Zika virus and temperature modulate Elizabethkingia anophelis in Aedes albopictus
Onyango, Maria G. (TTU)
Kramer, Laura D.
Ciota, Alexander T.
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Background: Vector-borne pathogens must survive and replicate in the hostile environment of an insect’s midgut before successful dissemination. Midgut microbiota interfere with pathogen infection by activating the basal immunity of the mosquito and by synthesizing pathogen-inhibitory metabolites. Methods: The goal of this study was to assess the influence of Zika virus (ZIKV) infection and increased temperature on Aedes albopictus midgut microbiota. Aedes albopictus were reared at diurnal temperatures of day 28 °C/night 24 °C (L) or day 30 °C/night 26 °C (M). The mosquitoes were given infectious blood meals with 2.0 × 108 PFU/ml ZIKV, and 16S rRNA sequencing was performed on midguts at 7 days post-infectious blood meal exposure. Results: Our findings demonstrate that Elizabethkingia anophelis albopictus was associated with Ae. albopictus midguts exposed to ZIKV infectious blood meal. We observed a negative correlation between ZIKV and E. anophelis albopictus in the midguts of Ae. albopictus. Supplemental feeding of Ae. albopictus with E. anophelis aegypti and ZIKV resulted in reduced ZIKV infection rates. Reduced viral loads were detected in Vero cells that were sequentially infected with E. anophelis aegypti and ZIKV, dengue virus (DENV), or chikungunya virus (CHIKV). Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate the influence of ZIKV infection and temperature on the Ae. albopictus microbiome along with a negative correlation between ZIKV and E. anophelis albopictus. Our results have important implications for controlling vector-borne pathogens.