Mosquitoes are well recognized as the most important arthropod vectors of disease-causing pathogens. Thus, studies on processes with potential to disrupt mosquito development or disease transmission are of biomedical importance. This application is a resubmission request to build on recent results showing that the gut micro biota of Aedes aegypti and other mosquito species are essential for development. It has long been known that the gut harbors bacteria but the role these microbes play in mosquito biology is largely unclear. Here we report preliminary data showing that the community of bacteria in the digestive tract of the mosquito Aedes aegypti is relatively simple but also exhibits distinct changes during development. Our results further show that bacteria-free (axenic) Aedes aegypti cannot develop, while recolonization of the gut by several gut community members and the non-community member Escherichia coli rescue development. Comparative data with other species yield similar results, which strongly suggests a fundamental, but heretofore unrecognized, dependence by most if not all mosquitoes on their gut microbiome for development. Recent studies identify bacterial genes with roles in developmental rescue as well as insights into how bacteria affect mosquito physiology. To further advance these results, we propose three specific aims. 1. Complete characterization of the gut micro biota in our laboratory cultures of Ae. aegypti and select other species, and conduct parallel experiments in field collected mosquitoes. 2. Further characterize E. coli mutants defective in rescuing mosquito development. 3. Analyze how bacteria affect mosquito physiology. Expected outcomes of our work will enhance understanding of the mosquito gut microbiome and its functions. Our study will impact the field of vector biology by providing information on the largely unknown but critical role gut microbes play in mosquito development. Our study will also provide information of potential importance in manipulating mosquito development as a strategy for vector control.

Public Health Relevance

Mosquitoes are the most important arthropod vectors of disease-causing pathogens. Our work will help us understand the function of the gut microbiome, which is critical for development of mosquitoes. Our results will establish a foundation for developing new approaches to control mosquito development and reproduction.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Project (R01)
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Vector Biology Study Section (VB)
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Costero-Saint Denis, Adriana
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University of Georgia
Schools of Earth Sciences/Natur
United States
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Strand, Michael R (2018) Composition and functional roles of the gut microbiota in mosquitoes. Curr Opin Insect Sci 28:59-65
Valzania, Luca; Coon, Kerri L; Vogel, Kevin J et al. (2018) Hypoxia-induced transcription factor signaling is essential for larval growth of the mosquito Aedes aegypti. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 115:457-465
Valzania, Luca; Martinson, Vincent G; Harrison, Ruby E et al. (2018) Both living bacteria and eukaryotes in the mosquito gut promote growth of larvae. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 12:e0006638
McKinney, David A; Strand, Michael R; Brown, Mark R (2017) Evaluation of ecdysteroid antisera for a competitive enzyme immunoassay and extraction procedures for the measurement of mosquito ecdysteroids. Gen Comp Endocrinol 253:60-69
Vogel, Kevin J; Valzania, Luca; Coon, Kerri L et al. (2017) Transcriptome Sequencing Reveals Large-Scale Changes in Axenic Aedes aegypti Larvae. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 11:e0005273
Coon, Kerri L; Valzania, Luca; McKinney, David A et al. (2017) Bacteria-mediated hypoxia functions as a signal for mosquito development. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114:E5362-E5369
Coon, Kerri L; Brown, Mark R; Strand, Michael R (2016) Gut bacteria differentially affect egg production in the anautogenous mosquito Aedes aegypti and facultatively autogenous mosquito Aedes atropalpus (Diptera: Culicidae). Parasit Vectors 9:375
Coon, Kerri L; Brown, Mark R; Strand, Michael R (2016) Mosquitoes host communities of bacteria that are essential for development but vary greatly between local habitats. Mol Ecol 25:5806-5826
McKinney, David A; Eum, Jai-Hoon; Dhara, Animesh et al. (2016) Calcium influx enhances neuropeptide activation of ecdysteroid hormone production by mosquito ovaries. Insect Biochem Mol Biol 70:160-9
Strand, M R; Brown, M R; Vogel, K J (2016) Mosquito Peptide Hormones: Diversity, Production, and Function. Adv In Insect Phys 51:145-188

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