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30 Jun 2022 at 01:54
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Bibliography on: Wolbachia


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 30 Jun 2022 at 01:54 Created: 


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

Created with PubMed® Query: wolbachia NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2022-06-29

Hong YH, Mai ZH, Li CJ, et al (2022)

Microbial Diversity Analyses of Fertilized Thitarodes Eggs and Soil Provide New Clues About the Occurrence of Chinese Cordyceps.

Current microbiology, 79(8):229.

Chinese cordyceps is a well-known fungus-larva complex with medicinal and economic importance. At present the occurrence of Chinese cordyceps has not been fully illuminated. In this study, the microbial diversities of fertilized Thitarodes eggs from sites A (high occurrence rates of Chinese cordyceps), B (low occurrence rates), and C (no Chinese cordyceps) were analyzed using 16S rRNA and ITS gene-sequencing technique. The previous sequencing data of soil from the same sites were conjointly analyzed. The results showed that bacterial communities among the eggs were significantly different. The bacterial diversity and evenness were much higher on site A. Wolbachia was overwhelmingly predominant in the eggs of sites B and C, while Spiroplasma showed preference on site A. The fungal between-group differences in the eggs were not as significant as that of bacteria. Purpureocillium in Cordyceps-related families showed preference on site A. Wolbachia, Spiroplasma, and Purpureocillium were inferred to be closely related to Chinese cordyceps occurrence. Intra-kingdom and inter-kingdom network analyses suggest that closer correlations of microbial communities (especially closer fungal positive correlations) in fertilized eggs might promote Chinese cordyceps occurrence. Besides, metabolic pathway analysis showed that in fertilized eggs or soil the number of bacterial metabolic pathways with significant differences in every comparison between two sites was greater than that of fungi. Collectively, this study provides novel information about the occurrence of Chinese cordyceps, contributing to the large-scale artificial cultivation of Chinese cordyceps.

RevDate: 2022-06-29

Weiland SO, Detcharoen M, Schlick-Steiner BC, et al (2022)

Analyses of locomotion, wing morphology, and microbiome in Drosophila nigrosparsa after recovery from antibiotics.

MicrobiologyOpen, 11(3):e1291.

Antibiotics, such as tetracycline, have been frequently used to cure arthropods of Wolbachia endosymbionts. After the symbionts have been removed, the hosts must recover for some generations from the side effects of the antibiotics. However, most studies do not assess the direct and indirect longer-term effects of antibiotics used to remove Wolbachia, which may question the exact contribution of this endosymbiont to the effects observed. Here, we used the fly Drosophila nigrosparsa treated or not with tetracycline for three generations followed by two generations of recovery to investigate the effects of this antibiotic on the fly locomotion, wing morphology, and the gut microbiome. We found that antibiotic treatment did not affect fly locomotion two generations after being treated with the antibiotic. In addition, gut-microbiome restoration was tested as a more efficient solution to reduce the potential side effects of tetracycline on the microbiome. There was no significant difference in alpha diversity between gut restoration and other treatments, but the abundance of some bacterial taxa differed significantly between the gut-restoration treatment and the control. We conclude that in D. nigrosparsa the recovery period of two generations after being treated with the antibiotic is sufficient for locomotion, and suggest a general assessment of direct and indirect effects of antibiotics after a particular recovery time.

RevDate: 2022-06-24

Soh S, Ho SH, Ong J, et al (2022)

Strategies to Mitigate Establishment under the Wolbachia Incompatible Insect Technique.

Viruses, 14(6): pii:v14061132.

The Incompatible Insect Technique (IIT) strategy involves the release of male mosquitoes infected with the bacterium Wolbachia. Regular releases of male Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes can lead to the suppression of mosquito populations, thereby reducing the risk of transmission of vector-borne diseases such as dengue. However, due to imperfect sex-sorting under IIT, fertile Wolbachia-infected female mosquitoes may potentially be unintentionally released into the environment, which may result in replacement and failure to suppress the mosquito populations. As such, mitigating Wolbachia establishment requires a combination of IIT with other strategies. We introduced a simple compartmental model to simulate ex-ante mosquito population dynamics subjected to a Wolbachia-IIT programme. In silico, we explored the risk of replacement, and strategies that could mitigate the establishment of the released Wolbachia strain in the mosquito population. Our results suggest that mitigation may be achieved through the application of a sterile insect technique. Our simulations indicate that these interventions do not override the intended wild type suppression of the IIT approach. These findings will inform policy makers of possible ways to mitigate the potential establishment of Wolbachia using the IIT population control strategy.

RevDate: 2022-06-24

Beld L, Jung H, Bulman CA, et al (2022)

Aspartyl Protease Inhibitors as Anti-Filarial Drugs.

Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland), 11(6): pii:pathogens11060707.

The current treatments for lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis do not effectively kill the adult parasitic nematodes, allowing these chronic and debilitating diseases to persist in millions of people. Thus, the discovery of new drugs with macrofilaricidal potential to treat these filarial diseases is critical. To facilitate this need, we first investigated the effects of three aspartyl protease inhibitors (APIs) that are FDA-approved as HIV antiretroviral drugs on the adult filarial nematode, Brugia malayi and the endosymbiotic bacteria, Wolbachia. From the three hits, nelfinavir had the best potency with an IC50 value of 7.78 µM, followed by ritonavir and lopinavir with IC50 values of 14.3 µM and 16.9 µM, respectively. The three APIs have a direct effect on killing adult B. malayi after 6 days of exposure in vitro and did not affect the Wolbachia titers. Sequence conservation and stage-specific gene expression analysis identified Bm8660 as the most likely primary aspartic protease target for these drug(s). Immunolocalization using antibodies raised against the Bm8660 ortholog of Onchocerca volvulus showed it is strongly expressed in female B. malayi, especially in metabolically active tissues such as lateral and dorsal/ventral chords, hypodermis, and uterus tissue. Global transcriptional response analysis using adult female B. pahangi treated with APIs identified four additional aspartic proteases differentially regulated by the three effective drugs, as well as significant enrichment of various pathways including ubiquitin mediated proteolysis, protein kinases, and MAPK/AMPK/FoxO signaling. In vitro testing against the adult gastro-intestinal nematode Trichuris muris suggested broad-spectrum potential for these APIs. This study suggests that APIs may serve as new leads to be further explored for drug discovery to treat parasitic nematode infections.

RevDate: 2022-06-23

Morrison AC, Reiner RC, Elson WH, et al (2022)

Efficacy of a spatial repellent for control of Aedes-borne virus transmission: A cluster-randomized trial in Iquitos, Peru.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(26):e2118283119.

Over half the world's population is at risk for viruses transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, such as dengue and Zika. The primary vector, Aedes aegypti, thrives in urban environments. Despite decades of effort, cases and geographic range of Aedes-borne viruses (ABVs) continue to expand. Rigorously proven vector control interventions that measure protective efficacy against ABV diseases are limited to Wolbachia in a single trial in Indonesia and do not include any chemical intervention. Spatial repellents, a new option for efficient deployment, are designed to decrease human exposure to ABVs by releasing active ingredients into the air that disrupt mosquito-human contact. A parallel, cluster-randomized controlled trial was conducted in Iquitos, Peru, to quantify the impact of a transfluthrin-based spatial repellent on human ABV infection. From 2,907 households across 26 clusters (13 per arm), 1,578 participants were assessed for seroconversion (primary endpoint) by survival analysis. Incidence of acute disease was calculated among 16,683 participants (secondary endpoint). Adult mosquito collections were conducted to compare Ae. aegypti abundance, blood-fed rate, and parity status through mixed-effect difference-in-difference analyses. The spatial repellent significantly reduced ABV infection by 34.1% (one-sided 95% CI lower limit, 6.9%; one-sided P value = 0.0236, z = 1.98). Aedes aegypti abundance and blood-fed rates were significantly reduced by 28.6 (95% CI 24.1%, ∞); z = -9.11) and 12.4% (95% CI 4.2%, ∞); z = -2.43), respectively. Our trial provides conclusive statistical evidence from an appropriately powered, preplanned cluster-randomized controlled clinical trial of the impact of a chemical intervention, in this case a spatial repellent, to reduce the risk of ABV transmission compared to a placebo.

RevDate: 2022-06-23

Nian X, Tao X, Xiao Z, et al (2022)

Effects of Sublethal Concentrations of Tetracycline Hydrochloride on the Biological Characteristics and Wolbachia Titer in Parthenogenesis Trichogramma pretiosum.

Insects, 13(6): pii:insects13060559.

Trichogramma pretiosum Riley is an important natural enemy and biological control agent of lepidopteran pests. Wolbachia is an intracellular endosymbiont that induces parthenogenesis in the parasitoid T. pretiosum. In this paper, the sublethal effects of the antibiotic tetracycline hydrochloride on the development and reproduction of T. pretiosum were studied. Emerged females were fed with sublethal concentrations (LC5, LC15, and LC35) of tetracycline for ten generations. The biological parameters (longevity, parasitized eggs, and fecundity) of treated females significantly reduced compared with the control Moreover, the percentage of female offspring in the treatments significantly reduced, but the percentage of male offspring significantly increased. In addition, the Wolbachia titer sharply reduced after two generations of antibiotic treatments, but it could still be detected even after ten successive generations of antibiotic treatments, which indicated that Wolbachia was not completely removed by sublethal concentrations of tetracycline. The control lines with higher Wolbachia titers produced more female offspring than the tetracycline treatments with lower Wolbachia titers, indicating that the Wolbachia titer affected the sex determination of T. pretiosum. Our results show that sublethal concentrations of tetracycline had adverse effects on the development of T. pretiosum, and Wolbachia titers affected the sexual development of T. pretiosum eggs.

RevDate: 2022-06-23

Yan ZC, Qi GY, Yao TY, et al (2022)

Mitochondrial Genomes of Two Asexual Trichogramma (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) Strains and Comparison with Their Sexual Relatives.

Insects, 13(6): pii:insects13060549.

Despite its substantial costs, sexual reproduction dominates in animals. One popular explanation for the paradox of sex is that asexual reproduction is more likely to accumulate deleterious mutations than sexual reproduction. To test this hypothesis, we compared the mitogenomes of two asexual wasp strains, Trichogramma cacoeciae and T. pretiosum, to their sexual relatives. These two asexual strains represent two different transition mechanisms in Trichogramma from sexual to asexual reproduction. Asexual T. pretiosum is induced by Wolbachia, while T. cacoeciae presumably originated from interspecific hybridization. We sequenced and assembled complete mitochondrial genomes of asexual T. cacoeciae and T. pretiosum. Compared to four sexual relatives, we found no evidence of higher mutation accumulation in asexual Trichogramma mitogenomes than in their sexual relatives. We also did not detect any relaxed selection in asexual Trichogramma mitogenomes. In contrast, the intensified selection was detected in Nad1 and Nad4 of the asexual T. pretiosum mitogenome, suggesting more purifying selection. In summary, no higher mitochondrial mutation accumulation was detected in these two asexual Trichogramma strains. This study provides a basis for further investigating mitochondrial evolution and asexual reproduction in Trichogramma.

RevDate: 2022-06-22

da Silva H, Oliveira TMP, Sabino EC, et al (2022)

Bacterial diversity in Haemagogus leucocelaenus (Diptera: Culicidae) from Vale do Ribeira, São Paulo, Brazil.

BMC microbiology, 22(1):161.

INTRODUCTION: Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) are vectors that transmit numerous pathogens to humans and other vertebrates. Haemagogus leucocelaenus is a mosquito associated with transmission of yellow fever virus. The insect gut harbors a variety of microorganisms that can live and multiply within it, thus contributing to digestion, nutrition, and development of its host. The composition of bacterial communities in mosquitoes can be influenced by both biotic and abiotic factors. The goal of this study was to investigate the bacterial diversity of Hg. leucocelaenus and verify the differences between the bacterial communities in Hg. leucocelaenus from three different locations in the Atlantic tropical rain forest and southeastern state of São Paulo State, Brazil.

RESULTS: The phylum Proteobacteria was found in mosquitoes collected from the three selected study sites. More than 50% of the contigs belong to Wolbachia, followed by 5% Swaminathania, and 3% Acinetobacter. The genus Serratia was found in samples from two locations.

CONCLUSIONS: Wolbachia was reported for the first time in this species and may indicates that the vector competence of the populations of the species can vary along its geographical distribution area. The presence of Serratia might facilitate viral invasion caused by the disruption of the midgut barrier via action of the SmEnhancin protein, which digests the mucins present in the intestinal epithelium.

RevDate: 2022-06-22

Jones MW, Fricke LC, Thorpe CJ, et al (2022)

Infection Dynamics of Cotransmitted Reproductive Symbionts Are Mediated by Sex, Tissue, and Development.

Applied and environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

One of the most prevalent intracellular infections on earth is with Wolbachia, a bacterium in the Rickettsiales that infects a range of insects, crustaceans, chelicerates, and nematodes. Wolbachia is maternally transmitted to offspring and has profound effects on the reproduction and physiology of its hosts, which can result in reproductive isolation, altered vectorial capacity, mitochondrial sweeps, and even host speciation. Some populations stably harbor multiple Wolbachia strains, which can further contribute to reproductive isolation and altered host physiology. However, almost nothing is known about the requirements for multiple intracellular microbes to be stably maintained across generations while they likely compete for space and resources. Here, we use a coinfection of two Wolbachia strains ("wHa" and "wNo") in Drosophila simulans to define the infection and transmission dynamics of an evolutionarily stable double infection. We find that a combination of sex, tissue, and host development contributes to the infection dynamics of the two microbes and that these infections exhibit a degree of niche partitioning across host tissues. wHa is present at a significantly higher titer than wNo in most tissues and developmental stages, but wNo is uniquely dominant in ovaries. Unexpectedly, the ratio of wHa to wNo in embryos does not reflect those observed in the ovaries, indicative of strain-specific transmission dynamics. Understanding how Wolbachia strains interact to establish and maintain stable infections has important implications for the development and effective implementation of Wolbachia-based vector biocontrol strategies, as well as more broadly defining how cooperation and conflict shape intracellular communities. IMPORTANCE Wolbachia is a maternally transmitted intracellular bacterium that manipulates the reproduction and physiology of arthropods, resulting in drastic effects on the fitness, evolution, and even speciation of its hosts. Some hosts naturally harbor multiple strains of Wolbachia that are stably transmitted across generations, but almost nothing is known about the factors that limit or promote these coinfections, which can have profound effects on the host's biology and evolution and are under consideration as an insect-management tool. Here, we define the infection dynamics of a known stably transmitted double infection in Drosophila simulans with an eye toward understanding the patterns of infection that might facilitate compatibility between the two microbes. We find that a combination of sex, tissue, and development all contributes to infection dynamics of the coinfection.

RevDate: 2022-06-22

Krome AK, Becker T, Kehraus S, et al (2022)

Corallopyronin A: antimicrobial discovery to preclinical development.

Natural product reports [Epub ahead of print].

Covering: August 1984 up to January 2022Worldwide, increasing morbidity and mortality due to antibiotic-resistant microbial infections has been observed. Therefore, better prevention and control of infectious diseases, as well as appropriate use of approved antibacterial drugs are crucial. There is also an urgent need for the continuous development and supply of novel antibiotics. Thus, identifying new antibiotics and their further development is once again a priority of natural product research. The antibiotic corallopyronin A was discovered in the 1980s in the culture broth of the Myxobacterium Corallococcus coralloides and serves, in the context of this review, as a show case for the development of a naturally occurring antibiotic compound. The review demonstrates how a hard to obtain, barely water soluble and unstable compound such as corallopyronin A can be developed making use of sophisticated production and formulation approaches. Corallopyronin A is a bacterial DNA-dependent RNA polymerase inhibitor with a new target site and one of the few representatives of this class currently in preclinical development. Efficacy against Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogens, e.g., Chlamydia trachomatis, Orientia tsutsugamushi, Staphylococcus aureus, and Wolbachia has been demonstrated. Due to its highly effective in vivo depletion of Wolbachia, which are essential endobacteria of most filarial nematode species, and its robust macrofilaricidal efficacy, corallopyronin A was selected as a preclinical candidate for the treatment of human filarial infections. This review highlights the discovery and production optimization approaches for corallopyronin A, as well as, recent preclinical efficacy results demonstrating a robust macrofilaricidal effect of the anti-Wolbachia candidate, and the solid formulation strategy which enhances the stability as well as the bioavailability of corallopyronin A.

RevDate: 2022-06-21

Gunasekaran K, Sadanandane C, Panneer D, et al (2022)

Sensitivity of wMel and wAlbB Wolbachia infections in Aedes aegypti Puducherry (Indian) strains to heat stress during larval development.

Parasites & vectors, 15(1):221.

BACKGROUND: ICMR-Vector Control Research Centre, Puducherry, India, developed two colonies of Aedes aegypti infected with wMel and wAlbB Wolbacia strains called Ae. aegypti (Pud) lines for dengue control. The sensitivity of wMel and wAlbB strains in Ae. aegypti (Pud) lines to heat stress was studied.

METHODS: wMel and wAlbB infected and uninfected Ae. aegypti larvae (first to fourth instars) were reared in the laboratory to adults at 26 °C, 30 °C, 36 °C and 40 °C constant temperatures and also 26-30 °C, 26-36 °C and 26-40 °C diurnal cyclic temperatures. The adults were tested for Wolbachia infection. Experiments were also carried out rearing the larvae under simulated field conditions in summer (April and June) under sunlight using fully open and half open bowls and also under sunlight and natural shade.

RESULTS: At 36 °C and 40 °C constant temperatures, complete larval mortality was observed. At 30 °C and 26 °C, no larval mortality occurred, but Wolbachia density was relatively low in wMel infected males compared to control (maintained at 26 ± 1 °C). At diurnal cyclic temperature of 26-40 °C, Wolbachia density was reduced in males of both the (Pud) lines, but not in females. At 26-36 °C, reduction in Wolbachia density was observed in wMel males but not in wAlbB males. At 26-30 °C, no significant reduction in Wolbachia density was observed with wMel and wAlbB strains. In simulated field conditions (April), under sunlight, the daytime water temperature reached a maximum of 35.7 °C in both full and half open bowls. No larval mortality occurred. Wolbachia frequency and density was reduced in wMel-infected Ae. aegypti (Pud) males from both type of bowls and in females from full open bowls, and in wAlbB males from half open bowls. In June, rearing of larvae under sunlight, the first-instar larvae experienced a maximum daytime water temperature of > 38 °C that caused complete mortality. No larval mortality was observed in bowls kept under shade (< 32 °C).

CONCLUSIONS: Exposure of larvae to higher rearing temperatures in the laboratory and simulated-field conditions reduced the densities of wMel and wAlbB strains particularly in males, but the impact was more pronounced for wMel strain. The actual effect of heat stress on the stability of these two Wolbachia strains needs to be tested under natural field conditions.

RevDate: 2022-06-21

Dzul-Rosado K, Maldonado-Borges JI, Puerto-Manzano FI, et al (2022)

First exploratory study of bacterial pathogens and endosymbionts in head lice from a Mayan community in southern Mexico.

Zoonoses and public health [Epub ahead of print].

