Local-scale virome depiction in Medellin, Colombia, supports significant differences between Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus
ABSTRACT: 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:<i>Aedes aegypti</i>, the yellow fever mosquito, and <i>Aedes albopictus</i>, the Asian tiger mosquito, are the most significant vectors of dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya viruses globally. Studies examining host factors that control arbovirus transmission demonstrate that insect-specific viruses (ISVs) can modulate mosquitoes' susceptibility to arbovirus infection in both in vivo and in vitro co-infection models. While research is ongoing to implicate individual ISVs as proviral or antiviral factors, we have a limited understanding of the composition and diversity of the <i>Aedes</i> virome. To address this gap, we used a meta-analysis approach to uncover virome diversity by analysing ~3000 available RNA sequencing libraries representing a worldwide geographic range for both mosquitoes. We identified ten novel viruses and previously characterised viruses, including mononegaviruses, orthomyxoviruses, negeviruses, and a novel bi-segmented negev-like group. Phylogenetic analysis suggests close relatedness to mosquito viruses implying likely insect host range except for one arbovirus, the multi-segmented Jingmen tick virus (<i>Flaviviridae</i>) in an Italian colony of <i>Ae. albopictus</i>. Individual mosquito transcriptomes revealed remarkable inter-host variation of ISVs within individuals from the same colony and heterogeneity between different laboratory strains. Additionally, we identified striking virus diversity in <i>Wolbachia</i> infected <i>Aedes</i> cell lines. This study expands our understanding of the virome of these important vectors. It provides a resource for further assessing the ecology, evolution, and interaction of ISVs with their mosquito hosts and the arboviruses they transmit.
Project description:Wolbachia inherited bacteria are able to invade insect populations using cytoplasmic incompatibility and provide new strategies for controlling mosquito-borne tropical diseases, such as dengue. The overreplicating wMelPop strain was recently shown to strongly inhibit the replication of dengue virus when introduced into Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, as well as to stimulate chronic immune up-regulation. Here we show that stable introduction of the wMel strain of Drosophila melanogaster into Aedes albopictus, a vector of dengue and other arboviruses, abolished the transmission capacity of dengue virus-challenged mosquitoes. Immune up-regulation was observed in the transinfected line, but at a much lower level than that previously found for transinfected Ae. aegypti. Transient infection experiments suggest that this difference is related to Ae. albopictus immunotolerance of Wolbachia, rather than to the Wolbachia strain used. This study provides an example of strong pathogen inhibition in a naturally Wolbachia-infected mosquito species, demonstrating that this inhibition is not limited to naturally naïve species, and suggests that the Wolbachia strain is more important than host background for viral inhibition. Complete bidirectional cytoplasmic incompatibility was observed with WT strains infected with the naturally occurring Ae. albopictus Wolbachia, and this provides a mechanism for introducing wMel into natural populations of this species.
Project description:Insect-specific viruses (ISVs) of the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti have been demonstrated to modulate transmission of arboviruses such as dengue virus (DENV) and West Nile virus by the mosquito. The diversity and composition of the virome of A. aegypti, however, remains poorly understood. In this study, we characterized Aedes anphevirus (AeAV), a negative-sense RNA virus from the order Mononegavirales AeAV identified from Aedes cell lines was infectious to both A. aegypti and Aedes albopictus cells but not to three mammalian cell lines. To understand the incidence and genetic diversity of AeAV, we assembled 17 coding-complete and two partial genomes of AeAV from available transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) data. AeAV appears to transmit vertically and be present in laboratory colonies, wild-caught mosquitoes, and cell lines worldwide. Phylogenetic analysis of AeAV strains indicates that as the A. aegypti mosquito has expanded into the Americas and Asia-Pacific, AeAV has evolved into monophyletic African, American, and Asia-Pacific lineages. The endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia pipientis restricts positive-sense RNA viruses in A. aegypti Reanalysis of a small RNA library of A. aegypti cells coinfected with AeAV and Wolbachia produces an abundant RNA interference (RNAi) response consistent with persistent virus replication. We found Wolbachia enhances replication of AeAV compared to a tetracycline-cleared cell line, and AeAV modestly reduces DENV replication in vitro The results from our study improve understanding of the diversity and evolution of the virome of A. aegypti and adds to previous evidence that shows Wolbachia does not restrict a range of negative-strand RNA viruses.IMPORTANCE The mosquito Aedes aegypti transmits a number of arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses), such as dengue virus and Zika virus. Mosquitoes also harbor insect-specific viruses that may affect replication of pathogenic arboviruses in their body. Currently, however, there are only a few insect-specific viruses described from A. aegypti in the literature. Here, we characterize a novel negative-strand virus, AeAV. Meta-analysis of A. aegypti samples showed that it is present in A. aegypti mosquitoes worldwide and is vertically transmitted. Wolbachia-transinfected mosquitoes are currently being used in biocontrol, as they effectively block transmission of several positive-sense RNA viruses in mosquitoes. Our results demonstrate that Wolbachia enhances the replication of AeAV and modestly reduces dengue virus replication in a cell line model. This study expands our understanding of the virome in A. aegypti as well as providing insight into the complexity of the Wolbachia virus restriction phenotype.
