Combining the Sterile Insect Technique with Wolbachia-Based Approaches: II--A Safer Approach to Aedes albopictus Population Suppression Programmes, Designed to Minimize the Consequences of Inadvertent Female Release.
ABSTRACT: Due to the absence of a perfect method for mosquito sex separation, the combination of the sterile insect technique and the incompatible insect technique is now being considered as a potentially effective method to control Aedes albopictus. In this present study first we examine the minimum pupal irradiation dose required to induce complete sterility in Wolbachia triple-infected (HC), double-infected (GUA) and uninfected (GT) female Ae. albopictus. The HC line is a candidate for Ae. albopictus population suppression programmes, but due to the risk of population replacement which characterizes this triple infected line, the individuals to be released need to be additionally irradiated. After determining the minimum irradiation dose required for complete female sterility, we test whether sterilization is sufficient to prevent invasion of the triple infection from the HC females into double-infected (GUA) populations. Our results indicate that irradiated Ae. albopictus HC, GUA and GT strain females have decreased fecundity and egg hatch rate when irradiated, inversely proportional to the dose, and the complete sterilization of females can be acquired by pupal irradiation with doses above 28 Gy. PCR-based analysis of F1 and F2 progeny indicate that the irradiated HC females, cannot spread the new Wolbachia wPip strain into a small cage GUA population, released at a 1:5 ratio. Considering the above results, we conclude that irradiation can be used to reduce the risk of population replacement caused by an unintentional release of Wolbachia triple-infected Ae. albopictus HC strain females during male release for population suppression.
Project description:Combination of the sterile insect technique with the incompatible insect technique is considered to be a safe approach to control Aedes albopictus populations in the absence of an accurate and scalable sex separation system or genetic sexing strain. Our previous study has shown that the triple Wolbachia-infected Ae. albopictus strain (wAlbA, wAlbB and wPip) was suitable for mass rearing and females could be completely sterilized as pupae with a radiation dose of at least 28 Gy. However, whether this radiation dose can influence the mating competitiveness of the triple infected males was still unknown. In this study we aimed to evaluate the effects of irradiation on the male mating competitiveness of the triple infected strain under laboratory and semi-field conditions. The results herein indicate that irradiation with a lower, female-sterilizing dose has no negative impact on the longevity of triple infected males while a reduced lifespan was observed in the wild type males (wAlbA and wAlbB) irradiated with a higher male-sterilizing dose, in small cages. At different sterile: fertile release ratios in small cages, triple-infected males induced 39.8, 81.6 and 87.8% sterility in a wild type female population at 1:1, 5:1 and 10:1 release ratios, respectively, relative to a fertile control population. Similarly, irradiated triple infected males induced 31.3, 70.5 and 89.3% sterility at 1:1, 5:1 and 10:1 release ratios, respectively, again relative to the fertile control. Under semi-field conditions at a 5:1 release ratio, relative to wild type males, the mean male mating competitiveness index of 28 Gy irradiated triple-infected males was significantly higher than 35 Gy irradiated wild type males, while triple infected males showed no difference in mean mating competitiveness to either irradiated triple-infected or irradiated wild type males. An unexpected difference was also observed in the relative male mating competitiveness of the triple infected strain after irradiation at 28 Gy dose in small vs large cages, with a higher male mating competitiveness index calculated from results of experiments in the large cages. Based on these results, we consider that the male mating performance of the triple infected strain after irradiation at 28 Gy, a dose required for complete female sterility and the avoidance of population replacement, is approximately equal to that of the wild type males under semi-field conditions. Though field evaluation is required, this suggests that the triple infected strain is suitable for irradiation and release as part of a combined SIT-IIT approach to Ae. albopictus control.