Lice represent one of the most neglected group of vectors worldwide, particularly in Latin America. Records of bacterial agents related to head lice are non-existent in this region of the continent. Many of these communities often do not have adequate access to public services and/or health protection. The normalization of this condition prevents them from manifesting discomfort, such as bites and itching, which further aggravates the situation, as they can be vectors of important diseases. For this reason, the aim of this work was to identify the richness of bacterial pathogens (Acinetobacter, Bartonella, and Rickettsia) and endosymbionts (Wolbachia) in head lice of paediatric patients from the indigenous municipality of Hoctun, Yucatan, Mexico. DNA extraction was performed using the QIAamp DNA Mini Kit. For the detection of bacterial pathogens, fragments of the gltA, rpoB, and 16S rDNA genes were amplified. For the detection of Wolbachia, the wsp gene was amplified. Of the 28 lice analysed, the presence of two genera of bacterial pathogens was detected Acinetobacter (42.9% = 12/28) and Bartonella (7.14% = 2/28). We also detected the endosymbiont Wolbachia (71.42% = 20/28). Our results showed that DNA from three bacteria species (Acinetobacter baumannii, Bartonella quintana, and Wolbachia pipientis) was present with frequencies ranging from 3.57% to 71.42%. This work represents the first exploratory study of the diversity of agents associated with head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis) in Mexico and Latin America. Due to the findings generated in the present study, it is important to perform surveillance of head lice populations to identify the degree of spread of these pathogens and their impact on populations in the region.

RevDate: 2022-06-21
CmpDate: 2022-06-21

Hickin ML, Kakumanu ML, C Schal (2022)

Effects of Wolbachia elimination and B-vitamin supplementation on bed bug development and reproduction.

Scientific reports, 12(1):10270.

Obligate blood feeders, such as Cimex lectularius (common bed bug), have symbiotic associations with nutritional endosymbionts that produce B-vitamins. To quantify the symbiont's contribution to host fitness in these obligate mutualisms, the symbiont must be eliminated and its absence rigorously confirmed. We developed and validated procedures for complete elimination of Wolbachia (Wb) in bed bugs and quantified development and reproduction in bed bugs with and without Wb and with and without B-vitamins supplementation. Aposymbiotic bed bugs had slower nymphal development, reduced adult survivorship, smaller adult size, fewer eggs per female, and lower hatch rate than bed bugs that harbored Wb. In aposymbiotic bed bugs that were fed B-vitamins-supplemented blood, nymph development time, adult survivorship and hatch rate recovered to control levels, but adult size and egg number only partially recovered. These results underscore the nutritional dependence of bed bugs on their Wb symbiont and suggest that Wb may provide additional nutritional benefits beyond the B-vitamin mix that we investigated.

RevDate: 2022-06-20

Faulk C (2022)

De novo sequencing, diploid assembly, and annotation of the black carpenter ant, Camponotus pennsylvanicus, and its symbionts by one person for $1000, using nanopore sequencing.

Nucleic acids research pii:6611042 [Epub ahead of print].

The black carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus) is a pest species found widely throughout North America. From a single individual I used long-read nanopore sequencing to assemble a phased diploid genome of 306 Mb and 60X coverage, with quality assessed by a 97.0% BUSCO score, improving upon other ant assemblies. The mitochondrial genome reveals minor rearrangements from other ants. The reads also allowed assembly of parasitic and symbiont genomes. I include a complete Wolbachia bacterial assembly with a size of 1.2 Mb, as well as a commensal symbiont Blochmannia pennsylvanicus, at 791 kb. DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation were measured at base-pair resolution level from the same reads and confirmed extremely low levels seen in the Formicidae family. There was moderate heterozygosity, with 0.16% of bases being biallelic from the parental haplotypes. Protein prediction yielded 14 415 amino acid sequences with 95.8% BUSCO score and 86% matching to previously known proteins. All assemblies were derived from a single MinION flow cell generating 20 Gb of sequence for a cost of $1047 including consumable reagents. Adding fixed costs for equipment brings the total for an ant-sized genome to less than $5000. All analyses were performed in 1 week on a single desktop computer.

RevDate: 2022-06-21

Chen L, Xiao Q, Shi M, et al (2022)

Detecting Wolbachia Strain wAlbB in Aedes albopictus Cell Lines.

Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE.

As a maternally harbored endosymbiont, Wolbachia infects large proportions of insect populations. Studies have recently reported the successful regulation of RNA virus transmission using Wolbachia-transfected mosquitoes. Key strategies to control viruses include the manipulation of host reproduction via cytoplasmic incompatibility and the inhibition of viral transcripts via immune priming and competition for host-derived resources. However, the underlying mechanisms of the responses of Wolbachia-transfected mosquitoes to viral infection are poorly understood. This paper presents a protocol for the in vitro identification of Wolbachia infection at the nucleic acid and protein levels in Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) Aa23 cells to enhance the understanding of the interactions between Wolbachia and its insect vectors. Through the combined use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR), quantitative PCR, western blot, and immunological analytical methods, a standard morphologic protocol has been described for the detection of Wolbachia-infected cells that is more accurate than the use of a single method. This approach may also be applied to the detection of Wolbachia infection in other insect taxa.

RevDate: 2022-06-16

Ettinger CL, Byrne FJ, Redak RA, et al (2022)

Metagenome-Assembled Genomes of Bacterial Symbionts Associated with Insecticide-Resistant and -Susceptible Individuals of the Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter (Homalodisca vitripennis).

Microbiology resource announcements [Epub ahead of print].

The role of microbes in insecticide resistance is an emerging question. Here, we describe six metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) associated with the glassy-winged sharpshooter (Homalodisca vitripennis [Germar, 1821]) (Hemiptera, Cicadellidae). MAGs representing the obligate symbionts Candidatus Sulcia muelleri and Candidatus Baumannia cicadellinicola and the facultative symbiont Wolbachia were obtained from imidacloprid-resistant and imidacloprid-susceptible sharpshooters.

RevDate: 2022-06-14

Dufault SM, Tanamas SK, Indriani C, et al (2022)

Disruption of spatiotemporal clustering in dengue cases by wMel Wolbachia in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Scientific reports, 12(1):9890.

Dengue exhibits focal clustering in households and neighborhoods, driven by local mosquito population dynamics, human population immunity, and fine scale human and mosquito movement. We tested the hypothesis that spatiotemporal clustering of homotypic dengue cases is disrupted by introduction of the arbovirus-blocking bacterium Wolbachia (wMel-strain) into the Aedes aegypti mosquito population. We analysed 318 serotyped and geolocated dengue cases (and 5921 test-negative controls) from a randomized controlled trial in Yogyakarta, Indonesia of wMel deployments. We find evidence of spatial clustering up to 300 m among the 265 dengue cases (3083 controls) in the untreated trial arm. Participant pairs enrolled within 30 days and 50 m had a 4.7-fold increase (compared to 95% CI on permutation-based null distribution: 0.1, 1.2) in the odds of being homotypic (i.e. potentially transmission-related) as compared to pairs occurring at any distance. In contrast, we find no evidence of spatiotemporal clustering among the 53 dengue cases (2838 controls) resident in the wMel-treated arm. Introgression of wMel Wolbachia into Aedes aegypti mosquito populations interrupts focal dengue virus transmission leading to reduced case incidence; the true intervention effect may be greater than the 77% efficacy measured in the primary analysis of the Yogyakarta trial.

RevDate: 2022-06-10

Vörös K, Becker Z, Kónya R, et al (2022)

Application of Moxidectin and Ultrasound-Aided Injection of Melarsomine During the American Heartworm Society Recommended Treatment Protocol in Dirofilaria immitis Infected Dogs.

Vector borne and zoonotic diseases (Larchmont, N.Y.) [Epub ahead of print].

The American Heartworm Society (AHS) recommends the three-dose alternate melarsomine therapeutic regimen, together with a macrocyclic lactone (ML) to reduce new infections and eliminate susceptible larvae and doxycycline against Wolbachia bacteria. Till now, only reports on ivermectin as an ML exist in the frame of this protocol. Between 2014 and 2020, the AHS protocol was used in 44 heartworm-positive dogs. Microfilaremic dogs were pretreated with prednisolone and clopidogrel for 1 week before the first moxidectin application. Moxidectin was applied on the 1st, 30th, 60th, and 90th therapeutic days. On the first day, dexamethasone and chloropyramine were used to avoid potential adverse effects caused by the destroyed microfilariae. During the 1st-28th days, doxycycline 10 mg/kg BID was given with probiotics. Adult heartworms were destroyed with melarsomine on the 60th, 90th, and 91st days. Butorphanol and dexamethasone were given just before melarsomine injections. The depth of the intramuscular injection site was determined by ultrasound examination of the lumbar muscles. From the 60th day, dalteparin was applied for 10 days to decrease the chance of pulmonary thromboembolism. Moxidectin did not cause adverse reactions, even in microfilaremic dogs. Gastrointestinal side effects of doxycycline were observed in three (6%) dogs, they recovered after symptomatic therapy and by lowering the initial dose to 5 mg/kg BID. Transient anorexia and diarrhea were found in one (2%), and coughing and mild dyspnea in one (2%) animal as systemic post-therapeutic complications of melarsomine. No local side effects were observed in 13 (30%) dogs, mild local side effects occurred in 29 (66%) patients, and severe local swelling in 2 (4%) cases. All dogs recovered clinically by the 120th day and no microfilaremia was seen that time. An antigen test performed in 37/44 animals on the 271st day was also negative in all cases.

RevDate: 2022-06-10

Kamiyama T, Shimada-Niwa Y, Tanaka H, et al (2022)

Whole-genome sequencing analysis and protocol for RNA interference of the endoparasitoid wasp Asobara japonica.

DNA research : an international journal for rapid publication of reports on genes and genomes pii:6605221 [Epub ahead of print].

Asobara japonica is an endoparasitic wasp that parasitizes Drosophila flies. It synthesizes various toxic components in the venom gland and injects them into host larvae during oviposition. To identify and characterize these toxic components for enabling parasitism, we performed the whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and devised a protocol for RNA interference (RNAi) with A. japonica. Because it has a parthenogenetic lineage due to Wolbachia infection, we generated a clonal strain from a single wasp to obtain highly homogenous genomic DNA. The WGS analysis revealed that the estimated genome size was 322 Mb with a heterozygosity of 0.132%. We also performed RNA-seq analyses for gene annotation. Based on the qualified WGS platform, we cloned ebony-Aj, which encodes the enzyme N-β-alanyl dopamine synthetase (NBAD), which is involved in melanin production. The microinjection of double-stranded RNA targeting ebony-Aj led to body color changes in adult wasps, phenocopying ebony-Dm mutants. Furthermore, we identified putative venom genes as a target of RNAi, confirming that dsRNA injection-based RNAi specifically suppressed the expression of the target gene in wasp adults. Taken together, our results provide a powerful genetic toolkit for studying the molecular mechanisms of parasitism.

RevDate: 2022-06-10

Szklarzewicz T, Kalandyk-Kołodziejczyk M, A Michalik (2022)

Ovary structure and symbiotic associates of a ground mealybug, Rhizoecus albidus (Hemiptera, Coccomorpha: Rhizoecidae) and their phylogenetic implications.

Journal of anatomy [Epub ahead of print].

The ovary structure and the organization of its symbiotic system of the ground mealybug, Rhizoecus albidus (Rhizoecidae), were examined by means of microscopic and molecular methods. Each of the paired elongated ovaries of R. albidus is composed of circa one hundred short telotrophic-meroistic ovarioles, which are radially arranged along the distal part of the lateral oviduct. Analysis of serial sections revealed that each ovariole contains four germ cells: three trophocytes (nurse cells) occupying the tropharium and a single oocyte in the vitellarium. The ovaries are accompanied by giant cells termed bacteriocytes which are tightly packed with large pleomorphic bacteria. Their identity as Brownia rhizoecola (Bacteroidetes) was confirmed by means of amplicon sequencing and fluorescence in situ hybridization techniques. Moreover, to our knowledge, this is the first report on the morphology and ultrastructure of the Brownia rhizoecola bacterium. In the bacteriocyte cytoplasm bacteria Brownia co-reside with sporadic rod-shaped smaller bacteria, namely Wolbachia (Proteobacteria: Alphaproteobacteria). Both symbionts are transmitted to the next generation vertically (maternally), that is, via female germline cells. We documented that, at the time when ovarioles contain oocytes at the vitellogenic stage, these symbionts leave the bacteriocytes and move toward the neck region of ovarioles (i.e. the region between tropharium and vitellarium). Next, the bacteria enter the cytoplasm of follicular cells surrounding the basal part of the tropharium, leave them and enter the space between the follicular epithelium and surface of the nutritive cord connecting the tropharium and vitellarium. Finally, they gather in the deep depression of the oolemma at the anterior pole of the oocyte in the form of a 'symbiont ball'. Our results provide further arguments strongly supporting the validity of the recent changes in the classification of mealybugs, which involved excluding ground mealybugs from the Pseudococcidae family and raising them to the rank of their own family Rhizoecidae.

RevDate: 2022-06-09

Araújo NJS, Macêdo MJF, de Morais LP, et al (2022)

Control of arboviruses vectors using biological control by Wolbachia pipientis: a short review.

Archives of microbiology, 204(7):376.

The number of arbovirus cases has increased in recent years, demonstrating a need for investing in effective control actions. Among these actions, are strategies using biological control vectors, a field where Wolbachia pipientis has shown itself as useful. Wolbachia pipientis, an obligatory intracellular Gram-negative bacteria, which parasites arthropods naturally or through laboratory-induced infections, is capable of manipulating the reproduction of its host. A systematic literature review gathering studies on this bacteria over last 10 years (2007-2021) was performed given its important role in the reduction of insect disease vectors. 111 articles were found, from which 78 were used in this study. Information on the Wolbachia biology, mechanism of action and potential for the biological control of insect disease vectors was gathered. The present study may contribute to the knowledge surrounding the bacterium, as well as stimulate the production of other studies with the same theme.

RevDate: 2022-06-09

Withers AJ, Rice A, de Boer J, et al (2022)

The distribution of covert microbial natural enemies of a globally invasive crop pest, fall armyworm, in Africa: enemy-release and spillover events.

The Journal of animal ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Invasive species pose a significant threat to biodiversity and agriculture worldwide. Natural enemies play an important part in controlling pest populations, yet we understand very little about the presence and prevalence of natural enemies during the early invasion stages. Microbial natural enemies of fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) are known in its native region, however, they have not yet been identified in Africa where fall armyworm has been an invasive crop pest since 2016. Larval samples were screened from Malawi, Rwanda, Kenya, Zambia, Sudan, and Ghana for the presence of four different microbial natural enemies; two nucleopolyhedroviruses, Spodoptera frugiperda NPV (SfMNPV) and Spodoptera exempta NPV (SpexNPV); the fungal pathogen Metarhizium rileyi; and the bacterium Wolbachia. This study aimed to identify which microbial pathogens are present in invasive fall armyworm, and determine the geographical, meteorological, and temporal variables that influence prevalence. Within three years of arrival, fall armyworm was exposed to all four microbial natural enemies. SfMNPV probably arrived with fall armyworm from the Americas, but this is the first putative evidence of host spillover from Spodoptera exempta (African armyworm) to fall armyworm for the endemic pathogen SpexNPV and for Wolbachia. It is also the first confirmed incidence of M. rileyi infecting fall armyworm in Africa. Natural enemies were localised, with variation being observed both nationally and temporally. The prevalence of SfMNPV (the most common natural enemy) was predominantly explained by variables associated with the weather; declining with increasing rainfall and increasing with temperature. However, virus prevalence also increased as the growing season progressed. The infection of an invasive species with a natural enemy from its native range and novel pathogens specific to its new range has important consequences for understanding the population ecology of invasive species and insect-pathogen interactions. Additionally, whilst it is widely known that temporal and geographic factors affect insect populations, this study reveals that these are important in understanding the distribution of microbial natural enemies associated with invasive pests during the early stages of invasion, and provide baseline data for future studies.

RevDate: 2022-06-07

Tvedte ES, Gasser M, Zhao X, et al (2022)

Accumulation of endosymbiont genomes in an insect autosome followed by endosymbiont replacement.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(22)00783-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Eukaryotic genomes can acquire bacterial DNA via lateral gene transfer (LGT).1 A prominent source of LGT is Wolbachia,2 a widespread endosymbiont of arthropods and nematodes that is transmitted maternally through female germline cells.3,4 The DNA transfer from the Wolbachia endosymbiont wAna to Drosophila ananassae is extensive5-7 and has been localized to chromosome 4, contributing to chromosome expansion in this lineage.6 As has happened frequently with claims of bacteria-to-eukaryote LGT, the contribution of wAna transfers to the expanded size of D. ananassae chromosome 4 has been specifically contested8 owing to an assembly where Wolbachia sequences were classified as contaminants and removed.9 Here, long-read sequencing with DNA from a Wolbachia-cured line enabled assembly of 4.9 Mbp of nuclear Wolbachia transfers (nuwts) in D. ananassae and a 24-kbp nuclear mitochondrial transfer. The nuwts are <8,000 years old in at least two locations in chromosome 4 with at least one whole-genome integration followed by rapid extensive duplication of most of the genome with regions that have up to 10 copies. The genes in nuwts are accumulating small indels and mobile element insertions. Among the highly duplicated genes are cifA and cifB, two genes associated with Wolbachia-mediated Drosophila cytoplasmic incompatibility. The wAna strain that was the source of nuwts was subsequently replaced by a different wAna endosymbiont. Direct RNA Nanopore sequencing of Wolbachia-cured lines identified nuwt transcripts, including spliced transcripts, but functionality, if any, remains elusive.

RevDate: 2022-06-07

Marriott AE, Furlong Silva J, Pionnier N, et al (2022)

A mouse infection model and long-term lymphatic endothelium co-culture system to evaluate drugs against adult Brugia malayi.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 16(6):e0010474 pii:PNTD-D-22-00092 [Epub ahead of print].

The development of new drugs targeting adult-stage lymphatic filarial nematodes is hindered by the lack of a robust long-term in vitro culture model. Testing potential direct-acting and anti-Wolbachia therapeutic candidates against adult lymphatic filariae in vitro requires their propagation via chronic infection of gerbils. We evaluated Brugia malayi parasite burden data from male Mongolian gerbils compared with two immune-deficient mouse strains highly susceptible to B. malayi: CB.17 Severe-Combined Immmuno-Deficient (SCID) and interleukin-4 receptor alpha, interleukin-5 double knockout (IL-4Rα-/-IL-5-/-) mice. Adult worms generated in IL-4Rα-/-IL-5-/- mice were tested with different feeder cells (human embryonic kidney cells, human adult dermal lymphatic endothelial cells and human THP-1 monocyte differentiated macrophages) and comparative cell-free conditions to optimise and validate a long-term in vitro culture system. Cultured parasites were compared against those isolated from mice using motility scoring, metabolic viability assay (MTT), ex vivo microfilariae release assay and Wolbachia content by qPCR. A selected culture system was validated as a drug screen using reference anti-Wolbachia (doxycycline, ABBV-4083 / flubentylosin) or direct-acting compounds (flubendazole, suramin). BALB/c IL-4Rα-/-IL-5-/- or CB.17 SCID mice were superior to Mongolian gerbils in generating adult worms and supporting in vivo persistence for periods of up to 52 weeks. Adult females retrieved from BALB/c IL-4Rα-/-IL-5-/- mice could be cultured for up to 21 days in the presence of a lymphatic endothelial cell co-culture system with comparable motility, metabolic activity and Wolbachia titres to those maintained in vivo. Drug studies confirmed significant Wolbachia depletions or direct macrofilaricidal activities could be discerned when female B. malayi were cultured for 14 days. We therefore demonstrate a novel methodology to generate adult B. malayi in vivo and accurately evaluate drug efficacy ex vivo which may be adopted for drug screening with the dual benefit of reducing overall animal use and improving anti-filarial drug development.

