throughout Niterói, reaching a high prevalence (>80%) in the earliest release zone, and more moderate levels (prevalence 40-70%) elsewhere. Despite this spatial heterogeneity in entomological outcomes, the wMel intervention was associated with a 69% reduction in dengue incidence (95% confidence interval 54%, 79%), a 56% reduction in chikungunya incidence (95%CI 16%, 77%) and a 37% reduction in Zika incidence (95%CI 1%, 60%), in the aggregate release area compared with the pre-defined control area. This significant intervention effect on dengue was replicated across all four release zones, and in three of four zones for chikungunya, though not in individual release zones for Zika.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We demonstrate that wMel Wolbachia can be successfully introgressed into Ae. aegypti populations in a large and complex urban setting, and that a significant public health benefit from reduced incidence of Aedes-borne disease accrues even where the prevalence of wMel in local mosquito populations is moderate and spatially heterogeneous. These findings are consistent with the results of randomised and non-randomised field trials in Indonesia and northern Australia, and are supportive of the Wolbachia biocontrol method as a multivalent intervention against dengue, chikungunya and Zika.

RevDate: 2021-07-12

Noroy C, DF Meyer (2021)

The super repertoire of type IV effectors in the pangenome of Ehrlichia spp. provides insights into host-specificity and pathogenesis.

PLoS computational biology, 17(7):e1008788 pii:PCOMPBIOL-D-21-00300.

The identification of bacterial effectors is essential to understand how obligatory intracellular bacteria such as Ehrlichia spp. manipulate the host cell for survival and replication. Infection of mammals-including humans-by the intracellular pathogenic bacteria Ehrlichia spp. depends largely on the injection of virulence proteins that hijack host cell processes. Several hypothetical virulence proteins have been identified in Ehrlichia spp., but one so far has been experimentally shown to translocate into host cells via the type IV secretion system. However, the current challenge is to identify most of the type IV effectors (T4Es) to fully understand their role in Ehrlichia spp. virulence and host adaptation. Here, we predict the T4E repertoires of four sequenced Ehrlichia spp. and four other Anaplasmataceae as comparative models (pathogenic Anaplasma spp. and Wolbachia endosymbiont) using previously developed S4TE 2.0 software. This analysis identified 579 predicted T4Es (228 pT4Es for Ehrlichia spp. only). The effector repertoires of Ehrlichia spp. overlapped, thereby defining a conserved core effectome of 92 predicted effectors shared by all strains. In addition, 69 species-specific T4Es were predicted with non-canonical GC% mostly in gene sparse regions of the genomes and we observed a bias in pT4Es according to host-specificity. We also identified new protein domain combinations, suggesting novel effector functions. This work presenting the predicted effector collection of Ehrlichia spp. can serve as a guide for future functional characterisation of effectors and design of alternative control strategies against these bacteria.

RevDate: 2021-07-13

Reyes JIL, Suzuki Y, Carvajal T, et al (2021)

Intracellular Interactions Between Arboviruses and Wolbachia in Aedes aegypti.

Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 11:690087.

Aedes aegypti is inherently susceptible to arboviruses. The geographical expansion of this vector host species has led to the persistence of Dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya human infections. These viruses take advantage of the mosquito's cell to create an environment conducive for their growth. Arboviral infection triggers transcriptomic and protein dysregulation in Ae. aegypti and in effect, host antiviral mechanisms are compromised. Currently, there are no existing vaccines able to protect human hosts from these infections and thus, vector control strategies such as Wolbachia mass release program is regarded as a viable option. Considerable evidence demonstrates how the presence of Wolbachia interferes with arboviruses by decreasing host cytoskeletal proteins and lipids essential for arboviral infection. Also, Wolbachia strengthens host immunity, cellular regeneration and causes the expression of microRNAs which could potentially be involved in virus inhibition. However, variation in the magnitude of Wolbachia's pathogen blocking effect that is not due to the endosymbiont's density has been recently reported. Furthermore, the cellular mechanisms involved in this phenotype differs depending on Wolbachia strain and host species. This prompts the need to explore the cellular interactions between Ae. aegypti-arboviruses-Wolbachia and how different Wolbachia strains overall affect the mosquito's cell. Understanding what happens at the cellular and molecular level will provide evidence on the sustainability of Wolbachia vector control.

RevDate: 2021-07-12

Endersby-Harshman NM, Ali A, Alhumrani B, et al (2021)

Voltage-sensitive sodium channel (Vssc) mutations associated with pyrethroid insecticide resistance in Aedes aegypti (L.) from two districts of Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: baseline information for a Wolbachia release program.

Parasites & vectors, 14(1):361.

BACKGROUND: Dengue suppression often relies on control of the mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti, through applications of insecticides of which the pyrethroid group has played a dominant role. Insecticide resistance is prevalent in Ae. aegypti around the world, and the resulting reduction of insecticide efficacy is likely to exacerbate the impact of dengue. Dengue has been a public health problem in Saudi Arabia, particularly in Jeddah, since its discovery there in the 1990s, and insecticide use for vector control is widespread throughout the city. An alternative approach to insecticide use, based on blocking dengue transmission in mosquitoes by the endosymbiont Wolbachia, is being trialed in Jeddah following the success of this approach in Australia and Malaysia. Knowledge of insecticide resistance status of mosquito populations in Jeddah is a prerequisite for establishing a Wolbachia-based dengue control program as releases of Wolbachia mosquitoes succeed when resistance status of the release population is similar to that of the wild population.

METHODS: WHO resistance bioassays of mosquitoes with deltamethrin, permethrin and DDT were used in conjunction with TaqMan® SNP Genotyping Assays to characterize mutation profiles of Ae. aegypti.

RESULTS: Screening of the voltage-sensitive sodium channel (Vssc), the pyrethroid target site, revealed mutations at codons 989, 1016 and 1534 in Ae. aegypti from two districts of Jeddah. The triple mutant homozygote (1016G/1534C/989P) was confirmed from Al Safa and Al Rawabi. Bioassays with pyrethroids (Type I and II) and DDT showed that mosquitoes were resistant to each of these compounds based on WHO definitions. An association between Vssc mutations and resistance was established for the Type II pyrethroid, deltamethrin, with one genotype (989P/1016G/1534F) conferring a survival advantage over two others (989S/1016V/1534C and the triple heterozygote). An indication of synergism of Type I pyrethroid activity with piperonyl butoxide suggests that detoxification by cytochrome P450s accounts for some of the pyrethroid resistance response in Ae. aegypti populations from Jeddah.

CONCLUSIONS: The results provide a baseline for monitoring and management of resistance as well as knowledge of Vssc genotype frequencies required in Wolbachia release populations to ensure homogeneity with the target field population. Vssc mutation haplotypes observed show some similarity with those from Ae. aegypti in southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific, but the presence of the triple mutant haplotype in three genotypes indicates that the species in this region may have a unique population history.

RevDate: 2021-07-07

Duplouy A, Nair A, Nyman T, et al (2021)

Long-term spatio-temporal genetic structure of an accidental parasitoid introduction, and local changes in prevalence of its associated Wolbachia symbiont.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Population bottlenecks associated with founder events strongly impact the establishment and genetic makeup of populations. In addition to their genotype, founding individuals also bring along parasites, as well as symbionts that can manipulate the phenotype of their host, affecting the host population establishment, dynamics and evolution. Thus, to understand introduction, invasion, and spread, we should identify the roles played by accompanying symbionts. In 1991, the parasitoid wasp, Hyposoter horticola, and its associated hyperparasitoid were accidentally introduced from the main Åland islands, Finland, to an isolated island in the archipelago, along with their host, the Glanville fritillary butterfly. Though the receiving island was unoccupied, the butterfly was present on some of the small islands in the vicinity. The three introduced species have persisted locally ever since. A strain of the endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia has an intermediate prevalence in the parasitoid H. horticola across the main Åland population. The infection increases its susceptibility of to hyperparasitism. We investigated the establishment and spread of the parasitoid, along with patterns of prevalence of its symbiont using 323 specimens collected between 1992 and 2013, from five localities across Åland, including the source and introduced populations. Using 14 microsatellites and one mitochondrial marker, we suggest that the relatively diverse founding population and occasional migration between islands might have facilitated the persistence of all isolated populations, despite multiple local population crashes. We also show that where the hyperparasitoid is absent, and thus selection against infected wasp genotypes is relaxed, there is near-fixation of Wolbachia.

RevDate: 2021-07-07

Johnston KL, Hong WD, Turner JD, et al (2021)

Anti-Wolbachia drugs for filariasis.

Trends in parasitology pii:S1471-4922(21)00143-4 [Epub ahead of print].

The mutualistic association between Wolbachia endosymbionts and their filarial nematode hosts has been exploited as a validated drug target delivering macrofilaricidal outcomes. Limitations of existing antibiotics to scale-up have driven the search for new drugs, which are effective in shorter regimens of 7 days or less. Here, we review the last 14 years of anti-Wolbachia drug discovery by the anti-Wolbachia (A·WOL) consortium, which has screened more than two million compounds, delivering thousands of hit compounds. Refined screening models integrated with robust pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) driven optimisation and selection strategies have delivered the first two drug candidates specifically designed to target Wolbachia. AWZ1066S and ABBV-4083 are currently progressing through clinical trials with the aim of delivering safe and effective macrofilaricides to support the elimination of onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis.

RevDate: 2021-07-06

Chan PK, Hawley JR, MR Lappin (2021)

Evaluation of the role of Babesia species and Cytauxzoon felis in feline anemia cases in Colorado, USA.

JFMS open reports, 7(1):20551169211024967.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the blood of cats in Colorado, USA, with suspected infectious causes of anemia for the presence of Babesia species and Cytauxzoon felis DNA. Results of PCR testing for other common vector-borne diseases potentially associated with anemia are also reported.

Methods: Samples from 101 cats were tested using a PCR assay that coamplified the DNA of C felis and Babesia species mitochondrial DNA. PCR testing for DNA of hemoplasmas, Bartonella species, Ehrlichia species, Anaplasma species, Neorickettsia risticii and Wolbachia genera was also performed if not carried out previously.

Results: Twenty-two cats (21.8%) were positive for DNA of an infectious agent. DNA from hemoplasma species were amplified from 14 cats (13.9%). Bartonella species DNA was amplified from four cats (4%) and Ehrlichia canis, Anaplasma platys, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Wolbachia genera DNA were amplified from one cat each. Babesia species and C felis mitochondrial DNA were not amplified from any sample.

Conclusions and relevance: Based on the results of this study, it does not appear that Babesia species or C felis are clinically relevant in anemic cats in Colorado, USA. For C felis, this suggests that the vector Amblyomma americanum is still uncommon in this geographic area.

RevDate: 2021-07-12
CmpDate: 2021-07-12

Lejal E, Chiquet J, Aubert J, et al (2021)

Temporal patterns in Ixodes ricinus microbial communities: an insight into tick-borne microbe interactions.

Microbiome, 9(1):153.

BACKGROUND: Ticks transmit pathogens of medical and veterinary importance and are an increasing threat to human and animal health. Assessing disease risk and developing new control strategies requires identifying members of the tick-borne microbiota as well as their temporal dynamics and interactions.

METHODS: Using high-throughput sequencing, we studied the Ixodes ricinus microbiota and its temporal dynamics. 371 nymphs were monthly collected during three consecutive years in a peri-urban forest. After a Poisson lognormal model was adjusted to our data set, a principal component analysis, sparse network reconstruction, and differential analysis allowed us to assess seasonal and monthly variability of I. ricinus microbiota and interactions within this community.

RESULTS: Around 75% of the detected sequences belonged to five genera known to be maternally inherited bacteria in arthropods and to potentially circulate in ticks: Candidatus Midichloria, Rickettsia, Spiroplasma, Arsenophonus and Wolbachia. The structure of the I. ricinus microbiota varied over time with interannual recurrence and seemed to be mainly driven by OTUs commonly found in the environment. Total network analysis revealed a majority of positive partial correlations. We identified strong relationships between OTUs belonging to Wolbachia and Arsenophonus, evidence for the presence of the parasitoid wasp Ixodiphagus hookeri in ticks. Other associations were observed between the tick symbiont Candidatus Midichloria and pathogens belonging to Rickettsia. Finally, more specific network analyses were performed on TBP-infected samples and suggested that the presence of pathogens belonging to the genera Borrelia, Anaplasma and Rickettsia may disrupt microbial interactions in I. ricinus.

CONCLUSIONS: We identified the I. ricinus microbiota and documented marked shifts in tick microbiota dynamics over time. Statistically, we showed strong relationships between the presence of specific pathogens and the structure of the I. ricinus microbiota. We detected close links between some tick symbionts and the potential presence of either pathogenic Rickettsia or a parasitoid in ticks. These new findings pave the way for the development of new strategies for the control of ticks and tick-borne diseases. Video abstract.

RevDate: 2021-07-10

Ourry M, Crosland A, Lopez V, et al (2021)

Influential Insider: Wolbachia, an Intracellular Symbiont, Manipulates Bacterial Diversity in Its Insect Host.

Microorganisms, 9(6):.

Facultative intracellular symbionts like the α-proteobacteria Wolbachia influence their insect host phenotype but little is known about how much they affect their host microbiota. Here, we quantified the impact of Wolbachia infection on the bacterial community of the cabbage root fly Delia radicum by comparing the microbiota of Wolbachia-free and infected adult flies of both sexes. We used high-throughput DNA sequencing (Illumina MiSeq, 16S rRNA, V5-V7 region) and performed a community and a network analysis. In both sexes, Wolbachia infection significantly decreased the diversity of D. radicum bacterial communities and modified their structure and composition by reducing abundance in some taxa but increasing it in others. Infection by Wolbachia was negatively correlated to 8 bacteria genera (Erwinia was the most impacted), and positively correlated to Providencia and Serratia. We suggest that Wolbachia might antagonize Erwinia for being entomopathogenic (and potentially intracellular), but would favor Providencia and Serratia because they might protect the host against chemical plant defenses. Although they might seem prisoners in a cell, endocellular symbionts can impact the whole microbiota of their host, hence its extended phenotype, which provides them with a way to interact with the outside world.

RevDate: 2021-07-10

Kupritz J, Martin J, Fischer K, et al (2021)

Isolation and characterization of a novel bacteriophage WO from Allonemobius socius crickets in Missouri.

PloS one, 16(7):e0250051.