Project description:Successful field trials have been reported as part of the effort to develop the maternally transmitted endosymbiontic bacteria Wolbachia as an intervention agent for controlling mosquito vectors and their transmitted diseases. In order to further improve this novel intervention, artificially transinfected mosquitoes must be optimized to display maximum pathogen blocking, the desired cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) pattern, and the lowest possible fitness cost. Achieving such optimization, however, requires a better understanding of the interactions between the host and various Wolbabachia strains and their combinations. Here, we transferred the Wolbachia wMel strain by embryonic microinjection into Aedes albopictus, resulting in the successful establishment of a transinfected line, HM (wAlbAwAlbBwMel), with a triple-strain infection comprising wMel, wAlbA, and wAlbB. Surprisingly, no CI was induced when the triply infected males were crossed with the wild-type GUA females or with another triply infected HC females carrying wPip, wAlbA, and wAlbB, but specific removal of wAlbA from the HM (wAlbAwAlbBwMel) line resulted in the expression of CI after crosses with lines infected by either one, two, or three strains of Wolbachia. The transinfected line showed perfect maternal transmission of the triple infection, with fluctuating egg hatch rates that improved to normal levels after repeated outcrosses with GUA line. Strain-specific qPCR assays showed that wMel and wAlbB were present at the highest densities in the ovaries and midguts, respectively, of the HM (wAlbAwAlbBwMel) mosquitoes. These finding suggest that introducing a novel strain of Wolbachia into a Wolbachia-infected host may result in complicated interactions between Wolbachia and the host and between the various Wolbachia strains, with competition likely to occur between strains in the same supergroup.
Project description:Artificially-introduced transinfections of the intracellular bacterium Wolbachia pipientis have the potential to reduce the vectorial capacity of mosquito populations for viruses such as dengue and chikungunya. Aedes albopictus has two native strains of Wolbachia, but their replacement with the non-native wMel strain blocks transmission of both viruses. The pattern of cytoplasmic incompatiiblity generated by wMel with wild-types is bidirectional. Novel-plus-native-strain co-infection is predicted to lead to a more efficient population spread capacity; from a bi-directional to a uni-directional cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) model.A novel-plus-native-strain triple-infection in Ae. albopictus (wAlbAwAlbBwMel) was generated. Although triple-infected females were fully reproductively viable with uninfected males, they displayed self-incompatibility. qPCR of specific strains in dissected tissues suggested that this may be due to the displacement of one of the native strains (wAlbA) from the ovaries of triple-infected females. When the triple strain infection was transferred into Aedes aegypti it displayed an unexpectedly low level of transmission fidelity of the three strains in this species.These results suggest that combining Wolbachia strains can lead to co-infection interactions that can affect outcomes of CI and maternal transmission.
Project description:Wolbachia-based vector control strategies have been proposed as a mean to augment the existing measures for controlling dengue vector. Prior to utilizing Wolbachia in novel vector control strategies, it is crucial to understand the Wolbachia-mosquito interactions. Many studies have only focused on the prevalence of Wolbachia in female Aedes albopictus with lack of attention on Wolbachia infection on the male Ae. albopictus which also affects the effective expression of Wolbachia induced- cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). In this study, field surveys were conducted to screen for the infection status of Wolbachia in female and male Ae. albopictus from various habitats including housing areas, islands and seashore.Adult Ae. albopictus (n=104) were collected using human landing catches and hand aspirator. Standard ovitraps were also set in the selected areas for five days and the larvae were identified to species level. All the collected Ae. albopictus were screened for the presence of Wolbachia using multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and gene sequencing of Wolbachia surface protein (wsp) gene.A 100 per cent positivity of Wolbachia infection was observed for individual Ae. albopictus screened. For pooled mosquitoes, 73 of the 76 pools (female) and 83 of the 87 pools (male) were positive with Wolbachia infection. The wsp gene sequence of the Wolbachia strain isolated from individual and pooled mosquitoes showed a 100 per cent homology with Wolbachia sp. of Ae. albopictus isolated from various geographical regions. Phylogenetic analysis based on wsp gene fragments showed that the isolates were clustered into groups A and B, respectively.The results indicated that Wolbachia infection was widespread in Ae. albopictus population both in female and male Ae. albopictus. All the infected females were superinfected with both A and B strains while the infected males showed a combination of superinfection of A and B strains and single infection of B strain.
