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14 Oct 2019 at 01:35
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Bibliography on: Wolbachia


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

Created with PubMed® Query: wolbachia NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)

RevDate: 2019-10-11

Caputo B, Moretti R, Manica M, et al (2019)

A bacterium against the tiger: preliminary evidence of fertility reduction after release of Aedes albopictus males with manipulated Wolbachia infection in an Italian urban area.

Pest management science [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Novel tools are needed to reduce nuisance and risk of exotic arbovirus transmission associated with the colonization of temperate regions by Aedes albopictus. Incompatible Insect Technique (IIT) is a population suppression approach based on cytoplasmic incompatibility between males with manipulated endosymbionts and wild females. Here we present the results of the first field experiment in Europe to assess the capacity of an Ae. albopictus line (ARwP) deprived of its natural endosymbiont Wolbachia and transinfected with a Wolbachia strain from the mosquito Culex pipiens - to sterilize wild females.

RESULTS: We released ~4500 ARwP males weekly for 6 weeks in a green area within urban Rome (Italy) and carried out egg (N = 13 442), female (N = 128) and male (N = 352) collections. Egg (N = 13 783) and female (N = 48) collections were also carried out in two untreated Control Sites. The percentage of viable eggs during releases was on average significantly lower in Treated than in Control Sites, with the highest difference (16%) after the fourth release. The ARwP/wild male ratio in the release spots between day-3 from the first ARwP male release and day-7 after the last release was on average 7:10. Released males survived up to two weeks. About 30% of the females collected in the release spots showed 100% sterility and 20% a strongly reduced fertility compared to Control Sites.

CONCLUSIONS: Results support the potential of IIT as a tool to contribute to Ae. albopictus control in the urban context and stress the need of larger field trials to evaluate the cost-efficacy of the approach in suppressing wild populations. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-10-10

Becking T, Chebbi MA, Giraud I, et al (2019)

Sex chromosomes control vertical transmission of feminizing Wolbachia symbionts in an isopod.

PLoS biology, 17(10):e3000438 pii:PBIOLOGY-D-19-01022 [Epub ahead of print].

Microbial endosymbiosis is widespread in animals, with major ecological and evolutionary implications. Successful symbiosis relies on efficient vertical transmission through host generations. However, when symbionts negatively affect host fitness, hosts are expected to evolve suppression of symbiont effects or transmission. Here, we show that sex chromosomes control vertical transmission of feminizing Wolbachia endosymbionts in the isopod Armadillidium nasatum. Theory predicts that the invasion of an XY/XX species by cytoplasmic sex ratio distorters is unlikely because it leads to fixation of the unusual (and often lethal or infertile) YY genotype. We demonstrate that A. nasatum X and Y sex chromosomes are genetically highly similar and that YY individuals are viable and fertile, thereby enabling Wolbachia spread in this XY-XX species. Nevertheless, we show that Wolbachia cannot drive fixation of YY individuals, because infected YY females do not transmit Wolbachia to their offspring, unlike XX and XY females. The genetic basis fits the model of a Y-linked recessive allele (associated with an X-linked dominant allele), in which the homozygous state suppresses Wolbachia transmission. Moreover, production of all-male progenies by infected YY females restores a balanced sex ratio at the host population level. This suggests that blocking of Wolbachia transmission by YY females may have evolved to suppress feminization, thereby offering a whole new perspective on the evolutionary interplay between microbial symbionts and host sex chromosomes.

RevDate: 2019-10-10

Nainu F, Trenerry A, KN Johnson (2019)

Wolbachia-mediated antiviral protection is cell-autonomous.

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

Vector-borne viral diseases pose significant risks to human health. To control the transmission of these viruses, a number of approaches are required. The ability of the intracellular bacteria Wolbachia to limit viral accumulation and transmission in some arthropod hosts, highlights its potential as a biocontrol agent. Whilst Wolbachia can reduce the transmission of several epidemiologically important viruses, protection is not consistent amongst all insects, viruses and strains of Wolbachia, which confounds elucidation of the mechanisms that underly this protection. Evidence of different mechanisms has emerged, but is not always consistent, suggesting the tripartite interaction may be complex. Here we provide evidence that Wolbachia-mediated antiviral protection is dependent on the presence of Wolbachia in individual cells, and cannot be conferred to surrounding cells. Our results suggest that protection is cell-autonomous, and this has several mechanistic implications, which can direct future research.

RevDate: 2019-10-09

Wang X, Xiong X, Cao W, et al (2019)

Genome assembly of the A-group Wolbachia in Nasonia oneida using linked-reads technology.

Genome biology and evolution pii:5584270 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia are obligate intracellular bacteria which commonly infect various nematode and arthropod species. Genome sequences have been generated from arthropod samples following enrichment for the intracellular bacteria, and genomes have also been assembled from arthropod whole-genome sequencing projects. However, these methods remain challenging for infections that occur at low titers in hosts. Here we report the first Wolbachia genome assembled from host sequences using 10X Genomics linked-reads technology. The high read depth attainable by this method allows for recovery of intracellular bacteria that are at low concentrations. Based on the depth differences (714X for the insect and 59X for the bacterium), we assembled the genome of a Wolbachia in the parasitoid jewel wasp species Nasonia oneida. The final draft assembly consists of 1,293,406 bp in 47 scaffolds with 1,114 coding genes and 97.01% genome completeness assessed by checkM. Comparisons of the five Multi Locus Sequence Typing genes revealed that the sequenced Wolbachia genome is the A1 strain (henceforth wOneA1) previously reported in N. oneida. Pyrosequencing confirms that the wasp strain lacks A2 and B types previously detected in this insect, which were likely lost during laboratory culturing. Assembling bacterial genomes from host genome projects can provide an effective method for sequencing bacterial genomes, even when the infections occur at low density in sampled tissues.

RevDate: 2019-10-09

Bing XL, Lu YJ, Xia CB, et al (2019)

Transcriptome of Tetranychus urticae embryos reveals insights into Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility.

Insect molecular biology [Epub ahead of print].

The endosymbiont Wolbachia is known for manipulating host reproduction in selfish ways. However, the molecular mechanisms have not yet been investigated in embryos. Here, we found that Wolbachia had no effect on the number of deposited eggs in Tetranychus urticae Koch (Acari: Tetranychidae) but caused two types of reproductive manipulation: killing uninfected female embryos via cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) and increasing the hatch ratio of infected female embryos. RNA sequencing analyses showed that 145 genes were differentially expressed between Wolbachia-infected (WI) embryos and Wolbachia-uninfected (WU) embryos. Wolbachia infection down-regulated mRNA expression of glutathione S-transferase that could buffer oxidative stress. In addition, 1613 and 294 genes were identified as CI-specific up/down-regulated genes. Compared to WU and WI embryos, embryos of CI cross strongly expressed genes involved in transcription, translation, tissue morphogenesis, DNA damage, and mRNA surveillance. In contrast, most of the genes associated with energy production and metabolism were down-regulated in the CI embryos compared to WU and WI embryos, which provides some clues to the cause of death of CI embryos. These results identify several genes that could be candidates for explaining Wolbachia-induced CI. Our data formed a basis to help elucidate the molecular consequences of CI in embryos. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-10-09

Li F, Li P, Hua H, et al (2019)

Diversity, Tissue Localization, and Infection Pattern of Bacterial Symbionts of the White-Backed Planthopper, Sogatella furcifera (Hemiptera: Delphacidae).

Microbial ecology pii:10.1007/s00248-019-01433-4 [Epub ahead of print].

The white-backed planthopper (WBPH), Sogatella furcifera (Horváth), is a destructive pest of rice. Bacterial symbionts play an important role in insect hosts, especially hemipteran hosts. This study was designed to examine the bacterial symbionts of the WBPH using 16S rDNA high-throughput sequencing. A total of 63 and 177 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were identified in females and males of three WBPH populations, respectively. These OTUs included bacteria of 75 genera from 11 phyla, where Wolbachia, Cardinium, and Asaia were the dominant genera, accounting for over 97.99% of all the symbiotic bacteria. Fluorescence in situ hybridization detected Wolbachia, Cardinium, and Asaia in the salivary glands, guts, testes, and eggs of the WBPH, indicating the potential for both horizontal and vertical transmission. Moreover, the infection pattern of the three dominant bacterial symbionts was detected in six WBPH populations. The frequencies of Wolbachia infection of females and Cardinium infection of both sexes were over 96.7%. Wolbachia infection of males ranged between 46.7 and 63.3%, which was significantly lower than that observed for females. Asaia infection of both sexes varied substantially among the populations. These results indicate that the complex host-symbiotic bacteria interaction is influenced by host sex and geographical origin and potentially by the transmission modes of the symbionts.

RevDate: 2019-10-08

Reynolds LA, Hornett EA, Jiggins CD, et al (2019)

Suppression of Wolbachia-mediated male-killing in the butterfly Hypolimnas bolina involves a single genomic region.

PeerJ, 7:e7677 pii:7677.

Background: Sex ratio distorting agents (maternally inherited symbionts and meiotically-driving sex chromosomes) are common in insects. When these agents rise to high frequencies they create strong population sex ratio bias and selection then favours mutations that act to restore the rare sex. Despite this strong selection pressure, the evolution of mutations that suppress sex ratio distorting elements appears to be constrained in many cases, where sex-biased populations persist for many generations. This scenario has been observed in the butterfly Hypolimnas bolina, where Wolbachia-mediated male killing endured for 800-1,000 generations across multiple populations before the evolution of suppression. Here we test the hypothesis that this evolutionary lag is the result of suppression being a multilocus trait requiring multiple mutations.

Methods: We developed genetic markers, based on conservation of synteny, for each H. bolina chromosome and verified coverage using recombinational mapping. We then used a Wolbachia-infected mapping family to assess each chromosome for the presence of loci required for male survival, as determined by the presence of markers in all surviving sons.

Results: Informative markers were obtained for each of the 31 chromosomes in H. bolina. The only marker that cosegregated with suppression was located on chromosome 25. A genomic region necessary for suppression has previously been located on this chromosome. We therefore conclude that a single genomic region of the H. bolina genome is necessary for male-killing suppression.

Discussion: The evolutionary lag observed in our system is not caused by a need for changes at multiple genomic locations. The findings favour hypotheses in which either multiple mutations are required within a single genomic region, or the suppressor mutation is a singularly rare event.

RevDate: 2019-09-30

Voronin D, Schnall E, Grote A, et al (2019)

Pyruvate produced by Brugia spp. via glycolysis is essential for maintaining the mutualistic association between the parasite and its endosymbiont, Wolbachia.

PLoS pathogens, 15(9):e1008085 pii:PPATHOGENS-D-19-01315 [Epub ahead of print].

Human parasitic nematodes are the causative agents of lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) and onchocerciasis (river blindness), diseases that are endemic to more than 80 countries and that consistently rank in the top ten for the highest number of years lived with disability. These filarial nematodes have evolved an obligate mutualistic association with an intracellular bacterium, Wolbachia, a symbiont that is essential for the successful development, reproduction, and survival of adult filarial worms. Elimination of the bacteria causes adult worms to die, making Wolbachia a primary target for developing new interventional tools to combat filariases. To further explore Wolbachia as a promising indirect macrofilaricidal drug target, the essential cellular processes that define the symbiotic Wolbachia-host interactions need to be identified. Genomic analyses revealed that while filarial nematodes encode all the enzymes necessary for glycolysis, Wolbachia does not encode the genes for three glycolytic enzymes: hexokinase, 6-phosphofructokinase, and pyruvate kinase. These enzymes are necessary for converting glucose into pyruvate. Wolbachia, however, has the full complement of genes required for gluconeogenesis starting with pyruvate, and for energy metabolism via the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Therefore, we hypothesized that Wolbachia might depend on host glycolysis to maintain a mutualistic association with their parasitic host. We did conditional experiments in vitro that confirmed that glycolysis and its end-product, pyruvate, sustain this symbiotic relationship. Analysis of alternative sources of pyruvate within the worm indicated that the filarial lactate dehydrogenase could also regulate the local intracellular concentration of pyruvate in proximity to Wolbachia and thus help control bacterial growth via molecular interactions with the bacteria. Lastly, we have shown that the parasite's pyruvate kinase, the enzyme that performs the last step in glycolysis, could be a potential novel anti-filarial drug target. Establishing that glycolysis is an essential component of symbiosis in filarial worms could have a broader impact on research focused on other intracellular bacteria-host interactions where the role of glycolysis in supporting intracellular survival of bacteria has been reported.

RevDate: 2019-09-30

Gawande SJ, Anandhan S, Ingle A, et al (2019)

Microbiome profiling of the onion thrips, Thrips tabaci Lindeman (Thysanoptera: Thripidae).

PloS one, 14(9):e0223281 pii:PONE-D-19-14970.

The gut microbial community structure of adult Thrips tabaci collected from 10 different agro-climatically diverse locations of India was characterized by using the Illumina MiSeq platform to amplify the V3 region of the 16S rRNA gene of bacteria present in the sampled insects. Analyses were performed to study the bacterial communities associated with Thrips tabaci in India. The complete bacterial metagenome of T. tabaci was comprised of 1662 OTUs of which 62.25% belong to known and 37.7% of unidentified/unknown bacteria. These OTUs constituted 21 bacterial phyla of 276 identified genera. Phylum Proteobacteria was predominant, followed by Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes and Cyanobacteria. Additionally, the occurrence of the reproductive endosymbiont, Wolbachia was detected at two locations (0.56%) of the total known OTUs. There is high variation in diversity and species richness among the different locations. Alpha-diversity metrics indicated the higher gut bacterial diversity at Bangalore and lowest at Rahuri whereas higher bacterial species richness at T. tabaci samples from Imphal and lowest at Jhalawar. Beta diversity analyses comparing bacterial communities between the samples showed distinct differences in bacterial community composition of T. tabaci samples from different locations. This paper also constitutes the first record of detailed bacterial communities associated with T. tabaci. The location-wise variation in microbial metagenome profile of T. tabaci suggests that bacterial diversity might be governed by its population genetic structure, environment and habitat.

RevDate: 2019-09-30

Detcharoen M, Arthofer W, Schlick-Steiner BC, et al (2019)

Wolbachia megadiversity: 99% of these microorganismic manipulators unknown.

FEMS microbiology ecology pii:5579019 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia (Alphaproteobacteria) are the most widespread endosymbionts of arthropods, manipulating their hosts by various means to maximize the number of host individuals infected. Based on quantitative analyses of the published literature from Web of Science® and of DNA sequences of arthropod-hosted Wolbachia from GenBank, we made plausible that less than one % of the expected 100,000 strains of Wolbachia in arthropods is known. Our findings suggest that more and globally better coordinated efforts in screening arthropods are needed to explore the true Wolbachia diversity and to help us understand the ecology and evolution of these host-endosymbiont interactions.

RevDate: 2019-09-30

Huang K, Kelly PJ, Zhang J, et al (2019)

Molecular Detection of Bartonella spp. in China and St. Kitts.

The Canadian journal of infectious diseases & medical microbiology = Journal canadien des maladies infectieuses et de la microbiologie medicale, 2019:3209013.

Bartonella are vector-borne hemotropic bacteria that infect a wide variety of hosts, including people. While there are PCR assays that can identify individual or groups of Bartonella, there is no reliable molecular method to simultaneously detect all species while maintaining genus specificity and sensitivity. By comparing highly conserved 16S rRNA sequences of the better-recognized Bartonella spp. on GenBank, we selected primers and probes for a genus-specific pan-Bartonella FRET-qPCR. Then, a gltA-based Bartonella PCR was established by selecting primers for a highly variable region of gltA, of which the sequenced amplicons could identify individual Bartonella spp. The pan-Bartonella FRET-qPCR did not detect negative controls (Brucella spp., Anaplasma spp., Rickettsia spp., Coxiella burnetii, and Wolbachia) but reliably detected as few as two copies of the positive control (Bartonella henselae) per reaction. There was complete agreement between the pan-Bartonella FRET-qPCR and the gltA-based Bartonella PCR in detecting Bartonella in convenience test samples from China and St. Kitts: cats (26%; 81/310), Ctenocephalides felis (20%; 12/60), cattle (24%; 23/98), and donkeys (4%; 1/20). Sequencing of the gltA-based Bartonella PCR products revealed B. henselae (70%; 57/81) and B. clarridgeiae (30%; 24/81) in cats and C. felis (67%; 8/12, and 33%; 4/12, respectively) and B. bovis in cattle (23.5%; 23/98) and donkeys (4.0%; 1/24). The pan-Bartonella FRET-qPCR and gltA-based Bartonella PCR we developed are highly sensitive and specific in detecting recognized Bartonella spp. in a single reaction. The pan-Bartonella FRET-qPCR is convenient requiring no gel electrophoresis and providing copy numbers, while the gltA-based Bartonella PCR reliably differentiates individual Bartonella species. The use of these PCRs should greatly facilitate large-scale surveillance studies and the diagnosis of infections in clinical samples.

RevDate: 2019-09-26

Andersen BJ, Rosa BA, Kupritz J, et al (2019)

Systems analysis-based assessment of post-treatment adverse events in lymphatic filariasis.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 13(9):e0007697 pii:PNTD-D-19-00756.

BACKGROUND: Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a neglected tropical disease, and the Global Program to Eliminate LF delivers mass drug administration (MDA) to 500 million people every year. Adverse events (AEs) are common after LF treatment.

To better understand the pathogenesis of AEs, we studied LF-patients from a treatment trial. Plasma levels of many filarial antigens increased post-treatment in individuals with AEs, and this is consistent with parasite death. Circulating immune complexes were not elevated in these participants, and the classical complement cascade was not activated. Multiple cytokines increased after treatment in persons with AEs. A transcriptomic analysis was performed for nine individuals with moderate systemic AEs and nine matched controls. Differential gene expression analysis identified a significant transcriptional signature associated with post-treatment AEs; 744 genes were upregulated. The transcriptional signature was enriched for TLR and NF-κB signaling. Increased expression of seven out of the top eight genes upregulated in persons with AEs were validated by qRT-PCR, including TLR2.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This is the first global study of changes in gene expression associated with AEs after treatment of lymphatic filariasis. Changes in cytokines were consistent with prior studies and with the RNAseq data. These results suggest that Wolbachia lipoprotein is involved in AE development, because it activates TLR2-TLR6 and downstream NF-κB. Additionally, LPS Binding Protein (LBP, which shuttles lipoproteins to TLR2) increased post-treatment in individuals with AEs. Improved understanding of the pathogenesis of AEs may lead to improved management, increased MDA compliance, and accelerated LF elimination.

RevDate: 2019-09-24

Bonneau M, Caputo B, Ligier A, et al (2019)

Variation in Wolbachia cidB gene, but not cidA, is associated with cytoplasmic incompatibility mod phenotype diversity in Culex pipiens.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria are to date considered the most widespread symbionts in arthropods and are the cornerstone of major biological control strategies. Such a high prevalence, is based on the ability of Wolbachia to manipulate their hosts' reproduction. One manipulation called "cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI)" is based on the death of the embryos generated by crosses between infected males and uninfected females or between individuals infected with incompatible Wolbachia strains. CI can be seen as a modification-rescue system (or mod-resc) in which paternal Wolbachia produce mod factors, inducing embryonic defects, unless the maternal Wolbachia produce compatible resc factors. Transgenic experiments in Drosophila melanogaster and Saccharomyces cerevisiae converged towards a model where the cidB Wolbachia gene is involved in the mod function while cidA is involved in the resc function. However, as cidA expression in Drosophila males was required to observe CI, it has been proposed that cidA could be involved in both resc and mod functions. A recent correlative study in natural Culex pipiens mosquito populations has revealed an association between specific cidA and cidB variations and changes in 'mod phenotype', also suggesting a role for both these genes in mod diversity. Here, by studying cidA and cidB genomic repertoires of individuals from newly sampled natural C. pipiens populations harbouring wPipIV strains from North Italy, we reinforce the link between cidB variation and 'mod phenotype' variation fostering the involvement of cidB in the 'mod phenotype' diversity. However, no association between any cidA variants or combination of cidA variants and 'mod phenotype' variation was observed. Taken together our results in natural C. pipiens populations do not support the involvement of cidA in 'mod phenotype' variation.

