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Improving Sterile Insect Technique for tsetse flies through research on their symbiont and pathogens

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Background Tsetse flies (Diptera: Glossinidae) are the vectors of African trypanosomosis, the causal agent of sleeping sickness in humans and nagana in animals. Glossina fuscipes fuscipes is one of the most important tsetse vectors of sleeping sickness, particularly in Central Africa. Due to the development of resistance of the trypanosomes to the commonly used trypanocidal drugs and the lack of effective vaccines, vector control approaches remain the most effective strategies for sustainable management of those diseases. The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) is an effective, environment-friendly method for the management of tsetse flies in the context of area-wide integrated pest management programs (AW-IPM). This technique relies on the mass-production of the target insect, its sterilization with ionizing radiation and the release of sterile males in the target area where they will mate with wild females and induce sterility in the native population. It has been shown that Glossina pallidipes salivary gland hypertrophy virus (GpSGHV) infection causes a decrease in fecundity and fertility hampering the maintenance of colonies of the tsetse fly G. pallidipes. This virus has also been detected in different species of tsetse files. In this study, we evaluated the impact of GpSGHV on the performance of a colony of the heterologous host G. f. fuscipes, including the flies’ productivity, mortality, survival, flight propensity and mating ability and insemination rates. Results Even though GpSGHV infection did not induce SGH symptoms, it significantly reduced all examined parameters, except adult flight propensity and insemination rate. Conclusion These results emphasize the important role of GpSGHV management strategy in the maintenance of G. f. fuscipes colonies and the urgent need to implement measures to avoid virus infection, to ensure the optimal mass production of this tsetse species for use in AW-IPM programs with an SIT component.
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With the absence of effective prophylactic vaccines and drugs against African trypanosomosis, control of this group of zoonotic neglected tropical diseases depends the control of the tsetse fly vector. When applied in an area-wide insect pest management approach, the sterile insect technique (SIT) is effective in eliminating single tsetse species from isolated populations. The need to enhance the effectiveness of SIT led to the concept of investigating tsetsetrypanosome interactions by a consortium of researchers in a five-year (2013–2018) Coordinated Research Project (CRP) organized by the Joint Division of FAO/IAEA. The goal of this CRP was to elucidate tsetse-symbiomepathogen molecular interactions to improve SIT and SIT-compatible interventions for trypanosomoses control by enhancing vector refractoriness. This would allow extension of SIT into areas with potential disease transmission. This paper highlights the CRP’s major achievements and discusses the science-based perspectives for successful mitigation or eradication of African trypanosomosis
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Background The management of the tsetse species Glossina pallidipes (Diptera; Glossinidae) in Africa by the sterile insect technique (SIT) has been hindered by infections of G. pallidipes production colonies with Glossina pallidipes salivary gland hypertrophy virus (GpSGHV; Hytrosaviridae family). This virus can significantly decrease productivity of the G. pallidipes colonies. Here, we used three highly diverged genes and two variable number tandem repeat regions (VNTRs) of the GpSGHV genome to identify the viral haplotypes in seven Glossina species obtained from 29 African locations and determine their phylogenetic relatedness. Results GpSGHV was detected in all analysed Glossina species using PCR. The highest GpSGHV prevalence was found in G. pallidipes colonized at FAO/IAEA Insect Pest Control Laboratory (IPCL) that originated from Uganda (100%) and Tanzania (88%), and a lower prevalence in G. morsitans morsitans from Tanzania (58%) and Zimbabwe (20%). Whereas GpSGHV was detected in 25–40% of G. fuscipes fuscipes in eastern Uganda, the virus was not detected in specimens of neighboring western Kenya. Most of the identified 15 haplotypes were restricted to specific Glossina species in distinct locations. Seven haplotypes were found exclusively in G. pallidipes. The reference haplotype H1 (GpSGHV-Uga; Ugandan strain) was the most widely distributed, but was not found in G. swynnertoni GpSGHV. The 15 haplotypes clustered into three distinct phylogenetic clades, the largest contained seven haplotypes, which were detected in six Glossina species. The G. pallidipes-infecting haplotypes H10, H11 and H12 (from Kenya) clustered with H7 (from Ethiopia), which presumably corresponds to the recently sequenced GpSGHV-Eth (Ethiopian) strain. These four haplotypes diverged the most from the reference H1 (GpSGHV-Uga). Haplotypes H1, H5 and H14 formed three main genealogy hubs, potentially representing the ancestors of the 15 haplotypes. Conclusion These data identify G. pallidipes as a significant driver for the generation and diversity of GpSGHV variants. This information may provide control guidance when new tsetse colonies are established and hence, for improved management of the virus in tsetse rearing facilities that maintain multiple Glossina species. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1186/s12866-018-1297-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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Background Symbiotic microbes represent a driving force of evolutionary innovation by conferring novel ecological traits to their hosts. Many insects are associated with microbial symbionts that contribute to their host’s nutrition, digestion, detoxification, reproduction, immune homeostasis, and defense. In addition, recent studies suggest a microbial involvement in chemical communication and mating behavior, which can ultimately impact reproductive isolation and, hence, speciation. Here we investigated whether a disruption of the microbiota through antibiotic treatment or irradiation affects cuticular hydrocarbon profiles, and possibly mate choice behavior in the tsetse fly, Glossina morsitans morsitans. Four independent experiments that differentially knock down the multiple bacterial symbionts of tsetse flies were conducted by subjecting tsetse flies to ampicillin, tetracycline, or gamma-irradiation and analyzing their cuticular hydrocarbon profiles in comparison to untreated controls by gas chromatography – mass spectrometry. In two of the antibiotic experiments, flies were mass-reared, while individual rearing was done for the third experiment to avoid possible chemical cross-contamination between individual flies. Results All three antibiotic experiments yielded significant effects of antibiotic treatment (particularly tetracycline) on cuticular hydrocarbon profiles in both female and male G. m. morsitans, while irradiation itself had no effect on the CHC profiles. Importantly, tetracycline treatment reduced relative amounts of 15,19,23-trimethyl-heptatriacontane, a known compound of the female contact sex pheromone, in two of the three experiments, suggesting a possible implication of microbiota disturbance on mate choice decisions. Concordantly, both female and male flies preferred non-treated over tetracycline-treated flies in direct choice assays. Conclusions While we cannot exclude the possibility that antibiotic treatment had a directly detrimental effect on fly vigor as we are unable to recolonize antibiotic treated flies with individual symbiont taxa, our results are consistent with an effect of the microbiota, particularly the obligate nutritional endosymbiont Wigglesworthia, on CHC profiles and mate choice behavior. These findings highlight the importance of considering host-microbiota interactions when studying chemical communication and mate choice in insects. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1186/s12866-018-1292-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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Background Hytrosaviruses (SGHVs; Hytrosaviridae family) are double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses that cause salivary gland hypertrophy (SGH) syndrome in flies. Two structurally and functionally distinct SGHVs are recognized; Glossina pallidipes SGHV (GpSGHV) and Musca domestica SGHV (MdSGHV), that infect the hematophagous tsetse fly and the filth-feeding housefly, respectively. Genome sizes and gene contents of GpSGHV (~ 190 kb; 160–174 genes) and MdSGHV (~ 124 kb; 108 genes) may reflect an evolution with the SGHV-hosts resulting in differences in pathobiology. Whereas GpSGHV can switch from asymptomatic to symptomatic infections in response to certain unknown cues, MdSGHV solely infects symptomatically. Overt SGH characterizes the symptomatic infections of SGHVs, but whereas MdSGHV induces both nuclear and cellular hypertrophy (enlarged non-replicative cells), GpSGHV induces cellular hyperplasia (enlarged replicative cells). Compared to GpSGHV’s specificity to Glossina species, MdSGHV infects other sympatric muscids. The MdSGHV-induced total shutdown of oogenesis inhibits its vertical transmission, while the GpSGHV’s asymptomatic and symptomatic infections promote vertical and horizontal transmission, respectively. This paper reviews the coevolution of the SGHVs and their hosts (housefly and tsetse fly) based on phylogenetic relatedness of immune gene orthologs/paralogs and compares this with other virus-insect models. Results Whereas MdSGHV is not vertically transmitted, GpSGHV is both vertically and horizontally transmitted, and the balance between the two transmission modes may significantly influence the pathogenesis of tsetse virus. The presence and absence of bacterial symbionts (Wigglesworthia and Sodalis) in tsetse and Wolbachia in the housefly, respectively, potentially contributes to the development of SGH symptoms. Unlike MdSGHV, GpSGHV contains not only host-derived proteins, but also appears to have evolutionarily recruited cellular genes from ancestral host(s) into its genome, which, although may be nonessential for viral replication, potentially contribute to the evasion of host’s immune responses. Whereas MdSGHV has evolved strategies to counteract both the housefly’s RNAi and apoptotic responses, the housefly has expanded its repertoire of immune effector, modulator and melanization genes compared to the tsetse fly. Conclusions The ecologies and life-histories of the housefly and tsetse fly may significantly influence coevolution of MdSGHV and GpSGHV with their hosts. Although there are still many unanswered questions regarding the pathogenesis of SGHVs, and the extent to which microbiota influence expression of overt SGH symptoms, SGHVs are attractive ‘explorers’ to elucidate the immune responses of their hosts, and the transmission modes of other large DNA viruses.
