Environmentally-acquired bacteria are shed within one generation of mosquito colonization


The mosquito microbiota modulates host physiological processes like immunity, reproduction, vector competence, and insecticide resistance. Studies elucidating the dynamics of mosquito-microbe interactions may lead to new tools for mosquito and mosquito-borne disease control. To date, these studies have mainly utilized laboratory-reared mosquitoes that lack the microbial diversity of wild populations. To better understand how mosquito microbiota may vary across different geographic locations and upon laboratory colonization, we characterized the microbiota of F1 progeny of wild-caught adult Anopheles albimanus from four locations in Guatemala using high throughput 16S rRNA gene sequencing. A total of 132 late instar larvae and 135 2-5day old, non-blood-fed virgin adult females were reared under identical conditions, pooled (3 mosquitoes/pool) and processed. Different microbial compositions (p=0.001; F = 9.5) were identified between larvae from mothers that were collected from different locations. However, these differences were not present in the adult stage (p=0.12; F =1.6), indicating that mosquitoes retain a significant portion of their maternal or environmental microbiota throughout immature development but shed them before pupation or adult eclosion. This is the first attempt at characterizing the microbiota of F1 progeny of wild-caught mosquitoes in relation to parental location, and our findings provide evidence that location-specific microbial composition persists for a single generation, but only until the end of the larval stage. This suggests that studies requiring a standardized population of larval mosquitoes with ‘wild’ microbiota could utilize F1 progeny, but those requiring ‘wild’ adult microbiota would be best conducted using field collected material.

In Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Societies of America, Canada and British Columbia
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