RevDate: 2019-09-24

Avtzis DN, Schebeck M, Petsopoulos D, et al (2019)

New Data on the Range Expansion of the Thaumetopoea pityocampa (Lepidoptera: Notodontidae) 'ENA clade' in Greece: The Role of Bacterial Endosymbionts.

Journal of economic entomology pii:5573191 [Epub ahead of print].

The pine processionary moth, Thaumetopoea pityocampa (Denis and Schiffermüller), is an important insect in the Mediterranean region, as it defoliates pines and its urticating hairs can cause allergic reactions in humans and animals. Moreover, this species exhibits an interesting genetic structure as recently a distinct East-North African mtDNA lineage ('ENA clade') has been described. This clade has been recently detected in Greek populations where it has currently expanded its range by replacing the 'endemic' T. pityocampa lineages. Here, we report new data on the rapid spread of 'ENA clade' in the Greek island Evoia in only a few years. As the underlying mechanisms of the 'ENA clade' range expansion has not been studied so far, we screened T. pityocampa for an infection with the heritable bacterial endosymbionts Wolbachia (Bacteria: Anaplasmataceae), Cardinium (Bacteria: Bacteroidaceae), Rickettsia (Bacteria: Rickettsiaceae) and Spiroplasma (Bacteria: Spiroplasmataceae). These bacteria can manipulate the reproduction of infected hosts, something that could potentially explain the rapid spread of 'ENA clade' lineage. Therefore, we screened 28 individuals that exhibited T. pityocampa 'ENA clade' and 'endemic' T. pityocampa haplotypes from nine populations scattered all over Greece. None of them was infected with any of the four endosymbionts, suggesting that these bacteria do not cause reproductive manipulations in T. pityocampa lineages and, thus, other factors should be explored in future research efforts.

RevDate: 2019-09-24

Ogawa M, Takahashi M, Matsutani M, et al (2019)

Obligate intracellular bacteria diversity in unfed Leptotrombidium scutellare larvae highlights novel bacterial endosymbionts of mites.

Microbiology and immunology [Epub ahead of print].

It is well known that the mite Leptotrombidium scutellare carries the pathogen of scrub typhus, Orientia tsutsugamushi. However, our understanding of other bacterial endosymbionts of mites is limited. In this study, we investigated the diversity of the obligate intracellular bacteria carried by L. scutellare using 16S rRNA gene amplicon analysis with next-generation sequencing. The results showed that the detected bacteria were classified into the genera Rickettsia, Wolbachia, and Rickettsiella and an unknown genus of the order Rickettsiales. For further classification of the detected bacteria, a representative read that was most closely related to the assigned taxonomic classification was subjected to homology search and phylogenic analysis. The results showed that some bacteria of the genus Rickettsia were identical or very close to the human pathogens Rickettsia akari, R. aeschlimannii, R. felis, and R. australis. The genetic distance between genus Wolbachia bacteria in the present study and in previous reports is highly indicative that the bacteria in the present study can be classified as a new taxon of Wolbachia. In this study, we detected obligate intracellular bacteria from unfed mites; thus, the mites did not acquire bacteria from infected animals or any other infectious sources. Finally, the present study demonstrated that various and novel bacterial endosymbionts of mites, in addition to O. tsutsugamushi, might uniquely evolve with the host mites throughout overlapping generations of the mite life cycle . The roles of the bacteria in mites and their pathogenicity should be further examined in studies based on bacterial isolation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-09-19

Sanaei E, Husemann M, Seiedy M, et al (2019)

Global genetic diversity, lineage distribution, and Wolbachia infection of the alfalfa weevil Hypera postica (Coleoptera: Curculionidae).

Ecology and evolution, 9(17):9546-9563 pii:ECE35474.

The alfalfa weevil (Hypera postica) is a well-known example of a worldwide-distributed pest with high genetic variation. Based on the mitochondrial genes, the alfalfa weevil clusters into two main mitochondrial lineages. However, there is no clear picture of the global diversity and distribution of these lineages; neither the drivers of its diversification are known. However, it appears likely that historic demographic events including founder effects played a role. In addition, Wolbachia, a widespread intracellular parasite/symbiont, likely played an important role in the evolution of the species. Wolbachia infection so far was only detected in the Western lineage of H. postica with no information on the infecting strain, its frequency, and its consequences on the genetic diversity of the host. We here used a combination of mitochondrial and nuclear sequences of the host and sequence information on Wolbachia to document the distribution of strains and the degree of infection. The Eastern lineage has a higher genetic diversity and is found in the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and eastern America, whereas the less diverse Western lineage is found in Central Europe and the western America. Both lineages are infected with the same common strain of Wolbachia belonging to Supergroup B. Based on neutrality tests, selection tests, and the current distribution and diversification of Wolbachia in H. postica, we suggested the Wolbachia infection did not shape genetic diversity of the host. The introduced populations in the United States are generally genetically less diverse, which is in line with founder effects.

RevDate: 2019-09-18

Dincă V, Lee KM, Vila R, et al (2019)

The conundrum of species delimitation: a genomic perspective on a mitogenetically super-variable butterfly.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 286(1911):20191311.

The Palaearctic butterfly Melitaea didyma stands out as one of the most striking cases of intraspecific genetic differentiation detected in Lepidoptera: 11 partially sympatric mitochondrial lineages have been reported, displaying levels of divergence of up to 7.4%. To better understand the evolutionary processes underlying the diversity observed in mtDNA, we compared mtDNA and genome-wide SNP data using double-digest restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (ddRADseq) results from 93 specimens of M. didyma ranging from Morocco to eastern Kazakhstan. We found that, between ddRADseq and mtDNA results, there is a match only in populations that probably remained allopatric for long periods of time. Other mtDNA lineages may have resulted from introgression events and were probably affected by Wolbachia infection. The five main ddRADseq clades supported by STRUCTURE were parapatric or allopatric and showed high pairwise FST values, but some were also estimated to display various levels of gene flow. Melitaea didyma represents one of the first cases of deep mtDNA splits among European butterflies assessed by a genome-wide DNA analysis and reveals that the interpretation of patterns remains challenging even when a high amount of genomic data is available. These findings actualize the ongoing debate of species delimitation in allopatry, an issue probably of relevance to a significant proportion of global biodiversity.

RevDate: 2019-09-13

Després L (2019)

One, two or more species? Mitonuclear discordance and species delimitation.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Delimiting species boundaries is central to understand ecological and evolutionary processes, and to monitor biodiversity patterns over time and space. Yet, most of our current knowledge on animal diversity and phylogeny relies on morphological and mitochondrial (mt) DNA variation, a popular molecular marker also used as a barcode to assign samples to species. For morphologically undistinguishable sympatric species (cryptic species), the congruence of several independent markers is necessary to define separate species. Nuclear markers are becoming more accessible, and have confirmed that cryptic species are widespread in all animal phyla (Fišer, Robinson, & Malard, 2018). However, striking differences between the mitochondrial and nuclear variation patterns are also commonly found within single species. Mitonuclear discordance can result from incomplete lineage sorting, sex-biased dispersal, asymmetrical introgression, natural selection or Wolbachia-mediated genetic sweeps. But more generally, the distinct mode of transmission of these two types of markers (maternal vs. biparental) is sufficient to explain their distinct sensitivity to purely demographic events such as spatial range and population size fluctuations over time. In a From the Cover manuscript in this issue of Molecular Ecology, Hijonosa et al. (2019) show that highly divergent mtDNA lineages coexist in a widespread European butterfly (Figure 1). None of the hundreds of nuclear markers analyzed was associated with mt lineages, nor was Wolbachia variation. These findings rule out the presence of cryptic species but shed light on complex demographic history of lineage divergence/fusion during the Pleistocene climatic fluctuations, and pave the way to a better integration of both mt and nuclear information in demographic models.

RevDate: 2019-09-12

Schwartz RA, Al-Qubati Y, Zieleniewski Ł, et al (2019)

Onchocerciasis (river blindness): larva-induced eczema (onchodermatitis) from an important oculocutaneous tropical disease spilling over into North America and Europe.

International journal of dermatology [Epub ahead of print].

Onchocerciasis is a leading cause of blindness in the world. It may be seen in temperate climates of the United States and Europe in immigrants and travelers from endemic regions, often linked to poverty and war. One should be aware of an incubation period that can be up to 15 months. In its early stage and throughout its course, onchocerciasis has noteworthy skin findings, facilitating diagnosis, as onchodermatitis resembles common eczema with variable degrees of papular, lichenoid, atrophic, and pigmentary alterations, features not suggestive if one is unaware of an individual's immigration and travel history. The same concept applies for the encysted worms (onchocercomas), as they tend to appear as common skin cysts and benign neoplasms. New methods can be employed to increase diagnostic sensitivity and specificity. Ivermectin is the gold standard of therapy, the use of which has almost miraculously eliminated this disease from large areas of the earth. However, its effect remains isolated to microfilariae and can be devastating in those coinfected with Loa loa. Recently, the symbiotic relationship between adult worms and Wolbachia bacteria has been discovered and, with it, the possibility of adding doxycycline as a treatment option. We also discuss coinfection with HIV and other diseases.

RevDate: 2019-09-11

Meng L, Li X, Cheng X, et al (2019)

16S rRNA Gene Sequencing Reveals a Shift in the Microbiota of Diaphorina citri During the Psyllid Life Cycle.

Frontiers in microbiology, 10:1948.

The Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri) is a major pest of citrus trees as it transmits Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas). The composition of a host's microbiota can affect the evolution and ecological distribution of the host. This study monitored the compositional shifts in the citrus psyllid microbiota through all the life stages (egg, nymph 1-5 stages, and adult) by next-generation sequencing (NGS) and quantitative real-time PCR. There were clear differences in both α- and β-diversity of microbiota through the psyllid life stages. Microbiota diversity was markedly higher in the nymph 2-5 stages than in the adult, egg, and nymph 1 stages. Proteobacteria were dominant in all the life stages of D. citri, representing >97.5% of the total bacterial community, and Candidatus Profftella armature was the dominant genus in all the life stages. Data from the qPCR analysis showed an exponential increase in the populations of three D. citri endosymbionts: Candidatus Profftella armature, Candidatus Carsonella ruddii, and Wolbachia. The gut bacterium Pantoea was present in all the life stages, but it was markedly higher in the nymph 2-5 stages. The microbiota composition substantially differed among the egg-nymph 1, nymphs 2-5, and adult stages. Therefore, we successfully characterized the microbiota dynamics and thus identified a microbiota shift during the life cycle of D. citri by 16S rRNA gene sequencing and quantitative PCR. Moreover, 16S rRNA gene sequencing suggested that D. citri acquired the ability to bear CLas in the nymph 1 stage. This study enhances our understanding of microbial establishment in the developing D. citri and provides a reference resource for the identification of potential biocontrol approaches against this pest.

RevDate: 2019-09-10

Ross PA, Turelli M, AA Hoffmann (2019)

Evolutionary Ecology of Wolbachia Releases for Disease Control.

Annual review of genetics [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia is an endosymbiotic Alphaproteobacteria that can suppress insect-borne diseases through decreasing host virus transmission (population replacement) or through decreasing host population density (population suppression). We contrast natural Wolbachia infections in insect populations with Wolbachia transinfections in mosquitoes to gain insights into factors potentially affecting the long-term success of Wolbachia releases. Natural Wolbachia infections can spread rapidly, whereas the slow spread of transinfections is governed by deleterious effects on host fitness and demographic factors. Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) generated by Wolbachia is central to both population replacement and suppression programs, but CI in nature can be variable and evolve, as can Wolbachia fitness effects and virus blocking. Wolbachia spread is also influenced by environmental factors that decrease Wolbachia titer and reduce maternal Wolbachia transmission frequency. More information is needed on the interactions between Wolbachia and host nuclear/mitochondrial genomes, the interaction between invasion success and local ecological factors, and the long-term stability of Wolbachia-mediated virus blocking. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 53 is November 23, 2019. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.

RevDate: 2019-09-10

Perlmutter JI, Bordenstein SR, Unckless RL, et al (2019)

The phage gene wmk is a candidate for male killing by a bacterial endosymbiont.

PLoS pathogens, 15(9):e1007936 pii:PPATHOGENS-D-19-01066.

Wolbachia are the most widespread maternally-transmitted bacteria in the animal kingdom. Their global spread in arthropods and varied impacts on animal physiology, evolution, and vector control are in part due to parasitic drive systems that enhance the fitness of infected females, the transmitting sex of Wolbachia. Male killing is one common drive mechanism wherein the sons of infected females are selectively killed. Despite decades of research, the gene(s) underlying Wolbachia-induced male killing remain unknown. Here using comparative genomic, transgenic, and cytological approaches in fruit flies, we identify a candidate gene in the eukaryotic association module of Wolbachia prophage WO, termed WO-mediated killing (wmk), which transgenically causes male-specific lethality during early embryogenesis and cytological defects typical of the pathology of male killing. The discovery of wmk establishes new hypotheses for the potential role of phage genes in sex-specific lethality, including the control of arthropod pests and vectors.

RevDate: 2019-09-10

Fisher ML, Levine JF, Guy JS, et al (2019)

Lack of influence by endosymbiont Wolbachia on virus titer in the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius.

Parasites & vectors, 12(1):436 pii:10.1186/s13071-019-3694-2.

BACKGROUND: The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, is an obligatory blood-feeding ectoparasite that requires a blood meal to molt and produce eggs. Their frequent biting to obtain blood meals and intimate association with humans increase the potential for disease transmission. However, despite more than 100 years of inquiry into bed bugs as potential disease vectors, they still have not been conclusively linked to any pathogen or disease. This ecological niche is extraordinarily rare, given that nearly every other blood-feeding arthropod is associated with some type of human or zoonotic disease. Bed bugs rely on the bacteria Wolbachia as an obligate endosymbiont to biosynthesize B vitamins, since they acquire a nutritionally deficient diet, but it is unknown if Wolbachia confers additional benefits to its bed bug host. In some insects, Wolbachia induces resistance to viruses such as Dengue, Chikungunya, West Nile, Drosophila C and Zika, and primes the insect immune system in other blood-feeding insects. Wolbachia might have evolved a similar role in its mutualistic association with the bed bug. In this study, we evaluated the influence of Wolbachia on virus replication within C. lectularius.

METHODS: We used feline calicivirus as a model pathogen. We fed 40 bed bugs from an established line of Wolbachia-cured and a line of Wolbachia-positive C. lectularius a virus-laden blood meal, and quantified the amount of virus over five time intervals post-feeding. The antibiotic rifampicin was used to cure bed bugs of Wolbachia.

RESULTS: There was a significant effect of time post-feeding, as the amount of virus declined by ~90% over 10 days in both groups, but no significant difference in virus titer was observed between the Wolbachia-positive and Wolbachia-cured groups.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that other mechanisms are involved in virus suppression within bed bugs, independent of the influence of Wolbachia, and our conclusions underscore the need for future research.

RevDate: 2019-09-10

Zheng B, Chen LH, QW Sun (2019)

Analyzing the control of dengue by releasing Wolbachia-infected male mosquitoes through a delay differential equation model.

Mathematical biosciences and engineering : MBE, 16(5):5531-5550.

To date, an innovative strategy to control dengue is to release Wolbachia-infected male mosquitoes into wild areas to sterilize wild female mosquito vectors by cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). To investigate the efficacy of Wolbachia in blocking dengue virus transmission, we develop a deterministic mathematical model of human and mosquito populations in which one dengue serotype circulates. The delay differential equation model captures the respective extrinsic and intrinsic incu-bation periods (EIP and IIP) in the mosquito and human, as well as the maturation delay between mating and emergence of adult mosquitoes, which have received relatively little attention. We analyze the existence and stability of disease-free equilibria, and obtain a sufficient and necessary condition on the existence of the disease-endemic equilibrium. We also determine two threshold values of the release ratio $\theta$, denoted by $\theta_1^*$ and $\theta_2^*$ with $\theta_1^*>\theta_2^*$. When $\theta>\theta_1^*$, the mosquito population will be eradicated eventually. When $\theta_2^*<\theta < \theta_1^*$, a complete mosquito eradication becomes impossible, but virus eradication is ensured at the meantime. When $\theta<\theta_2^*$, the disease-endemic equilibrium emerges that allows dengue virus to circulate between humans and mosquitoes. We carry out sensitivity analysis of the threshold values in terms of the model parameters, and simulate several possible control strate-gies with different release ratios, which confirm the public awareness that reducing mosquito bites and killing adult mosquitoes are the most effective strategy to control the epidemic. Our model provides new insights on the effectiveness of Wolbachia in reducing dengue at a population level.

RevDate: 2019-09-10

Huang MG, Tang MX, Yu JS, et al (2019)

The impact of mating competitiveness and incomplete cytoplasmic incompatibility on Wolbachia-driven mosquito population suppressio.

Mathematical biosciences and engineering : MBE, 16(5):4741-4757.

To control mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, malaria, and Zika, {\it Wolbachia}-infected male mosquitoes have been released in open areas to suppress wild mosquito population driven by cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). In this work, we initiate a preliminary assessment on how the CI intensity $\xi$, and the mating competitiveness $\mu$ of released males relative to wild males, impact the suppression efficacy by a delay differential equation model. Our analysis identifies a threshold CI intensity $\xi_0\in (0, 1)$ as an increasing function of the natural reproduction rate of the wild mosquitoes, and a threshold value $r^*$ for the ratio $r(t)$ between the numbers of released males and wild males. The population suppression fails when $\xi\le \xi_0$, and succeeds when $\xi>\xi_0$ and $r(t)\ge r^*$. Our analyses indicate that $\xi$ plays a more important role than $\mu$ in the population suppression. For instance, a slight decrease of $\xi$ from 1 to 0.92 is more devastating than halving $\mu$ from 1 to 0.5. In our estimation of the optimal starting date for infected male release to target a more than $95\%$ wild population reduction during the peak season of dengue in Guangzhou, we find that the optimal date is almost independent of $\mu$ but is sensitive to $\xi$. If CI is complete, then starting about two months ahead can be an optimal option for less financial and labor costs. A slight reduction in the CI intensity requires a considerably earlier starting date.

RevDate: 2019-09-10

Liu YF, Sun GW, Wang L, et al (2019)

Establishing Wolbachia in the wild mosquito population: The effects of wind and critical patch size.

Mathematical biosciences and engineering : MBE, 16(5):4399-4414.

Releasing mosquitoes with Wolbachia into the wild mosquito population is becoming the very promising strategy to control mosquito-borne infections. To investigate the effects of wind and critical patch size on the Wolbachia establishment in the wild mosquito population, in this paper, we propose a diffusion-reaction-advection system in a heterogeneous environment. By studying the related eigenvalue problems, we derive various conditions under which Wolbachia can fully establish in the entire wild mosquito population. Our findings may provide some useful insights on designing practical releasing strategies to control the mosquito population.

RevDate: 2019-09-09

Ning SF, Zhou JC, Liu QQ, et al (2019)

Gradual, temperature-induced change of secondary sexual characteristics in Trichogramma pretiosum infected with parthenogenesis-inducing Wolbachia.

