Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus microbiome/virome: new strategies for controlling arboviral transmission?

M. Gómez, D. Martinez, M. Muñoz and J. D. Ramírez,  Parasites and Vectors,  15:287. 2022.

Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are the main vectors of highly pathogenic viruses for humans, such as dengue (DENV), chikungunya (CHIKV), and Zika (ZIKV), which cause febrile, hemorrhagic, and neurological diseases and remain a major threat to global public health. The high ecological plasticity, opportunistic feeding patterns, and versatility in the use of urban and natural breeding sites of these vectors have favored their dispersal and adaptation in tropical, subtropical, and even temperate zones. Due to the lack of available treatments and vaccines, mosquito population control is the most effective way to prevent arboviral diseases. Resident microorganisms play a crucial role in host fitness by preventing or enhancing its vectorial ability to transmit viral pathogens. High-throughput sequencing and metagenomic analyses have advanced our understanding of the composition and functionality of the microbiota of Aedes spp. Interestingly, shotgun metagenomics studies have established that mosquito vectors harbor a highly conserved virome composed of insect-specific viruses (ISV). Although ISVs are not infectious to vertebrates, they can alter different phases of the arboviral cycle, interfering with transmission to the human host. Therefore, this review focuses on the description of Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus as vectors susceptible to infection by viral pathogens, highlighting the role of the microbiota-virome in vectorial competence and its potential in control strategies for new emerging and re-emerging arboviruses.

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