RevDate: 2022-06-06

Sarwar MS, Jahan N, Ali A, et al (2022)

Establishment of Wolbachia infection in Aedes aegypti from Pakistan via embryonic microinjection and semi-field evaluation of general fitness of resultant mosquito population.

Parasites & vectors, 15(1):191.

BACKGROUND: Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease that is mainly spread by Aedes aegypti. It is prevalent on five continents, predominantly in tropical and sub-tropical zones across the world. Wolbachia bacteria have been extensively used in vector control strategies worldwide. The focus of the current study was to obtain a natural population of Ae. aegypti harbouring Wolbachia and to determine the impact of this bacteria on the new host in a semi-field environment.

METHODS: Wolbachia-infected Aedes albopictus was collected from the city of Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, and Wolbachia were successfully introduced into laboratory-reared Ae. aegypti via embryonic microinjection. The stable vertical transmission of wAlbB in the host population was observed for eight generations, and the impact of Wolbachia on the general fitness of the host was evaluated in semi-field conditions.

RESULTS: In the laboratory and semi-field experiments, wAlbB Wolbachia presented a strong cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) effect, evidenced as zero egg hatching, in crosses between Wolbachia-infected males and wild (uninfected) females of Ae. aegypti. Wolbachia infection had no noticeable impact on the general fitness (P > 0.05), fecundity, body size (females and males) and mating competitiveness of the new host, Ae. aegypti. However, there was a significant decrease in female fertility (egg hatch) (P < 0.001). In addition, under starvation conditions, there was a remarkable decrease (P < 0.0001) in the life span of Wolbachia-infected females compared to uninfected females (4 vs. > 5 days, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: Wolbachia strain wAlbB has a great potential to control the dengue vector in Ae. aegypti populations by producing 100% CI with a limited burden on its host in natural field conditions. This strain can be used as a biological tool against vector-borne diseases.

RevDate: 2022-06-06

Bordenstein SR, SR Bordenstein (2022)

Widespread phages of endosymbionts: Phage WO genomics and the proposed taxonomic classification of Symbioviridae.

PLoS genetics, 18(6):e1010227 pii:PGENETICS-D-21-01513 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia are the most common obligate, intracellular bacteria in animals. They exist worldwide in arthropod and nematode hosts in which they commonly act as reproductive parasites or mutualists, respectively. Bacteriophage WO, the largest of Wolbachia's mobile elements, includes reproductive parasitism genes, serves as a hotspot for genetic divergence and genomic rearrangement of the bacterial chromosome, and uniquely encodes a Eukaryotic Association Module with eukaryotic-like genes and an ensemble of putative host interaction genes. Despite WO's relevance to genome evolution, selfish genetics, and symbiotic applications, relatively little is known about its origin, host range, diversification, and taxonomic classification. Here we analyze the most comprehensive set of 150 Wolbachia and phage WO assemblies to provide a framework for discretely organizing and naming integrated phage WO genomes. We demonstrate that WO is principally in arthropod Wolbachia with relatives in diverse endosymbionts and metagenomes, organized into four variants related by gene synteny, often oriented opposite the putative origin of replication in the Wolbachia chromosome, and the large serine recombinase is an ideal typing tool to distinguish the four variants. We identify a novel, putative lytic cassette and WO's association with a conserved eleven gene island, termed Undecim Cluster, that is enriched with virulence-like genes. Finally, we evaluate WO-like Islands in the Wolbachia genome and discuss a new model in which Octomom, a notable WO-like Island, arose from a split with WO. Together, these findings establish the first comprehensive Linnaean taxonomic classification of endosymbiont phages, including non-Wolbachia phages from aquatic environments, that includes a new family and two new genera to capture the collective relatedness of these viruses.

RevDate: 2022-06-06

Montoya-Alonso JA, García Rodríguez SN, Carretón E, et al (2022)

Seroprevalence of Feline Heartworm in Spain: Completing the Epidemiological Puzzle of a Neglected Disease in the Cat.

Frontiers in veterinary science, 9:900371.

Feline heartworm is a vector-borne zoonotic disease caused by Dirofilaria immitis. It is a cosmopolitan disease that is continuously expanding. Spain is considered an endemic country; however, although there are many published studies in dogs, feline heartworm has been poorly studied in this country. Thus, the objective was to analyze the exposure to D. immitis throughout Spain to complete the epidemiological map in the feline species. For this, 6,588 feline serum samples were analyzed for the presence of D. immitis antigens and antibodies against D. immitis and Wolbachia. The results were analyzed according to sex, age, breed, habitat, origin (owned or shelter cats), presence of clinical signs, use of preventive, location and climatology. The results showed a prevalence of 0.5% and a seroprevalence of 9.4%. The highest antibody seroprevalences were reported in the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands (19.2 and 16%, respectively), as well as in the autonomous communities located on the Mediterranean coast (9.2-11.2%). Seropositive cats were found in both indoor and outdoor cats, and from 6 months of age. Furthermore, only 5.8% of cats received regular prophylactic treatment. The results show that feline dirofilariasis is widely distributed throughout the national territory and corroborate that, where infected dogs are present, there are cats exposed to the parasite. It is necessary to implement efficient awareness and prophylaxis measures to control the incidence and expansion of feline heartworm in Spain.

RevDate: 2022-06-02

Powell JR (2022)

Modifying mosquitoes to suppress disease transmission: Is the long wait over?.

Genetics pii:6597077 [Epub ahead of print].

For more than 50 years it has been a dream of medical entomologists and public health workers to control diseases like malaria and dengue fever by modifying, through genetics and other methods, the arthropods that transmit them to humans. A brief synopsis of the history of these efforts as applied to mosquitoes is presented; none proved to be effective in reducing disease prevalence. Only in the last few years have novel approaches been developed or proposed that indicate the long wait may be over. Three recent developments are particularly promising: CRISPR-Cas9 driven genetic modification, shifting naturally occurring allele frequencies, and microbe-based modifications. The last is the furthest along in implementation. Dengue fever incidence has been reduced between 40% and 96% in 4 different regions of the world where Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti have been established in the field. It is not yet clear how sustainable such control programs will prove to be, but there is good reason for optimism. In light of this, the time is ripe for reinvigorated research on vectors, especially genetics. Vector-borne diseases primarily affect under-developed countries and thus have not received the attention they deserve from wealthier countries with well-developed and funded biomedical research establishments.

RevDate: 2022-06-01

Arguni E, Indriani C, Rahayu A, et al (2022)

Dengue virus population genetics in Yogyakarta, Indonesia prior to city-wide Wolbachia deployment.

Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases pii:S1567-1348(22)00105-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Dengue has been endemic in Yogyakarta, Indonesia for decades. Here, we report the dengue epidemiology, entomology, and virology in Yogyakarta in 2016-2017, prior to the commencement of the Applying Wolbachia to Eliminate Dengue (AWED) randomized trial. Dengue epidemiological data were compiled and blood samples from dengue-suspected patients were tested for dengue virus (DENV). Ae. aegypti mosquito samples were caught from the field using BG-Sentinel traps and tested for the presence of DENV infection. Sequencing of the DENV E gene was used to determine the phylogeny and genotypes of circulating DENV. Within the last decade, the 2016-2017 dengue incidence was considered very high. Among the 649 plasma samples collected between March 2016-February 2017; and 36,910 mosquito samples collected between December 2016-May 2017, a total of 197 and 38 samples were DENV-positive by qRT-PCR, respectively. All four DENV serotypes were detected, with DENV-3 (n = 88; 44.67%) and DENV-1 (n = 87; 44.16%) as the predominant serotype, followed by DENV-4 (n = 12; 6.09%) and DENV-2 (n = 10; 5.08%). The Yogyakarta DENV-1 isolates were classified into Genotype I and IV, while DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4 isolates were classified into the Cosmopolitan genotype, Genotype I, and Genotype II, respectively. Yogyakarta DENV isolates were closely related to Indonesian strains from neighboring Javanese cities, consistent with the endemic circulation of DENV on this highly populous island. Our study provides comprehensive baseline information on the DENV population genetic characteristics in Yogyakarta, which are useful as baseline data for the AWED trial and the future DENV surveillance in the city in the presence of a Wolbachia-infected Ae. aegypti population.

RevDate: 2022-05-28

Lee E, Hien Nguyen T, Yen Nguyen T, et al (2022)

Transient Introgression of Wolbachia into Aedes aegypti Populations Does Not Elicit an Antibody Response to Wolbachia Surface Protein in Community Members.

Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland), 11(5): pii:pathogens11050535.

Wolbachia is an endosymbiotic bacterium that can restrict the transmission of human pathogenic viruses by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Recent field trials have shown that dengue incidence is significantly reduced when Wolbachia is introgressed into the local Ae. aegypti population. Female Ae. aegypti are anautogenous and feed on human blood to produce viable eggs. Herein, we tested whether people who reside on Tri Nguyen Island (TNI), Vietnam developed antibodies to Wolbachia Surface Protein (WSP) following release of Wolbachia-infected Ae. aegypti, as a measure of exposure to Wolbachia. Paired blood samples were collected from 105 participants before and after mosquito releases and anti-WSP titres were measured by ELISA. We determined no change in anti-WSP titres after ~30 weeks of high levels of Wolbachia-Ae. aegypti on TNI. These data suggest that humans are not exposed to the major Wolbachia surface antigen, WSP, following introgression of Wolbachia-infected Ae. aegypti mosquitoes.

RevDate: 2022-05-28

Csorba AB, Fora CG, Bálint J, et al (2022)

Endosymbiotic Bacterial Diversity of Corn Leaf Aphid, Rhopalosiphum maidis Fitch (Hemiptera: Aphididae) Associated with Maize Management Systems.

Microorganisms, 10(5): pii:microorganisms10050939.

In this study, different maize fields cultivated under different management systems were sampled to test corn leaf aphid, Rhopalosiphum maidis, populations in terms of total and endosymbiotic bacterial diversity. Corn leaf aphid natural populations were collected from traditionally managed maize fields grown under high agricultural and natural landscape diversity as well as conventionally treated high-input agricultural fields grown in monoculture and with fertilizers use, hence with low natural landscape diversity. Total bacterial community assessment by DNA sequencing was performed using the Illumina MiSeq platform. In total, 365 bacterial genera were identified and 6 endosymbiont taxa. A high abundance of the primary endosymbiont Buchnera and secondary symbionts Serratia and Wolbachia were detected in all maize crops. Their frequency was found to be correlated with the maize management system used, probably with fertilizer input. Three other facultative endosymbionts ("Candidatus Hamiltonella", an uncultured Rickettsiales genus, and Spiroplasma) were also recorded at different frequencies under the two management regimes. Principal components analyses revealed that the relative contribution of the obligate and dominant symbiont Buchnera to the aphid endosymbiotic bacterial community was 72%, whereas for the managed system this was only 16.3%. When facultative symbionts alone were considered, the effect of management system revealed a DNA diversity of 23.3%.

RevDate: 2022-05-27

Agarwal A, Sarma DK, Chaurasia D, et al (2022)

Novel molecular approaches to combat vectors and vector-borne viruses: Special focus on RNA interference (RNAi) mechanisms.

Acta tropica pii:S0001-706X(22)00231-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Vector-borne diseases, such as dengue, chikungunya, zika, yellow fever etc pose significant burden among the infectious diseases globally, especially in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Globalization, deforestation, urbanization, climate change, uncontrolled population growth, inadequate waste management and poor vector-management infrastructure have all contributed to the expansion of vector habitats and subsequent increase in vector-borne diseases throughout the world. Conventional vector control methods, such as use of insecticides, have significant negative environmental repercussions in addition to developing resistance in vectors. Till date, a very few vaccines or antiviral therapies have been approved for the treatment of vector borne diseases. In this review, we have discussed emerging molecular approaches like CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)/Cas-9, sterile insect technique (SIT), release of insects carrying a dominant lethal (RIDL), Wolbachia (virus transmission blocking) and RNA interference (RNAi) to combat vector and vector-borne viruses. Due to the extensive advancements in RNAi research, a special focus has been given on its types, biogenesis, mechanism of action, delivery and experimental studies evaluating their application as anti-mosquito and anti-viral agent. These technologies appear to be highly promising in terms of contributing to vector control and antiviral drug development, and hence can be used to reduce global vector and vector-borne disease burden.

RevDate: 2022-05-26

Bouyer J, Maiga H, MJB Vreysen (2022)

Assessing the efficiency of Verily's automated process for production and release of male Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes.

RevDate: 2022-05-26

Crawford JE, Hopkins KC, Buchman A, et al (2022)

Reply to: Assessing the efficiency of Verily's automated process for production and release of male Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes.

RevDate: 2022-05-26

Wang L, Li C, Wang X, et al (2022)

Gut Lignocellulose Activity and Microbiota in Asian Longhorned Beetle and Their Predicted Contribution to Larval Nutrition.

Frontiers in microbiology, 13:899865.

Anoplophora glabripennis (Asian longhorned beetle) is a wood-boring pest that can inhabit a wide range of healthy deciduous host trees in native and invaded areas. The gut microbiota plays important roles in the acquisition of nutrients for the growth and development of A. glabripennis larvae. Herein, we investigated the larval gut structure and studied the lignocellulose activity and microbial communities of the larval gut following feeding on different host trees. The larval gut was divided into foregut, midgut, and hindgut, of which the midgut is the longest, forming a single loop under itself. Microbial community composition and lignocellulose activity in larval gut extracts were correlated with host tree species. A. glabripennis larvae fed on the preferred host (Populus gansuensis) had higher lignocellulose activity and microbial diversity than larvae reared on either a secondary host (Salix babylonica) or a resistant host (Populus alba var. pyramidalis). Wolbachia was the most dominant bacteria in the gut of larvae fed on S. babylonica and P. alba var. pyramidalis, while Enterococcus and Gibbsiella were the most dominant in larvae fed on P. gansuensis, followed by Wolbachia. The lignocellulose-degrading fungus Fusarium solani was dominant in the larval gut fed on different host trees. Functional predictions of microbial communities in the larval gut fed on different resistant host trees suggested that they all play a role in degrading lignocellulose, detoxification, and fixing nitrogen, which likely contribute to the ability of these larvae to thrive in a broad range of host tree species.

RevDate: 2022-05-25

Harumoto T, T Fukatsu (2022)

Perplexing dynamics of Wolbachia proteins for cytoplasmic incompatibility.

PLoS biology, 20(5):e3001644 pii:PBIOLOGY-D-22-00736.

The mechanism of symbiont-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) has been a long-standing mystery. A new study on Wolbachia's Cif proteins in PLOS Biology provides supportive evidence for the "Host modification model," although the alternative "Toxin-antidote model" is still in the running.

RevDate: 2022-05-24

Waymire E, Duddu S, Yared S, et al (2022)

Wolbachia 16S rRNA haplotypes detected in wild Anopheles stephensi in eastern Ethiopia.

Parasites & vectors, 15(1):178.

BACKGROUND: About two out of three Ethiopians are at risk of malaria, a disease caused by the parasites Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Anopheles stephensi, an invasive vector typically found in South Asia and the Middle East, was recently found to be distributed across eastern and central Ethiopia and is capable of transmitting both P. falciparum and P. vivax. The detection of this vector in the Horn of Africa (HOA) coupled with widespread insecticide resistance requires that new methods of vector control be investigated in order to control the spread of malaria. Wolbachia, a naturally occurring endosymbiotic bacterium of mosquitoes, has been identified as a potential vector control tool that can be explored for the control of malaria transmission. Wolbachia could be used to control the mosquito population through suppression or potentially decrease malaria transmission through population replacement. However, the presence of Wolbachia in wild An. stephensi in eastern Ethiopia is unknown. This study aimed to identify the presence and diversity of Wolbachia in An. stephensi across eastern Ethiopia.

METHODS: DNA was extracted from An. stephensi collected from eastern Ethiopia in 2018 and screened for Wolbachia using a 16S targeted PCR assay, as well as multilocus strain typing (MLST) PCR assays. Haplotype and phylogenetic analysis of the sequenced 16S amplicons were conducted to compare with Wolbachia from countries across Africa and Asia.

RESULTS: Twenty out of the 184 mosquitoes screened were positive for Wolbachia, with multiple haplotypes detected. In addition, phylogenetic analysis revealed two superclades, representing Wolbachia supergroups A and B (bootstrap values of 81 and 72, respectively) with no significant grouping of geographic location or species. A subclade with a bootstrap value of 89 separates the Ethiopian haplotype 2 from other sequences in that superclade.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide the first evidence of natural Wolbachia populations in wild An. stephensi in the HOA. They also identify the need for further research to confirm the endosymbiotic relationship between Wolbachia and An. stephensi and to investigate its utility for malaria control in the HOA.

RevDate: 2022-05-24

Kaur R, Leigh BA, Ritchie IT, et al (2022)

The Cif proteins from Wolbachia prophage WO modify sperm genome integrity to establish cytoplasmic incompatibility.

PLoS biology, 20(5):e3001584 pii:PBIOLOGY-D-22-00124.

Inherited microorganisms can selfishly manipulate host reproduction to drive through populations. In Drosophila melanogaster, germline expression of the native Wolbachia prophage WO proteins CifA and CifB cause cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) in which embryos from infected males and uninfected females suffer catastrophic mitotic defects and lethality; however, in infected females, CifA expression rescues the embryonic lethality and thus imparts a fitness advantage to the maternally transmitted Wolbachia. Despite widespread relevance to sex determination, evolution, and vector control, the mechanisms underlying when and how CI impairs male reproduction remain unknown and a topic of debate. Here, we use cytochemical, microscopic, and transgenic assays in D. melanogaster to demonstrate that CifA and CifB proteins of wMel localize to nuclear DNA throughout the process of spermatogenesis. Cif proteins cause abnormal histone retention in elongating spermatids and protamine deficiency in mature sperms that travel to the female reproductive tract with Cif proteins. Notably, protamine gene knockouts enhance wild-type CI. In ovaries, CifA localizes to germ cell nuclei and cytoplasm of early-stage egg chambers; however, Cifs are absent in late-stage oocytes and subsequently in fertilized embryos. Finally, CI and rescue are contingent upon a newly annotated CifA bipartite nuclear localization sequence. Together, our results strongly support the Host modification model of CI in which Cifs initially modify the paternal and maternal gametes to bestow CI-defining embryonic lethality and rescue.

