Identification and molecular characterization of Wolbachia strains in natural populations of Aedes albopictus in China.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Aedes albopictus is naturally infected with Wolbachia spp., maternally transmitted bacteria that influence the reproduction of hosts. However, little is known regarding the prevalence of infection, multiple infection status, and the relationship between Wolbachia density and dengue outbreaks in different regions. Here, we assessed Wolbachia infection in natural populations of Ae. albopictus in China and compared Wolbachia density between regions with similar climates, without dengue and with either imported or local dengue. RESULTS:To explore the prevalence of Wolbachia infection, Wolbachia DNA was detected in mosquito samples via PCR amplification of the 16S rRNA gene and the surface protein gene wsp. We found that 93.36% of Ae. albopictus in China were positive for Wolbachia. After sequencing gatB, coxA, hcpA, ftsZ, fbpA and wsp genes of Wolbachia strains, we identified a new sequence type (ST) of wAlbB (464/465). Phylogenetic analysis indicated that wAlbA and wAlbB strains formed a cluster with strains from other mosquitoes in a wsp-based maximum likelihood (ML) tree. However, in a ML tree based on multilocus sequence typing (MLST), wAlbB STs (464/465) did not form a cluster with Wolbachia strains from other mosquitoes. To better understand the association between Wolbachia spp. and dengue infection, the prevalence of Wolbachia in Ae. albopictus from different regions (containing local dengue cases, imported dengue cases and no dengue cases) was determined. We found that the prevalence of Wolbachia was lower in regions with only imported dengue cases. CONCLUSIONS:The natural prevalence of Wolbachia infections in China was much lower than in other countries or regions. The phylogenetic relationships among Wolbachia spp. isolated from field-collected Ae. albopictus reflected the presence of dominant and stable strains. However, wAlbB (464/465) and Wolbachia strains did not form a clade with Wolbachia strains from other mosquitoes. Moreover, lower densities of Wolbachia in regions with only imported dengue cases suggest a relationship between fluctuations in Wolbachia density in field-collected Ae. albopictus and the potential for dengue invasion into these regions.
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: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:Wolbachia, a widespread endosymbiont of terrestrial arthropods, can protect its host against viral and parasitic infections, a phenotype called "pathogen blocking". However, in some cases Wolbachia may have no effect or even enhance pathogen infection, depending on the host-Wolbachia-pathogen combination. The tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus is naturally infected by two strains of Wolbachia, wAlbA and wAlbB, and is a competent vector for different arboviruses such as dengue virus (DENV) and chikungunya virus (CHIKV). Interestingly, it was shown in some cases that Ae. albopictus native Wolbachia strains are able to inhibit DENV transmission by limiting viral replication in salivary glands, but no such impact was measured on CHIKV replication in vivo. To better understand the Wolbachia/CHIKV/Ae. albopictus interaction, we generated a cellular model using Ae. albopictus derived C6/36 cells that we infected with the wAlbB strain. Our results indicate that CHIKV infection is negatively impacted at both RNA replication and virus assembly/secretion steps in presence of wAlbB. Using FISH, we observed CHIKV and wAlbB in the same mosquito cells, indicating that the virus is still able to enter the cell in the presence of the bacterium. Further work is needed to decipher molecular pathways involved in Wolbachia-CHIKV interaction at the cellular level, but this cellular model can be a useful tool to study the mechanism behind virus blocking phenotype induced by Wolbachia. More broadly, this put into question the ecological role of Wolbachia symbiont in Ae. albopictus, but also the ability of the CHIKV to counteract Wolbachia's antiviral potential in vivo.