Project description:Dengue, chikungunya and zika viruses are pathogens with an increasing global impact. In the absence of an approved vaccine or therapy, their management relies on controlling the mosquito vectors. But traditional controls are inadequate, and the range of invasive species such as Aedes albopictus (Asian Tiger Mosquito) is expanding. Genetically modified mosquitoes are being tested, but their use has encountered regulatory barriers and public opposition in some countries. Wolbachia bacteria can cause a form of conditional sterility, which can provide an alternative to genetic modification or irradiation. It is unknown however, whether openly released, artificially infected male Ae. albopictus can competitively mate and sterilize females at a level adequate to suppress a field population. Also, the unintended establishment of Wolbachia at the introduction site could result from horizontal transmission or inadvertent female release. In 2014, an Experimental Use Permit from the United States Environmental Protection Agency approved a pilot field trial in Lexington, Kentucky, USA. Here, we present data showing localized reduction of both egg hatch and adult female numbers. The artificial Wolbachia type was not observed to establish in the field. The results are discussed in relation to the applied use of Wolbachia-infected males as a biopesticide to suppress field populations of Ae. albopictus.
Project description:The mosquitoes Aedes aegypti (L.) and Ae. albopictus Skuse are the major vectors of dengue, Zika, yellow fever, and chikungunya viruses worldwide. Wolbachia, an endosymbiotic bacterium present in many insects, is being utilized in novel vector control strategies to manipulate mosquito life history and vector competence to curb virus transmission. Earlier studies have found that Wolbachia is commonly detected in Ae. albopictus but rarely detected in Ae. aegypti. In this study, we used a two-step PCR assay to detect Wolbachia in wild-collected samples of Ae. aegypti. The PCR products were sequenced to validate amplicons and identify Wolbachia strains. A loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay was developed and used for detecting Wolbachia in selected mosquito specimens as well. We found Wolbachia in 85/148 (57.4%) wild Ae. aegypti specimens from various cities in New Mexico, and in 2/46 (4.3%) from St. Augustine, Florida. Wolbachia was not detected in 94 samples of Ae. aegypti from Deer Park, Harris County, Texas. Wolbachia detected in Ae. aegypti from both New Mexico and Florida was the wAlbB strain of Wolbachia pipientis. A Wolbachia-positive colony of Ae. aegypti was established from pupae collected in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in 2018. The infected females of this strain transmitted Wolbachia to their progeny when crossed with males of Rockefeller strain of Ae. aegypti, which does not carry Wolbachia. In contrast, none of the progeny of Las Cruces males mated to Rockefeller females were infected with Wolbachia.
Project description:Wolbachia-based vector control strategies have been proposed as a means to augment the currently existing measures for controlling dengue and chikungunya vectors. Prior to utilizing Wolbachia as a novel vector control strategy, it is crucial to understand the Wolbachia-mosquito interactions. In this study, field surveys were conducted to screen for the infection status of Wolbachia in field-collected Aedes albopictus The effects of Wolbachia in its native host toward the replication and dissemination of chikungunya virus (CHIKV) was also studied. The prevalence of Wolbachia-infected field-collected Ae. albopictus was estimated to be 98.6% (N = 142) for females and 95.1% (N = 102) for males in the population studied. The Ae. albopictus were naturally infected with both wAlbA and wAlbB strains. We also found that the native Wolbachia has no impact on CHIKV infection and minimal effect on CHIKV dissemination to secondary organs.