Wolbachia are endosymbionts of numerous arthropod and some nematode species, are important for their development and if present can cause distinct phenotypes of their hosts. Prophage DNA has been frequently detected in Wolbachia, but particles of Wolbachia bacteriophages (phage WO) have been only occasionally isolated. Here, we report the characterization and isolation of a phage WO of the southern ground cricket, Allonemobius socius, and provided the first whole-genome sequence of phage WO from this arthropod family outside of Asia. We screened A. socius abdomen DNA extracts from a cricket population in eastern Missouri by quantitative PCR for Wolbachia surface protein and phage WO capsid protein and found a prevalence of 55% and 50%, respectively, with many crickets positive for both. Immunohistochemistry using antibodies against Wolbachia surface protein showed many Wolbachia clusters in the reproductive system of female crickets. Whole-genome sequencing using Oxford Nanopore MinION and Illumina technology allowed for the assembly of a high-quality, 55 kb phage genome containing 63 open reading frames (ORF) encoding for phage WO structural proteins and host lysis and transcriptional manipulation. Taxonomically important regions of the assembled phage genome were validated by Sanger sequencing of PCR amplicons. Analysis of the nucleotides sequences of the ORFs encoding the large terminase subunit (ORF2) and minor capsid (ORF7) frequently used for phage WO phylogenetics showed highest homology to phage WOAu of Drosophila simulans (94.46% identity) and WOCin2USA1 of the cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis cingulata (99.33% identity), respectively. Transmission electron microscopy examination of cricket ovaries showed a high density of phage particles within Wolbachia cells. Isolation of phage WO revealed particles characterized by 40-62 nm diameter heads and up to 190 nm long tails. This study provides the first detailed description and genomic characterization of phage WO from North America that is easily accessible in a widely distributed cricket species.

RevDate: 2021-06-30

Leitner M, Bishop C, S Asgari (2021)

Transcriptional Response of Wolbachia to Dengue Virus Infection in Cells of the Mosquito Aedes aegypti.

mSphere [Epub ahead of print].

Aedes aegypti transmits one of the most significant mosquito-borne viruses, dengue virus (DENV). The absence of effective vaccines and clinical treatments and the emergence of insecticide resistance in A. aegypti necessitate novel vector control strategies. A new approach uses the endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia pipientis to reduce the spread of arboviruses. However, the Wolbachia-mediated antiviral mechanism is not well understood. To shed light on this mechanism, we investigated an unexplored aspect of Wolbachia-virus-mosquito interaction. We used RNA sequencing to examine the transcriptional response of Wolbachia to DENV infection in A. aegypti Aag2 cells transinfected with the wAlbB strain of Wolbachia. Our results suggest that genes encoding an endoribonuclease (RNase HI), a regulator of sigma 70-dependent gene transcription (6S RNA), essential cellular, transmembrane, and stress response functions and primary type I and IV secretion systems were upregulated, while a number of transport and binding proteins of Wolbachia, ribosome structure, and elongation factor-associated genes were downregulated due to DENV infection. Furthermore, bacterial retrotransposon, transposable, and phage-related elements were found among the up- and downregulated genes. We show that Wolbachia elicits a transcriptional response to virus infection and identify differentially expressed Wolbachia genes mostly at the early stages of virus infection. These findings highlight Wolbachia's ability to alter its gene expression in response to DENV infection of the host cell. IMPORTANCE Aedes aegypti is a vector of several pathogenic viruses, including dengue, Zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever viruses, which are of importance to human health. Wolbachia is an endosymbiotic bacterium currently used in transinfected mosquitoes to suppress replication and transmission of dengue viruses. However, the mechanism of Wolbachia-mediated virus inhibition is not fully understood. While several studies have shown mosquitoes' transcriptional responses to dengue virus infection, none have investigated these responses in Wolbachia, which may provide clues to the inhibition mechanism. Our results suggest changes in the expression of a number of functionally important Wolbachia genes upon dengue virus infection, including those involved in stress responses, providing insights into the endosymbiont's reaction to virus infection.

RevDate: 2021-06-30

Zhang Y, Cai T, Ren Z, et al (2021)

Decline in symbiont-dependent host detoxification metabolism contributes to increased insecticide susceptibility of insects under high temperature.

The ISME journal [Epub ahead of print].

The interactions between insects and their bacterial symbionts are shaped by a variety of abiotic factors, including temperature. As global temperatures continue to break high records, a great deal of uncertainty surrounds how agriculturally important insect pests and their symbionts may be affected by elevated temperatures, and its implications for future pest management. In this study, we examine the role of bacterial symbionts in the brown planthopper Nilaparvata lugens response to insecticide (imidacloprid) under different temperature scenarios. Our results reveal that the bacterial symbionts orchestrate host detoxification metabolism via the CncC pathway to promote host insecticide resistance, whereby the symbiont-inducible CncC pathway acts as a signaling conduit between exogenous abiotic stimuli and host metabolism. However, this insect-bacterial partnership function is vulnerable to high temperature, which causes a significant decline in host-bacterial content. In particular, we have identified the temperature-sensitive Wolbachia as a candidate player in N. lugens detoxification metabolism. Wolbachia-dependent insecticide resistance was confirmed through a series of insecticide assays and experiments comparing Wolbachia-free and Wolbachia-infected N. lugens and also Drosophila melanogaster. Together, our research reveals elevated temperatures negatively impact insect-bacterial symbiosis, triggering adverse consequences on host response to insecticide (imidacloprid) and potentially other xenobiotics.

RevDate: 2021-07-06

Cruz MA, Magalhães S, Sucena É, et al (2021)

Wolbachia and host intrinsic reproductive barriers contribute additively to postmating isolation in spider mites.

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

Wolbachia are maternally-inherited bacteria that induce cytoplasmic incompatibility in many arthropod species. However, the ubiquity of this isolation mechanism for host speciation processes remains elusive, as only few studies have examined Wolbachia-induced incompatibilities when host populations are not genetically compatible. Here, we used three populations of two genetically differentiated colour forms of the haplodiploid spider mite Tetranychus urticae to dissect the interaction between Wolbachia-induced and host-associated incompatibilities, and their relative contribution to postmating isolation. We found that these two sources of incompatibility act through different mechanisms in an additive fashion. Host-associated incompatibility contributes 1.5 times more than Wolbachia-induced incompatibility in reducing hybrid production, the former through an overproduction of haploid sons at the expense of diploid daughters (ca. 75% decrease) and the latter by increasing the embryonic mortality of daughters (by ca. 49%). Furthermore, regardless of cross direction, we observed near-complete F1 hybrid sterility and complete F2 hybrid breakdown between populations of the two forms, but Wolbachia did not contribute to this outcome. We thus show mechanistic independence and an additive nature of host-intrinsic and Wolbachia-induced sources of isolation. Wolbachia may contribute to reproductive isolation in this system, thereby potentially affecting host differentiation and distribution in the field.

RevDate: 2021-06-21

Dângelo RAC, Michereff-Filho M, Inoue-Nagata AK, et al (2021)

Area-wide insecticide resistance and endosymbiont incidence in the whitefly Bemisia tabaci MEAM1 (B biotype): A Neotropical context.

Ecotoxicology (London, England) [Epub ahead of print].

Agriculture insecticides are used against insect pest species, but are able to change community structure in contaminated habitats, and also the genetic pool of exposed individuals. In fact, the latter effect is a relevant tool to in situ biomonitoring of pollutant contamination and impact, besides its practical economic and management concerns. This takes place because the emergence of individuals with resistance to insecticides is particularly frequent among insect pest species and usually enhances insecticide overuse and crop losses. Pest insects of global prominence such as whiteflies are a focus of attention due to problems with insecticide resistance and association with endosymbionts, as the case of the invasive putative species Bemisia tabaci MEAM1. The scenario is particularly complex in the Neotropics, where insecticide use is ubiquitous, but whose spatial scale of occurrence is usually neglected. Here we explored the spatial-dependence of both phenomena in MEAM1 whiteflies recording resistance to two widely used insecticides, lambda-cyhalothrin and spiromesifen, and endosymbiont co-occurrence. Resistance to both insecticides was frequent exhibiting low to moderate frequency of lambda-cyhalothrin resistance and moderate to high frequency of spiromesifen resistance. Among the prevailing whitefly endosymbionts, Wolbachia, Cardinium and Arsenophonus were markedly absent. In contrast, Hamiltonella and Rickettsia prevailed and their incidence was correlated. Furthermore, Rickettsia endosymbionts were particularly associated with lambda-cyhalothrin susceptibility. These traits were spatially dependent with significant variation taking place within an area of about 700 Km2. Such findings reinforce the notion of endosymbiont-associated resistance to insecticides, and also of their local incidence allowing spatial mapping and locally-targeted mitigation.

RevDate: 2021-06-23

Ponce GE, Fuse M, Chan A, et al (2021)

The Localization of Phytohormones within the Gall-inducing Insect Eurosta solidaginis (Diptera: Tephritidae).

Arthropod-plant interactions, 15(3):375-385.

The phytohormone production hypothesis suggests that organisms, including insects, induce galls by producing and secreting plant growth hormones. Auxins and cytokinins are classes of phytohormones that induce cell growth and cell division, which could contribute to the plant tissue proliferation which constitutes the covering gall. Bacteria, symbiotic with insects, may also play a part in gall induction by insects through the synthesis of phytohormones or other effectors. Past studies have shown that concentrations of cytokinins and auxins in gall-inducing insects are higher than in their host plants. However, these analyses have involved whole-body extractions. Using immunolocalization of cytokinin and auxin, in the gall inducing stage of Eurosta solidaginis, we found both phytohormones to localize almost exclusively to the salivary glands. Co-localization of phytohormone label with a nucleic acid stain in the salivary glands revealed the absence of Wolbachia sp., the bacterial symbiont of E. solidaginis, which suggests that phytohormone production is symbiont independent. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that phytohormones are synthesized in and secreted from the salivary glands of E. solidaginis into host-plant tissues for the purpose of manipulating the host plant.

RevDate: 2021-06-19

York A (2021)

Defeating dengue with Wolbachia.

Nature reviews. Microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2021-07-13

Duarte EH, Carvalho A, López-Madrigal S, et al (2021)

Forward genetics in Wolbachia: Regulation of Wolbachia proliferation by the amplification and deletion of an addictive genomic island.

PLoS genetics, 17(6):e1009612.

Wolbachia is one of the most prevalent bacterial endosymbionts, infecting approximately 40% of terrestrial arthropod species. Wolbachia is often a reproductive parasite but can also provide fitness benefits to its host, as, for example, protection against viral pathogens. This protective effect is currently being applied to fight arboviruses transmission by releasing Wolbachia-transinfected mosquitoes. Titre regulation is a crucial aspect of Wolbachia biology. Higher titres can lead to stronger phenotypes and fidelity of transmission but can have a higher cost to the host. Since Wolbachia is maternally transmitted, its fitness depends on host fitness, and, therefore, its cost to the host may be under selection. Understanding how Wolbachia titres are regulated and other aspects of Wolbachia biology has been hampered by the lack of genetic tools. Here we developed a forward genetic screen to identify new Wolbachia over-proliferative mutant variants. We characterized in detail two new mutants, wMelPop2 and wMelOctoless, and show that the amplification or loss of the Octomom genomic region lead to over-proliferation. These results confirm previous data and expand on the complex role of this genomic region in the control of Wolbachia proliferation. Both new mutants shorten the host lifespan and increase antiviral protection. Moreover, we show that Wolbachia proliferation rate in Drosophila melanogaster depends on the interaction between Octomom copy number, the host developmental stage, and temperature. Our analysis also suggests that the life shortening and antiviral protection phenotypes of Wolbachia are dependent on different, but related, properties of the endosymbiont; the rate of proliferation and the titres near the time of infection, respectively. We also demonstrate the feasibility of a novel and unbiased experimental approach to study Wolbachia biology, which could be further adapted to characterize other genetically intractable bacterial endosymbionts.

RevDate: 2021-06-22

Norte AC, Harris DJ, Silveira D, et al (2021)

Diversity of microorganisms in Hyalomma aegyptium collected from spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca) in North Africa and Anatolia.

Transboundary and emerging diseases [Epub ahead of print].

Ticks carry a diverse community of microorganisms including non-pathogenic symbionts, commensals, and pathogens, such as viruses, bacteria, protozoans, and fungi. The assessment of tick-borne microorganisms (TBM) in tortoises and their ticks is essential to understand their eco-epidemiology, and to map and monitor potential pathogens to humans and other animals. The aim of this study was to characterize the diversity of microorganisms found in ticks collected from the spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca) in North Africa and Anatolia. Ticks feeding on wild T. graeca were collected, and pathogens were screened by polymerase chain reaction using group-specific primers. In total, 131 adult Hyalomma aegyptium ticks were collected from 92 T. graeca in Morocco (n = 48), Tunisia (n = 2), Algeria (n = 70), and Turkey (n = 11). Bacteria and protozoa detected included Hemolivia mauritanica (22.9%), Midichloria mitochondrii (11.4%), relapsing-fever borreliae (8.4%), Ehrlichia spp. (7.6%), Rickettsia spp. (3.4%), Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. (0.9%), Francisella spp. (0.9%), and Wolbachia spp. (0.8%). The characterization of Rickettsia included R. sibirica mongolitimonae (Algeria), R. aeschlimannii (Turkey), and R.africae (Morocco). Hemolivia mauritanica and Ehrlichia spp. prevalence varied significantly with the sampling region/country. We did not detect significant associations in microorganism presence within ticks, nor between microorganism presence and tick mitochondrial DNA haplogroups. This is the first report of Francisella persica-like, relapsing fever borreliae, M. mitochondrii, and Wolbachia spp. in H. aegyptium ticks collected from wild hosts from the South and Eastern Mediterranean region, and of R. sibirica mongolitimonae and R. africae in H. aegyptium from Algeria and Morocco, respectively. Given that T. graeca is a common species in commercial and non-commercial pet trade, the evaluation of the role of this species and its ticks as hosts for TBM is particularly relevant for public health.

RevDate: 2021-06-15

Demirbas-Uzel G, Augustinos AA, Doudoumis V, et al (2021)

Interactions Between Tsetse Endosymbionts and Glossina pallidipes Salivary Gland Hypertrophy Virus in Glossina Hosts.

Frontiers in microbiology, 12:653880.