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: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:Introduced transinfections of the inherited bacteria Wolbachia can inhibit transmission of viruses by Aedes mosquitoes, and in Ae. aegypti are now being deployed for dengue control in a number of countries. Only three Wolbachia strains from the large number that exist in nature have to date been introduced and characterized in this species. Here novel Ae. aegypti transinfections were generated using the wAlbA and wAu strains. In its native Ae. albopictus, wAlbA is maintained at lower density than the co-infecting wAlbB, but following transfer to Ae. aegypti the relative strain density was reversed, illustrating the strain-specific nature of Wolbachia-host co-adaptation in determining density. The wAu strain also reached high densities in Ae. aegypti, and provided highly efficient transmission blocking of dengue and Zika viruses. Both wAu and wAlbA were less susceptible than wMel to density reduction/incomplete maternal transmission resulting from elevated larval rearing temperatures. Although wAu does not induce cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), it was stably combined with a CI-inducing strain as a superinfection, and this would facilitate its spread into wild populations. Wolbachia wAu provides a very promising new option for arbovirus control, particularly for deployment in hot tropical climates.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Wolbachia pipientis are bacterial endosymbionts of arthropods currently being implemented as biocontrol agents to reduce the global burden of arboviral diseases. Some strains of Wolbachia, when introduced into Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, reduce or block the replication of RNA viruses pathogenic to humans. The wAlbB strain of Wolbachia was originally isolated from Aedes albopictus, and when transinfected into Ae. aegypti, persists in mosquitoes under high temperature conditions longer than other strains. The utility of wAlbB to block a broad spectrum of RNA viruses has received limited attention. Here we test the ability of wAlbB to reduce or block the replication of a range of Flavivirus and Alphavirus species in cell culture. METHODS:The C6/36 mosquito cell line was stably infected with the wAlbB strain using the shell-vial technique. The replication of dengue, West Nile and three strains of Zika (genus Flavivirus), and Ross River, Barmah Forest and Sindbis (genus Alphavirus) viruses was compared in wAlbB-infected cells with Wolbachia-free controls. Infectious virus titres were determined using either immunofocus or plaque assays. A general linear model was used to test for significant differences in replication between flaviviruses and alphaviruses. RESULTS:Titres of all viruses were significantly reduced in cell cultures infected with wAlbB versus Wolbachia-free controls. The magnitude of reduction in virus yields varied among virus species and, within species, also among the strains utilized. CONCLUSION:Our results suggest that wAlbB infection of arthropods could be used to reduce transmission of a wide range of pathogenic RNA viruses.
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 are a group of maternally inherited intracellular bacteria known to be widespread among arthropods. Infections with Wolbachia cause declines of host populations, and also induce host resistance to a wide range of pathogens. Over the past few decades, researchers were curious to use Wolbachia as a biological tool to control mosquito vectors. During the present study, assessment of the prevalence of Wolbachia infections among wild mosquito populations in Sri Lanka where mosquito-borne diseases are a major health concern, was carried out for the first time. DNA was extracted from the abdomens of mosquitoes, collected from seven provinces, and screened for the presence of Wolbachia by PCR using wsp and groE primers. Group-specific and strain-specific primers were used to classify Wolbachia into the supergroups A and B, and into the strains Mel, AlbA and Pip.A total of 330 individual mosquitoes belonging to 22 species and 7 genera were screened. Eighty-seven mosquitoes (26.36%) belonging to four species (i.e. Aedes albopictus, Culex quinquefasciatus, Armigeres subalbatus and Mansonia uniformis) were positive for Wolbachia infections. Primary vector of the dengue fever, Ae. aegypti was negative for Wolbachia infections while the secondary vector, Ae. albopictus, showed a very high infection rate. The filarial vector C. quinquefasciatus had a relatively high rate of infection. Japanese encephalitis vectors C. gelidus and C. triteaneorynchus, and the Anopheles vectors of malaria were negative for Wolbachia infections. Nine sequences of Wolbachia-positive PCR products were deposited in the GenBank and compared with other available data. Aedes albopictus was infected with both Wolbachia strains A (AlbA) and B (Pip) supergroups. Phylogenetic analysis of the wsp sequences showed two major branches confirming identities obtained from the PCR screening with strain-specific primers.Wolbachia infections were found only among four mosquito species in Sri Lanka: Aedes albopictus, Culex quinquefasciatus, Armigeres subalbatus and Mansonia uniformis. Sequence data showed high haplotype diversity among the Wolbachia strains.
Project description:Wolbachia, an alpha-proteobacterium closely related to Rickettsia, is a maternally transmitted, intracellular symbiont of arthropods and nematodes. Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are naturally infected with Wolbachia strains wAlbA and wAlbB. Cell line Aa23 established from Ae. albopictus embryos retains only wAlbB and is a key model to study host-endosymbiont interactions. We have assembled the complete circular genome of wAlbB from the Aa23 cell line using long-read PacBio sequencing at 500× median coverage. The assembled circular chromosome is 1.48 megabases in size, an increase of more than 300 kb over the published draft wAlbB genome. The annotation of the genome identified 1,205 protein coding genes, 34 tRNA, 3 rRNA, 1 tmRNA, and 3 other ncRNA loci. The long reads enabled sequencing over complex repeat regions which are difficult to resolve with short-read sequencing. Thirteen percent of the genome comprised insertion sequence elements distributed throughout the genome, some of which cause pseudogenization. Prophage WO genes encoding some essential components of phage particle assembly are missing, while the remainder are found in five prophage regions/WO-like islands or scattered around the genome. Orthology analysis identified a core proteome of 535 orthogroups across all completed Wolbachia genomes. The majority of proteins could be annotated using Pfam and eggNOG analyses, including ankyrins and components of the Type IV secretion system. KEGG analysis revealed the absence of five genes in wAlbB which are present in other Wolbachia. The availability of a complete circular chromosome from wAlbB will enable further biochemical, molecular, and genetic analyses on this strain and related Wolbachia.