Project description:Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) is an invasive mosquito, native to Asia, that has expanded its range worldwide. It is considered to be a public health threat as it is a competent vector of viruses of medical importance, including dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. Despite its medical importance there is almost no information on biologically important traits of Ae. albopictus in Argentina. We studied life cycle traits, demographic parameters and analyzed the competence of this mosquito as a virus vector. In addition, we determined the prevalence of Wolbachia strains in Ae. albopictus as a first approach to investigate the potential role of this bacteria in modulating vector competence for arboviruses. We observed low hatch rates of eggs, which led to a negative growth rate. We found that Ae. albopictus individuals were infected with Wolbachia in the F1 but while standard superinfection with wAlbA and wAlbB types was found in 66.7% of the females, 16.7% of the females and 62.5% of the males were single-infected with the wAlbB strain. Finally, despite high levels of infection and dissemination, particularly for chikungunya virus, Ae. albopictus from subtropical Argentina were found to be relatively inefficient vectors for transmission of both chikungunya and dengue viruses.
Project description:Aedes albopictus has recently been implicated as a major vector in the emergence of dengue and chikungunya in several parts of India, like Orissa, which is gradually gaining endemicity for arboviral diseases. Ae. albopictus is further known to be naturally infected with Wolbachia (maternally inherited bacterium), which causes cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) in mosquitoes leading to sperm-egg incompatibility inducing the death of embryo. Knowledge of genetic diversity of Ae. albopictus, along with revealing the type of Wolbachia infection in Ae. albopictus is important to explore the genetic and biological characteristics of Ae. albopictus, prior to exploring the uses of CI-based vector control strategies. In this study, we assessed the population genetic structure and the pattern of Wolbachia infection in Ae. albopictus mosquitoes of Orissa.Ae. albopictus mosquitoes were collected from 15 districts representing the four physiographical regions of Orissa from 2010-2012, analyzed for genetic variability at seven microsatellite loci and genotyped for Wolbachia strain detection using wsp gene primers. Most microsatellite markers were successfully amplified and were polymorphic, showing moderate genetic structure among all geographic populations (FST?=?0.088). Genetic diversity was high (FST?=?0.168) in Coastal Plains populations when compared with other populations, which was also evident from cluster analyses that showed most Coastal Plains populations consisted of a separate genetic cluster. Genotyping analyses revealed that Wolbachia-infected Ae. albopictus field populations of Orissa were mostly superinfected with wAlbA and wAlbB strains. Wolbachia superinfection was more pronounced in the Coastal Plain populations.High genetic structure and Wolbachia superinfection, observed in the Coastal Plain populations of Orissa suggested it to be genetically and biologically more unique than other populations, and hence could influence their vectorial attributes. Such high genetic diversity observed among Coastal Plains populations could be attributed to multiple introductions of Ae. albopictus in this region.
Project description:The sterile insect technique (SIT) may offer a means to control the transmission of mosquito borne diseases. SIT involves the release of male insects that have been sterilized by exposure to ionizing radiation. We determined the effects of different doses of radiation on the survival and reproductive capacity of local strains of Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus in southern Mexico. The survival of irradiated pupae was invariably greater than 90% and did not differ significantly in either sex for either species. Irradiation had no significant adverse effects on the flight ability (capacity to fly out of a test device) of male mosquitoes, which consistently exceeded 91% in Ae. aegypti and 96% in Ae. albopictus. The average number of eggs laid per female was significantly reduced in Ae. aegypti at doses of 15 and 30 Gy and no eggs were laid by females that had been exposed to 50 Gy. Similarly, in Ae. albopictus, egg production was reduced at doses of 15 and 25 Gy and was eliminated at 35 Gy. In Ae. aegypti, fertility in males was eliminated at 70 Gy and was eliminated at 30 Gy in females, whereas in Ae. albopictus, the fertility of males that mated with untreated females was almost zero (0.1%) in the 50 Gy treatment and female fertility was eliminated at 35 Gy. Irradiation treatments resulted in reduced ovary length and fewer follicles in both species. The adult median survival time of both species was reduced by irradiation in a dose-dependent manner. However, sterilizing doses of 35 Gy and 50 Gy resulted in little reduction in survival times of males of Ae. albopictus and Ae. aegypti, respectively, indicating that these doses should be suitable for future evaluations of SIT-based control of these species. The results of the present study will be applied to studies of male sexual competitiveness and to stepwise evaluations of the sterile insect technique for population suppression of these vectors in Mexico.