Tsetse flies are the sole cyclic vector for trypanosomosis, the causative agent for human African trypanosomosis or sleeping sickness and African animal trypanosomosis or nagana. Tsetse population control is the most efficient strategy for animal trypanosomosis control. Among all tsetse control methods, the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) is one of the most powerful control tactics to suppress or eradicate tsetse flies. However, one of the challenges for the implementation of SIT is the mass production of target species. Tsetse flies have a highly regulated and defined microbial fauna composed of three bacterial symbionts (Wigglesworthia, Sodalis and Wolbachia) and a pathogenic Glossina pallidipes Salivary Gland Hypertrophy Virus (GpSGHV) which causes reproduction alterations such as testicular degeneration and ovarian abnormalities with reduced fertility and fecundity. Interactions between symbionts and GpSGHV might affect the performance of the insect host. In the present study, we assessed the possible impact of GpSGHV on the prevalence of tsetse endosymbionts under laboratory conditions to decipher the bidirectional interactions on six Glossina laboratory species. The results indicate that tsetse symbiont densities increased over time in tsetse colonies with no clear impact of the GpSGHV infection on symbionts density. However, a positive correlation between the GpSGHV and Sodalis density was observed in Glossina fuscipes species. In contrast, a negative correlation between the GpSGHV density and symbionts density was observed in the other taxa. It is worth noting that the lowest Wigglesworthia density was observed in G. pallidipes, the species which suffers most from GpSGHV infection. In conclusion, the interactions between GpSGHV infection and tsetse symbiont infections seems complicated and affected by the host and the infection density of the GpSGHV and tsetse symbionts.

RevDate: 2021-07-09

Christensen D, Khoshmanesh A, Perez-Guaita D, et al (2021)

Detection and Identification of Wolbachia pipientis Strains in Mosquito Eggs Using Attenuated Total Reflection Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR FT-IR) Spectroscopy.

Applied spectroscopy [Epub ahead of print].

The global fight against mosquito-borne viral diseases has in recent years been bolstered by the introduction of the endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia to vector populations, which in host mosquitoes suppresses the transmissibility of several viruses. Researchers engaged on this front of the battle often need to know the Wolbachia infection status of individual mosquitoes, as the intervention progresses and the mosquitoes become established in the target population. Previously, we successfully applied attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to the detection of Wolbachia in adult Aedes aegypti mosquitoes; here we apply the same principles to Aedes eggs, with sensitivity and selectivity > 0.95. Further, we successfully distinguish between infections in eggs of the wMel and wMelPop strains of Wolbachia pipientis, with a classification error of 3%. The disruption of host lipid profile by Wolbachia is found to be a key driver in spectral differences between these sample classes.

RevDate: 2021-06-13

Novelo M, Audsley MD, EA McGraw (2021)

The effects of DENV serotype competition and co-infection on viral kinetics in Wolbachia-infected and uninfected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

Parasites & vectors, 14(1):314.

BACKGROUND: The Aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for the transmission of several medically important arthropod-borne viruses, including multiple serotypes of dengue virus (DENV-1, -2, -3, and -4). Competition within the mosquito between DENV serotypes can affect viral infection dynamics, modulating the transmission potential of the pathogen. Vector control remains the main method for limiting dengue fever. The insect endosymbiont Wolbachia pipientis is currently being trialed in field releases globally as a means of biological control because it reduces virus replication inside the mosquito. It is not clear how co-infection between DENV serotypes in the same mosquito might alter the pathogen-blocking phenotype elicited by Wolbachia in Ae. aegypti.

METHODS: Five- to 7-day-old female Ae. aegypti from two lines, namely, with (wMel) and without Wolbachia infection (WT), were fed virus-laden blood through an artificial membrane with either a mix of DENV-2 and DENV-3 or the same DENV serotypes singly. Mosquitoes were subsequently incubated inside environmental chambers and collected on the following days post-infection: 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, and 13. Midgut, carcass, and salivary glands were collected from each mosquito at each timepoint and individually analyzed to determine the percentage of DENV infection and viral RNA load via RT-qPCR.

RESULTS: We saw that for WT mosquitoes DENV-3 grew to higher viral RNA loads across multiple tissues when co-infected with DENV-2 than when it was in a mono-infection. Additionally, we saw a strong pathogen-blocking phenotype in wMel mosquitoes independent of co-infection status.

CONCLUSION: In this study, we demonstrated that the wMel mosquito line is capable of blocking DENV serotype co-infection in a systemic way across the mosquito body. Moreover, we showed that for WT mosquitoes, serotype co-infection can affect infection frequency in a tissue- and time-specific manner and that both viruses have the potential of being transmitted simultaneously. Our findings suggest that the long-term efficacy of Wolbachia pathogen blocking is not compromised by arthropod-borne virus co-infection.

RevDate: 2021-06-16
CmpDate: 2021-06-16

Utarini A, Indriani C, Ahmad RA, et al (2021)

Efficacy of Wolbachia-Infected Mosquito Deployments for the Control of Dengue.

The New England journal of medicine, 384(23):2177-2186.

BACKGROUND: Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with the wMel strain of Wolbachia pipientis are less susceptible than wild-type A. aegypti to dengue virus infection.

METHODS: We conducted a cluster-randomized trial involving releases of wMel-infected A. aegypti mosquitoes for the control of dengue in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. We randomly assigned 12 geographic clusters to receive deployments of wMel-infected A. aegypti (intervention clusters) and 12 clusters to receive no deployments (control clusters). All clusters practiced local mosquito-control measures as usual. A test-negative design was used to assess the efficacy of the intervention. Patients with acute undifferentiated fever who presented to local primary care clinics and were 3 to 45 years of age were recruited. Laboratory testing was used to identify participants who had virologically confirmed dengue (VCD) and those who were test-negative controls. The primary end point was symptomatic VCD of any severity caused by any dengue virus serotype.

RESULTS: After successful introgression of wMel into the intervention clusters, 8144 participants were enrolled; 3721 lived in intervention clusters, and 4423 lived in control clusters. In the intention-to-treat analysis, VCD occurred in 67 of 2905 participants (2.3%) in the intervention clusters and in 318 of 3401 (9.4%) in the control clusters (aggregate odds ratio for VCD, 0.23; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.15 to 0.35; P = 0.004). The protective efficacy of the intervention was 77.1% (95% CI, 65.3 to 84.9) and was similar against the four dengue virus serotypes. The incidence of hospitalization for VCD was lower among participants who lived in intervention clusters (13 of 2905 participants [0.4%]) than among those who lived in control clusters (102 of 3401 [3.0%]) (protective efficacy, 86.2%; 95% CI, 66.2 to 94.3).

CONCLUSIONS: Introgression of wMel into A. aegypti populations was effective in reducing the incidence of symptomatic dengue and resulted in fewer hospitalizations for dengue among the participants. (Funded by the Tahija Foundation and others; AWED ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03055585; Indonesia Registry number, INA-A7OB6TW.).

RevDate: 2021-06-08

Ross PA, AA Hoffmann (2021)

Vector control: Discovery of Wolbachia in malaria vectors.

Current biology : CB, 31(11):R738-R740.

Wolbachia bacteria are being widely released for suppression of dengue transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. Walker, Quek, Jeffries and colleagues present robust evidence for natural Wolbachia infections in malaria-vectoring Anopheles mosquitoes, paving the way for new Wolbachia-based interventions.

RevDate: 2021-07-09

Dall'Agnol B, McCulloch JA, Mayer FQ, et al (2021)

Molecular characterization of bacterial communities of two neotropical tick species (Amblyomma aureolatum and Ornithodoros brasiliensis) using rDNA 16S sequencing.

Ticks and tick-borne diseases, 12(5):101746 pii:S1877-959X(21)00099-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Ticks are one of the main vectors of pathogens for humans and animals worldwide. However, they harbor non-pathogenic microorganisms that are important for their survival, facilitating both their nutrition and immunity. We investigated the bacterial communities associated with two neotropical tick species of human and veterinary potential health importance from Brazil: Amblyomma aureolatum and Ornithodoros brasiliensis. In A. aureolatum (adult ticks collected from wild canids from Southern Brazil), the predominant bacterial phyla were Proteobacteria (98.68%), Tenericutes (0.70%), Bacteroidetes (0.14%), Actinobacteria (0.13%), and Acidobacteria (0.05%). The predominant genera were Francisella (97.01%), Spiroplasma (0.70%), Wolbachia (0.51%), Candidatus Midichloria (0.25%), and Alkanindiges (0.13%). The predominant phyla in O. brasiliensis (adults, fed and unfed nymphs collected at the environment from Southern Brazil) were Proteobacteria (90.27%), Actinobacteria (7.38%), Firmicutes (0.77%), Bacteroidetes (0.44%), and Planctomycetes (0.22%). The predominant bacterial genera were Coxiella (87.71%), Nocardioides (1.73%), Saccharopolyspora (0.54%), Marmoricola (0.42%), and Staphylococcus (0.40%). Considering the genera with potential importance for human and animal health which can be transmitted by ticks, Coxiella sp. was found in all stages of O. brasiliensis, Francisella sp. in all stages of A. aureolatum and in unfed nymphs of O. brasiliensis, and Rickettsia sp. in females of A. aureolatum from Banhado dos Pachecos (BP) in Viamão municipality, Brazil, and in females and unfed nymphs of O. brasiliensis. These results deepen our understanding of the tick-microbiota relationship in Ixodidae and Argasidae, driving new studies with the focus on the manipulation of tick microbiota to prevent outbreaks of tick-borne diseases in South America.

RevDate: 2021-07-09
CmpDate: 2021-07-09

Farahani HK, Ashouri A, Abroon P, et al (2021)

Wolbachia manipulate fitness benefits of olfactory associative learning in a parasitoid wasp.

The Journal of experimental biology, 224(11):.

Upon encountering a host, a female parasitoid wasp has to decide whether to learn positive or negative cues related to the host. The optimal female decision will depend on the fitness costs and benefits of learned stimuli. Reward quality is positively related to the rate of behavioral acquisition in processes such as associative learning. Wolbachia, an endosymbiotic bacterium, often plays an impressive role in the manipulation of its arthropod host's biology. Here, we studied the responses of two natural Wolbachia infected/uninfected Trichogramma brassicae wasp populations to theoretically high- and low-reward values during a conditioning process and the consequences of their responses in terms of memory duration. According to our results, uninfected wasps showed an attraction response to high-value rewards, but showed aversive learning in response to low-value rewards. The memory span of uninfected wasps after conditioning by low-value rewards was significantly shorter than that for high-value rewards. As our results revealed, responses to high-quality hosts will bring more benefits (bigger size, increased fecundity and enhanced survival) than those to low-quality hosts for uninfected wasps. Infected wasps were attracted to conditioned stimuli with the same memory duration after conditioning by both types of hosts. This was linked to the fact that parasitoids emerging from both types of hosts present the same life-history traits. Therefore, these hosts represent the same quality reward for infected wasps. According to the obtained results, it can be concluded that Wolbachia manipulates the learning ability of its host, resulting in the wasp responding to all reward values similarly.

RevDate: 2021-06-05

Ta-Tang TH, Luz SLB, Crainey JL, et al (2021)

An Overview of the Management of Mansonellosis.

Research and reports in tropical medicine, 12:93-105.

Mansonellosis is caused by three filarial parasite species from the genus Mansonella that commonly produce chronic human microfilaraemias: M. ozzardi, M. perstans and M. streptocerca. The disease is widespread in Africa, the Caribbean and South and Central America, and although it is typically asymptomatic it has been associated with mild pathologies including leg-chills, joint-pains, headaches, fevers, and corneal lesions. No robust mansonellosis disease burden estimates have yet been made and the impact the disease has on blood bank stocks and the monitoring of other filarial diseases is not thought to be of sufficient public health importance to justify dedicated disease management interventions. Mansonellosis´s Ceratopogonidae and Simuliidae vectors are not targeted by other control programmes and because of their small size and out-door biting habits are unlikely to be affected by interventions targeting other disease vectors like mosquitoes. The ivermectin and mebendazole-based mass drug administration (iMDA and mMDA) treatment regimens deployed by the WHO´s Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN) programme and its forerunners have, however, likely impacted significantly on the mansonellosis disease burden, principally by reducing the transmission of M. streptocerca in Africa. The increasingly popular plan of using iMDA to control malaria could also affect M. ozzardi parasite prevalence and transmission in Latin America in the future. However, a potentially far greater mansonellosis disease burden impact is likely to come from short-course curative anti-Wolbachia therapeutics, which are presently being developed for onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis treatment. Even if the WHO´s ESPEN programme does not choose to deploy these drugs in MDA interventions, they have the potential to dramatically increase the financial and logistical feasibility of effective mansonellosis management. There is, thus, now a fresh and urgent need to better characterise the disease burden and eco-epidemiology of mansonellosis so that effective management programmes can be designed, advocated for and implemented.

RevDate: 2021-06-25

Baker BM, Carbone MA, Huang W, et al (2021)

Genetic basis of variation in cocaine and methamphetamine consumption in outbred populations of Drosophila melanogaster.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(23):.

We used Drosophila melanogaster to map the genetic basis of naturally occurring variation in voluntary consumption of cocaine and methamphetamine. We derived an outbred advanced intercross population (AIP) from 37 sequenced inbred wild-derived lines of the Drosophila melanogaster Genetic Reference Panel (DGRP), which are maximally genetically divergent, have minimal residual heterozygosity, are not segregating for common inversions, and are not infected with Wolbachia pipientis We assessed consumption of sucrose, methamphetamine-supplemented sucrose, and cocaine-supplemented sucrose and found considerable phenotypic variation for consumption of both drugs, in both sexes. We performed whole-genome sequencing and extreme quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping on the top 10% of consumers for each replicate, sex, and condition and an equal number of randomly selected flies. We evaluated changes in allele frequencies among high consumers and control flies and identified 3,033 variants significantly (P < 1.9 × 10-8) associated with increased consumption, located in or near 1,962 genes. Many of these genes are associated with nervous system development and function, and 77 belong to a known gene-gene interaction subnetwork. We assessed the effects of RNA interference (RNAi) on drug consumption for 22 candidate genes; 17 had a significant effect in at least one sex. We constructed allele-specific AIPs that were homozygous for alternative candidate alleles for 10 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and measured average consumption for each population; 9 SNPs had significant effects in at least one sex. The genetic basis of voluntary drug consumption in Drosophila is polygenic and implicates genes with human orthologs and associated variants with sex- and drug-specific effects.

RevDate: 2021-06-02

Schmidt TL, Endersby-Harshman NM, AA Hoffmann (2021)

Improving mosquito control strategies with population genomics.

