Sensitivity of wMel and wAlbB Wolbachia infections in Aedes aegypti Puducherry (Indian) strains to heat stress during larval development

K. Gunasekaran, C. Sadanandane, D. Panneer, A. Kumar, M. Rahi, S. Dinesh, B. Vijayakumar, M. Krishnaraja, S. K. Subbarao and P. Jambulingam,  Parasites and Vectors,  15:221. 2022.

BACKGROUND: ICMR-Vector Control Research Centre, Puducherry, India, developed two colonies of Aedes aegypti infected with wMel and wAlbB Wolbacia strains called Ae. aegypti (Pud) lines for dengue control. The sensitivity of wMel and wAlbB strains in Ae. aegypti (Pud) lines to heat stress was studied. METHODS: wMel and wAlbB infected and uninfected Ae. aegypti larvae (first to fourth instars) were reared in the laboratory to adults at 26 °C, 30 °C, 36 °C and 40 °C constant temperatures and also 26-30 °C, 26-36 °C and 26-40 °C diurnal cyclic temperatures. The adults were tested for Wolbachia infection. Experiments were also carried out rearing the larvae under simulated field conditions in summer (April and June) under sunlight using fully open and half open bowls and also under sunlight and natural shade. RESULTS: At 36 °C and 40 °C constant temperatures, complete larval mortality was observed. At 30 °C and 26 °C, no larval mortality occurred, but Wolbachia density was relatively low in wMel infected males compared to control (maintained at 26 ± 1 °C). At diurnal cyclic temperature of 26-40 °C, Wolbachia density was reduced in males of both the (Pud) lines, but not in females. At 26-36 °C, reduction in Wolbachia density was observed in wMel males but not in wAlbB males. At 26-30 °C, no significant reduction in Wolbachia density was observed with wMel and wAlbB strains. In simulated field conditions (April), under sunlight, the daytime water temperature reached a maximum of 35.7 °C in both full and half open bowls. No larval mortality occurred. Wolbachia frequency and density was reduced in wMel-infected Ae. aegypti (Pud) males from both type of bowls and in females from full open bowls, and in wAlbB males from half open bowls. In June, rearing of larvae under sunlight, the first-instar larvae experienced a maximum daytime water temperature of > 38 °C that caused complete mortality. No larval mortality was observed in bowls kept under shade (< 32 °C). CONCLUSIONS: Exposure of larvae to higher rearing temperatures in the laboratory and simulated-field conditions reduced the densities of wMel and wAlbB strains particularly in males, but the impact was more pronounced for wMel strain. The actual effect of heat stress on the stability of these two Wolbachia strains needs to be tested under natural field conditions.

More related to this: