WMel limits zika and chikungunya virus infection in a Singapore Wolbachia-introgressed Ae. aegypti strain, wMel-Sg.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Zika (ZIKV) and Chikungunya (CHIKV) viruses are emerging Aedes-borne viruses that are spreading outside their known geographic range and causing wide-scale epidemics. It has been reported that these viruses can be transmitted efficiently by Ae. aegypti. Recent studies have shown that Ae. aegypti when transinfected with certain Wolbachia strains shows a reduced replication and dissemination of dengue (DENV), Chikungunya (CHIKV), and Yellow Fever (YFV) viruses. The aim of this study was to determine whether the wMel strain of Wolbachia introgressed onto a Singapore Ae. aegypti genetic background was able to limit ZIKV and CHIKV infection in the mosquito. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Five to seven-day old mosquitoes either infected or uninfected with wMel Wolbachia were orally infected with a Ugandan strain of ZIKV and several outbreak strains of CHIKV. The midgut and salivary glands of each mosquito were sampled at days 6, 9 and 13 days post infectious blood meal to determine midgut infection and salivary glands dissemination rates, respectively. In general, all wild type Ae. aegypti were found to have high ZIKV and CHIKV infections in their midguts and salivary glands, across all sampling days, compared to Wolbachia infected counterparts. Median viral titre for all viruses in Wolbachia infected mosquitoes were significantly lower across all time points when compared to wild type mosquitoes. Most significantly, all but two and one of the wMel infected mosquitoes had no detectable ZIKV and CHIKV, respectively, in their salivary glands at 14 days post-infectious blood meal. CONCLUSIONS:Our results showed that wMel limits both ZIKV and CHIKV infection when introgressed into a Singapore Ae. aegypti genetic background. These results also strongly suggest that female Aedes aegypti carrying Wolbachia will have a reduced capacity to transmit ZIKV and CHIKV.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Biological control programs involving Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti are currently deployed in different epidemiological settings. New Caledonia (NC) is an ideal location for the implementation and evaluation of such a strategy as the only proven vector for dengue virus (DENV) is Ae. aegypti and dengue outbreaks frequency and severity are increasing. We report the generation of a NC Wolbachia-infected Ae. aegypti strain and the results of experiments to assess the vector competence and fitness of this strain for future implementation as a disease control strategy in Noumea, NC.<h4>Methods/principal findings</h4>The NC Wolbachia strain (NC-wMel) was obtained by backcrossing Australian AUS-wMel females with New Caledonian Wild-Type (NC-WT) males. Blocking of DENV, chikungunya (CHIKV), and Zika (ZIKV) viruses were evaluated via mosquito oral feeding experiments and intrathoracic DENV challenge. Significant reduction in infection rates were observed for NC-wMel Ae. aegypti compared to WT Ae. aegypti. No transmission was observed for NC-wMel Ae. aegypti. Maternal transmission, cytoplasmic incompatibility, fertility, fecundity, wing length, and insecticide resistance were also assessed in laboratory experiments. Ae. aegypti NC-wMel showed complete cytoplasmic incompatibility and a strong maternal transmission. Ae. aegypti NC-wMel fitness seemed to be reduced compared to NC-WT Ae. aegypti and AUS-wMel Ae. aegypti regarding fertility and fecundity. However further experiments are required to assess it accurately.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>Our results demonstrated that the NC-wMel Ae. aegypti strain is a strong inhibitor of DENV, CHIKV, and ZIKV infection and prevents transmission of infectious viral particles in mosquito saliva. Furthermore, our NC-wMel Ae. aegypti strain induces reproductive cytoplasmic incompatibility with minimal apparent fitness costs and high maternal transmission, supporting field-releases in Noumea, NC.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) is causing an explosive outbreak of febrile disease in the Americas. There are no effective antiviral therapies or licensed vaccines for this virus, and mosquito control strategies have not been adequate to contain the virus. A promising candidate for arbovirus control and prevention relies on the introduction of the intracellular bacterium Wolbachia into Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. This primarily has been proposed as a tool to control dengue virus (DENV) transmission; however, evidence suggests Wolbachia infections confer protection for Ae. aegypti against other arboviruses. At present, it is unknown whether or not ZIKV can infect, disseminate, and be transmitted by Wolbachia-infected Ae. aegypti. Using Ae. aegypti infected with the wMel strain of Wolbachia that are being released in Medellin, Colombia, we report that these mosquitoes have reduced vector competence for ZIKV. These results support the use of Wolbachia biocontrol as a multivalent strategy against Ae. aegypti-transmitted viruses.