RevDate: 2022-05-23

Ørsted M, Yashiro E, Hoffmann AA, et al (2022)

Population bottlenecks constrain host microbiome diversity and genetic variation impeding fitness.

PLoS genetics, 18(5):e1010206 pii:PGENETICS-D-21-01334 [Epub ahead of print].

It is becoming increasingly clear that microbial symbionts influence key aspects of their host's fitness, and vice versa. This may fundamentally change our thinking about how microbes and hosts interact in influencing fitness and adaptation to changing environments. Here we explore how reductions in population size commonly experienced by threatened species influence microbiome diversity. Consequences of such reductions are normally interpreted in terms of a loss of genetic variation, increased inbreeding and associated inbreeding depression. However, fitness effects of population bottlenecks might also be mediated through microbiome diversity, such as through loss of functionally important microbes. Here we utilise 50 Drosophila melanogaster lines with different histories of population bottlenecks to explore these questions. The lines were phenotyped for egg-to-adult viability and their genomes sequenced to estimate genetic variation. The bacterial 16S rRNA gene was amplified in these lines to investigate microbial diversity. We found that 1) host population bottlenecks constrained microbiome richness and diversity, 2) core microbiomes of hosts with low genetic variation were constituted from subsets of microbiomes found in flies with higher genetic variation, 3) both microbiome diversity and host genetic variation contributed to host population fitness, 4) connectivity and robustness of bacterial networks was low in the inbred lines regardless of host genetic variation, 5) reduced microbial diversity was associated with weaker evolutionary responses of hosts in stressful environments, and 6) these effects were unrelated to Wolbachia density. These findings suggest that population bottlenecks reduce hologenomic variation (combined host and microbial genetic variation). Thus, while the current biodiversity crisis focuses on population sizes and genetic variation of eukaryotes, an additional focal point should be the microbial diversity carried by the eukaryotes, which in turn may influence host fitness and adaptability with consequences for the persistence of populations.

RevDate: 2022-05-23

Pollmann M, Moore LD, Krimmer E, et al (2022)

Highly transmissible cytoplasmic incompatibility by the extracellular insect symbiont Spiroplasma.

iScience, 25(5):104335 pii:S2589-0042(22)00606-X.

Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) is a form of reproductive manipulation caused by maternally inherited endosymbionts infecting arthropods, like Wolbachia, whereby matings between infected males and uninfected females produce few or no offspring. We report the discovery of a new CI symbiont, a strain of Spiroplasma causing CI in the parasitoid wasp Lariophagus distinguendus. Its extracellular occurrence enabled us to establish CI in uninfected adult insects by transferring Spiroplasma-infected hemolymph. We sequenced the CI-Spiroplasma genome and did not find any homologues of any of the cif genes discovered to cause CI in Wolbachia, suggesting independent evolution of CI. Instead, the genome contains other potential CI-causing candidate genes, such as homologues of high-mobility group (HMG) box proteins that are crucial in eukaryotic development but rare in bacterial genomes. Spiroplasma's extracellular nature and broad host range encompassing medically and agriculturally important arthropods make it a promising tool to study CI and its applications.

RevDate: 2022-05-23

Hien NT, Anh DD, Le NH, et al (2021)

Environmental factors influence the local establishment of Wolbachia in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in two small communities in central Vietnam.

Gates open research, 5:147.

Background: The wMel strain of Wolbachia has been successfully introduced into Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and subsequently shown to reduce transmission of dengue and other pathogens, under both laboratory and field conditions. Here we describe the entomological outcomes of wMel Wolbachia mosquito releases in two small communities in Nha Trang City in central Vietnam. Methods: The wMel strain of Wolbachia was backcrossed into local Aedes aegypti genotype and mosquito releases were undertaken by community members or by staff. Field monitoring was undertaken to track Wolbachia establishment in local Ae. aegypti mosquito populations. Ecological studies were undertaken to assess relationships between environmental factors and the spatial and temporal variability in Wolbachia infection prevalence in mosquitoes. Results: Releases of wMel Wolbachia Ae. aegypti mosquitoes in two small communities in Nha Trang City resulted in the initial establishment of Wolbachia in the local Ae. aegypti mosquito populations, followed by seasonal fluctuations in Wolbachia prevalence. There was significant small-scale spatial heterogeneity in Wolbachia infection prevalence in the Tri Nguyen Village site, resulting in the loss of wMel Wolbachia infection in mosquitoes in north and center areas, despite Wolbachia prevalence remaining high in mosquitoes in the south area. In the second site, Vinh Luong Ward, Wolbachia has persisted at a high level in mosquitoes throughout this site despite similar seasonal fluctuations in wMel Wolbachia prevalence. Conclusion: Seasonal variation in Wolbachia infection prevalence in mosquitoes was associated with elevated temperature conditions, and was possibly due to imperfect maternal transmission of Wolbachia. Heterogeneity in Wolbachia infection prevalence was found throughout one site, and indicates additional factors may influence Wolbachia establishment.

RevDate: 2022-05-23

Cunha A (2021)

Trojan mosquitoes control dengue.

Communications medicine, 1:17 pii:18.

Dengue virus is transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and causes the disease known as dengue. In a trial published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Utarini and colleagues report that release of wolbachia-infected A. aegypti populations in a dengue endemic area reduces the number of symptomatic cases and of hospitalisations.

RevDate: 2022-05-22

Louzada-Flores VN, Kramer L, Brianti E, et al (2022)

Treatment with doxycycline is associated with complete clearance of circulating Wolbachia DNA in Dirofilaria immitis-naturally infected dogs.

Acta tropica pii:S0001-706X(22)00205-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Bacteria of the genus Wolbachia are endosymbionts of parasitic filarial nematodes, including Dirofilaria immitis, and are a target for the treatment of canine heartworm disease. In the present study, 53 naturally-infected dogs were divided in three groups, based on their positivity to D. immitis by antigen and Knott tests, to assess the efficacy of doxycycline treatment to eliminate Wolbachia from circulating blood. At T0, dogs that scored positive to both tests (G1) or to antigen test only (G2) were submitted to doxycycline (10mg/kg BID PO) treatment and 10% Imidacloprid + 2.5% Moxidectin (Advocate®), while those negative to both tests (G3) received only 10% Imidacloprid + 2.5% Moxidectin (Advocate®). All dogs were followed-up for one year, monthly treated with Advocate® and regularly monitored by antigen and Knott tests. During the whole period, all blood samples were screened for Wolbachia-D. immitis DNA load by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR). At T0, 88.2% of the microfilariemic dogs were positive for Wolbachia DNA, while none of the dogs from G2 or G3 were positive. Wolbachia DNA was no longer detectable in dogs from G1 following 1 month of doxycycline treatment and microfilariae were cleared at T2. All dogs from the G1 and G2 were negative for D. immitis antigen at 12 months. Results of this study suggest that successful elimination of microfilariae by doxycycline is associated with complete clearance of Wolbachia DNA in D. immitis-naturally infected dogs.

RevDate: 2022-05-13

Thayanukul P, Lertanantawong B, Sirawaraporn W, et al (2022)

Simple, sensitive, and cost-effective detection of wAlbB Wolbachia in Aedes mosquitoes, using loop mediated isothermal amplification combined with the electrochemical biosensing method.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 16(5):e0009600 pii:PNTD-D-21-00900 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia is an endosymbiont bacterium generally found in about 40% of insects, including mosquitoes, but it is absent in Aedes aegypti which is an important vector of several arboviral diseasesdengue, chikungunya, zika, and yellow fever. The evidence that Wolbachia trans-infected Ae. aegypti mosquitoes lost their vectorial competence and became less capable of transmitting arboviruses to human hosts highlights the potential of using Wolbachia-based approaches for prevention and control of arboviral diseases. Recently, release of Wolbachia trans-infected Ae. aegypti has been deployed widely in many countries for the control of mosquito-borne viral diseases. Field surveillance and monitoring of Wolbachia presence in released mosquitoes is important for the success of these control programs. So far, a number of studies have reported the development of loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assays to detect Wolbachia in mosquitoes, but the methods still have some specificity and cost issues.

We describe here the development of a LAMP assay combined with the DNA strand displacement-based electrochemical sensor (BIOSENSOR) method to detect wAlbB Wolbachia in trans-infected Ae. aegypti. Our developed LAMP primers used a low-cost dye detecting system and 4 oligo nucleotide primers which can reduce the cost of analysis while the specificity is comparable to the previous methods. The detection capacity of our LAMP technique was 1.4 nM and the detection limit reduced to 2.2 fM when combined with the BIOSENSOR. Our study demonstrates that a BIOSENSOR can also be applied as a stand-alone method for detecting Wolbachia; and it showed high sensitivity when used with the crude DNA extracts of macerated mosquito samples without DNA purification.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results suggest that both LAMP and BIOSENSOR, either used in combination or stand-alone, are robust and sensitive. The methods have good potential for routine detection of Wolbachia in mosquitoes during field surveillance and monitoring of Wolbachia-based release programs, especially in countries with limited resources.

RevDate: 2022-05-13

Chang A, J Beckham (2022)

Applying Virtual Screening for Discovery of Novel Inhibitors of Wolbachia Endosymbiont of Brugia malayi Enoyl-Acyl Carrier Protein Reductase (FabI).

FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 36 Suppl 1:.

Lymphatic filariasis, more commonly known as elephantiasis, is a tropical parasitic disease caused by nematodes. The parasite infects the lymph nodes, and the disease is endemic in 80 countries, affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide. A potential target for lymphatic filariasis is the enoyl-(acyl-carrier-protein) reductase (FabI) protein of the Wolbachia endosymbiont of Brugia malayi, a filarial nematode. FabI is a significant, and relatively underutilized, drug target due to its essential role in catalyzing the last step of fatty acid elongation in the bacterial fatty acid biosynthesis pathway. The antiparasitic drug diethylcarbamazine is currently used to treat lymphatic filariasis; however, there are no known antibiotics specifically targeting FabI in the Wolbachia endosymbiont of Brugia malayi, necessitating a search for novel inhibitors of this target using virtual screening. Given that there is no published crystal structure of Wolbachia FabI in the Protein Data Bank (PDB), a 3D homology model was created for molecular docking purposes from 3K2E, an enoyl-(acyl-carrier-protein) reductase from Anaplasma phagocytophilum. A pairwise alignment of both sequences resulted in 65% identity match. Using the molecular docking program Genetic Optimization for Ligand Docking (GOLD), which utilizes a genetic algorithm for ranking, several libraries of compounds were virtually screened against the Wolbachia FabI protein and assigned a fitness score of predicted binding affinity based on binding interactions and conformations. Control ligands were GOLD docked first, resulting in a range of scores from 46.09 to 93.24. Tens of thousands of compounds were then screened from libraries including HitFinder9 and Zinc ChemBridge. The top 10% scoring compounds were screened a second time, and the resulting top 10% were saved; ultimately, the top 1% scoring compounds were analyzed. HitFinder9 and Zinc ChemBridge yielded similar results, with top 1% score ranges of 74.45 to 107.63 and 73.63 to 105.16, respectively. Neither library significantly exceeded the other in terms of high scoring compounds. Top chemical compounds from each library can be investigated further for inhibitory activity of Wolbachia FabI in enzyme assays to determine potential viability as novel inhibitors.

RevDate: 2022-05-13

Weyandt N, Aghdam SA, AMV Brown (2022)

Discovery of Early-Branching Wolbachia Reveals Functional Enrichment on Horizontally Transferred Genes.

Frontiers in microbiology, 13:867392.

Wolbachia is a widespread endosymbiont of insects and filarial nematodes that profoundly influences host biology. Wolbachia has also been reported in rhizosphere hosts, where its diversity and function remain poorly characterized. The discovery that plant-parasitic nematodes (PPNs) host Wolbachia strains with unknown roles is of interest evolutionarily, ecologically, and for agriculture as a potential target for developing new biological controls. The goal of this study was to screen communities for PPN endosymbionts and analyze genes and genomic patterns that might indicate their role. Genome assemblies revealed 1 out of 16 sampled sites had nematode communities hosting a Wolbachia strain, designated wTex, that has highly diverged as one of the early supergroup L strains. Genome features, gene repertoires, and absence of known genes for cytoplasmic incompatibility, riboflavin, biotin, and other biosynthetic functions placed wTex between mutualist C + D strains and reproductive parasite A + B strains. Functional terms enriched in group L included protoporphyrinogen IX, thiamine, lysine, fatty acid, and cellular amino acid biosynthesis, while dN/dS analysis suggested the strongest purifying selection on arginine and lysine metabolism, and vitamin B6, heme, and zinc ion binding, suggesting these as candidate roles in PPN Wolbachia. Higher dN/dS pathways between group L, wPni from aphids, wFol from springtails, and wCfeT from cat fleas suggested distinct functional changes characterizing these early Wolbachia host transitions. PPN Wolbachia had several putative horizontally transferred genes, including a lysine biosynthesis operon like that of the mitochondrial symbiont Midichloria, a spirochete-like thiamine synthesis operon shared only with wCfeT, an ATP/ADP carrier important in Rickettsia, and a eukaryote-like gene that may mediate plant systemic acquired resistance through the lysine-to-pipecolic acid system. The Discovery of group L-like variants from global rhizosphere databases suggests diverse PPN Wolbachia strains remain to be discovered. These findings support the hypothesis of plant-specialization as key to shaping early Wolbachia evolution and present new functional hypotheses, demonstrating promise for future genomics-based rhizosphere screens.

RevDate: 2022-05-11

Ugbe FA, Shallangwa GA, Uzairu A, et al (2022)

Theoretical modeling and design of some pyrazolopyrimidine derivatives as Wolbachia inhibitors, targeting lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis.

In silico pharmacology, 10(1):8 pii:123.

Lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis are two common filarial diseases caused by a group of parasitic nematodes called filarial worms, which play host to the bacteria organism Wolbachia. One good treatment approach seeks Wolbachia as drug target. Here, a QSAR study was conducted to investigate the anti-wolbachia activities (pEC50) of 52 pyrazolopyrimidine analogues, while using the built model to predict the pEC50 values of the newly designed analogues. Density Functional Theory was used for the structural optimization, while the model building was based on Genetic Function Algorithm approach. The built QSAR model was validated thus: R2 = 0.8104, R2 adj = 0.7629, Q2 cv = 0.6981, R2 test = 0.7501 and cRp2 = 0.7476. The predicted pEC50 of all newly designed compounds were higher than that of the template (43). The new compounds were; observed to pass the drug-likeness criteria, uniformly distributed to the brain, and found to be non-mutagenic. Also, the new compounds and the reference drug (doxycycline), were docked onto Ovarian Tumor (OTU) deubiquitinase receptor (PDB ID: 6W9O) using iGEMDOCK tool. This protein is known to help Wolbachia subvert host ubiquitin signaling. The resulting binding scores of the newly designed compounds except A5 were higher than that of doxycycline, while the protein-ligand interactions were majorly characterized by Hydrogen-bonding and hydrophobic interaction types. Therefore, the newly designed molecules could be developed as potential drug candidates for the treatment of lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis.

RevDate: 2022-05-10

Fallon AM (2022)

Muramidase, nuclease, or hypothetical protein genes intervene between paired genes encoding DNA packaging terminase and portal proteins in Wolbachia phages and prophages.

Virus genes [Epub ahead of print].

Genomes of the obligate intracellular alpha proteobacterium Wolbachia pipientis often encode prophage-like regions, and in a few cases, purified particles have been recovered. Because the structure of a conserved WO phage genome has been difficult to establish, we examined paired terminase and portal genes in Wolbachia phages and prophages, relative to those encoded by the gene transfer agent RcGTA from the free-living alpha proteobacterium Rhodobacter capsulatus. Terminase and portal proteins from Wolbachia have higher similarity to orthologs encoded by RcGTA than to orthologs encoded by bacteriophage lambda. In lambdoid phages, these proteins play key roles in assembly of mature phage particles, while in less well-studied gene transfer agents, terminase and portal proteins package random fragments of bacterial DNA, which could confound elucidation of WO phage genomes. In WO phages and prophages, terminase genes followed by a short gpW gene may be separated from the downstream portal gene by open-reading frames encoding a GH_25 hydrolase/muramidase, a PD-(D/E)XK nuclease, a hypothetical protein and/or a RelE/ParE toxin-antitoxin module. These aspects of gene organization, coupled with evidence for a low, non-inducible yield of WO phages, and the small size of WO phage particles described in the literature raise the possibility that Wolbachia prophage regions participate in processes that extend beyond conventional bacteriophage lysogeny and lytic replication. These intervening genes, and their possible relation to functions associated with GTAs, may contribute to variability among WO phage genomes recovered from physical particles and impact the ability of WO phages to act as transducing agents.

RevDate: 2022-05-09

Strunov A, Lerch S, Blanckenhorn WU, et al (2022)

Complex effects of environment and Wolbachia infections on the life history of Drosophila melanogaster hosts.

Journal of evolutionary biology [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia bacteria are common endosymbionts of many arthropods found in gonads and various somatic tissues. They manipulate host reproduction to enhance their transmission and confer complex effects on fitness-related traits. Some of these effects can serve to increase the survival and transmission efficiency of Wolbachia in the host population. The Wolbachia-Drosophila melanogaster system represents a powerful model to study the evolutionary dynamics of host-microbe interactions and infections. Over the past decades, there has been a replacement of the ancestral wMelCS Wolbachia variant by the more recent wMel variant in worldwide D. melanogaster populations, but the reasons remain unknown. To investigate how environmental change and genetic variation of the symbiont affect host developmental and adult life-history traits, we compared effects of both Wolbachia variants and uninfected controls in wild-caught D. melanogaster strains at three developmental temperatures. While Wolbachia did not influence any developmental life-history traits, we found that both lifespan and fecundity of host females were increased without apparent fitness trade-offs. Interestingly, wMelCS-infected flies were more fecund than uninfected and wMel-infected flies. By contrast, males infected with wMel died sooner, indicating sex-specific effects of infection that are specific to the Wolbachia variant. Our study uncovered complex temperature-specific effects of Wolbachia infections, which suggests that symbiont-host interactions in nature are strongly dependent on the genotypes of both partners and the thermal environment.

RevDate: 2022-05-09

Gao S, Ren YS, Su CY, et al (2022)

High Levels of Multiple Phage WO Infections and Its Evolutionary Dynamics Associated With Wolbachia-Infected Butterflies.

Frontiers in microbiology, 13:865227.