PeerJ, 7:e7567 pii:7567.

Intersex is an intermediate stage of sexual differentiation in insects. Determining intersex morphology and the cause of its production will aid in the understanding of the mechanism of sexual differentiation in insects. In this paper, Wolbachia-infected Trichogramma pretiosum (T. preW+) that shows thelytokous parthenogenesis were used as subjects. In order to determine the causes of the T. preW+ intersex and the influence of parental generation temperature on gradual changes in secondary masculinization in intersex offspring, we examined the occurrence of intersex offspring (F1 and F2 generation) after the parental generations were treated with high temperature (27, 29, 31, and 33 °C) and described the external morphology of the intersexes. The results showed that the T. preW+ parental generation temperature is positively correlated with the probability of intersex offspring. The probability of F1 intersex is significantly higher than that of F2 intersex in different high temperature. The degree of secondary masculinization in T. preW+ intersexes increases as parental generation temperature increases. In addition, our study first identified 11 intersex types in T. preW+ and found that the primary and secondary sexual characteristics showed a regular distribution. We also found that the D type and H type of intersex have the highest frequency of appearance. The external genitalia of most intersexes were female, and only three intersex types have male external genitalia. Conclusions were ultimately obtained: Wolbachia is a direct factor that causes the occurrence of intersexes, while high temperature is an indirect factor that determines the external morphology of intersexes. The effects of high temperature on T. preW+ intersexes is passed through the parental generation to offspring, and this maternal effect weakens as the number of generations increases. In T. preW+ intersex individuals, most exhibit female primary sexual characteristics, and secondary sexual characteristics exhibit signs of masculinization.

RevDate: 2019-09-09

Wan Sulaiman WA, Kamtchum-Tatuene J, Mohamed MH, et al (2019)

Anti-Wolbachia therapy for onchocerciasis & lymphatic filariasis: Current perspectives.

The Indian journal of medical research, 149(6):706-714.

Onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis (LF) are human filarial diseases belonging to the group of neglected tropical diseases, leading to permanent and long-term disability in infected individuals in the endemic countries such as Africa and India. Microfilaricidal drugs such as ivermectin and albendazole have been used as the standard therapy in filariasis, although their efficacy in eliminating the diseases is not fully established. Anti-Wolbachia therapy employs antibiotics and is a promising approach showing potent macrofilaricidal activity and also prevents embryogenesis. This has translated to clinical benefits resulting in successful eradication of microfilarial burden, thus averting the risk of adverse events from target species as well as those due to co-infection with loiasis. Doxycycline shows potential as an anti-Wolbachia treatment, leading to the death of adult parasitic worms. It is readily available, cheap and safe to use in adult non-pregnant patients. Besides doxycycline, several other potential antibiotics are also being investigated for the treatment of LF and onchocerciasis. This review aims to discuss and summarise recent developments in the use of anti-Wolbachia drugs to treat onchocerciasis and LF.

RevDate: 2019-09-09

O'Reilly KM, Hendrickx E, Kharisma DD, et al (2019)

Estimating the burden of dengue and the impact of release of wMel Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes in Indonesia: a modelling study.

BMC medicine, 17(1):172 pii:10.1186/s12916-019-1396-4.

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes reduce dengue virus transmission, and city-wide releases in Yogyakarta city, Indonesia, are showing promising entomological results. Accurate estimates of the burden of dengue, its spatial distribution and the potential impact of Wolbachia are critical in guiding funder and government decisions on its future wider use.

METHODS: Here, we combine multiple modelling methods for burden estimation to predict national case burden disaggregated by severity and map the distribution of burden across the country using three separate data sources. An ensemble of transmission models then predicts the estimated reduction in dengue transmission following a nationwide roll-out of wMel Wolbachia.

RESULTS: We estimate that 7.8 million (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 1.8-17.7 million) symptomatic dengue cases occurred in Indonesia in 2015 and were associated with 332,865 (UI 94,175-754,203) lost disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). The majority of dengue's burden was due to non-severe cases that did not seek treatment or were challenging to diagnose in outpatient settings leading to substantial underreporting. Estimated burden was highly concentrated in a small number of large cities with 90% of dengue cases occurring in 15.3% of land area. Implementing a nationwide Wolbachia population replacement programme was estimated to avert 86.2% (UI 36.2-99.9%) of cases over a long-term average.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest interventions targeted to the highest burden cities can have a disproportionate impact on dengue burden. Area-wide interventions, such as Wolbachia, that are deployed based on the area covered could protect people more efficiently than individual-based interventions, such as vaccines, in such dense environments.

RevDate: 2019-09-06

Zheng Y, Shen W, Bi J, et al (2019)

Small RNA analysis provides new insights into cytoplasmic incompatibility in Drosophila melanogaster induced by Wolbachia.

Journal of insect physiology pii:S0022-1910(19)30148-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia is a genus of endosymbiotic bacteria that induce a wide range of effects on their insect hosts. Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) is the most common phenotype mediated by Wolbachia and results in embryonic lethality when Wolbachia-infected males mate with uninfected females. Studies have revealed that bacteria can regulate many cellular processes in their hosts using small non-coding RNAs, so we investigated the involvement of small RNAs (sRNAs) in CI. Comparison of sRNA libraries between Wolbachia-infected and uninfected Drosophila melanogaster testes revealed 18 novel microRNAs (miRNAs), of which 12 were expressed specifically in Wolbachia-infected flies and one specifically in Wolbachia-uninfected flies. Furthermore, ten miRNAs showed differential expression, with four upregulated and six downregulated in Wolbachia-infected flies. Of the upregulated miRNAs, nov-miR-12 exhibited the highest upregulation in the testes of D. melanogaster. We then identified pipsqueak (psq) as the target gene of nov-miR-12 with the greatest complementarity in its 3' untranslated region (UTR). Wolbachia infection was correlated with reduced psq expression in D. melanogaster, and luciferase assays demonstrated that nov-miR-12 could downregulate psq through binding to its 3'UTR region. Knockdown of psq in Wolbachia-free fly testes significantly reduced egg hatching rate and mimicked the cellular abnormalities of Wolbachia-induced CI in embryos, including asynchronous nuclear division, chromatin bridging, and chromatin fragmentation. These results suggest that Wolbachia may induce CI in insect hosts by miRNA-mediated changes in host gene expression. Moreover, these findings reveal a potential molecular strategy for elucidating the complex interactions between endosymbionts and their insect hosts, such as Wolbachia-driven CI.

RevDate: 2019-09-06

Rohde BB, Staunton KM, Zeak NC, et al (2019)

Waterproof, low-cost, long-battery-life sound trap for surveillance of male Aedes aegypti for rear-and-release mosquito control programmes.

Parasites & vectors, 12(1):417 pii:10.1186/s13071-019-3647-9.

BACKGROUND: Sterile male rear-and-release programmes are of growing interest for controlling Aedes aegypti, including use an "incompatible insect technique" (IIT) to suppress transmission of dengue, Zika, and other viruses. Under IIT, males infected with Wolbachia are released into the suppression area to induce cytoplasmic incompatibility in uninfected populations. These and similar mosquito-release programmes require cost-effective field surveys of both sexes to optimize the locations, timing, and quantity of releases. Unfortunately, traps that sample male Ae. aegypti effectively are expensive and usually require mains power. Recently, an electronic lure was developed that attracts males using a 484 Hz sinusoidal tone mimicking the female wingbeat frequencies, broadcast in a 120 s on/off cycle. When deployed in commercially available gravid Aedes traps (GATs), the new combination, sound-GAT (SGAT), captures both males and females effectively. Given its success, there is interest in optimizing SGAT to reduce cost and power usage while maximizing catch rates.

METHODS: Options considered in this study included use of a smaller, lower-power microcontroller (Tiny) with either the original or a lower-cost speaker (lcS). A 30 s on/off cycle was tested in addition to the original 120 s cycle to minimize the potential that the longer cycle induced habituation. The original SGAT was compared against other traps incorporating the Tiny-based lures for mosquito capture in a large semi-field cage. The catch rates in waterproofed versions of this trap were then compared with catch rates in standard [BG-Sentinel 2 (BGS 2); Biogents AG, Regensburg, Germany] traps during an IIT field study in the Innisfail region of Queensland, Australia in 2017.

RESULTS: The system with a low-power microcontroller and low-cost speaker playing a 30 s tone (Tiny-lcS-30s) caught the highest proportion of males. The mean proportions of males caught in a semi-field cage were not significantly different among the original design and the four low-power, low-cost versions of the SGAT. During the IIT field study, the waterproofed version of the highest-rated, Tiny-lcS-30s SGAT captured male Ae. aegypti at similar rates as co-located BGS-2 traps.

CONCLUSIONS: Power- and cost-optimized, waterproofed versions of male Ae. aegypti acoustic lures in GATs are now available for field use in areas with sterile male mosquito rear-and-release programmes.

RevDate: 2019-09-04

Christensen S, Camacho M, Sharmin Z, et al (2019)

Quantitative methods for assessing local and bodywide contributions to Wolbachia titer in maternal germline cells of Drosophila.

BMC microbiology, 19(1):206 pii:10.1186/s12866-019-1579-3.

BACKGROUND: Little is known about how bacterial endosymbionts colonize host tissues. Because many insect endosymbionts are maternally transmitted, egg colonization is critical for endosymbiont success. Wolbachia bacteria, carried by approximately half of all insect species, provide an excellent model for characterizing endosymbiont infection dynamics. To date, technical limitations have precluded stepwise analysis of germline colonization by Wolbachia. It is not clear to what extent titer-altering effects are primarily mediated by growth rates of Wolbachia within cell lineages or migration of Wolbachia between cells.

RESULTS: The objective of this work is to inform mechanisms of germline colonization through use of optimized methodology. The approaches are framed in terms of nutritional impacts on Wolbachia. Yeast-rich diets in particular have been shown to suppress Wolbachia titer in the Drosophila melanogaster germline. To determine the extent of Wolbachia sensitivity to diet, we optimized 3-dimensional, multi-stage quantification of Wolbachia titer in maternal germline cells. Technical and statistical validation confirmed the identity of Wolbachia in vivo, the reproducibility of Wolbachia quantification and the statistical power to detect these effects. The data from adult feeding experiments demonstrated that germline Wolbachia titer is distinctly sensitive to yeast-rich host diets in late oogenesis. To investigate the physiological basis for these nutritional impacts, we optimized methodology for absolute Wolbachia quantification by real-time qPCR. We found that yeast-rich diets exerted no significant effect on bodywide Wolbachia titer, although ovarian titers were significantly reduced. This suggests that host diets affects Wolbachia distribution between the soma and late stage germline cells. Notably, relative qPCR methods distorted apparent wsp abundance, due to altered host DNA copy number in yeast-rich conditions. This highlights the importance of absolute quantification data for testing mechanistic hypotheses.

CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that absolute quantification of Wolbachia, using well-controlled cytological and qPCR-based methods, creates new opportunities to determine how bacterial abundance within the germline relates to bacterial distribution within the body. This methodology can be applied to further test germline infection dynamics in response to chemical treatments, genetic conditions, new host/endosymbiont combinations, or potentially adapted to analyze other cell and tissue types.

RevDate: 2019-08-31

Li Y, Liu X, H Guo (2019)

Population Dynamics of Wolbachia in Laodelphax striatellus (Fallén) Under Successive Stress of Antibiotics.

Current microbiology pii:10.1007/s00284-019-01762-0 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia are the most common symbionts in arthropods; antibiotic treatment for eliminating the symbionts from their host is necessary to investigate the functions. Tetracycline antibiotics are widely used to remove endosymbiont Wolbachia from insect hosts. However, very little has been known on the effects of tetracycline on population size of Wolbachia in small brown planthopper (SBPH), Laodelphax striatellus (Fallén), an important insect pest of rice in Asia. Here, we investigated the dynamics of Wolbachia population density in females and males of L. striatellus by real-time fluorescent quantitative PCR method. The Wolbachia density in females and males of L. striatellus all declined sharply after treatment with 2 mg/mL tetracycline for one generation, and continued to decrease to a level which could not be detected by both qPCR and diagnostic PCR after treated for another generation, then maintained at 0 in the following three generations with continuous antibiotic treatment. Wolbachia infection did not recover in L. striatellus after stopping tetracycline treatment for ten generations. This is the first report to precisely monitor the population dynamics of Wolbachia in L. striatellus during successive tetracycline treatment and after that. The results provide a useful method for evaluating the efficiency of artificial operation of endosymbionts.

RevDate: 2019-08-30

Jiménez NE, Gerdtzen ZP, Olivera-Nappa Á, et al (2019)

A systems biology approach for studying Wolbachia metabolism reveals points of interaction with its host in the context of arboviral infection.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 13(8):e0007678 pii:PNTD-D-19-00279 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia are alpha-proteobacteria known to infect arthropods, which are of interest for disease control since they have been associated with improved resistance to viral infection. Although several genomes for different strains have been sequenced, there is little knowledge regarding the relationship between this bacterium and their hosts, particularly on their dependency for survival. Motivated by the potential applications on disease control, we developed genome-scale models of four Wolbachia strains known to infect arthropods: wAlbB (Aedes albopictus), wVitA (Nasonia vitripennis), wMel and wMelPop (Drosophila melanogaster). The obtained metabolic reconstructions exhibit a metabolism relying mainly on amino acids for energy production and biomass synthesis. A gap analysis was performed to detect metabolic candidates which could explain the endosymbiotic nature of this bacterium, finding that amino acids, requirements for ubiquinone precursors and provisioning of metabolites such as riboflavin could play a crucial role in this relationship. This work provides a systems biology perspective for studying the relationship of Wolbachia with its host and the development of new approaches for control of the spread of arboviral diseases. This approach, where metabolic gaps are key objects of study instead of just additions to complete a model, could be applied to other endosymbiotic bacteria of interest.

RevDate: 2019-09-01

Ayala D, Akone-Ella O, Rahola N, et al (2019)

Natural Wolbachia infections are common in the major malaria vectors in Central Africa.

Evolutionary applications, 12(8):1583-1594 pii:EVA12804.

During the last decade, the endosymbiont bacterium Wolbachia has emerged as a biological tool for vector disease control. However, for long time, it was believed that Wolbachia was absent in natural populations of Anopheles. The recent discovery that species within the Anopheles gambiae complex host Wolbachia in natural conditions has opened new opportunities for malaria control research in Africa. Here, we investigated the prevalence and diversity of Wolbachia infection in 25 African Anopheles species in Gabon (Central Africa). Our results revealed the presence of Wolbachia in 16 of these species, including the major malaria vectors in this area. The infection prevalence varied greatly among species, confirming that sample size is a key factor to detect the infection. Moreover, our sequencing and phylogenetic analyses showed the important diversity of Wolbachia strains that infect Anopheles. Co-evolutionary analysis unveiled patterns of Wolbachia transmission within some Anopheles species, suggesting that past independent acquisition events were followed by co-cladogenesis. The large diversity of Wolbachia strains that infect natural populations of Anopheles offers a promising opportunity to select suitable phenotypes for suppressing Plasmodium transmission and/or manipulating Anopheles reproduction, which in turn could be used to reduce the malaria burden in Africa.

RevDate: 2019-09-05

Shi C, Beller L, Deboutte W, et al (2019)

Stable distinct core eukaryotic viromes in different mosquito species from Guadeloupe, using single mosquito viral metagenomics.

Microbiome, 7(1):121 pii:10.1186/s40168-019-0734-2.

BACKGROUND: Mosquitoes are the most important invertebrate viral vectors in humans and harbor a high diversity of understudied viruses, which has been shown in many mosquito virome studies in recent years. These studies generally performed metagenomics sequencing on pools of mosquitoes, without assessment of the viral diversity in individual mosquitoes. To address this issue, we applied our optimized viral metagenomics protocol (NetoVIR) to compare the virome of single and pooled Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes collected from different locations in Guadeloupe, in 2016 and 2017.

RESULTS: The total read number and viral reads proportion of samples containing a single mosquito have no significant difference compared with those of pools containing five mosquitoes, which proved the feasibility of using single mosquito for viral metagenomics. A comparative analysis of the virome revealed a higher abundance and more diverse eukaryotic virome in Aedes aegypti, whereas Culex quinquefasciatus harbors a richer and more diverse phageome. The majority of the identified eukaryotic viruses were mosquito-species specific. We further characterized the genomes of 11 novel eukaryotic viruses. Furthermore, qRT-PCR analyses of the six most abundant eukaryotic viruses indicated that the majority of individual mosquitoes were infected by several of the selected viruses with viral genome copies per mosquito ranging from 267 to 1.01 × 108 (median 7.5 × 106) for Ae. aegypti and 192 to 8.69 × 106 (median 4.87 × 104) for Cx. quinquefasciatus. Additionally, in Cx. quinquefasciatus, a number of phage contigs co-occurred with several marker genes of Wolbachia sp. strain wPip.

CONCLUSIONS: We firstly demonstrate the feasibility to use single mosquito for viral metagenomics, which can provide much more precise virome profiles of mosquito populations. Interspecific comparisons show striking differences in abundance and diversity between the viromes of Ae. aegypti and Cx. quinquefasciatus. Those two mosquito species seem to have their own relatively stable "core eukaryotic virome", which might have important implications for the competence to transmit important medically relevant arboviruses. The presence of Wolbachia in Cx. quinquefasciatus might explain (1) the lower overall viral load compared to Ae. aegypti, (2) the identification of multiple unknown phage contigs, and (3) the difference in competence for important human pathogens. How these viruses, phages, and bacteria influence the physiology and vector competence of mosquito hosts warrants further research.

RevDate: 2019-08-27

Ford SA, Allen SL, Ohm JR, et al (2019)

Selection on Aedes aegypti alters Wolbachia-mediated dengue virus blocking and fitness.

Nature microbiology pii:10.1038/s41564-019-0533-3 [Epub ahead of print].

The dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses are transmitted by the mosquito Aedes aegypti and pose a substantial threat to global public health. Current vaccines and mosquito control strategies have limited efficacy, so novel interventions are needed1,2. Wolbachia are bacteria that inhabit insect cells and have been found to reduce viral infection-a phenotype that is referred to as viral 'blocking'3. Although not naturally found in A. aegypti4, Wolbachia were stably introduced into this mosquito in 20114,5 and were shown to reduce the transmission potential of dengue, Zika and chikungunya6,7. Subsequent field trials showed Wolbachia's ability to spread through A. aegypti populations and reduce the local incidence of dengue fever8. Despite these successes, the evolutionary stability of viral blocking is unknown. Here, we utilized artificial selection to reveal genetic variation in the mosquito that affects Wolbachia-mediated dengue blocking. We found that mosquitoes exhibiting weaker blocking also have reduced fitness, suggesting the potential for natural selection to maintain blocking. We also identified A. aegypti genes that affect blocking strength, shedding light on a possible mechanism for the trait. These results will inform the use of Wolbachia as biocontrol agents against mosquito-borne viruses and direct further research into measuring and improving their efficacy.

RevDate: 2019-09-04

Genchi M, Vismarra A, Lucchetti C, et al (2019)

Efficacy of imidacloprid 10%/moxidectin 2.5% spot on (Advocate®, Advantage Multi®) and doxycycline for the treatment of natural Dirofilaria immitis infections in dogs.

