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Wolbachia endosymbionts in two Anopheles species indicates independent acquisitions and lack of prophage elements

Quek, Shannon ORCID:, Cerdeira, Louise, Jeffries, Claire L, Tomlinson, Sean, Walker, Thomas, Hughes, Grant ORCID: and Heinz, Eva ORCID: (2022) 'Wolbachia endosymbionts in two Anopheles species indicates independent acquisitions and lack of prophage elements'. Microbial Genomics, Vol 8, Issue 4, 000805.

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Wolbachia is a genus of obligate bacterial endosymbionts that infect a diverse range of arthropod species as well as filarial nematodes, with its single described species, Wolbachia pipientis, divided into several ‘supergroups’ based on multilocus sequence typing. Wolbachia strains in mosquitoes have been shown to inhibit the transmission of human pathogens including Plasmodium malaria parasites and arboviruses. Despite their large host range, Wolbachia strains within the major malaria vectors of the Anopheles (A.) gambiae and A. funestus complexes appear at low density based solely on PCR-based methods. Questions have been raised as to whether this represents a true endosymbiotic relationship. However, recent definitive evidence for two distinct, high-density strains of supergroup B Wolbachia within A. demeilloni and A. moucheti has opened exciting possibilities to explore naturally occurring Wolbachia endosymbionts in Anopheles for biocontrol strategies to block Plasmodium transmission. Here we utilise genomic analyses to demonstrate that both Wolbachia strains have retained all key metabolic and transport pathways despite their smaller genome size, with this reduction potentially attributable to degenerated prophage regions. Even with this reduction, we confirmed the presence of cytoplasmic incompatibility factor genes within both strains, with wAnD maintaining intact copies of these genes while the cifB gene was interrupted in wAnM, so functional analysis is required to determine if wAnM can induce cytoplasmic incompatibility. Additionally, phylogenetic analysis indicates that these Wolbachia strains may have been introduced into these two Anopheles species via horizontal transmission events, and unlikely to be by ancestral acquisition and subsequent loss events in the Anopheles gambiae species complex. These are the first Wolbachia genomes that enable us to study the relationship between natural strains Plasmodium malaria parasites and their Anopheline hosts.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QU Biochemistry > Genetics > QU 460 Genomics. Proteomics
QW Microbiology and Immunology > Bacteria > QW 150 Proteobacteria. Rickettsiaceae, Wolbachia
QX Parasitology > Insects. Other Parasites > QX 515 Anopheles
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Department of Tropical Disease Biology
Biological Sciences > Vector Biology Department
Clinical Sciences & International Health > Clinical Sciences Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Marie Hatton
Date Deposited: 03 May 2022 13:28
Last Modified: 03 May 2022 13:28


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