Wolbachia is a maternally inherited bacterium that is widely distributed among arthropods, in which it manipulates the reproduction of its hosts. Phage WO is the only bacteriophage known to infect Wolbachia, and may provide benefit to its host or arthropods. We screened for the presence of phage WO in Wolbachia-infected butterfly species for the first time, to investigate their diversity and evolutionary dynamics. All Wolbachia-infected butterfly species, including members of the families Hesperiidae, Lycaenidae, Nymphalidae, Papilionidae, and Pieridae, were found to harbor phage WO. Interestingly, 84% of 19 butterfly species, which were infected with a single Wolbachia strain harbored high levels of multiple phage types (ranging from 3 to 17 types), another three species harbored one or two phage types. For Wolbachia strains (ST-41, ST-19, ST-125 and ST-374) shared among various butterfly species, their host insects all harbored multiple phage types, while two Wolbachia strains (ST-297 and ST-wPcau) were found to infect one butterfly species, whose insect hosts harbored a single phage type, suggesting that horizontal transfer of Wolbachia between insects increased the likelihood of exposure to phages, resulting in increased phage genetic diversity. Twelve horizontal transmission events of phage WO were found, which shared common phage WO types among different Wolbachia strains associated with butterflies. Most horizontal transfer events involved different Wolbachia supergroups (A and B). Horizontal acquisition of phage WO might also occur between eukaryotes without Wolbachia transfer. Furthermore, 22 putative recombination events were identified in 13 of 16 butterfly species which harbored multiple phage types. These results showed that horizontal transfer of Wolbachia caused it to be exposed to the phage gene pool, and that horizontal transmission of phage WO, as well as intragenic recombination were important dynamics for phage WO genome evolution, which effectively promoted the high level of phage WO diversity associated with butterflies.

RevDate: 2022-05-08

Fujita R (2021)

[Osugoroshi virus, a male-killer virus].

Uirusu, 71(1):63-70.

In insects, sex ratio bias is sometimes introduced by feminization, parthenogenesis, cytoplasmic incompatibility, or male-killing. Some intracellular bacteria such as Wolbachia or Spiroplasma has been known as male-killing agents. Here I introduce an example of non-bacterial male-killing agent, Osugoroshi virus found in oriental tea tortrix.

RevDate: 2022-05-08

Nascimento da Silva J, Calixto Conceição C, Cristina Ramos de Brito G, et al (2022)

Wolbachia pipientis modulates metabolism and immunity during Aedes fluviatilis oogenesis.

Insect biochemistry and molecular biology pii:S0965-1748(22)00058-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia pipientis is a maternally transmitted bacterium that mostly colonizes arthropods, including the mosquito Aedes fluviatilis, potentially affecting different aspects of host physiology. This intracellular bacterium prefers gonadal tissue cells, interfering with the reproductive cycle of insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and nematodes. Wolbachia's ability to modulate the host's reproduction is related to its success in prevalence and frequency. Infecting oocytes is essential for vertical propagation, ensuring its presence in the germline. The mosquito Ae. fluviatilis is a natural host for this bacterium and therefore represents an excellent experimental model in the effort to understand host-symbiont interactions and the mutual metabolic regulation. The aim of this study was to comparatively describe metabolic changes in naturally Wolbachia-infected and uninfected ovaries of Ae. fluviatilis during the vitellogenic period of oogenesis, thus increasing the knowledge about Wolbachia parasitic/symbiotic mechanisms.

RevDate: 2022-04-30

Reyna-Lara A, Soriano-Paños D, Arias-Castro JH, et al (2022)

A metapopulation approach to identify targets for Wolbachia-based dengue control.

Chaos (Woodbury, N.Y.), 32(4):041105.

Over the last decade, the release of Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti into the natural habitat of this mosquito species has become the most sustainable and long-lasting technique to prevent and control vector-borne diseases, such as dengue, zika, or chikungunya. However, the limited resources to generate such mosquitoes and their effective distribution in large areas dominated by the Aedes aegypti vector represent a challenge for policymakers. Here, we introduce a mathematical framework for the spread of dengue in which competition between wild and Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes, the cross-contagion patterns between humans and vectors, the heterogeneous distribution of the human population in different areas, and the mobility flows between them are combined. Our framework allows us to identify the most effective areas for the release of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes to achieve a large decrease in the global dengue prevalence.

RevDate: 2022-04-30

Wangkeeree J, Suwanchaisri K, Roddee J, et al (2022)

Selective Elimination of Wolbachia from the Leafhopper Yamatotettix flavovittatus Matsumura.

Current microbiology, 79(6):173.

Wolbachia infections affect the reproductive system and various biological traits of the host insect. There is a high frequency of Wolbachia infection in the leafhopper Yamatotettix flavovittatus Matsumura. To investigate the potential roles of Wolbachia in the host, it is important to generate a non-Wolbachia-infected line. The efficacy of antibiotics in eliminating Wolbachia from Y. flavovittatus remains unknown. This leafhopper harbors the mutualistic bacterium Candidatus Sulcia muelleri, which has an important function in the biological traits. The presence of Ca. S. muelleri raises a major concern regarding the use of antibiotics. We selectively eliminated Wolbachia, considering the influence of antibiotics on leafhopper survival and Ca. S. muelleri prevalence. The effect of artificial diets containing different doses of tetracycline and rifampicin on survival was optimized; high dose (0.5 mg/ml) of antibiotics induces a high mortality. A concentration of 0.2 mg/ml was chosen for the subsequent experiments. Antibiotic treatments significantly reduced the Wolbachia infection, and the Wolbachia density in the treated leafhoppers sharply declined. Wolbachia recurred in tetracycline-treated offspring, regardless of antibiotic exposure. However, Wolbachia is unable to be transmitted and restored in rifampicin-treated offspring. The dose and treatment duration had no significant effect on the infection and density of Ca. S. muelleri in the antibiotic-treated offspring. In conclusion, Wolbachia in Y. flavovittatus was stably eliminated using rifampicin, and the Wolbachia-free line was generated at least two generations after treatment. This report provides additional experimental procedures for removing Wolbachia from insects, particularly in host species with the coexistence of Ca. S. muelleri.

RevDate: 2022-04-26

Martín-Park A, Che-Mendoza A, Contreras-Perera Y, et al (2022)

Pilot trial using mass field-releases of sterile males produced with the incompatible and sterile insect techniques as part of integrated Aedes aegypti control in Mexico.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 16(4):e0010324 pii:PNTD-D-21-01308.

BACKGROUND: The combination of Wolbachia-based incompatible insect technique (IIT) and radiation-based sterile insect technique (SIT) can be used for population suppression of Aedes aegypti. Our main objective was to evaluate whether open-field mass-releases of wAlbB-infected Ae. aegypti males, as part of an Integrated Vector Management (IVM) plan led by the Mexican Ministry of Health, could suppress natural populations of Ae. aegypti in urbanized settings in south Mexico.

We implemented a controlled before-and-after quasi-experimental study in two suburban localities of Yucatan (Mexico): San Pedro Chimay (SPC), which received IIT-SIT, and San Antonio Tahdzibichén used as control. Release of wAlbB Ae. aegypti males at SPC extended for 6 months (July-December 2019), covering the period of higher Ae. aegypti abundance. Entomological indicators included egg hatching rates and outdoor/indoor adult females collected at the release and control sites. Approximately 1,270,000 lab-produced wAlbB-infected Ae. aegypti males were released in the 50-ha treatment area (2,000 wAlbB Ae. aegypti males per hectare twice a week in two different release days, totaling 200,000 male mosquitoes per week). The efficacy of IIT-SIT in suppressing indoor female Ae. aegypti density (quantified from a generalized linear mixed model showing a statistically significant reduction in treatment versus control areas) was 90.9% a month after initiation of the suppression phase, 47.7% two months after (when number of released males was reduced in 50% to match local abundance), 61.4% four months after (when initial number of released males was re-established), 88.4% five months after and 89.4% at six months after the initiation of the suppression phase. A proportional, but lower, reduction in outdoor female Ae. aegypti was also quantified (range, 50.0-75.2% suppression).

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our study, the first open-field pilot implementation of Wolbachia IIT-SIT in Mexico and Latin-America, confirms that inundative male releases can significantly reduce natural populations of Ae. aegypti. More importantly, we present successful pilot results of the integration of Wolbachia IIT-SIT within a IVM plan implemented by Ministry of Health personnel.

RevDate: 2022-04-25

Ehrens A, Hoerauf A, MP Hübner (2022)

Current perspective of new anti-Wolbachial and direct-acting macrofilaricidal drugs as treatment strategies for human filariasis.

GMS infectious diseases, 10:Doc02 pii:id000079.

Filarial diseases like lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis belong to the Neglected Tropical Diseases and remain a public health problem in endemic countries. Lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis can lead to stigmatizing pathologies and present a socio-economic burden for affected people and their endemic countries. Current treatment recommendations by the WHO include mass drug administration with ivermectin for the treatment of onchocerciasis and a combination of ivermectin, albendazole and diethylcarbamazine (DEC) for the treatment of lymphatic filariasis in areas that are not co-endemic for onchocerciasis or loiasis. Limitations of these treatment strategies are due to potential severe adverse events in onchocerciasis and loiasis patients following DEC or ivermectin treatment, respectively, the lack of a macrofilaricidal efficacy of those drugs and the risk of drug resistance development. Thus, to achieve the elimination of transmission of onchocerciasis and the elimination of lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem by 2030, the WHO defined in its roadmap that new alternative treatment strategies with macrofilaricidal compounds are required. Within a collaboration of the non-profit organizations Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and partners from academia and industry, several new promising macrofilaricidal drug candidates were identified, which will be discussed in this review.

RevDate: 2022-04-23

Stica CJ, Barrero RA, Murray RZ, et al (2022)

Global Evolutionary History and Dynamics of Dengue Viruses Inferred from Whole Genome Sequences.

Viruses, 14(4): pii:v14040703.

Dengue is an arboviral disease caused by dengue virus (DENV), leading to approximately 25,000 deaths/year and with over 40% of the world's population at risk. Increased international travel and trade, poorly regulated urban expansion, and warming global temperatures have expanded the geographic range and incidence of the virus in recent decades. This study used phylogenetic and selection pressure analyses to investigate trends in DENV evolution, using whole genome coding sequences from publicly available databases alongside newly sequenced isolates collected between 1963-1997 from Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Results revealed very similar phylogenetic relationships when using the envelope gene and the whole genome coding sequences. Although DENV evolution is predominantly driven by negative selection, a number of amino acid sites undergoing positive selection were found across the genome, with the majority located in the envelope and NS5 genes. Some genotypes appear to be diversifying faster than others within each serotype. The results from this research improve our understanding of DENV evolution, with implications for disease control efforts such as Wolbachia-based biocontrol and vaccine design.

RevDate: 2022-04-21

Quek S, Cerdeira L, Jeffries CL, et al (2022)

Wolbachia endosymbionts in two Anopheles species indicates independent acquisitions and lack of prophage elements.

Microbial genomics, 8(4):.

RevDate: 2022-04-20

Tantowijoyo W, Tanamas SK, Nurhayati I, et al (2022)

Aedes aegypti abundance and insecticide resistance profiles in the applying Wolbachia to eliminate dengue trial.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 16(4):e0010284 pii:PNTD-D-21-01174 [Epub ahead of print].

The Applying Wolbachia to Eliminate Dengue (AWED) trial was a parallel cluster randomised trial that demonstrated Wolbachia (wMel) introgression into Ae. aegypti populations reduced dengue incidence. In this predefined substudy, we compared between treatment arms, the relative abundance of Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus before, during and after wMel-introgression. Between March 2015 and March 2020, 60,084 BG trap collections yielded 478,254 Ae. aegypti and 17,623 Ae. albopictus. Between treatment arms there was no measurable difference in Ae. aegypti relative abundance before or after wMel-deployments, with a count ratio of 0.96 (95% CI 0.76, 1.21) and 1.00 (95% CI 0.85, 1.17) respectively. More Ae. aegypti were caught per trap per week in the wMel-intervention arm compared to the control arm during wMel deployments (count ratio 1.23 (95% CI 1.03, 1.46)). Between treatment arms there was no measurable difference in the Ae. albopictus population size before, during or after wMel-deployment (overall count ratio 1.10 (95% CI 0.89, 1.35)). We also compared insecticide resistance phenotypes of Ae. aegypti in the first and second years after wMel-deployments. Ae. aegypti field populations from wMel-treated and untreated arms were similarly resistant to malathion (0.8%), permethrin (1.25%) and cyfluthrin (0.15%) in year 1 and year 2 of the trial. In summary, we found no between-arm differences in the relative abundance of Ae. aegypti or Ae. albopictus prior to or after wMel introgression, and no between-arm difference in Ae. aegypti insecticide resistance phenotypes. These data suggest neither Aedes abundance, nor insecticide resistance, confounded the epidemiological outcomes of the AWED trial.

RevDate: 2022-04-19

Zhou JC, Shang D, Qian Q, et al (2022)

Penetrance during Wolbachia-mediated parthenogenesis of Trichogramma wasps is reduced by continuous oviposition, associated with exhaustion of Wolbachia titers in ovary and offspring eggs.

Pest management science [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Thelytokous Wolbachia-infected Trichogramma wasps are superior to bisexual uninfected wasps regarding biological control programs. However, continuous oviposition weakens the parthenogenesis-inducing (PI) strength of Wolbachia. Whether this reduced PI strength relates to decreases in the titer of Wolbachia in the ovary and offspring eggs of Trichogramma remains unclear. Here, using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and RT-qPCR methods, we investigated how the penetrance of Wolbachia-mediated parthenogenesis, Wolbachia density, and distributions of two Wolbachia-infected Trichogramma species, T. pretiosum (TP) and T. dendrolimi (TD), were influenced by different host access treatments (newly-emerged virgin females [NE], 7-day-old females without access to host eggs [NAH]), and 7-day-old virgin females with access to host eggs [AH]).

RESULTS: Continuous oviposition decreased Wolbachia PI strength and titers in TP and TD. Continuous oviposition in AH decreased Wolbachia titers in abdomen and offspring eggs of TP and TD females, compared with NAH and NE; NAH had a lower thorax Wolbachia titer than NE. The numbers of parasitized host eggs and offspring wasps, and emergence rates of offspring deposited by AH were lower than those of NE and NAH, for either species.

CONCLUSION: Weakened PI strength, driven by continuous oviposition in Trichogramma wasps, is associated with Wolbachia titer exhaustion in ovary and offspring eggs. Wolbachia density is dependent on PI strength in Trichogramma wasps, highlighting the side effects of continuous oviposition regarding thelytokous Wolbachia-infected Trichogramma in biological control programs. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2022-04-18

Darwell CT, Souto-Vilarós D, Michalek J, et al (2022)

Predicting distributions of Wolbachia strains through host ecological contact-Who's manipulating whom?.

Ecology and evolution, 12(4):e8826 pii:ECE38826.

Reproductive isolation in response to divergent selection is often mediated via third-party interactions. Under these conditions, speciation is inextricably linked to ecological context. We present a novel framework for understanding arthropod speciation as mediated by Wolbachia, a microbial endosymbiont capable of causing host cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). We predict that sympatric host sister-species harbor paraphyletic Wolbachia strains that provide CI, while well-defined congeners in ecological contact and recently diverged noninteracting congeners are uninfected due to Wolbachia redundancy. We argue that Wolbachia provides an adaptive advantage when coupled with reduced hybrid fitness, facilitating assortative mating between co-occurring divergent phenotypes-the contact contingency hypothesis. To test this, we applied a predictive algorithm to empirical pollinating fig wasp data, achieving up to 91.60% accuracy. We further postulate that observed temporal decay of Wolbachia incidence results from adaptive host purging-adaptive decay hypothesis-but implementation failed to predict systematic patterns. We then account for post-zygotic offspring mortality during CI mating, modeling fitness clines across developmental resources-the fecundity trade-off hypothesis. This model regularly favored CI despite fecundity losses. We demonstrate that a rules-based algorithm accurately predicts Wolbachia infection status. This has implications among other systems where closely related sympatric species encounter adaptive disadvantage through hybridization.

RevDate: 2022-04-14

Rohkin Shalom S, Weiss B, Lalzar M, et al (2022)

Abundance and Localization of Symbiotic Bacterial Communities in the Fly Parasitoid Spalangia cameroni.

Applied and environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Multicellular eukaryotes often host multiple microbial symbionts that may cooperate or compete for host resources, such as space and nutrients. Here, we studied the abundances and localization of four bacterial symbionts, Rickettsia, Wolbachia, Sodalis, and Arsenophonus, in the parasitic wasp Spalangia cameroni. Using quantitative PCR (qPCR), we measured the symbionts' titers in wasps that harbor different combinations of these symbionts. We found that the titer of each symbiont decreased as the number of symbiont species in the community increased. Symbionts' titers were higher in females than in males. Rickettsia was the most abundant symbiont in all the communities, followed by Sodalis and Wolbachia. The titers of these three symbionts were positively correlated in some of the colonies. Fluorescence in situ hybridization was in line with the qPCR results: Rickettsia, Wolbachia, and Sodalis were observed in high densities in multiple organs, including brain, muscles, gut, Malpighian tubules, fat body, ovaries, and testes, while Arsenophonus was localized to fewer organs and in lower densities. Sodalis and Arsenophonus were observed in ovarian follicle cells but not within oocytes or laid eggs. This study highlights the connection between symbionts' abundance and localization. We discuss the possible connections between our findings to symbiont transmission success. IMPORTANCE Many insects carry intracellular bacterial symbionts (bacteria that reside within the cells of the insect). When multiple symbiont species cohabit in a host, they may compete or cooperate for space, nutrients, and transmission, and the nature of such interactions would be reflected in the abundance of each symbiont species. Given the widespread occurrence of coinfections with maternally transmitted symbionts in insects, it is important to learn more about how they interact, where they are localized, and how these two aspects affect their co-occurrence within individual insects. Here, we studied the abundance and the localization of four symbionts, Rickettsia, Wolbachia, Sodalis, and Arsenophonus, that cohabit the parasitic wasp Spalangia cameroni. We found that symbionts' titers differed between symbiotic communities. These results were corroborated by microscopy, which shows differential localization patterns. We discuss the findings in the contexts of community ecology, possible symbiont-symbiont interactions, and host control mechanisms that may shape the symbiotic community structure.

RevDate: 2022-04-14
CmpDate: 2022-04-14

Hornett EA, Kageyama D, GDD Hurst (2022)

Sex determination systems as the interface between male-killing bacteria and their hosts.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 289(1972):20212781.

Arthropods host a range of sex-ratio-distorting selfish elements, including diverse maternally inherited endosymbionts that solely kill infected males. Male-killing heritable microbes are common, reach high frequency, but until recently have been poorly understood in terms of the host-microbe interaction. Additionally, while male killing should generate strong selection for host resistance, evidence of this has been scant. The interface of the microbe with host sex determination is integral to the understanding of how death is sex limited and how hosts can evolve evasion of male killing. We first review current knowledge of the mechanisms diverse endosymbionts use to induce male-specific death. We then examine recent evidence that these agents do produce intense selection for host nuclear suppressor elements. We argue, from our understanding of male-killing mechanisms, that suppression will commonly involve evolution of the host sex determination pathways and that the host's response to male-killing microbes thus represents an unrecognized driver of the diversity of arthropod sex determination. Further work is required to identify the genes and mechanisms responsible for male-killing suppression, which will both determine the components of sex determination (or other) systems associated with suppressor evolution, and allow insight into the mechanism of male killing itself.

RevDate: 2022-04-13

Yang Q, Chung J, Robinson KL, et al (2022)

Sex-specific distribution and classification of Wolbachia infections and mitochondrial DNA haplogroups in Aedes albopictus from the Indo-Pacific.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 16(4):e0010139 pii:PNTD-D-22-00009 [Epub ahead of print].