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Salivary gland hytrosaviruses (SGHVs, family Hytrosaviridae) are non-occluded dsDNA viruses that are pathogenic to some dipterans. SGHVs primarily replicate in salivary glands (SG), thereby inducing overt salivary gland hypertrophy (SGH) symptoms in their adult hosts. SGHV infection of non-SG tissues results in distinct pathobiologies, including reproductive dysfunctions in tsetse fly, Glossina pallidipes (Diptera: Glossinidae) and house fly. Infection with the G. pallidipes virus (GpSGHV) resulted in the collapse of several laboratory colonies, which hindered the implementation of area wide integrated pest management (AW-IPM) programs that had a sterile insect technique (SIT) component. Although the impact of GpSGHV infection has been studied in some detail in G. pallidipes, the impact of the virus infection on other tsetse species remains largely unknown. In the current study, we assessed the susceptibility of six Glossina species (G. pallidipes, G. brevipalpis, G. m. morsitans, G. m. centralis, G. f. fuscipes, and G. p. gambiensis) to GpSGHV infections, and the impact of the viral infection on the fly pupation rate, adult emergence, and virus replication and transmission from the larval to adult stages. We also evaluated the ability of the virus to infect conspecific Glossina species through serial passages. The results indicate that the susceptibility of Glossina to GpSGHV varied widely amongst the tested species, with G. pallidipes and G. brevipalpis being the most susceptible and most refractory to the virus, respectively. Further, virus injection into the hemocoel of teneral flies led to increased viral copy number over time, while virus injection into the third instar larvae delayed adult eclosion. Except in G. pallidipes, virus injection either into the larvae or teneral adults did not induce any detectable SGH symptoms, although virus infections were PCR-detectable in the fly carcasses. Taken together, our results indicate that although GpSGHV may only cause minor damage in the mass-rearing of tsetse species other than G. pallidipes, preventive control measures are required to avoid viral contamination and transmission in the fly colonies, particularly in the facilities where multiple tsetse species are reared.
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Microbial symbionts of insects provide a range of ecological traits to their hosts that are beneficial in the context of biotic interactions. However, little is known about insect symbiont-mediated adaptation to the abiotic environment, e.g. temperature and humidity. Here we report on an ancient clade of intracellular, bacteriome-located Bacteroidetes symbionts that are associated with grain and wood pest beetles of the phylogenetically distant families Silvanidae and Bostrichidae. In the saw-toothed grain beetle Oryzaephilus surinamensis, we demonstrate that the symbionts affect cuticle thickness, melanization and hydrocarbon profile, enhancing desiccation resistance and thereby strongly improving fitness under dry conditions. Together with earlier observations on symbiont contributions to cuticle biosynthesis in weevils, our findings indicate that convergent acquisitions of bacterial mutualists represented key adaptations enabling diverse pest beetle groups to survive and proliferate under the low ambient humidity that characterizes dry grain storage facilities.