Optimization of irradiation dose to Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus in a sterile insect technique program.
ABSTRACT: 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.
Project description:Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) recently emerged as a global threat to public health through its adaptation to the cosmopolitan mosquito Aedes albopictus Skuse. Aedes albopictus is highly susceptible to the emergent strain of CHIKV, relative to the historical vector of CHIKV, Aedes aegypti (L.). We hypothesized that the high susceptibility of Ae. albopictus to CHIKV may have a cost in terms of longevity and fecundity among infected vs non-infected mosquitoes, relative to Ae. aegypti. We performed a longevity experiment comparing Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus exposed to the emergent strain of CHIKV (LR-2006OPY1). We found a small but significant decrease in longevity of Ae. albopictus, but not Ae. aegypti, in response to exposure to CHIKV. We did not observe significant differences in numbers of eggs laid by either species in response to exposure. Longevity and body titer of infected Ae. albopictus were significantly negatively correlated, such that individuals that lived longer had lower viral body titers when they died. The cost of exposure, while not high, suggests there may be physiological constraints in the evolution of viral infectiousness in its insect vector.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Zika virus (ZIKV) emerged in the Pacific Ocean and subsequently caused a dramatic Pan-American epidemic after its first appearance in the Northeast region of Brazil in 2015. The virus is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. We evaluated the role of temperature and infectious doses of ZIKV in vector competence of Brazilian populations of Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Two Ae. aegypti (Rio de Janeiro and Natal) and two Ae. albopictus (Rio de Janeiro and Manaus) populations were orally challenged with five viral doses (102 to 106 PFU / ml) of a ZIKV strain (Asian genotype) isolated in Northeastern Brazil, and incubated for 14 and 21 days in temperatures mimicking the spring-summer (28°C) and winter-autumn (22°C) mean values in Brazil. Detection of viral particles in the body, head and saliva samples was done by plaque assays in cell culture for determining the infection, dissemination and transmission rates, respectively. Compared with 28°C, at 22°C, transmission rates were significantly lower for both Ae. aegypti populations, and Ae. albopictus were not able to transmit the virus. Ae. albopictus showed low transmission rates even when challenged with the highest viral dose, while both Ae. aegypti populations presented higher of infection, dissemination and transmission rates than Ae. albopictus. Ae. aegypti showed higher transmission efficiency when taking virus doses of 105 and 106 PFU/mL following incubation at 28°C; both Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus were unable to transmit ZIKV with virus doses of 102 and 103 PFU/mL, regardless the incubation temperature. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:The ingested viral dose and incubation temperature were significant predictors of the proportion of mosquito's biting becoming infectious. Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus have the ability to transmit ZIKV when incubated at 28°C. However Brazilian populations of Ae. aegypti exhibit a much higher transmission potential for ZIKV than Ae. albopictus regardless the combination of infection dose and incubation temperature.
Project description:In genetic control programmes, including the sterile insect technique (SIT), it is crucial to release insects of the highest quality with maximum survival. It is likely that male mosquitoes will follow the trend of other insects in SIT programmes and be stored, transported and eventually released under chilled conditions. The aim of our study was to investigate the impact of different chilling temperatures on male Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus survival by exposing them to a range of temperatures for different durations. Ae. aegypti were found to be less sensitive to the impact of chilling, with only 6°C causing a marginal decrease in survival in comparison to non-chilled controls. Conversely, Ae. albopictus displayed a significantly reduced survival at all chilling temperatures even when exposed for a short time. In both species, longer exposure to low temperatures reduced survival. Our results uncovered that Ae. albopictus are more sensitive to chilling, regardless of the temperature, when compared to Ae. aegypti. Such results indicate differences in thermal tolerances between species and the necessity of conducting experiments on a species by species basis when determining temperature limits for any insect destined for release as part of a genetic control programme.
Project description:In the Western Hemisphere, Zika virus is thought to be transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. To determine the extent to which Ae. albopictus mosquitoes from the United States are capable of transmitting Zika virus and the influence of virus dose, virus strain, and mosquito species on vector competence, we evaluated multiple doses of representative Zika virus strains in Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus mosquitoes. Virus preparation (fresh vs. frozen) significantly affected virus infectivity in mosquitoes. We calculated 50% infectious doses to be 6.1-7.5 log 10 PFU/mL; minimum infective dose was 4.2 log 10 PFU/mL. Ae. albopictus mosquitoes were more susceptible to infection than Ae. aegypti mosquitoes, but transmission efficiency was higher for Ae. aegypti mosquitoes, indicating a transmission barrier in Ae. albopictus mosquitoes. Results suggest that, although Zika virus transmission is relatively inefficient overall and dependent on virus strain and mosquito species, Ae. albopictus mosquitoes could become major vectors in the Americas.