Trends in parasitology pii:S1471-4922(21)00111-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Mosquito control strategies increasingly apply knowledge from population genomics research. This review highlights recent applications to three research domains: mosquito invasions, insecticide resistance evolution, and rear and release programs. Current research trends follow developments in reference assemblies, either as improvements to existing assemblies (particularly Aedes) or assemblies for new taxa (particularly Anopheles). With improved assemblies, studies of invasive and rear and release target populations are better able to incorporate adaptive as well as demographic hypotheses. New reference assemblies are aiding comparisons of insecticide resistance across sister taxa while helping resolve taxon boundaries amidst frequent introgression. Anopheles gene drive deployments and improved Aedes genome assemblies should lead to a convergence in research aims for Anopheles and Aedes in the coming years.

RevDate: 2021-06-15

Liu Q, Zhang H, Zeng L, et al (2021)

Coexistence of Three Dominant Bacterial Symbionts in a Social Aphid and Implications for Ecological Adaptation.

Insects, 12(5):.

Aphids are associated with an array of symbionts that have diverse ecological and evolutionary effects on their hosts. To date, symbiont communities of most aphid species are still poorly characterized, especially for the social aphids. In this study, high-throughput 16S rDNA amplicon sequencing was used to assess the bacterial communities of the social aphid Pseudoregma bambucicola, and the differences in bacterial diversity with respect to ant attendance and time series were also assessed. We found that the diversity of symbionts in P. bambucicola was low and three dominant symbionts (Buchnera, Pectobacterium and Wolbachia) were stably coexisting. Pectobacterium may help P. bambucicola feed on the hard bamboo stems, and genetic distance analysis suggests that the Pectobacterium in P. bambucicola may be a new symbiont species. Wolbachia may be associated with the transition of reproduction mode or has a nutritional role in P. bambucicola. Statistical tests on the diversity of bacterial communities in P. bambucicola suggest that aphid populations attended by ants usually have a significantly higher evenness than populations without ant attendance but there was no significant difference among aphid populations from different seasons.

RevDate: 2021-06-04

Detcharoen M, Schilling MP, Arthofer W, et al (2021)

Differential gene expression in Drosophila melanogaster and D. nigrosparsa infected with the same Wolbachia strain.

Scientific reports, 11(1):11336.

Wolbachia are maternally inherited endosymbionts that infect nearly half of all arthropod species. Wolbachia manipulate their hosts to maximize their transmission, but they can also provide benefits such as nutrients and resistance against viruses to their hosts. The Wolbachia strain wMel was recently found to increase locomotor activities and possibly trigger cytoplasmic incompatibility in the transinfected fly Drosophila nigrosparsa. Here, we investigated, in females of both D. melanogaster and D. nigrosparsa, the gene expression between animals uninfected and infected with wMel, using RNA sequencing to see if the two Drosophila species respond to the infection in the same or different ways. A total of 2164 orthologous genes were used. The two fly species responded to the infection in different ways. Significant changes shared by the fly species belong to the expression of genes involved in processes such as oxidation-reduction process, iron-ion binding, and voltage-gated potassium-channel activity. We discuss our findings also in the light of how Wolbachia survive within both the native and the novel host.

RevDate: 2021-06-10

Ün Ç, Schultner E, Manzano-Marín A, et al (2021)

Cytoplasmic incompatibility between Old and New World populations of a tramp ant.

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

Reproductive manipulation by endosymbiotic Wolbachia can cause unequal inheritance, allowing the manipulator to spread and potentially impacting evolutionary dynamics in infected hosts. Tramp and invasive species are excellent models to study the dynamics of host-Wolbachia associations because introduced populations often diverge in their microbiomes after colonizing new habitats, resulting in infection polymorphisms between native and introduced populations. Ants are the most abundant group of insects on earth, and numerous ant species are classified as highly invasive. However, little is known about the role of Wolbachia in these ecologically dominant insects. Here, we provide the first description of reproductive manipulation by Wolbachia in an ant. We show that Old and New World populations of the cosmotropic tramp ant Cardiocondyla obscurior harbor distinct Wolbachia strains, and that only the Old World strain manipulates host reproduction by causing cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) in hybrid crosses. By uncovering a symbiont-induced mechanism of reproductive isolation in a social insect, our study provides a novel perspective on the biology of tramp ants and introduces a new system for studying the evolutionary consequences of CI.

RevDate: 2021-06-17
CmpDate: 2021-06-17

Li S, Li J, Li Z, et al (2021)

Toxic effects of norfloxacin in soil on fed and unfed Folsomia candida (Isotomidae: Collembola) and on gut and soil microbiota.

The Science of the total environment, 788:147793.

Soils contaminated with antibiotics may exert effects on soil-dwelling animals. A systematic ecological toxicity assessment of norfloxacin on the soil collembolan Folsomia candida (F. candida) was therefore conducted in soil and Petri dish systems with and without feeding at the population, individual and cellular levels. The indicators survival, reproduction, antioxidant enzyme activities peroxidase (POD), catalase (CAT), and superoxide dismutase (SOD), malondialdehyde (MDA) contents and gut microbiota were studied. The surrounding soil microbiota were also investigated because F. candida can ingest soil microbiota that may have effects on the gut microbiota. In general, the toxicity of norfloxacin to F. candida in contaminated soil without food addition was higher than in contaminated soil with food addition. Norfloxacin had little effect at population and individual levels but antioxidant enzyme activities changed significantly in treatments with longer exposure times or higher norfloxacin concentrations. CAT was more sensitive than SOD or POD. The diversity indices and composition at phylum level of the gut microbiota showed little change. However, the operational taxonomic units in the gut decreased in the presence of norfloxacin. The relative abundance of Wolbachia, the predominant bacterial genus in the gut, decreased significantly with increasing soil norfloxacin concentration. Wolbachia may therefore be a promising bioindicator in the assessment of norfloxacin pollution of soils at environmental concentrations.

RevDate: 2021-05-25

Li I, Mak KW, Wong J, et al (2021)

Using the Fluorescent Dye, Rhodamine B, to Study Mating Competitiveness in Male Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes.

Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE.

The success of sterile or incompatible insect technique-based population suppression programs depends on the ability of released males to compete for wild-type females and induce sterility in the target population. Hence, laboratory assessment of male mating competitiveness is essential for evaluating the release strain's fitness before field release. Conventionally, such an assay is performed by determining the proportion of viable eggs produced by the females after being simultaneously exposed to two sets of males (wild-type and release strains) for copulation. However, this process is time-consuming and laborious due to the need to first blood-feed the females for egg production and then hatch and enumerate the hatched eggs to determine egg viability. Moreover, this method cannot discern the degree of competitiveness between two sterile or Wolbachia-infected mosquito lines as wild-type female mosquitoes will only produce non-viable eggs upon mating with both. To circumvent these limitations, this paper describes a more direct method of measuring male mosquito mating competitiveness in laboratory settings using the fluorescent dye, rhodamine B (RhB), which can be used to mark males by feeding them in sucrose solution containing RhB. After the mating assay, the presence of fluorescing sperms in the spermathecae of a female can be used to determine her mating partner. This method is cost-effective, reduces the experimental time by 90% and allows comparison of mating fitness between two sterile or Wolbachia-infected lines.

RevDate: 2021-05-26

Sinotte VM, Conlon BH, Seibel E, et al (2021)

Female-biased sex allocation and lack of inbreeding avoidance in Cubitermes termites.

Ecology and evolution, 11(10):5598-5605.

Sexually reproducing organisms face a strong selective pressure to find a mate and ensure reproduction. An important criterion during mate-selection is to avoid closely related individuals and subsequent potential fitness costs of resulting inbred offspring. Inbreeding avoidance can be active through kin recognition during mate choice, or passive through differential male and female-biased sex ratios, which effectively prevents sib-mating. In addition, sex allocation, or the resources allotted to male and female offspring, can impact mating and reproductive success. Here, we investigate mate choice, sex ratios, and sex allocation in dispersing reproductives (alates) from colonies of the termite Cubitermes tenuiceps. Termites have a short time to select a mate for life, which should intensify any fitness consequences of inbreeding. However, alates did not actively avoid inbreeding through mate choice via kin recognition based on genetic or environmental cues. Furthermore, the majority of colonies exhibited a female-biased sex ratio, and none exhibited a male-bias, indicating that differential bias does not reduce inbreeding. Sex allocation was generally female-biased, as females also were heavier, but the potential fitness effect of this costly strategy remains unclear. The bacterium Wolbachia, known in other insects to parasitically distort sex allocation toward females, was present within all alates. While Wolbachia is commonly associated with termites, parasitism has yet to be demonstrated, warranting further study of the nature of the symbiosis. Both the apparent lack of inbreeding avoidance and potential maladaptive sex allocation implies possible negative effects on mating and fitness.

RevDate: 2021-06-11
CmpDate: 2021-06-11

Lucek K, Bouaouina S, Jospin A, et al (2021)

Prevalence and relationship of endosymbiotic Wolbachia in the butterfly genus Erebia.

BMC ecology and evolution, 21(1):95.

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia is an endosymbiont common to most invertebrates, which can have significant evolutionary implications for its host species by acting as a barrier to gene flow. Despite the importance of Wolbachia, still little is known about its prevalence and diversification pattern among closely related host species. Wolbachia strains may phylogenetically coevolve with their hosts, unless horizontal host-switches are particularly common. We address these issues in the genus Erebia, one of the most diverse Palearctic butterfly genera.

RESULTS: We sequenced the Wolbachia genome from a strain infecting Erebia cassioides and showed that it belongs to the Wolbachia supergroup B, capable of infecting arthropods from different taxonomic orders. The prevalence of Wolbachia across 13 closely related Erebia host species based on extensive population-level genetic data revealed that multiple Wolbachia strains jointly infect all investigated taxa, but with varying prevalence. Finally, the phylogenetic relationships of Wolbachia strains are in some cases significantly associated to that of their hosts, especially among the most closely related Erebia species, demonstrating mixed evidence for phylogenetic coevolution.

CONCLUSIONS: Closely related host species can be infected by closely related Wolbachia strains, evidencing some phylogenetic coevolution, but the actual pattern of infection more often reflects historical or contemporary geographic proximity among host species. Multiple processes, including survival in distinct glacial refugia, recent host shifts in sympatry, and a loss of Wolbachia during postglacial range expansion seem to have jointly shaped the complex interactions between Wolbachia evolution and the diversification of its host among our studied Erebia species.

RevDate: 2021-05-20

Mioduchowska M, Nitkiewicz B, Roszkowska M, et al (2021)

Taxonomic classification of the bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia based on next-generation sequencing: is there molecular evidence for its presence in tardigrades?.

Genome [Epub ahead of print].

We used high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA to test whether tardigrade species are infected with Wolbachia parasites. We applied SILVA and Greengenes databases that allowed taxonomic classification of bacterial sequences to OTUs. The results obtained from both databases differed considerably in the number of OTUs, and only the Greengenes database allowed identification of Wolbachia (infection was also supported by comparison of sequences to NCBI database). The putative bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia was discovered only in adult eutardigrades, while bacteria identified down to the order Rickettsiales were detected in both eutardigrade eggs and adult specimens. Nevertheless, the frequency of Wolbachia in the bacterial communities of the studied eutardigrades was low. Similarly, in our positive control, i.e. a fairy shrimp Streptocephalus cafer, which was found to be infected with Wolbachia in our previous study using Sanger sequencing, only the Rickettsiales were detected. We also carried out phylogenetic reconstruction using Wolbachia sequences from the SILVA and Greengenes databases, Alphaproteobacteria putative endosymbionts and Rickettsiales OTUs obtained in the previous studies on the microbial community of tardigrades as well as Rickettsiales and Wolbachia OTUs obtained in the current study. Our discovery of Wolbachia in tardigrades can fuel new research to uncover the specifics of this interaction.

RevDate: 2021-07-05
CmpDate: 2021-07-05

Huebl L, Tappe D, Giese M, et al (2021)

Recurrent Swelling and Microfilaremia Caused by Dirofilaria repens Infection after Travel to India.

Emerging infectious diseases, 27(6):1701-1704.

Human subcutaneous dirofilariasis is an emerging mosquitoborne zoonosis. A traveler returning to Germany from India experienced Dirofilaria infection with concomitant microfilaremia. Molecular analysis indicated Dirofilaria repens nematodes of an Asian genotype. Microfilaremia showed no clear periodicity. Presence of Wolbachia endosymbionts enabled successful treatment with doxycycline.

RevDate: 2021-06-07

Song G, Chen F, Chen S, et al (2021)

Polysaccharides from Premna microphylla turcz ameliorate inflammation via the enhancement of intestinal resistance in host.

Journal of ethnopharmacology, 276:114208.

Premna microphylla turcz is traditionally used as a folk remedy. Its roots, stems and leaves can be invoked as medicines, which have the functions of detoxification, swelling and hemostasis. It belongs to the Premna in the Verbenaceae and is mainly distributed in the mountains of southeastern China. However, there are few reports of in-depth studies on the anti-inflammatory effects of polysaccharide, which was the main component in Premna microphylla turcz.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The flies were fed with standard corn flour-yeast medium to cause inflammation by sodium lauryl sulfate (SDS). The treatment group contained Premna microphylla turcz polysaccharide (pPMTLs) extract. The survival rate was obtained by feeding a vial containing five layers of filter paper, which was infiltrated with the 5% sucrose solution contaminated with SDS or SDS polysaccharide. The microvilli and nucleus of the midgut epithelial cells of different treatments were observed by transmission electron microscope, and the expression of inflammation-related genes was detected by real-time quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR). Finally, 16S rDNA analysis was conducted on the differences in the composition of the intestinal microbes of Drosophila.

RESULTS: In the current study, we showed that pPMTLs significantly prolonged the life span of SDS-inflamed flies from 5 days to 6 days. And pPMTLs reduced the rupture of microvilli in the midgut and restored the nuclear structure. In addition, pPMTLs significantly improved expression level of immune-related genes in Inflammation Drosophila especially the defensin (4.32 ± 0.75 vs 9.97 ± 0.52 SDS-polysaccharide group: SDS group, p < 0.001). The analysis of intestinal microbiota showed that pPMTLs decreased the relative abundance of Raoultella while Wolbachia increased (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, our results revealed the potential application of pPMTLs in enhancing inflammation defense, which would be enormous significance for the inflammation-related disorders treatment.

RevDate: 2021-05-18

Baião GC, Janice J, Galinou M, et al (2021)

Comparative genomics reveals factors associated with phenotypic expression of Wolbachia.

