Inhibition of Asaia in Adult Mosquitoes Causes Male-Specific Mortality and Diverse Transcriptome Changes


Mosquitoes can transmit many infectious diseases, such as malaria, dengue, Zika, yellow fever, and lymphatic filariasis. Current mosquito control strategies are failing to reduce the severity of outbreaks that still cause high human morbidity and mortality worldwide. Great expectations have been placed on genetic control methods. Among other methods, genetic modification of the bacteria colonizing different mosquito species and expressing anti-pathogen molecules may represent an innovative tool to combat mosquito-borne diseases. Nevertheless, this emerging approach, known as paratransgenesis, requires a detailed understanding of the mosquito microbiota and an accurate characterization of selected bacteria candidates. The acetic acid bacteria Asaia is a promising candidate for paratransgenic approaches. We have previously reported that Asaia symbionts play a beneficial role in the normal development of Anopheles mosquito larvae, but no study has yet investigated the role(s) of Asaia in adult mosquito biology. Here we report evidence on how treatment with a highly specific anti-Asaia monoclonal antibody impacts the survival and physiology of adult Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes. Our findings offer useful insight on the role of Asaia in several physiological systems of adult mosquitoes, where the influence differs between males and females.