Project description:It is assumed that mosquitoes surviving exposure to spatial repellents when attempting to bite a host will not have significant adverse impacts on their downstream biology. Therefore, a critical knowledge gap is understanding the extent to which sublethal exposure to volatile pyrethroids may damage the performance of mosquitoes that survive exposure to vapour-active pyrethroids. To address this, laboratory-reared Aedes aegypti (L.) and Ae. albopictus (Skuse) were exposed to one of three sublethal concentrations of transfluthrin before being offered a blood-meal, after which their survival, fecundity, fertility, and egg-laying behaviour was assessed.Both species expressed reduced skip-oviposition behaviour at all exposures. Both species also suffered a major reduction in viable eggs (50-75% reduction in viable eggs laid). A phenotype where eggs collapsed after laying was observed in Ae. aegypti, and this response increased with exposure concentrations. Dissected females of both species retained 50% or fewer of their eggs, with Ae. albopictus retaining a significant proportion of melanised oocytes following the highest exposure.Our findings suggest that volatile pyrethroids can reduce skip-oviposition, which may improve source reduction outcomes during integrated management. The additional fecundity reduction caused by sublethal exposures to volatile pyrethroids improves our confidence in recommending them for urban vector management. Furthermore, we suggest that volatile pyrethroids should be adapted into delivery methods compatible with mosquito abatement programs.
Project description: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:BACKGROUND:Radiation induced sterility is the basis of the Sterile Insect Technique, by which a target insect pest population is suppressed by releasing artificially reared sterile males of the pest species in overflooding numbers over a target site. In order for the sterile males to be of high biological quality, effective standard irradiation protocols are required. Following studies investigating the effects of mosquito pupae irradiation in water versus in air, there is a need to investigate the oxy-regulatory behavior of mosquito pupae in water to better understand the consequences of irradiation in hypoxic versus normoxic conditions. METHODS:Pupae of Aedes aegypti, Ae. albopictus, and Anopheles arabiensis were submerged in water inside air-tight 2 ml glass vials at a density of 100 pupae/ml and the dissolved oxygen (DO) levels in the water were measured and plotted over time. In addition, male pupae of Ae. aegypti (aged 40-44 h), Ae. albopictus (aged 40-44 h) and An. arabiensis (aged 20-24 h) were irradiated in a gammacell220 at increasing doses in either hypoxic (water with <?0.5% O2 content) or normoxic (in air) conditions. The males were then mated to virgin females and resulting eggs were checked for induced sterility. RESULTS:All three species depleted the water of DO to levels under 0.5% within 30 minutes, with An. arabiensis consuming oxygen the fastest at under 10 minutes. Following irradiation, the protective effect of hypoxia was observed across species and doses (P?<?0.0001), increasing at higher doses. This effect was most pronounced in An. arabiensis. CONCLUSIONS:The consumption of dissolved oxygen by pupae submerged in water was significantly different between species, indicating that their oxy-regulatory capacity seems to have possibly evolved according to their preferred breeding site characteristics. This needs to be considered when sterilizing male mosquitoes at pupal stage in water. Depending on species, their DO consumption rates and their density, irradiation doses needed to achieve full sterility may vary significantly. Further assessments are required to ascertain optimal conditions in terms of ambient atmosphere during pupal irradiation to produce competitive sterile males, and temperature and density dependent effects are expected.
Project description:The production of large numbers of males needed for a sustainable sterile insect technique (SIT) control program requires significant developmental and operational costs. This may constitute a significant economic barrier to the installation of large scale rearing facilities in countries that are undergoing a transition from being largely dependent on insecticide use to be in a position to integrate the SIT against Aedes albopictus. Alternative options available for those countries could be to rely on outsourcing of sterile males from a foreign supplier, or for one centralised facility to produce mosquitoes for several countries, thus increasing the efficiency of the mass-rearing effort. However, demonstration of strain compatibility is a prerequisite for the export of mosquitoes for transborder SIT applications. Here, we compared mating compatibility among Ae. albopictus populations originating from three islands of the South Western Indian Ocean, and assessed both insemination rates and egg fertility in all possible cross-mating combinations. Furthermore, competitiveness between irradiated and non-irradiated males from the three studied strains, and the subsequent effect on female fertility were also examined. Although morphometric analysis of wing shapes suggested phenoptypic differences between Ae. albopictus strains, perfect reproductive compatibility between them was observed. Furthermore, irradiated males from the different islands demonstrated similar levels of competitiveness and induced sterility when confronted with fertile males from any of the other island populations tested. In conclusion, despite the evidence of inter-strain differences based on male wing morphology, collectively, our results provide a new set of expectations for the use of a single candidate strain of mass-reared sterile males for area-wide scale application of SIT against Ae. albopictus populations in different islands across the South Western Indian Ocean. Cross-mating competitiveness tests such as those applied here are necessary to assess the quality of mass reared strains for the trans-border application of sterile male release programs.
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:Zika virus (ZIKV) is a Flavivirus (Flaviviridae) transmitted to humans mainly by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquitoes. Aedes aegypti is the primary epidemic vector of ZIKV and Ae. albopictus, the secondary one. However, the epidemiological role of both Aedes species in Central Africa where Ae. albopictus was recently introduced is poorly characterized. Field-collected strains of Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus from different ecological settings in Central Africa were experimentally infected with a ZIKV strain isolated in West Africa. Mosquitoes were analysed at 14- and 21-days post-exposure. Both Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus were able to transmit ZIKV but with higher overall transmission efficiency for Ae. aegypti (57.9%) compared to Ae. albopictus (41.5%). In addition, disseminated infection and transmission rates for both Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus varied significantly according to the location where they were sampled from. We conclude that both Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus are able to transmit ZIKV and may intervene as active Zika vectors in Central Africa. These findings could contribute to a better understanding of the epidemiological transmission of ZIKV in Central Africa and develop suitable strategy to prevent major ZIKV outbreaks in this region.