Project description:BACKGROUND:New approaches to preventing chikungunya virus (CHIKV) are needed because current methods are limited to controlling mosquito populations, and they have not prevented the invasion of this virus into new locales, nor have they been sufficient to control the virus upon arrival. A promising candidate for arbovirus control and prevention relies on the introduction of the intracellular bacterium Wolbachia into Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. This primarily has been proposed as a tool to control dengue virus (DENV) transmission; however, evidence suggests Wolbachia infections confer protection for Ae. aegypti against CHIKV. Although this approach holds much promise for limiting virus transmission, at present our understanding of the ability of CHIKV to infect, disseminate, and be transmitted by wMel-infected Ae. aegypti currently being used at Wolbachia release sites is limited. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Using Ae. aegypti infected with the wMel strain of Wolbachia that are being released in Medellin, Colombia, we report that these mosquitoes have reduced vector competence for CHIKV, even with extremely high viral titers in the bloodmeal. In addition, we examined the dynamics of CHIKV infection over the course of four to seven days post feeding. Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes remained non-infective over the duration of seven days, i.e., no infectious virus was detected in the saliva when exposed to bloodmeals of moderate viremia, but CHIKV-exposed, wild type mosquitoes did have viral loads in the saliva consistent with what has been reported elsewhere. Finally, the presence of wMel infection had no impact on the lifespan of mosquitoes as compared to wild type mosquitoes following CHIKV infection. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:These results could have an impact on vector control strategies in areas where Ae. aegypti are transmitting both DENV and CHIKV; i.e., they argue for further exploration, both in the laboratory and the field, on the feasibility of expanding this technology beyond DENV.
Project description:The bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia is a biocontrol tool that inhibits the ability of the Aedes aegypti mosquito to transmit positive-sense RNA viruses such as dengue and Zika. Growing evidence indicates that when Wolbachia strains wMel or wAlbB are introduced into local mosquito populations, human dengue incidence is reduced. Despite the success of this novel intervention, we still do not fully understand how Wolbachia protects mosquitoes from viral infection. Here, we demonstrate that the Wolbachia strain wPip does not inhibit virus infection in Ae. aegypti. We have leveraged this novel finding, and a panel of Ae. aegypti lines carrying virus-inhibitory (wMel and wAlbB) and non-inhibitory (wPip) strains in a common genetic background, to rigorously test a number of hypotheses about the mechanism of Wolbachia-mediated virus inhibition. We demonstrate that, contrary to previous suggestions, there is no association between a strain's ability to inhibit dengue infection in the mosquito and either its typical density in the midgut or salivary glands, or the degree to which it elevates innate immune response pathways in the mosquito. These findings, and the experimental platform provided by this panel of genetically comparable mosquito lines, clear the way for future investigations to define how Wolbachia prevents Ae. aegypti from transmitting viruses.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Zika virus (ZIKV) and chikungunya virus (CHIKV) are highly pathogenic arthropod-borne viruses that are currently a serious health burden in the Americas, and elsewhere in the world. ZIKV and CHIKV co-circulate in the same geographical regions and are mainly transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. There is a growing number of case reports of ZIKV and CHIKV co-infections in humans, but it is uncertain whether co-infection occurs via single or multiple mosquito bites. Here we investigate the potential of Ae. aegypti mosquitoes to transmit both ZIKV and CHIKV in one bite, and we assess the consequences of co-infection on vector competence.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>First, growth curves indicated that co-infection with CHIKV negatively affects ZIKV production in mammalian, but not in mosquito cells. Next, Ae. aegypti mosquitoes were infected with ZIKV, CHIKV, or co-infected via an infectious blood meal or intrathoracic injections. Infection and transmission rates, as well as viral titers of positive mosquitoes, were determined at 14 days after blood meal or 7 days after injection. Saliva and bodies of (co-)infected mosquitoes were scored concurrently for the presence of ZIKV and/or CHIKV using a dual-colour immunofluorescence assay. The results show that orally exposed Ae. aegypti mosquitoes are highly competent, with transmission rates of up to 73% for ZIKV, 21% for CHIKV, and 12% of mosquitoes transmitting both viruses in one bite. However, simultaneous oral exposure to both viruses did not change infection and transmission rates compared to exposure to a single virus. Intrathoracic injections indicate that the selected strain of Ae. aegypti has a strong salivary gland barrier for CHIKV, but a less profound barrier for ZIKV.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>This study shows that Ae. aegypti can transmit both ZIKV and CHIKV via a single bite. Furthermore, co-infection of ZIKV and CHIKV does not influence the vector competence of Ae. aegypti.
