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Keywords:

  • Aedes albopictus;
  • bacterial community;
  • chikungunya;
  • microarray;
  • quantitative PCR;
  • Wolbachia

Abstract

Mosquitoes transmit numerous arboviruses including dengue and chikungunya virus (CHIKV). In recent years, mosquito species Aedes albopictus has expanded in the Indian Ocean region and was the principal vector of chikungunya outbreaks in La Reunion and neighbouring islands in 2005 and 2006. Vector-associated bacteria have recently been found to interact with transmitted pathogens. For instance, Wolbachia modulates the replication of viruses or parasites. However, there has been no systematic evaluation of the diversity of the entire bacterial populations within mosquito individuals particularly in relation to virus invasion. Here, we investigated the effect of CHIKV infection on the whole bacterial community of Ae. albopictus. Taxonomic microarrays and quantitative PCR showed that members of Alpha- and Gammaproteobacteria phyla, as well as Bacteroidetes, responded to CHIKV infection. The abundance of bacteria from the Enterobacteriaceae family increased with CHIKV infection, whereas the abundance of known insect endosymbionts like Wolbachia and Blattabacterium decreased. Our results clearly link the pathogen propagation with changes in the dynamics of the bacterial community, suggesting that cooperation or competition occurs within the host, which may in turn affect the mosquito traits like vector competence.