Effect of naturally occurring Wolbachia in Anopheles gambiae s.l. mosquitoes from Mali on Plasmodium falciparum malaria transmission [Microbiology]
A naturally occurring Wolbachia strain (wAnga-Mali) was identified in mosquitoes of the Anopheles gambiae complex collected in the Malian villages of Dangassa and Kenieroba. Phylogenetic analysis of the nucleotide sequence of two 16S rRNA regions showed that wAnga-Mali clusters with Wolbachia strains from supergroup A and has the highest homology to a Wolbachia strain isolated from cat fleas (Ctenocephalides). wAnga-Mali is different from two Wolbachia strains previously reported in A. gambiae from Burkina Faso (wAnga_VK5_STP and wAnga_VK5_3.1a). Quantitative analysis of Wolbachia and Plasmodium sporozoite infection in field-collected mosquitoes indicates that the prevalence and intensity of Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite infection is significantly lower in Wolbachia-infected females. The presence of Wolbachia in females from a laboratory Anopheles coluzzii (A. gambiae, M form) colony experimentally infected with P. falciparum (NF54 strain) gametocyte cultures slightly enhanced oocyst infection. However, Wolbachia infection significantly reduced the prevalence and intensity of sporozoite infection, as observed in the field. This indicates that wAnga-Mali infection does not limit early stages of Plasmodium infection in the mosquito, but it has a strong deleterious effect on sporozoites and reduces malaria transmission.