Project description:Deployment of Wolbachia to mitigate dengue (DENV), Zika (ZIKV) and chikungunya (CHIKV) transmission is ongoing in 12 countries. One way to assess the efficacy of Wolbachia releases is to determine invasion rates within the wild population of Aedes aegypti following their release. Herein we evaluated the accuracy, sensitivity and specificity of the Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) in estimating the time post death, ZIKV-, CHIKV-, and Wolbachia-infection in trapped dead female Ae. aegypti mosquitoes over a period of 7 days. Regardless of the infection type, time post-death of mosquitoes was accurately predicted into four categories (fresh, 1 day old, 2-4 days old and 5-7 days old). Overall accuracies of 93.2, 97 and 90.3% were observed when NIRS was used to detect ZIKV, CHIKV and Wolbachia in dead Ae. aegypti female mosquitoes indicating NIRS could be potentially applied as a rapid and cost-effective arbovirus surveillance tool. However, field data is required to demonstrate the full capacity of NIRS for detecting these infections under field conditions.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The Aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for the transmission of several medically important arthropod-borne viruses, including multiple serotypes of dengue virus (DENV-1, -2, -3, and -4). Competition within the mosquito between DENV serotypes can affect viral infection dynamics, modulating the transmission potential of the pathogen. Vector control remains the main method for limiting dengue fever. The insect endosymbiont Wolbachia pipientis is currently being trialed in field releases globally as a means of biological control because it reduces virus replication inside the mosquito. It is not clear how co-infection between DENV serotypes in the same mosquito might alter the pathogen-blocking phenotype elicited by Wolbachia in Ae. aegypti.<h4>Methods</h4>Five- to 7-day-old female Ae. aegypti from two lines, namely, with (wMel) and without Wolbachia infection (WT), were fed virus-laden blood through an artificial membrane with either a mix of DENV-2 and DENV-3 or the same DENV serotypes singly. Mosquitoes were subsequently incubated inside environmental chambers and collected on the following days post-infection: 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, and 13. Midgut, carcass, and salivary glands were collected from each mosquito at each timepoint and individually analyzed to determine the percentage of DENV infection and viral RNA load via RT-qPCR.<h4>Results</h4>We saw that for WT mosquitoes DENV-3 grew to higher viral RNA loads across multiple tissues when co-infected with DENV-2 than when it was in a mono-infection. Additionally, we saw a strong pathogen-blocking phenotype in wMel mosquitoes independent of co-infection status.<h4>Conclusion</h4>In this study, we demonstrated that the wMel mosquito line is capable of blocking DENV serotype co-infection in a systemic way across the mosquito body. Moreover, we showed that for WT mosquitoes, serotype co-infection can affect infection frequency in a tissue- and time-specific manner and that both viruses have the potential of being transmitted simultaneously. Our findings suggest that the long-term efficacy of Wolbachia pathogen blocking is not compromised by arthropod-borne virus co-infection.
Project description:Wolbachia pipientis from Drosophila melanogaster (wMel) is an endosymbiotic bacterium that restricts transmission of human pathogenic flaviviruses and alphaviruses, including dengue, Zika, and chikungunya viruses, when introduced into the mosquito vector Aedes aegypti. To date, wMel-infected Ae. aegypti have been released in field trials in 5 countries to evaluate the effectiveness of this strategy for disease control. Despite the success in establishing wMel-infected mosquitoes in wild populations, and the well-characterized antiviral capabilities of wMel, transinfecting different or additional Wolbachia strains into Ae. aegypti may improve disease impact, and perhaps more importantly, could provide a strategy to account for the possible evolution of resistant arboviruses. Here, we report the successful transinfection of Ae. aegypti with the Wolbachia strains wMelCS (D. melanogaster), wRi (D. simulans) and wPip (Culex quinquefasciatus) and assess the effects on Ae. aegypti fitness, cytoplasmic incompatibility, tissue tropism and pathogen blocking in a laboratory setting. The results demonstrate that wMelCS provides a similar degree of protection against dengue virus as wMel following an infectious blood meal, and significantly reduces viral RNA levels beyond that of wMel following a direct challenge with infectious virus in mosquitoes, with no additional fitness cost to the host. The protection provided by wRi is markedly weaker than that of wMelCS, consistent with previous characterisations of these lines in Drosophila, while wPip was found to substantially reduce the fitness of Ae. aegypti. Thus, we determine wMelCS as a key candidate for further testing in field-relevant fitness tests and viremic blood feeding challenges in a clinical setting to determine if it may represent an alternative Wolbachia strain with more desirable attributes than wMel for future field testing.
