Dengue represents a serious threat to human health, with billions of people living at risk of the disease. Wolbachia pipientis is a bacterial endosymbiont common to many insect species. Wolbachia transinfections in mosquito disease vectors have great value for disease control given the bacterium’s ability to spread into wild mosquito populations, and to interfere with infections of pathogens, such as dengue virus. Aedes fluviatilis is a mosquito with a widespread distribution in Latin America, but its status as a dengue vector has not been clarified. Ae. fluviatilis is also naturally infected by the wFlu Wolbachia strain, which has been demonstrated to enhance infection with the avian malarial parasite Plasmodium gallinaceum. We performed experimental infections of Ae. fluviatilis with DENV-2 and DENV-3 isolates from Brazil via injection or oral feeding to provide insight into its competence for the virus. We also examined the effect of the native Wolbachia infection on the virus using a mosquito line where the wFlu infection had been cleared by antibiotic treatment. Through RT-qPCR, we observed that Ae. fluviatilis could become infected with both viruses via either method of infection, although at a lower rate than Aedes aegypti, the primary dengue vector. We then detected DENV-2 and DENV-3 in the saliva of injected mosquitoes, and observed that injection of DENV-3-infected saliva produced subsequent infections in naïve Ae. aegypti. However, across our data we observed no difference in prevalence of infection and viral load between Wolbachia-infected and -uninfected mosquitoes, suggesting that there is no effect of wFlu on dengue virus. Our results highlight that Ae. fluviatilis could potentially serve as a dengue vector under the right circumstances, although further testing is required to determine if this occurs in the field.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences