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The mosquito adulticidal Chromobacterium sp. Panama causes transgenerational impacts on fitness parameters and elicits xenobiotic gene responses

Short, Sarah M., van Tol, Sarah, Smith, Brendan, Dong, Yuemei, Dimopoulos, George
Parasites & vectors 2018 v.11 no.1 pp. 229
Chromobacterium, Culicidae, adults, bacteria, biofilm, biological control agents, burden of disease, culture media, fecundity, females, genes, insecticidal properties, insecticides, larvae, longevity, midgut, mortality, progeny, stress response, transcription (genetics), vector control, xenobiotics
BACKGROUND: Vector control is critical in reducing the disease burden caused by mosquitoes, and insecticides are an effective tool to control vector populations. Resistance to common insecticides is now widespread, and novel classes of insecticides are needed. In previous work, we described the mosquitocidal activity of Chromobacterium sp. Panama (C.sp_P), a bacterium found in association with mosquitoes in natural populations. In the current work, we further explored the effects of exposure to the bacterium on mosquito fitness and mosquito physiology. RESULTS: We found that C.sp_P has mosquitocidal activity against a broad range of mosquito taxa. When exposed to C.sp_P as adults, female An. gambiae suffered reduced longevity, but experienced no change in fecundity. The offspring of these females, however, had higher mortality as larvae and were slower to develop compared to offspring of control females. We also found that the mosquitocidal activity of C.sp_P was retained after removal of live cells from biofilm culture media, suggesting the bacteria secrete mosquitocidal compound(s) into the media during growth. Exposure to this cell-free C.sp_P-conditioned media caused female midgut transcriptional changes comprising detoxification, xenobiotic response, and stress response genes, suggesting the physiological response to C.sp_P is similar to that of insecticide exposure. Finally, we found that multiple members of the Chromobacterium genus had mosquitocidal activity, but this activity was highest in mosquitoes treated with C.sp_P. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that C.sp_P produces factor(s) with strong effects on mosquito longevity and fitness, which may be of interest for mosquitocide development. More generally, they indicate that further exploration of mosquito-associated and environmental microbes for novel insecticidal compounds or biocontrol agents is warranted.