The reproductive tracts of two malaria vectors are populated by a core microbiome and by gender- and swarm-enriched microbial biomarkers

Abstract : Microbes play key roles in shaping the physiology of insects and can influence behavior, reproduction and susceptibility to pathogens. In Sub-Saharan Africa, two major malaria vectors, Anopheles gambiae and An. coluzzii, breed in distinct larval habitats characterized by different microorganisms that might affect their adult physiology and possibly Plasmodium transmission. We analyzed the reproductive microbiomes of male and female An. gambiae and An. coluzzii couples collected from natural mating swarms in Burkina Faso. 16S rRNA sequencing on dissected tissues revealed that the reproductive tracts harbor a complex microbiome characterized by a large core group of bacteria shared by both species and all reproductive tissues. Interestingly, we detected a significant enrichment of several gender-associated microbial biomarkers in specific tissues, and surprisingly, similar classes of bacteria in males captured from one mating swarm, suggesting that these males originated from the same larval breeding site. Finally, we identified several endosymbiotic bacteria, including Spiroplasma, which have the ability to manipulate insect reproductive success. Our study provides a comprehensive analysis of the reproductive microbiome of important human disease vectors, and identifies a panel of core and endosymbiotic bacteria that can be potentially exploited to interfere with the transmission of malaria parasites by the Anopheles mosquito. The interplay between hosts and their endogenous microbiota is crucial for the physiology of a vast number of organisms ranging from mammals to plants 1. In insects, the resident microbiome regulates nutrition, digestion , metabolism, reproduction, longevity and immunity 2,3. The insect microbiota participate in the synthesis of essential nutrients that are scarce or unavailable in the host diet 4 , the production of enzymes increasing digestion
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Nicola Segata, Francesco Baldini, Julien Pompon, Wendy Garrett, Duy Truong, et al.. The reproductive tracts of two malaria vectors are populated by a core microbiome and by gender- and swarm-enriched microbial biomarkers. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2016, 6, pp.24207. ⟨10.1038/srep24207⟩. ⟨hal-02003250⟩

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