Zika virus infection modulates the bacterial diversity associated with Aedes aegypti as revealed by metagenomic analysis

Luis E.M. Villegas, Thais B. Campolina, Nilton R. Barnabe, Alessandra S. Orfano, Barbara A. Chaves, Douglas E. Norris, Paulo F.P. Pimenta, Nagila F.C. Secundino

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17 Scopus citations


Zika is a re-emerging infection that has been considered a major threat to global public health. Currently at least 100 countries are at risk of Zika virus (ZIKV) transmission. Aedes aegypti is the main mosquito vector in the Americas. This vector is exposed to, and interacts symbiotically with a variety of microorganisms in its environment, which may result in the formation of a lifetime association. Here, the unknown effect that ZIKV exerts on the dynamic bacterial community harbored by this mosquito vector was investigated using a metagenomic analysis of its microbiota. Groups of Ae. aegypti were experimentally fed on sugar, blood and blood mixed with ZIKV, and held for 3 to 7 days after blood meal and eggs development respectively. The infected groups were processed by qPCR to confirm the presence of ZIKV. All groups were analyzed by metagenomics (Illumina Hiseq Sequencing) and 16S rRNA amplicon sequences were obtained to create bacterial taxonomic profiles. A core microbiota and exclusive bacterial taxa were identified that incorporate 50.5% of the predicted reads from the dataset, with 40 Gram-negative and 9 Gram-positive families. To address how ZIKV invasion may disturb the ecological balance of the Ae. aegypti microbiota, a CCA analysis coupled with an explanatory matrix was performed to support the biological interpretation of shifts in bacterial signatures. Two f-OTUs appeared as potential biomarkers of ZIKV infection: Rhodobacteraceae and Desulfuromonadaceae. Coincidentally, both f-OTUs were exclusively present in the ZIKV- infected blood-fed and ZIKV-infected gravid groups. In conclusion, this study shows that bacterial symbionts act as biomarkers of the insect physiological states and how they respond as a community when ZIKV invades Ae. aegypti. Basic knowledge of local haematophagous vectors and their associated microbiota is relevant when addressing transmission of vector-borne infectious diseases in their regional surroundings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0190352
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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