Veterinary parasitology, 273:11-16 pii:S0304-4017(19)30174-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Heartworm infection (also known as dirofilariosis due to Dirofilaria immitis) in dogs causes chronic pulmonary disease that, if left untreated, can lead to right-side congestive heart failure. Currently, the only registered drug for adulticide therapy in dogs with heartworm disease (HWD) is melarsomine dihydrochloride. The recent targeting of the bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia, through antibiotic therapy of the infected host, has offered an interesting alternative for the treatment of HWD. Recent reports of the adulticide activity of an ivermectin/doxycycline combination protocol has lead the American Heartworm Society (AHS) to include in its guidelines that, in cases where arsenical therapy is not possible or is contraindicated, a monthly heartworm preventive along with doxycycline for a 4-week period might be considered. In the present study, 20 dogs with confirmed natural D. immitis infection were included following owner consent. Fourteen dogs were treated with a topical formulation containing 10% w/v imidacloprid and 2.5% w/v moxidectin (Advocate®, Advantage Multi®, Bayer), monthly for nine months, associated to doxycycline (10 mg/kg/BID) for the first 30 days. Six dogs were treated with melarsomine (Immiticide®, Merial) (2.5 mg/kg) at enrollment, followed one month later by two injections 24 h apart. The presence of circulating antigens and the number of microfilariae (mf) were evaluated at the moment of enrollment and then at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 18, 24 months post enrollment. Echocardiogram and radiographs were performed at month 0, 6, 12, 18, 24. Monthly moxidectin combined with 30 days of doxycycline eliminated circulating microfilariae within one month, thus breaking the transmission cycle very quickly. Furthermore, dogs treated with the combination protocol started to become negative for circulating antigens at 4 months from the beginning of treatment and all except one were antigen negative at 9 months. All dogs treated with melarsomine were antigen negative by 5 months from the beginning of the treatment. No dogs showed worsening of pulmonary patterns or criteria indicative of pulmonary hypertension 12 to 24 months after. For the criteria mf concentration, antigen concentration, radiography and echocardiography at 12, 18 and 24 months the non-inferiority for the moxidectin group could be proven for a non-inferiority margin of 15% for the rate difference. Dogs treated with moxidectin and doxycycline became negative for microfilariae and antigens sooner when compared to melarsomine in the present study and to dogs treated with doxycycline combined with ivermectin in studies previously published.

RevDate: 2019-08-23

Cohnstaedt LW, C Alfonso-Parra (2019)

2018 Highlights of Mosquito and Vector Biology and Control in Latin America.

Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 35(1):40-46.

The 28th Annual Latin American Symposium presented by the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) was held as part of the 84th Annual Meeting of the AMCA held in Kansas City, MO, in February 2018. The Latin American Symposium promotes the participation of vector control specialists, public health workers, and academic members from Latin America and the sharing of scientific data between continents. Generally, presentations are in Spanish with simultaneous translation into English. The majority of presentation slides are in English to facilitate communication among all meeting attendees. This publication includes summaries of 14 oral presentations by participants from Colombia, Mexico, and the United States of America. Topics addressed in the 3 sessions of the symposium included: larval habitats, insecticide resistance, new Aedes mosquito traps, blood meal analysis and fitness outcomes, vertical transmission of dengue, and transstadial composition of midgut microbiota. Control techniques discussed included sterile insect technique (SIT) with radiation, SIT by Wolbachia, thermal fogging, ultra-low volume pesticide applications, indoor residual spraying, Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis de Barjac (Bti), and Spinosad larval treatments. Presentations were also given on species composition and diversity of phlebotomine sand flies. Presentations were related to the vector species belonging to the mosquito genera, Anopheles, Aedes, and Culex as well as phlebotomine sand flies involved in the transmission of the causal agents of malaria, arboviruses (dengue, chikungunya, Zika), and leishmaniasis.

RevDate: 2019-08-25

Bennett KL, Gómez-Martínez C, Chin Y, et al (2019)

Dynamics and diversity of bacteria associated with the disease vectors Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.

Scientific reports, 9(1):12160 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-48414-8.

Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus develop in the same aquatic sites where they encounter microorganisms that influence their life history and capacity to transmit human arboviruses. Some bacteria such as Wolbachia are currently being considered for the control of Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika. Yet little is known about the dynamics and diversity of Aedes-associated bacteria, including larval habitat features that shape their tempo-spatial distribution. We applied large-scale 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing to 960 adults and larvae of both Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus mosquitoes from 59 sampling sites widely distributed across nine provinces of Panama. We find both species share a limited, yet highly variable core microbiota, reflecting high stochasticity within their oviposition habitats. Despite sharing a large proportion of microbiota, Ae. aegypti harbours higher bacterial diversity than Ae. albopictus, primarily due to rarer bacterial groups at the larval stage. We find significant differences between the bacterial communities of larvae and adult mosquitoes, and among samples from metal and ceramic containers. However, we find little support for geography, water temperature and pH as predictors of bacterial associates. We report a low incidence of natural Wolbachia infection for both Aedes and its geographical distribution. This baseline information provides a foundation for studies on the functions and interactions of Aedes-associated bacteria with consequences for bio-control within Panama.

RevDate: 2019-08-21

Charlesworth J, Weinert LA, Araujo EV, et al (2019)

Wolbachia, Cardinium and climate: an analysis of global data.

Biology letters, 15(8):20190273.

Bacterial endosymbionts are very common in terrestrial arthropods, but infection levels vary widely among populations. Experiments and within-species comparisons suggest that environmental temperature might be important in explaining this variation. To investigate the importance of temperature, at broad geographical and taxonomic scales, we extended a global database of terrestrial arthropods screened for Wolbachia and Cardinium. Our final dataset contained data from more than 117 000 arthropods (over 2500 species) screened for Wolbachia and more than 18 000 arthropods (over 800 species) screened for Cardinium, including samples from 137 different countries, with mean temperatures varying from -6.5 to 29.2°C. In insects and relatives, Cardinium infection showed a clear and consistent tendency to increase with temperature. For Wolbachia, a tendency to increase with temperature in temperate climates is counteracted by reduced prevalence in the tropics, resulting in a weak negative trend overall. We discuss the implications of these results for natural and introduced symbionts in regions affected by climate change.

RevDate: 2019-08-20

Mathé-Hubert H, Kaech H, Hertaeg C, et al (2019)

Non-random associations of maternally transmitted symbionts in insects: The roles of drift versus biased co-transmission and selection.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Virtually all higher organisms form holobionts with associated microbiota. To understand the biology of holobionts we need to know how species assemble and interact. Controlled experiments are suited to study interactions between particular symbionts, but they only accommodate a tiny portion of the diversity within each species. Alternatively, interactions can be inferred by testing if associations among symbionts in the field are more or less frequent than expected under random assortment. However, random assortment may not be a valid null hypothesis for maternally transmitted symbionts since drift alone can result in associations. Here we analyse a European field survey of endosymbionts in pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum), confirming that symbiont associations are pervasive. To interpret them, we develop a model simulating the effect of drift on symbiont associations. We show that drift induces apparently non-random assortment, even though horizontal transmissions and maternal transmission failures tend to randomise symbiont associations. We also use this model in the approximate Bayesian computation framework to re-visit the association between Spiroplasma and Wolbachia in Drosophila neotestacea reported by Jaenike et al. (2010a). New field data reported here reveal that this association has disappeared in the investigated location, yet a significant interaction between Spiroplasma and Wolbachia can still be inferred. Our study confirms that negative and positive associations are pervasive and often induced by symbiont-symbiont interactions. Nevertheless, some associations are also likely to be driven by drift. This possibility needs to be considered when performing such analyses, and our model is helpful for this purpose. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-09-01

Huang HJ, Cui JR, Chen J, et al (2019)

Proteomic analysis of Laodelphax striatellus gonads reveals proteins that may manipulate host reproduction by Wolbachia.

Insect biochemistry and molecular biology, 113:103211 pii:S0965-1748(19)30325-X [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia are intracellular bacteria that manipulate host reproduction by several mechanisms including cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). However, the underlying mechanisms of Wolbachia-induced CI are not entirely clear. Here, we monitored the Wolbachia distribution in the male gonads of the small brown planthopper (Laodelphax striatellus, SBPH) at different development stages, and investigated the influence of Wolbachia on male gonads by a quantitative proteomic analysis. A total of 276 differentially expressed proteins were identified, with the majority of them participating in metabolism, modification, and reproduction. Knocking down the expression of outer dense fiber protein (ODFP) and venom allergen 5-like (VA5L) showed decreased egg reproduction, and these two genes might be responsible for Wolbachia improved fecundity in infected L. striatellus; whereas knocking down the expression of cytosol amino-peptidase-like (CAL) significantly decreased the egg hatch rate in Wolbachia-uninfected L. striatellus, but not in the Wolbachia-infected one. Considering that the mRNA/protein level of CAL was downregulated by Wolbachia infection and dsCAL treatment closely mimicked Wolbachia-induced CI, we presumed that CAL might be one of the factors determining the CI phenotype.

RevDate: 2019-08-29

Doremus MR, Kelly SE, MS Hunter (2019)

Exposure to opposing temperature extremes causes comparable effects on Cardinium density but contrasting effects on Cardinium-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility.

PLoS pathogens, 15(8):e1008022 pii:PPATHOGENS-D-19-00998.

Terrestrial arthropods, including insects, commonly harbor maternally inherited intracellular symbionts that confer benefits to the host or manipulate host reproduction to favor infected female progeny. These symbionts may be especially vulnerable to thermal stress, potentially leading to destabilization of the symbiosis and imposing costs to the host. For example, increased temperatures can reduce the density of a common reproductive manipulator, Wolbachia, and the strength of its crossing incompatibility (cytoplasmic incompatibility, or CI) phenotype. Another manipulative symbiont, Cardinium hertigii, infects ~ 6-10% of Arthropods, and also can induce CI, but there is little homology between the molecular mechanisms of CI induced by Cardinium and Wolbachia. Here we investigated whether temperature disrupts the CI phenotype of Cardinium in a parasitic wasp host, Encarsia suzannae. We examined the effects of both warm (32°C day/ 29°C night) and cool (20°C day/ 17°C night) temperatures on Cardinium CI and found that both types of temperature stress modified aspects of this symbiosis. Warm temperatures reduced symbiont density, pupal developmental time, vertical transmission rate, and the strength of both CI modification and rescue. Cool temperatures also reduced symbiont density, however this resulted in stronger CI, likely due to cool temperatures prolonging the host pupal stage. The opposing effects of cool and warm-mediated reductions in symbiont density on the resulting CI phenotype indicates that CI strength may be independent of density in this system. Temperature stress also modified the CI phenotype only if it occurred during the pupal stage, highlighting the likely importance of this stage for CI induction in this symbiosis.

RevDate: 2019-08-20

Lorenzo-Carballa MO, Torres-Cambas Y, Heaton K, et al (2019)

Widespread Wolbachia infection in an insular radiation of damselflies (Odonata, Coenagrionidae).

Scientific reports, 9(1):11933 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-47954-3.

Wolbachia is one of the most common endosymbionts found infecting arthropods. Theory predicts symbionts like Wolbachia will be more common in species radiations, as host shift events occur with greatest frequency between closely related species. Further, the presence of Wolbachia itself may engender reproductive isolation, and promote speciation of their hosts. Here we screened 178 individuals belonging to 30 species of the damselfly genera Nesobasis and Melanesobasis - species radiations endemic to the Fiji archipelago in the South Pacific - for Wolbachia, using multilocus sequence typing to characterize bacterial strains. Incidence of Wolbachia was 71% in Nesobasis and 40% in Melanesobasis, and prevalence was also high, with an average of 88% in the Nesobasis species screened. We identified a total of 25 Wolbachia strains, belonging to supergroups A, B and F, with some epidemic strains present in multiple species. The occurrence of Wolbachia in both males and females, and the similar global prevalence found in both sexes rules out any strong effect of Wolbachia on the primary sex-ratio, but are compatible with the phenotype of cytoplasmic incompatibility. Nesobasis has higher species richness than most endemic island damselfly genera, and we discuss the potential for endosymbiont-mediated speciation within this group.

RevDate: 2019-08-20

Gonçalves DDS, Hooker DJ, Dong Y, et al (2019)

Detecting wMel Wolbachia in field-collected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes using loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP).

Parasites & vectors, 12(1):404 pii:10.1186/s13071-019-3666-6.

BACKGROUND: The World Mosquito Program uses Wolbachia pipientis for the biocontrol of arboviruses transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Diagnostic testing for Wolbachia in laboratory colonies and in field-caught mosquito populations has typically employed PCR. New, simpler methods to diagnose Wolbachia infection in mosquitoes are required for large-scale operational use.

METHODS: Field-collected Ae. aegypti mosquitoes from North Queensland were tested using primers designed to detect the Wolbachia wsp gene, specific to the strain wMel. The results were analysed by colour change in the reaction mix. Furthermore, to confirm the efficiency of the LAMP assay, the results were compared to the gold-standard qPCR test.

RESULTS: A novel loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) colorimetric test for the wMel strain of Wolbachia was designed, developed and validated for use in a high-throughput setting. Against the standard qPCR test, the analytical sensitivity, specificity and diagnostic metrics were: sensitivity (99.6%), specificity (92.2%), positive predictive value (97.08%) and negative predictive value (99.30%).

CONCLUSIONS: We describe an alternative, novel and high-throughput method for diagnosing wMel Wolbachia infections in mosquitoes. This assay should support Wolbachia surveillance in both laboratory and field populations of Ae. aegypti.

RevDate: 2019-08-14

Zhu YX, Song ZR, Song YL, et al (2019)

The microbiota in spider mite faeces potentially reflects intestinal bacterial communities in the host.

Insect science [Epub ahead of print].

Microorganisms provide many physiological functions to herbivorous hosts. Spider mites (genus Tetranychus) are important agricultural pests throughout the world, however, the composition of spider mite microbial community, especially gut microbiome, remains unclear. Here, we investigated the bacterial community in five spider mite species and their associated faeces by deep sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. The composition of the bacterial community was significantly different among the five prevalent spider mite species, and some bacterial symbionts showed host-species specificity. Moreover, the abundance of the bacterial community in spider mite faeces was significantly higher than that in the corresponding spider mite samples. However, Flavobacterium was detected in all samples, and represent a "core microbiome". Remarkably, the maternally inherited endosymbiont Wolbachia was detected in both spider mite and faeces. Overall, these results offer insight into the complex community of symbionts in spider mites, and give a new direction for future studies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-08-18

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

Differential ABC transporter gene expression in adult Dirofilaria immitis males and females following in vitro treatment with ivermectin, doxycycline or a combination of both.

Parasites & vectors, 12(1):401 pii:10.1186/s13071-019-3645-y.

BACKGROUND: Combination doxycycline/macrocyclic lactone (ML) protocols have been shown to provide a more rapid adulticidal and microfilaricidal effect than either MLs or doxycycline alone, although female worms were reported to have a higher tolerance to treatments compared to male worms. The present study aimed to evaluate how ABC transporters may be involved in the synergic effect of the combination treatment. Adult worms of D. immitis were treated in vitro for 24 hours with doxycycline (DOXY), ivermectin (IVM) and a combination of both, and changes in the modulation of ABC transporter genes were measured. Levels of doxycycline inside different treatment media, post-treatment, were determined through HPLC analysis.

RESULTS: Quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed the presence of changes in the modulation of ABC transporter genes evaluated in this study. In particular, in female worms, the combination treatment induced a substantial increase in gene expressions, especially of Dim-pgp-10 and Dim-haf-4; whereas in male worms, the greatest increase in gene expression was observed for Dim-pgp-10 and Dim-pgp-11 when treated with DMSO + IVM and DMSO + DOXY/IVM. HPLC analysis of the DOXY concentrations in the media after in vitro treatments of male worms showed a slight difference between the DMSO + DOXY samples and the combination (DMSO + DOXY + IVM), while no difference was observed among females.

CONCLUSIONS: Further studies are required to explain whether the modulation of cellular efflux plays a role, even partially, in the adulticide effect of doxycycline/macrocyclic lactone combinations in heartworm-infected dogs. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate P-gp expression in adult D. immitis.

RevDate: 2019-08-13

Bockoven AA, Bondy EC, Flores MJ, et al (2019)

What Goes Up Might Come Down: the Spectacular Spread of an Endosymbiont Is Followed by Its Decline a Decade Later.

Microbial ecology pii:10.1007/s00248-019-01417-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Facultative, intracellular bacterial symbionts of arthropods may dramatically affect host biology and reproduction. The length of these symbiont-host associations may be thousands to millions of years, and while symbiont loss is predicted, there have been very few observations of a decline of symbiont infection rates. In a population of the sweet potato whitefly species (Bemisia tabaci MEAM1) in Arizona, USA, we documented the frequency decline of a strain of Rickettsia in the Rickettsia bellii clade from near-fixation in 2011 to 36% of whiteflies infected in 2017. In previous studies, Rickettsia had been shown to increase from 1 to 97% from 2000 to 2006 and remained at high frequency for at least five years. At that time, Rickettsia infection was associated with both fitness benefits and female bias. In the current study, we established matrilines of whiteflies from the field (2016, Rickettsia infection frequency = 58%) and studied (a) Rickettsia vertical transmission, (b) fitness and sex ratios associated with Rickettsia infection, (c) symbiont titer, and (d) bacterial communities within whiteflies. The vertical transmission rate was high, approximately 98%. Rickettsia infection in the matrilines was not associated with fitness benefits or sex ratio bias and appeared to be slightly costly, as more Rickettsia-infected individuals produced non-hatching eggs. Overall, the titer of Rickettsia in the matrilines was lower in 2016 than in the whiteflies collected in 2011, but the titer distribution appeared bimodal, with high- and low-titer lines, and constancy of the average titer within lines over three generations. We found neither association between Rickettsia titer and fitness benefits or sex ratio bias nor evidence that Rickettsia was replaced by another secondary symbiont. The change in the interaction between symbiont and host in 2016 whiteflies may explain the drop in symbiont frequency we observed.

RevDate: 2019-08-09

Anderson ML, Rustin RC, ME Eremeeva (2019)

Pilot survey of mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) from southeastern Georgia, USA for Wolbachia and Rickettsia felis (Rickettsiales: Rickettsiaceae).

Journal of vector borne diseases, 56(2):92-97.

Background & objectives: Mosquito surveillance is one of the critical functions of local health departments, particularly in the context of outbreaks of severe mosquito-borne viral infections. Unfortunately, some viral and parasitic infections transmitted by mosquitoes, manifests non-specific clinical symptoms which may actually be of rickettsial etiology, including Rickettsia felis infections. This study tested the hypothesis that mosquitoes from southeastern Georgia, USA may be infected with Rickettsia felis and Wolbachia, an endosymbiotic bacterium of the order Rickettsiales.

Methods: Specimens of the five most common mosquito species occurring in the region were collected using gravid and light-traps and identified using morphological keys. Mosquitoes were then pooled by species, sex, trap and collection site and their DNA was extracted. Molecular methods were used to confirm mosquito identification, and presence of Wolbachia and R. felis.

Results: Wolbachia DNA was detected in 90.8% of the mosquito pools tested, which included 98% pools of Cx. quinquefasciatus Say (Diptera: Culicidae), 95% pools of Ae. albopictus Skuse (Diptera: Culicidae), and 66.7% of pools of Cx. pipiens complex. Samples of An. punctipennis Say (Diptera: Culicidae) and An. crucians Wiedemann (Diptera: Culicidae) were tested negative for Wolbachia DNA. Three genotypes of Wolbachia sp. belonging to Group A (1 type) and Group B (2 types) were identified. DNA of R. felis was not found in any pool of mosquitoes tested.

This study provides a pilot data on the high presence of Wolbachia in Cx. quinque-fasciatus and Ae. albopictus mosquitoes prevalent in the study region. Whether the high prevalence of Wolbachia and its genetic diversity in mosquitoes affects the mosquitoes' susceptibility to R. felis infection in Georgia will need further evaluation.

RevDate: 2019-08-11

Liu L, Zhang KJ, Rong X, et al (2019)

Identification of Wolbachia-Responsive miRNAs in the Small Brown Planthopper, Laodelphax striatellus.

Frontiers in physiology, 10:928.

Laodelphax striatellus is naturally infected with the Wolbachia strain wStri, which induces strong cytoplasmic incompatibility of its host. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of endogenous non-coding small RNAs that play a critical role in the regulation of gene expression at post-transcriptional level in various biological processes. Despite various studies reporting that Wolbachia affects the miRNA expression of their hosts, the molecular mechanism underlying interactions between Wolbachia and their host miRNAs has not been well understood. In order to better understand the impact of Wolbachia infection on its host, we investigated the differentially expressed miRNAs between Wolbachia-infected and Wolbachia-uninfected strains of L. striatellus. Compared with uninfected strains, Wolbachia infection resulted in up-regulation of 18 miRNAs and down-regulation of 6 miRNAs in male, while 25 miRNAs were up-regulated and 15 miRNAs were down-regulated in female. The target genes of these differentially expressed miRNAs involved in immune response regulation, reproduction, redox homeostasis and ecdysteroidogenesis were also annotated in both sexes. We further verified the expression of several significantly differentially expressed miRNAs and their predicted target genes by qRT-PCR method. The results suggested that Wolbachia appears to reduce the expression of genes related to fertility in males and increase the expression of genes related to fecundity in females. At the same time, Wolbachia may enhance the expression of immune-related genes in both sexes. All of the results in this study may be helpful in further exploration of the molecular mechanisms by which Wolbachia affects on its hosts.

RevDate: 2019-08-06

Klinges JG, Rosales SM, McMinds R, et al (2019)

Phylogenetic, genomic, and biogeographic characterization of a novel and ubiquitous marine invertebrate-associated Rickettsiales parasite, Candidatus Aquarickettsia rohweri, gen. nov., sp. nov.

The ISME journal pii:10.1038/s41396-019-0482-0 [Epub ahead of print].

Bacterial symbionts are integral to the health and homeostasis of invertebrate hosts. Notably, members of the Rickettsiales genus Wolbachia influence several aspects of the fitness and evolution of their terrestrial hosts, but few analogous partnerships have been found in marine systems. We report here the genome, phylogenetics, and biogeography of a ubiquitous and novel Rickettsiales species that primarily associates with marine organisms. We previously showed that this bacterium was found in scleractinian corals, responds to nutrient exposure, and is associated with reduced host growth and increased mortality. This bacterium, like other Rickettsiales, has a reduced genome indicative of a parasitic lifestyle. Phylogenetic analysis places this Rickettsiales within a new genus we define as "Candidatus Aquarickettsia." Using data from the Earth Microbiome Project and SRA databases, we also demonstrate that members of "Ca. Aquarickettsia" are found globally in dozens of invertebrate lineages. The coral-associated "Candidatus A. rohweri" is the first complete genome in this new clade. "Ca. A. rohweri" lacks genes to synthesize most sugars and amino acids but possesses several genes linked to pathogenicity including Tlc, an antiporter that exchanges host ATP for ADP, and a complete Type IV secretion system. Despite its inability to metabolize nitrogen, "Ca. A. rohweri" possesses the NtrY-NtrX two-component system involved in sensing and responding to extracellular nitrogen. Given these data, along with visualization of the parasite in host tissues, we hypothesize that "Ca. A. rohweri" reduces coral health by consuming host nutrients and energy, thus weakening and eventually killing host cells. Last, we hypothesize that nutrient enrichment, which is increasingly common on coral reefs, encourages unrestricted growth of "Ca. A. rohweri" in its host by providing abundant N-rich metabolites to be scavenged.

RevDate: 2019-08-18

Hübner MP, Koschel M, Struever D, et al (2019)

In vivo kinetics of Wolbachia depletion by ABBV-4083 in L. sigmodontis adult worms and microfilariae.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 13(8):e0007636 pii:PNTD-D-19-00664.

Depletion of Wolbachia endosymbionts of human pathogenic filariae using 4-6 weeks of doxycycline treatment can lead to permanent sterilization and adult filarial death. We investigated the anti-Wolbachia drug candidate ABBV-4083 in the Litomosoides sigmodontis rodent model to determine Wolbachia depletion kinetics with different regimens. Wolbachia reduction occurred in mice as early as 3 days after the initiation of ABBV-4083 treatment and continued throughout a 10-day treatment period. Importantly, Wolbachia levels continued to decline after a 5-day-treatment from 91.5% to 99.9% during a 3-week washout period. In jirds, two weeks of ABBV-4083 treatment (100mg/kg once-per-day) caused a >99.9% Wolbachia depletion in female adult worms, and the kinetics of Wolbachia depletion were recapitulated in peripheral blood microfilariae. Similar to Wolbachia depletion, inhibition of embryogenesis was time-dependent in ABBV-4083-treated jirds, leading to a complete lack of late embryonic stages (stretched microfilariae) and lack of peripheral microfilariae in 5/6 ABBV-4083-treated jirds by 14 weeks after treatment. Twice daily treatment in comparison to once daily treatment with ABBV-4083 did not significantly improve Wolbachia depletion. Moreover, up to 4 nonconsecutive daily treatments within a 14-dose regimen did not significantly erode Wolbachia depletion. Within the limitations of an animal model that does not fully recapitulate human filarial disease, our studies suggest that Wolbachia depletion should be assessed clinically no earlier than 3-4 weeks after the end of treatment, and that Wolbachia depletion in microfilariae may be a viable surrogate marker for the depletion within adult worms. Furthermore, strict daily adherence to the dosing regimen with anti-Wolbachia candidates may not be required, provided that the full regimen is subsequently completed.

RevDate: 2019-08-08

Yoshida K, Sanada-Morimura S, Huang SH, et al (2019)

Influences of two coexisting endosymbionts, CI-inducing Wolbachia and male-killing Spiroplasma, on the performance of their host Laodelphax striatellus (Hemiptera: Delphacidae).

Ecology and evolution, 9(14):8214-8224 pii:ECE35392.

The small brown planthopper Laodelphax striatellus (Hemiptera: Delphacidae) is reported to have the endosymbiont Wolbachia, which shows a strong cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) between infected males and uninfected females. In the 2000s, female-biased L. striatellus populations were found in Taiwan, and this sex ratio distortion was the result of male-killing induced by the infection of another endosymbiont, Spiroplasma. Spiroplasma infection is considered to negatively affect both L. striatellus and Wolbachia because the male-killing halves the offspring of L. striatellus and hinders the spread of Wolbachia infection via CI. Spiroplasma could have traits that increase the fitness of infected L. striatellus and/or coexisting organisms because the coinfection rates of Wolbachia and Spiroplasma were rather high in some areas. In this study, we investigated the influences of the infection of these two endosymbionts on the development, reproduction, and insecticide resistance of L. striatellus in the laboratory. Our results show that the single-infection state of Spiroplasma had a negative influence on the fertility of L. striatellus, while the double-infection state had no significant influence. At late nymphal and adult stages, the abundance of Spiroplasma was lower in the double-infection state than in the single-infection state. In the double-infection state, the reduction of Spiroplasma density may be caused by competition between the two endosymbionts, and the negative influence of Spiroplasma on the fertility of host may be relieved. The resistance of L. striatellus to four insecticides was compared among different infection states of endosymbionts, but Spiroplasma infection did not contribute to increase insecticide resistance. Because positive influences of Spiroplasma infection were not found in terms of the development, reproduction, and insecticide resistance of L. striatellus, other factors improving the fitness of Spiroplasma-infected L. striatellus may be related to the high frequency of double infection in some L. striatellus populations.

RevDate: 2019-08-08

Hu G, Zhang L, Yun Y, et al (2019)

Taking insight into the gut microbiota of three spider species: No characteristic symbiont was found corresponding to the special feeding style of spiders.

Ecology and evolution, 9(14):8146-8156 pii:ECE35382.

Microorganisms in insect guts have been recognized as having a great impact on their hosts' nutrition, health, and behavior. Spiders are important natural enemies of pests, and the composition of the gut microbiota of spiders remains unclear. Will the bacterial taxa in spiders be same as the bacterial taxa in insects, and what are the potential functions of the gut bacteria in spiders? To gain insight into the composition of the gut bacteria in spiders and their potential function, we collected three spider species, Pardosa laura, Pardosa astrigera, and Nurscia albofasciata, in the field, and high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA V3 and V4 regions was used to investigate the diversity of gut microbiota across the three spider species. A total of 23 phyla and 150 families were identified in these three spider species. The dominant bacterial phylum across all samples was Proteobacteria. Burkholderia, Ralstonia, Ochrobactrum, Providencia, Acinetobacter, Proteus, and Rhodoplanes were the dominant genera in the guts of the three spider species. The relative abundances of Wolbachia and Rickettsiella detected in N. albofasciata were significantly higher than those in the other two spider species. The relative abundance of Thermus, Amycolatopsis, Lactococcus, Acinetobacter Microbacterium, and Koribacter detected in spider gut was different among the three spider species. Biomolecular interaction networks indicated that the microbiota in the guts had complex interactions. The results of this study also suggested that at the genus level, some of the gut bacteria taxa in the three spider species were the same as the bacteria in insect guts.

RevDate: 2019-08-08

Su Q, Wang X, Ilyas N, et al (2019)

Combined effects of elevated CO2 concentration and Wolbachia on Hylyphantes graminicola (Araneae: Linyphiidae).

Ecology and evolution, 9(12):7112-7121 pii:ECE35276.

The increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in atmosphere is not only a major cause of global warming, but it also adversely affects the ecological diversity of invertebrates. This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of elevated CO2 concentration (ambient, 400 ppm and high, 800 ppm) and Wolbachia (Wolbachia-infected, W+ and Wolbachia-uninfected, W-) on Hylyphantes graminicola. The total survival rate, developmental duration, carapace width and length, body weight, sex ratio, net reproductive rate, nutrition content, and enzyme activity in H. graminicola were examined under four treatments: W- 400 ppm, W- 800 ppm, W+ 400 ppm, and W+ 800 ppm. Results showed that Wolbachia-infected spiders had significantly decreased the total developmental duration. Different instars showed variations up to some extent, but no obvious effect was found under elevated CO2 concentration. Total survival rate, sex ratio, and net reproductive rate were not affected by elevated CO2 concentration or Wolbachia infection. The carapace width of Wolbachia-uninfected spiders decreased significantly under elevated CO2 concentration, while the width, length and weight were not significantly affected in Wolbachia-infected spiders reared at ambient CO2 concentration. The levels of protein, specific activities of peroxidase, and amylase were significantly increased under elevated CO2 concentration or Wolbachia-infected spiders, while the total amino content was only increased in Wolbachia-infected spiders. Thus, our current finding suggested that elevated CO2 concentration and Wolbachia enhance nutrient contents and enzyme activity of H. graminicola and decrease development duration hence explore the interactive effects of factors which were responsible for reproduction regulation, but it also gives a theoretical direction for spider's protection in such a dynamic environment. Increased activities of enzymes and nutrients caused by Wolbachia infection aids for better survival of H. graminicola under stress.

RevDate: 2019-08-25

Dimopoulos G (2019)

Combining Sterile and Incompatible Insect Techniques for Aedes albopictus Suppression.

Trends in parasitology, 35(9):671-673.

Traditional control strategies are failing to contain Aedes albopictus as an emerging major vector for dengue. A combination of approaches (Zheng et al., Nature, 2019) involving an artificial triple Wolbachia superinfection and low-dose irradiation enabled mass production of adult sterile males for release. The resulting suppression of field populations suggests feasibility for area-wide vector control.

RevDate: 2019-07-31

Satjawongvanit H, Phumee A, Tiawsirisup S, et al (2019)

Molecular Analysis of Canine Filaria and Its Wolbachia Endosymbionts in Domestic Dogs Collected from Two Animal University Hospitals in Bangkok Metropolitan Region, Thailand.

Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland), 8(3): pii:pathogens8030114.

Canine filariasis is caused by several nematode species, such as Dirofilaria immitis, Dirofilaria repens, Brugia pahangi, Brugia malayi, and Acanthocheilonema reconditum. Zoonotic filariasis is one of the world's neglected tropical diseases. Since 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) has promoted a global filarial eradication program to eliminate filariasis by 2020. Apart from vector control strategies, the infection control of reservoir hosts is necessary for more effective filariasis control. In addition, many studies have reported that Wolbachia is necessary for the development, reproduction, and survival of the filarial nematode. Consequently, the use of antibiotics to kill Wolbachia in nematodes has now become an alternative strategy to control filariasis. Previously, a case of subconjunctival dirofilariasis caused by Dirofilaria spp. has been reported in a woman who resides in the center of Bangkok, Thailand. Therefore, our study aimed to principally demonstrate the presence of filarial nematodes and Wolbachia bacteria in blood collected from domestic dogs from the Bangkok Metropolitan Region, Thailand. A total of 57 blood samples from dogs with suspected dirofilariasis who had visited veterinary clinics in Bangkok were collected. The investigations for the presence of microfilaria were carried out by using both microscopic and molecular examinations. PCR was used as the molecular detection method for the filarial nematodes based on the COI and ITS1 regions. The demonstration of Wolbachia was performed using PCR to amplify the FtsZ gene. All positive samples by PCR were then cloned and sequenced. The results showed that the filarial nematodes were detected in 16 samples (28.07%) using microscopic examinations. The molecular detection of filarial species using COI-PCR revealed that 50 samples (87.72%) were positive; these consisted of 33 (57.89%), 13 (22.81%), and 4 (7.02%) samples for D. immitis, B. pahangi, and B. malayi, respectively. While the ITS1-PCR showed that 41 samples (71.93%) were positive-30 samples (52.63%) were identified as containing D. immitis and 11 samples (19.30%) were identified to have B. pahangi, whereas B. malayi was not detected. Forty-seven samples (82.45%) were positive for Wolbachia DNA and the phylogenetic tree of all positive Wolbachia was classified into the supergroup C clade. This study has established fundamental data on filariasis associated with Wolbachia infection in domestic dogs in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region. An extensive survey of dog blood samples would provide valuable epidemiologic data on potential zoonotic filariasis in Thailand. In addition, this information could be used for the future development of more effective prevention and control strategies for canine filariasis in Thailand.

RevDate: 2019-07-30

Liu XD, HF Guo (2019)

Importance of endosymbionts Wolbachia and Rickettsia in insect resistance development.

Current opinion in insect science, 33:84-90.

Endosymbionts play important roles in protecting hosts from environmental stress, such as natural enemies, heat, and toxins. Many insects are infected with the facultative nonessential endosymbionts Wolbachia and Rickettsia, which are the crux in this review, although other relevant symbiont genera will also be treated. Insecticide resistance of hosts can be related to infections with Wolbachia and Rickettsia. These endosymbionts commonly increase host susceptibility to chemical insecticides, but cases of increased resistance also exist. The symbiont-mediated insecticide resistance/susceptibility varies with species of insect, species of symbiont, and chemical compound. Changes in insecticide resistance levels of insects can be associated with fluctuations in population density of endosymbionts. Effects of endosymbionts on host fitness, metabolism, immune system, and gene expression may determine how endosymbionts influence insecticide resistance. A clearer understanding of these interactions can improve our knowledge about drivers of decreasing insecticide resistance.

RevDate: 2019-07-27

Martin E, Borucki MK, Thissen J, et al (2019)

Adaptation of a microbial detection array as a monitoring tool revealed the presence of mosquito-borne viruses and insect-specific viruses in field-collected mosquitoes.

Applied and environmental microbiology pii:AEM.01202-19 [Epub ahead of print].

Several mosquito-borne diseases affecting humans are emerging or re-emerging in the United States. The early detection of pathogens in mosquito populations is essential to prevent and control the spread of these diseases. In this study, we tested the potential applicability of the Lawrence Livermore Microbial Detection Array (LLMDA) to enhance bio-surveillance by detecting microbes present in Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus and Culex mosquitoes that are major vector species globally, including in Texas. The sensitivity and reproducibility of the LLMDA was tested in mosquito samples spiked with different concentrations of dengue virus (DENV) revealing a detection limit of >100 but <1000 pfu/mL. Additionally, field-collected mosquitoes from Chicago, Illinois and College Station, Texas of known infection status (West Nile virus (WNV) and Culex flavivirus (CxFLAV) positive) were tested on the LLMDA to confirm its efficiency. Mosquito field samples of unknown infection status, collected in San Antonio, TX and the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV), TX were run on the LLMDA and further confirmed by PCR or qPCR. The analysis of the field samples with the LLMDA revealed the presence of cell fusing agent virus (CFAV) in Ae. aegypti populations. Wolbachia was also detected in several of the field samples (Ae. albopictus and Culex spp.) by the LLMDA. Our findings demonstrated that the LLMDA can be used to detect multiple arboviruses of public health importance including viruses that belong to the Flavivirus, Alphavirus and Orthobunyavirus genera. Additionally, insect-specific viruses and bacteria were also detected from field-collected mosquitoes. Another strength of this array is its ability to detect multiple viruses in the same mosquito pool allowing for the detection of co-circulating pathogens in an area, and the identification of potential ecological associations between different viruses. This array can aid in the bio-surveillance of mosquito borne viruses circulating in specific geographical areas.ImportanceViruses associated with mosquitoes have made a large impact on public and veterinary health. In the US, several viruses including WNV, DENV and chikungunya virus (CHIKV) are responsible for human disease. From 2015-2018, imported Zika cases were reported in the US and in 2016-2017, local Zika transmission occurred in the states of Texas and Florida. With globalization and a changing climate, the frequency of outbreaks linked to arboviruses will increase, revealing a need to better detect viruses in vector populations. With its capacity to detect viruses, bacteria and fungi, this study highlights the ability of the LLMDA to broadly screen field-collected mosquitoes and contribute to the surveillance and management of arboviral diseases.

RevDate: 2019-07-30

Khanmohammadi M, Falak R, Meamar AR, et al (2019)

Molecular Detection and Phylogenetic Analysis of Endosymbiont Wolbachia pipientis (Rickettsiales: Anaplasmataceae) Isolated from Dirofilaria immitis in Northwest of Iran.

Journal of arthropod-borne diseases, 13(1):83-93.

Background: The purpose of this study was molecular detection and phylogenetic analysis of Wolbachia species of Dirofilaria immitis.

Methods: Adult filarial nematodes were collected from the cardiovascular and pulmonary arterial systems of naturally infected dogs, which caught in different geographical areas of Meshkin Shahr in Ardabil Province, Iran, during 2017. Dirofilaria immitis genomic DNA were extracted. Phylogenetic analysis for proofing of D. immitis was carried out using cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene. Afterward, the purified DNA was used to determine the molecular pattern of the Wolbachia surface protein (WSP) gene sequence by PCR.

Results: Phylogeny and homology studies showed high consistency of the COI gene with the previously-registered sequences for D. immitis. Comparison of DNA sequences revealed no nucleotide variation between them. PCR showed that all of the collected parasites were infected with W. pipientis. The sequence of the WSP gene in Wolbachia species from D. immitis was significantly different from other species of Dirofilaria as well as other filarial species. The maximum homology was observed with the Wolbachia isolated from D. immitis. The greatest distance between WSP nucleotides of Wolbachia species found between D. immitis and those isolated from Onchocerca lupi.

Conclusion: PCR could be a simple but suitable method for detection of Wolbachia species. There is a pattern of host specificity between Wolbachia and Dirofilaria that can be related to ancestral evolutions. The results of this phylogenetic analysis and molecular characterization may help us for better identification of Wolbachia species and understanding of their coevolution.