The arbovirus vector Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito) is common throughout the Indo-Pacific region, where most global dengue transmission occurs. We analysed population genomic data and tested for cryptic species in 160 Ae. albopictus sampled from 16 locations across this region. We found no evidence of cryptic Ae. albopictus but found multiple intraspecific COI haplotypes partitioned into groups representing three Asian lineages: East Asia, Southeast Asia and Indonesia. Papua New Guinea (PNG), Vanuatu and Christmas Island shared recent coancestry, and Indonesia and Timor-Leste were likely invaded from East Asia. We used a machine learning trained on morphologically sexed samples to classify sexes using multiple genetic features and then characterized the wAlbA and wAlbB Wolbachia infections in 664 other samples. The wAlbA and wAlbB infections as detected by qPCR showed markedly different patterns in the sexes. For females, most populations had a very high double infection incidence, with 67% being the lowest value (from Timor-Leste). For males, the incidence of double infections ranged from 100% (PNG) to 0% (Vanuatu). Only 6 females were infected solely by the wAlbA infection, while rare uninfected mosquitoes were found in both sexes. The wAlbA and wAlbB densities varied significantly among populations. For mosquitoes from Torres Strait and Vietnam, the wAlbB density was similar in single-infected and superinfected (wAlbA and wAlbB) mosquitoes. There was a positive association between wAlbA and wAlbB infection densities in superinfected Ae. albopictus. Our findings provide no evidence of cryptic species of Ae. albopictus in the region and suggest site-specific factors influencing the incidence of Wolbachia infections and their densities. We also demonstrate the usefulness of ddRAD tag depths as sex-specific mosquito markers. The results provide baseline data for the exploitation of Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) in dengue control.

RevDate: 2022-04-13

Tamarozzi F, Rodari P, Salas-Coronas J, et al (2022)

A large case series of travel-related Mansonella perstans (vector-borne filarial nematode): a TropNet study in Europe.

Journal of travel medicine pii:6567953 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Infection with Mansonella perstans is a neglected filariasis, widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa, characterized by an elusive clinical picture; treatment for mansonellosis is not standardized. This retrospective study aimed to describe the clinical features, treatment schemes and evolution, of a large cohort of imported cases of M. perstans infection seen in four European centers for tropical diseases.

METHODS: M. perstans infections, diagnosed by identification of blood microfilariae in migrants, expatriates and travellers, collected between 1994-2018, were retrospectively analysed. Data concerning demographics, clinical history, and laboratory examinations at diagnosis and at follow-up time points, were retrieved.

RESULTS: A total of 392 patients were included in the study. Of the 281 patients for whom information on symptoms could be retrieved, 150 (53.4%) reported symptoms, abdominal pain and itching being the most frequent. Positive serology and eosinophilia were present in 84.4% and 66.1% respectively of those patients for whom these data were available. Concomitant parasitic infections were reported in 23.5% of patients. Treatment, administered to 325 patients (82.9%), was extremely heterogeneous between and within centers; the most commonly used regimen was mebendazole 100 mg twice a day for one month. A total of 256 (65.3%) patients attended a first follow-up, median 3 months (IQR 2-12) after the first visit; 83.1% of patients having received treatment based on mebendazole and/or doxycycline targeting Wolbachia became amicrofilaremic, 41.1%-78.4% of whom within 12 months from single treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Lack of specific symptoms, together with the inconstant positivity of parasitological and antibody-based assays in the infected population, make the clinical suspicion and screening for mansonellosis particularly difficult. Prospective studies evaluating prevalence of infection in migrants from endemic areas, infection-specific morbidity, presence of Wolbachia endosymbionts in M. perstans populations from different geographical areas, and efficacy of treatment regimens are absolutely needed to optimize the clinical management of infection.

RevDate: 2022-04-13

Mejia AJ, Dutra HLC, Jones MJ, et al (2022)

Cross-tissue and generation predictability of relative Wolbachia densities in the mosquito Aedes aegypti.

Parasites & vectors, 15(1):128.

BACKGROUND: The insect endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia is being deployed in field populations of the mosquito Aedes aegypti for biological control. This microbe prevents the replication of human disease-causing viruses inside the vector, including dengue, Zika and chikungunya. Relative Wolbachia densities may in part predict the strength of this 'viral blocking' effect. Additionally, Wolbachia densities may affect the strength of the reproductive manipulations it induces, including cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), maternal inheritance rates or induced fitness effects in the insect host. High rates of CI and maternal inheritance and low rates of fitness effects are also key to the successful spreading of Wolbachia through vector populations and its successful use in biocontrol. The factors that control Wolbachia densities are not completely understood.

METHODS: We used quantitative PCR-based methods to estimate relative density of the Wolbachia wAlbB strain in both the somatic and reproductive tissues of adult male and female mosquitoes, as well as in eggs. Using correlation analyses, we assessed whether densities in one tissue predict those in others within the same individual, but also across generations.

RESULTS: We found little relationship among the relative Wolbachia densities of different tissues in the same host. The results also show that there was very little relationship between Wolbachia densities in parents and those in offspring, both in the same and different tissues. The one exception was with ovary-egg relationships, where there was a strong positive association. Relative Wolbachia densities in reproductive tissues were always greater than those in the somatic tissues. Additionally, the densities were consistent in females over their lifetime regardless of tissue, whereas they were generally higher and more variable in males, particularly in the testes.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that either stochastic processes or local tissue-based physiologies are more likely factors dictating Wolbachia densities in Ae. aegypti individuals, rather than shared embryonic environments or heritable genetic effects of the mosquito genome. These findings have implications for understanding how relative Wolbachia densities may evolve and/or be maintained over the long term in Ae. aegypti.

RevDate: 2022-04-11

Thengchaisri N, Inpankaew T, Arthitwong S, et al (2022)

Molecular prevalence of Dirofilaria immitis and Wolbachia infections in pet and semi-domesticated cats in Bangkok, Thailand.

Veterinary world, 15(2):239-243.

Background and Aim: Although cats are not natural hosts for heartworm infections (Dirofilaria immitis), evidence suggests that feline heartworm disease can be detrimental because of a severe inflammatory response. Recent studies have found that infection with bacteria of the genus Wolbachia is the principal cause of acute inflammatory filaria disease; nonetheless, the prevalence of cats naturally infected with heartworms and Wolbachia remains unclear. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence and current distribution of feline heartworm disease and its association with Wolbachia infection in pet and semi-domesticated cats in Bangkok, Thailand.

Materials and Methods: A total of 260 cats (130 pet cats and 130 semi-domesticated cats) were enrolled in this study. Blood samples were placed into ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid tubes for hematological analysis and DNA extraction. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed to analyze samples for the presence of D. immitis and Wolbachia infections.

Results: The prevalence (95% confidence interval [CI]) of D. immitis infection in pet, semi-domesticated, and all cats were 3.9% (1.3-8.8%), 27.7% (20.2-36.2%), and 19.6% (15.0-25.0%), respectively. The prevalence (95% CI) of Wolbachia infection in pet, semi-domesticated, and all cats were 18.5% (12.2-26.2%), 31.5% (23.7-40.3%), and 25.0% (19.9-30.7%), respectively. The prevalence of D. immitis and Wolbachia infections in semi-domesticated cats was significantly higher than in pet cats (p=0.002 and p=0.022, respectively). There was a significant association between D. immitis and Wolbachia infections (p<0.001). There was also a significant association between D. immitis infection and the presence of eosinophilia (p<0.045).

Conclusion: From the PCR analysis, it can be concluded that semi-domesticated cats were at higher risk for D. immitis infection than pet cats. There was a significant association between positive D. immitis infection and positive Wolbachia infection. Combinations of anthelmintic and antimicrobial therapy should be considered in heartworm-positive cats.

RevDate: 2022-04-06

Mohanty I, Rath A, Pradhan N, et al (2021)

Prevalence and transmission potential of Wolbachia in Aedes albopictus population circulating in endemic coastal districts of Odisha, India.

Journal of vector borne diseases, 58(4):297-305.

Wolbachia, known for its reproductive manipulation capabilities in insects, are being implemented to control dengue and chikungunya. To understand Wolbachia biology and its utility as a bio-control for vector mosquito's populations, we investigated its dissemination pattern in field in collected Ae. albopictus along with its maternal transmission efficacy over generations in regions of endemic dengue (DENV) transmission. Field collected Ae. albopictus were subjected to PCR for Wolbachia screening. Overall mean Wolbachia infection frequency in Ae. albopictus was found out to be 87.3% wherein a trend was observed in the pattern of maternal transmission across generations. χ2 for trend revealed a significant variation between Wolbachia infections and non-infections in Ae. albopictus generations. Linear regression analysis revealed the involvement of a strong negative correlation, implying that overall Wolbachia infection tends to decrease in places with high dengue cases.The reduction in Wolbachia infection frequency may be attributed to several environmental factors with the probability of being the cause for endemicity of dengue in the studied areas.This study reports on the transmission efficacy of naturally occurring Wolbachia in successive generations of Ae. albopictus and its correlation with dengue cases in clusters of Odisha, India. Studying the transmission trend of Wolbachia along with transovarial transmission of DENV might be indicative towards the interplay of Wolbachia infection in presence/absence of DENV.

RevDate: 2022-04-04

Quek S, Cook DAN, Wu Y, et al (2022)

Wolbachia depletion blocks transmission of lymphatic filariasis by preventing chitinase-dependent parasite exsheathment.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(15):e2120003119.

Significance Lymphatic filariasis caused by Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, and Brugia timori affects 51 million people, leading to severe physical and mental disabilities. A mutualistic symbiosis between these filarial nematodes and Wolbachia bacteria has been exploited as a new curative treatment. Epidemiological modeling of anti-Wolbachia treatment assumes that transmission persists due to the lag phase before microfilariae (mf) become removed from circulation. Here, we show that Wolbachia-depleted mf cannot develop within the mosquito vector-a phenotype associated with down-regulation of B. malayi mf-specific chitinase, an enzyme essential for exsheathment. Our findings add to the broad range of host biological processes dependent on Wolbachia and suggest that anti-Wolbachia treatment mediates a more accelerated impact on elimination of lymphatic filariasis than currently predicted.

RevDate: 2022-04-04

Ajendra J, JE Allen (2022)

Neutrophils: Friend or Foe in Filariasis?.

Parasite immunology [Epub ahead of print].

Infection with the filarial nematodes that cause diseases such as lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis represent major public health challenges. With millions of people at risk of infection, new strategies for treatment or prevention are urgently needed. More complete understanding of the host immune system's ability to control and eliminate the infection is an important step towards fighting these debilitating infectious diseases. Neutrophils are innate immune cells that are rapidly recruited to inflamed or infected tissues and while considered primarily anti-microbial, there is increasing recognition of their role in helminth infections. Filarial nematodes present a unique situation, as many species harbour the bacterial endosymbiont, Wolbachia. The unexpected involvement of neutrophils during filarial infections has been revealed both in human diseases and animal studies, with strong evidence for recruitment by Wolbachia. This present review will introduce the different human filarial diseases and discuss neutrophil involvement in both protective immune responses, but also in the exacerbation of pathology. Additionally, we will highlight the contributions of the murine model of filariasis, Litomosoides sigmodontis. While several studies have revealed the importance of neutrophils in these parasite infections, we will also draw attention to many questions that remain to be answered.

RevDate: 2022-04-04

Hussain S, Perveen N, Hussain A, et al (2022)

The Symbiotic Continuum Within Ticks: Opportunities for Disease Control.

Frontiers in microbiology, 13:854803.

Among blood-sucking arthropods, ticks are recognized as being of prime global importance because of their role as vectors of pathogens affecting human and animal health. Ticks carry a variety of pathogenic, commensal, and symbiotic microorganisms. For the latter, studies are available concerning the detection of endosymbionts, but their role in the physiology and ecology of ticks remains largely unexplored. This review paper focuses on tick endosymbionts of the genera Coxiella, Rickettsia, Francisella, Midichloria, and Wolbachia, and their impact on ticks and tick-pathogen interactions that drive disease risk. Tick endosymbionts can affect tick physiology by influencing nutritional adaptation, fitness, and immunity. Further, symbionts may influence disease ecology, as they interact with tick-borne pathogens and can facilitate or compete with pathogen development within the vector tissues. Rickettsial symbionts are frequently found in ticks of the genera of Ixodes, Amblyomma, and Dermacentor with relatively lower occurrence in Rhipicephalus, Haemaphysalis, and Hyalomma ticks, while Coxiella-like endosymbionts (CLEs) were reported infecting almost all tick species tested. Francisella-like endosymbionts (FLEs) have been identified in tick genera such as Dermacentor, Amblyomma, Ornithodoros, Ixodes, and Hyalomma, whereas Wolbachia sp. has been detected in Ixodes, Amblyomma, Hyalomma, and Rhipicephalus tick genera. Notably, CLEs and FLEs are obligate endosymbionts essential for tick survival and development through the life cycle. American dog ticks showed greater motility when infected with Rickettsia, indirectly influencing infection risk, providing evidence of a relationship between tick endosymbionts and tick-vectored pathogens. The widespread occurrence of endosymbionts across the tick phylogeny and evidence of their functional roles in ticks and interference with tick-borne pathogens suggests a significant contribution to tick evolution and/or vector competence. We currently understand relatively little on how these endosymbionts influence tick parasitism, vector capacity, pathogen transmission and colonization, and ultimately on how they influence tick-borne disease dynamics. Filling this knowledge gap represents a major challenge for future research.

RevDate: 2022-04-01

Andreychuk S, L Yakob (2022)

Mathematical modelling to assess the feasibility of Wolbachia in malaria vector biocontrol.

Journal of theoretical biology pii:S0022-5193(22)00108-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Releasing mosquitoes transinfected with the endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia is a novel strategy for interrupting vector-borne pathogen transmission. Following its success in controlling arboviruses spread by Aedes aegypti, this technology is being adapted for anopheline malaria vectors. However, antagonistic interactions between Wolbachia and naturally resident Asaia bacteria in malaria vectors have been demonstrated experimentally, potentially jeopardising Wolbachia biocontrol. We developed the first mathematical model accounting for interspecific competition between endosymbionts to assess the feasibility of this novel strategy for controlling malaria. First, Asaia prevalences among natural mosquito populations were compared with simulations parametrized with rates of Asaia transmission reported from laboratory studies. Discrepancies between projections and natural Asaia prevalences indicated potential overestimation of Asaia transmissibility in artificial laboratory settings. With parametrization that matches natural Asaia prevalence, simulations identified redundancies in Asaia's many infection routes (vertical, sexual and environmental). This resilience was only overcome when Wolbachia conferred very high resistance to environmental infection with Asaia, resulting in Wolbachia fixation and Asaia exclusion. Wolbachia's simulated spread was prevented when its maternal transmission was impeded in coinfected mosquitoes and the pre-control Asaia prevalence was beyond a threshold of 60-75%. This theoretical assessment highlights critical next steps in laboratory experiments to inform this strategy's feasibility.

RevDate: 2022-04-01

Salgueiro J, Nussenbaum AL, Milla FH, et al (2022)

Analysis of the Gut Bacterial Community of Wild Larvae of Anastrepha fraterculus sp. 1: Effect of Host Fruit, Environment, and Prominent Stable Associations of the Genera Wolbachia, Tatumella, and Enterobacter.

Frontiers in microbiology, 13:822990.

The genus Anastrepha (Diptera Tephritidae) includes some of the most important fruit fly pests in the Americas. Here, we studied the gut bacterial community of 3rd instar larvae of Anastrepha fraterculus sp. 1 through Next Generation Sequencing (lllumina) of the V3-V4 hypervariable region within the 16S rRNA gene. Gut bacterial communities were compared between host species (guava and peach), and geographical origins (Concordia and Horco Molle in Argentina) representing distinct ecological scenarios. In addition, we explored the effect of spatial scale by comparing the samples collected from different trees within each geographic origin and host species. We also addressed the effect of fruit size on bacterial diversity. The gut bacterial community was affected both by host species and geographic origin. At smaller spatial scales, the gut bacterial profile differed among trees of the same species and location at least in one host-location combination. There was no effect of fruit size on the larval gut bacteriome. Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) assigned to Wolbachia, Tatumella and Enterobacter were identified in all samples examined, which suggest potential, non-transient symbioses. Better knowledge on the larval gut bacteriome contributes valuable information to develop sustainable control strategies against A. fraterculus targeting key symbionts as the Achilles' heel to control this important fruit fly pest.

RevDate: 2022-03-31

Strunov A, Schmidt K, Kapun M, et al (2022)

Restriction of Wolbachia Bacteria in Early Embryogenesis of Neotropical Drosophila Species via Endoplasmic Reticulum-Mediated Autophagy.

mBio [Epub ahead of print].

Wolbachia are maternally transmitted intracellular bacteria that are not only restricted to the reproductive organs but also found in various somatic tissues of their native hosts. The abundance of the endosymbiont in the soma, usually a dead end for vertically transmitted bacteria, causes a multitude of effects on life history traits of their hosts, which are still not well understood. Thus, deciphering the host-symbiont interactions on a cellular level throughout a host's life cycle is of great importance to understand their homeostatic nature, persistence, and spreading success. Using fluorescent and transmission electron microscopy, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of Wolbachia tropism in soma and germ line of six Drosophila species at the intracellular level during host development. Our data uncovered diagnostic patterns of infections to embryonic primordial germ cells and to particular cells of the soma in three different neotropical Drosophila species that have apparently evolved independently. We further found that restricted patterns of Wolbachia tropism are determined in early embryogenesis via selective autophagy, and their spatially restricted infection patterns are preserved in adult flies. We observed tight interactions of Wolbachia with membranes of the endoplasmic reticulum, which might play a scaffolding role for autophagosome formation and subsequent elimination of the endosymbiont. Finally, by analyzing D. simulans lines transinfected with nonnative Wolbachia, we uncovered that the host genetic background regulates tissue tropism of infection. Our data demonstrate a novel and peculiar mechanism to limit and spatially restrict bacterial infection in the soma during a very early stage of host development. IMPORTANCE All organisms are living in close and intimate interactions with microbes that cause conflicts but also cooperation between both unequal genetic partners due to their different innate interests of primarily enhancing their own fitness. However, stable symbioses often result in homeostatic interaction, named mutualism, by balancing costs and benefits, where both partners profit. Mechanisms that have evolved to balance and stably maintain homeostasis in mutualistic relationships are still quite understudied; one strategy is to "domesticate" potentially beneficial symbionts by actively controlling their replication rate below a critical and, hence, costly threshold, and/or to spatially and temporally restrict their localization in the host organism, which, in the latter case, in its most extreme form, is the formation of a specialized housing organ for the microbe (bacteriome). However, questions remain: how do these mutualistic associations become established in their first place, and what are the mechanisms for symbiont control and restriction in their early stages? Here, we have uncovered an unprecedented symbiont control mechanism in neotropical Drosophila species during early embryogenesis. The fruit fly evolved selective autophagy to restrict and control the proliferation of its intracellular endosymbiont Wolbachia in a defined subset of the stem cells as soon as the host's zygotic genome is activated.

