Analysis of Aedes aegypti microRNAs in response to Wolbachia wAlbB infection and their potential role in mosquito longevity

C. Bishop, M. Hussain, L. E. Hugo and S. Asgari,  Scientific Reports,  12:15245. 2022.

The mosquito Aedes aegypti is the primary vector of a range of medically important viruses including dengue, Zika, West Nile, yellow fever, and chikungunya viruses. The endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia pipientis wAlbB strain is a promising biocontrol agent for blocking viral transmission by Ae. aegypti. To predict the long-term efficacy of field applications, a thorough understanding of the interactions between symbiont, host, and pathogen is required. Wolbachia influences host physiology in a variety of ways including reproduction, immunity, metabolism, and longevity. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are highly conserved small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression in eukaryotes and viruses. Several miRNAs are known to regulate biological processes in Drosophila and mosquitoes, including facilitating Wolbachia maintenance. We generated the first chromosomal map of Ae. aegypti miRNAs, and compared miRNA expression profiles between a wAlbB-transinfected Ae. aegypti mosquito line and a tetracycline cleared derivative, using deep small RNA-sequencing. We found limited modulation of miRNAs in response to wAlbB infection. Several miRNAs were modulated in response to age, some of which showed greater upregulation in wAlbB-infected mosquitoes than in tetracycline cleared ones. By selectively inhibiting some differentially expressed miRNAs, we identified miR-2946-3p and miR-317-3p as effecting mosquito longevity in Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes.

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