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: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: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:The wMel strain of Wolbachia can reduce the permissiveness of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to disseminated arboviral infections. Here, we report that wMel-infected Ae. aegypti (Ho Chi Minh City background), when directly blood-fed on 141 viremic dengue patients, have lower dengue virus (DENV) transmission potential and have a longer extrinsic incubation period than their wild-type counterparts. The wMel-infected mosquitoes that are field-reared have even greater relative resistance to DENV infection when fed on patient-derived viremic blood meals. This is explained by an increased susceptibility of field-reared wild-type mosquitoes to infection than laboratory-reared counterparts. Collectively, these field- and clinically relevant findings support the continued careful field-testing of wMel introgression for the biocontrol of Ae. aegypti-born arboviruses.
Project description:Wolbachia, an intracellular endosymbiont present in up to 70% of all insect species, has been suggested as a sustainable strategy for the control of arboviruses such as Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya. As Mayaro virus outbreaks have also been reported in Latin American countries, the objective of this study was to evaluate the vector competence of Brazilian field-collected Ae. aegypti and the impact of Wolbachia (wMel strain) upon this virus. Our in vitro studies with Aag2 cells showed that Mayaro virus can rapidly multiply, whereas in wMel-infected Aag2 cells, viral growth was significantly impaired. In addition, C6/36 cells seem to have alterations when infected by Mayaro virus. In vivo experiments showed that field-collected Ae. aegypti mosquitoes are highly permissive to Mayaro virus infection, and high viral prevalence was observed in the saliva. On the other hand, Wolbachia-harboring mosquitoes showed significantly impaired capability to transmit Mayaro virus. Our results suggest that the use of Wolbachia-harboring mosquitoes may represent an effective mechanism for the reduction of Mayaro virus transmission throughout Latin America.
Project description:In recent decades, the occurrence and distribution of arboviral diseases transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes has increased. In a new control strategy, populations of mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia are being released to replace existing populations and suppress arboviral disease transmission. The success of this strategy can be affected by high temperature exposure, but the impact of low temperatures on Wolbachia-infected Ae. aegypti is unclear, even though low temperatures restrict the abundance and distribution of this species. In this study, we considered low temperature cycles relevant to the spring season that are close to the distribution limits of Ae. aegypti, and tested the effects of these temperature cycles on Ae. aegypti, Wolbachia strains wMel and wAlbB, and Wolbachia phage WO. Low temperatures influenced Ae. aegypti life-history traits, including pupation, adult eclosion, and fertility. The Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes, especially wAlbB, performed better than uninfected mosquitoes. Temperature shift experiments revealed that low temperature effects on life history and Wolbachia density depended on the life stage of exposure. Wolbachia density was suppressed at low temperatures but densities recovered with adult age. In wMel Wolbachia there were no low temperature effects specific to Wolbachia phage WO. The findings suggest that Wolbachia-infected Ae. aegypti are not adversely affected by low temperatures, indicating that the Wolbachia replacement strategy is suitable for areas experiencing cool temperatures seasonally.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Dengue virus (DENV) is primarily vectored by the mosquito Aedes aegypti, and is estimated to cause 390 million human infections annually. A novel method for DENV control involves stable transinfection of Ae. aegypti with the common insect endosymbiont Wolbachia, which mediates an antiviral effect. However, the mechanism by which Wolbachia reduces the susceptibility of Ae. aegypti to DENV is not fully understood. In this study we assessed the potential of resident microbiota, which can play important roles in insect physiology and immune responses, to affect Wolbachia-mediated DENV blocking.<h4>Methodology/findings</h4>The microbiome of Ae. aegypti stably infected with Wolbachia strain wMel was compared to that of Ae. aegypti without Wolbachia, using 16s rDNA profiling. Our results indicate that although Wolbachia affected the relative abundance of several genera, the microbiome of both the Wolbachia-infected and uninfected mosquitoes was dominated by Elizabethkingia and unclassified Enterobacteriaceae. To assess the potential of the resident microbiota to affect the Wolbachia-mediated antiviral effect, we used antibiotic treatment before infection with DENV by blood-meal. In spite of a significant shift in the microbiome composition in response to the antibiotics, we detected no effect of antibiotic treatment on DENV infection rates, or on the DENV load of infected mosquitoes.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>Our findings indicate that stable infection with Wolbachia strain wMel produces few effects on the microbiome of laboratory-reared Ae. aegypti. Moreover, our findings suggest that the microbiome can be significantly altered without affecting the fundamental DENV blocking phenotype in these mosquitoes. Since Ae. aegypti are likely to encounter diverse microbiota in the field, this is a particularly important result in the context of using Wolbachia as a method for DENV control.