Genome biology and evolution pii:6277727 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia is a widespread, vertically transmitted bacterial endosymbiont known for manipulating arthropod reproduction. Its most common form of reproductive manipulation is Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), observed when a modification in the male sperm leads to embryonic lethality unless a compatible rescue factor is present in the female egg. CI attracts scientific attention due to its implications for host speciation and in the use of Wolbachia for controlling vector-borne diseases. However, our understanding of CI is complicated by the complexity of the phenotype, whose expression depends on both symbiont and host factors. In the present study, we perform a comparative analysis of nine complete Wolbachia genomes with known CI properties in the same genetic host background, Drosophila simulans STC. We describe genetic differences between closely related strains and uncover evidence that phages and other mobile elements contribute to rapid evolution of both genomes and phenotypes of Wolbachia. Additionally, we identify both known and novel genes associated with the modification and rescue functions of CI. We combine our observations with published phenotypic information and discuss how variability in cif genes, novel CI-associated genes and Wolbachia titer might contribute to poorly understood aspects of CI such as strength and bidirectional incompatibility. We speculate that high titer CI strains could be better at invading new hosts already infected with a CI Wolbachia, due to a higher rescue potential, and suggest that titer might thus be a relevant parameter to consider for future strategies using CI Wolbachia in biological control.

RevDate: 2021-05-15

Gesto JSM, Ribeiro GS, Rocha MN, et al (2021)

Reduced competence to arboviruses following the sustainable invasion of Wolbachia into native Aedes aegypti from Southeastern Brazil.

Scientific reports, 11(1):10039.

Field release of Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti has emerged as a promising solution to manage the transmission of dengue, Zika and chikungunya in endemic areas across the globe. Through an efficient self-dispersing mechanism, and the ability to induce virus-blocking properties, Wolbachia offers an unmatched potential to gradually modify wild Ae. aegypti populations turning them unsuitable disease vectors. Here we describe a proof-of-concept field trial carried out in a small community of Niterói, greater Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Following the release of Wolbachia-infected eggs, we report here a successful invasion and long-term establishment of the bacterium across the territory, as denoted by stable high-infection indexes (> 80%). We have also demonstrated that refractoriness to dengue and Zika viruses, either thorough oral-feeding or intra-thoracic saliva challenging assays, was maintained over the adaptation to the natural environment of Southeastern Brazil. These findings further support Wolbachia's ability to invade local Ae. aegypti populations and impair disease transmission, and will pave the way for future epidemiological and economic impact assessments.

RevDate: 2021-05-10

Nasehi SF, Fathipour Y, Asgari S, et al (2021)

Environmental Temperature, but Not Male Age, Affects Wolbachia and Prophage WO Thereby Modulating Cytoplasmic Incompatibility in the Parasitoid Wasp, Habrobracon Hebetor.

Microbial ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia is an endosymbiotic bacterium found in many species of arthropods and manipulates its host reproduction. Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) is one of the most common manipulations that is induced when an uninfected female mates with a Wolbachia-infected male. The CI factors (cifA and cifB genes) are encoded by phage WO that naturally infects Wolbachia. Here, we questioned whether an environmental factor (temperature) or host factor (male age) affected the strength of the CI phenotype in the ectoparasitoid wasp, Habrobracon hebetor. We found that temperature, but not male age, results in reduced CI penetrance. Consistent with these results, we also found that the expression of the cif CI factors decreased in temperature-exposed males but was consistent across aging male wasps. Similar to studies of other insect systems, cifA showed a higher expression level than cifB, and male hosts showed increased cif expression relative to females. Our results suggest that prophage WO is present in the Wolbachia-infected wasps and expression of cif genes contributes to the induction of CI in this insect. It seems that male aging has no effect on the intensity of CI; however, temperature affects Wolbachia and prophage WO titers as well as expression levels of cif genes, which modulate the CI level.

RevDate: 2021-05-11

Manoj RRS, Latrofa MS, Epis S, et al (2021)

Wolbachia: endosymbiont of onchocercid nematodes and their vectors.

Parasites & vectors, 14(1):245.

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia is an obligate intracellular maternally transmitted, gram-negative bacterium which forms a spectrum of endosymbiotic relationships from parasitism to obligatory mutualism in a wide range of arthropods and onchocercid nematodes, respectively. In arthropods Wolbachia produces reproductive manipulations such as male killing, feminization, parthenogenesis and cytoplasmic incompatibility for its propagation and provides an additional fitness benefit for the host to protect against pathogens, whilst in onchocercid nematodes, apart from the mutual metabolic dependence, this bacterium is involved in moulting, embryogenesis, growth and survival of the host.

METHODS: This review details the molecular data of Wolbachia and its effect on host biology, immunity, ecology and evolution, reproduction, endosymbiont-based treatment and control strategies exploited for filariasis. Relevant peer-reviewed scientic papers available in various authenticated scientific data bases were considered while writing the review.

CONCLUSIONS: The information presented provides an overview on Wolbachia biology and its use in the control and/or treatment of vectors, onchocercid nematodes and viral diseases of medical and veterinary importance. This offers the development of new approaches for the control of a variety of vector-borne diseases.

RevDate: 2021-05-11

Tuda M, Iwase SI, Kébé K, et al (2021)

Diversification, selective sweep, and body size in the invasive Palearctic alfalfa weevil infected with Wolbachia.

Scientific reports, 11(1):9664.

The alfalfa weevil Hypera postica, native to the Western Palearctic, is an invasive legume pest with two divergent mitochondrial clades in its invading regions, the Western clade and the Eastern/Egyptian clade. However, knowledge regarding the native populations is limited. The Western clade is infected with the endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia that cause cytoplasmic incompatibility in host weevils. Our aim was to elucidate the spatial genetic structure of this insect and the effect of Wolbachia on its population diversity. We analyzed two mitochondrial and two nuclear genes of the weevil from its native ranges. The Western clade was distributed in western/central Europe, whereas the Eastern/Egyptian clade was distributed from the Mediterranean basin to central Asia. Intermediate mitotypes were found from the Balkans to central Asia. Most Western clade individuals in western Europe were infected with an identical Wolbachia strain. Mitochondrial genetic diversity of the infected individuals was minimal. The infected clades demonstrated a higher nonsynonymous/synonymous substitution rate ratio than the uninfected clades, suggesting a higher fixation of nonsynonymous mutations due to a selective sweep by Wolbachia. Trans-Mediterranean and within-European dispersal routes were supported. We suggest that the ancestral populations diversified by geographic isolation due to glaciations and that the diversity was reduced in the west by a recent Wolbachia-driven sweep(s). The intermediate clade exhibited a body size and host plant that differed from the other clades. Pros and cons of the possible use of infected-clade males to control uninfected populations are discussed.

RevDate: 2021-05-06

Pilgrim J, Siozios S, Baylis M, et al (2021)

Identifying potential candidate Culicoides spp. for the study of interactions with Candidatus Cardinium hertigii.

Medical and veterinary entomology [Epub ahead of print].

Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) are vectors responsible for the transmission of several viruses of veterinary importance. Previous screens of Culicoides have described the presence of the endosymbiont Candidatus Cardinium hertigii (Bacteroidetes). However, any impacts of this microbe on vectorial capacity, akin to those conferred by Wolbachia in mosquitoes, are yet to be uncovered and await a suitable system to study Cardinium-midge interactions. To identify potential candidate species to investigate these interactions, accurate knowledge of the distribution of the endosymbiont within Culicoides populations is needed. We used conventional and nested PCR assays to screen Cardinium infection in 337 individuals of 25 Culicoides species from both Palearctic and Afrotropical regions. Infections were observed in several vector species including C. imicola and the Pulicaris complex (C. pulicaris, C. bysta, C. newsteadi and C. punctatus) with varying prevalence. Phylogenetic analysis based on the Gyrase B gene grouped all new isolates within 'group C' of the genus, a clade that has to date been exclusively described in Culicoides. Through a comparison of our results with previous screens, we suggest C. imicola and C. sonorensis represent good candidates for onward study of Cardinium-midge interactions.

RevDate: 2021-05-05

Manoj RRS, Latrofa MS, Cavalera MA, et al (2021)

Molecular detection of zoonotic filarioids in Culex spp. from Portugal.

Medical and veterinary entomology [Epub ahead of print].

To investigate the role of dipterans in the transmission of Onchocerca lupi and other zoonotic filarioids, samples were collected from different sites in Algarve, southern Portugal, morphologically identified and molecularly tested for filarioids. Culex sp. (72.8%) represented the predominant genus followed by Culicoides sp. (11.8%), Ochlerotatus sp. (9.7%), Culiseta sp. (4.5%), Aedes sp. (0.9%) and Anopheles sp. (0.3%). Nineteen (2.8%) specimens scored positive for filarioids, with Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus (2%) positive for Dirofilaria immitis (1.4%), Dirofilaria repens, Acanthocheilonema reconditum, Onchocerca lupi, unidentified species of Filarioidea (0.2%, each) and Onchocercidae (0.6%). Additionally, Culiseta longiareolata (6.5%), Ochlerotatus caspius (3%) and Culex laticinctus (0.2%) scored positive for unidentified Onchocercidae, A. reconditum and for O. lupi, respectively. This is the first report of the occurrence of DNA of O. lupi, D. repens and A. reconditum in Culex spp. in Portugal. Information regarding the vectors and the pathogens they transmit may help to adopt proper prophylactic and control measures.

RevDate: 2021-05-31
CmpDate: 2021-05-31

Hague MTJ, Woods HA, BS Cooper (2021)

Pervasive effects of Wolbachia on host activity.

Biology letters, 17(5):20210052.

Heritable symbionts have diverse effects on the physiology, reproduction and fitness of their hosts. Maternally transmitted Wolbachia are one of the most common endosymbionts in nature, infecting about half of all insect species. We test the hypothesis that Wolbachia alter host behaviour by assessing the effects of 14 different Wolbachia strains on the locomotor activity of nine Drosophila host species. We find that Wolbachia alter the activity of six different host genotypes, including all hosts in our assay infected with wRi-like Wolbachia strains (wRi, wSuz and wAur), which have rapidly spread among Drosophila species in about the last 14 000 years. While Wolbachia effects on host activity were common, the direction of these effects varied unpredictably and sometimes depended on host sex. We hypothesize that the prominent effects of wRi-like Wolbachia may be explained by patterns of Wolbachia titre and localization within host somatic tissues, particularly in the central nervous system. Our findings support the view that Wolbachia have wide-ranging effects on host behaviour. The fitness consequences of these behavioural modifications are important for understanding the evolution of host-symbiont interactions, including how Wolbachia spread within host populations.

RevDate: 2021-06-15

Kaur R, Shropshire JD, Cross KL, et al (2021)

Living in the endosymbiotic world of Wolbachia: A centennial review.

Cell host & microbe, 29(6):879-893.

The most widespread intracellular bacteria in the animal kingdom are maternally inherited endosymbionts of the genus Wolbachia. Their prevalence in arthropods and nematodes worldwide and stunning arsenal of parasitic and mutualistic adaptations make these bacteria a biological archetype for basic studies of symbiosis and applied outcomes for curbing human and agricultural diseases. Here, we conduct a summative, centennial analysis of living in the Wolbachia world. We synthesize literature on Wolbachia's host range, phylogenetic diversity, genomics, cell biology, and applications to filarial, arboviral, and agricultural diseases. We also review the mobilome of Wolbachia including phage WO and its essentiality to hallmark reproductive phenotypes in arthropods. Finally, the Wolbachia system is an exemplar for discovery-based science education using biodiversity, biotechnology, and bioinformatics lessons. As we approach a century of Wolbachia research, the interdisciplinary science of this symbiosis stands as a model for consolidating and teaching the integrative rules of endosymbiotic life.

RevDate: 2021-07-10

Farahani HK, Ashouri A, Abroon P, et al (2021)

Wolbachia manipulate fitness benefits of olfactory associative learning in a parasitoid wasp.

The Journal of experimental biology pii:261712 [Epub ahead of print].

Upon encountering a host, a female parasitoid wasp has to decide whether to learn positive or negative cues related to a host. The optimal female decision will depend on the fitness costs and benefits of learned stimuli. Reward quality is positively related to the rate of behavioral acquisition in processes such as associative learning. Wolbachia, an endosymbiotic bacterium, often plays an impressive role in the manipulation of its arthropod host's biology. Here we studied the responses of two natural Wolbachia infected/uninfected Trichogramma brassicae populations to theoretically high- and low- reward values during a conditioning process and the consequences of their responses in terms of memory duration. According to our results, uninfected wasps showed an attraction response to high value rewards, but showed aversive learning in response to low value rewards. Memory span of uninfected wasps after conditioning by low-value rewards was significantly shorter compared to high-value rewards. As our results revealed, responses to high quality hosts will bring more benefits (bigger size, increased fecundity and enhanced survival) compared to low-quality hosts for uninfected wasps. Infected wasps were attracted to conditioned stimuli with the same memory duration after conditioning by both types of hosts. This was linked to the fact that parasitoids emerging from both types of hosts present the same life-history traits. Therefore, these hosts represent the same quality reward for infected wasps. According to obtained results it can be concluded that Wolbachia manipulates the learning ability of its host resulting in the wasp responding to all reward values similarly.

RevDate: 2021-05-27

Pereira TN, Carvalho FD, Rugani JN, et al (2021)

Mayaro Virus: The Potential Role of Microbiota and Wolbachia.

Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland), 10(5):.

The Mayaro virus (MAYV) is an arbovirus that circulates mainly in tropical forests or rural areas in Latin America and is transmitted mainly by Haemagogus mosquitoes. The objective of this study was to evaluate the vector competence, microbiome, and the presence of Wolbachia in three Aedes albopictus populations infected with MAYV. The vector competence was assessed based on viral infection and transmission by RT-qPCR. In addition, the microbiome was evaluated by amplification of the 16S rRNA V4 region and PCR to detect the presence of Wolbachia (strain wAlbA/wAlbB). Our results show that all three populations were susceptible to MAYV infection. The potential transmission of the MAYV was consistent in all populations of naïve mosquitoes injected (more than 50%). The microbiome analysis revealed 118 OTUs (operational taxonomic unit) from the three populations, 8 phyla, 15 classes, 26 orders, 35 families, 65 genera, and 53 species. All populations had Pseudomonas and Wolbachia as predominant genera. There was no difference between the variables for MAYV and Wolbachia (wAlbA or wAlbB) in the abdomen. However, in the head + thorax samples at 14 dpi, there was a difference between the two populations, indicating a possible correlation between the presence of Wolbachia (wAlbB) and infection. Overall, we show evidence that Ae. albopictus displays significant infection and transmission competence for the MAYV in the laboratory, and its bacterial microbiota play an important role in the host, mainly the strains of Wolbachia. The influence of the intestinal microbiota of Ae. albopictus is poorly known, and a better understanding of these interactions would open new perspectives for disease control through the manipulation of microbial communities. The exact contribution of this mosquito species to the transmission of the MAYV in the field remains to be confirmed.

