Heatwaves cause fluctuations in wMel Wolbachia densities and frequencies in Aedes aegypti

Ross, Perran A., Axford, Jason K., Yang, Qiong, Staunton, Kyran M., Ritchie, Scott A., Richardson, Kelly M., and Hoffman, Ary A. (2020) Heatwaves cause fluctuations in wMel Wolbachia densities and frequencies in Aedes aegypti. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 14 (1). e0007958.

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Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with the wMel strain of Wolbachia are being released into natural mosquito populations in the tropics as a way of reducing dengue transmission. High temperatures adversely affect wMel, reducing Wolbachia density and cytoplasmic incompatibility in some larval habitats that experience large temperature fluctuations. We monitored the impact of a 43.6°C heatwave on the wMel infection in a natural population in Cairns, Australia, where wMel was first released in 2011 and has persisted at a high frequency. Wolbachia infection frequencies in the month following the heatwave were reduced to 83% in larvae sampled directly from field habitats and 88% in eggs collected from ovitraps, but recovered to be near 100% four months later. Effects of the heatwave on wMel appeared to be stage-specific and delayed, with reduced frequencies and densities in field-collected larvae and adults reared from ovitraps but higher frequencies in field-collected adults. Laboratory experiments showed that the effects of heatwaves on cytoplasmic incompatibility and density are life stage-specific, with first instar larvae being the most vulnerable to temperature effects. Our results indicate that heatwaves in wMel-infected populations will have only temporary effects on Wolbachia frequencies and density once the infection has established in the population. Our results are relevant to ongoing releases of wMel-infected Ae. aegypti in several tropical countries.

Item ID: 63546
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1935-2735
Copyright Information: © 2020 Ross et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: NHMRC 1132412, NHMRC 1118640
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2020 05:22
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4202 Epidemiology > 420203 Environmental epidemiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920404 Disease Distribution and Transmission (incl. Surveillance and Response) @ 100%
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