RevDate: 2019-08-02

Carvajal TM, Hashimoto K, Harnandika RK, et al (2019)

Detection of Wolbachia in field-collected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in metropolitan Manila, Philippines.

Parasites & vectors, 12(1):361 pii:10.1186/s13071-019-3629-y.

BACKGROUND: Recent reports reveal the presence of Wolbachia in Ae. aegypti. Our study presents additional support for Wolbachia infection in Ae. aegypti by screening field-collected adult mosquitoes using two Wolbachia-specific molecular makers.

METHODS: A total of 672 Ae. aegypti adult mosquitoes were collected from May 2014 to January 2015 in Metropolitan Manila. Each individual sample was processed and screened for the presence of Wolbachia by selected markers, Wolbachia-specific 16S rDNA and its surface protein (wsp), under optimized PCR conditions and sequenced.

RESULTS: Totals of 113 (16.8%) and 89 (13.2%) individual mosquito samples were determined to be infected with Wolbachia using the wsp and 16S rDNA markers, respectively. The Ae. aegpyti wsp sample sequences were similar or identical to five known Wolbachia strains belonging to supergroups A and B while the majority of 16S rDNA sample sequences were similar to strains belonging to supergroup B. Overall, 80 (11.90%) individual mosquito samples showed positive amplifications in both markers and 69% showed congruence in supergroup identification (supergroup B).

CONCLUSIONS: By utilizing two Wolbachia-specific molecular makers, our study demonstrated the presence of Wolbachia from individual Ae. aegypti samples. Our results showed a low Wolbachia infection rate and inferred the detected strains belong to either supergroups A and B.

RevDate: 2019-08-02

He Z, Zheng Y, Yu WJ, et al (2019)

How do Wolbachia modify the Drosophila ovary? New evidences support the "titration-restitution" model for the mechanisms of Wolbachia-induced CI.

BMC genomics, 20(1):608 pii:10.1186/s12864-019-5977-6.

BACKGROUND: Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) is the most common phenotype induced by endosymbiont Wolbachia and results in embryonic lethality when Wolbachia-modified sperm fertilize eggs without Wolbachia. However, eggs carrying the same strain of Wolbachia can rescue this embryonic death, thus producing viable Wolbachia-infected offspring. Hence Wolbachia can be transmitted mainly by hosts' eggs. One of the models explaining CI is "titration-restitution", which hypothesized that Wolbachia titrated-out some factors from the sperm and the Wolbachia in the egg would restitute the factors after fertilization. However, how infected eggs rescue CI and how hosts' eggs ensure the proliferation and transmission of Wolbachia are not well understood.

RESULTS: By RNA-seq analyses, we first compared the transcription profiles of Drosophila melanogaster adult ovaries with and without the wMel Wolbachia and identified 149 differentially expressed genes (DEGs), of which 116 genes were upregulated and 33 were downregulated by Wolbachia infection. To confirm the results obtained from RNA-seq and to screen genes potentially associated with reproduction, 15 DEGs were selected for quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR). Thirteen genes showed the same changing trend as RNA-seq analyses. To test whether these genes are associated with CI, we also detected their expression levels in testes. Nine of them exhibited different changing trends in testes from those in ovaries. To investigate how these DEGs were regulated, sRNA sequencing was performed and identified seven microRNAs (miRNAs) that were all upregulated in fly ovaries by Wolbachia infection. Matching of miRNA and mRNA data showed that these seven miRNAs regulated 15 DEGs. Wolbachia-responsive genes in fly ovaries were involved in biological processes including metabolism, transportation, oxidation-reduction, immunity, and development.

CONCLUSIONS: Comparisons of mRNA and miRNA data from fly ovaries revealed 149 mRNAs and seven miRNAs that exhibit significant changes in expression due to Wolbachia infection. Notably, most of the DEGs showed variation in opposite directions in ovaries versus testes in the presence of Wolbachia, which generally supports the "titration-restitution" model for CI. Furthermore, genes related to metabolism were upregulated, which may benefit maximum proliferation and transmission of Wolbachia. This provides new insights into the molecular mechanisms of Wolbachia-induced CI and Wolbachia dependence on host ovaries.

RevDate: 2019-08-30

Pogorevc D, Panter F, Schillinger C, et al (2019)

Production optimization and biosynthesis revision of corallopyronin A, a potent anti-filarial antibiotic.

Metabolic engineering, 55:201-211.

Corallopyronins (COR) are α-pyrone antibiotics from myxobacteria representing highly promising lead structures for the development of antibacterial therapeutic agents. Their ability to inhibit RNA polymerase through interaction with the "switch region", a novel target, distant from binding sites of previously characterized RNA polymerase inhibitors (e.g. rifampicin), makes them particularly promising as antibiotic candidates. Corallopyronin A is currently also investigated as a lead compound for the treatment of lymphatic filariasis because of its superb activity against the nematode symbiont Wolbachia. As total synthesis is not a valid production option biotechnological optimization of compound supply is of utmost importance to further develop this highly potent compound class. Here we describe decisive improvements of the previously reported heterologous COR production and engineering platform yielding production of ~100 mg/L COR A. Furthermore, we provide a revised model of COR biosynthesis shedding light on the function of several biosynthetic proteins, including an unusual ECH-like enzyme providing dehydration functionality in trans and an uncharacterized protein conferring COR self-resistance in the myxobacterial heterologous host Myxococcus xanthus DK1622. We also report two new COR derivatives, COR D and oxyCOR A discovered in genetically engineered strains.

RevDate: 2019-08-30

Treanor D, WOH Hughes (2019)

Limited female dispersal predicts the incidence of Wolbachia across ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).

Journal of evolutionary biology [Epub ahead of print].

The endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia is perhaps the greatest panzootic in the history of life on Earth, yet remarkably little is known regarding the factors that determine its incidence across species. One possibility is that Wolbachia more easily invades species with structured populations, due to the increased strength of genetic drift and higher initial frequency of infection. This should enable strains that induce mating incompatibilities to more easily cross the threshold prevalence above which they spread to either fixation or a stable equilibrium infection prevalence. Here, we provide empirical support for this hypothesis by analysing the relationship between female dispersal (as a proxy for population structure) and the incidence of Wolbachia across 250 species of ants. We show that species in which the dispersal of reproductive females is limited are significantly more likely to be infected with Wolbachia than species whose reproductive ecology is consistent with significant dispersal of females, and that this relationship remains after controlling for host phylogeny. We suggest that structured host populations, in this case resulting from limited female dispersal, may be an important feature determining how easily Wolbachia becomes successfully established in a novel host, and thus its occurrence across a wide diversity of invertebrate hosts.

RevDate: 2019-07-23

Barash NR, Thomas B, Birkenheuer AJ, et al (2019)

Prevalence of Babesia spp. and clinical characteristics of Babesia vulpes infections in North American dogs.

Journal of veterinary internal medicine [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Babesiosis is an important cause of thrombocytopenia and hemolytic anemia in dogs. Babesia vulpes, reported in European dogs and North American foxes, rarely has been reported in domestic North American dogs. Newly optimized polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primers facilitate more sensitive amplification of B. vulpes DNA.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of Babesia sp. infections in dogs being tested for Babesia infection, and to describe co-infections and clinicopathologic abnormalities in B. vulpes positive dogs.

ANIMALS: Dog blood or tissue samples (n = 9367) submitted to a diagnostic laboratory between June 2015 and June 2018 were tested using an optimized Babesia PCR assay.

METHODS: Comprehensive canine vector-borne disease diagnostic testing was performed on convenience samples.

RESULTS: Babesia sp. DNA was amplified from 269/9367 (2.9%) North American dogs. Babesia sp. infections included B. gibsoni monoinfection (157; 1.7%), B. vulpes monoinfection (19; 0.20%), and B. gibsoni and B. vulpes coinfection (29; 0.31%). Forty-three of the 48 total B. vulpes-infected dogs were American Pit Bull Terrier-type breeds, of which 36 historically were involved with dog fights. Coinfections with Mycoplasma, Dirofilaria immitis, or Wolbachia and coexposures to Bartonella, Ehrlichia, and Rickettsia spp. were documented in B. vulpes-infected dogs. Clinicopathologic data in B. vulpes-infected dogs both with and without coinfections included anemia, thrombocytopenia, hyperglobulinemia, hypoalbuminemia, and proteinuria.

Babesia vulpes infection in domestic North American dogs is commonly found in conjunction with other coinfections, including B. gibsoni and hemotropic Mycoplasma. Similar to B. gibsoni, dog-to-dog transmission of B. vulpes may be a frequent mode of transmission.

RevDate: 2019-07-20

Bakowski MA, CW McNamara (2019)

Advances in Antiwolbachial Drug Discovery for Treatment of Parasitic Filarial Worm Infections.

Tropical medicine and infectious disease, 4(3): pii:tropicalmed4030108.

The intracellular bacteria now known as Wolbachia were first described in filarial worms in the 1970s, but the idea of Wolbachia being used as a macrofilaricidal target did not gain wide attention until the early 2000s, with research in filariae suggesting the requirement of worms for the endosymbiont. This new-found interest prompted the eventual organization of the Anti-Wolbachia Consortium (A-WOL) at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, who, among others have been active in the field of antiwolbachial drug discovery to treat filarial infections. Clinical proof of concept studies using doxycycline demonstrated the utility of the antiwolbachial therapy, but efficacious treatments were of long duration and not safe for all infected. With the advance of robotics, automation, and high-speed computing, the search for superior antiwolbachials shifted away from smaller studies with a select number of antibiotics to high-throughput screening approaches, centered largely around cell-based phenotypic screens due to the rather limited knowledge about, and tools available to manipulate, this bacterium. A concomitant effort was put towards developing validation approaches and in vivo models supporting drug discovery efforts. In this review, we summarize the strategies behind and outcomes of recent large phenotypic screens published within the last 5 years, hit compound validation approaches and promising candidates with profiles superior to doxycycline, including ones positioned to advance into clinical trials for treatment of filarial worm infections.

RevDate: 2019-08-07

Cheng D, Chen S, Huang Y, et al (2019)

Symbiotic microbiota may reflect host adaptation by resident to invasive ant species.

PLoS pathogens, 15(7):e1007942 pii:PPATHOGENS-D-18-02136.

Exotic invasive species can influence the behavior and ecology of native and resident species, but these changes are often overlooked. Here we hypothesize that the ghost ant, Tapinoma melanocephalum, living in areas that have been invaded by the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, displays behavioral differences to interspecific competition that are reflected in both its trophic position and symbiotic microbiota. We demonstrate that T. melanocephalum workers from S. invicta invaded areas are less aggressive towards workers of S. invicta than those inhabiting non-invaded areas. Nitrogen isotope analyses reveal that colonies of T. melanocephalum have protein-rich diets in S. invicta invaded areas compared with the carbohydrate-rich diets of colonies living in non-invaded areas. Analysis of microbiota isolated from gut tissue shows that T. melanocephalum workers from S. invicta invaded areas also have different bacterial communities, including a higher abundance of Wolbachia that may play a role in vitamin B provisioning. In contrast, the microbiota of workers of T. melanocephalum from S. invicta-free areas are dominated by bacteria from the orders Bacillales, Lactobacillales and Enterobacteriales that may be involved in sugar metabolism. We further demonstrate experimentally that the composition and structure of the bacterial symbiont communities as well as the prevalence of vitamin B in T. melanocephalum workers from S. invicta invaded and non-invaded areas can be altered if T. melanocephalum workers are supplied with either protein-rich or carbohydrate-rich food. Our results support the hypothesis that bacterial symbiont communities can help hosts by buffering behavioral changes caused by interspecies competition as a consequence of biological invasions.

RevDate: 2019-08-01

Zheng X, Zhang D, Li Y, et al (2019)

Incompatible and sterile insect techniques combined eliminate mosquitoes.

Nature, 572(7767):56-61.

The radiation-based sterile insect technique (SIT) has successfully suppressed field populations of several insect pest species, but its effect on mosquito vector control has been limited. The related incompatible insect technique (IIT)-which uses sterilization caused by the maternally inherited endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia-is a promising alternative, but can be undermined by accidental release of females infected with the same Wolbachia strain as the released males. Here we show that combining incompatible and sterile insect techniques (IIT-SIT) enables near elimination of field populations of the world's most invasive mosquito species, Aedes albopictus. Millions of factory-reared adult males with an artificial triple-Wolbachia infection were released, with prior pupal irradiation of the released mosquitoes to prevent unintentionally released triply infected females from successfully reproducing in the field. This successful field trial demonstrates the feasibility of area-wide application of combined IIT-SIT for mosquito vector control.

RevDate: 2019-07-19

Dietrich CF, Chaubal N, Hoerauf A, et al (2019)

Review of Dancing Parasites in Lymphatic Filariasis.

Ultrasound international open, 5(2):E65-E74.

Lymphatic filariasis is an infection transmitted by blood-sucking mosquitoes with filarial nematodes of the species Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi und B. timori . It is prevalent in tropical countries throughout the world, with more than 60 million people infected and more than 1 billion living in areas with the risk of transmission. Worm larvae with a length of less than 1 mm are transmitted by mosquitoes, develop in human lymphatic tissue to adult worms with a length of 7-10 cm, live in the human body for up to 10 years and produce millions of microfilariae, which can be transmitted further by mosquitoes. The adult worms can be easily observed by ultrasonography because of their size and fast movements (the so-called "filarial dance sign"), which can be differentiated from other movements (e. g., blood in venous vessels) by their characteristic movement profile in pulsed-wave Doppler mode. Therapeutic options include (combinations of) ivermectin, albendazole, diethylcarbamazine and doxycycline. The latter depletes endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria from the worms and thus sterilizes and later kills the adult worms (macrofilaricidal or adulticidal effect).

RevDate: 2019-07-25

Ke F, You S, Huang S, et al (2019)

Herbivore range expansion triggers adaptation in a subsequently-associated third trophic level species and shared microbial symbionts.

Scientific reports, 9(1):10314 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-46742-3.

Invasive species may change the life history strategies, distribution, genetic configuration and trophic interactions of native species. The diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella L., is an invasive herbivore attacking cultivated and wild brassica plants worldwide. Here we present phylogeographic analyses of P. xylostella and one of its major parasitoids, Cotesia vestalis, using mitochondrial markers, revealing the genetic diversity and evolutionary history of these two species. We find evidence that C. vestalis originated in Southwest China, then adapted to P. xylostella as a new host by ecological sorting as P. xylostella expanded its geographic range into this region. Associated with the expansion of P. xylostella, Wolbachia symbionts were introduced into local populations of the parasitoid through horizontal transfer from its newly associated host. Insights into the evolutionary history and phylogeographic system of the herbivore and its parasitoid provide an important basis for better understanding the impacts of biological invasion on genetic configuration of local species.

RevDate: 2019-07-21

Iftikhar M, Iftikhar S, Sohail A, et al (2019)

AI- modelling of molecular identification and feminization of wolbachia infected Aedes aegypti.

Progress in biophysics and molecular biology pii:S0079-6107(19)30120-8 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: The genetic control strategies of vector borne diseases includes the replacement of a vector population by "disease-refractory" mosquitoes and the release of mosquitoes with a gene to control the vector's reproduction rates. Wolbachia are common intracellular bacteria that are found in arthropods and nematodes. Wolbachia infected male mosquitos have been used in different experimental trials around the world to suppress the target population of Aedes aegypti and this genetic control strategy has proved to be a promising alternative to other treatment strategies. Due to certain limitations, the successful application of this strategy is still awaited.

METHODS: Mathematical frame work for Wolbachia induced genetic control strategy has been developed in this article. With the aid of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, accurate parametric values are depicted. For the first time, the model is well synchronized with the experimental findings. The model is comprised of the generalized varying coefficient and multiple mating rates between infected and uninfected compartments of Aedes aegypti dengue to forecast the disease control.

RESULTS: Two mathematical models are developed in this article to demonstrate different mating rates of the genetic control strategy. The important parameters and time varying coefficients are well demonstrated with the aid of numerical computations. The resulting thresholds and forecasting may prove to be a useful tool for future experimental studies.

CONCLUSIONS: From our analysis, we have concluded that the genetic control strategy is a promising technique and the role of Wolbachia infected male mosquitos, in genetic control strategies, can be better interpreted in an inexpensive manner with the aid of a theoretical model.

RevDate: 2019-07-13

White JA, Styer A, Rosenwald LC, et al (2019)

Endosymbiotic Bacteria Are Prevalent and Diverse in Agricultural Spiders.

Microbial ecology pii:10.1007/s00248-019-01411-w [Epub ahead of print].

Maternally inherited bacterial endosymbionts are common in arthropods, but their distribution and prevalence are poorly characterized in many host taxa. Initial surveys have suggested that vertically transmitted symbionts may be particularly common in spiders (Araneae). Here, we used diagnostic PCR and high-throughput sequencing to evaluate symbiont infection in 267 individual spiders representing 14 species (3 families) of agricultural spiders. We found 27 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) that are likely endosymbiotic, including multiple strains of Wolbachia, Rickettsia, and Cardinium, which are all vertically transmitted and frequently associated with reproductive manipulation of arthropod hosts. Additional strains included Rickettsiella, Spiroplasma, Rhabdochlamydia, and a novel Rickettsiales, all of which could range from pathogenic to mutualistic in their effects upon their hosts. Seventy percent of spider species had individuals that tested positive for one or more endosymbiotic OTUs, and specimens frequently contained multiple symbiotic strain types. The most symbiont-rich species, Idionella rugosa, had eight endosymbiotic OTUs, with as many as five present in the same specimen. Individual specimens within infected spider species had a variety of symbiotypes, differing from one another in the presence or absence of symbiotic strains. Our sample included both starved and unstarved specimens, and dominant bacterial OTUs were consistent per host species, regardless of feeding status. We conclude that spiders contain a remarkably diverse symbiotic microbiota. Spiders would be an informative group for investigating endosymbiont population dynamics in time and space, and unstarved specimens collected for other purposes (e.g., food web studies) could be used, with caution, for such investigations.

RevDate: 2019-07-23

Reveillaud J, Bordenstein SR, Cruaud C, et al (2019)

Author Correction: The Wolbachia mobilome in Culex pipiens includes a putative plasmid.

Nature communications, 10(1):3153 pii:10.1038/s41467-019-11234-5.

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

RevDate: 2019-07-13

Boucheikhchoukh M, Mechouk N, Benakhla A, et al (2019)

Molecular evidence of bacteria in Melophagus ovinus sheep keds and Hippobosca equina forest flies collected from sheep and horses in northeastern Algeria.

Comparative immunology, microbiology and infectious diseases, 65:103-109.

The sheep ked, Melophagus ovinus, and the forest fly, Hippobosca equina, are parasitic dipteran insects of veterinary importance. As hematophagous insects, they might be considered as potential vectors of diseases which may be transmissible to humans and animals. The purpose of this study was to present initial primary data about these two species in Algeria. To do so, we conducted a molecular survey to detect the presence of bacterial DNA in flies collected in Algeria. A total of 712 flies including, 683 Melophagus ovinus and 29 Hippobosca equina were collected from two regions in northeastern Algeria. Monitoring the monthly kinetics of M. ovinus infestations showed something resembling annual activity, with a high prevalence in January (21.67%) and May (20.94%). Real-time quantitative PCR assays showed that for 311 tested flies, 126 were positive for the Bartonella spp. rRNA intergenic spacer gene and 77 were positive for Anaplasmataceae. A random selection of positive samples was submitted for sequencing. The DNA of Bartonella chomelii and Bartonella melophagi were amplified in, respectively, five and four H. equina. 25 M. ovinus positive samples were infected by Bartonella melophagi. Amplification and sequencing of the Anaplasma spp. 23S rRNA gene revealed that both species were infected by Wolbachia sp. which had previously been detected in Cimex lectularius bed bugs. Overall, this study expanded knowledge about bacteria present in parasitic flies of domestic animals in Algeria.

