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Biological Sciences


Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences



The ability of blood-feeding arthropods to successfully acquire and transmit pathogens of medical and veterinary importance has been shown to be interfered with, or enhanced by, the arthropod’s native microbiome. Mosquitoes transmit viruses, protozoan and filarial nematodes, the majority of which contribute to the 17% of infectious disease cases worldwide. Dirofilaria immitis, a mosquito-transmitted filarial nematodes of dogs and cats, is vectored by several mosquito species including Aedes aegypti.


In this study, we investigated the impact of D. immitis colonization on the microbiome of laboratory reared female Ae. aegypti. Metagenomic analysis of the V3–V4 variable region of the microbial 16S RNA gene was used for identification of the microbial differences down to species level.


We generated a total of 1068 OTUs representing 16 phyla, 181 genera and 271 bacterial species. Overall, in order of abundance, Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria and Firmicutes were the most represented phylum with D. immitis-infected mosquitoes having more of Proteobacteria (71%) than uninfected mosquitoes (56.9%). An interesting finding in this study is the detection of Klebsiella oxytoca in relatively similar abundance in infected and uninfected mosquitoes, suggesting a possible endosymbiotic relationship, and has been previously shown to indirectly compete for nutrients with fungi on domestic housefly eggs and larvae. While D. immitis colonization has no effect on the overall species richness, we identified significant differences in the composition of selected bacterial genera and phyla between the two groups. We also reported distinct compositional and phylogenetic differences in the individual bacterial species when commonly identified bacteria were compared.


To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to understand the impact of a filarial infection on the microbiome of its mosquito vector. Further studies are required to identify bacteria species that could play an important role in the mosquito biology. While the microbiome composition of Ae. aegypti mosquito have been previously reported, our study shows that in an effort to establish itself, a filarial nematode modifies and alters the overall microbial diversity within its mosquito host.

Publication Title

Parasites and Vectors





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