RevDate: 2022-03-30

Li TP, Zhou CY, Wang MK, et al (2022)

Endosymbionts Reduce Microbiome Diversity and Modify Host Metabolism and Fecundity in the Planthopper Sogatella furcifera.

mSystems [Epub ahead of print].

Endosymbionts can strongly affect bacterial microbiota in pests. The white-backed planthopper Sogatella furcifera, a notorious pest in rice, is usually co-infected with Cardinium and Wolbachia, but the effects of these endosymbionts together or individually on the host microbiome and fecundity are unclear. Here, we established three S. furcifera lines (Cardinium and Wolbachia double-infected, Cardinium single-infected, and both-uninfected lines) backcrossed to a common nuclear background and found that single and double infections reduced bacterial diversity and changed bacterial community structure across nymph and adult stages and across adult tissues. The endosymbionts differed in densities between adults and nymphs as well as across adult tissues, with the distribution of Cardinium affected by Wolbachia. Both the single infection and particularly the double infection reduced host fecundity. Lines also differed in levels of metabolites, some of which may influence fecundity (e.g., arginine biosynthesis and nicotinamide metabolism). Cardinium in the single-infected line upregulated metabolic levels, while Wolbachia in the double-infected line appeared to mainly downregulate them. Association analysis pointed to possible connections between various bacteria and differential metabolites. These results reveal that Cardinium by itself and in combination with Wolbachia affect bacterial microbiota and levels of metabolites, with likely effects on host fecundity. Many of the effects of these metabolically limited endosymbionts that are dependent on the hosts may be exerted through manipulation of the microbiome. IMPORTANCE Endosymbionts can profoundly affect the nutrition, immunity, development, and reproduction of insect hosts, but the effects of multiple endosymbiont infections on microbiota and the interaction of these effects with insect host fitness are not well known. By establishing S. furcifera lines with different endosymbiont infection status, we found that Cardinium and the combined Cardinium + Wolbachia infections differentially reduced bacterial diversity as well as changing bacterial community structure and affecting metabolism, which may connect to negative fitness effects of the endosymbionts on their host. These results established the connections between reduced bacterial diversity, decreased fecundity and metabolic responses in S. furcifera.

RevDate: 2022-03-30

Katlav A, Cook JM, M Riegler (2022)

Common endosymbionts affect host fitness and sex allocation via egg size provisioning.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 289(1971):20212582.

It is hard to overemphasize the importance of endosymbionts in arthropod biology, ecology and evolution. Some endosymbionts can complement host metabolic function or provide defence against pathogens; others, such as ubiquitous Wolbachia and Cardinium, have evolved strategies to manipulate host reproduction. A common reproductive manipulation strategy is cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) between differently infected individuals which can result in female mortality or male development of fertilized eggs in haplodiploid hosts. Recently, an additional role of endosymbionts has been recognized in the modification of sex allocation in sexually reproducing haplodiploids. This was theoretically expected due to the maternal inheritance of endosymbionts and natural selection for them to increase infected female production, yet the underlying mechanism remained unknown. Here, we tested whether and how Cardinium and Wolbachia causing different CI types interact to increase female production in a haplodiploid thrips species where sex allocation depends on both maternal condition and egg size provisioning. We found that Cardinium augmented female production by increasing maternal fitness and egg size, thereby boosting fertilization rate and offspring fitness. Wolbachia, in contrast, reduced the beneficial effects of Cardinium. Our results demonstrate different invasion strategies and antagonistic effects of endosymbiotic bacteria on host fitness and evolution of sex allocation.

RevDate: 2022-03-29

Hochstrasser M (2022)

Cytoplasmic incompatibility: A Wolbachia toxin-antidote mechanism comes into view.

Current biology : CB, 32(6):R287-R289.

The Wolbachia cidA and cidB genes promote bacterial endosymbiont inheritance through the host female germline. CidB is now shown to load into maturing sperm nuclei. Following fertilization, it disrupts paternal chromosome condensation, triggering embryonic arrest if not countered by CidA in Wolbachia-infected eggs.

RevDate: 2022-03-29

Bazzocchi C, Genchi M, Lucchetti C, et al (2022)

Transporter gene expression and Wolbachia quantification in adults of Dirofilaria immitis treated in vitro with ivermectin or moxidectin alone or in combination with doxycycline for 12 hours.

Molecular and biochemical parasitology pii:S0166-6851(22)00029-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Due to their marked larvicidal activity, macrocyclic lactones (MLs) are used for the prevention of heartworm disease (Dirofilaria immitis) in dogs. They have also been shown to eliminate adult parasites after long-term administration, with a so-called "slow-kill" effect. In addition, recent studies have established that a combination of doxycycline, which eliminates the endosymbiont Wolbachia, and MLs has superior adulticide effects when compared to MLs alone. It has been hypothesized that the apparent synergism between doxycycline/MLs may be due to interaction with drug efflux transport proteins. The aim of the present study was to evaluate gene expression of several transport proteins in D. immitis adults treated in vitro either with doxycycline alone, ivermectin alone, moxidectin alone, or a combination of ivermectin or moxidectin with doxycycline for 12h. Quantitative PCR analysis showed a sex-dependent response to treatments. In female worms, Dim-pgp-10, Dim-haf-1 and Dim-haf-5 were upregulated compared to controls with doxycycline alone and when combined with ivermectin. Moxidectin did not induce any changes in gene expression. In males, moxidectin administered alone induced a slight increase in Dim-pgp-10, Dim-pgp-11and Di-avr-14, while ivermectin in combination with doxycycline produced significant upregulation of the ML receptor Di-avr-14. These results suggest possible synergism between the two drug classes and different susceptibility of males vs. females to adulticide effects.

RevDate: 2022-03-29

Queffelec J, Postma A, Allison JD, et al (2022)

Remnants of horizontal transfers of Wolbachia genes in a Wolbachia-free woodwasp.

BMC ecology and evolution, 22(1):36.

BACKGROUND: Wolbachia is a bacterial endosymbiont of many arthropod and nematode species. Due to its capacity to alter host biology, Wolbachia plays an important role in arthropod and nematode ecology and evolution. Sirex noctilio is a woodwasp causing economic loss in pine plantations of the Southern Hemisphere. An investigation into the genome of this wasp revealed the presence of Wolbachia sequences. Due to the potential impact of Wolbachia on the populations of this wasp, as well as its potential use as a biological control agent against invasive insects, this discovery warranted investigation.

RESULTS: In this study we first investigated the presence of Wolbachia in S. noctilio and demonstrated that South African populations of the wasp are unlikely to be infected. We then screened the full genome of S. noctilio and found 12 Wolbachia pseudogenes. Most of these genes constitute building blocks of various transposable elements originating from the Wolbachia genome. Finally, we demonstrate that these genes are distributed in all South African populations of the wasp.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results provide evidence that S. noctilio might be compatible with a Wolbachia infection and that the bacteria could potentially be used in the future to regulate invasive populations of the wasp. Understanding the mechanisms that led to a loss of Wolbachia infection in S. noctilio could indicate which host species or host population should be sampled to find a Wolbachia strain that could be used as a biological control against S. noctilio.

RevDate: 2022-03-26

Wendt M, Kulanek D, Varga Z, et al (2022)

Pronounced mito-nuclear discordance and various Wolbachia infections in the water ringlet Erebia pronoe have resulted in a complex phylogeographic structure.

Scientific reports, 12(1):5175.

Several morphological and mitochondrial lineages of the alpine ringlet butterfly species Erebia pronoe have been described, indicating a complex phylogenetic structure. However, the existing data were insufficient and allow neither a reconstruction of the biogeographic history, nor an assessment of the genetic lineages. Therefore, we analysed mitochondrial (COI, NDI) and nuclear (EF1α, RPS5) gene sequences and compared them with sequences from the sister species Erebia melas. Additionally, we combined this information with morphometric data of the male genitalia and the infection patterns with Wolbachia strains, based on a WSP analysis. We obtained a distinct phylogeographic structure within the E. pronoe-melas complex with eight well-distinguishable geographic groups, but also a remarkable mito-nuclear discordance. The mito-nuclear discordance in E. melas and E. pronoe glottis can be explained by different ages of Wolbachia infections with different Wolbachia strains, associated selective sweeps, and hybridisation inhibition. Additionally, we found indications for incipient speciation of E. pronoe glottis in the Pyrenees and a pronounced range dynamic within and among the other high mountain systems of Europe. Our results emphasize the importance of combined approaches in reconstructing biogeographic patterns and evaluating phylogeographic splits.

RevDate: 2022-03-26

Wang H, Xiao Y, Chen X, et al (2022)

Crystal Structures of Wolbachia CidA and CidB Reveal Determinants of Bacteria-induced Cytoplasmic Incompatibility and Rescue.

Nature communications, 13(1):1608.

Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) results when Wolbachia bacteria-infected male insects mate with uninfected females, leading to embryonic lethality. "Rescue" of viability occurs if the female harbors the same Wolbachia strain. CI is caused by linked pairs of Wolbachia genes called CI factors (CifA and CifB). The co-evolution of CifA-CifB pairs may account in part for the incompatibility patterns documented in insects infected with different Wolbachia strains, but the molecular mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we use X-ray crystallography and AlphaFold to analyze the CI factors from Wolbachia strain wMel called CidAwMel and CidBwMel. Substituting CidAwMel interface residues with those from CidAwPip (from strain wPip) enables the mutant protein to bind CidBwPip and rescue CidBwPip-induced yeast growth defects, supporting the importance of CifA-CifB interaction in CI rescue. Sequence divergence in CidAwPip and CidBwPip proteins affects their pairwise interactions, which may help explain the complex incompatibility patterns of mosquitoes infected with different wPip strains.

RevDate: 2022-03-26

Petrone JR, Muñoz-Beristain A, Glusberger PR, et al (2022)

Unamplified, Long-Read Metagenomic Sequencing Approach to Close Endosymbiont Genomes of Low-Biomass Insect Populations.

Microorganisms, 10(3): pii:microorganisms10030513.

With the current advancements in DNA sequencing technology, the limiting factor in long-read metagenomic assemblies is now the quantity and quality of input DNA. Although these requirements can be met through the use of axenic bacterial cultures or large amounts of biological material, insect systems that contain unculturable bacteria or that contain a low amount of available DNA cannot fully utilize the benefits of third-generation sequencing. The citrus greening disease insect vector Diaphorina citri is an example that exhibits both of these limitations. Although endosymbiont genomes have mostly been closed after the short-read sequencing of amplified template DNA, creating de novo long-read genomes from the unamplified DNA of an insect population may benefit communities using bioinformatics to study insect pathosystems. Here all four genomes of the infected D. citri microbiome were sequenced to closure using unamplified template DNA and two long-read sequencing technologies. Avoiding amplification bias and using long reads to assemble the bacterial genomes allowed for the circularization of the Wolbachia endosymbiont of Diaphorina citri for the first time and paralleled the annotation context of all four reference genomes without utilizing a traditional hybrid assembly. The strategies detailed here are suitable for the sequencing of other insect systems for which the input DNA, time, and cost are an issue.

RevDate: 2022-03-26

Allman MJ, Slack AJ, Abello NP, et al (2022)

Trash to Treasure: How Insect Protein and Waste Containers Can Improve the Environmental Footprint of Mosquito Egg Releases.

Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland), 11(3): pii:pathogens11030373.

Release and subsequent establishment of Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti in native mosquito populations has successfully reduced mosquito-borne disease incidence. While this is promising, further development is required to ensure that this method is scalable and sustainable. Egg release is a beneficial technique that requires reduced onsite resources and increases community acceptance; however, its incidental ecological impacts must be considered to ensure sustainability. In this study, we tested a more environmentally friendly mosquito rearing and release approach through the encapsulation of diet and egg mixtures and the subsequent utilization of waste containers to hatch and release mosquitoes. An ecologically friendly diet mix was specifically developed and tested for use in capsules, and we demonstrated that using either cricket or black soldier fly meal as a substitute for beef liver powder had no adverse effects on fitness or Wolbachia density. We further encapsulated both the egg and diet mixes and demonstrated no loss in viability. To address the potential of increased waste generation through disposable mosquito release containers, we tested reusing commonly found waste containers (aluminum and tin cans, PET, and glass bottles) as an alternative, conducting a case study in Kiribati to assess the concept's cultural, political, and economic applicability. Our results showed that mosquito emergence and fitness was maintained with a variety of containers, including when tested in the field, compared to control containers, and that there are opportunities to implement this method in the Pacific Islands in a way that is culturally considerate and cost-effective.

RevDate: 2022-03-24

Kaczmarczyk-Ziemba A, Kucharczyk H, Kucharczyk M, et al (2022)

Integrative Insight into Relationships between Florivorous Thrips Haplothrips leucanthemi and H. niger (Insecta, Thysanoptera).

Insects, 13(3): pii:insects13030279.

Haplothrips niger is recognized as a parthenogenetic form of H. leucanthemi and is also considered to be a pest in clover-seed plantations. On the contrary, some researchers highlight the distinctiveness of H. niger and H. leucanthemi. Taking into account these two points of view, as well as the lack of molecular studies investigating the relationship between the mentioned thrips, we decided to perform analyses of both mitochondrial (COI) and nuclear markers (28S and ITS2) to determine the genetic diversity of H. leucanthemi and H. niger. Additionally, as a part of an integrative approach, we determined and analyzed their microbiota profiles, based on high-throughput 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The results of the molecular analyses revealed high intraspecific diversity of H. leucanthemi and did not support the distinctiveness of H. niger. The identified microbiota profiles were similar in both species and the performed analyses also did not support the distinctiveness of H. niger. Significant differences were, in turn, observed between H. leucanthemi and H. niger larvae. Moreover, two known endosymbiotic bacteria were found in the analyzed microbiota profiles (i.e., Wolbachia and Rickettsia). Nevertheless, these symbionts were not predominantly found in the bacterial communities that are associated with H. niger and thus, its impact on the parthenogenetic mode of its reproduction seems less likely.

RevDate: 2022-03-23

Gu X, Ross PA, Rodriguez-Andres J, et al (2022)

A wMel Wolbachia variant in Aedes aegypti from field-collected Drosophila melanogaster with increased phenotypic stability under heat stress.

Environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Mosquito-borne diseases remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Population replacement strategies involving the wMel strain of Wolbachia are being used widely to control mosquito-borne diseases. However, these strategies may be influenced by temperature because wMel is vulnerable to heat. wMel infections in Drosophila melanogaster are genetically diverse, but few transinfections of wMel variants have been generated in Aedes aegypti. Here, we successfully transferred a wMel variant (termed wMelM) originating from a field-collected D. melanogaster into Ae. aegypti. The new wMelM variant (clade I) is genetically distinct from the original wMel transinfection (clade III), and there are no genomic differences between wMelM in its original and transinfected host. We compared wMelM with wMel in its effects on host fitness, temperature tolerance, Wolbachia density, vector competence, cytoplasmic incompatibility and maternal transmission under heat stress in a controlled background. wMelM showed a higher heat tolerance than wMel, likely due to higher overall densities within the mosquito. Both wMel variants had minimal host fitness costs, complete cytoplasmic incompatibility and maternal transmission, and dengue virus blocking under laboratory conditions. Our results highlight phenotypic differences between Wolbachia variants and wMelM shows potential as an alternative strain in areas with strong seasonal temperature fluctuations.

RevDate: 2022-03-23

Soh LS, G Veera Singham (2022)

Bacterial symbionts influence host susceptibility to fenitrothion and imidacloprid in the obligate hematophagous bed bug, Cimex hemipterus.

Scientific reports, 12(1):4919.

The use of insecticides remains important in managing pest insects. Over the years, many insects manifested physiological and behavioral modifications resulting in reduced efficacy of insecticides targeted against them. Emerging evidence suggests that bacterial symbionts could modulate susceptibility of host insects against insecticides. Here, we explore the influence of host microbiota in affecting the susceptibility of insect host against different insecticides in the blood-sucking bed bug, Cimex hemipterus. Rifampicin antibiotic treatment resulted in increased susceptibility to fenitrothion and imidacloprid, but not against deltamethrin. Meanwhile, the host fitness parameters measured in the present study were not significantly affected by rifampicin treatment, suggesting the role of bacterial symbionts influencing susceptibility against the insecticides. 16S metagenomics sequencing revealed a drastic shift in the composition of several bacterial taxa following rifampicin treatment. The highly abundant Alphaproteobacteria (Wolbachia > 90%) and Gammaproteobacteria (Yersinia > 6%) in control bed bugs were significantly suppressed and replaced by Actinobacteria, Bacilli, and Betaproteobacteria in the rifampicin treated F1 bed bugs, suggesting possibilities of Wolbachia mediating insecticide susceptibility in C. hemipterus. However, no significant changes in the total esterase, GST, and P450 activities were observed following rifampicin treatment, indicating yet unknown bacterial mechanisms explaining the observed phenomena. Re-inoculation of microbial content from control individuals regained the tolerance of rifampicin treated bed bugs to imidacloprid and fenitrothion. This study provides a foundation for a symbiont-mediated mechanism in influencing insecticide susceptibility that was previously unknown to bed bugs.

RevDate: 2022-03-22

Wang GH, Du J, Chu CY, et al (2022)

Symbionts and gene drive: two strategies to combat vector-borne disease.

Trends in genetics : TIG pii:S0168-9525(22)00040-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Mosquitoes bring global health problems by transmitting parasites and viruses such as malaria and dengue. Unfortunately, current insecticide-based control strategies are only moderately effective because of high cost and resistance. Thus, scalable, sustainable, and cost-effective strategies are needed for mosquito-borne disease control. Symbiont-based and genome engineering-based approaches provide new tools that show promise for meeting these criteria, enabling modification or suppression approaches. Symbiotic bacteria like Wolbachia are maternally inherited and manipulate mosquito host reproduction to enhance their vertical transmission. Genome engineering-based gene drive methods, in which mosquitoes are genetically altered to spread drive alleles throughout wild populations, are also proving to be a potentially powerful approach in the laboratory. Here, we review the latest developments in both symbionts and gene drive-based methods. We describe some notable similarities, as well as distinctions and obstacles, relating to these promising technologies.

RevDate: 2022-03-19

Hosseini SH, Manshori-Ghaishghorshagh F, Ramezani M, et al (2022)

Canine microfilaraemia in some regions of Iran.

Parasites & vectors, 15(1):90.

BACKGROUND: Dirofilaria immitis and Dirofilaria repens are vector-borne zoonotic parasites which affect mainly dogs and humans worldwide. In Iran, information about the distribution of those nematodes is scant in several regions. Therefore, we investigated the prevalence of these filarial parasites in stray dogs from five Iranian provinces where no information about these parasites is available.

METHODS: Blood samples were collected from 344 stray dogs in five provinces of Iran (i.e. Mazandaran, Gilan, Esfahan, Qazvin and Loresan). The presence of microfilariae was assessed using direct smear, modified Knott's test, molecular detection of filarial DNA (cox1 gene) and Wolbachia endosymbiont of parasitic nematodes (ftsZ gene) by conventional PCR (cPCR). All of the PCR products were sequenced and phylogenetic analysis was performed.