RevDate: 2019-09-02

Nebbak A, Dahmana H, Almeras L, et al (2019)

Co-infection of bacteria and protozoan parasites in Ixodes ricinus nymphs collected in the Alsace region, France.

Ticks and tick-borne diseases pii:S1877-959X(18)30483-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Fifty nymphal Ixodes ricinus ticks collected in Alsace, France, identified by morphological criteria and using MALDI-TOF MS, were tested by PCR to detect tick-associated bacteria and protozoan parasites. Seventy percent (35/50) of ticks contained at least one microorganism; 26% (9/35) contained two or more species. Several human pathogens were identified including Borrelia burgdorferi s.s. (4%), Borrelia afzelii (2%), Borrelia garinii (2%), Borrelia valaisiana (4%), Borrelia miyamotoi (2%), Rickettsia helvetica (6%) and "Babesia venatorum" (2%). Bartonella spp. (10%) and a Wolbachia spp. (8%) were also detected. The most common co-infections involved Anaplasmataceae with Borrelia spp. (4%), Anaplasmataceae with Bartonella spp. (6%) and Anaplasmataceae with Rickettsia spp. (6%). Co-infection involving three different groups of bacteria was seen between bacteria of the family Anaplasmataceae, Borrelia spp. and Bartonella spp. (2%). Results highlight the panel of infectious agents carried by Ixodes ricinus. Co-infection suggests the possibility of transmission of more than one pathogen to human and animals during tick blood feeding.

RevDate: 2019-07-24

Naciri M (2019)

[Wolbachia bacteria inhibits mosquito infection by various human pathogens].

Medecine sciences : M/S, 35(6-7):584-585.

RevDate: 2019-08-02

Lima-Barbero JF, Díaz-Sanchez S, Sparagano O, et al (2019)

Metaproteomics characterization of the alphaproteobacteria microbiome in different developmental and feeding stages of the poultry red mite Dermanyssus gallinae (De Geer, 1778).

Avian pathology : journal of the W.V.P.A [Epub ahead of print].

The poultry red mite (PRM), Dermanyssus gallinae (De Geer, 1778), is a worldwide distributed ectoparasite and considered a major pest affecting the laying hen industry in Europe. Based on available information in other ectoparasites, the mite microbiome might participate in several biological processes and the acquisition, maintenance and transmission of pathogens. However, little is known about the role of PRM as a mechanical carrier or a biological vector in the transmission of pathogenic bacteria. Herein, we used a metaproteomics approach to characterize the alphaproteobacteria in the microbiota of PRM, and variations in its profile with ectoparasite development (nymphs vs. adults) and feeding (unfed vs. fed). The results showed that the bacterial community associated with D. gallinae was mainly composed of environmental and commensal bacteria. Putative symbiotic bacteria of the genera Wolbachia, C. Tokpelaia and Sphingomonas were identified, together with potential pathogenic bacteria of the genera Inquilinus, Neorickettsia and Roseomonas. Significant differences in the composition of alphaproteobacterial microbiota were associated with mite development and feeding, suggesting that bacteria have functional implications in metabolic pathways associated with blood feeding. These results support the use of metaproteomics for the characterization of alphaproteobacteria associated with the D. gallinae microbiota that could provide relevant information for the understanding of mite-host interactions and the development of potential control interventions. Research highlights Metaproteomics is a valid approach for microbiome characterization in ectoparasites. Alphaproteobacteria putative bacterial symbionts were identified in D. gallinae. Mite development and feeding were related to variations in bacterial community. Potentially pathogenic bacteria were identified in mite microbiota.

RevDate: 2019-07-19

Yang K, Xie K, Zhu YX, et al (2019)

Wolbachia dominate Spiroplasma in the co-infected spider mite Tetranychus truncatus.

Insect molecular biology [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia and Spiroplasma are both maternally inherited endosymbionts in arthropods, and they can co-infect the same species. However, how they interact with each other in the same host is not clear. Here we investigate a co-infected Tetranychus truncatus spider mite strain that shares the same genetic background with singly infected and uninfected strains to detect the impacts of the two symbionts on their host. We found that Wolbachia-infected and Spiroplasma-infected mites can suffer significant fitness costs involving decreased fecundity, although with no effect on lifespan or development. Wolbachia induced incomplete cytoplasmic incompatibility in T. truncatus both in singly infected and doubly infected strains, resulting in female killing. In both females and males of the co-infected spider mite strain, Wolbachia density was higher than Spiroplasma density. Transcriptome analysis of female adults showed that the most differentially expressed genes were found between the co-infected strain and both the singly infected Spiroplasma strain and uninfected strain. The Wolbachia strain had the fewest differentially expressed genes compared with the co-infected strain, consistent with the higher density of Wolbachia in the co-infected strain. Wolbachia, therefore, appears to have a competitive advantage in host mites over Spiroplasma and is likely maintained in populations by cytoplasmic incompatibility despite having deleterious fitness effects.

RevDate: 2019-07-03

Rocha MN, Duarte MM, Mansur SB, et al (2019)

Pluripotency of Wolbachia against Arboviruses: the case of yellow fever.

Gates open research, 3:161.

Background: Yellow fever outbreaks have re-emerged in Brazil during 2016-18, with mortality rates up to 30%. Although urban transmission has not been reported since 1942, the risk of re-urbanization of yellow fever is significant, as Aedes aegypti is present in most tropical and sub-tropical cities in the World and still remains the main vector of urban YFV. Although the YFV vaccine is safe and effective, it does not always reach populations at greatest risk of infection and there is an acknowledged global shortage of vaccine supply. The introgression of Wolbachia bacteria into Ae. aegypti mosquito populations is being trialed in several countries (www.worldmosquito.org) as a biocontrol method against dengue, Zika and chikungunya. Here, we studied the ability of Wolbachia to reduce the transmission potential of Ae. aegypti mosquitoes for Yellow fever virus (YFV). Methods: Two recently isolated YFV (primate and human) were used to challenge field-derived wild-type and Wolbachia-infected (wMel +) Ae. aegypti mosquitoes. The YFV infection status was followed for 7, 14 and 21 days post-oral feeding (dpf). The YFV transmission potential of mosquitoes was evaluated via nano-injection of saliva into uninfected mosquitoes or by inoculation in mice. Results: We found that Wolbachia was able to significantly reduce the prevalence of mosquitoes with YFV infected heads and thoraces for both viral isolates. Furthermore, analyses of mosquito saliva, through indirect injection into naïve mosquitoes or via interferon-deficient mouse model, indicated Wolbachia was associated with profound reduction in the YFV transmission potential of mosquitoes (14dpf). Conclusions: Our results suggest that Wolbachia introgression could be used as a complementary strategy for prevention of urban yellow fever transmission, along with the human vaccination program.

RevDate: 2019-06-29

Kelly M, Price SL, de Oliveira Ramalho M, et al (2019)

Diversity of Wolbachia Associated with the Giant Turtle Ant, Cephalotes atratus.

Current microbiology pii:10.1007/s00284-019-01722-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Symbiotic relationships between organisms are common throughout the tree of life, and often these organisms share an evolutionary history. In turtle ants (Cephalotes), symbiotic associations with bacteria are known to be especially important for supplementing the nutrients that their herbivorous diets do not provide. However, much remains unknown about the diversity of many common bacterial symbionts with turtle ants, such as Wolbachia. Here, we surveyed the diversity of Wolbachia, focusing on one species of turtle ant with a particularly wide geographic range, Cephalotes atratus. Colonies were collected from the entire range of C. atratus, and we detected the presence of Wolbachia by sequencing multiple individuals per colony for wsp. Then, using the multilocus sequence typing (MLST) approach, we determined each individual's unique sequence type (ST) based on comparison to sequences published in the Wolbachia MLST Database (https://pubmlst.org/wolbachia/). The results of this study suggest that there is a high level of diversity of Wolbachia strains among colonies from different regions, while the diversity within colonies is very low. Additionally, 13 novel variants (alleles) were uncovered. These results suggest that the level of diversity of Wolbachia within species is affected by geography, and the high level of diversity observed among Cephalotes atratus populations may be explained by their wide geographic range.

RevDate: 2019-09-01

Sicard M, Bonneau M, M Weill (2019)

Wolbachia prevalence, diversity, and ability to induce cytoplasmic incompatibility in mosquitoes.

Current opinion in insect science, 34:12-20.

To protect humans and domestic animals from mosquito borne diseases, alternative methods to chemical insecticides have to be found. Pilot studies using the vertically transmitted bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia were already launched in different parts of the world. Wolbachia can be used either in Incompatible Insect Technique (IIT), to decrease mosquito population, or to decrease the ability of mosquitoes to transmit pathogens. Not all mosquito species are naturally infected with Wolbachia: while in Culex pipiens and Aedes albopictus almost all individuals harbor Wolbachia, putative infections have to be further investigated in Anopheles species and in Aedes aegypti. All Wolbachia-based control methods rely on the ability of Wolbachia to induce cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) resulting in embryonic death in incompatible crossings. Knowledge on CI diversity in mosquito is required to find the better Wolbachia-mosquito associations to optimize the success of both 'sterile insect' and 'pathogen blocking' Wolbachia-based methods.

RevDate: 2019-07-07

Shropshire JD, SR Bordenstein (2019)

Two-By-One model of cytoplasmic incompatibility: Synthetic recapitulation by transgenic expression of cifA and cifB in Drosophila.

PLoS genetics, 15(6):e1008221 pii:PGENETICS-D-19-00228.

Wolbachia are maternally inherited bacteria that infect arthropod species worldwide and are deployed in vector control to curb arboviral spread using cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). CI kills embryos when an infected male mates with an uninfected female, but the lethality is rescued if the female and her embryos are likewise infected. Two phage WO genes, cifAwMel and cifBwMel from the wMel Wolbachia deployed in vector control, transgenically recapitulate variably penetrant CI, and one of the same genes, cifAwMel, rescues wild type CI. The proposed Two-by-One genetic model predicts that CI and rescue can be recapitulated by transgenic expression alone and that dual cifAwMel and cifBwMel expression can recapitulate strong CI. Here, we use hatch rate and gene expression analyses in transgenic Drosophila melanogaster to demonstrate that CI and rescue can be synthetically recapitulated in full, and strong, transgenic CI comparable to wild type CI is achievable. These data explicitly validate the Two-by-One model in wMel-infected D. melanogaster, establish a robust system for transgenic studies of CI in a model system, and represent the first case of completely engineering male and female animal reproduction to depend upon bacteriophage gene products.

RevDate: 2019-07-02

Ritchie SA, KM Staunton (2019)

Reflections from an old Queenslander: can rear and release strategies be the next great era of vector control?.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 286(1905):20190973.

In this perspective, I discuss the great eras of vector control, centring on Aedes aegypti, the primary vector of dengue, Zika and several other viruses. Since the discovery and acceptance of the role of mosquitoes as vectors of disease agents, several significant strategies have been developed and deployed to control them and the diseases they transmit. Environmental management, insecticides and, to a lesser extent, biological control have emerged as great eras of vector control. In the past decade, the release of massive numbers of specifically modified mosquitoes that mate with wild populations has emerged as a significant new strategy to fight vector-borne diseases. These reared and released mosquitoes have been modified by the addition of a symbiont (e.g. Wolbachia bacteria), radiation or introduction of a genetic construct to either sterilize the wild mosquitoes they mate with, crashing the population, or to reduce the wild population's capacity to vector pathogens. Will these new rear and release strategies become the next great era of vector control? From my vantage point as a dengue control manager and researcher involved in two Wolbachia programmes, I will discuss the hurdles that rear and release programmes face to gain widespread acceptance and success.

RevDate: 2019-08-12
CmpDate: 2019-08-12

Zueva T, Morchón R, Carretón E, et al (2019)

Angiogenic response in an in vitro model of dog microvascular endothelial cells stimulated with antigenic extracts from Dirofilaria immitis adult worms.

Parasites & vectors, 12(1):315 pii:10.1186/s13071-019-3570-0.

BACKGROUND: Angiogenesis can occur under pathological conditions when stimuli such as inflammation, vascular obstruction or hypoxia exist. These stimuli are present in cardiopulmonary dirofilariosis (Dirofilaria immitis). The aim of this study was to analyze the capacity of D. immitis antigens to modify the expression of angiogenic factors and trigger the formation of pseudocapillaries (tube-like structures) in an in vitro model of endothelial cells.

METHODS: The expression of VEGF-A, sFlt, mEndoglin and sEndoglin in cultures of canine microvascular endothelial cells stimulated with extract of adult worms of D. immitis obtained from an untreated dog (DiSA) and from a dog treated for 15 days with doxycycline (tDiSA), was determined by using commercial kits. The capacity of pseudocapillary formation was evaluated analyzing cell connections and cell groups in Matrigel cell cultures stimulated with DiSA and tDiSA. In both cases non-stimulated cultures were used as controls.

RESULTS: First, we demonstrated that worms obtained from the dog treated with doxycycline showed a significantly lower amount of Wolbachia (less than 60%) than worms removed from the untreated dog. Only DiSA was able to significantly increase the expression of the proangiogenic factor VEGF-A in the endotelial cells cultures. None of the D. immitis extracts modified the expression of sFlt. tDiSA extract was able to modify the expression of the endoglins, significantly decreasing the expression of the pro-angiogenic mEndoglin and increasing the anti-angiogenic sEndoglin. The formation of pseudocapillaries was negatively influenced by tDiSA, which reduced the organization and number of cellular connections.

CONCLUSIONS: The ability of antigens from adult D. immitis worms to modify the expression of pro and anti-angiogenic factors in endotelial cell cultures was demonstrated, as well as the trend to form pseudocapillaries in vitro. The capacity of stimulation may be linked to the amount of Wolbachia present in the antigenic extracts.

RevDate: 2019-07-09

Thapa S, Zhang Y, MS Allen (2019)

Bacterial microbiomes of Ixodes scapularis ticks collected from Massachusetts and Texas, USA.

BMC microbiology, 19(1):138 pii:10.1186/s12866-019-1514-7.

BACKGROUND: The blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, is the primary vector of the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi in North America. Though the tick is found across the eastern United States, Lyme disease is endemic to the northeast and upper midwest and rare or absent in the southern portion of the vector's range. In an effort to better understand the tick microbiome from diverse geographic and climatic regions, we analysed the bacterial community of 115 I. scapularis adults collected from vegetation in Texas and Massachusetts, representing extreme ends of the vector's range, by massively parallel sequencing of the 16S V4 rRNA gene. In addition, 7 female I. scapularis collected from dogs in Texas were included in the study.

RESULTS: Male I. scapularis ticks had a more diverse bacterial microbiome in comparison to the female ticks. Rickettsia spp. dominated the microbiomes of field-collected female I. scapularis from both regions, as well as half of the males from Texas. In addition, the male and female ticks captured from Massachusetts contained high proportions of the pathogens Anaplasma and Borrelia, as well as the arthropod endosymbiont Wolbachia. None of these were found in libraries generated from ticks collected in Texas. Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter and Mycobacterium were significantly differently abundant (p < 0.05) between the male ticks from Massachusetts and Texas. Anaplasma and Borrelia were found in 15 and 63% of the 62 Massachusetts ticks, respectively, with a co-infection rate of 11%. Female ticks collected from Texas dogs were particularly diverse, and contained several genera including Rickettsia, Pseudomonas, Bradyrhizobium, Sediminibacterium, and Ralstonia.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that the bacterial microbiomes of I. scapularis ticks vary by sex and geography, with significantly more diversity in male microbiomes compared to females. We found that sex plays a larger role than geography in shaping the composition/diversity of the I. scapularis microbiome, but that geography affects what additional taxa are represented (beyond Rickettsia) and whether pathogens are found. Furthermore, recent feeding may have a role in shaping the tick microbiome, as evident from a more complex bacterial community in female ticks from dogs compared to the wild-caught questing females. These findings may provide further insight into the differences in the ability of the ticks to acquire, maintain and transmit pathogens. Future studies on possible causes and consequences of these differences will shed additional light on tick microbiome biology and vector competence.

RevDate: 2019-07-19

Hinojosa JC, Koubínová D, Szenteczki MA, et al (2019)

A mirage of cryptic species: Genomics uncover striking mitonuclear discordance in the butterfly Thymelicus sylvestris.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequencing has led to an unprecedented rise in the identification of cryptic species. However, it is widely acknowledged that nuclear DNA (nuDNA) sequence data are also necessary to properly define species boundaries. Next generation sequencing techniques provide a wealth of nuclear genomic data, which can be used to ascertain both the evolutionary history and taxonomic status of putative cryptic species. Here, we focus on the intriguing case of the butterfly Thymelicus sylvestris (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae). We identified six deeply diverged mitochondrial lineages; three distributed all across Europe and found in sympatry, suggesting a potential case of cryptic species. We then sequenced these six lineages using double-digest restriction-site associated DNA sequencing (ddRADseq). Nuclear genomic loci contradicted mtDNA patterns and genotypes generally clustered according to geography, i.e., a pattern expected under the assumption of postglacial recolonization from different refugia. Further analyses indicated that this strong mtDNA/nuDNA discrepancy cannot be explained by incomplete lineage sorting, sex-biased asymmetries, NUMTs, natural selection, introgression or Wolbachia-mediated genetic sweeps. We suggest that this mitonuclear discordance was caused by long periods of geographic isolation followed by range expansions, homogenizing the nuclear but not the mitochondrial genome. These results highlight T. sylvestris as a potential case of multiple despeciation and/or lineage fusion events. We finally argue, since mtDNA and nuDNA do not necessarily follow the same mechanisms of evolution, their respective evolutionary history reflects complementary aspects of past demographic and biogeographic events.

RevDate: 2019-06-30

Parvathi A, Jasna V, Aswathy VK, et al (2019)

Dominance of Wolbachia sp. in the deep-sea sediment bacterial metataxonomic sequencing analysis in the Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean.

Genomics pii:S0888-7543(18)30676-1 [Epub ahead of print].

The Bay of Bengal, located in the north-eastern part of the Indian Ocean is world's largest bay occupying an area of ~8,39,000 mile2. The variability in bacterial community structure and function in sediment ecosystems of the Bay of Bengal is examined by Illumina high-throughput metagenomic sequencing. Of five metataxonomics data sets presented, two (SD1 and SD2) were from stations close to the shore and three (SD4, SD5, and SD6) were from the deep-sea (~3000 m depth). Phylum Proteobacteria (90.27 to 92.52%) dominated the deep-sea samples, whereas phylum Firmicutes (65.35 to 90.98%) dominated the coastal samples. Comparative analysis showed that coastal and deep-sea sediments showed distinct microbial communities. Wolbachia species, belonging to class Alphaproteobacteria was the most dominant species in the deep-sea sediments. The gene functions of bacterial communities were predicted for deep-sea and coastal sediment ecosystems. The results indicated that deep-sea sediment bacterial communities were involved in metabolic activities like dehalogenation and sulphide oxidation.

RevDate: 2019-08-20

Bock W, Y Jayathunga (2019)

Optimal control of a multi-patch Dengue model under the influence of Wolbachia bacterium.

Mathematical biosciences, 315:108219 pii:S0025-5564(18)30309-2 [Epub ahead of print].