Project description:Aedes spp. comprise the primary group of mosquitoes that transmit arboviruses such as dengue, Zika, and chikungunya viruses to humans, and thus these insects pose a significant burden on public health worldwide. Advancements in next-generation sequencing and metagenomics have expanded our knowledge on the richness of RNA viruses harbored by arthropods such as Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus. Increasing evidence suggests that vector competence can be modified by the microbiome (comprising both bacteriome and virome) of mosquitoes present in endemic zones. Using an RNA-seq-based metataxonomic approach, this study determined the virome structure, Wolbachia presence and mitochondrial diversity of field-caught Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus mosquitoes in Medellín, Colombia, a municipality with a high incidence of mosquito-transmitted arboviruses. The two species are sympatric, but their core viromes differed considerably in richness, diversity, and abundance; although the community of viral species identified was large and complex, the viromes were dominated by few virus species. BLAST searches of assembled contigs suggested that at least 17 virus species (16 of which are insect-specific viruses [ISVs]) infect the Ae. aegypti population. Dengue virus 3 was detected in one sample and it was the only pathogenic virus detected. In Ae. albopictus, up to 11 ISVs and one plant virus were detected. Therefore, the virome composition appears to be species-specific. The bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia was identified in all Ae. albopictus samples and in some Ae. aegypti samples collected after 2017. The presence of Wolbachia sp. in Ae. aegypti was not related to significant changes in the richness, diversity, or abundance of this mosquito’s virome, although it was related to an increase in the abundance of Aedes aegypti To virus 2 (Metaviridae). The mitochondrial diversity of these mosquitoes suggested that the Ae. aegypti population underwent a change that started in the second half of 2017, which coincides with the release of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes in Medellín, indicating that the population of wMel-infected mosquitoes released has introduced new alleles into the wild Ae. aegypti population of Medellín. However, additional studies are required on the dispersal speed and intergenerational stability of wMel in Medellín and nearby areas as well as on the introgression of genetic variants in the native mosquito population.
Project description:Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a medically important mosquito-borne virus transmitted to humans by infected Aedes (Stegomyia) species. In 2013?2014, Ae. aegypti transmitted CHIKV to humans in the Caribbean and in 2005?2006, Ae. albopictus transmitted CHIKV on La Réunion Island (Indian Ocean basin). CHIKV LR2006 OPY1 from the La Réunion epidemic was associated with a mutation (E1:A226V) in the viral E1 glycoprotein that enhanced CHIKV transmission by Ae. albopictus. CHIKV R99659 from the Caribbean outbreak did not have the E1:A226V mutation. Here, we analyzed the salivary glands and saliva of Ae. albopictus strains from New Jersey, Florida, Louisiana and La Réunion after infection with each virus to determine their transmission potential. We infected the Ae. albopictus strains with blood meals containing 3?7 × 10? PFU/mL of each virus and analyzed the mosquitoes nine days later to maximize infection of their salivary glands. All four Ae. albopictus strains were highly susceptible to LR2006 OPY1 and R99659 viruses and their CHIKV disseminated infection rates (DIR) were statistically similar (p = 0.3916). The transmission efficiency rate (TER) was significantly lower for R99659 virus compared to LR2006 OPY1 virus in all Ae. albopictus strains and Ae. aegypti (Poza Rica) (p = 0.012) suggesting a salivary gland exit barrier to R99659 virus not seen with LR2006 OPY1 infections. If introduced, LR2006 OPY1 virus poses an increased risk of transmission by both Aedes species in the western hemisphere.