RESULTS: In total, 75 dogs (21.8%) were found to be positive for D. immitis by cPCR. Infection was detected in all provinces, with the highest prevalence in Gilan province (22/28; 78.6%). Acanthocheilonema reconditum was diagnosed in five dogs (1.4%) from three provinces (i.e. Esfahan, Mazandaran, Gilan). Two dogs were infected with both parasites and three were only infected with A. reconditum. Dirofilaria repens infection was not found in the examined population. Representative sequences of the D. immitis cox1 gene from dogs from the northern provinces (Mazandaran, Gilan, Qazvin) were grouped together and distinctly separate from the ones from western and central provinces (Lorestan and Esfahan), suggesting that different nematode populations are present in the country.

CONCLUSION: The data reported herein fill existing gaps in knowledge about canine filarial infection in two Iranian provinces and record the highest prevalence of D. immitis ever reported in the country (i.e. 78.6%). A geographical review of the literature about Dirofilaria spp. and A. reconditum infections in dogs and humans has also been summarized, indicating that D. immitis and D. repens are distributed in 22 of 31 provinces in Iran, whereas A. reconditum is present in fewer regions. Effective control strategies are advocated for owned dogs, and a national program for the management of stray dogs is needed to minimize the risk of infection in animals and humans.

RevDate: 2022-03-16

Bhattacharya T, Yan L, Crawford JM, et al (2022)

Differential viral RNA methylation contributes to pathogen blocking in Wolbachia-colonized arthropods.

PLoS pathogens, 18(3):e1010393 pii:PPATHOGENS-D-21-02075 [Epub ahead of print].

Arthropod endosymbiont Wolbachia pipientis is part of a global biocontrol strategy to reduce the replication of mosquito-borne RNA viruses such as alphaviruses. We previously demonstrated the importance of a host cytosine methyltransferase, DNMT2, in Drosophila and viral RNA as a cellular target during pathogen-blocking. Here we report a role for DNMT2 in Wolbachia-induced alphavirus inhibition in Aedes species. Expression of DNMT2 in mosquito tissues, including the salivary glands, is elevated upon virus infection. Notably, this is suppressed in Wolbachia-colonized animals, coincident with reduced virus replication and decreased infectivity of progeny virus. Ectopic expression of DNMT2 in cultured Aedes cells is proviral, increasing progeny virus infectivity, and this effect of DNMT2 on virus replication and infectivity is dependent on its methyltransferase activity. Finally, examining the effects of Wolbachia on modifications of viral RNA by LC-MS show a decrease in the amount of 5-methylcytosine modification consistent with the down-regulation of DNMT2 in Wolbachia colonized mosquito cells and animals. Collectively, our findings support the conclusion that disruption of 5-methylcytosine modification of viral RNA is a vital mechanism operative in pathogen blocking. These data also emphasize the essential role of epitranscriptomic modifications in regulating fundamental alphavirus replication and transmission processes.

RevDate: 2022-03-16

Weck BC, Serpa MCA, Ramos VN, et al (2022)

Novel genotypes of Hepatozoon spp. in small mammals, Brazil.

Parasites & vectors, 15(1):87.

BACKGROUND: Small mammals (rodents and marsupials) have been poorly explored for the occurrence of apicomplexan (genus Hepatozoon and genera of the order Piroplasmorida) and Anaplasmataceae agents in Brazil. Thus, this study investigated the occurrence of Hepatozoon spp., Piroplasmorida, and Anaplasmataceae agents in small mammals in seven forest fragments in Brazil.

METHODS: During 2015-2018, small mammals were captured in six forest fragments in the State of São Paulo (Cerrado and Atlantic Forest biomes) and one fragment in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul (Pantanal biome). Mammal blood, liver, spleen, and lung samples were tested molecularly for the presence of DNA of Hepatozoon, Piroplasmorida, and Anaplasmataceae agents.

RESULTS: A total of 524 mammals were captured, comprising seven species of marsupials, 14 rodents, two carnivores, and one Cingulata. Four novel haplotypes (1, 2, 3, 4) of Hepatozoon spp. were detected in small mammals from different biomes. In São Paulo state, haplotype 1 was detected in rodents from Cerrado and a transition area of Cerrado and Atlantic Forest biomes, whereas haplotype 2 was detected in rodents from the Atlantic Forest biome. On the other hand, haplotypes 3 and 4 were restricted to rodents and marsupials, respectively, from the Pantanal biome of Mato Grosso do Sul. No host species shared more than one haplotype. Despite these distinct geographical and host associations, our phylogenetic analyses indicated that the four Hepatozoon haplotypes belonged to the same clade that contained nearly all haplotypes previously reported on rodents and marsupials, in addition to several reptile-associated haplotypes from different parts of the world. No mammal samples yielded detectable DNA of Piroplasmorida agents. On the other hand, the Anaplasmataceae-targeted polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay amplified a sequence 100% identical to the Wolbachia pipientis endosymbiont of the rodent filarid Litomosoides galizai.

CONCLUSIONS: We report a variety of Hepatozoon haplotypes associated with small mammals in three Brazilian biomes: Cerrado, Atlantic Forest, and Pantanal. Through phylogenetic analyses, the Hepatozoon agents grouped in the rodent-marsupial-reptile large clade of Hepatozoon spp. from the world. The detection of a W. pipientis associated with the rodent filarid L. galizai indicates that the rodent was infected by filarial nematodes.

RevDate: 2022-03-14

Ndiaye EHI, Diatta G, Diarra AZ, et al (2022)

Morphological, Molecular and MALDI-TOF MS Identification of Bedbugs and Associated Wolbachia Species in Rural Senegal.

Journal of medical entomology pii:6548314 [Epub ahead of print].

Bed bugs are known to carry several microorganisms. The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of bed bug infestation in two rural areas of Senegal and determine the species present in the population. A screening was conducted to detect some arthropod associated pathogenic bacteria in bed bugs and to evaluate the prevalence of endosymbiont carriage. One survey took place in 17 villages in Niakhar and two surveys in Dielmo and Ndiop and surroundings area in the same 20 villages. Bed bugs collected were identified morphologically and by MALDI-TOF MS tools. Microorganisms screening was performed by qPCR and confirmed by sequencing. During the survey in the Niakhar region, only one household 1/255 (0.4%) in the village of Ngayokhem was found infested by bed bugs. In a monitoring survey of the surroundings of Dielmo and Ndiop area, high prevalence was found during the two rounds of surveys in 65/314 (21%) in 16/20 villages (January-March) and 93/351 (26%) in 19/20 villages (December). All bed bugs were morphologically identified as the species Cimex hemipterus, of which 285/1,637 (17%) were randomly selected for MALDI-TOF MS analysis and bacteria screening. Among the Bacteria tested only Wolbachia (Alphaproteobacteria, Rickettsiales, Rickettsiaceae) DNA was found in 248/276 (90%) of the bedbugs. We briefly describe a high level of non-generalized bed bug infestation in rural Senegal and the diversity of Wolbachia strains carried by C. hemipterus. This study opens perspectives for raising household awareness of bed bug infestations and possibilities for appropriate control.

RevDate: 2022-03-14
CmpDate: 2022-03-14

Doremus MR, Stouthamer CM, Kelly SE, et al (2022)

Quality over quantity: unraveling the contributions to cytoplasmic incompatibility caused by two coinfecting Cardinium symbionts.

Heredity, 128(3):187-195.

Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) is a common form of reproductive sabotage caused by maternally inherited bacterial symbionts of arthropods. CI is a two-step manipulation: first, the symbiont modifies sperm in male hosts which results in the death of fertilized, uninfected embryos. Second, when females are infected with a compatible strain, the symbiont reverses sperm modification in the fertilized egg, allowing offspring of infected females to survive and spread the symbiont to high frequencies in a population. Although CI plays a role in arthropod evolution, the mechanism of CI is unknown for many symbionts. Cardinium hertigii is a common CI-inducing symbiont of arthropods, including parasitoid wasps like Encarsia partenopea. This wasp harbors two Cardinium strains, cEina2 and cEina3, and exhibits strong CI. The strains infect wasps at different densities, with the cEina3 present at a lower density than cEina2, and it was previously not known which strain caused CI. By differentially curing wasps of cEina3, we found that this low-density symbiont is responsible for CI and modifies males during their pupal stage. cEina2 does not modify host reproduction and may spread by 'hitchhiking' with cEina3 CI or by conferring an unknown benefit. The cEina3 strain also shows a unique localization pattern in male reproductive tissues. Instead of infecting sperm like other CI-inducing symbionts, cEina3 cells are found in somatic cells at the testis base and around the seminal vesicle. This may allow the low-density cEina3 to efficiently modify host males and suggests that cEina3 uses a different modification strategy than sperm-infecting CI symbionts.

RevDate: 2022-03-10

Mao B, Zhang W, Zheng Y, et al (2022)

Comparative phosphoproteomics reveal new candidates in the regulation of spermatogenesis of Drosophila melanogaster.

Insect science [Epub ahead of print].

The most common phenotype induced by the endosymbiont Wolbachia in insects is cytoplasmic incompatibility, where none or fewer progenies can be produced when Wolbachia-infected males mate with uninfected females. This suggests that some modifications are induced in host sperms during spermatogenesis by Wolbachia. To identify the proteins whose phosphorylation states play essential roles in male reproduction in Drosophila melanogaster, we applied an isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ)-based proteomic strategy combined with titanium dioxide (TiO2) enrichment to compare the phosphoproteome of Wolbachia-infected with that of uninfected male reproductive systems in D. melanogaster. We identified 182 phosphopeptides, defining 140 phosphoproteins, that have at least a 1.2 fold change in abundance with a P-value < 0.05. Most of the differentially abundant phosphoproteins (DAPPs) were associated with microtubule cytoskeleton organization and spermatid differentiation. The DAPPs included proteins already associated with spermatogenesis, as well as many not previously studied during this process. Six genes coding for DAPPs were knocked down, respectively, in Wolbachia-free fly testes. Among them, Slmap knockdown caused the most severe damage in spermatogenesis, with no mature sperm observed in seminal vesicles. Immunofluorescence staining showed that the formation of individualization complex composed of actin cones was completely disrupted. These results suggest that Wolbachia may induce wide changes in the abundance of phosphorylated proteins which are closely related to male reproduction. By identifying phospho-modulated proteins we also provide a significant candidate set for future studies on their roles in spermatogenesis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2022-03-10

Matthews ML, Covey HO, Drolet BS, et al (2022)

Wolbachia wAlbB inhibits bluetongue and epizootic hemorrhagic fever viruses in Culicoides midge cells.

Medical and veterinary entomology [Epub ahead of print].

Culicoides midges are hematophagous insects that transmit arboviruses of veterinary importance. These viruses include bluetongue virus (BTV) and epizootic hemorrhagic fever virus (EHDV). The endosymbiont Wolbachia pipientis Hertig spreads rapidly through insect host populations and has been demonstrated to inhibit viral pathogen transmission in multiple mosquito vectors. Here, we have demonstrated a replication inhibitory effect on BTV and EHDV in a Wolbachia (wAlbB strain)-infected Culicoides sonorensis Wirth and Jones W8 cell line. Viral replication was significantly reduced by day 5 for BTV and by day 2 for EHDV as detected by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) of the non-structural NS3 gene of both viruses. Evaluation of innate cellular immune responses as a cause of the inhibitory effect showed responses associated with BTV but not with EHDV infection. Wolbachia density also did not play a role in the observed pathogen inhibitory effects, and an alternative hypothesis is suggested. Applications of Wolbachia-mediated pathogen interference to impact disease transmission by Culicoides midges are discussed.

RevDate: 2022-03-10

Klimov PB, Chetverikov PE, Dodueva IE, et al (2022)

Symbiotic bacteria of the gall-inducing mite Fragariocoptes setiger (Eriophyoidea) and phylogenomic resolution of the eriophyoid position among Acari.

Scientific reports, 12(1):3811.

Eriophyoid mites represent a hyperdiverse, phytophagous lineage with an unclear phylogenetic position. These mites have succeeded in colonizing nearly every seed plant species, and this evolutionary success was in part due to the mites' ability to induce galls in plants. A gall is a unique niche that provides the inducer of this modification with vital resources. The exact mechanism of gall formation is still not understood, even as to whether it is endogenic (mites directly cause galls) or exogenic (symbiotic microorganisms are involved). Here we (i) investigate the phylogenetic affinities of eriophyoids and (ii) use comparative metagenomics to test the hypothesis that the endosymbionts of eriophyoid mites are involved in gall formation. Our phylogenomic analysis robustly inferred eriophyoids as closely related to Nematalycidae, a group of deep-soil mites belonging to Endeostigmata. Our comparative metagenomics, fluorescence in situ hybridization, and electron microscopy experiments identified two candidate endosymbiotic bacteria shared across samples, however, it is unlikely that they are gall inducers (morphotype1: novel Wolbachia, morphotype2: possibly Agrobacterium tumefaciens). We also detected an array of plant pathogens associated with galls that may be vectored by the mites, and we determined a mite pathogenic virus (Betabaculovirus) that could be tested for using in biocontrol of agricultural pest mites.

RevDate: 2022-03-08

Adams KL, Abernathy DG, Willett BC, et al (2022)

Author Correction: Wolbachia cifB induces cytoplasmic incompatibility in the malaria mosquito vector.

RevDate: 2022-03-07

Yu S, Wang J, Luo X, et al (2022)

Transmission-Blocking Strategies Against Malaria Parasites During Their Mosquito Stages.

Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 12:820650.

Malaria is still the most widespread parasitic disease and causes the most infections globally. Owing to improvements in sanitary conditions and various intervention measures, including the use of antimalarial drugs, the malaria epidemic in many regions of the world has improved significantly in the past 10 years. However, people living in certain underdeveloped areas are still under threat. Even in some well-controlled areas, the decline in malaria infection rates has stagnated or the rates have rebounded because of the emergence and spread of drug-resistant malaria parasites. Thus, new malaria control methods must be developed. As the spread of the Plasmodium parasite is dependent on the part of its life cycle that occurs in mosquitoes, to eliminate the possibility of malaria infections, transmission-blocking strategies against the mosquito stage should be the first choice. In fact, after the gametocyte enters the mosquito body, it undergoes a series of transformation processes over a short period, thus providing numerous potential blocking targets. Many research groups have carried out studies based on targeting the blocking of transmission during the mosquito phase and have achieved excellent results. Meanwhile, the direct killing of mosquitoes could also significantly reduce the probability of malaria infections. Microorganisms that display complex interactions with Plasmodium, such as Wolbachia and gut flora, have shown observable transmission-blocking potential. These could be used as a biological control strategy and play an important part in blocking the transmission of malaria.

RevDate: 2022-03-05

Bojko J, McCoy KA, A M H Blakeslee (2022)

'Candidatus Mellornella promiscua' n. gen. n. sp. (Alphaproteobacteria: Rickettsiales: Anaplasmataceae): an intracytoplasmic, hepatopancreatic, pathogen of the flatback mud crab, Eurypanopeus depressus.

Journal of invertebrate pathology pii:S0022-2011(22)00022-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Bacterial pathogens are a long-standing threat to the longevity and survival of crustacean hosts. Their presence and continuing emergence require close monitoring to understand their impact on fished, cultured, and wild crustacean populations. We describe a new bacterial pathogen belonging to the Anaplasmataceae family (Alphaproteobacteria: Rickettsiales), providing pathological, ultrastructural, phylogenetic, and genomic evidence to determine a candidate genus and species ('Candidatus Mellornella promiscua'). This bacterium was found to infect the mud crab, Eurypanopeus depressus, on the North Carolina coastline (USA) at a prevalence of 10.8%. 'Candidatus Mellornella promiscua' was often observed in co-infection with the rhizocephalan barnacle, Loxothylacus panopaei. The bacterium was only found in the hepatopancreas of the mud crab host, causing cytoplasmic hypertrophy, tubule necrosis, large plaques within the cytoplasm of the host cell, and an abundance of sex-pili. The circular genome of the bacterium is 1,013,119bp and encodes 939 genes in total. Phylogenetically, the new bacterium branches within the Anaplasmataceae. The genome is dissimilar from other described bacteria, with 16S gene similarity observed at a maximum of 85.3% to a Wolbachia endosymbiont. We explore this novel bacterial pathogen using genomic, phylogenetic, ultrastructural, and pathological methods, discussing these results in light of current bacterial taxonomy, similarity to other bacterial pathogens, and the potential impact upon the surrounding disease ecology of the host and benthic ecosystem.

RevDate: 2022-03-04

Vatandoost H, Hanafi-Bojd AA, Nikpoor F, et al (2022)

Situation of insecticide resistance in malaria vectors in the World Health Organization of Eastern Mediterranean region 1990-2020.

Toxicology research, 11(1):1-21.

Malaria is the most important mosquito-borne disease, which is transmitted by Anopheles species. According to the recent report of World Health Organization, there were an estimated 229 million malaria cases in 2019 in 87 malaria endemic countries. There are several vector control method specially using pesticides. The aim of this study was to collect all the data about insecticide resistant of malaria vectors in the Eastern Mediterranean region countries. In this study, all the published papers related to insecticide resistance of malaria vectors in the region were collected and resistant status of vectors in the countries was mapped. Resistance to different insecticide classes such as pyrethroids, organophosphate, organochlorine and carbamates were evaluated using World Health Organization guidelines. Results showed a wide variety of susceptibility/resistance status to these chemicals according to the location, historical context of pesticide used, genetic background of vectors, age and abdominal conditions of adults may play a role in the susceptibility status of these species to different insecticides. The results of this study is providing a guideline for countries to manage their vector control activities against insecticide resistance of malaria vectors and provide novel approaches such as male sterility, using Wolbachia, using new insecticide with new mode of action.

RevDate: 2022-03-04

Li J, Wei X, Huang D, et al (2021)

The Phylosymbiosis Pattern Between the Fig Wasps of the Same Genus and Their Associated Microbiota.

Frontiers in microbiology, 12:800190.

Microbial communities can be critical for many metazoans, which can lead to the observation of phylosymbiosis with phylogenetically related species sharing similar microbial communities. Most of the previous studies on phylosymbiosis were conducted across the host families or genera. However, it is unclear whether the phylosymbiosis signal is still prevalent at lower taxonomic levels. In this study, 54 individuals from six species of the fig wasp genus Ceratosolen (Hymenoptera: Agaonidae) collected from nine natural populations and their associated microbiota were investigated. The fig wasp species were morphologically identified and further determined by mitochondrial CO1 gene fragments and nuclear ITS2 sequences, and the V4 region of 16S rRNA gene was sequenced to analyze the bacterial communities. The results suggest a significant positive correlation between host genetic characteristics and microbial diversity characteristics, indicating the phylosymbiosis signal between the phylogeny of insect hosts and the associated microbiota in the lower classification level within a genus. Moreover, we found that the endosymbiotic Wolbachia carried by fig wasps led to a decrease in bacterial diversity of host-associated microbial communities. This study contributes to our understanding of the role of host phylogeny, as well as the role of endosymbionts in shaping the host-associated microbial community.


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

short personal version

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

long standard version

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