In this work, a multi-patch model for dengue transmission dynamics including the bacterium Wolbachia is studied and by that the control efforts to minimize the disease spread by host and vector control are investigated. The multi-patch system models the host movement within the patches which coupled via a residence-time budgeting matrix P. Numerical results confirm that the control mechanism embedded in incidence rates of the disease transmission, effectively reduce the spread of the disease.

RevDate: 2019-09-04

Cooper BS, Vanderpool D, Conner WR, et al (2019)

Wolbachia Acquisition by Drosophila yakuba-Clade Hosts and Transfer of Incompatibility Loci Between Distantly Related Wolbachia.

Genetics, 212(4):1399-1419.

Maternally transmitted Wolbachia infect about half of insect species, yet the predominant mode(s) of Wolbachia acquisition remains uncertain. Species-specific associations could be old, with Wolbachia and hosts codiversifying (i.e., cladogenic acquisition), or relatively young and acquired by horizontal transfer or introgression. The three Drosophila yakuba-clade hosts [(D. santomea, D. yakuba) D. teissieri] diverged ∼3 MYA and currently hybridize on the West African islands Bioko and São Tomé. Each species is polymorphic for nearly identical Wolbachia that cause weak cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI)-reduced egg hatch when uninfected females mate with infected males. D. yakuba-clade Wolbachia are closely related to wMel, globally polymorphic in D. melanogaster We use draft Wolbachia and mitochondrial genomes to demonstrate that D. yakuba-clade phylogenies for Wolbachia and mitochondria tend to follow host nuclear phylogenies. However, roughly half of D. santomea individuals, sampled both inside and outside of the São Tomé hybrid zone, have introgressed D. yakuba mitochondria. Both mitochondria and Wolbachia possess far more recent common ancestors than the bulk of the host nuclear genomes, precluding cladogenic Wolbachia acquisition. General concordance of Wolbachia and mitochondrial phylogenies suggests that horizontal transmission is rare, but varying relative rates of molecular divergence complicate chronogram-based statistical tests. Loci that cause CI in wMel are disrupted in D. yakuba-clade Wolbachia; but a second set of loci predicted to cause CI are located in the same WO prophage region. These alternative CI loci seem to have been acquired horizontally from distantly related Wolbachia, with transfer mediated by flanking Wolbachia-specific ISWpi1 transposons.

RevDate: 2019-06-30

Mateos M, Silva NO, Ramirez P, et al (2019)

Effect of heritable symbionts on maternally-derived embryo transcripts.

Scientific reports, 9(1):8847 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-45371-0.

Maternally-transmitted endosymbiotic bacteria are ubiquitous in insects. Among other influential phenotypes, many heritable symbionts of arthropods are notorious for manipulating host reproduction through one of four reproductive syndromes, which are generally exerted during early developmental stages of the host: male feminization; parthenogenesis induction; male killing; and cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). Major advances have been achieved in understanding mechanisms and identifying symbiont factors involved in reproductive manipulation, particularly male killing and cytoplasmic incompatibility. Nonetheless, whether cytoplasmically-transmitted bacteria influence the maternally-loaded components of the egg or early embryo has not been examined. In the present study, we investigated whether heritable endosymbionts that cause different reproductive phenotypes in Drosophila melanogaster influence the mRNA transcriptome of early embryos. We used mRNA-seq to evaluate differential expression in Drosophila embryos lacking endosymbionts (control) to those harbouring the male-killing Spiroplasma poulsonii strain MSRO-Br, the CI-inducing Wolbachia strain wMel, or Spiroplasma poulsonii strain Hyd1; a strain that lacks a reproductive phenotype and is naturally associated with Drosophila hydei. We found no consistent evidence of influence of symbiont on mRNA composition of early embryos, suggesting that the reproductive manipulation mechanism does not involve alteration of maternally-loaded transcripts. In addition, we capitalized on several available mRNA-seq datasets derived from Spiroplasma-infected Drosophila melanogaster embryos, to search for signals of depurination of rRNA, consistent with the activity of Ribosome Inactivating Proteins (RIPs) encoded by Spiroplasma poulsonii. We found small but statistically significant signals of depurination of Drosophila rRNA in the Spiroplasma treatments (both strains), but not in the symbiont-free control or Wolbachia treatment, consistent with the action of RIPs. The depurination signal was slightly stronger in the treatment with the male-killing strain. This result supports a recent report that RIP-induced damage contributes to male embryo death.

RevDate: 2019-07-21

Su QC, Wang X, Deng C, et al (2019)

Transcriptome responses to elevated CO2 level and Wolbachia-infection stress in Hylyphantes graminicola (Araneae: Linyphiidae).

Insect science [Epub ahead of print].

Hylyphantes graminicola is a resident spider species found in maize and cotton fields and is an important biological control agent of various pests. Previous studies have demonstrated that stress from elevated CO2 and Wolbachia infection can strongly affect spider species. Thus, based on CO2 levels (400 ppm, current atmospheric CO2 concentration and 800 ppm, high CO2 concentration) and Wolbachia status (Wolbachia-infected, W+ and Wolbachia-uninfected, W-), we divided H. graminicola individuals into four treatment groups: W- 400 ppm, W- 800 ppm, W+ 400 ppm, and W+ 800 ppm. To investigate the effects of elevated CO2 levels (W- 400 vs W- 800), Wolbachia infection (W- 400 vs W+ 400), and the interactions between these two factors (W- 400 vs W+ 800), high-throughput transcriptome sequencing was employed to characterize the de novo transcriptome of the spiders and identify stress-related differentially expressed genes (DEGs). De novo assembly of complementary DNA sequences generated 86 688 unigenes, 23 938 of which were annotated in public databases. A total of 84, 21, and 157 DEGs were found among W- 400 vs W- 800, W- 400 vs W+ 400, and W- 400 vs W+ 800, respectively. Functional enrichment analysis revealed that metabolic processes, signaling, and catalytic activity were significantly affected by elevated CO2 levels and Wolbachia infection. Our findings suggest that the impact of elevated CO2 levels and Wolbachia infection on the H. graminicola transcriptome was, to a large extent, on genes involved in metabolic processes. This study is the first description of transcriptome changes in response to elevated CO2 levels and Wolbachia infection in spiders.

RevDate: 2019-08-13

Konecka E, Z Olszanowski (2019)

First Evidence of Intracellular Bacteria Cardinium in Thermophilic Mite Microzetorchestes emeryi (Acari: Oribatida): Molecular Screening of Bacterial Endosymbiont Species.

Current microbiology, 76(9):1038-1044.

We undertook the issue of the distribution of intracellular bacteria among Oribatida (Acari). Six genera of bacteria were detected by PCR and Sanger DNA sequencing: Wolbachia, Cardinium, Rickettsia, Spiroplasma, Arsenophonus, and Hamiltonella. Our research, for the first time, revealed the presence of Cardinium in Microzetorchestes emeryi in two subpopulations separated from each other by 300 m. The percentages of infected animals were the same in both subpopulations-ca. 20%. The identity of 16S rDNA sequences of Cardinium between these two subpopulations of M. emeryi was 97%. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the Cardinium in M. emeryi was clustered into the group A. The occurrence of M. emeryi in Poland has not been reported before and our report is the first one. Cardinium maybe help the thermophilic M. emeryi to adapt to low temperatures in the Central Europe.

RevDate: 2019-07-24

Schebeck M, Feldkirchner L, Stauffer C, et al (2019)

Dynamics of an Ongoing Wolbachia Spread in the European Cherry Fruit Fly, Rhagoletis cerasi (Diptera: Tephritidae).

Insects, 10(6): pii:insects10060172.

Numerous terrestrial arthropods are infected with the alphaproteobacterium Wolbachia. This endosymbiont is usually transmitted vertically from infected females to their offspring and can alter the reproduction of hosts through various manipulations, like cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), enhancing its spread in new host populations. Studies on the spatial and temporal dynamics of Wolbachia under natural conditions are scarce. Here, we analyzed Wolbachia infection frequencies in populations of the European cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis cerasi (L.), in central Germany-an area of an ongoing spread of the CI-inducing strain wCer2. In total, 295 individuals from 19 populations were PCR-screened for the presence of wCer2 and their mitochondrial haplotype. Results were compared with historic data to understand the infection dynamics of the ongoing wCer2 invasion. An overall wCer2 infection frequency of about 30% was found, ranging from 0% to 100% per population. In contrast to an expected smooth transition from wCer2-infected to completely wCer2-uninfected populations, a relatively scattered infection pattern across geography was observed. Moreover, a strong Wolbachia-haplotype association was detected, with only a few rare misassociations. Our results show a complex dynamic of an ongoing Wolbachia spread in natural field populations of R. cerasi.

RevDate: 2019-06-17

Watanabe A, Takaku S, Yokota K, et al (2019)

A survey of Lasioderma serricorne (Fabricius) in Japanese Dental Clinics.

Biocontrol science, 24(2):117-121.

This study was to survey the capturing rate in Japanese dental clinics of the Lasioderma serricorne (cigarette beetles) , and to evaluate the beetle's potential as a carrier for transmission of nosocomial pathogens. L. serricorne imagoes were captured in pheromone traps in 14 Japanese dental clinics in August and September 2012 and 2013, and their numbers recorded. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the bacterial antibiotic-resistant genes mecA, vanA, vanB, blaIMP, and blaVIM was performed on the captured L. serricorne imagoes. Bacterial species in the captured specimens were identified by 16S rRNA PCR and sequencing analysis. The L. serricorne imagoes were captured from 10 dental clinics (71.4%) . We failed to detect the presence of nosocomial antibiotic-resistant pathogens in L. serricorne imagoes. The bacterial species detected most commonly in the imagoes was Wolbachia sp., an intracellular proteobacterium infecting certain insect species. Monitoring of insects including L. serricorne should be incorporated into regiment of the infection control.

RevDate: 2019-07-03

Ant TH, Herd C, Louis F, et al (2019)

Wolbachia transinfections in Culex quinquefasciatus generate cytoplasmic incompatibility.

Insect molecular biology [Epub ahead of print].

Culex quinquefasciatus is an important mosquito vector of a number of viral and protozoan pathogens of humans and animals, and naturally carries the endosymbiont Wolbachia pipientis, strain wPip. Wolbachia are used in two distinct vector control strategies: firstly, population suppression caused by mating incompatibilities between mass-released transinfected males and wild females; and secondly, the spread of pathogen transmission-blocking strains through populations. Using embryonic microinjection, two novel Wolbachia transinfections were generated in C. quinquefasciatus using strains native to the mosquito Aedes albopictus: a wAlbB single infection, and a wPip plus wAlbA superinfection. The wAlbB infection showed full bidirectional cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) with wild-type C. quinquefasciatus in reciprocal crosses. The wPipwAlbA superinfection showed complete unidirectional CI, and therefore population invasion potential. Whereas the wAlbB strain showed comparatively low overall densities, similar to the native wPip, the wPipwAlbA superinfection reached over 400-fold higher densities in the salivary glands compared to the native wPip, suggesting it may be a candidate for pathogen transmission blocking.

RevDate: 2019-06-16

Koh C, Audsley MD, Di Giallonardo F, et al (2019)

Sustained Wolbachia-mediated blocking of dengue virus isolates following serial passage in Aedes aegypti cell culture.

Virus evolution, 5(1):vez012 pii:vez012.

Wolbachia is an intracellular endosymbiont of insects that inhibits the replication of a range of pathogens in its arthropod hosts. The release of Wolbachia into wild populations of mosquitoes is an innovative biocontrol effort to suppress the transmission of arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) to humans, most notably dengue virus. The success of the Wolbachia-based approach hinges upon the stable persistence of the 'pathogen blocking' effect, whose mechanistic basis is poorly understood. Evidence suggests that Wolbachia may affect viral replication via a combination of competition for host resources and activation of host immunity. The evolution of resistance against Wolbachia and pathogen blocking in the mosquito or the virus could reduce the public health impact of the symbiont releases. Here, we investigate if dengue 3 virus (DENV-3) is capable of accumulating adaptive mutations that improve its replicative capacity during serial passage in Wolbachia wMel-infected cells. During the passaging regime, viral isolates in Wolbachia-infected cells exhibited greater variation in viral loads compared to controls. The viral loads of these isolates declined rapidly during passaging due to the blocking effects of Wolbachia carriage, with several being lost all together and the remainder recovering to low but stable levels. We attempted to sequence the genomes of the surviving passaged isolates but, given their low abundance, were unable to obtain sufficient depth of coverage for evolutionary analysis. In contrast, viral loads in Wolbachia-free control cells were consistently high during passaging. The surviving isolates passaged in the presence of Wolbachia exhibited a reduced ability to replicate even in Wolbachia-free cells. These experiments demonstrate the challenge for dengue in evolving resistance to Wolbachia-mediated blocking.

RevDate: 2019-06-16

Chrostek E, M Gerth (2019)

Is Anopheles gambiae a Natural Host of Wolbachia?.

mBio, 10(3): pii:mBio.00784-19.

Wolbachia (Alphaproteobacteria, Rickettsiales) is an intraovarially transmitted symbiont of insects able to exert striking phenotypes, including reproductive manipulations and pathogen blocking. These phenotypes make Wolbachia a promising tool to combat mosquito-borne diseases. Although Wolbachia is present in the majority of terrestrial arthropods, including many disease vectors, it was considered absent from Anopheles gambiae mosquitos, the main vectors of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2014, Wolbachia sequences were detected in A. gambiae samples collected in Burkina Faso. Subsequently, similar evidence came from collections all over Africa, revealing a high Wolbachia 16S rRNA sequence diversity, low abundance, and a lack of congruence between host and symbiont phylogenies. Here, we reanalyze and discuss recent evidence on the presence of Wolbachia sequences in A. gambiae. We find that although detected at increasing frequencies, the unusual properties of these Wolbachia sequences render them insufficient to diagnose natural infections in A. gambiae Future studies should focus on uncovering the origin of Wolbachia sequence variants in Anopheles and seeking sequence-independent evidence for this new symbiosis. Understanding the ecology of Anopheles mosquitos and their interactions with Wolbachia will be key in designing successful, integrative approaches to limit malaria spread. Although the prospect of using Wolbachia to fight malaria is intriguing, the newly discovered strains do not bring it closer to realization.IMPORTANCEAnopheles gambiae mosquitos are the main vectors of malaria, threatening around half of the world's population. The bacterial symbiont Wolbachia can interfere with disease transmission by other important insect vectors, but until recently, it was thought to be absent from natural A. gambiae populations. Here, we critically analyze the genomic, metagenomic, PCR, imaging, and phenotypic data presented in support of the presence of natural Wolbachia infections in A. gambiae We find that they are insufficient to diagnose Wolbachia infections and argue for the need of obtaining robust data confirming basic Wolbachia characteristics in this system. Determining the Wolbachia infection status of Anopheles is critical due to its potential to influence Anopheles population structure and Plasmodium transmission.

RevDate: 2019-06-11

Baião GC, Schneider DI, Miller WJ, et al (2019)

The effect of Wolbachia on gene expression in Drosophila paulistorum and its implications for symbiont-induced host speciation.

BMC genomics, 20(1):465 pii:10.1186/s12864-019-5816-9.

BACKGROUND: The Neotropical fruit fly Drosophila paulistorum (Diptera: Drosophilidae) is a species complex in statu nascendi comprising six reproductively isolated semispecies, each harboring mutualistic Wolbachia strains. Although wild type flies of each semispecies are isolated from the others by both pre- and postmating incompatibilities, mating between semispecies and successful offspring development can be achieved once flies are treated with antibiotics to reduce Wolbachia titer. Here we use RNA-seq to study the impact of Wolbachia on D. paulistorum and investigate the hypothesis that the symbiont may play a role in host speciation. For that goal, we analyze samples of heads and abdomens of both sexes of the Amazonian, Centro American and Orinocan semispecies of D. paulistorum.

RESULTS: We identify between 175 and 1192 differentially expressed genes associated with a variety of biological processes that respond either globally or according to tissue, sex or condition in the three semispecies. Some of the functions associated with differentially expressed genes are known to be affected by Wolbachia in other species, such as metabolism and immunity, whereas others represent putative novel phenotypes involving muscular functions, pheromone signaling, and visual perception.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that Wolbachia affect a large number of biological functions in D. paulistorum, particularly when present in high titer. We suggest that the significant metabolic impact of the infection on the host may cause several of the other putative and observed phenotypes. We also speculate that the observed differential expression of genes associated with chemical communication and reproduction may be associated with the emergence of pre- and postmating barriers between semispecies, which supports a role for Wolbachia in the speciation of D. paulistorum.

RevDate: 2019-06-28

Xie K, Lu YJ, Yang K, et al (2019)

Co-infection of Wolbachia and Spiroplasma in spider mite Tetranychus truncatus increases male fitness.

Insect science [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia and Spiroplasma are intracellular bacteria that are of great interest to entomologists, because of their ability to alter insect host biology in multiple ways. In the spider mite Tetranychus truncatus, co-infection of Wolbachia and Spiroplasma can induce cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) and fitness costs; however, little is known about the effect of co-infection at the genetic level and the molecular mechanisms underlying CI. In this study, we explored the influence of the two symbionts on male mite host fitness and used RNA sequencing to generate the transcriptomes of T. truncatus with four different types of infection. In total, we found symbiont-infected lines had a higher hatch proportion than the uninfected line, and the development time of the uninfected line was longer than that of the other lines. Co-infection changed the expression of many genes related to digestion detoxification, reproduction, immunity and oxidation reduction. Our results indicate that co-infection of Wolbachia and Spiroplasma confers multiple effects on their hosts, and helps illuminate the complex interactions between endosymbionts and arthropods.


RJR Experience and Expertise


Robbins holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in the life sciences. He served as a tenured faculty member in the Zoology and Biological Science departments at Michigan State University. He is currently exploring the intersection between genomics, microbial ecology, and biodiversity — an area that promises to transform our understanding of the biosphere.


Robbins has extensive experience in college-level education: At MSU he taught introductory biology, genetics, and population genetics. At JHU, he was an instructor for a special course on biological database design. At FHCRC, he team-taught a graduate-level course on the history of genetics. At Bellevue College he taught medical informatics.


Robbins has been involved in science administration at both the federal and the institutional levels. At NSF he was a program officer for database activities in the life sciences, at DOE he was a program officer for information infrastructure in the human genome project. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he served as a vice president for fifteen years.


Robbins has been involved with information technology since writing his first Fortran program as a college student. At NSF he was the first program officer for database activities in the life sciences. At JHU he held an appointment in the CS department and served as director of the informatics core for the Genome Data Base. At the FHCRC he was VP for Information Technology.


While still at Michigan State, Robbins started his first publishing venture, founding a small company that addressed the short-run publishing needs of instructors in very large undergraduate classes. For more than 20 years, Robbins has been operating The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project, a web site dedicated to the digital publishing of critical works in science, especially classical genetics.


Robbins is well-known for his speaking abilities and is often called upon to provide keynote or plenary addresses at international meetings. For example, in July, 2012, he gave a well-received keynote address at the Global Biodiversity Informatics Congress, sponsored by GBIF and held in Copenhagen. The slides from that talk can be seen HERE.


Robbins is a skilled meeting facilitator. He prefers a participatory approach, with part of the meeting involving dynamic breakout groups, created by the participants in real time: (1) individuals propose breakout groups; (2) everyone signs up for one (or more) groups; (3) the groups with the most interested parties then meet, with reports from each group presented and discussed in a subsequent plenary session.


Robbins has been engaged with photography and design since the 1960s, when he worked for a professional photography laboratory. He now prefers digital photography and tools for their precision and reproducibility. He designed his first web site more than 20 years ago and he personally designed and implemented this web site. He engages in graphic design as a hobby.

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E-mail: RJR8222@gmail.com

Collection of publications by R J Robbins

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

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

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

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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