RevDate: 2021-05-27
CmpDate: 2021-05-27

Guad RM, Wu YS, Aung YN, et al (2021)

Different Domains of Dengue Research in Malaysia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Questionnaire-Based Studies.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(9):.

This review provided a systematic overview of the questionnaire-related dengue studies conducted in Malaysia and evaluated their reliability and validity used in the questionnaires. An extensive literature search was conducted using various electronic databases, including PubMed, EMBASE, Medline, and ScienceDirect. Systematic reviews and meta-analysis (PRISMA) were selected as the preferred item reporting method. Out of 88 identified dengue-related, 57 published from 2000 to April 2020 met the inclusion criteria and were included. Based on the meta-analysis, a poor mean score was obtained for knowledge (49%), attitude (44%), and preventive practice (55%). The study showed that the level of knowledge on cardinal signs and modes of transmission for dengue virus were highest among health care workers, followed by students (international and local) and lastly community residents. In treatment-seeking behaviours, only half of the respondents (50.8%) would send their child to the nearest health clinics or hospitals when a child became restless or lethargic. The acceptance rate for dengue vaccine, bacteria (Wolbachia), as a vector for dengue control and self-test diagnostic kit for dengue showed considerably high (88.4%, 70%, and 44.8%, respectively). Health belief model (HBM) constructs, such as perceived barriers, perceived severity, perceived susceptibility, self-efficacy, and perceived benefit influence prevention practices. Lastly, only 23 articles (40.3%) had piloted or pretested the questionnaire before surveying, in which three reported Cronbach's alpha coefficient (0.70-0.90). A need for active participation of communities and healthcare personnel, promotion of awareness, and safe complementary medicines, as well as assessment of psychometric properties of questionnaire use in dengue surveys in Malaysia, in order for assessing dengue reliably and valid.

RevDate: 2021-05-18

Luu L, Palomar AM, Farrington G, et al (2021)

Bacterial Pathogens and Symbionts Harboured by Ixodes ricinus Ticks Parasitising Red Squirrels in the United Kingdom.

Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland), 10(4):.

Red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) are native to most of Eurasia; in much of the United Kingdom, they have been supplanted by the non-native grey squirrel, and are considered an endangered species. Very little is known about the range of tick-borne pathogens to which UK red squirrels are exposed. As part of trap-and-release surveys examining prevalence of Mycobacterium spp. in red squirrel populations on two UK islands, Ixodes ricinus ticks were removed from squirrels and PCR screened for Borrelia spp., intracellular arthropod-borne bacteria and the parasitic wasp Ixodiphagus hookeri. At both sites, the most commonly encountered tick-transmitted bacterium was Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (overall minimum prevalence 12.7%), followed by Anaplasma phagocytophilum (overall minimum prevalence 1.6%). Single ticks infected with Spiroplasma were found at both sites, and single ticks infected with Borrelia miyamotoi or an Ehrlichia sp. at one site. Ticks harbouring Wolbachia (overall minimum prevalence 15.2%) were all positive for I. hookeri. Our study shows that UK red squirrels are potentially exposed to a variety of bacterial pathogens via feeding ticks. The effects on the health and survival of this already vulnerable wildlife species are unknown, and further studies are needed to evaluate the threat posed to red squirrels by Borrelia and other tick-borne pathogens.

RevDate: 2021-05-02

Liu G, Zheng X, Long H, et al (2021)

Gut Bacterial and Fungal Communities of the Wild and Laboratory-Reared Thitarodes Larvae, Host of the Chinese Medicinal Fungus Ophiocordyceps sinensis on Tibetan Plateau.

Insects, 12(4):.

By employing a culture-dependent and -independent 16S rRNA and ITS gene high-throughput sequencing analyses, comprehensive information was obtained on the gut bacterial and fungal communities in the ghost moth larvae of three different geographic locations from high-altitude on Tibet plateau and from low-altitude laboratory. Twenty-six culturable bacterial species belonging to 21 genera and 14 fungal species belonging to 12 genera were identified from six populations by culture-dependent method. Carnobacterium maltaromaticum was the most abundant bacterial species from both the wild and laboratory-reared larvae. The most abundant OTUs in the wild ghost moth populations were Carnobacteriaceae, Enterobacteriaceae for bacteria, and Ascomycota and Basidiomycota for fungi. Larval microbial communities of the wild ghost moth from different geographic locations were not significantly different from each other but significant difference in larval microbial community was detected between the wild and laboratory-reared ghost moth. The larval gut of the wild ghost moth was dominated by the culturable Carnobacterium. However, that of the laboratory-reared ghost moth exhibited significantly abundant Wolbachia, Rhizobium, Serratia, Pseudomonas, and Flavobacterium. Furthermore, the larval gut of the wild ghost moth had a significantly higher abundance of Ophiocordyceps but lower abundance of Candida and Aspergillus than that of the laboratory-reared ghost moth.

RevDate: 2021-04-30

Shemshadian A, Vatandoost H, Oshaghi MA, et al (2021)

Relationship between Wolbachia infection in Culex quinquefasciatus and its resistance to insecticide.

Heliyon, 7(4):e06749.

Many studies have been done on the various factors affecting resistance to insecticides. The relationship between Wolbachia bacteria and resistance to insecticides is one of the factors that has attracted a lot of attentions. Wolbachia are obligatory intracellular endosymbionts that naturally occur in a wide range of arthropods and nematodes, including the mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus. Initially, the presence of bacteria was proved by molecular assays. Then the resistance level of this species was evaluated in adults against DDT 4.0% and deltamethrin 0.05% using the standard WHO guideline. After elimination of Wolbachia by tetracycline and its proof by molecular assays, the susceptibility tests were conducted again on uninfected line. Finally, the two lines were compared in terms of responding to insecticides. The findings indicated that there is no significant correlation between susceptibility of two lines in response to DDT 4.0% while they represented a significant correlation for deltamethrin (P =0.00). We propose that Wolbachia bacteria increase the susceptibility to deltamethrin but they show neutral effect on DDT susceptibility in Cx. quinquefasciatus. However, more studies on other vectors and insecticides still need to be done.

RevDate: 2021-05-24
CmpDate: 2021-05-24

Knerer G, Currie CSM, SC Brailsford (2021)

Reducing dengue fever cases at the lowest budget: a constrained optimization approach applied to Thailand.

BMC public health, 21(1):807.

BACKGROUND: With the challenges that dengue fever (DF) presents to healthcare systems and societies, public health officials must determine where best to allocate scarce resources and restricted budgets. Constrained optimization (CO) helps to address some of the acknowledged limitations of conventional health economic analyses and has typically been used to identify the optimal allocation of resources across interventions subject to a variety of constraints.

METHODS: A dynamic transmission model was developed to predict the number of dengue cases in Thailand at steady state. A CO was then applied to identify the optimal combination of interventions (release of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes and paediatric vaccination) within the constraints of a fixed budget, set no higher than cost estimates of the current vector control programme, to minimize the number of dengue cases and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost. Epidemiological, cost, and effectiveness data were informed by national data and the research literature. The time horizon was 10 years. Scenario analyses examined different disease management and intervention costs, budget constraints, vaccine efficacy, and optimization time horizon.

RESULTS: Under base-case budget constraints, the optimal coverage of the two interventions to minimize dengue incidence was predicted to be nearly equal (Wolbachia 50%; paediatric vaccination 49%) with corresponding coverages under lower bound (Wolbachia 54%; paediatric vaccination 10%) and upper bound (Wolbachia 67%; paediatric vaccination 100%) budget ceilings. Scenario analyses indicated that the most impactful situations related to the costs of Wolbachia and paediatric vaccination with decreases/ increases in costs of interventions demonstrating a direct correlation with coverage (increases/ decreases) of the respective control strategies under examination.

CONCLUSIONS: Determining the best investment strategy for dengue control requires the identification of the optimal mix of interventions to implement in order to maximize public health outcomes, often under fixed budget constraints. A CO model was developed with the objective of minimizing dengue cases (and DALYs lost) over a 10-year time horizon, within the constraints of the estimated budgets for vector control in the absence of vaccination and Wolbachia. The model provides a tool for developing estimates of optimal coverage of combined dengue control strategies that minimize dengue burden at the lowest budget.

RevDate: 2021-06-24
CmpDate: 2021-06-24

Zurita A, Benkacimi L, El Karkouri K, et al (2021)

New records of bacteria in different species of fleas from France and Spain.

Comparative immunology, microbiology and infectious diseases, 76:101648.

In this study, we assessed the presence of vector-borne microorganisms in different species of fleas collected from different hosts in diverse areas of South-Western Europe by molecular methods. A total of 319 fleas belonging to eight different species was tested for the presence of eight microorganisms. Wolbachia spp. endosymbionts were detected in Ctenocephalides felis, Pulex irritans, Archaeopsylla erinacei and Ctenophthalmus baeticus boisseauorum specimens. Rickettsia felis, an emerging pathogen, was detected in C. felis, A. erinacei and Ct. b. boisseauorum. Rickettsia typhi, the agent of murine typhus was detected for the first time in A. erinacei and Mycobacterium spp. were detected for the first time in fleas (C. felis, P. irritans and A. erinacei). Lastly, five different species of Bartonella were detected in fleas' DNA in this study, including a possible new bacterium belonging to this genus. With this study, we updated the knowledge of the flea-borne bacteria present in the South-West of Europe reinforcing the idea about the necessity to expand and increase the current knowledge on flea-borne pathogens.

RevDate: 2021-06-21
CmpDate: 2021-06-21

Cardona-Salgado D, Campo-Duarte DE, Sepulveda-Salcedo LS, et al (2021)

Optimal release programs for dengue prevention using Aedes aegypti mosquitoes transinfected with wMel or wMelPop Wolbachia strains.

Mathematical biosciences and engineering : MBE, 18(3):2952-2990.

In this paper, we propose a dengue transmission model of SIR(S)-SI type that accounts for two sex-structured mosquito populations: the wild mosquitoes (males and females that are Wolbachia-free), and those deliberately infected with either wMel or wMelPop strain of Wolbachia. This epidemiological model has four possible outcomes: with or without Wolbachia and with or without dengue. To reach the desired outcome, with Wolbachia and without dengue, we employ the dynamic optimization approach and then design optimal programs for releasing Wolbachia-carrying male and female mosquitoes. Our discussion is focused on advantages and drawbacks of two Wolbachia strains, wMelPop and wMel, that are recommended for dengue prevention and control. On the one hand, the wMel strain guarantees a faster population replacement, ensures durable Wolbachia persistence in the wild mosquito population, and requiters fewer releases. On the other hand, the wMelPop strain displays better results for averting dengue infections in the human population.

RevDate: 2021-04-24

Gabrieli P, Caccia S, Varotto-Boccazzi I, et al (2021)

Mosquito Trilogy: Microbiota, Immunity and Pathogens, and Their Implications for the Control of Disease Transmission.

Frontiers in microbiology, 12:630438.

In mosquitoes, the interaction between the gut microbiota, the immune system, and the pathogens that these insects transmit to humans and animals is regarded as a key component toward the development of control strategies, aimed at reducing the burden of severe diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever. Indeed, different microorganisms from the mosquito microbiota have been investigated for their ability to affect important traits of the biology of the host insect, related with its survival, development and reproduction. Furthermore, some microorganisms have been shown to modulate the immune response of mosquito females, significantly shaping their vector competence. Here, we will review current knowledge in this field, focusing on i) the complex interaction between the intestinal microbiota and mosquito females defenses, both in the gut and at humoral level; ii) how knowledge on these issues contributes to the development of novel and targeted strategies for the control of mosquito-borne diseases such as the use of paratransgenesis or taking advantage of the relationship between Wolbachia and mosquito hosts. We conclude by providing a brief overview of available knowledge on microbiota-immune system interplay in major insect vectors.

RevDate: 2021-05-07

Wolfe TM, Bruzzese DJ, Klasson L, et al (2021)

Comparative genome sequencing reveals insights into the dynamics of Wolbachia in native and invasive cherry fruit flies.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia is a maternally inherited obligate endosymbiont that can induce a wide spectrum of effects in its host, ranging from mutualism to reproductive parasitism. At the genomic level, recombination within and between strains, transposable elements, and horizontal transfer of strains between host species make Wolbachia an evolutionarily dynamic bacterial system. The invasive cherry fruit fly Rhagoletis cingulata arrived in Europe from North America ~40 years ago, where it now co-occurs with the native cherry pest R. cerasi. This shared distribution has been proposed to have led to the horizontal transfer of different Wolbachia strains between the two species. To better understand transmission dynamics, we performed a comparative genome study of the strain wCin2 in its native United States and invasive European populations of R. cingulata with wCer2 in European R. cerasi. Previous multilocus sequence genotyping (MLST) of six genes implied that the source of wCer2 in R. cerasi was wCin2 from R. cingulata. However, we report genomic evidence discounting the recent horizontal transfer hypothesis for the origin of wCer2. Despite near identical sequences for the MLST markers, substantial sequence differences for other loci were found between wCer2 and wCin2, as well as structural rearrangements, and differences in prophage, repetitive element, gene content, and cytoplasmic incompatibility inducing genes. Our study highlights the need for whole-genome sequencing rather than relying on MLST markers for resolving Wolbachia strains and assessing their evolutionary dynamics.

RevDate: 2021-05-11

Liu XC, ZX Li (2021)

Transmission of the wMel Wolbachia strain is modulated by its titre and by immune genes in Drosophila melanogaster (Wolbachia density and transmission).

Journal of invertebrate pathology, 181:107591.

Wolbachia are common intracellular endosymbionts of arthropods, but the interactions between Wolbachia and arthropods are only partially understood. The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is a model insect for understanding Wolbachia-host interactions. Here the native wMel strain of D. melanogaster was isolated and then different initial titres of wMel were artificially transferred back into antibiotics-treated fruit flies. Our purpose was to examine the interactions between the injected wMel in a density gradient and the recipient host during trans-generational transmission. The results showed that the trans-generational transmission rates of wMel and titres of wMel exhibited a fluctuating trend over nine generations, and the titres of wMel displayed a similar fluctuating trans-generational trend. There was a significant positive correlation between the transmission rate and the titre of wMel. Reciprocal crossings between wMel-transinfected and uninfected fruit flies revealed that wMel could induce cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) at different initial titres, but the intensity of CI was not significantly correlated with the initial titre of wMel. Quantitative PCR analysis showed that the immune genes Drsl5 and Spn38F displayed a significant transcriptional response to wMel transfection, with an obvious negative correlation with the titre of wMel at the 3rd and 4th generations. Furthermore, RNA interference-mediated knockdown of Drsl5 and Spn38F elicited a drastic increase in the titre of wMel. In combination, our study suggests that the trans-generational transmission of wMel is modulated by its density, and the immune genes are involved in the regulation of Wolbachia density.

