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Epigenetic alterations and decreasing insecticide sensitivity of the Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus

Oppold, A., Kreß, A., Vanden Bussche, J., Diogo, J.B., Kuch, U., Oehlmann, J., Vandegehuchte, M.B., Müller, R.
Ecotoxicology and environmental safety 2015 v.122 pp. 45-53
Aedes albopictus, DNA, DNA methylation, disease vectors, environmental factors, environmental impact, epigenetics, genistein, imidacloprid, phenotype, phenotypic variation, progeny, vinclozolin
A range of environmental factors, including chemicals, can affect epigenetic processes in organisms leading to variations in phenotype. Thus, epigenetics displays an important environmentally responsive element. The transgenerational impact of environmental stressors on DNA methylation and phenotype was the focus of this study.The influence of two known DNA methylation-changing agents, the phytoestrogen genistein and the fungicide vinclozolin, on the overall DNA methylation level in the Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus was investigated. The experiment comprised four generations in a full life-cycle design with an exposed parental generation and three consecutive non-exposed offspring generations.Application of the methylation agents to the parental generation of the study led to an alteration of the global DNA methylation level of the exposed individuals and those in two subsequent generations. The phenotypic variability of the offspring generations was assessed by examining their insecticide sensitivity. Here, a significant decrease in sensitivity (p<0.01) towards the model insecticide imidacloprid revealed alterations of the mosquito's phenotype in two subsequent generations.Thus, the evaluation of A. albopictus from an epigenetic perspective can contribute important information to the study of the high adaptability of this invasive disease vector to new environments, and its underlying mechanisms.