RevDate: 2021-05-28

Li C, He M, Cui Y, et al (2021)

Insights into the mechanism of shortened developmental duration and accelerated weight gain associated with Wolbachia infection in Hylyphantes graminicola.

Integrative zoology [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia infection is known to affect host reproduction and development. To date, however, the underlying mechanism related to the effects of Wolbachia on host development has not yet been reported. Here, we compared the developmental duration and body weight in different instars of Wolbachia-positive (W+) and Wolbachia-negative (W-) spiders (Hylyphantes graminicola) and detected the relative expression levels of 6 insulin-related genes and 3 ecdysone-related genes using reverse transcription qPCR. Results showed that the developmental duration was significantly shortened in W+ spiders compared with W- spiders. Furthermore, W+ spiders were significantly heavier than W- spiders at the 3rd and 4th instars, although no significant differences in body weight were observed after maturity. We also found that the expression levels of insulin-like growth factor-2 mRNA-binding protein-1, insulin-degrading enzyme, and ecdysone-inducible protein-1 genes were significantly down-regulated in W+ spiders compared with W- spiders, whereas the expression levels of insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-1, insulin-like peptide receptor, insulin receptor substrate 2-B, insulin-like, ecdysone-induced protein-2, and ecdysone receptor genes were significantly up-regulated in W+ spiders. Our results suggest that Wolbachia may influence host development by affecting insulin and ecdysone signaling pathways.

RevDate: 2021-04-30

Tain LS, Sehlke R, Meilenbrock RL, et al (2021)

Tissue-specific modulation of gene expression in response to lowered insulin signalling in Drosophila.

eLife, 10:.

Reduced activity of the insulin/IGF signalling network increases health during ageing in multiple species. Diverse and tissue-specific mechanisms drive the health improvement. Here, we performed tissue-specific transcriptional and proteomic profiling of long-lived Drosophila dilp2-3,5 mutants, and identified tissue-specific regulation of >3600 transcripts and >3700 proteins. Most expression changes were regulated post-transcriptionally in the fat body, and only in mutants infected with the endosymbiotic bacteria, Wolbachia pipientis, which increases their lifespan. Bioinformatic analysis identified reduced co-translational ER targeting of secreted and membrane-associated proteins and increased DNA damage/repair response proteins. Accordingly, age-related DNA damage and genome instability were lower in fat body of the mutant, and overexpression of a minichromosome maintenance protein subunit extended lifespan. Proteins involved in carbohydrate metabolism showed altered expression in the mutant intestine, and gut-specific overexpression of a lysosomal mannosidase increased autophagy, gut homeostasis, and lifespan. These processes are candidates for combatting ageing-related decline in other organisms.

RevDate: 2021-04-23

Kwarteng A, Asiedu E, Sylverken A, et al (2021)

In silico drug repurposing for filarial infection predicts nilotinib and paritaprevir as potential inhibitors of the Wolbachia 5'-aminolevulinic acid synthase.

Scientific reports, 11(1):8455.

Filarial infections affect millions of individuals and are responsible for some notorious disabilities. Current treatment options involve repeated mass drug administrations, which have been met with several challenges despite some successes. Administration of doxycycline, an anti-Wolbachia agent, has shown clinical effectiveness but has several limitations, including long treatment durations and contraindications. We describe the use of an in silico drug repurposing approach to screening a library of over 3200 FDA-approved medications against the filarial endosymbiont, Wolbachia. We target the enzyme which catalyzes the first step of heme biosynthesis in the Wolbachia. This presents an opportunity to inhibit heme synthesis, which leads to depriving the filarial worm of heme, resulting in a subsequent macrofilaricidal effect. High throughput virtual screening, molecular docking and molecular simulations with binding energy calculations led to the identification of paritaprevir and nilotinib as potential anti-Wolbachia agents. Having higher binding affinities to the catalytic pocket than the natural substrate, these drugs have the structural potential to bind and engage active site residues of the wolbachia 5'-Aminolevulinic Acid Synthase. We hereby propose paritaprevir and nilotinib for experimental validations as anti-Wolbachia agents.

RevDate: 2021-04-23

Lim L, AH Ab Majid (2021)

Characterization of bacterial communities associated with blood-fed and starved tropical bed bugs, Cimex hemipterus (F.) (Hemiptera): a high throughput metabarcoding analysis.

Scientific reports, 11(1):8465.

With the development of new metagenomic techniques, the microbial community structure of common bed bugs, Cimex lectularius, is well-studied, while information regarding the constituents of the bacterial communities associated with tropical bed bugs, Cimex hemipterus, is lacking. In this study, the bacteria communities in the blood-fed and starved tropical bed bugs were analysed and characterized by amplifying the v3-v4 hypervariable region of the 16S rRNA gene region, followed by MiSeq Illumina sequencing. Across all samples, Proteobacteria made up more than 99% of the microbial community. An alpha-proteobacterium Wolbachia and gamma-proteobacterium, including Dickeya chrysanthemi and Pseudomonas, were the dominant OTUs at the genus level. Although the dominant OTUs of bacterial communities of blood-fed and starved bed bugs were the same, bacterial genera present in lower numbers were varied. The bacteria load in starved bed bugs was also higher than blood-fed bed bugs.

RevDate: 2021-04-21

Jeffries CL, Cansado-Utrilla C, Beavogui AH, et al (2021)

Evidence for natural hybridization and novel Wolbachia strain superinfections in the Anopheles gambiae complex from Guinea.

Royal Society open science, 8(4):202032.

Wolbachia, a widespread bacterium which can influence mosquito-borne pathogen transmission, has recently been detected within Anopheles (An.) species that are malaria vectors in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although studies have reported Wolbachia strains in the An. gambiae complex, apparent low density and prevalence rates require confirmation. In this study, wild Anopheles mosquitoes collected from two regions of Guinea were investigated. In contrast with previous studies, RNA was extracted from adult females (n = 516) to increase the chances for the detection of actively expressed Wolbachia genes, determine Wolbachia prevalence rates and estimate relative strain densities. Molecular confirmation of mosquito species and Wolbachia multilocus sequence typing (MLST) were carried out to analyse phylogenetic relationships of mosquito hosts and newly discovered Wolbachia strains. Strains were detected in An. melas (prevalence rate of 11.6%-16/138) and hybrids between An. melas and An. gambiae sensu stricto (prevalence rate of 40.0%-6/15) from Senguelen in the Maferinyah region. Furthermore, a novel high-density strain, termed wAnsX, was found in an unclassified Anopheles species. The discovery of novel Wolbachia strains (particularly in members, and hybrids, of the An. gambiae complex) provides further candidate strains that could be used for future Wolbachia-based malaria biocontrol strategies.

RevDate: 2021-06-27

Walker T, Quek S, Jeffries CL, et al (2021)

Stable high-density and maternally inherited Wolbachia infections in Anopheles moucheti and Anopheles demeilloni mosquitoes.

Current biology : CB, 31(11):2310-2320.e5.

Wolbachia, a widespread bacterium that can reduce pathogen transmission in mosquitoes, has recently been reported to be present in Anopheles (An.) species. In wild populations of the An. gambiae complex, the primary vectors of Plasmodium malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa, Wolbachia DNA sequences at low density and infection frequencies have been detected. As the majority of studies have used highly sensitive nested PCR as the only method of detection, more robust evidence is required to determine whether Wolbachia strains are established as endosymbionts in Anopheles species. Here, we describe high-density Wolbachia infections in geographically diverse populations of An. moucheti and An. demeilloni. Fluorescent in situ hybridization localized a heavy infection in the ovaries of An. moucheti, and maternal transmission was observed. Genome sequencing of both Wolbachia strains obtained genome depths and coverages comparable to those of other known infections. Notably, homologs of cytoplasmic incompatibility factor (cif) genes were present, indicating that these strains possess the capacity to induce the cytoplasmic incompatibility phenotype, which allows Wolbachia to spread through host populations. These strains should be further investigated as candidates for use in Wolbachia biocontrol strategies in Anopheles aiming to reduce the transmission of malaria.

RevDate: 2021-06-11

Edenborough KM, Flores HA, Simmons CP, et al (2021)

Using Wolbachia to Eliminate Dengue: Will the Virus Fight Back?.

Journal of virology, 95(13):e0220320.

Recent field trials have demonstrated that dengue incidence can be substantially reduced by introgressing strains of the endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia into Aedes aegypti mosquito populations. This strategy relies on Wolbachia reducing the susceptibility of Ae. aegypti to disseminated infection by positive-sense RNA viruses like dengue. However, RNA viruses are well known to adapt to antiviral pressures. Here, we review the viral infection stages where selection for Wolbachia-resistant virus variants could occur. We also consider the genetic constraints imposed on viruses that alternate between vertebrate and invertebrate hosts, and the likely selection pressures to which dengue virus might adapt in order to be effectively transmitted by Ae. aegypti that carry Wolbachia. While there are hurdles to dengue viruses developing resistance to Wolbachia, we suggest that long-term surveillance for resistant viruses should be an integral component of Wolbachia-introgression biocontrol programs.

RevDate: 2021-05-07

Hu L, Yang C, Hui Y, et al (2021)

Mosquito Control Based on Pesticides and Endosymbiotic Bacterium Wolbachia.

Bulletin of mathematical biology, 83(5):58.

Mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue fever and Zika, have posed a serious threat to human health around the world. Controlling vector mosquitoes is an effective method to prevent these diseases. Spraying pesticides has been the main approach of reducing mosquito population, but it is not a sustainable solution due to the growing insecticide resistance. One promising complementary method is the release of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes into wild mosquito populations, which has been proven to be a novel and environment-friendly way for mosquito control. In this paper, we incorporate consideration of releasing infected sterile mosquitoes and spraying pesticides to aim to reduce wild mosquito populations based on the population replacement model. We present the estimations for the number of wild mosquitoes or infection density in a normal environment and then discuss how to offset the effect of the heatwave, which can cause infected mosquitoes to lose Wolbachia infection. Finally, we give the waiting time to suppress wild mosquito population to a given threshold size by numerical simulations.

RevDate: 2021-07-05
CmpDate: 2021-07-05

Wei Y, Wang J, Wei YH, et al (2021)

Vector Competence for DENV-2 Among Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) Populations in China.

Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 11:649975.

Aedes albopictus is a vector of over 20 arboviruses that has spread throughout the world, mainly in the second half of the twentieth century. Approximately 50-100 million people are infected with dengue virus (DENV) transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes each year, leading to heavy economic burdens for both governments and individuals, among countless other negative consequences. Understanding the vector competence of vector species is critical for effectively preventing and controlling vector-borne diseases. Accordingly, in this study, vector competence was evaluated by quantitative analysis of DENV-2 loads in mosquito tissues (midguts, heads, and salivary glands) and whole mosquitoes through real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) analysis. Wolbachia and the expression of immune-associated genes (Rel1, Rel2, Dicer2, and STAT) in mosquitoes were also detected by RT-qPCR to explore their impact on vector competence. The amount of DENV-2 in the mosquito midguts, heads, and salivary glands from southern-western China were found to be lower than those from eastern-central-northern China. The DENV-2 loads in whole mosquitoes showed a negative correlation with Rel1 gene (r = -0.285, P = 0.011) and STAT gene expression levels (r = -0.289, P = 0.009). In terms of Wolbachia strains, the density of the wAlbB strain was found to be significantly higher than that of the wAlbA strain in the eight Ae. albopictus populations, and the relative density of the wAlbB strain in mosquitoes from southern-western China was higher than those from eastern-central-northern China. The relative density of the wAlbB strain showed a negative correlation with the mean loads of DENV-2 in the heads (r = -0.729, P = 0.040), salivary glands (r = -0.785, P = 0.021), and whole mosquitoes (r = -0.909, P = 0.002). Thus, there are lower DENV-2 loads in the mosquitoes from southern-western China, which may be related to the innate immunity of mosquitoes as affected by Rel1 in the Toll pathway, STAT in the JAK-STAT pathway, and the relative density of the wAlbB strain.

RevDate: 2021-04-06

Che-Mendoza A, Martin-Park A, Chávez-Trava JM, et al (2021)

Abundance and Seasonality of Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) in Two Suburban Localities of South Mexico, With Implications for Wolbachia (Rickettsiales: Rickettsiaceae)-Carrying Male Releases for Population Suppression.

Journal of medical entomology pii:6208904 [Epub ahead of print].

We conducted a baseline characterization of the abundance and seasonality of Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus, 1762)-a vector of dengue, chikungunya, and Zika-in two suburban localities of Yucatan, Mexico, as the first step in the implementation of an integrated vector management (IVM) plan combining 'traditional Aedes control' (source reduction/truck-mounted ultra-low volume [ULV] spraying) and incompatible insect technique/sterile insect technique for population suppression in Yucatan, Mexico. Weekly entomological collections with ovitraps and BG-sentinel traps were performed in 1-ha quadrants of both localities for 1 yr. Three distinct periods/phases were identified, closely associated with precipitation: 1) a phase of low population abundance during the dry season (weekly average of Aedes eggs per ovitrap and adults per BG trap = 15.51 ± 0.71 and 10.07 ± 0.88, respectively); 2) a phase of population growth and greatest abundance of Aedes (49.03 ± 1.48 eggs and 25.69 ± 1.31 adults) during the rainy season; and finally 3) a phase of decline among populations (20.91 ± 0.97 eggs and 3.24 ± 0.21 adults) after the peak of the rainy season. Seasonal abundance and dynamics of Ae. aegypti populations suggest that it is feasible to develop and implement time-specific actions as part of an IVM approach incorporating integrating novel technologies (such as rear-and-release of Wolbachia-infected males) with classic (insecticide-based) approaches implemented routinely for vector control. In agreement with the local vector control program, we propose a pilot IVM strategy structured in a preparation phase, an attack phase with traditional vector control, and a suppression phase with inundative releases, which are described in this paper.

RevDate: 2021-06-14

Jiang N, Xue DY, Han HX, et al (2021)

Estimating hybridization as a consequence of climatic fluctuations: A case study of two geometridae species.

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 161:107168.

In some cases, the phylogenetic analysis based on the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the nuclear DNA (ncDNA) are discordant. There are three major causes of the discordance within insects, including hybridization, incomplete lineage sorting (ILS) and infection by Wolbachia. In this study, we used a combination of multilocus and coalescent analyses to explore these processes occurred during the evolutionary history of Limbatochlamys rosthorni Rothschild, 1894 and Limbatochlamys pararosthorni Han and Xue, 2005. The ncDNA phylogenetic tree supported two reciprocally monophyletic species, whereas the mtDNA results failed to reveal such a structure and revealed an extensive level of admixture between two species. Because of very low Wolbachia infection rates (<20%), we firstly excluded this reason for the discordance. The fixed nucleotide differences and large genetic distances (1.5-2.5%) at the ncDNA genes suggested that the lineage sorting process between these two species is nearly complete and two species have experienced a prolonged period of independent evolution. Thus, we secondly excluded ILS. Sharing haplotypes, mtDNA gene flow occurring and the transitional samples with morphological features supported hybridization. The distribution contraction during glaciations and postglacial distribution expansion might have facilitated hybridization. Taken together, our study indicates that the current genetic structure of L. rosthorni and L. pararosthorni is the results of contraction and fragmentation into separated refugia during glaciations, followed by postglacial expansion and admixture.

RevDate: 2021-05-18

Konecka E, Z Olszanowski (2021)

Wolbachia supergroup E found in Hypochthonius rufulus (Acari: Oribatida) in Poland.

Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases, 91:104829.

Data on the spread of intracellular bacteria in oribatid mites (Acari: Oribatida) are scarce. Our work fills a gap in the research on endosymbionts in this group of invertebrates and provides information on Wolbachia infection in Hypochthonius rufulus (Acari: Oribatida) from soil, litter and moss sample collected in south-eastern Poland. This is the first report of Wolbachia in H. rufulus. Phylogeny based on the analysis of the 16S rRNA, gatB, fbpA, gltA, ftsZ and hcpA gene sequences revealed that Wolbachia from H. rufulus represented supergroup E and was related to bacterial endosymbionts of Collembola. The unique sequence within Wolbachia supergroup E was detected for the 16S rRNA gene of the bacteria from H. rufulus. The sequences of Wolbachia 16S rRNA and housekeeping genes have been deposited in publicly available databases and are an important source of molecular data for comparative studies.

RevDate: 2021-03-30

Flatau R, Segoli M, H Hawlena (2021)

Wolbachia Endosymbionts of Fleas Occur in All Females but Rarely in Males and Do Not Show Evidence of Obligatory Relationships, Fitness Effects, or Sex-Distorting Manipulations.

Frontiers in microbiology, 12:649248.

The widespread temporal and spatial persistence of endosymbionts in arthropod host populations, despite potential conflicts with their hosts and fluctuating environmental conditions, is puzzling. Here, we disentangled three main mechanisms that are commonly proposed to explain such persistence, namely, obligatory relationships, in which the host is fully dependent on its endosymbiont, fitness advantages conferred by the endosymbiont, and reproductive manipulations imposed by the endosymbiont. Our model system reflects an extreme case, in which the Wolbachia endosymbiont persists in all female flea hosts but rarely in male ones. We cured fleas of both sexes of Wolbachia but found no indications for either lower reproduction, offspring survival, or a change in the offspring sex ratio, compared to Wolbacia-infected fleas. These results do not support any of the suggested mechanisms. We highlight future directions to advance our understanding of endosymbiont persistence in fleas, as well as in other model systems, with extreme sex-differences in endosymbiont persistence. Insights from such studies are predicted to shed light on the evolution and ecology of arthropod-endosymbiont interactions in nature.

RevDate: 2021-07-10

Pilgrim J, Thongprem P, Davison HR, et al (2021)

Torix Rickettsia are widespread in arthropods and reflect a neglected symbiosis.

GigaScience, 10(3):.

BACKGROUND: Rickettsia are intracellular bacteria best known as the causative agents of human and animal diseases. Although these medically important Rickettsia are often transmitted via haematophagous arthropods, other Rickettsia, such as those in the Torix group, appear to reside exclusively in invertebrates and protists with no secondary vertebrate host. Importantly, little is known about the diversity or host range of Torix group Rickettsia.

RESULTS: This study describes the serendipitous discovery of Rickettsia amplicons in the Barcode of Life Data System (BOLD), a sequence database specifically designed for the curation of mitochondrial DNA barcodes. Of 184,585 barcode sequences analysed, Rickettsia is observed in ∼0.41% of barcode submissions and is more likely to be found than Wolbachia (0.17%). The Torix group of Rickettsia are shown to account for 95% of all unintended amplifications from the genus. A further targeted PCR screen of 1,612 individuals from 169 terrestrial and aquatic invertebrate species identified mostly Torix strains and supports the "aquatic hot spot" hypothesis for Torix infection. Furthermore, the analysis of 1,341 SRA deposits indicates that Torix infections represent a significant proportion of all Rickettsia symbioses found in arthropod genome projects.

CONCLUSIONS: This study supports a previous hypothesis that suggests that Torix Rickettsia are overrepresented in aquatic insects. In addition, multiple methods reveal further putative hot spots of Torix Rickettsia infection, including in phloem-feeding bugs, parasitoid wasps, spiders, and vectors of disease. The unknown host effects and transmission strategies of these endosymbionts make these newly discovered associations important to inform future directions of investigation involving the understudied Torix Rickettsia.

RevDate: 2021-06-23
CmpDate: 2021-06-23

Abrun P, Ashouri A, Duplouy A, et al (2021)

Wolbachia impairs post-eclosion host preference in a parasitoid wasp.

Die Naturwissenschaften, 108(2):13.

Host preference behavior can result in adaptive advantages with important consequences for the fitness of individuals. Hopkin's host-selection principle (HHSP) suggests that organisms at higher trophic levels demonstrate a preference for the host species on which they developed during their own larval stage. Although investigated in many herbivorous and predatory insects, the HHSP has, to our knowledge, never been tested in the context of insects hosting selfish endosymbiotic passengers. Here, we investigated the effect of infection with the facultative bacterial symbiont Wolbachia on post-eclosion host preference in the parasitoid wasp Trichogramma brassicae (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae). We compared host preference in Wolbachia-infected individuals and uninfected adult female parasitoids after rearing them on two different Lepidopteran hosts, namely the flour moth Ephestia kuehniella Zeller (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) or the grain moth Sitotroga cerealella (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) in choice and no choice experimental design (n = 120 wasps per each choice/no choice experiments). We showed that in T. brassicae, Wolbachia affects the post-eclosion host preference of female wasps. Wolbachia-infected wasps did not show any host preference and more frequently switched hosts in the laboratory, while uninfected wasps significantly preferred to lay eggs on the host species they developed on. Additionally, Wolbachia significantly improved the emergence rate of infected wasps when reared on new hosts. Altogether, our results revealed that the wasp's infection with Wolbachia may lead to impairment of post-eclosion host preference and facilitates growing up on different host species. The impairment of host preference by Wolbachia may allow T. brassicae to shift between hosts, a behavior that might have important evolutionary consequences for the wasp and its symbiont.

RevDate: 2021-03-16

Wang YT, Shen RX, Xing D, et al (2021)

Metagenome Sequencing Reveals the Midgut Microbiota Makeup of Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus and Its Possible Relationship With Insecticide Resistance.

Frontiers in microbiology, 12:625539.

Midgut microbiota can participate in the detoxification and metabolism processes in insects, but there are few reports on the relationship between midgut microbiota and insecticide resistance in mosquitoes. In this study, we performed metagenomic sequencing on a susceptible strain (SS), a field-collected Hainan strain (HN), and a deltamethrin-resistant strain (RR) of Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus to understand the diversity and functions of their midgut microbiota. The results revealed differences in midgut microbiota among the three strains of Cx. pipiens quinquefasciatus. At the phylum level, Proteobacteria was the most prominent, accounting for nearly 70% of their midgut microbes. At the genus level, Aeromonas made up the highest proportion. In addition, Aeromonas, Morganella, Elizabethkingia, Enterobacter, Cedecea, and Thorsellia showed significant differences between strains. At the species level, Bacillus cereus, Enterobacter cloacae complex sp. 4DZ3-17B2, Streptomyces sp. CNQ329, and some species of Pseudomonas and Wolbachia were more abundant in the two resistant strains. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that the SS strain had significantly different metagenomic functions than the two deltamethrin-resistant strains (HN and RR strain). The HN and RR strains differed from the SS strain in more than 10 Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways. The analysis of species abundance and functional diversity can provide directions for future studies.

RevDate: 2021-03-16

Martins M, Ramos LFC, Murillo JR, et al (2021)

Comprehensive Quantitative Proteome Analysis of Aedes aegypti Identifies Proteins and Pathways Involved in Wolbachia pipientis and Zika Virus Interference Phenomenon.

Frontiers in physiology, 12:642237.

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a global public health emergency due to its association with microcephaly, Guillain-Barré syndrome, neuropathy, and myelitis in children and adults. A total of 87 countries have had evidence of autochthonous mosquito-borne transmission of ZIKV, distributed across four continents, and no antivirus therapy or vaccines are available. Therefore, several strategies have been developed to target the main mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti, to reduce the burden of different arboviruses. Among such strategies, the use of the maternally-inherited endosymbiont Wolbachia pipientis has been applied successfully to reduce virus susceptibility and decrease transmission. However, the mechanisms by which Wolbachia orchestrate resistance to ZIKV infection remain to be elucidated. In this study, we apply isobaric labeling quantitative mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics to quantify proteins and identify pathways altered during ZIKV infection; Wolbachia infection; co-infection with Wolbachia/ZIKV in the A. aegypti heads and salivary glands. We show that Wolbachia regulates proteins involved in reactive oxygen species production, regulates humoral immune response, and antioxidant production. The reduction of ZIKV polyprotein in the presence of Wolbachia in mosquitoes was determined by MS and corroborates the idea that Wolbachia helps to block ZIKV infections in A. aegypti. The present study offers a rich resource of data that may help to elucidate mechanisms by which Wolbachia orchestrate resistance to ZIKV infection in A. aegypti, and represents a step further on the development of new targeted methods to detect and quantify ZIKV and Wolbachia directly in complex tissues.

RevDate: 2021-03-11

Dobson SL (2021)

When More is Less: Mosquito Population Suppression Using Sterile, Incompatible and Genetically Modified Male Mosquitoes.

Journal of medical entomology pii:6168294 [Epub ahead of print].

The current review of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) is motivated by new technologies and the recent renaissance of male release field trials, which is driving an evolution in mosquito control and regulation. Practitioners that are releasing male mosquitoes would do well to learn from past successes and failures, including political and public engagement complications. With examples that include nuanced integrations of the different technologies, e.g., combinations of Wolbachia and irradiation, it is critical that scientists understand and communicate accurately about the technologies, including their evolving management by different regulatory agencies in the USA. Some male release approaches are considered 'pesticides' and regulated by federal and state agencies, while other male release approaches are unregulated. It is important to consider how the new technologies fit with the more 'traditional' chemical applications of adulticides and larvicides. The economics of male release programs are substantially different from traditional control costs, which can be a challenge to their adoption by abatement districts. However, there is substantial need to overcome these complications and challenges, because the problem with invasive mosquitoes grows ever worse with factors that include insecticide resistance, globalization and climate change.

RevDate: 2021-06-25

Shropshire JD, Rosenberg R, SR Bordenstein (2021)

The impacts of cytoplasmic incompatibility factor (cifA and cifB) genetic variation on phenotypes.

Genetics, 217(1):1-13.

Wolbachia are maternally transmitted, intracellular bacteria that can often selfishly spread through arthropod populations via cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). CI manifests as embryonic death when males expressing prophage WO genes cifA and cifB mate with uninfected females or females harboring an incompatible Wolbachia strain. Females with a compatible cifA-expressing strain rescue CI. Thus, cif-mediated CI confers a relative fitness advantage to females transmitting Wolbachia. However, whether cif sequence variation underpins incompatibilities between Wolbachia strains and variation in CI penetrance remains unknown. Here, we engineer Drosophila melanogaster to transgenically express cognate and non-cognate cif homologs and assess their CI and rescue capability. Cognate expression revealed that cifA;B native to D. melanogaster causes strong CI, and cognate cifA;B homologs from two other Drosophila-associated Wolbachia cause weak transgenic CI, including the first demonstration of phylogenetic type 2 cifA;B CI. Intriguingly, non-cognate expression of cifA and cifB alleles from different strains revealed that cifA homologs generally contribute to strong transgenic CI and interchangeable rescue despite their evolutionary divergence, and cifB genetic divergence contributes to weak or no transgenic CI. Finally, we find that a type 1 cifA can rescue CI caused by a genetically divergent type 2 cifA;B in a manner consistent with unidirectional incompatibility. By genetically dissecting individual CI functions for type 1 and 2 cifA and cifB, this work illuminates new relationships between cif genotype and CI phenotype. We discuss the relevance of these findings to CI's genetic basis, phenotypic variation patterns, and mechanism.

RevDate: 2021-03-16

Zheng Z, Hu X, Xu Y, et al (2021)

Bacterial Composition and Diversity of the Digestive Tract of Odontomachus monticola Emery and Ectomomyrmex javanus Mayr.

Insects, 12(2):.

Ponerine ants are generalist predators feeding on a variety of small arthropods, annelids, and isopods; however, knowledge of their bacterial communities is rather limited. This study investigated the bacterial composition and diversity in the digestive tract (different gut sections and the infrabuccal pockets (IBPs)) of two ponerine ant species (Odontomachus monticola Emery and Ectomomyrmex javanus Mayr) distributed in northwestern China using high-throughput sequencing. We found that several dominant bacteria that exist in other predatory ants were also detected in these two ponerine ant species, including Wolbachia, Mesoplasma, and Spiroplasma. Bacterial communities of these two ant species were differed significantly from each other, and significant differences were also observed across their colonies, showing distinctive inter-colony characteristics. Moreover, bacterial communities between the gut sections (crops, midguts, and hindguts) of workers were highly similar within colony, but they were clearly different from those in IBPs. Further, bacterial communities in the larvae of O. monticola were similar to those in the IBPs of workers, but significantly different from those in gut sections. We presume that the bacterial composition and diversity in ponerine ants are related to their social behavior and feeding habits, and bacterial communities in the IBPs may play a potential role in their social life.


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
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E-mail: RJR8222@gmail.com

Collection of publications by R J Robbins

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

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

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

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

short personal version

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

long standard version

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